Analyzing Daniel Gafford, Quinndary Weatherspoon, and Lamar Peters

January 4, 2018

By Alan Lu

I decided to tune in to watch a game that was played between Mississippi State and Arkansas, as this took place on January 2nd.  I decided to get a better look at Arkansas’ freshman center, Daniel Gafford, to get a better gauge at his skill set, and it was also an opportunity to get a second look at some of the other prospects on Mississippi State.  Here are my thoughts on how various prospects performed on this day.

Arkansas’ 6-11 freshman center, Daniel Gafford had a fairly good showing in his team’s loss to Mississippi State.  He is an athletic big man that can finish numerous plays in the paint, as he can make plays above the rim, he can throw good passes out of the post, and he also can block shots.  On the other hand, he may need to improve his rebounding and position defense.

Gafford did a very good job of getting scores on hustle plays.  He does a good job of moving off the ball, as he can throw down thunderous dunks off of cuts, rolls, as well as in transition.  He also was able to score on multiple alley-oop dunks due to possessing great hands as well as solid athleticism and finishing ability, but he did once get blocked after getting the ball blocked as he reached back before attempting to dunk, which allowed a smaller defender to swat the ball from behind.

Plus, he also showed a good ability to score off the dribble.  Gafford was able to throw down an emphatic dunk off of a high post drive, and he also scored on a finger roll while getting an extra free throw another time.  Also, he displayed adequate low post scoring skills.  Gafford was able to use a quick pivot move to score on a jump hook, and he also went up strong to get another score after posting up.  He also managed to draw free throws after taking a turnaround jumper.  However, he also missed a jump hook in traffic, and he also got blocked on a turnaround jumper another time, as he may not always be a consistent scorer from the low blocks.

In this game, almost all of Gafford’s shot attempts came around the basket area, as he did not really look to take jumpers against Mississippi State.  He also showcased decent playmaking skills.  Gafford showed a good ability and willingness to pass out of the post, as he was able to find open shooters to notch assists.  He also can pass out off the dribble, as he will look to move the basketball.  However, sometimes he can be a bit turnover prone.  He committed one turnover as he had a ball ripped away from him after holding it, and he also threw a bad pass that was intercepted that led to another.

In addition, he did not rebound the basketball particularly well on this day.  Though he was able to come away with some boards, he did not come away with enough of them, and sometimes he would forget to block out, as this would lead him to commit fouls or allow scores to his opponents.  Plus, he also showed off fairly average defensive skills.  Gafford is a good shot blocker that can swat and alter shots to protect the paint, and he would make it tough for his opponents to score on drives if they were in his area.  He also would contest shots in the paint to force misses, and he also managed to deflect a pass another time.

On the other hand, he struggled with his position defense at times, particularly in the second half.  He does not seem to possess elite lateral footwork when he is out on the perimeter trying to defend drives, as he can struggle to guard quicker players from further out.  Also, he will tend to sag in the paint when guarding shooters, as this led him to allow opponents to score on three-point baskets. 

In general, Daniel Gafford is an athletic big man that could project into being an energetic, rim protector at the next level, but he will likely need to improve his skill level offensively, as well as on the finer points of the game.  But with his skill set, he could end up going somewhere in the late first to the second round range if he were to declare to enter the upcoming draft.

Mississippi State’s 6-4 junior guard, Quinndary Weatherspoon had a very good game in his team’s win over Arkansas.  He can score the basketball in a variety of ways, and he is a high motor player that can really crash the offensive glass.  Weatherspoon did a very good job of scoring on hustle plays.  He would often score off of offensive rebounds, as he was able to score on a tip in as well as on a couple of put backs.  He also managed to score off of a cut to the basket.

Plus, he also showed a good ability to score on drives to the basket.  Weatherspoon is a crafty player that can split through double teams, and he did a great job of getting to the free throw line.  He was able to split a double team to get a nifty score around the basket, but sometimes, he would miss shots in traffic after taking the ball to the hoop.  Also, he excelled at knocking down threes to space the floor for his team.  Weatherspoon was able to run off of a curl to make a three in the corner.  Another time, he utilized a step back move to score on a pull-up three-point shot.

He also displayed decent playmaking skills.  Weatherspoon will make the extra pass as he can kick it out to shooters, and he also can hit the cutter to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  He did commit one turnover though, as he was called for committing a charging foul on a drive to the basket.

He also did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  Weatherspoon was quite active at crashing the offensive glass, and he would frequently score on put backs.  He also played fairly good defense.  Weatherspoon was able to block a three-point shot, and he also would jump passes and poke balls away to help his team get steals and deflections.  On the downside, he also tended to commit fouls due to over-aggressiveness.  In general, Quinndary Weatherspoon played very well to help lead his team to a close win over Arkansas.  He is a skilled, high motor player that could end up being a good contributor in the NBA, as he could end up being a solid find for a team in the upcoming draft.

Mississippi State’s 6-0 sophomore point guard, Lamar Peters turned in a much better showing in his team’s win over Arkansas.  Having first seen him play against Cincinnati, he hadn’t left much of an impression initially, and he had not been playing well this season.  That said though, this was a solid game that he played, as his ability to score off the dribble combined with his athleticism and playmaking skills may make him an intriguing prospect to NBA teams.

Peters showed a good ability to garner scores on strong drives to the basket.  He is a quick guard that handles the ball well, and he can utilize crossovers and ball fakes to get scores and free throws for his team.  He also excelled at getting scores off the dribble on fast breaks.  But sometimes, he can rush his shots, which can lead to misses.  However, he still may not be a very good shooter, and he really struggled to make threes in this game against Arkansas.  Peters tended to miss threes from beyond the arc.

Also, he displayed good playmaking skills when he was on the court.  Peters generally passed the ball well, as he would kick it out to shooters off the dribble, and he also did a good job of getting the ball to cutters to set up numerous scoring chances for his team.  However, sometimes he would be inaccurate with his passes, which would lead him prone to committing turnovers on occasion.  He also displayed adequate defensive skills.  Peters was able to poke a ball away to get a steal.  On the other hand, he was called for committing a foul on a drive, as he had tripped an opponent that time.

In general, Lamar Peters played well, as he provided his team with a boost off the bench as he did a good job of getting scores off the dribble as well as distributing the basketball to set up scores for his teammates.  He hasn’t had a great year overall as his shooting percentages are still drastically down from the year before, and unreasonable expectations from draft analysts may have been placed upon him just before the season started, but Peters is starting to find his footing right now, and it may still be possible that a team may end up taking him somewhere in the second round of a future NBA draft.

Mississippi State’s 6-10 junior big man, Aric Holman did not have a great game, and he really struggled to knock down jumpers when he was on the floor, but his teammates picked up the slack as his team was still able to get the victory.  For the positives, Holman showed a decent ability to score off the dribble, as well as in the post.  He possesses adequate footwork when posting up, and he was able to use a drop step move and a pivot to get a score.  Also, he showed a good ability to draw fouls upon the opposition, but in this game, he really struggled with his three-point shot, as he missed all four of his threes off the catch.  Also, he missed on a put back, as he did not play under control that time.

Also, he showed an adequate ability to rebound the basketball.  Holman was active at crashing the glass, as he would leap up to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor.  However, he did not seem to defend very well in this game against Arkansas.  For the positives, Holman was able to contest a mid-range shot to force a miss.  He also tended to pick up quick fouls when defending in the paint, and he also would allow scores on drives as well as in the post.

In general, Holman did not play particularly well, as this was an off night for him.  But still, he is an athletic big man that could project into being a stretch big at the next level if he can be a more consistent shooter in games.  Right now, he may be a borderline second round candidate for the upcoming draft.

Other Notes:

Arkansas’ senior 6-3 point guard, Daryl Macon played very well in his team’s loss to Mississippi State.   He did a great job of scoring the basketball, as he did so in many ways, and he is an athletic, high motor player that can really get his team buckets.  He did a great job of knocking down threes to space the floor for his team.  Macon was able to make threes both off the catch and dribble, and he also ran off of a screen to score on a three-point shot, as he also drew an additional free throw on that play.

Plus, he also managed to score on a finger roll off of a drive to the basket.  Also, Macon showed a very good ability to score on hustle plays, as he managed to score on a cut, and he also excelled at scoring on put backs and garbage plays around the basket.  However, his playmaking skills may have been average at best.  For the positives, he was able to throw an accurate lob pass to set up a score for his team in transition.  However, he also committed a couple of turnovers, as he threw a ball away off the dribble that landed out of bounds, and he also traveled late in the game after trying to get a three-point shot late in the game.

Macon rebounded and defended well when he was on the floor, as he would grab offensive boards due to possessing a very good motor as well as good athleticism and instincts, and he also contested a three-point shot to force a miss.  In general, Daryl Macon played very well, as he really excelled as a shooter and scorer against Mississippi State.  He has been a very important player for Arkansas, as he has been instrumental in helping his team get plenty of victories this year, and he could end up being a likely candidate to get a Portsmouth invite, which could increase his chances to be drafted by an NBA team in 2018.

Anton Beard particularly excelled at scoring off the dribble, and he also was able to knock down some jumpers.

Jaylen Barford seemed to be adept at scoring on drives to the hoop, as well as on hustle plays, but he really struggled to knock down jumpers.  He did play unselfishly and he would make the extra pass to move the basketball, but he also would be turnover prone due to carelessness.   He rebounded the ball well in this game, but he seemed to be about average defensively.  He contested a three to force a miss, but sometimes he would be a bit out of position, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

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