Analyzing Colby Jones, Bryce Hopkins, and Souley Boum

March 1st, 2023

By Alan Lu

Xavier’s 6-6 junior guard, Colby Jones has been having a terrific season, and he’s seen his draft stock rise to the first round conversation lately.  I decided to take the time to watch him play today against Providence, a team that has won more than 20 games this year, and features sophomore swingman Bryce Hopkins, who formerly played at Kentucky.  It was a competitive game that went back and forth, and it was a high scoring-affair, but Xavier had strong play from their guards to lead them to get the win over Providence.  Here are my thoughts on how Jones and others fared in this game.

Colby Jones scored 29 points, and had 9 rebounds and 4 assists in Xavier’s win over Providence.
(Photo:
Mark Stockwell/Associated Press)

Colby Jones had a tremendous showing to lead Xavier to a win over Providence.  He is a very efficient, productive playmaker that showed a knack for making sound decisions on the court, and he was incredibly effective as a shot maker and facilitator.

Jones shot the ball really well, and he thrived as an outside shooter in this game.  He showed a knack for making open threes, and he is a patient player that was able to do so both off the catch and dribble.  He also really excelled at making mid-range jumpers, and he also was able to cut to the hoop to score on a couple of quick jumpers off the catch.  Plus, he thrived at scoring on strong, smooth drives to the basket, and he thrived as a cutter to score the basketball.  On top of that, Jones was able to take advantage of a smaller defender that guarded him by posting him up, which enabled him to utilize a spin move to score on a smooth, turnaround, baseline jumper.  Jones showed a great shooting touch in this game, and he was excellent at making shots against Providence.

He also showcased good playmaking skills in this game.  Jones is a patient player that sees the floor well, and he was able to make an assortment of passes to rack up assists.  He did a good job of finding open shooters, and he can throw timely passes to find teammates in stride to set up scores for them.  He excelled as a passer off the dribble and out of the post, and he did a very good job of taking care of the basketball.  Jones isn’t an overwhelming athlete, but he has a tremendous sense of timing and on-court awareness that would enable him to consistently make sound passes and decisions on offense.

Also, Jones did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He also played satisfactory defense.  Jones did a good job of cutting off penetration when defending opponents off the dribble and in the post, which would enable him to force passes and misses.  He also was able to contest a mid-range jumper to force a miss.  Jones would generally be in good position, and he would use his length and positioning to help his team defensively.  Every once in a while, he would struggle to defend quicker opponents off the dribble, which would lead his team to commit fouls.

In general, Colby Jones put forth a terrific performance to lead Xavier to a win over Providence.  While he may not be an outstanding athlete, he’s an above average athlete that showed a very high basketball IQ, and he consistently made strong plays on both ends of the floor to help his team get the victory.  Jones scored 29 points on 10 of 11 shooting,  made all 3 of his threes, and also had 9 rebounds and 4 assists in this game, and he is a very skilled, underrated prospect that could end up being a very good pick for an NBA team in the mid to late first round range of the 2023 draft.

Providence’s Bryce Hopkins scored 17 points, and had 6 rebounds and 3 assists in his team’s loss to Xavier.
(Photo:
Mark Stockwell/Associated Press)

Providence’s sophomore swingman, Bryce Hopkins quietly had a solid showing in his team’s loss to Xavier.  He started the game off rather slowly.  Early on, he passed the ball well, but was inconsistent with his shot making early on, as he was able to help his team as a scorer off the dribble, but also struggled with some mid-range jumpers and showed some questionable shot selection.  After having an up and down first half, he settled in to provide strong shooting and scoring skills to help his team on offense, and turned in a very good second half to help his team.

Hopkins did a good job of scoring off the dribble.  He was able to score on strong, aggressive drives to the hoop, and he showed that he can consistently finish plays in traffic.  He also showed a knack for drawing the contact to get fouled and get to the free throw line.  Hopkins has a fairly solid first step, and he has very good strength that enables him to finish plays regularly at the rim.

He also excelled at knocking down open, spot-up threes off the catch.  Hopkins was able to make a wide-open three, and he also ran off of a ball screen to make a three another time.  On the downside, he struggled to score on dribble, mid-range jumpers, and he would sometimes take rushed, off-balanced shots that would lead to misses.  He also had a couple of his shots blocked when driving aggressively to the hoop in transition, as he would try to overtly force the issue at times.

Also, Hopkins passed the ball well in this game.  He did a good job of finding open shooters, and he also was able to throw a long, accurate outlet pass to a teammate on the break to set up a scoring chance for him.  He was able to make some good passes off the dribble, and he also took good care of the basketball.

In addition, Hopkins did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  He was able to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor.  Defensively though, he looked to be about average at best.  For the positives, Hopkins was able to jump on a couple of deflected passes to help his team get steals, and he also rotated on a drive to make a nice shot block late in this game.  However, Hopkins tended to sag too far off his man and give up too much space, which would lead him to allow opponents to score on numerous open jumpers.  He also didn’t always stay in front of his man or make rotations, which would lead his team to give up scores off the dribble.

In summary, Hopkins played fairly well, as he was effective as a shooter, scorer, and facilitator, but he also at times took questionable shots, and he tended to give up way too much space to jump shooters, which would lead his team to allow them score on those plays.  Hopkins will need to improve his shot selection and defense, but his ability to create his own shot, score from the outside, combined with his athleticism could make him an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider in the second round on draft day.

Souley Boum scored 33 points to lead Xavier to a win over Providence.
(Photo:
Eric Canha/USA Today Sports, via SB Nation’s Banners on the Parkway)

Xavier’s senior guard, Souley Boum had a very good showing in his team’s win over Providence.  Boum did a great job of shooting and scoring the basketball, as he scored 33 points and made 4 threes in this game.  He did commit a couple of careless turnovers and made a few mistakes defensively, but Boum was able to score early and often, and he also was able to block a shot midway through this contest.

Boum shot the ball very well to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He showed a knack for knocking down pull-up jumpers both from the mid-range and three-point land, but he also showed that he can make shots off the catch.  He showed a knack for going to his left to make pull-up jumpers, and he generally thrived as an outside shooter against Providence.

He also showed a solid ability to score off the dribble.  Boum can score on speedy drives to the hoop, and he is a fleet-footed guard that has a very good first step that allows him to quickly blow by defenders.  On the downside, sometimes he would take quick, rushed shots, and he ended up having a couple of those blocked.  Boum also was able to score on a quick cut to the hoop early on.

Also, Boum displayed decent playmaking skills on offense.  He was able to find open shooters to get them the basketball, and he also can throw accurate passes on the break.  Sometimes though, he would telegraph his passes, as he threw a couple of them that got intercepted.  Another time, he was called for a late-game turnover, as he may have been called for traveling that time.

He also did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  Defensively, Boum looked to be about average at best.  On one good play, Boum was able to make a high-flying shot block to prevent an opponent from scoring on a drive.  On the downside, he would sometimes play too aggressively, which led him to foul a mid-range jump shooter and give up the basket, and he also over-helped and was late to rotate back to his man, which led him to give up a three-point basket. On another play, he got beat off the dribble, which led him to allow the score that time.

Overall, Souley Boum played very well, and he is a speedy combo guard that thrived as a shooter and shot maker on offense.  He will need to play more under control on offense and improve his defense, but his athleticism combined with his ability to make shots could enable him to make his way to the NBA as a Kendrick Nunn-type of  player in the league.

Providence’s 6-8 senior forward, Ed Croswell had a solid showing in his team’s loss to Xavier.  He is a strong, mobile big man that showed off versatile scoring skills, and he showed some intriguing stretch big potential by making a late game three towards the end of regulation.

Croswell was able to run off the ball to make a quick, open three smoothly to showcase his floor spacing potential.  He will need to work on his outside shot in the meantime, but that he made that shot effortlessly is an encouraging sign.

He showed a decent ability to score out of the post.  Croswell would score on strong drop step moves and jump hooks, but sometimes he didn’t show enough shooting touch, which would lead to some misses.  He also generally thrived at scoring on hustle plays, as he would score on put backs, and he also threw down a powerful jam off of a back door cut once.

Also, Croswell did a tremendous job of rebounding the basketball.  As a playmaker, Croswell was able to notch an assist, but he also threw a pass that sailed out of bounds another time.  Overall, Ed Croswell played well, as he did a good job of shooting and scoring the basketball, and he led all players in rebounds in this game.  He’s an undersized big man that will have to work on his outside shot and playmaking skills in the future, as he may be in between forward positions as a prospect for the NBA.  Still, he played very well in this game, and even if Croswell doesn’t make it to the NBA, he could end up carving out a long and productive playing career in professional basketball.

Xavier’s 6-5 freshman swingman, Desmond Claude had a strong showing in his team’s win over Providence.  He thrived as a shooter and scorer on offense.  He made a couple of spot-up threes, and he was able to make a bank three early on.  He also excelled as a scorer off the dribble and out of the post, he is a strong, mobile guard that showed a good shooting touch on the court.  On the downside, he generally struggled to defend bigger, stronger players in the post, and he ended up fouling out of the game.

Overall, Claude played very well, and he showed that he could project into a 3 and D type of role in the NBA as a potential Danuel House type of player in the future.  He will need to continue to refine on his jump shot, add more strength to his frame, and work on his defense, but Claude could end up being a player that could excel as a floor spacer and may have some projectable upside as a defender as a potential NBA prospect in the future.

Noah Locke played fairly well in his team’s loss to Xavier.  He did a good job of shooting and scoring the basketball.  Locke showed a knack for making threes, as he was able to make a step-back three, ran off of a ball screen to knock down another three, and he also made an open corner three later on.  He shot the ball very well from downtown, and he also showed that he can take on the contact to get fouled when taking shots inside the arc.  On the downside, he was streaky with his mid-range shot.

As a playmaker, he didn’t seem to make many noteworthy passes, but he was able to pick up an assist in this game.  On the downside, he was called for clearing out when looking to take a mid-range jumper that led him to commit a foul and turnover that time.  He also dropped a pass that led to another team turnover.

Also, Locke was able to get boards on both ends of the floor to help his team chip in on the glass.  Overall, Noah Locke excelled as a shooter and scorer in this game, and he is an agile, skilled sharpshooter that could end up competing for a roster spot in the NBA sometime down the road.

Providence’s 6-4 freshman guard, Corey Floyd Jr. did a good job of shooting and scoring the basketball, especially in the first half.  Floyd knocked down a pair of open corner threes off the catch, and he also drew free throws on a strong, acrobatic reverse layup off of a drive in transition.  He didn’t play nearly enough in the second half, it he is an agile, skilled combo guard that could project into a microwave type of scorer role at the NBA level, especially if he can show that he can be an elite, knockdown shooter in the future.

Providence’s 5-10 senior guard, Jared Bynum played very well in his team’s loss to Xavier.  He thrived at making plays on both ends of the floor, and he was able to play much bigger than his listed height by making some surprisingly athletic plays, in which he was also able to block a shot late in this game.

Bynum did a good job of scoring off the dribble and on mid-range jumpers.  He showed a good shooting touch from the mid-range, and he is a quick, shifty guard that would use hesitation moves to score on strong drives to the basket.  He struggled more when attempting pull-up threes, but Bynum was able to run off of a ball screen to make a quick, corner three from downtown.

He looked to be fairly average as a playmaker.  Bynum was able to find open shooters on the break, but sometimes he would commit careless turnovers.  He lost the ball on a drive to the hoop once, and he also threw an inaccurate pass that sailed out of bounds another time.

Also, Bynum did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball, and he was able to get boards on both sides of the ball.  He also played satisfactory defense.  When defending a drive, he managed to block a shot hard out of bounds due to possessing solid athleticism and timing.  He also managed to get his hands on a pass to help his team get a steal.   He would sometimes commit reach-in fouls due to over-aggressiveness, but he generally defended well in this game.

Overall, Bynum had a good showing in this game.  He made impactful plays on both ends of the floor, and he is a high-motor guard that would hustle to make plays.  He will need to improve his jump shot and show that he can consistently guard taller players in games, but Bynum is an athletic, high-motor playmaker that played well against Xavier, and he could end up carving out a long playing career in professional basketball.

Jack Nunge had his ups and downs in his team’s win over Providence.  He played very well early on, as he showed off some solid outside shooting and passing skills in the first half.  Nunge was able to make a long two, as well as an open, spot-up three off the catch, and he also made good passes out of the post to help set up scores for his teammates.

He also was able to score on a strong dunk off of a roll to the rim.  On the downside, Nunge was inconsistent as a scorer out of the post, and he ended up missing some rushed, contested shots in traffic.

He also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball, and he was able to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor.  Nunge played decent defense in this game.  He was able to rotate to block a shot to a teammate to prevent an opponent from scoring around the basket.  He also defended straight up and held his ground when defending in the post to force a miss another time.  On the downside, he would sometimes play too aggressively on the defensive end, which would lead him to commit fouls and get into foul trouble.

Overall, Jack Nunge had some good moments, especially early in the first half in his team’s win over Providence.  He wasn’t quite as impactful in the second half, but his team didn’t need him to consistently make plays in that time span, as they had terrific guard play from Colby Jones and Souley Boum.  Nunge is a high-motor big man that can make plays on both ends of the floor, but will need to be more consistent in games.  If so, he could end up possibly making his way to the NBA if he can be a more consistent shooter and defender in the future.

Providence’s 6-3 sophomore guard, Devin Carter excelled as a shooter and scorer in his team’s loss to Xavier.  He was able to score on strong drives to the hoop, and he also shot the ball well from the outside.  He also ran the floor to score on the break.  He also played fairly well defensively.  Carter managed to leap up to break up a lob pass midway through this game.  On the downside, he ran into some foul trouble late in regulation.  Overall, Carter is an athletic, skilled combo guard that can knock down shots.  He will need to be a more consistent shooter and performer in games, but if so, he could project into a microwave type of scorer role off the bench at the NBA level sometime down the road.

All in all, those are my thoughts on how Colby Jones and other various prospects played in today’s game that was played between Xavier and Providence.  Thanks for reading.

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