Analyzing Jarace Walker, Taylor Hendricks, and Marcus Sasser

January 25th, 2022

By Alan Lu

Today, I decided to take the time to watch Jarace Walker and Houston take on Taylor Hendricks and UCF in a tough, competitive AAC basketball game.  The Houston Cougars are one of the best teams in the country, and they boast having two first round prospects in Walker and Sasser, and this game featured two lottery prospects in Walker and Hendricks for the 2023 draft.  Both Walker and Hendricks played very well in this game, and both of them helped their team on both ends of the floor. 

It was a fun and fast-paced game, especially in the first half.  Houston led for most of this contest, but UCF kept it close for most of the way.  The tide shifted greatly in Houston’s favor when Hendricks picked up his fourth foul, and after that UCF struggled to keep up as they struggled to consistently score or defend, and they also had trouble staying away from committing fouls.  Houston was able to make some clutch plays as they also had strong guard and bench play, and they were able to get a decisive victory over UCF.  Here are my thoughts on how Walker, Hendricks, and other various prospects fared in this match.

Houston’s 6-8 freshman forward, Jarace Walker scored 17 points, and had 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 steal, and 1 block in his team’s win over UCF.
(Photo:
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press)

Jarace Walker had a strong showing, as he played a good all-around game to help lift Houston to a win over UCF.  He is a strong, very athletic forward that was able to score the ball efficiently and in a variety of ways, he made good passes throughout the night, and he also defended well when he was on the court.

Walker showed a showed a solid ability to score off the dribble.  He showed good body control, strength, and balance to draw numerous fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line when driving to the hoop.  He also was able to score on a ferocious dunk off of a drive in transition.  He also managed to score on a turnaround jumper out of the post.  He also thrived at scoring on off-ball motion plays as he was both effective as a cutter and as the roll man, and he was able to throw down a thunderous dunk in traffic while getting fouled on a backdoor cut.  Walker has great strength and good leaping ability that really enables him to finish in traffic when he gets the ball on the move.

He was able to knock down a couple of outside shots, and he showed an adequate ability to knock them down in this game.  Early on, Walker moved off the ball to get it, which enabled him to knock down an open, spot-up three off the catch.  He also was able to score on a mid-range floater from the baseline.  He struggled to knock down pull-up, mid-range jumpers consistently, but he was able to make enough outside shots to keep his defenders honest.

Plus, Walker showcased solid playmaking skills.  He is a patient player that made good extra passes to corner shooters to notch assists, and he is an unselfish player that will get his teammates the basketball.  He also was able to make a drive and dish pass to get an assist early on.  Walker also did a good job of throwing accurate skip passes to find open shooters.  On one play late in this match, he tried a behind-the-back crossover move to his left, but he ended up losing the ball, and it led him to commit his lone turnover of this match.

Also, Walker was able to get boards on both ends of the floor to help his team out on the glass.  However, he also was called for committing an over the back foul when going for an offensive board once.  He also played satisfactory defense in this game.  Walker was able to jump a pass to get a steal.  He also leapt up to block a shot ferociously to help his team protect the paint due to possessing good athleticism, timing, and instincts.  He also was able to contest a couple of three-point shots to force him misses.  On one play though, he got beat off the dribble and ended up allowing his man to score on a dunk early on.  He also lost track of a cutter, which led his team to give up another dunk a bit later.

In summary, Jarace Walker played very well in his team’s win over UCF.  He did a good job of making plays to help his team throughout the game, especially in the first half.  He is a powerful player that can score the basketball in a variety of ways, did a good job of distributing the basketball, and he made impactful defensive plays to help his team on the floor.  He is a very athletic, energetic forward that has a variety of skills that could prove to be useful at the next level, and he could be a very good pick for an NBA team in the lottery of the 2023 draft.

UCF’s 6-9 freshman forward, Taylor Hendricks scored 17 points, made two threes, and had 7 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 assists, and 1 steal in his team’s loss to Houston.
(Photo:
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press)

Taylor Hendricks also played very well in his team’s loss to Houston.  Hendricks is a tall, very athletic forward that thrived as a shooter, scorer, and defender in this game.  He did a very good job of blocking and challenging shots at the rim, and he also showed more of a dribble game this time around.  On the other hand, he ran into foul trouble midway through the second half, although it seemed that his opponents seemed to initiate the contact at times, but his team ended up struggling to keep up and they ended up losing by double digits.

Hendricks showed a solid ability to score off the dribble.  He was able to drive hard past Walker to his left to score on a strong dunk early on.  He also was able to go to his right to draw free throws another time.  He also excelled as a finisher around the basket.  He thrived at scoring on backdoor cuts, and he was able to score on a powerful dunk.  He also ran the floor to get the ball, and he was able to score in traffic.

He also shot the ball fairly well.  Hendricks made a corner three, and he also pulled up to make a bank three later on.  However, he was a bit tentative from the outside in the second half, and he passed up a couple of opportunities to shoot the ball from beyond the arc.  He also used a pump fake and dribbled in to take a mid-range jumper, but missed that time.

He also displayed satisfactory playmaking skills.  Hendricks would make the extra pass to get his teammates the basketball, and he was able to net a pair of assists.  He also managed to set a solid on-ball screen to help his teammate get an open jump shot another time.  On one possession when he had the ball in his hands, it ended up getting poked away from him, which led him to commit a turnover.

Also, Hendricks did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He also played satisfactory defense in this game.  He was terrific at blocking shots to help his team protect the paint, and he would leap up to swat plenty of shots, and he even managed to block dunk attempts due to possessing very good length, athleticism, and timing.  He also was able to get his hands on a pass when defending in the post to get a steals.  He also used his length to successfully challenge a three-point shot to force a miss.  However, sometimes he would struggle to defend off the dribble, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  Sometimes he would be too aggressive in trying to close out, which would lead him to foul jump shooters.  Another time, he was late to rotate, and allowed his man to score on a three-pointer.

In general, Taylor Hendricks had a strong showing, as he was able to make threes, block shots, and he also showed an improved ability to score off the dribble.  He may be one of the biggest sleepers amongst prospects that could be in the upcoming draft, and he could be a very good pick for an NBA team in the lottery on draft day.

Marcus Sasser also had a solid showing in his team’s win over UCF.  He is an agile, skilled playmaker that thrived as a shooter and scorer in this game.  He shot the three-ball well, and he was able to make a smooth, step-back three once, and he also used a rip-through move on a three-point shot to draw a foul on a defender another time.  He also managed to score on an acrobatic, reverse layup off the dribble while getting fouled at the rim.

He also showcased decent playmaking skills.  He can throw crisp, accurate passes off the dribble to set up scoring chances for his teammates due to possessing solid court vision.  Sometimes though, he would collide into defenders when handling the ball under pressure, and he was called for a charging foul when driving in transition.

He didn’t get many rebounds, but Sasser was able to chase down a ball to help his team get an offensive rebound.  Defensively though, he struggled a bit on that end of the floor.  He would tend to get beat off the dribble and outmuscled when defending in one-on-one situations, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Sasser is a skilled, three-level scorer that can make shots in a variety of ways.  He’ll need to show that he can consistently guard taller players, but his ability to make shots and run the team at the point could enable him to be a very good pick for an NBA team in the second round on draft day.

Jamal Shead had.a strong all-around showing in Houston’s win over UCF.  He is an agile, skilled playmaker that showed a knack for drawing free throws on aggressive drives to the rim, and he also would score on hustle plays.  He also managed to make a tough, step-back three.  He also passed the ball well, and he would find his teammates on the move to set up scores for them.

Plus, he also did a terrific job of rebounding the basketball.  Shead also defended very well.  He was able to contest a long two to force a miss due to good positioning.  He also managed to successfully draw a charge when defending an opposing ball handler.  He also rotated to poke a ball and dove for a loose ball on the ground to nearly get a steal another time.  The only downside was that he didn’t make threes consistently in this game, but Shead played well in all of the other areas to more than make up for that.

Overall, Shead played very well, and he consistently made plays to help his team in this game.  He is an underrated prospect that will do the little things to help his team get victories, and he could be a good value pick for an NBA team in the second round whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft.

Houston’s freshman guard, Emanuel Sharp had a terrific game in his team’s win over UCF.  Sharp is a sharpshooter that thrived at making a wealth of threes to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He especially showed a knack for dribbling and using a side-step move to knock down pull-up threes from the corner.  He also was able to score on a mid-range floater. 

He also blocked a three-point shot to get a stop for his team defensively another time.  Overall, Sharp is an agile, skilled combo guard that was terrific as a shooter, scorer, and defender off the bench, and he put forth an impressive performance to help his team get the win.  He played very well today, and he could end up being a solid role player similar to Phoenix Suns’ guard, Landry Shamet in the NBA.

C.J. Kelly had a fairly solid showing in his team’s loss to Houston.  He is a solid shooter that did a good job of making standstill threes, and he also showed plenty of range on his shot.  He struggled more to score when taking the ball inside, especially when he would take shots from the mid-range, but he also would sometimes be able to lean in and draw free throws when looking to score off the dribble.

Also, Kelly showcased solid playmaking skills.  He did a good job of making an assortment of passes off the dribble to set up scores for his teammates.  However, he also was called for traveling when handling the ball once.  Kelly was able to get a few rebounds to chip in on the glass.  He also played adequate defense.  Kelly was able to rotate to block a shot to a teammate to help his team protect the paint due to possessing solid athleticism, timing, and instincts.  He also hustled back and poked a ball away on a drive in transition to nearly get a steal another time.  However, sometimes he would tend to be too aggressive in contesting shots, which would lead him to commit touch fouls.

Overall, Kelly played fairly well, as he excelled as a spot-up shooter, ball mover, and he also made hustle plays to help his team defensively.  He struggled to consistently create his own shot though, and he would sometimes commit silly fouls.  He has played fairly well in his role this season, and he could project into a 3 and D type of role if he makes it to the NBA someday.

Ithiel Horton had a solid showing, especially in the first half.  He is an agile, skilled guard that excelled as a shot maker.  He showed that he can make threes both off the catch and dribble, and he has a quick release that enables him to easily get his shot off.  He showed a knack for making mid-range jumpers off the dribble, and he is a shifty guard that can maneuver around to score.  Plus, he also was able to draw an extra free throw when scoring on a mid-range runner once.  Horton showed a satisfactory ability to score off the dribble, but sometimes he would take quick, contested shots that would lead to some misses.

He also displayed decent playmaking skills.  Horton was able to make a drive and dish pass to notch an assist.  Another time though, he pushed off on a drive to the hoop and was called for committing an offensive foul and a turnover.  Horton did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  However, there was one possession where he was called for fouling an opponent when jostling for position on a rebound attempt that led him to also be called for a Flagrant 1 foul later on.

Overall, Ithiel Horton shot the ball well, especially in the first half to help his team in this game.  He can sometimes tend to be too streaky with his shot and can display spotty shot selection at times, but he can also score in bunches.  He is a shot maker that may project into a microwave type of scorer role at the NBA level, and he could end up competing for a roster spot in the NBA someday.

Anyways, those are my thoughts on how Jarace Walker, Taylor Hendricks, and other various prospects fared in the Houston-UCF game that was played today.  Thanks for reading.

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