Analyzing De’Andre Hunter, Ty Jerome, and Bryce Brown in the Final Four

April 6, 2019

by Alan Lu

Recently, I took the time to watch Virginia play against Auburn in a highly competitive Final Four game.  It was a hard-fought contest in which both teams traded leads, and both teams received solid guard play and played very good defense, but Virginia was able to get the victory as Kyle Guy drew and made all three of his free throws to help his team win 63-62 over Auburn.  Here are my thoughts on how various players fared on this day, and how they may stack up as prospects for the NBA.

Virginia’s 6-7 sophomore forward, De’Andre Hunter played very well as he had a solid all-around game in his team’s narrow win over Auburn.  He made very good plays on both ends of the floor, and he especially defended well when he was on the court.  Hunter excelled at scoring on drives as well as on hustle plays around the basket.  He managed to score on a dunk from the baseline once, and he also can score on runners and layups.  Hunter also excelled at scoring at the rim, as he was able to score on a reverse layup on one play, and he also managed to score on a put back as well as draw free throws off of a back door cut to the hoop.

On the downside, he struggled more to knock down jumpers in this game.  Hunter was able to make a pull-up, mid-range jump shot, but he had trouble making pull-up jumpers on a consistent basis, especially when he was further away from the basket.  Also, he displayed fairly average playmaking skills.  Hunter is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass to keep the ball moving, and he can throw a variety of passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  He was able to find a teammate ahead of him to notch an assist in transition, and he can throw accurate passes off the dribble.  However, Hunter had the ball poked away from him a couple of times to almost commit turnovers, and did so once when he tried to force a pass off of a drive that ended up getting intercepted.

Hunter also was able to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor, and he also dribbled up the floor off of a defensive rebound to show off some ball handling skills.  He also played very good defense in this game.  Hunter was able to swat shots off of drives, and he even blocked a dunk attempt due to possessing solid athleticism, length, and timing to do so.  He also poked balls away to make things difficult for his opponents to handle the basketball, and Hunter would also contest threes to force misses.

In general, De’Andre Hunter put forth a solid performance in his team’s win over Auburn.  He excelled at attacking the basket to garner scores, was able to help his team on the glass, and he also defended very well in this contest.  Hunter is a good all-around player that could be one of the best defenders in the upcoming draft, and he would likely be a lottery pick if he decides to declare for the NBA later on this year.

Virginia’s 6-5 junior guard, Ty Jerome also had a good showing, as he helped out in many different facets of the game to help his team get the win over Auburn.  Jerome did a very good job of knocking down spot-up threes off the catch, as he would take advantage whenever opponents would leave him open, and he also ran off the ball to quickly make a three-point shot another time.  Plus, he also did a good job of scoring on crafty drives to the hoop, as he changes speeds well, and he also showed a knack for scoring on floaters.  Also, he was able to score on a reverse layup off of a backdoor cut.  However, he also can tend to take contested shots, and he had some bad misses when looking to score off the dribble late in this contest.

He also displayed solid playmaking skills in this game.  Jerome threw a slew of sharp interior passes to set up scores for his teammates, and he did a good job of finding cutters on the move on offense.  There were times where he threw inaccurate passes as one was intercepted, and another was dropped that led to a shot clock violation.  Late in this contest, he ended up getting away with a double dribble that the referees missed prior to being intentionally fouled.  Had the referees picked up on that; that could have instead cost his team the game.

Plus, he also rebounded the ball very well.  Jerome was able to run down balls and he also would leap up to get his team numerous defensive boards when he was on the floor.  Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  Jerome was able to make a really nice shot block off of a drive in the second half due to possessing good timing and instincts on that play.  He was also able to poke a ball away out of bounds to nearly get a steal.  However, he had trouble guarding quicker opponents off the dribble, which would cause him to commit fouls and allow scores, and he also tended to commit reach-in fouls.  On another possession, he sagged off his man too much, as his opponent ended up scoring on a corner three.

In summary, Ty Jerome put forth a good performance in his team’s victory over Auburn.  He excelled as a shooter, scorer, and facilitator on offense, and he also was active at crashing the glass to help his team on the boards.  He did take some questionable shots towards the game’s end, and struggled a bit with his position defense, but he was able to contribute in a variety of ways to help Virginia.  Right now, Jerome is a skilled basketball player that can play either backcourt position, and he could be a good value pick for an NBA team in the late first to the early second round range of the upcoming draft.

Auburn’s 6-3 senior guard, Bryce Brown had a fairly good game in his team’s narrow loss to Virginia.  He especially played well towards the end, as he excelled at knocking down a variety of threes, and he also passed the ball fairly well.  Brown showed a good ability to make long-range jumpers off the catch and dribble, and he also can throw accurate interior passes to set up scores for his teammates.  However, he struggled more when he would attempt to score inside the arc, and he even had a shot blocked when taking it to the rim once.  Sometimes, he may dribble around for too long, as he did so once before attempting to pass it off, but it led to a shot clock violation that time.  He also played adequate defense, and he was able to poke a ball away once to almost get a steal on that occasion.

Overall, Bryce Brown did a very good job of knocking down long-range jumpers to space the floor for his team, and he also passed the ball well.  He struggled to make shots inside the arc however, as he missed on a mid-range jumper and on a drive, and did not draw any free throws.   Still, he is a good shooter that excelled at knocking down threes down the stretch.  Right now, he may be a borderline second round candidate.  While he may need to prove that he can effectively run the point, Brown is an agile shooter that can score the basketball, and he could end up helping a team’s bench in the NBA.

Virginia’s junior guard, Kyle Guy also played well in his team’s victory over Auburn.  Guy continued to shoot the ball well, as he would run off screens to knock down quick threes, and he also drew three free throws on a turnaround corner three, and made all of them to ultimately help Virginia get the win.  He showed a knack for making jumpers off the catch and dribble, and he also can score off of drives and in transition.  He also played adequate defense.  He would actively contest shots to force misses, but he would occasionally struggle to defend opponents off the dribble at times, as he ended up allowing his opponent to score on a runner once.

Overall, Guy had a good game.  He made shots in a variety of ways, and he is an agile scorer that can really help his team space the floor on offense.  He also had a knack for taking quality shots in this contest.  Right now, he may be a second round prospect.  While he may need to prove he can effectively run the point at the next level, Guy is a skilled shooter that handles the ball well, and his skill set could allow him to excel as a role player in the NBA.

Auburn’s junior point guard, Jared Harper had an up and down game in his team’s loss to Virginia.  He made some solid plays at times on offense, but Harper was inconsistent in his ability to score or get to the rim, and occasionally had trouble trying to create his own shot when guarded by 5-9 freshman point guard, Kihei Clark.  Harper was able to score on a couple of speedy drives to the basket, and he can really accelerate to kick things into a second gear.  On the downside, he often had trouble going by Clark most of the time as he would often look to pass instead, and he also had some wild misses when taking the ball to the rim.  Harper also showed a decent ability to knock down jumpers in this game.  He was able to make a couple of pull-up threes, but he also would was quite streaky with his jump shot when he would hoist up shots from beyond the arc.   He also had a tendency to rush his shots, as he had a couple of them blocked, and he also air-balled a three-pointer off the dribble once.

He also showed off fairly average playmaking skills.  Harper is an unselfish player that will look to set the table, and he can throw good passes off the dribble to notch assists.  However, he had some trouble handling the basketball when facing heavy ball pressure, as he would get the ball poked away and lose the basketball at times, which would lead him to commit turnovers.  He did play adequate defense, as he was able to stay in front of his man as he displayed good footwork, and he was able to contest a shot in the post to force a miss.

In summary, Jared Harper is an athletic, skilled point guard that can shoot and score the basketball, but he can struggle to get past quicker players on a consistent basis, which can hinder his ability to score off the dribble.  His play was inconsistent at times in this game, and he also took some questionable shots at various moments of this contest.  Still, his ability to score could intrigue NBA teams, as he may be a second round prospect for the upcoming draft, and his skill set could allow him to end up being a microwave type of scorer at the next level.

Other Notes:

Auburn’s 6-7 junior forward, Anfernee McLemore had a fairly good game in his team’s loss to Virginia.  He didn’t look to shoot the ball nearly enough, but he was effective when he did hoist up shots.  McLemore was a strong finisher around the basket, as he was able to score on a multitude of jams, and he also was able to catch a lob pass to score on an alley-oop dunk early on.  He also was able to make a spot-up three to show his ability to knock down jump shots. 

McLemore also rebounded and defended well.  He would often leap up to get numerous boards in traffic, as he has very good hands, motor, and ball location skills to do so.  He also managed to swat a shot off of a drive, he was able to get a steal, and he also tightly contested a three to force a miss.  On the other hand, he was prone to committing fouls at times on the defensive end.  Overall, Anfernee McLemore is an energetic, athletic combo forward that has a very good motor, and he played well today in the Final Four.  He will need to be far more assertive on offense in the future, but McLemore could project to be a 3 and D type of player at the next level, as he could end up being a similar player to Oklahoma City Thunder’s forward, Jerami Grant in the NBA.

Virginia’s 6-9 junior center, Mamadi Diakite had a solid showing in his team’s win over Auburn.  He played terrific defense, as he would often block shots off of drives and he also swatted one in the post to force a wealth of misses.  He also showed an adequate ability to score in the post, and he even took some three-point shots, even though he missed both times from beyond the arc.  All in all, Diakite did not look to score the basketball often, but he had a sizable impact on the defensive end, as his strong interior defensive play helped Virginia get the victory, and Diakite could be a potential second round pick whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft, as he may have the skills to end up being a solid rim protector for a team at the next level.