Analyzing Jaime Jaquez Jr., Peyton Watson, and Christian Koloko
January 26th, 2022
By Alan Lu
Yesterday, I took the time to watch UCLA and Arizona play in a Pac-12 Conference basketball game. Bennedict Mathurin came in with the hype and the draft stock, but UCLA jumped on Arizona early and never relented. They made sure to get back to limit Arizona’s fast break chances, and UCLA played very well in order to get a double-digit win over their opponent. Jaime Jaquez Jr. looked to be the standout performer in this game, and Peyton Watson also impressed me, especially on the defensive end. Here are my thoughts on how Jaquez, Watson, and other various players fared on this day, as well as how their games may stack up as prospects for the NBA.
Jaime Jaquez Jr. had a strong showing in his team’s win over Arizona. He especially defended well, and he also showed off versatile scoring skills when he was on the court. Jaquez did a good job of scoring on strong drives to the hoop. He can accelerate to get to the rim, and he was able to score on a switch of hands layup. He also used a pump fake move to score another time. He also showed that he can score in the post, and he was able to utilize a quick spin move to score down low. Plus, he also was able to pull up to make a three-pointer from way. On the downside, he struggled to knock down his outside shots consistently in this game.
He also displayed fairly average playmaking skills. He showed that he can pass out of the post, and he also was able to show off some ball handling skills. He also managed to set a good screen to help his teammate score on an open, mid-range shot. However, sometimes he would struggle to handle the ball when pressured, which would lead him to commit ball-handling turnovers.
Also, Jaquez was able to haul in several defensive boards to help his team chip in on the glass. He also played very good defense in this game. Jaquez did a great job of rotating to block shots to help his team protect the paint due to possessing solid athleticism, timing, and instincts, and he is an energetic player that would usually swat them to his teammates. He also would get his hands on passes and poke balls away to get steals and deflections. He excelled at contesting shots in the paint to get numerous stops for his team. Every once in a while though, he would be late to defend shooters, which would lead him to allow three-point baskets.
In general, Jaime Jaquez Jr. played very well as he turned in a very good all-around performance to help his team get the win. He is a smart, skilled swingman whose versatility proved to be very useful on the court, and he defended really well in this game. He is an underrated prospect that does the little things to help his team get victories, and he could be a good pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range in the 2022 draft.
Peyton Watson also had a good showing in his team’s win over Arizona. He is an athletic, energetic forward showed off versatile scoring skills, and he also played terrific defense in this game. Watson did excellent work defensively. He would often rotate to block shots hard off of drives due to possessing very good athleticism, timing, and instincts, and he also would get his hands on passes to get plenty of steals and deflections. He also has good recovery speed that would allow him to contest shots inside the arc to force numerous misses. Plus, he also did a good job of rebounding the basketball.
He did a decent job of knocking down jumpers, which is a considerable improvement over how he has performed in previous college basketball games. Watson was able to make an open, spot-up three off the catch to show his shooting potential. On the other hand, he also missed on a pull-up, long two from the baseline another time. He also was active in looking to make hustle plays. Watson was able to pick off a pass, and he drove up the court to score on a speedy layup on the break. Another time though, he used a Euro-step move, but missed a layup in transition due to rushing. On the downside, he was fairly turnover prone on offense. For the positives, Watson is an unselfish player that can pass and handle the basketball. On the downside, he would tend to throw hasty passes that would get intercepted. He also was called for traveling when handling the ball once, as he had dragged his foot on that possession.
In summary, Peyton Watson played well, as he showed an improved jump shot, and he did a really good job of rebounding and defending to help his team get the win over Arizona. He’ll need to continue to improve his jump shot and will need to be a more consistent player on offense, but Watson is a high upside prospect that could end up being a solid pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range of the 2022 draft. Currently, he is a talented, but unpolished player that will still need to establish his strengths on offense, but if he can refine his skills, he could end up being a solid role player similar to Los Angeles Lakers’ forward, Trevor Ariza in the NBA.
Christian Koloko also played well in his team’s loss to UCLA. He is a very athletic center that excelled at making hustle plays, and he was the most consistent performer in a game where nearly all of his teammates struggled in this match. Koloko showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays. He would often catch lobs to score on powerful alley-oop dunks off of rolls to the rim. He also managed to score on a thunderous dunk off of a backdoor cut. He also scored on an athletic tip slam after grabbing an offensive rebound. On the downside, he struggled to score on other plays. He missed on a jump hook when posting up. He attempted to pass, but ended up missing an open, mid-range shot awkwardly, and he didn’t often look to take jumpers from further away.
He also showcased adequate playmaking skills. Koloko can throw timely passes from the post to find open teammates to notch assists. He also would set solid screens for his teammates, which would give them open driving lanes, and it would allow himself to get open to finish plays around the basket. Sometimes, he would be inaccurate with his passes, and he also stumbled and lost the ball that ended up going out of bounds.
Also, he did a decent job of rebounding the basketball. Koloko was especially active at chasing down balls to help his team get offensive rebounds. However, he didn’t grab nearly as many defensive rebounds as he should have, and his tendency to go for blocks would sometimes lead him to wind up out of position on defensive rebounding opportunities. He also played satisfactory defense in this game. Koloko would rotate to block and contest shots in the paint to force misses, and he also poked a ball away in the post to nearly get a steal. He showed a knack for contesting shots in the paint to get stops for his team. On the downside, he would tend to sag too far off of shooters, which would lead him to allow them to score on open jumpers. He also would sometimes get beat on crafty moves in the post to allow scores.
Overall, Christian Koloko is a very athletic, energetic center that thrived as an interior player in this game. He would score on powerful dunks off of off-ball motion plays, and he was active in blocking and contesting shots in the paint to force misses. On the other hand, he struggled more to defend shooters out on the perimeter, and he will also need to expand his skill set on offense at higher levels. He played well overall, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the second round of the upcoming draft.
Johnny Juzang had his ups and downs in his team’s win over Arizona. Visually, he looked to have played fairly well, though from a box score standpoint, it turned out that he was rather much more inefficient as a shooter than how he appeared in this game. Juzang did a good job of knocking down threes to provide floor spacing for his team on offense. He thrived as a spot-up shooter from beyond the arc, and Juzang especially showed a knack for quickly running off the ball to get it and then quickly score on quick, open corner threes off the catch.
He also was able to score on a couple of mid-range jumpers off the dribble, and he showed a knack for going to his left. He also used a spin move to his right once to score on a fadeaway, mid-range jumper. On the downside, he missed too often on his mid-range shots. He also was able to score on a strong drive in transition. On the downside, he would tend to miss on right-handed half-court drives, as he would tend to struggle to finish plays around the basket.
Also, Juzang demonstrated satisfactory playmaking skills in this game. He showed a penchant for making nice, drop-off passes off the dribble, and he was able to throw a nifty, no-look pass to set up a score for a teammate around the basket once due to possessing good court vision. On the downside, sometimes he would struggle to handle the ball when pressured, which would lead him to commit some ball-handling turnovers. Also, Juzang was able to get several defensive boards to help his team chip in on the glass.
Overall, Johnny Juzang looked to have a better game than the box score indicated. He shot the three-ball well, and he also threw good, creative passes to notch a pair of assists in this game. On the downside, he didn’t take enough threes, and he took a lot of tough shots that ended up hurting his shooting percentages. Still, Juzang is an athletic, physical swingman that can shoot and pass the basketball, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team, especially if he is available in the second round of the 2022 draft.
Azuolas Tubelis had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to UCLA. He is a mobile big man that showed some stretch big potential, and he showed off a promising face-up game by being able to score quickly off the dribble once. He also passed the ball well. On the other hand, he also missed too many easy shots around the basket, and he struggled to defend in this contest.
Tubelis shot the ball well when he would elect to hoist up outside shots. Tubelis ran quickly off of a ball screen, and he was able to swiftly knock down an open, spot-up three off the catch. Plus, he also did a good job of scoring off the dribble, as he was able to drive hard to the hoop to score on a tough, off-balanced shot off the glass. On the downside, he really struggled to score in the post, and he missed a lot of shots around the basket. He also showed off satisfactory playmaking skills. He is a good passer that threw crisp, accurate interior passes to notch a pair of assists, and he also can find his teammates on the move. On the downside, he also can be a bit reckless on occasion, and he was called for a charging foul once.
Also, Tubelis did a good job of rebounding the basketball. Defensively though, he struggled in this game. On one good play, he was able to intercept a pass to get a steal. On the downside, he would be too aggressive in trying to make plays, which would lead him to end up out of position, and then commit fouls and allow scores. He also got beat off the dribble once, which led him to allow an opponent to score on a floater.
Overall, Azuolas Tubelis is a skilled, mobile big man that showed off some promising perimeter skills, but he will need to do these things more. He also struggled to score around the basket, especially in traffic, as he’s not especially explosive nor has much lift. He will need to trust his outside shot and improve his defense. Currently, he is a borderline second round candidate whenever he decides to enter the 2022 draft.
Bennedict Mathurin had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to UCLA. His performance, though was good in spurts, was disappointing overall. He shot the ball well early on, but he really struggled as the game wore on. He would intermittently have some good moments, as he would show flashes of his talent and upside, and he would then force up too many tough, contested shots that would result in misses. He struggled to consistently score in the half court, and late in the game, he appeared to take his bad offense with him onto the defensive end, as his effort on defense seemed to wane late in this match.
Unlike the last time I saw him play, which was against Stanford, UCLA really limited his fast break opportunities. They slowed him down, and Mathurin ended up taking some really bad shots. I wondered about his ability to play in a half court offense even in a good game against Stanford, and his questionable at best shot selection in this game against UCLA does not inspire confidence in me at all about his ability to play in a half-court offense in the NBA in the future. On the plus side, he did a very good job of knocking down threes, and Mathurin can make his opponents pay for leaving him open. He was able to dribble off of a screen to patiently make an open three early on, and he can make open spot-up threes, and from way out, especially if he’s given ample time and space to shoot the basketball.
He also showed flashes of his ability to score in the half court, and he is an athletic swingman that showed some shot-creation ability and scoring prowess at times. Mathurin was able to drive off of an offensive rebound to score on a mid-range leaner while drawing an extra free throw once. He managed to draw free throws on a quick, backdoor cut another time. He also quickly drove to his left on the baseline to score on an acrobatic, reverse layup while getting an extra free throw another time.
However, he just doesn’t seem to make enough sound basketball plays, and Mathurin forced up too many bad shots on offense. He would often take tough, contested pull-up, mid-range shots after dribbling off of screens, and he often would miss on those shots. Other times, he didn’t seem to have a good idea of when to look to score when driving to the hoop, and he would take tough, off-balanced shots that would miss due to rushing, and he also ended up having a slew of his drives blocked other times. Mathurin would be quick to force up shots, but he didn’t really seem to read the defense or make the right basketball play, which led to a lot of misses down the stretch.
Also, he showed off fairly average playmaking skills in this game. Mathurin can throw solid drive and kick passes to find open shooters when he plays under control, and he also threw a nice touch pass to get an assist another time. On the downside, he showed a tendency to throw lazy passes, and he ended up having a couple of them get intercepted by his defenders. Other times, he would struggle to handle the ball when pressured by his opponents.
Mathurin did a great job of rebounding the basketball. He showed a knack for hauling in boards on both ends of the floor, and he also was able to push the ball quickly up the court off of a defensive rebound. He also played decent defense in this game. Mathurin is an active help defender that can apply ball pressure when he is engaged and motivated, and he will look to help his team force turnovers. He was able to poke a ball away in the post to get a steal, and he also ran in to intercept a pass. He also ran in to tie up an opposing ball handler in the backcourt to nearly get a steal another time. On the downside, his effort waned late in the game as he struggled with his jump shot. There were a couple of times where he wouldn’t even rotate or contest outside shots, and he would give up too much space to shooters, which would lead him to allow scores to them.
Overall, Bennedict Mathurin didn’t have his best game, but he is a very athletic swingman that has good amount of upside as a prospect for the NBA. He’ll need to play more under control, and he will need to harness his skills to be a more effective player in the half-court. He’s already excelling as a three-point shooter, so he’ll need to improve his shot selection and playmaking skills in the meantime. Currently, he projects to be a mid-first round pick in the 2022 draft.
UCLA’s senior swingman, Jules Bernard also played well in his team’s win over Arizona. He shot the ball well, especially from the mid-range. He showed a knack for scoring on pull-up, mid-range jumpers, and he showed that he can use a spin move to score, as well as score on step-backs and fadeaway jumpers. He also scored on a floater off the dribble. He also made an open, spot-up three another time, but he struggled to consistently knock down his threes in this game.
He also passed the ball well, and he is an unselfish player that would find the open man to set up plenty of scoring chances for his teammates. He also rebounded and defended well. Bernard was able to poke a ball away and get his hands on a pass to get steals for his team. On the downside, he had some trouble defending cuts and drives to the hoop, which would lead his team to commit fouls.
Overall, Bernard is a mobile, skilled swingman that did a good job of making team plays to help UCLA in this game. He thrived at scoring on mid-range jumpers, and he played well on both ends of the floor. He will need to prove to NBA teams that he can be a reliable three-point shooter and position defender at higher levels. If so, he could project into a 3 and D role at that level someday.
Tyger Campbell also played well in this game. He shot the ball well, especially from the mid-range. He showed a knack for scoring on mid-range jumpers off the dribble, especially when dribbling to his left. He also was able to make an open, pull-up three. Campbell also passed and handled the ball well, and he did a good job of grabbing boards for his team.
He also generally defended well. He was able to poke a ball off of an opponent to help his team get a steal. He also drew a charge another time. Sometimes though, he would be too aggressive in trying to make plays, which would lead him to commit touch fouls. Overall, Tyger Campbell is a quick, agile playmaker that can reliably run the team at the point, and he played a sound, all-around game to help his team get the win. While his game may not standout as he lacks elite size and doesn’t shoot the ball very often, Campbell is a smart, skilled point guard that could end up being a solid backup point guard in the NBA one day.
Cody Riley had a decent showing in his team’s win over Arizona. He was both effective as a low post scorer and mid-range shooter in this game. He has solid footwork, strength, and shooting touch to score inside, as he was able to score on drop step moves, as well as on an up and under, step-through move. He also did a good job of making open, mid-range jumpers. He would sometimes struggle to score in traffic, but Riley generally did a good job of providing scoring for his team on offense. He also was able to get several defensive rebounds in this game. On the downside, sometimes he would be late on his rotations, which would lead his team to allow scores around the basket.
Overall, Riley played fairly well, and he is a strong, mobile big man that can score in the post and knock down some mid-range jumpers. He will need to prove to NBA teams that he can defend upper echelon opponents on a consistent basis, but he is a tough, gritty player that could compete for a roster spot in the NBA someday.
Myles Johnson also played well in his team’s win over Arizona. He excelled as a scorer and defender when he was on the floor. He didn’t take many shots, but he was effective as an inside scorer in this game. Johnson managed to score in the post while drawing an extra free throw once. He also managed to score on a tip-in. Plus, he showed a knack for blocking mid-range jumpers to get stops for his team. Overall, Johnson is a strong, physical center that helped shore up his team’s interior, and he could end up competing for a backup center role in the NBA one day.