Analyzing Cody Williams, KJ Simpson, and N’Faly Dante

January 19th, 2024

By Alan Lu

Yesterday, I took the time to watch Cody Williams and Colorado play against Oregon in a Pac-12 conference basketball game.  It was an opportunity to watch two of the hyped freshman, Williams and Kwame Evans go at each other.  In this game, Cody Williams dominated, and he turned in a superb all-around showing to lead his team to get the win over Oregon.  Here are my thoughts on how Cody Williams and other various prospects fared, as well as how their games may stack up as prospects for the NBA.

Colorado’s freshman forward, Cody Williams scored 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting, and he also made 3 threes in his team’s 86-70 win over Oregon last night. (Photo: Roy Cheney/USA Today Sports, via DNVR)

Colorado’s 6-8 freshman forward, Cody Williams put forth an excellent performance to help lead his team to a win over Oregon.  He had a terrific all-around showing, and his versatile skill set and strong play helped get his team the victory. Williams did a great job of making threes in this game.  He showed a knack for making quick, open spot-up threes off the catch, and he also excelled at moving off the ball to make them.  Plus, he also did a very good job of scoring off the dribble.  Williams in particular showed a penchant for scoring on strong, left-handed drives to the hoop, and he showed great body control, along with the strength and shooting touch to consistently score the basketball.  He also was able to utilize a spin move to make a turnaround mid-range jumper.

Plus, he also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Williams was able to run the floor and cut to the hoop to get the ball, which enabled him to score on a thunderous dunk.  He also ran in to score on a quick put back off of an offensive rebound.  Also, he was able to score on a quick drive in transition another time.

He also displayed good playmaking skills.  Williams would make good passes off the dribble, and he also was able to pass out of the post to set up scores for his teammates.  He can make a variety of accurate passes off the dribble, and he also handles the ball well.  On the downside, he threw a hasty entry pass that got intercepted once.  He also over-dribbled another time and lost the ball due to rushing.  Though he didn’t grab many rebounds, Williams was able to get a board on each end of the floor.  

In addition, Williams also played solid defense, and he defended well in this game.  He showed a knack for blocking shots, as he was able to swat a mid-range jumper and another out of the post due to possessing very good length, athleticism, and timing.  He would stay in front of his man to cut off penetration and force them to miss shots or pick up their dribble, which would cause them commit some ball-handling turnovers, and Williams would bother his opponents with his length and activity on the defensive end.  Sometimes though, he would struggle to fight through screens, which led him to foul a three-point shooter once, and it also led him to over-rotate and bite on a pump fake, as he flew past his man and later allowed his opponent to score on a mid-range shot another time.

In general, Cody Williams played very well to help lead his team to a double-digit win over Oregon.  He is a smart, skilled swingman that plays a lot stronger than his listed size, and his wide range of skills and versatility could enable him to be a top 5 pick in the NBA draft, and he could end up being a very good player in the NBA.

Colorado’s junior point guard, K.J. Simpson scored 22 points, and had 5 assists and 5 rebounds to lead his team to a double-digit win over Oregon last night. (Photo: David Zalubowski/Associated Press, via The Herald Journal)

KJ Simpson also had a strong showing to help lead Colorado to a win over Oregon.  He also had a very good all-around game, and he especially thrived as a shooter, scorer, and facilitator when he was on the floor. Simpson excelled at knocking down outside shots, particularly from beyond the arc.  He was able to make threes both off the catch and dribble, and he also was able to make some mid-range jumpers.  On the downside, he tended to be quite streaky with his mid-range shot, and he would take tough, off-balanced shots that would lead to misses.

He also did a fairly good job of scoring off the dribble, and Simpson showed that he can change speeds to score and draw fouls.  He also managed to score on a quick, backdoor cut to the hoop.  Also, Simpson showcased solid playmaking skills.  He did a very good job of passing off the dribble and on the move to find his teammates in stride, which enabled him to notch assists.  However, there was another time though when he threw a hasty pass that ended up getting intercepted.

Also, Simpson rebounded the ball well.  He also played satisfactory defense in this game.  He was able to intercept a pass to get a steal, and he also would run in to quickly poke balls away to get other steals.  However, sometimes he would be caught ball watching and be late to rotate back to his man, which would lead him to give up open three-point baskets to his opponents.

In summary, KJ Simpson played very well to help lead Colorado to a win over Oregon in this game.  Though he doesn’t possess outstanding athletic gifts, he is an agile, skilled point guard that can help his team in a variety of ways, and he could be a good pick for an NBA team in the second round range of the 2024 draft.

N’Faly Dante had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Colorado.  He played in just his third game of the season, and he was inconsistent as a low post scorer, and was also quite turnover prone on offense.

Dante showed an adequate ability to score out of the post.  He was able to get one nifty score by using a strong drop step move to score on an acrobatic reverse layup.  Another time, he was able to get deep position to score on a jump hook.  Dante also showed that he can use his strength and physicality to draw fouls upon his defenders.  In this game, he also was able to score on a strong drive in transition.  However, he also would tend to miss on tough shots in traffic.  He also didn’t really look to take jumpers from further out.

On the downside, he was quite turnover prone.  On one good play, Dante was able to set a solid screen, which helped his teammate get an open jump shot to score on offense.  He also was able to make a tough catch in the post.  However, Dante tended to set moving screens on offense.  There also was another time when he lost the ball when posting up that led to another turnover.

He also was able to get his fair share of boards on both ends of the floor.  He also played decent defense in this game.  Dante was able to rotate to block a shot off of a cut to a teammate.  He also was able to intercept a pass and poke a ball away in the post to get steals for his team.  On the downside, there was one play where he didn’t show much resistance when defending in the post, and he ended up committing a foul that time.

Overall, N’Faly Dante had his ups and downs, but he showed off an adequate ability to make plays out of the post both on offense and defense.  He’ll need to expand upon his skill set on offense and improve his screen setting abilities, but he is a strong, mobile center that could project into a backup center role at the NBA level.

Tristan da Silva had his ups and downs in his team’s win over Oregon.  He is an athletic, energetic forward that was able to make some solid plays in this game, and he also passed the ball well when he was on the floor.

Da Silva was active at scoring on hustle plays.  He was at his best when looking to score off the dribble.  He was able to score on a two-handed, high-flying dunk off of a drive in transition.  He also utilized a Eurostep move to score in traffic.  Plus, he also showed that he can ably score and draw free throws on strong, left-handed drives to the hoop.

On the downside, he struggled to consistently knock down outside shots in this game.  He would sometimes take tough, off-balanced shots that would lead to misses. He was able to make an open corner three off the catch once, but da Silva generally struggled to make threes or mid-range jumpers on offense.

He also showcased fairly average playmaking skills.  For the positives, da Silva is an unselfish player that can make a variety of passes, as he can make passes off the dribble and find teammates in stride to notch assists.  However, he also tended to throw hasty passes that got intercepted in this game.

Also, da Silva did a good job of rebounding the basketball, and he was able to haul in plenty of boards on both ends of the floor.  He also played satisfactory defense in this game.  Da Silva was able to jump on a dropped pass to get a steal.  He also would contest shots off the dribble to force misses.  However, sometimes he would be late on his rotations, which would lead him to allow his opponents to score on three-point shots.  Another time, he got outmuscled when defending a drive, which led him to commit a foul and allow a score that time.

Overall, da Silva showed off a variety of skills in this game, but he was also inconsistent at making plays in his team’s win over Oregon.  Still, he is an athletic, energetic swingman that has a versatile skill set, and he could be an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider in the second round range of the 2024 draft.

Oregon’s 6-5 senior guard, Jadrian Tracey had a solid showing in his team’s loss to Colorado.  He showed off versatile scoring skills, and he is a fairly athletic, energetic swingman that can make shots in a variety of ways.  Tracey did a good job of scoring off the dribble, as he would score on strong, crafty drives, and he also was able to make a floater.  He also ran off the ball to make an open three off the catch to show his shooting skills.   He didn’t shoot quite as well from the outside, but Tracey did a good job of scoring on aggressive moves to the hoop on offense.

He also passed the ball well.  He didn’t grab many rebounds, but he was able to score off of a put back after getting an offensive board in this game.  Defensively, he was quite foul prone in this game.  Overall, Tracey is a fairly athletic, energetic swingman that can score the basketball.  He will need to be a more consistent shooter and defender in games, but he could project into a 3 and D role at the NBA level.

Colorado’s 6-6 senior forward, J’Vonne Hadley had a solid showing in his team’s win over Colorado.  He showed off versatile scoring skills, and he also excelled at making plays on both ends of the floor in this game.  He was able to make an open three off the catch, and he also would draw free throws on aggressive drives to the hoop.  He also managed to score on a turnaround jump hook out of the post.   Though he tended to appear to miss a couple of times off the dribble, he was able to draw foul calls in order to get to the free throw line.

He also passed, rebounded, and defended well.  Hadley showed a knack for rotating to block shots to help his team protect the paint, and he also was able to get a steal another time.  He also was able to contest a three to force a miss.  Overall, Hadley is a strong, mobile forward that can make plays on both ends of the floor, and he is an energetic player that could project into a 3 and D role at the NBA level.

Oregon’s Jermaine Couisnard is an athletic swingman that showed off versatile scoring skills in his team’s loss to Colorado.  He was able to make a pair of corner threes to show off his shooting skills, and he also drew three free throws after running off the ball to get off another three-point shot.  He was fairly streaky with his jumper, but he showed a knack for making corner threes.  He also was able to score on hustle plays.  

Plus, he also played decent defense in this game, and he would intercept passes to get steals.  On the downside, there was one play where he got beat off the dribble, which led his teammate to commit a goaltend.  Also, he was turnover prone and didn’t grab many rebounds in this game.  Overall, Couisnard had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Colorado, and he is an athletic guard that could project into a 3 and D role at the NBA level.

Colorado’s Luke O’Brien had a strong showing in his team’s win over Oregon.  He is a fairly athletic, high-motor forward that thrived at attacking the hoop to score the basketball.  He showed a solid ability to score off the dribble, and he would use crafty moves to do so.  He was able to score on a quick cut to the hoop.  He also would run the floor to score on fast breaks.  He also generally had a solid all-around game.  Overall, O’Brien played well in his team’s win over Oregon. While he will need to improve his outside shot in the future, he is a high-motor player that could project into a 3 and D role at the NBA level if he improves his jump shot, and he could end up competing for a roster spot in the NBA someday.

Jackson Shelstad had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Colorado.  He shot the ball well, especially from deep, and he showed a knack for making quick threes off the catch.  He also was able to run off the ball to make a deep three in this game.  However, he didn’t fare as well in the other facets of the game.  He was quite turnover prone, and he would sometimes play too fast and out of control, which would lead him to commit turnovers.  He also sometimes struggled to stay with his man defensively, which would lead his team to allow scores.  Overall, Shelstad is an agile, skilled point guard that can shoot and score the basketball, but he will need to improve his ability to run the point and defend in games.  He will need to spend more time to hone his game in college, but if things pan out for him, he could end up being a backup point guard in the NBA someday.

Kwame Evans did not play well at all, and he was largely a non-factor in his team’s loss to Colorado.  He didn’t shoot the ball very often, and he often struggled to create his own shot on offense, as he looked to be overmatched when facing off against the more athletic and rangier Cody Williams.  Kwame Evans had a couple of his shots blocked, one from the post and another off of a cut.  On the bright side, he was able to move off the ball to make a wide-open three-pointer off the catch to show off his developing outside shot.

On the downside, he didn’t seem to make any noteworthy passes and he did commit a turnover in this game.  On one play, he tried to operate from the post, but shortly after using a quick ball fake, he shuffled his feet and was called for a traveling violation, which was a bummer because he would’ve scored on a fadeaway jumper had no call been made.

He didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, but he was able to get a pair of defensive boards.  Defensively, he struggled in this game.  On one good play, he was able to contest a three to force a miss, and he was active defensively.  However, he had trouble staying in front of or defending opposing ball handlers in one-on-one situations, and he would end up committing reach-in fouls.

Overall, Kwame Evans did not have a very good game, and he still may have a long way to go as a prospect for the NBA.  As he may not be an elite shot creator, he will definitely need to be a more consistent shooter in games, and he will have to be a more consistent defender on the court.  Despite his poor showing against Colorado, his size, athleticism and two-way potential could make him an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider in the second round range of the 2024 draft, and he could project to be a solid role player in the NBA.All in all, those are my thoughts on how Cody Williams, KJ Simpson, and other various prospects fared in this game.  Thanks for reading.

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