Analyzing Cassius Stanley, David Johnson, and Matthew Hurt

January 19th, 2020

by Alan Lu

This time around, I decided to watch Duke play against Louisville in an ACC basketball game that took place yesterday. There were many first round prospects that participated in this match, and it was a contest that went all the way down to the wire, with Louisville winning a close one over Duke on the road. The standout performers were Cassius Stanley, Matthew Hurt, and most notably, Louisville’s freshman guard, David Johnson, who burst onto the scene to have a career game before he went down late to an unfortunate injury. Louisville showed poise and resiliency to get a tough road win over Duke, and here are my thoughts on how various prospects fared in this game.

Cassius Stanley could end up being a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.  (Photo: Eric Wei/The Chronicle.)
Duke’s freshman guard, Cassius Stanley had a tremendous game in his team’s loss to Louisville. (Photo: Eric Wei/The Chronicle.)

Duke’s freshman guard, Cassius Stanley put forth a terrific performance in his team’s loss to Louisville. He is a very athletic swingman that excelled at attacking the basket to garner scores, he rebounded and defended well, and he made a number of spectacular, highlight-reel worthy plays to help his team on both ends of the court.

Stanley did a great job of scoring on hustle plays. He would frequently draw fouls off of put backs, and he also dribbled in after getting an offensive rebound to score on a high-flying jam. He also showed a knack for scoring in transition, as he would throw down a series of ferocious dunks, as he also scored on a nice windmill jam midway through this game.

He also did a good job of scoring on quick drives to the basket. Stanley was able to drive left to score on an acrobatic shot off the glass, and he would constantly draw free throws to barrel his way to the free throw line. He also scored on a layup off of a step-through move in the post. However, though Stanley managed to make an open, spot-up three off the catch once, he had trouble consistently making long-range jumpers, as opponents would back off of him, which would lead him to miss on his threes down the stretch.

On the downside, Stanley was fairly turnover prone on offense. For the positives, he is an unselfish player that can kick balls to open shooters to set up scoring chances for them. However, he would sometimes be inaccurate with his passes, which would go astray, and he also had a ball poked away off of a drive that led to another turnover.

Stanley showed a tremendous ability to rebound the basketball. He showed a knack for leaping up to hauling many boards on both ends of the floor to help his team on the glass, and he was a chairman of the boards in this game against Louisville.

Plus, he also played very good defense. Stanley is a tremendously athletic, rangy defender that excelled at contesting and altering shots to get stops for his team. He was able to make a chase down block on a drive in transition, and he also contested a pull-up, mid-range jumper to force a miss. Plus, he also defended Nwora well, as he was largely tasked to defend him in the first half, and his opponent went on to have a bad shooting night. However, there was one play where he kept backpedaling when defending a drive, as his team ended up allowing a score that time.

In general, Cassius Stanley played very well, as he scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in his team’s loss to Louisville. He looked to be the best prospect in this game, and he may be the most athletic player in the entire draft. Strangely, draft analysts have been divided on where they stand in evaluating him as a prospect, as his draft stock currently has been all over the place. Right now, he may be one of the biggest sleepers in the draft, and he could be a good candidate to go in the lottery, as Stanley may be a high upside prospect that could end up being a very good player in the NBA.

David Johnson came out of nowhere to have a career game, and he could be a first round pick in 2020.  (Photo: Gerry Broome/The Associated Press, via WLKY.)
Louisville’s freshman guard, David Johnson had an outstanding performance in his team’s stunning road win over Duke. (Photo: Gerry Broome/The Associated Press, via WLKY.)

Louisville’s 6-5 freshman guard, David Johnson had an outstanding game to lead his team to a stunning road victory over Duke. He had a tremendous impact on this game, as he showed a knack for making very solid plays on both ends of the floor, and he ended up scoring 19 points off the bench to help get his team the win.

Johnson did a very good job of scoring on strong drives to the hoop. Though he would favor going to his left, he showed a knack for getting solid scores off the dribble, as he was able to score on a floater, and he also threw down a two-handed dunk late in this match. He also showed a good ability to score in transition, and he also managed to score on a high-flying dunk after beating his man down court to get the ball.

He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays. He showed a knack for scoring on cuts to the basket, as he was able to score on a reverse layup once, and he also scored on a powerful dunk another time. Plus, he also showed a decent ability to knock down jumpers, as he also made his lone three-point attempt, as he made that shot off the catch to space the floor for his team.

Plus, he also displayed adequate playmaking skills. Johnson is an unselfish player that can kick balls out to shooters to set up scores for them, and he possesses good court vision that can enable him to rack up assists. However, he also was quite turnover prone as well, as he threw several passes that got picked off, and he would sometimes lose the basketball when trying to handle it amidst heavy ball pressure.

He also was able to help out on the boards to help his team get defensive rebounds. However, he did commit a foul trying to block a shot off of a put back once, as he was called for the swing down that time.

Johnson also played good defense. He would get his hands on passes to get steals and deflections, and he also rotated down low to the post to make a fantastic, chase down block to a teammate. Sometimes, he can too aggressive though, as he would occasionally be called for reach-in fouls when guarding his opponents.

In summary, David Johnson had a terrific showing in his team’s stunning victory over Duke, as he played really well off the bench to not only give his team a spark, but he was the best player on the floor from his team on this day. Johnson is a tall, athletic combo guard that can play either backcourt position, and he is a skilled playmaker that could be a first round prospect in the future. Definitely, he is an intriguing prospect that could rapidly move up draft boards, as he could end up being a solid player in the NBA.

Matthew Hurt could potentially be a first round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.  (Photo: Mary Helen Wood/The Chronicle.)
Duke’s freshman forward, Matthew Hurt played well on offense, but he struggled defensively in his team’s loss to Louisville. (Photo: Mary Helen Wood/The Chronicle.)

Duke’s freshman forward, Matthew Hurt played fairly well in his team’s loss to Louisville. He excelled at shooting and scoring the basketball, but he was also a defensive liability in this game, as he had trouble getting stops for his team throughout this contest.

Hurt showed a knack for making quick, spot-up threes to provide floor spacing for his team on offense. He showed a knack for making long-range jumpers off the catch, and he also has plenty of range on his shot. He also used a crafty pump fake to draw three free throws on his three-point shot.

Plus, Hurt also used a power dribble to score in the post. Hurt also ran in to score on an energetic tip slam after leaping up to grab a riveting offensive rebound. However, despite using a nifty behind the back dribble move off of a drive, he ended up having his shot blocked out of bounds that time.

Hurt did not grab many rebounds, but he was able to leap up to get a couple of offensive rebounds in this game. However, Hurt played porous defense against Louisville. He would often get beat off the dribble, which would cause him to commit fouls and allow scores, and his teammates would have to rotate to try to cover for him on other occasions. He also had some trouble guarding shooters, and on one play, he gave up too much space, which led him to allow an opponent to score on a step-back three.

Overall, Matthew Hurt did a good job of making a variety of shots to keep defenses honest, but he did not play very good defense in this game. Right now, he may be a prospect that could go in the late first to the early second round range, as his size, jump shot, and above average athletic gifts could enable him to be an effective role player in the NBA.

Louisville’s senior center, Steven Enoch had an adequate showing in his team’s win over Duke. He score the basketball in a variety of ways, and he was able to make a couple of good defensive plays to help get his team the victory.

Enoch excelled at making open, spot-up threes off the catch, and he also can make them off of pick and pop plays. He also flashed the ability to score in the post, as he was able to do so off of a jump hook, and he also used a spin move to score on a reverse layup another time. However, he had trouble making jump hooks consistently, and he also missed on a roll to the rim after trying to corral a lob pass to try to score on an alley-oop on a separate play.

Though he didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, he was able leap up to get a couple of defensive boards. Defensively, Enoch looked to be about average. For the positives, he was able to poke a ball away to get a steal, and he also swatted a shot off of a drive out of bounds. However, he tended to commit fouls when defending in the post, as he would sometimes give up deep position. Also, there was another play where he didn’t hustle back on defense, as his team ended up allowing a score on a drive in transition.

Overall, Steven Enoch was able to score the basketball in a variety of ways to help his team get the win over Duke. He showed a knack for making spot-up threes, and he also can score in the post. He struggled to rebound and to defend in the post, though. Right now, he is an athletic, skilled big man that may project to be a second round prospect for the upcoming draft, and he could end up being a backup center in the NBA.

Duke’s freshman center, Vernon Carey Jr. had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Louisville. Often plagued with foul trouble, he had to sit out for stretches as a result of that, and he also didn’t play in crunch time with the game on the line, as he also sat out the final two and a half minutes of this game. He did show off some low post scoring and defensive skills, but it was relatively disappointing that Carey didn’t seem to produce nearly to his capabilities when he was on the floor.

Carey showed off fairly good low post scoring skills. Carey has very good strength to back down his man, and he can use spin moves, ball fakes, and drop step moves to score on smooth layups around the basket. He also can consistently get deep position, which can enable him to draw a plethora of free throws to help his team. Unfortunately, he did not do a very good job of making his free throws when he was at the foul line, despite getting there a bunch.

He also managed to score on a put back, and he also drew free throws on a drive in transition another time. Carey didn’t look to take many jumpers outside of the paint area, though. He did take one mid-range jumper, but he missed that time, and he did not look to take threes at all in this contest.

Also, Carey was quite turnover prone on offense. On one good play, Carey was able to pass out of a double team from the post, which helped enable his team to score on that possession. However, he tended to get the ball poked away when trying to post up, as the other team would swarm him to make it tough for him to dribble the basketball. He also dropped a pass another time, and he tended to commit too many mistakes with the ball in his hands that led him to commit turnovers.

Carey did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball. He was able to collect boards on both ends of the floor, but he also was called for an over the back foul when going for an offensive rebound once.

Defensively, he looked to be perhaps above average. Carey did a good job of blocking and altering shots off of drives to force misses. He also poked a ball away from a post player to get a steal, and he also would play passing lanes to get steals and deflections. He also would use his length to contest shots out on the perimeter as well as in the post to force misses. However, Carey had some trouble defending in the paint due to getting into foul trouble, as he would commit fouls and allow scores when defending opponents off the dribble. He especially seemed to struggle to defend in space, as he tended to pick up quick fouls. Other times, he would sag too far off of shooters, which would lead him to allow baskets to them.

Overall, Vernon Carey Jr. had a disappointing game, as he was plagued with turnovers and foul trouble, as this affected him to the point that his own coach wouldn’t trust him to play him in crunch time with the game on the line. He also was missing free throws, so it was possible that his team may have wanted to avoid the idea of the other team being able to foul him down the stretch.

Either way, Carey just didn’t seem to show good decision making in this contest, and the fact that his coach did not trust him enough to play him down the stretch should be worrisome to NBA scouts and teams. Right now, Carey will need to improve his perimeter skills, especially his face-up game, and he will have to be a more focused player on both ends of the floor. It’s not wholly certain if his game will translate well to the NBA.   While it’s conceivable that a team may still draft him somewhere in the first round, it’s possible that Carey might not end up being much more than a backup center at the next level.

For Louisville’s junior forward, Jordan Nwora, he did not have a very good game overall, despite having some good moments in his team’s win over Duke. For Nwora, this was a chance for him to continue to gain more draft stock in order to strengthen his candidacy for the first round.  However, he did not shoot the ball very well, as he struggled to make shots on this day, and he turned in a lackluster performance in his team’s win over Duke.

On the plus side, Nwora showed a good ability to score on hustle plays. He would often run the floor to score on powerful dunks on fast breaks, and he also managed to draw a non-shooting foul after getting the ball on a backdoor cut to the hoop. However, Nwora also tended to get his shots blocked on drives in transition, as he would struggle to score when the help would arrive. He had trouble making shots off the dribble, and he also had trouble knocking down jumpers, as he ended up missing all of his threes from beyond the arc.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills. Nwora is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he was able to find a cutter to notch an assist. However, he can tend to struggle to handle the ball amidst heavy ball pressure. On one such play, he committed an offensive foul when driving to the hoop, as he was called for pushing off with his arm. On offense though, Nwora didn’t seem to move nearly enough off the ball on offense, as he really struggled to score in the half court.

Nwora also did a good job of rebounding the basketball. He would often leap up to haul in defensive rebounds, and sometimes he would push the ball up the court. However, he also was called for committing a couple of over the back fouls when going for defensive boards.

He also was able to make a couple of solid defensive plays. Nwora would play passing lanes, as he can get his team steals and deflections.

In a game where Nwora could make a good impression by faring well against Duke, he instead struggled to make shots for most of this game, as he only scored when he would score on run-outs by throwing down powerful dunks on fast breaks. He had trouble creating his own shots or making jumpers in the half court, and he was largely shut down by Cassius Stanley. Nwora also didn’t do a good job of moving off the ball, and there were long stretches where he just didn’t really seem to do anything on either side of the ball. Right now, he looks more likely to go in the second round than in the first round as he’s not an especially dynamic player nor an elite athlete, but Nwora’s size and ability to shoot the basketball could enable him to be an effective role player similar to Minnesota Timberwolves’ forward, Jake Layman in the association.

Duke’s sophomore point guard, Tre Jones did not have his best game, as he struggled to make shots consistently, and he also committed his fair share of turnovers. He did make a couple of pull-up jumpers, but he struggled to score consistently, and he also missed too often when he would take the ball to the rim. He showed a good ability to get the ball to shooters to set up scores, but he also would lose the basketball carelessly and throw ill-advised passes that would get picked off.

Defensively, he looked to be perhaps above average. He showed a knack for getting steals, as he can poke balls away and intercept passes to get steals, and he also successfully drew a charge when defending on a drive in transition. He also will contest shots off the dribble to force misses. However, Jones namely had trouble guarding the much taller David Johnson, as Jones’ lack of size made it tough for him to contest shots. As a result, he would allow scores when defending him on jumpers or off the dribble.

Overall, Tre Jones didn’t play very well, but he was able to show make some good passes and defensive plays at times. He’ll need to improve his jump shot and shot selection, and he may need to show that he can guard taller players. Right now, he may be a prospect that could go in the late first to the second round range, as he could project into a backup point guard role in the NBA.

Louisville’s 6-11 junior center, Malik Williams made some solid plays in this game. He was able to make an open three from well beyond the arc, he also can score in the post as well as off of hustle plays, and he also ran the floor to score on a thunderous two-handed dunk late in the game to seal the win for his team. He’s also an athletic, rangy defender that can get steals and blocks, but he also struggled to defend in the post, which led him to commit fouls and allow scores on occasion.

Overall, Williams is an athletic big man that could be a player to watch for the 2021 draft. He’s a high-motor player that possesses very good athletic gifts, and he can score the basketball in a variety of ways. He’ll still need to improve his jump shot and on-ball defense, but he is an intriguing prospect that could develop into being a reliable role player in the NBA if he can continue to hone his overall game.

Louisville’s 6-5 senior guard, Dwayne Sutton excelled at scoring off of cuts, drives, as well as in transition, and he even ran the floor to score on a scintillating jam on the break. He also passes well off the dribble, as he can find open shooters and post players to get assists. He also rebounded the ball well, as he can grab some boards in traffic. Defensively, he looked to be above average. Sutton was able to rotate to block a shot off of a drive and he will contest shots to force misses, but he also bit on a pump fake another time, which led him to foul an opponent on a three-point shot.   Overall, Sutton is a strong, mobile swingman that could project to be an energetic role player at the next level, and he may have the skills to make a team’s roster in the NBA.