Analyzing Kai Jones, Greg Brown, and Day’Ron Sharpe
December 2nd, 2020
By Alan Lu
Today was the championship game of the Maui Invitational, as it took place between Texas and North Carolina, which featured potential lottery prospect and Texas freshman forward, Greg Brown. Earlier this morning Ziaire Williams seemed like he was worn out as he was on his 3rd game in 3 days, and he then shot just 1 of 10 from the field, scored just 4 points, and fouled out in a loss to Indiana. With Ziaire Williams-mania having basically died down and gone away, at this stage, I guess you could say we’re all just ready to go home. However, Texas and North Carolina weren’t done playing basketball, not just yet, as there was one more game left. Also, the main reason for me tuning in was that I wanted to see how well Greg Brown would play against North Carolina in this game.
In the championship game in Maui, it was a hard-fought, back and forth match as both teams traded leads, and it was a frantic, frenetically paced game that were both teams tried to work quickly to make plays on both ends of the floor. It turned out though, that Texas’ sophomore center, Kai Jones had an excellent showing here, and he helped himself the most with his strong play off the bench, and senior guard Matt Coleman also operated well as a shooter and scorer, and he made a game-winning, clutch, mid-range jumper to help his team get a decisive win over North Carolina. Here are my thoughts on how Kai Jones and other various prospects fared on this day.
Texas’ sophomore center, Kai Jones played very well, as he showed a solid all-around game to help lead his team to a stunning upset win over North Carolina. Kai Jones is a very athletic big man that excelled not only as an interior player on both ends of the floor, but he also passed the ball well, and he showed off a smooth jump shot
Kai Jones shot the ball well, and he did a very good job of knocking down jumpers to provide floor spacing for his team on offense. He used a jab step to make a three-point shot off the catch, and he also dribbled in to make a pull-up jumper from the mid-range.
He also generally excelled at scoring on hustle plays. Jones was able to run in to score on a quick tip-in off of and he also ran in to score on a thunderous dunk on the break. Plus, he also showed the ability to draw free throws when driving the ball to the hoop.
Jones displayed decent playmaking skills in this game. He is an unselfish player that would get balls to shooters to set up scores for them. However, he was called for setting a moving screen, even though he appeared to be set, and the other opponent seemed to get away with having flopped and fallen down on the play. Jones also was called for a traveling violation on a drive another time.
Plus, he also rebounded the ball well. Jones would leap up to get numerous boards on both ends of the floor to help his team get rebounds, and he excelled at cleaning the glass in this game. However, there was one play where he ended up committing an over the back foul when going for an offensive board once.
He also played decent defense in this game. Jones did a good job of getting his hands on passes to help his team get steals and force turnovers. On the downside, he can occasionally struggle to defend in the paint. He committed a foul once when defending in the post. Another time, he over-helped off of his man, as he was caught ball watching, and he allowed his man to catch a lob pass to score on an alley-oop layup behind him.
In general, Kai Jones played very well in this game at the Maui Invitational, and he could see his draft stock elevate significantly after his strong performance to help his team win the championship game at this tournament. He is a very athletic big man that could project to be a rim protector at the next level, and he also showed off solid shooting and passing skills, as he was able to get assists and make a spot-up three in his team’s win over North Carolina. If he can continue to play well this season, Jones could end up being a first round pick in the 2021 draft.
Texas’ freshman forward, Greg Brown had a relatively decent showing in his team’s win over North Carolina. Granted, he hasn’t exactly shot the ball very well this season prior to this game, even though he was able to make some impressively athletic plays at times. Still, this was Brown’s first game in which he actually made a three-point shot and showed off his versatility as a scorer. Brown still had his ups and downs overall, but he did show more of his promise as a prospect for the NBA, which was encouraging, and he has taken slow steps to try to succeed at the collegiate level.
Brown was able to make an open deep three-point shot off the catch, and he was able to score from downtown in this game. He struggled to make spot-up threes consistently, and he also missed on a pull-up three, but he’s finally starting to flash those shooting skills that made him such a tantalizing prospect when he was in high school.
He also showed a decent ability to score on quick drives to the basket. Brown was able to drive to his left to score on a smooth, graceful layup. Plus, he also ran the floor to get the ball, and he then drove the baseline to score on a double pump layup on the break. He also showed a knack for drawing free throws on aggressive drives to the hoop. Sometimes, he would miss wildly on tough drives in traffic, as he had a tendency to take very difficult shots, as he was prone to taking off-balanced shots when looking to score in the paint.
Also, Brown did a very good job of rebounding the basketball. He especially showed a knack for coming away with defensive boards when he was on the floor. Defensively, he looked to be perhaps above average. Brown was able to get his hands on a pass to get a steal, and he also contested a drive to force a miss another time. However, he also tended to pick up quick fouls, especially midway through this contest. He was called for a foul on a drive, and he also was called for fouling his man in the post, though it appeared that he and his opponent were just jostling for position, and he was guarding a much stronger opponent down low. Still, those fouls may have been ticky-tack, as it seemed as if the referees were going out of their way to call fouls on him.
Overall, Greg Brown has still having some trouble adjusting to college basketball, but he at least is starting to show some versatile as a scorer that made him a highly touted recruit coming into college basketball. He will still need to improve his jump shot and he will need to stay away from foul trouble, but he is a very athletic forward whose vast upside could enable him to be worth a look in the lottery in the 2021 draft, especially as the NBA’s much faster paced game may be more suited to his liking at the next level.
North Carolina’s 6-10 freshman center, Day’Ron Sharpe put forth a solid performance in his team’s loss to Texas. He showed off strong inside scoring skills, and he also passed and defended well when he was on the court. He tended to score on strong put backs, and he has very good body control to finish plays around the basket. Sharpe also got deep position to score on a turnaround jump hook in the post while getting an extra free throw. He did miss on a drive in traffic, but he generally excelled as a scorer in the post for his team.
He also is an unselfish player that would look to find the open man to set up scoring chances for his teammates. Sharpe is a good passer out of the post, and he can find teammates on the move to set up scoring chances for them. He also threw accurate interior passes, and Sharpe may be one of the more underrated passing big men in college basketball. He was called for a traveling violation in the post once, as he may have shuffled his feet that time.
Plus, he also generally rebounded and defended well in this game. Sharpe was able to leap up to get many offensive boards when he was on the floor, and he was very active at crashing the glass on that side of the ball. He also managed to block a shot off of a drive to a teammate. Sometimes though, he would rotate to commit fouls on drives, as his team had some trouble defending quicker opponents on the floor.
Overall, Day’Ron Sharpe is a very strong, mobile big man that excelled as an interior player, and he showed some promise as a prospect for the next level. He could project to go in the late first to the second round range. While he will still need to extend his shooting range, his ability to make plays on both ends of the floor, combined with his size, athleticism, and passing skills could enable him to end up being a solid role player in the NBA.
Texas’ senior point guard, Matt Coleman played very well in his team’s win over North Carolina. He excelled as a shooter and scorer in this game, and he also made the game-winning, mid-range jumper to help his team win the Maui Invitational.
Coleman showed a solid ability to score off the dribble. He is an agile scorer that can quickly get to the rim, and he was able to get a couple of strong scores around the basket. He also did a very good job of scoring on speedy, pull-up jumpers from the mid-range, and he also was able to score on a couple of step-back, mid-range shots. Sometimes he would miss on contested layups in traffic, though.
Also, he did a good job of scoring on three-point shots to space the floor for his team. Coleman was able to make an open, step-back three, and he also did a good job of scoring on spot-up threes off the catch. Though he looked to score quite often, he was able to throw some passes off the dribble to set up scoring chances for his teammates. He didn’t commit turnovers very often, but he did throw an entry pass that his teammate dropped and lost out of bounds once.
He also played fairly good defense in this game. Coleman was able to poke balls away from opposing ball handlers and get his hands on passes to get steals and deflections. However, there was one play where he committed an aggressive foul when going for a pass defensively.
In summary, Matt Coleman had a solid showing in his team’s win, and he led all scorers with 22 points and was tied for the most assists with 3 in this game to help Texas defeat North Carolina. He played very well in this game, and he could end up being a second round pick in the 2021 draft.
North Carolina’s 6-10 senior center, Garrison Brooks played fairly well in his team’s loss to Texas. He is a strong, physical big man that did a good job of scoring in the post, and he led all players on his team with 18 points in this game. He also drew numerous fouls on his opponents, and his ability to do so helped get freshman forward, Greg Brown into foul trouble.
Brooks showed a solid ability to score in the post. He would frequently use pivot moves to score on turnaround, fadeaway jumpers and jump hooks, and he showed off a deft scoring touch to score around the basket. He also is a very strong player that can get very deep position down low, and he would often draw fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line. Sometimes though, he would miss on jump hooks, and other times, he would occasionally miss shots inside when he wouldn’t get foul calls, but he usually excelled as an inside scorer on offense.
He displayed fairly average playmaking skills in this game. Though he would look to score often, he was able to use a pump fake move to find an open shooter once in this game. However, he can sometimes tend to hold the ball for too long, as he can be a bit of a ball stopper. He also was called for traveling in the post, and he would have scored on a turnaround jump hook if that call had not been made.
Also, Brooks was able to get his fair share of boards on both ends of the floor. Defensively, he struggled in this game. For the positives, he was able to block shots when defending in the post. However, he tended to commit fouls off of drives and in the post, and he also had trouble defending quicker opponents out in space. Brooks would give up too much space to shooters to allow them to score on jumpers. Other times, he would struggle to stay in front of opponents off the dribble, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.
Overall, Garrison Brooks is a strong, physical big man whose inside scoring skills and brute physicality have helped his standing at the Maui Invitational, as he showed a knack for scoring and rebounding in the paint, and for drawing fouls on highly rated freshman prospects to get them into foul trouble. It was as if he was receiving superstar treatment at times, as he was able to draw fouls at a very frequent rate. Brooks will need to improve his defense and extend his shooting range, but his ability to produce in the paint could make him a viable candidate as a second round prospect for the 2021 draft.
North Carolina’s freshman guard, Caleb Love had a rough game in his team’s loss to Texas. After playing a strong defensive game yesterday, and showing his prowess at times as a scorer despite being rather inconsistent in doing so in his team’s win over Stanford, Love really struggled to shoot, score, or to do much of anything in his team’s loss to Texas.
Love tended to favor going to his right when driving to the hoop, and on one play, he was able to score on a tough, fadeaway floater. He also dribbled in off of an offensive rebound to score another time. However, he tended to miss on difficult shots off of drives, and he missed too often when hoisting up mid-range or three-point shots. He also collected zero assists in this game. Love tended to throw inaccurate passes that would go astray, and he also had trouble handling the ball in traffic that would also lead to some turnovers.
Defensively, he also was kind of a disappointment in this game. He struggled more to defend opponents off the dribble, and this would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores. He also was not tasked to defend Matt Coleman on the final shot, but it could have helped if he were, as Love has shown in the game against Stanford that he has the ability to excel as a defender on the court.
Overall, Love did not play very well in his team’s loss to Texas, and as a player, he may be at something of a crossroads in college basketball. He will need to definitively play better on offense than how he performed at the Maui, as he has not shoot the ball well consistently in this tournament, and he was quite turnover prone over the last few games. He is a much more talented player than how he has played, but he has struggled a bit to adjust to college basketball. Right now, his defense may be ahead of his offense, but he could see his draft stock slide if he continues to struggle this mightily in the next batch of basketball games that lie ahead of him.
North Carolina’s 6-10 sophomore center, Armando Bacot played fairly well in his team’s loss to Texas. He primarily excelled at scoring on hustle plays, and he also caught a lob pass to score on a layup around the basket. He did a terrific job of rebounding the basketball, and he also was active in blocking shots and deflecting passes to help get steams for his team. Sometimes though he would give up too much space to shooters, which would cause him to allow opponents to score on three-point shots. Overall, Bacot had a solid showing in his team’s loss to Texas, and he is a mobile interior player that could project to be a second round prospect for the 2021 draft.
Texas’ 6-3 junior guard, Courtney Ramey had his ups and downs in his team’s win over North Carolina. He didn’t make shots efficiently overall, as he tended to miss too often off the dribble, but he is an agile combo guard that can score off of quick drives and mid-range shots. He also showed a knack for making spot-up threes off the catch.
As a playmaker, he showed a decent ability to find teammates off the dribble and on the move to set up scoring chances for them. However, there was one play where he lost the ball when handling it that resulted in a turnover. Ramey also was able to leap up to get his fair share of defensive rebounds in this game. He also played fairly good defense. He was able to intercept a pass to get a steal, and he also will poke balls away to help force additional turnovers.
Overall, Courtney Ramey is a skilled combo guard that can score the basketball in a variety of ways. He will need to make more shots consistently in games, but he could be a potential second round pick whenever he decides to declare to enter the NBA draft.
Texas’ 6-4 redshirt junior guard, Andrew Jones put forth an uneven performance in his team’s win over North Carolina. He played well early in the first half, but he struggled to make shots consistently and with turnovers in this contest. Jones was able to make a spot-up three, and he also drew free throws on an aggressive drive to the hoop another time to show off versatile scoring skills, and he is an athletic player that can make plays on offense. However, he had trouble making spot-up jumpers consistently, or to consistently get scores off the dribble.
Jones also was quite turnover prone in this game. He tended to be inaccurate with his passes, as they would tend to sail away and go out of bounds. He also struggled to handle the ball in traffic at times, and after using a crossover move, he ended up losing it out of bounds another time.
Overall, Jones didn’t have his best game, but his team was able to get the win over North Carolina. It’s inspiring that he has been able to recover from leukemia, and there were a couple of plays where he looked like his old self back when he was once considered to be a potential first round prospect. Those days may be long over, but now, he is a savvy veteran guard whose story can inspire others, and Jones’ strong intangibles could give him a shot to compete for a roster spot in the NBA.
North Carolina’s 6-8 junior forward, Leaky Black had another solid showing in his team’s narrow loss to Texas. He is an unselfish player that would move the basketball to get assists, and he was active as a rebounder and defender in this game. Black did a great job of rebounding the basketball, and he would poke balls away to help his team get steals and deflections.
He also did a good job of scoring on quick drives in transition. Though Black was able to make a long corner two-point shot off the catch, and drew free throws on another mid-range shot, he struggled to make mid-range jumpers consistently in this game. He also was a bit prone to committing fouls on drives to the hoop due to over-aggressiveness.
Overall, Black helped his standing by having a fairly solid tournament overall, and while it may not be reflected fully in his season statistics, he seems to have an impact that goes beyond the box score. He will still need to improve his jump shot, but he is a team oriented player that showed a knack for making plays at the right times to help his team on both ends of the floor.
Texas’ 6-9 senior forward, Royce Hamm Jr. made an impact on the game defensively due to his strong shot-blocking skills, and he was a very active presence that would often contest shots to get stops for his team. Sometimes, he would be prone to committing fouls due to over-aggressiveness, but his high-energy style of play helped his team significantly. On offense, he was able to score on a thunderous tip dunk on the break. Overall, he will need to improve significantly on offense, but his solid athletic gifts and defensive skills could enable him to potentially compete for a roster spot in the NBA.
North Carolina’s 6-4 freshman guard, Kerwin Walton played fairly well in limited minutes. He was able to make a step-back three, and he also contested a corner three to force a miss defensively. It was a shame that he didn’t play more in this game, as he made a nice three-point shot early on, and North Carolina could’ve used his help, especially since the guards really struggled to produce on offense today against Texas.
North Carolina’s 7-1 freshman center, Walker Kessler showed a knack for drawing free throws around the basket, and he also caught a lob pass to score on a layup. He looked to be about average defensively, as he struggled to defend quicker players off the dribble at times, but he was able to contest shots to force some misses when he was in position. Kessler has not played nearly as much as anticipated, but it’s a good thing that North Carolina has so many quality big men on their roster, as Kessler may be a talented enough player to be a starting center on plenty of other college basketball teams’ roster if he were on another team.
Texas’ senior center, Jericho Sims started the game, but he didn’t actually do much of anything. He had his jump shot blocked in the post, he struggled to defend in the post, but he did manage to grab some defensive rebounds. Overall, he had a disappointing game as he was held scoreless, but his team was able to win the game against North Carolina regardless.
North Carolina’s 6-0 freshman guard, R.J. Davis did not play nearly as well this time around. Though he showed a penchant for drawing free throws on aggressive drives to the hoop, and also scored on the break, he struggled to score off the dribble or to make jump shots. Davis played more unselfishly to get assists, but he also would sometimes get his passes intercepted or balls poked away to commit turnovers. He was able to get some rebounds and a steal, but he also struggled to defend opponents off the dribble, which led him to commit fouls and allow scores.
Overall, Davis has been a beneficiary of receiving ample playing time, and though it’s uncertain if he actually is a decidedly better player than Kerwin Walton, Davis has clearly benefitted from being able to get significant playing time in games. While he may not move up anyone’s draft boards due to being an undersized scoring guard that possesses rather ordinary athletic gifts, Davis’ ability to make shots could enable him to at least to continue to earn playing time at North Carolina and in college basketball.