Analyzing Jack Nunge and Quenton Jackson in the 2022 NIT Championship Game

March 31st, 2022

By Alan Lu

Today, I decided to take the time to watch the 2022 NIT Championship game that took place between Xavier and Texas A&M.  Xavier was without Paul Scruggs, who went down to a season-ending injury in their team’s win against Florida, but they played inspired and they really came to play today.  Texas A&M came in as the favorite, and it was a very competitive match that went wire-to-wire all the way to the end.  But it was Xavier’s senior big man Jack Nunge that was able to make the game-winning shot in the paint to get his team the go-ahead basket and the win to help his team get the NIT championship.  Here are my thoughts on how various prospects fared in this match.

Xavier’s center, Jack Nunge had 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists, and he also made the game-winning basket to lead his team to win the 2022 NIT Championship today.
(Photo:
Gregory Fisher/USA Today Sports, via Cincinnati Esquirer)

Jack Nunge had a strong showing in his team’s win over Texas A&M.  He is a strong, physical low post player that played very well on both ends of the floor, and he was able to make the game-winning field goal to get his team the victory.

Nunge did a good job of scoring in the post.  He would tend to get deep position, and he has solid strength and scoring touch that would enable him to make shots around the basket.  He also would score on put backs and rolls, and he did a decent job of scoring on the move.  Late in this match, Nunge was able to slip a screen to get the ball down low in order to score on a clutch, fadeaway jump hook with his right hand.  However, he also would get crowded and occasionally face double teams, and sometimes he would miss shots around the basket due to rushing.  He also took a couple of spot-up threes, but ended up missing those shots from beyond the arc.

He also showed off satisfactory playmaking skills in this game.  He is an unselfish player that can throw long, accurate passes to find open shooters to notch assists.  Nunge was able to find a cutter on the move, and he also threw a skip pass to get the ball to a shooter another time.  He sometimes struggled to handle double teams, but he would pass out to find the open man.

Also, Nunge did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He also defended well.  He is a high-motor player that consistently made good plays on the defensive end.  He would get his hands on passes to get steals and deflections, and Nunge also poked a ball away to help his team get a steal.  He blocked a shot off of a drive to a teammate due to possessing solid length and timing.  He also would contest shots out on the perimeter as well as in the paint to force misses.  Sometimes though, he would occasionally struggle to guard quicker players when rotating on drives, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

In general, Jack Nunge quietly played very well to lead his team to win the 2022 NIT championship.  He made smart decisions throughout this game, and he played with a lot of poise and tenacity to get the job done on both ends of the floor.  He may not possess overwhelming athleticism, and while he didn’t look to make spectacular plays, he consistently made good, high-quality plays on the court.  Nunge had a very good, productive season this year, and his ability to make plays in the paint, combined with his motor and intangibles could enable him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA someday.

Texas A&M’s senior guard, Quenton Jackson scored 23 points and had 6 rebounds in his team’s loss to Xavier in the 2022 NIT Championship game.
(Photo:
Gregory Fisher/USA Today Sports, via Sportsnaut)

Quenton Jackson also played very well in his team’s tough loss to Xavier.  He did a great job of shooting and scoring the basketball, and he excelled at making plays on both ends of the floor. Jackson did a good job of scoring off the dribble.  He excelled at scoring on strong, aggressive drives to the hoop, and he has a solid first step, along with having the balance and body control to regularly score and get free throws.  He can finish plays using either hand, and he also managed to score on a crafty, switch of hands layup in traffic.  He also was superb at driving to his left to get past his defender, which would allow him to frequently get to the free throw line.

Jackson also managed to score on a turnaround, fadeaway jumper in the post.  He also shot the ball fairly well from the outside.  While he didn’t take many threes in this game, Jackson was able to make an open, step-back three in this contest.  As a playmaker, he looked to be fairly average.  He did a great job of creating shots for himself, but he didn’t seem to make any noteworthy passes.  He did commit one notable turnover, as he was called for a traveling violation on an aggressive drive in transition once.

He also showed a satisfactory ability to rebound the basketball.  Also, Jackson played adequate defense.  He is a subtly athletic guard that can make strong defensive plays.  He was able to emphatically block a shot to help his team protect the paint, and he also ran in to tie up an opposing ball handler on a drive to get a steal another time.  Jackson also contested a long two to force a miss.  However, he also struggled to defend opponents off the dribble in this game.  He would sometimes commit blocking fouls, and he also got outmuscled and allowed an opponent to score on a floater.  Another time, he committed an aggressive reach-in foul, as he was too aggressive in trying to go for a steal.

In summary, Quenton Jackson had a very good showing in this game, and he proved to be a very reliable, dependable go-to scorer for his team, especially down the stretch.  Among all of the players that played in this game, Jackson appeared to have played the best, even though he ended up on the losing team.  He also looked to be the best prospect on the floor, and he is a subtly athletic combo guard that showed that he can really take over at times. He had a terrific game overall, and Jackson is a skilled scorer whose shot making prowess could enable him to make his way to the NBA someday.

Xavier’s point guard, Colby Jones had a solid showing to help lead his team to get the win over Texas A&M.  He ran the team well at the point, and he did a good job of knocking down shots to help his team in this game.

Jones showed a solid ability to score off the dribble.  He would tend to favor going to his left, but he showed a knack for scoring on mid-range floaters, and he can make them using either hand.  He also was able to score on a switch of hands floater with his off-hand another time.  Jones also shot the ball very well.  He did a very good job of knocking down open, spot-up threes, and he was able to make a couple of them from well beyond the arc.

As a playmaker, he looked to be fairly average.  Jones is an unselfish player that showed a knack for throwing sharp interior passes to find cutters to notch assists.  However, he also had trouble handling the ball under pressure, which would lead him to commit a handful of ball-handling turnovers.  He also dropped a catchable pass that went out of bounds. 

Also, he did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  Jones also played adequate defense in this game.  He would get his hands on passes to get steals, and he also would contest threes to force misses.  However, he struggled to defend opponents off the dribble.  Sometimes, he would take bad angles to defend opponents, which would lead him to get beat or unable to recover to allow scores.  He also would sometimes commit fouls when defending in one-on-one situations.

Overall, Jones played well in his team’s win over Texas A&M.  Though he’s not an overwhelming athlete, he generally made good decisions with the ball on offense, despite committing some turnovers in this game.  He may need to spend another season in school to prove that he can consistently play well at the collegiate level, but Jones could project to be a solid, game-managing, backup point guard in the NBA someday.

Xavier’s 6-2 sophomore guard, Dwon Odom also had a solid showing in his team’s win over Texas A&M.  He did a god job of scoring around the basket as well as on mid-range jumpers.  Odom would often take mid-range jumpers, and he showed a knack for making them, especially on fade-aways.  He also thrived as a scorer on backdoor cuts, and he managed to throw down a dunk.

Odom was fairly turnover prone, however.  He did a decent job of passing the basketball.  In this game, he was able to make some drive and kick passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  However, he would struggle to handle the ball when pressured, which would lead to ball-handling turnovers.  He also threw a pass that sailed out of bounds another time.

Also, Odom was able to get several defensive boards to chip in on the glass.  He looked to be average at best defensively.  He managed to block a shot off of a drive.  However, he had trouble defending quicker opponents off the dribble, as he had trouble cutting off penetration, and would commit fouls.  He also committed a foul by wildly trying to intercept a pass.

Overall, Odom played well, and he is a fairly athletic combo guard that excelled at attacking the hoop to score the basketball.  He will need to take better care of the ball and improve his three-point shot, and defense, but he could be a player to watch next season.

Texas A&M’s 6-2 sophomore guard, Hassan Diarra had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Xavier.  He is a strong, athletic combo guard that had a strong first half, but he faded into the background in the second half.

He did a good job of scoring off the dribble, and he has good strength, balance, and body control that would enable him to regularly finish plays around the basket.  Diarra also managed to make a pull-up three from way out, but he didn’t take as many outside shots, and he was inconsistent at knocking them down.

However, Diarra was quite turnover prone on offense.  For the positives, he is an unselfish player that can make an assortment of passes to get assists, and he can find open teammates to get them the basketball.  However, sometimes he would telegraph his passes, which would end up getting intercepted.  He also threw an off-balanced, inaccurate pass off the dribble that sailed out of bounds.  He also lost the ball when handling it another time.  Diarra didn’t get many rebounds, but he was able to get a pair of defensive boards.  He played adequate defense in this game.  He drew a charge when defending an opposing ball handler due to good positioning.  Sometimes though, he can struggle to defend opponents off the dribble, and he ended up fouling an opponent on a drive once.

Overall, Diarra played fairly well in this game.  He especially thrived as a shooter and scorer, but he was too turnover prone, as he struggled with his passing, especially down the stretch, and he didn’t take enough shots in the second half.  Still, Texas A&M has to be excited to see what he can bring to their team next season, and he could play in an elevated role for them next year.

Zach Freemantle had his ups and downs in his team’s win over Texas A&M.  He didn’t consistently knock down shots, but Freemantle was able to score on a tip slam, and he also made an open corner three to show his shooting skills.  However, he had trouble scoring in traffic, and he also missed on a couple of mid-range jumpers.

Freemantle passed the ball well, and he generally did a good job of passing off the dribble and out of the post to notch assists. He rebounded the ball very well, and he has a keen nose for the basketball.  However, he had some trouble on the defensive end.  He sagged too far off of a three-point shooter, which led him to give up the basket.  He also got backed down and got outmuscled, which led him to foul an opponent in the post.

Overall, Freemantle wasn’t as efficient in scoring the basketball, but he still showed some intriguing skills.  He made a spot-up three in the corner, and he also passed and rebounded the ball well.  Freemantle will need to trust his jump shot more and defend better, but he could be a prospect to watch next season.

Texas A&M’s freshman guard, Manny Obaseki quietly had a decent showing in his team’s win over Xavier.  He didn’t take many shots, but he was very efficient in scoring the basketball, and he seemed to make solid team plays on the court.

Obaseki did a good job of scoring on strong drives to the basket.  He didn’t shoot the ball often, but he has a solid first step to the hoop, and he was able to get scores at the rim.  He didn’t take many outside shots though, and he will need to be more assertive on offense.

He played adequate defense in this game.  Obaseki is a rangy defender that can get steals and blocks for his team.  He ran in to intercept a pass to get a steal, and he also rotated to block a shot to prevent an opponent from scoring on the break.  However, sometimes he can be too aggressive in trying to make plays defensively, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  Overall, Obaseki wasn’t as polished of a player as anticipated, but he showed that he can make solid team plays when he is on the floor.  He will need to be more aggressive on offense, and he will need to improve his outside shot.  He will need to stay in school to hone his game, but Obaseki could be a prospect to watch sometime down the road.

Former Duke big man, and Texas A&M’s forward, Henry Coleman III had a quiet game in his team’s win over Xavier.  He didn’t take many shots, but he was efficient in scoring the basketball, and he rebounded the ball very well.

He showed a solid ability to score in the post.  He was able to use a pump fake to score once, and he also scored when making a strong move another time.  However, sometimes he can tend to rush his moves, which can lead to misses.

Coleman played adequate defense.  He was able to draw a charge on a drive to get a stop for his team.  Sometimes though, he can be a bit too late on his rotations.

Overall, Coleman rebounded the ball very well, but otherwise didn’t really stand out in this game.  He will need to work on his face-up game and jump shot, and he will need to be more aggressive in looking for his own shots on offense.  He is a strong, mobile big man that has the ability to excel on both ends of the floor on a consistent basis, and Coleman could be a prospect to watch next season.

Other Notes:

The 33rd annual State Farm College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships was on tonight.  Alfonso Plummer played well in the shooting skills challenge event, and he shot the ball very well.

Jordan Bohannon won the three-point contest, and Rice’s Carl Pierre scored a 19 in the first round of the three-point contest. Both players are good shooters that can score in bunches.

Also, it was impressive that former Duke guard, Creighton’s senior guard Alex O’Connell was in both the three-point contest and slam dunk contest.  His athleticism, shooting skills, and pedigree could get him looks from NBA teams sometime in the near future. Grand Canyon’s Sean Miller-Moore did a nice, bounce, between-the-legs dunk in the first round.  Alondes Williams also showed great strength to throw down a dunk in the first round.

Taze Moore’s elbow hang dunk was easily one of the best dunks of the night.
(Source:
Twitter/@ChancellorTV)

Houston’s Taze Moore had the best dunks of the night, and he is a very athletic guard that won the Slam Dunk Contest.  He also did the elbow hang as a props to former Toronto Raptors’ legendary forward, Vince Carter, who won the 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Contest in Oakland.

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