Thoughts on Mohamed Bamba and Trae Young in the Texas-Oklahoma Game

February 4, 2018

by Alan Lu

I took the time to watch a Big 12 basketball game that was played between Texas and Oklahoma, as this featured two prospects that could go in the lottery in Mohamed Bamba and Trae Young, and it was an entertaining game in which the Longhorns rallied in the second half to get a comeback victory over the Sooners.  Here are my thoughts on how Bamba, Young, and other prospects fared on this day.

Texas’ 7-0 freshman center, Mohamed Bamba had a slow start initially against Oklahoma, but he played better as the game wore on, and he ended up having a fairly good showing to help get his team a close win.  Bamba did a very good job of scoring on hustle plays.  He rolled hard to the rim to make a tough catch, as he scored around the basket, and he also drew an extra free throw once.   Plus, he managed to run the floor to score on an alley-oop dunk, and he also drove in to score off of a put back after grabbing an offensive board.

He also showed fairly average low post scoring skills. Bamba was able to score on a jump hook, and he also managed to draw numerous fouls upon his opponents.  However, he missed on a couple of jump hooks twice, and he also missed on a step-through move after using a jab step to try to score from the low block another time.   He did attempt a three-point shot off of a pick and pop play, but he missed his lone attempt from beyond the arc.

Plus, he also showed off adequate playmaking skills.  Bamba managed to throw a long, accurate outlet pass to set up a score on the break to notch an assist.  He also set a screen and rolled to the rim, as that enabled his teammate to score on an open mid-range shot.  He did commit one turnover though, as he received an inaccurate pass, but threw an bad pass back into traffic, in which it was picked off by a defender.

Also, he did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  Bamba would actively crash the glass to haul in numerous boards on both ends of the floor, and he also tipped a ball to a teammate to help his team come away with an offensive rebound.  In this game, he displayed decent defensive skills.  For the positives, Bamba managed to block a shot in the post, and he also defended the post well, as he would force some misses, and he also used a pull out the chair move to get an opponent to commit a traveling violation.  On another play, he rotated well on a drive to help force a passing turnover.

But he also tended to be late on his rotations or late to get back on defense, especially in the first half, where he showed a surprisingly low motor early on, which would cause him to commit a foul and allow numerous scores.  Early in the game, Trae Young and Oklahoma prevented him from being able to block shots, as Young would pass the ball well and make floaters at first.  But when Bamba really started focusing on his position defense, he played smarter, more energetically, and he was able to get his team stops as well as to stop Trae Young consistently down the stretch.  In general, Mohamed Bamba had a fairly good showing, though he did not seem to play nearly as well as he has in other games.  He is a very athletic big man that projects to be at least a solid rim protector in the NBA, and he could potentially be a top 5 pick in 2018.

In contrast, Oklahoma’s freshman point guard, Trae Young started out fast, as he initially was playing well, but ended the game not playing nearly as well as he could have.  He was really excelling as the team’s primary distributor on the floor, and he also would score on floaters to prevent Bamba and Texas from being able to block shots defensively, but he also struggled with his three-point shot the whole game.  He then played terribly in the second half, as his play was riddled with taking questionable shots that would lead to misses, and he would also try to force the issue that would lead him to commit turnovers.

Young did a very good job of scoring on quick, aggressive drives to the hoop.  He can score on nifty floaters, as he can force defenders to commit too early, and he can make those before they can effectively close out on him.  Plus, Young can score on layups after dribbling off of screens, and he also used a pump fake to score on a step through move. 

However, he struggled to consistently knock down jumpers against Texas.  Young was able to make a step back pull-up three, as well as an open three-point shot off the catch, and he did draw three free throws after taking a three once.  But Young missed numerous other jump shots, as he had a tendency to take shots that were well beyond the arc, and he also would tend to heave up contested, pull-up threes in his apparent bid to try to make the most difficult shots rather than try to take and make simpler shots.

He also displayed good playmaking skills.  Young did a great job of distributing the basketball early on, as he would consistently find open teammates on the break, and he would throw an assortment of accurate passes to set up scores for his teammates.  He threw accurate lob passes, and he used a nifty behind the back dribble move once to set up a score.  He also managed to hit a cutter, and he also drove in to split a double team to throw a dump off pass to set up another score.  Young showed a knack for drawing in double teams, and he would use that to get his teammates the ball in prime spots to set up scoring chances for them.

However, he did not play nearly as well in the second half, as he started to try to do too much on offense.  He would end up throwing plenty of lazy passes in traffic that would get tipped and intercepted, and he also had a ball poked away from him while handling it late in this contest.  On one play, he threw a really questionable, up for grabs crosscourt pass out of a trap that ended up getting picked off by a defender.  He also showed off a decent ability to rebound the basketball.  Young was able to haul in his fair share of defensive boards, and he was able to leap up to get a tough defensive rebound on one possession.

However, he displayed average defensive skills at best in this game.  For the positives, Young managed to poke the ball away from opposing ball handlers to obtain a couple of steals.  But sometimes, he would struggle to defend opponents on drives, as he committed a foul once, and allowed a score another time.  On a separate play, he ended up giving up too much space to his man, which allowed his opponent to score on a mid-range jumper.

Overall, Trae Young had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Texas.  He started off playing a solid, controlled basketball game as he was like a conductor on the floor that would help set up numerous scores for his teammates.  But in the second half, he took more contested shots, and he would throw really questionable passes in traffic, as he would try too hard to make the fancy play rather than the simple one.  In this game, he and his team collapsed down the stretch, as they ended up losing on the road.  Right now, Young is a skilled offensive minded point guard, but he will need to focus on making simpler plays, but his skill set could nonetheless make him a likely lottery pick for the upcoming draft.

Texas’ 6-4 junior guard, Kerwin Roach II had a very good showing, as he played well on both ends of the floor to help lead his team to a victory over Oklahoma.  He excelled as a shooter and scorer when he was on the floor, and he also played solid defense in this game.  Roach did a good job of making threes from beyond the arc, as he can do so off the catch and dribble.  He also showed an adequate ability to get scores on drives to the hoop, as he is a quick guard that has a solid first step to the hoop, and he also managed to throw down an emphatic dunk on the break once.

However, he also ended up committing numerous turnovers due to carelessness, and sometimes he would also throw hasty passes into traffic. but Roach did play solid defense.  He did a very good job of collecting steals for his team, as he jumped a pass quickly once, and he poked a ball away another time.  Also, he managed to contest a three to force a miss.  In this game, Kerwin Roach had a good showing, as he excelled as a shooter, scorer, and defender.  He did commit too many turnovers, but he still ended playing fairly well nonetheless, as he could end up being a second round pick whenever he decides to enter the draft.

Texas’ freshman point guard, Matt Coleman also had a good game, as he excelled at knocking down shots, and he especially excelled at making threes from beyond the arc.  He was able to making pull-up jumpers from all over the floor, and he also made several threes off the catch.  Plus, Coleman excelled at getting quick scores off the dribble.  Also, he defended well against Oklahoma, as he managed to poke a ball away to get a steal, and he also contested a mid-range shot to force a miss.

In general, Matt Coleman had a good showing, as he consistently made shots when he was on the floor, and he played good defense to get his team stops.  He has been instrumental in helping his team get wins this year, and he could end up being a potential second round pick sometime down the road.

Oklahoma’s junior big man, Jamuni McNeace also played well, especially early in the first half, as he really excelled as a finisher to get plenty of scores at the rim.  McNeace did a great job of finishing plays around the basket, as he would run the floor to score on powerful dunks in transition.  He would leap up to score on alley-oop dunks, and he can play above the rim to get scores.

He also did a good job of scoring in the post, as he would tend to score on jump hooks.  However, McNeace also committed a couple of turnovers, as he would be called for traveling violations.  He also was able to get his fair share of boards on both ends of the floor.  Also, he played fairly good defense.  McNeace would jump passes to get steals, and he also would hold his ground when defending in the post to force some misses.  However, he would be late to rotate to shooters, as he would end up allowing opponents to score on three-point shots.

In summary, Jamuni McNeace played well in his team’s loss to Texas, and he is a very athletic big man that could project to be an energetic big man in a bench role at the next level.  With his skill set, he could end up being a potential second round pick whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft.

Oklahoma’s 6-6 junior swingman, Rashard Odomes did a very good job of scoring the basketball, as he excelled at scoring on strong left-handed drives to the hoop, and he would also run the floor to throw down emphatic dunks on the break.  He is an athletic swingman that could be a player to watch next year.

Oklahoma’s senior big man, Khadeem Lattin did not play very well in his team’s loss to Texas.  He would at times make some good plays, but he was hampered due to getting into constant foul trouble, and it limited his ability to stay on the floor.

Lattin managed to score by rolling hard to the hoop, as he was able to throw down an emphatic dunk that time.  But he missed on a mid-range jump shot another time, and he also missed on a turnaround jumper when he was looking to score from the post.  He did manage to get a couple of defensive boards when he was on the court, though he was not on the floor very often due to foul trouble.

However, he showed off average defensive skills at best in this game.  For the positives, Lattin managed to swat a shot off of a drive.  He also excelled at collecting steals, as he poked a ball away once, and he also jumped up to get a steal another time.  On the other hand, had trouble defending in the post, as he would tend to commit too many fouls down low, and he also committed one foul after allowing an easy lob catch on the block.

In general, Khadeem Lattin did not play very well, as he did not have much of an impact on this match, and he committed too many fouls on the defensive end.  But he has had better games before, as that could potentially help him latch onto an NBA summer league roster sometime in the future.