Analyzing Derrick White and Tacko Fall in the NIT

March 15, 2017

By Alan Lu

I decided to take a look at a first round game that was played in the NIT between UCF and Colorado, as this featured two notable prospects in Buffaloes’ senior guard Derrick White, and the Golden Knights’ 7-6 sophomore center, Tacko Fall.  White has been one of the most pleasant surprises in college basketball, as he has been an absolute stat stuffer this year.  Meanwhile, Fall has had a solid season for Central Florida.  Here are my thoughts on how they played, as well as how they rate as prospects for the NBA.

Colorado’s senior guard, Derrick White had a tremendous showing, as he had a solid all-around game in a loss to UCF.  He is a smart, patient player that can do a little bit of everything, as he can comfortably run the point or play off the ball, and he made timely plays to keep his team in the contest.

White showed a gifted ability to garner scores off the dribble.  He is a patient, deceptively quick guard that changes speeds very well, and he also has a nice hesitation move that he can use to get many scores and free throws for his team.  Plus, he also scored on a nice hustle play but doing so off of a put back, and he drew the extra free throw on that play.

He also showed a decent ability to make threes.  White excelled at knocking down long-range jumpers off the catch from beyond the arc early on, as he showed the ability to calmly make spot-up three-pointers.  He also showed a good ability to score on contested, pull-up jumpers, but White tended to miss his threes later on, as his jumper stopped falling from long distance as the game wore on.  Also, White displayed very good playmaking skills.  He possesses good court vision, and he will make timely passes to set up plenty of scores for his teammates.  He showed that he can often find the open man by kicking it out to them off the dribble, and he also threw solid interior passes.

Plus, he did a very good job of collecting rebounds for his team.  He was quite active at crashing the glass on both ends of the floor, and sometimes he would push the pace after grabbing defensive boards, but White showed off fairly average defensive skills.  For the positives, he is a very good shot blocker for a player his size, as he swatted an opponent in the post, and he also managed to swat a three-point shot, as he possesses terrific timing to do so.  However, his tendency to go for blocks also led him to pick up fouls, even if they appeared to be clean blocks.  Also, he struggled to defend threes, as he would be late to contest the shots at times, which would also lead to scores.

In general, Derrick White put forth a solid showing, as he may be a sleeper for the 2017 NBA Draft.  He is a smooth scorer that can make shots in a variety of ways, and he is a crafty player that will find a way to make plays for his team.  He may not be the most explosive athlete or aesthetically pleasing basketball player to watch, but he contributes for his team in a lot of ways, and White could be a good pick for an NBA team in the second round range of the upcoming draft.

UCF’s 7-6 sophomore center, Tacko Fall had a fairly solid game, as he helped lead his team to a narrow victory over Colorado.  He played well on both ends of the floor, as his strong play was instrumental in helping his team get the win.  Fall did a very good job of getting scores on hustle plays.  He excelled as the roll man, as he would set screens, roll hard to the hoop, and he would score off of plenty of lob passes.   He also threw down a two-handed alley-oop dunk another time after catching one after rolling hard to the rim.  Plus, Fall also showed a fairly good ability to score off of offensive rebounds.

However, he struggled more to score in the post.  For the positives, Fall is extremely tall and has very good hands, as he can catch high entry passes, which can help him get easy scores when he gets deep position down low.  But sometimes, he struggles to find his footing in the post as he does not always seal his man, and he does not always obtain deep position on the block.  Because of that, he can end up missing shots further away as a result.

Also, Fall showed off fairly good playmaking skills.  On one play, he threw a good pass to a shooter from the post to set up a score for his team.  Plus, he would set good screens, as he would often make himself a scoring option after rolling hard to the basket.  But he also may not have looked for the ball enough, as it was tough for him to get the ball in the post at times.

He also displayed a fairly good ability to rebound the basketball.  Fall was quite active on the glass, and early on, he did a great job of hauling in offensive boards.  He also managed to collect some defensive rebounds, as he managed to run down one, and leapt up to get another, as he possesses terrific length, a solid motor, and good athleticism for a player his size.

He also played good defense.  Fall was a force on this end, as he would block numerous shots in the paint, and he would use his size and length to contest shots to force misses.  But sometimes he would be late to rotate, which would lead him to allow scores on mid-range jumpers as well as one drive to the hoop.  Mostly, his team was in a zone, but Fall normally showed a good ability to make rotations, as he helped force many misses to help his team.

In general, Tacko Fall put forth a good performance to lead his team to a win over Colorado.  He is a fairly mobile center that possesses very good hands and motor, and he can get numerous points and rebounds off of hustle plays.  Also, he is a gifted shot blocker that can really lock down the paint, especially in a zone defense, but at the next level, he will need to show that he can hang against more skilled, athletic players, especially when the pace picks up.  This was a good showing for Fall, and he could be worth a second round pick for an NBA team for the upcoming draft.

Other Notes:

UCF’s senior guard Matt Williams shot the ball really well, especially early on.  He is a quick, 6-5 guard that is a gifted shooter on the court, especially from beyond the arc.  Williams showed a deft ability to make threes, as he has good range, a nice step back, and crossover move that he can use to knock down long-range shots.  Plus, he also was active on the glass, as he would help collect his fair share of rebounds.  He looked to be average as a playmaker, as he displayed adequate court vision, but he also committed some turnovers by trying to weave the ball in traffic.  Williams mostly scored on jumpers, and he is a very good pull-up shooter.  He is a solid athlete that is a very good shooter, and he could end up being a solid addition to a team’s NBA summer league roster either this year or down the road.

UCF’s sophomore combo guard, B.J. Taylor had a terrific game, as he helped lead his team to a win over Colorado.  He is a speedy, agile playmaker that excelled at knocking down pull-up threes, as he has a nice step back move to create separation from him and his defender.  Also, he showed a really good ability to score on drives to the hoop, as he has a solid first step, has a nifty crossover move, and has good speed, strength, and body control to regularly finish plays around the basket.  Plus, he showed off adequate playmaking skills, as he would find shooters off the dribble to set up scoring chances.   He also showed off adequate defensive skills, as he managed to get a steal, and he also fought through a screen quickly to force an opponent to commit an illegal moving screen.

In summary, B.J. Taylor played really well, especially on offense.  He is a really quick guard that can shoot and score the basketball, and he may have what it takes to be a lead guard for a team in the NBA.  He may not have much draft buzz right now, but he could be a player to keep an eye on, as he could be a sleeper prospect for the draft.

UCF’s 6-9 junior swingman, A.J. Davis had a solid all-around game in a win over Colorado.  He showed off strong playmaking skills, as he would get the ball to Fall on the roll by making accurate lob passes to set up scores.   Also, he excelled at making threes and scoring on patient drives to the hoop.  He even used a eurostep move to draw free throws on the break.  He has not shot the ball well this season, but Davis had a very good showing against Colorado.  If he can shoot the basketball as he did in this game next season, Davis could be an intriguing prospect for the NBA in 2018.

To summarize, the UCF-Colorado game went back and forth, as UCF had control of the match for most of the way, and they went on to get the win over Colorado.  But Colorado managed to stay in it nearly all the way until the end, and they gave themselves a chance to tie with a few seconds left.   Derrick White and UCF’s guards had tremendous games, and Tacko Fall also played well, but UCF made enough plays to advance to the second round of the NIT.

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