Analyzing DeAndre Ayton, Collin Sexton, Allonzo Trier, and Donta Hall

December 9, 2017

By Alan Lu

I decided to tune in to watch today’s game between Arizona and Alabama, as this featured two of the top prospects for the upcoming draft in DeAndre Ayton and Collin Sexton, and both players will likely get picked in the lottery.  This match was like a heavyweight fight, though on a more subtle level.  Arizona was in command for most of the first half, but Alabama went on a run to take the lead to close the half, but Arizona started making more shots, played tougher defense, and managed to hold off Alabama despite the Crimson Tide receiving an outstanding performance from Collin Sexton, and Arizona was able to hold on to get the victory.  Here are my thoughts on how Ayton and Sexton played, as well as how the other various prospects performed on this day.

Arizona’s 7-0 freshman big man, DeAndre Ayton had a tremendous showing, as he helped lead his team to a win over Alabama.  He showed off strong scoring and rebounding skills, and he played very well in all aspects of the game.  Ayton really excelled as a shooter and scorer when he was on the floor.  He did a great job of scoring in the post as well as off the dribble, as he can make strong moves to the hoop to score down low, and he can throw down thunderous dunks to finish plays around the basket.  He even once used a nifty behind the back dribble move on a high post drive to draw a foul on the opposition to get to the free throw line.

Plus, he shot the ball really well.  He did a great job of knocking down mid-range jumpers, and he particularly is adept at making shots off of pick and pop plays.  Ayton also showed some range, as he was able to make an open three off the catch.  Also, Ayton showed a terrific ability to score on hustle plays, as he runs the floor very well, and he can throw down thunderous dunks, and he also can score on tip ins after leaping up to get quick offensive boards.  He also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Ayton generally showed a good ability to pass from the post, as he would find open shooters to set up scoring chances for his teammates, but he did commit one notable turnover, as he was doubled hard in the post, and he threw a hard pass that sailed out of bounds.

Ayton did a tremendous job of rebounding the basketball.  He is a fantastic rebounder, as he would often leap up to haul in many boards on both ends of the floor, and he also was able to score and get free throws quite often off of put backs.  He also played good defense.  Ayton was able to block a shot emphatically inside the paint, and he would also generally be in position to contest shots to force misses, as he was able to guard opponents on jumpers, drives, as well as in the post, but he did over-help in the paint on one occasion, which led his team to allow a three-point basket.  Another time, he gave up deep position when defending the post, which led his team to allow a basket that time.

In general, DeAndre Ayton played really well, and he is looking to be one of the prime candidates to be the top pick for the 2018 NBA Draft.  He is a very skilled big man that is also a terrific rebounder, and he is an unselfish player that also can play good defense.   He turned in a very strong performance in his team’s win over Alabama, and he could perhaps end up being the best player to come out of the upcoming draft.

Alabama’s freshman point guard, Collin Sexton also put forth a terrific showing, as he was able to score 30 points in his team’s loss to Arizona.  He had a slow start to the first half, as he picked a couple of fouls relatively early in the game, but when he came back to play in that half, he really played well from there on out.  He is a lightning fast playmaker that can really get into the lane, and he can really score on aggressive drives to the hoop, but he also shot the three-ball quite well, and he forced Arizona to switch a bigger player on him, and even that didn’t really work out very well for them.   Sexton’s strong play really helped Alabama stay in the game all the way until near the end when he fouled out.

Sexton did a great job of getting scores off the dribble.  He has tremendous speed and quickness, and he can regularly get past his man to score on strong drives to the basket.  He can split double teams with ease, and he also can score using a spin move as well as on a Eurostep move when he has time to do so.  Sexton was able to get to the foul line early and often, and he did a great job of making his free throws.

The only downside was that he would occasionally miss shots in traffic, as defenses would keep in on him and he also would really look to force the issue on offense.  Even still, Arizona’s defenders had a hard time keeping him out of the lane, and Sexton also made quite a few baskets even when they were tightly contested in the paint.  Sexton also shot the ball really well.  He excelled at making pull-up threes, and his ability to make outside shots especially during the middle of the game may have lead to Arizona to put a bigger defender on him.  While that helped them take away his jump shot, it seemed to be still relatively ineffective, or not much better of an alternative for the Wildcats, as Sexton was still able to get to the rim at will to get many scores for his team.

He also showed off decent playmaking skills.  Sexton usually looked to score when he was on the floor, as he is his team’s primary scorer, but he did seem to show that he can effectively run the point.  Sexton showed the ability to find his teammates on the move, as he can hit the roll man, and he also can use ball-handling moves to get the ball to open shooters, but sometimes, Sexton can play too fast and out of control, which can lead to a few turnovers.  One time, he committed a charging foul off of a drive, and he also threw a pass that sailed out of bounds another time after driving into traffic.

Defensively, he did not look to be very noticeable.  He seemed to show good footwork on that end of the court, and he was able to knock a ball away on a drive to almost get a steal.  However, he also showed a tendency to commit touch fouls due to over-aggressiveness.  In general, Collin Sexton is a speedy, skilled point guard that can really score the basketball.  His superb play towards the end of the first half and all throughout the second half was really impressive, and he did a great job of keeping his team in the ball game.  He may likely be a top ten pick for the 2018 NBA Draft, as he could end up being the best point guard to come out of this draft class.

Arizona’s junior guard, Allonzo Trier had a solid showing, as he had a tremendous second half to help his team get the win over Alabama.  He did a great job of shooting and scoring the basketball, and he also passed the ball well when he was on the court.  Trier did a very good job of scoring on aggressive drives to the hoop.  He drew many free throws after making strong moves to the basket, and he is a strong player that plays with physicality.

He also excelled at knocking down threes from beyond the arc.  Trier showed a knack for making pull-up threes, and he even used a step back move prior to making a shot from downtown.  Plus, he also made a quick three-point shot off the catch.  Also, he was able to make a pull-up, mid-range jumper after using a step-through move, and Trier shot the ball really well in this game.

He also showed off good playmaking skills.  Trier played very unselfishly, and he would tend to throw crisp, accurate passes to set up a variety of scores for his teammates.  He excelled at throwing interior passes, and he would also find open shooters off the dribble.  However, Trier also committed his fair share of turnovers, as they were generally due to carelessness on those particular possessions.  Trier was able to help out on the boards, and he was able to leap up to collect several defensive rebounds.

Defensively, he may have been perhaps above average.  Trier was able to block a shot off of a drive, and he generally did a good job of contesting jumpers to force misses.  Plus, he also heaped on a loose ball to help his team get a steal, but in the second half of the game, he was switched onto Collin Sexton, as Sexton was making jumpers over Parker Jackson-Cartwright.  While Trier was taking away Sexton’s jump shot in the second half, Trier had trouble keeping up with Sexton on his opponent’s speedy drives to the hoop, as this would result in him committing fouls and allowing scores as a result.

Overall, Allonzo Trier had a nice bounce back game, as this was a significantly better performance than how he played against Texas A&M.  Trier played a smart brand of basketball, and he may have put himself back in the first round consideration with his strong performance in his team’s win over Alabama.

Alabama’s junior big man, Donta Hall had a very good game in his team’s loss to Arizona.  He played very well for most of the way, as he is an athletic, high-motor player that can score on hustle plays, and he is also a very good rebounder and shot blocker.  Hall can make numerous plays above the rim, as he was able to throw down a thunderous put back dunk in this game, but his most impressive play was when he jumped a pass to get a steal, and then he went coast to coast off of that to score on a drive in transition.

Hall also showed a good ability to score in the post as well as on high post drives.  He was able to score on a reverse layup off of a drop step move, and Hall also managed to score on a turnaround jumper.  Hall also has a good first step to the hoop, and he can take bigger players off the dribble to get buckets around the basket.  He also rebounded the ball very well, and he also did a good job of blocking shots due to possessing a very good blend of length, athleticism, and timing to do so, but he did commit a couple of turnovers, as one was when he threw a pass that sailed out of bounds, and he also set a moving screen another time.

In general, Donta Hall had a very good game, and he is an athletic, energetic player that could project into being a solid rim protector at the next level.   He will need to show that he can consistently knock down jumpers and be more of a ball mover on offense, but his ability to make hustle plays on both ends of the court could enable him to thrive as an effective role player in the NBA.

Arizona’s freshman guard, Brandon Randolph excelled as a shooter and scorer when he was on the floor, especially in the early going.  He did a great job of making spot-up threes off the catch, and he also was able to knock down a pull-up three from beyond the arc.  He also managed to score on a drive in transition.  However, there were a few times where Randolph struggled to finish plays around the basket, and he also tended to pick up fouls on defense due to over-aggressiveness.  But generally, he had another quality outing in his team’s win over Alabama, and Randolph has continued to excel in his role recently.

Other Notes:

Alabama’s 6-5 freshman guard, John Petty is an athletic shooter that showed a knack for making tough three-point shots, as he was able to make a pull-up three off of a step-back move, and he also made a quick fallaway three in transition.  He did have a tendency to rush up shots though as he displayed questionable shot selection, and he had trouble making shots consistently late in the game.

Arizona’s sophomore guard, Rawle Alkins had an up and down game in his first game of this season.  He did show a good ability to score on drives to the hoop, and he was able to make some good passes, as he would play well when he would play with patience.  Also, he was able to jump a pass to get a steal, and he also swatted a shot to prevent an opponent from scoring on a fast break drive.

However, Alkins had trouble knocking down jumpers, and he also would play too recklessly at times, as he had a couple of his passes picked off, and he also lost a ball on a drive.  He also tended to commit reach-in fouls defensively.  In this game, Alkins did not consistently play well, but he did play with a great motor at all times, and how he plays this year could play a pivotal role in helping Arizona make their way back up the rankings this season.

Dusan Ristic did not play well overall, but he did seem to play decent defense in this game, as he would contest shots to force some misses, but he still had a fairly tough time defending in the post.  He also did not seem to grab enough rebounds.  Also, he struggled to be a consistent scorer in the post though.  He did score on turnaround jump hooks, but he also missed quite often, and one time he missed completely after making a nifty up and under move.  Ristic run the floor to score on a fast break once.  Overall, this wasn’t Ristic’s best game, but he did have his moments even though he didn’t quite play well in his team’s win against Alabama.

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