Thoughts on Omari Spellman, Jalen Brunson, and Mikal Bridges in the Villanova-West Virginia Game

March 24, 2018

by Alan Lu

I took the time to watch Villanova play against West Virginia in a Sweet 16 game.  It was expected hat the Wildcats would get the win and they did, but they really showed that they are a very talented, cohesive team that has a lot of depth and balance on their roster, and they did a really good job of making threes from beyond the arc.  Omari Spellman impressed me the most as he played a solid all-around game, and Jalen Brunson also scored 27 points in Villanova’s victory.  Here are my thoughts on how they fared, as well as how the other prospects did in this game.

Villanova’s 6-9 redshirt freshman center, Omari Spellman had a very good showing in his team’s win over West Virginia, as he made solid plays consistently on both ends of the floor to help his team get the victory.  Spellman shot the ball very well, as he excelled at knocking down corner threes to space the floor for his team.

Plus, he also scored on a strong right-handed drive to the basket.  Also, Spellman can score on hustle plays, as he did so by scoring on an athletic tip dunk off of an offensive board once.  But sometimes, he may miss shots around the basket due to rushing them on occasion.  He also displayed good playmaking skills in this game.  Spellman is an unselfish player that sees the floor well, and he excelled at getting the ball to shooters to set up scores for them.  He also managed to find teammate out on the break to notch an assist early on.  He didn’t commit many turnovers against West Virginia, but he did once slide his foot on a drive to commit a traveling violation once.

Also, he did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He was quite active at crashing the glass, as he would leap up to get boards on both ends of the court.  But there was one time where he allowed a board in his area, and he then got beat on a move to allow a put back score.  Adding to that, Spellman also played solid defense.  He excelled at blocking shots, as he would rotate on drives to swat them.  He also excelled at defending threes as well as shots in the post to force misses.  Spellman also leapt up to intercept a pass to obtain a steal once.  He also used a pull out the chair move when defending in the post another time to get another steal for his team. 

However, he did bite on a pump fake once, he fouled an opponent on a long two-point shot to give up a basket and an extra free throw on that play.   He also once gave up too much space to his man, which allowed an opponent to score on a mid-range jumper another time.  In general, Omari Spellman played very well, as he made shots from all over the court, and he also excelled as a ball mover and defender when he was on the court.  He may be a very underrated prospect right now, as his game may fit the modern NBA.  Spellman is a better athlete than given credit for, and he also is a good shooter that could profile well into a stretch big role, as he could end up being a solid role player at the next level.

Villanova’s junior point guard, Jalen Brunson played really well, as he excelled as a shooter, scorer, and facilitator to help get his team the win over West Virginia in the Sweet 16.  Brunson did a great job of knocking down threes to space the floor for his team.  He showed a knack for knocking down pull-up threes, as he can use crossovers and step back moves to create separation, and he also made a quick three off the catch.

He also did a good job of scoring on drives to the hoop, as he is a quick guard that can finish plays with either hand.  Plus, he also managed to score on a floater off the dribble in transition.  Also, Brunson was able to make a pull-up, mid-range jumper after using a crossover move to get his shot up.  Also, Brunson flashed the ability to score in the post.  He scored once on a turnaround jumper, but he struggled to make jumpers consistently when he would look to score from the block.

Plus, he also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Brunson can kick the ball out to shooters of the dribble to set up scores for his teammates, and he also passed out of the post to get another assist.  But he also was a bit turnover prone in this game, as he had some trouble protecting the basketball when driving to the hoop.  Brunson got a ball poked away on a drive once, and he also dribbled off his own foot when trying to split a double team.  Another play when he was trapped, he tried to throw a ball off of an opponent’s leg, but he ended up getting his pass intercepted that time.  He didn’t grab many boards, but he would look to push the ball up the floor when he would get defensive rebounds.

Defensively, he looked to be about average.  Brunson struggled on that end early on, but he played better on the defensive side of the ball as the game progressed.  He managed to draw a charge when defending in the post, and he also would contest jumpers to force some misses.  However, his lack of size made it tough for him to defend opponents on jump shots, which would cause him to allow baskets to them at times.  He also was late to rotate on a separate play, as he ended up fouling an opponent on a three-point shot.   Brunson was also called for committing a foul on a drive as he struggled to stay with his man that time prior to the call.

In summary, Jalen Brunson had another good performance, as he did a very good job of making shots and moving the basketball to help get his team a win over West Virginia.  He may not possess elite physical tools, but he is a smart, skilled player that can help his team in many different ways, and he could likely end up being a very good pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range of the upcoming draft.

Villanova’s junior swingman, Mikal Bridges also played well in his team’s win over West Virginia.  He showed off versatile scoring skills, he also excelled as a ball mover and rebounder, but he mostly shot the ball well to help the Wildcats get the victory.  Bridges did a very good job of knocking down three-point shots from beyond the arc.  He excelled at making spot-up threes off the catch, and he also used a step back move to make a corner three out in transition.

He also ran the floor to score on a fast break, as he is a gifted athlete that can easily beat his man down court.  Bridges also drew a foul once on a patient drive to the hoop, but he missed another time when he attempted to score on a left-handed leaner.   Late in the game, Bridges drew plenty of free throws due to the opponents’ intentional fouling in their attempt to cut into the deficit and to stop the clock.

Also, he showed off decent playmaking skills.  Bridges is an unselfish player that will look to move the basketball, and he will find the open man to set up scoring chances for his team.  He didn’t commit many turnovers, but there was one play where he threw a long, inaccurate pass where his teammate dropped the ball to an opponent.

Plus, Bridges did a good job of collecting rebounds when he was on the court.  He would leap up high to get defensive boards, as he would grab them due to possessing strong leaping ability, motor, and instincts.  But he did also commit an over the back foul going for a defensive board once that led him to commit his second foul of the first half, leading him to miss some time in that time span.

Defensively, he looked to be about average.  Bridges was able contest a three to force a miss.  However, he was called for committing a foul on a ball handler on one possession.  Another time, he gave up too much space when defending a drive, which led his team to allow a score off the glass.

In summary, Mikal Bridges had a solid game, as he shot the ball well, and his play was instrumental in helping Villanova get the win over West Virginia.  Bridges is a very talented, skilled player that could excel as a two-way player at the next level, and he looks to be a solid candidate to go in the late lottery portion of the upcoming draft.

West Virginia’s senior point guard, Jevon Carter started off playing really well, as he played well in all facets of the game early on.  He struggled with his jump shot as time wore on, but he still was making plays to help his team try to stay in the contest.  Carter showed a knack for knocking down pull-up jumpers from inside the arc, as he can use crossovers, pump fakes, and step back moves to create separation between himself and his defender.  He struggled more to score on threes or drives, but Carter did make a pull-up three in this game against Villanova.

He also demonstrated solid playmaking skills when he was on the court.  Carter excelled at throwing interior passes, and there was one play where he split a double team to throw an interior pass off the dribble to set up a nifty score for a teammate.  He also can find teammates on rolls to the rim.   He did get one of his passes intercepted, but Carter generally did a very good job of handling and distributing the basketball on offense.

Though he did not grab many rebounds in this game, Carter did fly in to get a defensive board on one occasion.  He also played fairly good defense.  He did a great job of poking balls away to get steals, and he would also pick off passes to force additional turnovers.  Carter has very good strength to hold his ground when defending in the post, as he can successfully challenge shots down low.

However, he also tended to be too aggressive in defending opponents at times, as that tendency would lead him to commit fouls.  Carter was called for reach-in fouls, and sometimes he would run into opponents when trying to trap them or by accident.  He also allowed an opponent to score on a turnaround jumper once from the block.  But generally, Carter’s agility, activity, and tenacity on the defensive end enabled him to get steals and stops when he was on the floor.

In summary, Jevon Carter had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Villanova.  While he ultimately did not shoot the ball well overall, he still did a good job of moving the basketball and defending his opponents in this game.  He is a tough, gritty player that has a good basketball IQ and will compete on every possession, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the second round of the upcoming draft.

West Virginia’s 6-8 sophomore big man, Sagaba Konate had a good showing in his team’s loss to Villanova.  He excelled as a scorer and defender in the paint, and he was able to score on some rim-rattling dunks around the basket.  Konate did a great job of scoring on hustle plays.  He showed a knack for scoring on put backs, and he would also throw down powerful dunks on rolls to the rim as well as in transition.

He also managed to use a jab step to knock down a mid-range jumper from the baseline, and he also showed off some low post scoring skills.  Though Konate struggled to score on jump hooks consistently from the block, he has a nifty overhead ball fake that he can use to draw fouls, and he is an agile big man that possesses good footwork.

Sagaba Konate played very well on offense, as he would make plays above the rim to throw down strong jams to help his team get buckets.  But he did end up committing his fair share of turnovers.  He committed a few of them when posting up, as he was called for a charging foul once when attempting to post up a much smaller player.  Another time, Konate fell when posting up as an opponent used a crafty, pull out the chair move, which caused Konate to commit a traveling violation.  He also held the ball too long to commit a three-second violation, as there was one play where he just kept pivoting back and forth while waiting for a teammate to get open.

Konate also did a good job of rebounding and blocking shots in this game.  Konate played fairly good defense, as he would leap up to swat shots off of drives, and he also managed to get his hands on a pass to obtain a steal.  Plus, he would contest threes and drives to force opponents to miss shots.  But sometimes he would be a bit out of position, which would cause him to commit fouls or allow scores on drives.

Overall, Sagaba Konate had a very good game, as he is an athletic, energetic big man that made sound plays on both ends of the floor.  Though he may be a bit undersized to play inside, he could profile into being an energetic defensive specialist at the next level, and he could end up being West Virginia’s best player next year.

West Virginia’s senior combo guard, Daxter Miles Jr. scored a lot of points early on, as he showed a knack for getting scores off the dribble, as he would knock down pull-up, mid-range jumpers, and he also can quickly get to the hoop on drives to the basket.  He also made a couple of threes, as he can make them from well beyond the arc, but he also missed plenty of them from downtown.  Miles struggled more to make three-point shots as the game wore on, as he was inconsistent in making long-range jumpers against Villanova.

He showed a knack for heaping on passes to get steals, but he also would be called for committing touch fouls due to over-aggressiveness.  In summary, this was a good showing for Daxter Miles Jr., as he showed that he can get buckets against a team that could end up winning the National Championship, and he could end up on an NBA summer league roster, as he has the ability to put up points in a hurry.

Villanova’s 6-9 junior forward, Eric Paschall played very well, as he made threes off the catch, scored on a thunderous dunk over a big man in transition, and he also showed the ability to score in the post as well as on drives to the hoop.  He also will play passing lanes to get steals and deflections for his team, and he will move his feet to stay with his man off the dribble, as he will actively contest shots to force misses.  However, he also would occasionally give his man too much space on jump shots, and sometimes he would end up being out of position, which would cause him to commit fouls.

In summary, Eric Paschall had a solid showing, as he is an athletic big man that showed a diverse skill set offensively, and he also is an active help defender that will compete on the other end of the court.  He has been a solid role player for Villanova, and he could be a player to watch next season.

Villanova’s 6-5 guard, Donte DiVincenzo had an uneven performance, though he was able to play significantly better as the game was rolling along.  He started off slowly due to turnover trouble, but he played better as the match continued.  He did a good job of knocking down jumpers when he would elect to hoist them up, as he can make them off the catch or dribble, and he used a pump fake once to knock down a pull-up, mid-range jumper.  DiVincenzo also ran the floor, and used a spin move after receiving the basketball to score in transition.

Also, he threw a good interior pass to a cutter to set up a score for his teammate.  But DiVincenzo committed many turnovers in this game.  He tended to get his passes intercepted, and he would not always throw the ball to his teammates in the right spots.  He also committed a 10 second violation as he took too long to get the ball up past half court once.  Another time, he had a ball poked away to lose it to an opponent, as he was unable to shield the ball away from a defender.

DiVincenzo did a very good job of rebounding the basketball, and he would swoop in to haul in plenty of defensive boards.  He did get called for committing a foul on opponent’s put back on one play, but DiVincenzo was very active in crashing the glass to help his team get rebounds.

He also played good defense.  He would contest threes to force misses, and he also was able to successfully challenge a floater that was out on the break.  Plus, DiVincenzo also managed to block a shot on a fast break drive.  He did get called for committing a reach-in foul when doubling the post, but generally he made solid defensive plays in this game.  Though this wasn’t Donte DiVincenzo’s best game, he still made some solid plays down the stretch to help get his team the win.  He is a smart, skilled player that tends to make sound basketball plays, and he could end up being a second round pick whenever he decides to enter the draft.

error: Content is protected !!