Analyzing Bennedict Mathurin, Azuolas Tubelis, and Tyson Etienne

November 23rd, 2021

By Alan Lu

I decided to take the time to watch Arizona and Wichita State play in a November 19th game that went all the way to overtime.  It was a really competitive match that was compelling all the way until the end.  Arizona took the early lead, and they were in command throughout the first half.  Wichita State kept chipping away, and they were able to tie the game to send the game to overtime.  In overtime, Arizona was too much for the Shockers, and the Wildcats pulled away to get the victory.  To me, Bennedict Mathurin looked to have performed the best in this game, and there several others that played well on both teams.  Here are my thoughts on how various prospects fared on this day.

Arizona’s sophomore swingman, Bennedict Mathurin (on the left) played very well, as he had a strong all-around game in his team’s overtime win over Wichita State. He is currently projected to be a possible lottery pick for the 2022 draft.
(Photo:
David Becker/Associated Press, via Arizona Daily Star)

Bennedict Mathurin had a strong showing in his team’s overtime win over Wichita State.  He played very well on both ends of the floor, and he scored 25 points and had 10 rebounds in this game. Mathurin showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays.  He excelled at scoring off offensive rebounds, in transition, as well as off of backdoor cuts.  He ran in to score on a very athletic tip slam early on, and he also caught a lob to score on a high-flying alley-oop dunk in transition.  Plus, he also managed to throw down a powerful jam off of a backdoor cut.  He is a great athlete, and he would often use his athleticism and motor to finish plays at the rim.  He also did an adequate job of scoring off the dribble.  He was able to drive to his left to score quickly once, but he also missed on a quick reverse layup another time. He also did an adequate job of knocking down threes to provide floor spacing for his team.  Mathurin was able to make quick, open spot-up threes off the catch.  On the other hand, he was fairly streaky with his outside shot, and he also threw up some awkward misses at times.

On the downside, he also was fairly turnover prone on offense.  For the positives, he can pass off the dribble, and he was able to make a nifty dump-off pass to get the ball to a teammate early on.  He also can throw solid, accurate interior passes to find his teammates on the move.  However, he would sometimes hold the ball or dribble around for too long.  He dribbled around for a while before passing it off at the last second, which led to a shot clock violation.  He also held the ball for too long, and then had it stolen away from him.  Sometimes he would also throw weak, inaccurate passes that would end up getting intercepted.

Also, he did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  Mathurin did a great job of crashing the glass, especially on offense to get offensive rebounds for his team.  He also was able to push the ball up the floor off of a defensive board late in this contest.  Mathurin also played satisfactory defense in this game.  He managed to block a shot off of a put back to showcase his athleticism.  He also would often contest threes to force misses.  Sometimes though, he would make mistakes at times on the defensive end.  He committed an aggressive loose ball foul when trying to intercept the ball off of a dribble handoff.  Another time, he initially hustled back but then gave up on the play, as he didn’t contest the shot on a drive in transition, as his team allowed a fast break score.

In general, Bennedict Mathurin played very well throughout this contest to help lead Arizona to an overtime win over Wichita State.  He is a very athletic swingman that had a very good all-around performance, and he looked every bit the part of a future lottery pick for the 2022 draft.

Arizona’s sophomore big man, Azuolas Tubelis also played very well in his team’s overtime win over Wichita State in a November 19th game that was played in Las Vegas, Nevada at the T-Mobile Arena.
(Photo:
David Becker/Associated Press, via The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Azuolas Tubelis had a solid showing in his team’s win over Wichita State.  He is an agile, skilled big man that has solid offensive skills, and he also defended well when he was on the floor.  He showed a solid ability to score in the post.  Tubelis showed off solid footwork and shooting touch that enabled him to score early on.  He was able to use a spin move to score on a turnaround jump hook, while drawing an extra free throw.  Plus, he also showed a penchant for getting fouled by his defenders in order to get to the free throw line.  He also managed to score on a crafty, reverse layup off of a roll to the rim. 

He appeared to struggle more when looking to score off the dribble when starting out further away, and he missed on a floater once.  Tubelis did a good job of knocking down mid-range jumpers, but he missed on both of his three-point attempts, despite being left open to take them both times.  Also, Tubelis displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game.  He showed that he can throw crisp, accurate passes off the dribble and from the post, and he can throw solid interior passes to find teammates on the move to set up scoring chances for them.  On the downside, he can sometimes struggle to make plays in the post at times, especially when he wouldn’t get favorable foul calls his way.  He was called for a charging foul when he lowered his shoulder when posting up once.  He also was called for shuffling his feet when posting up another time, which led him to be called for traveling.

He also was able to leap up to get his fair share of defensive boards when he was on the floor.  Tubelis also played solid defense in this game.  He did a very good job of blocking shots off of drives, and he did a pretty good job of moving his feet to be able to do so.  He also would hold his ground when defending in the post, and he would usually contest jumpers to force misses.  On the downside, he would sometimes struggle to defend opponents off the dribble, but he would funnel them into the help, which would allow his team to be able to get stops.

Overall, Azuolas Tubelis played well in this game, and he is a skilled big man that made sound plays on both sides of the ball to help his team get the victory.  He may not stand out visually at first, but he is a smart player that makes subtle plays well, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the late first round range of the 2022 draft.

Tyson Etienne started off slowly, but he ended up playing much better in the second half and overtime, and he showed off his shooting and scoring prowess along with good athletic gifts in Wichita State’s overtime loss to Arizona.
(Photo:
Wichita State Men’s Basketball/Twitter, via KAKE)

Tyson Etienne had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Arizona.  Wichita State’s junior guard had a tale of two halves when it was in regulation, as he struggled with his shot in the first half, but he shot the ball much better in the second half.  He also kept his team in the game by continuing to score in overtime, and he is a very athletic combo guard that can score in binges.  On the downside, his shot selection was quite spotty in this game, especially early on, and he tended to take contested, off-balanced shots.  He did score 27 points, but he also ended up taking 27 field goals in this game.

Etienne struggled to consistently knock down his shots, and he tended to take a lot of contested, off-balanced shots.  He didn’t make mid-range jumpers consistently, but he was impressive at making them when he would.  He is a speedy, athletic guard that would use a wealth of dribble moves to get open, and he would sometimes score on pull-up jumpers from the mid-range.  He also showed that he can make open threes both off the catch and dribble, and he also dribbled to his right to make a step-back three from way out late in overtime.  He also ran off the ball, and he managed to get fouled on a deep three after running off of a pin-down. 

On the downside, he also missed a lot, especially in the first half.  Etienne tended to take contested, off-balanced jumpers, and he would tend to kick out his legs when he would shoot the basketball.  He also tended to dribble around for too long, which would sometimes lead his team to end up with shot clock violations.  He did manage to use a nifty head fake to score on a crafty layup off the dribble once.

He also showed off fairly average playmaking skills.  For the positives, Etienne can throw crisp, accurate interior passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates, and he also can make passes off the dribble.  On the other hand, he would sometimes be careless with the ball on offense, and he was a bit turnover prone.  He was called for pushing off with his arm on a drive, which led him to commit an offensive foul and a turnover.  He also dropped a pass after curling off of a screen that went to an opponent.

Also, Etienne did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball.  He would chase down balls to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor, and he also dove on the ground to get a tough defensive board late in this match.  He also played satisfactory defense in this game.  Etienne was able to rotate to poke a ball away in the post to help get a steal, and he also managed to jump on a loose ball to help his team get another.  He also managed to contest a three to force a miss another time.  Sometimes though, he would try too hard to go for steals, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, it was a roller coaster of a ride for Tyson Etienne in his team’s overtime loss to Arizona.  Early on, he looked very bad, as he struggled with his jump shot and shot selection.  After the first half, he looked to play very well, as his jump shots started going in, and he was able to go anywhere he wanted with the basketball.  He is a very athletic combo guard that can score from anywhere on the floor, but he can tend to be streaky as a shooter, and his shot selection can be quite suspect at times.  It was rare for him to take an open, two-point shot, and the announcers kept remarking how often he would take tough, contested shots.  Still, Etienne is a talented prospect that may have plenty of upside, and he is a second round prospect for the 2022 draft.

Arizona’s 7-1 junior center, Christian Koloko had a very good showing in his team’s win over Wichita State.  He is a very athletic big man that excelled at making plays on both ends of the floor, and he especially thrived as a rebounder and shot blocker in this game.  He did a good job of scoring in the post.  Koloko was able to throw down a dunk to score after being left open underneath the basket.  He also backed his man down to score on a turnaround jump hook.  Plus, he has good hands to catch passes, and he would often draw fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line.

Also, he was quite active as a scorer on off-ball motion plays.  Koloko managed to score on a quick put back.  He also ran off an off-ball screen and cut to the hoop to score on a hook shot.  Sometimes though, he would miss shots around the basket due to rushing, and he ended up missing on a dunk in transition, as well as on a couple of rolls to the rim.

He also showed off adequate playmaking skills in this game.  Koloko is an unselfish player that can throw crisp, accurate passes out of the post, and he will look to find open teammates to set up scoring chances for them.  He also would set plenty of screens to help his teammates get open jump shots.  Sometimes though, he would struggle to make plays out of the post.  He got the ball on a short roll, but ended up committing a charging foul once.  He also was called for traveling when posting up another time.  He also threw an inaccurate pass that sailed out of bounds, but that was due to miscommunication, as he didn’t realize his teammate was going to cut to the hoop rather than stay out on the perimeter to wait to catch the basketball.

Plus, Koloko did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He would often leap up to haul in boards on both ends of the floor, and his strong ability to get offensive rebounds helped his team come away with extra possessions.  However, there was one play where he was called for an over the back foul when going for an offensive rebound once.

Koloko also played good defense in this game.  He did a great job of blocking shots in the paint, and he would often swat them to his teammates.  He can ably guard players out on the perimeter as well as in the post, and he was able to defend out on the perimeter and stay with his man to block a shot in order to force a shot clock violation.  He did a very good job of contesting shots to force misses.  He also managed to successfully draw a charge, and he also deflected a pass another time.  On the downside, he would sometimes be too aggressive in trying to make plays defensively, which would lead him to commit touch fouls. Overall, Christian Koloko is a very athletic, energetic center that played very well in his team’s overtime win over Wichita State.  He may be a very underrated prospect, and he could project to be a solid rim protector in the NBA.

Arizona’s redshirt freshman point guard, Kerr Kriisa had a decent showing in his team’s overtime win over Wichita State.  He struggled to consistently knock down outside shots, but he continually passed the ball well due to possessing good court vision, and he also made a key three-point shot in overtime. Kriisa did an adequate job of scoring off the dribble.  He was able to score on a quick, left-handed drive to the hoop.  He also was able to make a pair of threes, and he showed that he can make them both off the catch and dribble.  On the downside, he just didn’t shoot the ball very well from beyond the arc.  He missed his three-point shots quite often, and he threw up some unsightly misses at times.

Also, Kriisa showed a good ability to pass and handle the basketball.  He would throw pinpoint passes off the dribble to get the ball to his teammates, and he showed that he can make an assortment of passes to rack up assists.  He also threw very good interior passes to set up scores for his teammates on the move.  On the downside, sometimes he would throw long passes that would end up getting intercepted.

Plus, he was active at crashing the glass, and he was able to get boards on both sides of the ball to help his team get rebounds.  Defensively though, he appeared to struggle in this game.  For the positives, Kriisa was able to run down a loose ball that a post player lost when doubled to get a steal for his team early on.  He also contested a three to force a miss.  On the downside, he tended to struggle to get around screens, which would lead him to trail opposing ball handlers, and it would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores to his opponents.  He also would sometimes sag too far off of shooters, which would lead him to allow opponents to score on three-point shots.

Overall, Kerr Kriisa is a smart, skilled playmaker that played with a lot of poise, and he ran the point well in his team’s close win over Wichita State.  He’s a highly competitive player that made sound decisions on offense, and he is a talented prospect that may be worth keeping tabs on in the future.

Wichita State’s 6-6 sophomore swingman, Ricky Council IV had a decent showing for Wichita State in his team’s overtime loss to Arizona.  He is an athletic swingman that can shoot and score the basketball, but he also seemed to have a surprising number of defensive lapses and miscues in this game. Council did a good job of scoring off the dribble.  He showed a knack for scoring on strong, left-handed drives to the hoop.  He was able to use an overhead ball fake to do so once, and he also drove towards the baseline to score and get an extra free throw another time.  He ran the floor to try to score on the break, but he ended up missing on a contested dunk attempt in transition.  Also, Council was able to make an open, spot-up three to show off his shooting skills, but he struggled to make pull-up threes other times, and he also kicked out his legs to miss on a three off the dribble once.

He also showed off fairly average playmaking skills in this game.  Council showed a solid ability to make swift drive and kick passes to get the ball to open shooters on the break.  He also used a quick spin move off the dribble, and threw a crafty, no-look interior pass to a teammate around the basket another time.  However, there was one play where he drove hard to the hoop, but collided into a defender and was called for charging to commit an offensive foul and a turnover.  He also threw a slightly inaccurate pass that ended up being dropped by his teammate that led to another turnover.

Also, Council did a decent job of rebounding the basketball, and he was able to box out his man to get a defensive board once.  Defensively though, he looked to be about average at best.  He is an active help defender that did a very good job of forcing turnovers, but he also would tend to be out of position on plenty of other defensive possessions. 

Council would run in to intercept passes to get steals, and he also managed to swipe a ball away to get another steal early on.  He also managed to contest a three to force a miss.  However, he would tend to get beat off the dribble, which would put his team in compromised situations.  He also would wander and roam too much and over-help, which would lead him to lose track of cutters quite often.  After throwing a pass that his teammate dropped late in the game, he ended up being called for committing a clear-path foul on the break.

Overall, Ricky Council IV may be one of the promising prospects on Wichita State’s team, and it was evident in his ability to shoot, score, and force turnovers.  On the other hand, his on-ball defense could still use more refinement, and he tended to be unfocused defensively too much at times.  He may need more time to refine his skills, but he could end up being an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider in the second round whenever he decides to enter the draft.

Wichita State’s 6-11 freshman center, Kenny Pohto had a fairly solid showing in his team’s loss to Arizona.  He showed versatile scoring skills, and he also showed some rebounding and defensive skills in this game. Pohto didn’t shoot the ball often, but he was very efficient in scoring when he would look to hoist up shots on offense.  He was able to calmly knock down an open mid-range shot on the baseline to showcase a solid jump shot.  Also, Pohto managed to score on a backdoor cut.  He missed on an open, corner three, but Pohto is an athletic, skilled big man that showed the potential to develop into being a reliable stretch big in the future.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Pohto can pass out of the post to find open shooters, and he was able to get a pair of assists in this game.  He also managed to set an off-ball screen to help his teammate get an open jump shot.  On the other hand, he threw an inaccurate pass back that sailed out of bounds once.  He also fell down after getting a defensive rebound, which led him to be called for a traveling violation that time. Also, Pohto did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  He was especially active at crashing the glass to get offensive boards for his team.  On the downside, he would sometimes struggle to match up to stronger opponents, and he would get outmuscled by them, which would allow them to get offensive boards in his area.

Pohto also played satisfactory defense in this game.  He would get his hands on passes to get steals for his team.  He also managed to get back to block a shot off of a roll to a teammate due to possessing solid athleticism, timing, and instincts.  He also did a good job of contesting shots to force misses.  Sometimes though, he would struggle to defend in one-on-one situations, which would lead his team to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Kenny Pohto is an athletic, skilled big man that can shoot and score the basketball.  He’ll need to be a more assertive player in games, and if he can expand his range even further, he could end up developing into a reliable stretch big for the NBA one day.

Dexter Dennis didn’t have a great game, as he didn’t shoot the ball very well, and he missed a lot of jumpers and ran into foul trouble.  He did make a pair of threes, as he was able to do so off the catch and dribble, but he also missed all of his two-point shots. He is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass.  He also drove in and used a crafty, up and under move to throw an accurate pass to a cutter to notch an acrobatic assist.  Dennis also is an active rebounder and defender, and he was able to block a three-point shot, and he also has good strength to hold his ground when defending in the post.  However, as he’s undersized to defend down low, he still struggled to defend in the post, and he would often commit fouls when defending opposing ball-handlers or in the post, especially when matched up against significantly taller players.

Overall, Dexter Dennis is a strong, mobile swingman that showed some potential to be a 3 and D player in the future.  Still, he will need to be a more consistent shooter, and he will need to show that he can guard a variety of players to improve his defensive profile.  He may be a long shot to make it to the NBA, but he could be talented enough to make his way to the G-League or to play basketball overseas sometime down the road.

Craig Porter Jr. had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Arizona.  He played well in the first half, and he showed a knack for scoring the basketball in that time span.  He is a crafty, skilled playmaker that also rebounded and defended well when he was on the floor. Porter showed that he can knock down outside shots off the dribble, and he also was able to take it to the hoop to score in the post as well as on drives to the basket.  On the other hand, he also would tend to take tough, contested shots, and he would sometimes try to force the issue that would lead to tough misses. He also showed off satisfactory playmaking skills.  Porter can make passes off the dribble, and he can throw long outlet passes to find open teammates.  On the downside, he tried to rush a dribble move late in this game, and he ended up slipping, falling, and losing the ball out of bounds that time.

He also rebounded and defended well.  Porter would chase down balls to get rebounds, and he was able to swoop in to get tough offensive boards in traffic late in this contest.  He also played solid defense.  Porter was able to block a shot off of a drive due to possessing good timing, and he also deflected a pass to nearly get a steal.  He also did a decent job of contesting outside shots, but sometimes he would over-help in the paint and be late to rotate back to defend shooters.

Overall, Craig Porter Jr. is an agile, skilled playmaker that can score and pass the basketball.  He will need to show that he can reliably knock down jumpers throughout the season, but he is a high-motor player that consistently competes when he is on the floor.  He doesn’t look to shoot very often in games, but he’s capable of being able to score when he does.  He’ll likely need to stay in school for another year, but he could end up carving out a playing career in professional basketball someday, even if he doesn’t end up making it to the NBA.

Qua Grant had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Arizona.  He shot the three-ball well, especially late in this game, and he showed that he can do so both off the catch and dribble.  He struggled a lot more to score off the dribble though, and on those plays, he would tend to take tough, contested shots that would either get blocked or miss badly. He looked to be fairly average as a playmaker in this game.  Grant is a fairly athletic combo guard that can pass off the dribble and find open shooters, but sometimes he would play too fast and out of control, which would lead him to commit ball-handling turnovers. Also, he did a very good job of rebounding and defending in this game.  Grant grabbed a lot of boards on both ends of the floor, and he would get his hands on passes to get steals and deflections.  He also did a decent job of contesting outside shots to force misses, and he also successfully drew a charge in the post another time.

Overall, Qua Grant had some good moments, but he also struggled quite a bit with his shot selection in this game.  He is an energetic guard that can shoot the basketball, especially from beyond the arc, so he could be a prospect worth keeping tabs on in the future.

Wichita State’s new 6-8 transfer forward, Joe Pleasant was a key contributor on Abilene Christian’s team last year, and he helped them get a surprising win over Texas in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.  He’s not a great athlete, but he is a strong, physical player that consistently competes hard.  He didn’t play very well in this game, but he was still able to make some solid plays defensively.

Pleasant struggled to get his shots up, as he had a three-point shot blocked, and he also had his shot swatted when posting up another time.  He did manage to draw free throws after getting an offensive rebound, and he did a great job of making both of his free throws when he was at the foul line. He didn’t look to pass or handle the ball that much, and he rarely touched the ball on offense in general.  On the downside, he dropped a catchable interior pass that ended up out of bounds.

Also, Pleasant showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball.  He would often chase down balls to help his team get boards, and he especially showed a knack for coming away with offensive rebounds.  He also played perhaps adequate defense.  Pleasant was able to pounce on a loose ball that was poked to him to help his team get a steal.  He also successfully drew a charge when defending a roll to get a stop another time.  He also would contest shots to force misses.  On the downside, he’s not especially quick, and he had trouble defending off the dribble or in the post, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Joe Pleasant didn’t really do much in this game, but he is a high-motor combo forward that will look to make hustle plays.  He is a team-oriented player that could be a solid contributor for Wichita State.  On the other hand, he’s not very athletic, and it’s uncertain if he has a real specialty that would enable him to stand out when compared to other prospects.  He is a long shot to make it to the NBA, but his experience, grit, and toughness could allow him to carve out a playing career in the G-League or overseas in the future.

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