Analyzing Kwame Evans, Isaiah Collier, and Jackson Shelstad

December 29th, 2023

By Alan Lu

Yesterday, I took the time to watch Isaiah Collier and USC play against Kwame Evans and Oregon in a very competitive, Pac-12 basketball game.  Oregon got off to a fast start, and they were led by the strong play of freshman point guard Jackson Shelstad and freshman forward Kwame Evans, and they were able to go on to get a win over USC.  Isaiah Collier had a slow start as he took a backseat role in his team’s offense in the first half, but he played significantly better in the second half.  Here are my thoughts on how they fared, as well as how their games may translate to the NBA.

Oregon’s 6-9 freshman forward, Kwame Evans scored 22 points, made 3 threes, and had 8 rebounds, 5 steals, 2 assists, and 1 block in his team’s win over USC on December 28th. (Photo: Amanda Loman/Associated Press, via The Seattle Times)

Kwame Evans had an excellent performance to help lead Oregon to a win over USC.  He is an athletic forward that has a versatile skill set, and while he has struggled with his outside shot this season, that has not deterred his confidence, and he was rewarded for it by being able to shoot well from the outside, and he in turn had a terrific all-around game.

Evans excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He ran the floor to score on a fast break.  He also set an off-ball screen and got the ball on a back cut to draw free throws another time.  He also managed to score on a strong put back off of an offensive rebound while getting fouled later on.

Plus, he also shot the ball very well, especially from downtown.  He showed a knack for making spot-up threes off the catch smoothly in this game, and Evans also moved off the ball to make a three-pointer early on.  He also showed a solid ability to score off the dribble, and he especially showed that he can go to his right to do so.

He also showcased satisfactory playmaking skills in this game.  Evans is an unselfish player that passed the ball very well, and he showed that he can make passes off the dribble and find teammates on the move to set up scores for them.  However, he would sometimes struggle to handle or catch balls in the post, and he would lose balls after getting them down low on occasion that would lead to turnovers.

Also, Evans showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball, and he would haul in plenty of boards on both sides of the ball.  He also defended very well in this game.  Evans would intercept passes and poke balls away to get a plethora of steals for his team.  He also did a good job of contesting shots to force misses, and he also was able to rotate to block a shot off of a drive another time.

In general, Kwame Evans turned in an outstanding performance to help lead his team to a win over USC.  He had an excellent all-around game, and he showed that he is an athletic, versatile forward that can do many things on the court.  He can do many things on the court, and he could end up being a good pick for an NBA team in the first round of the 2024 draft.

Isaiah Collier had to withstand rampant chucking and misses from his teammates in the first half, but he ended up scoring 11 points and dishing out 3 assists in his team’s loss to Oregon.
(Photo: Butch Dill/Associated Press, via Orange County Register)

USC’s freshman guard, Isaiah Collier played fairly well in his team’s loss to Oregon. He had a slow start to this game, as he took a backseat role on offense early on, but he started to pick it up in the second half, and his ability to attack the basket to score and get assists helped keep his team in it against Oregon.

Collier was terrific at scoring on strong, speedy drives in transition.  He is a strong, athletic combo guard that excelled at driving to the hoop in the open court, and being able to get that momentum would allow him to score in traffic and draw a plethora of free throws on his opponents.  He seemed to be less successful on half-court drives, as he didn’t quite get that extra momentum, so he would miss on some tough shots in traffic, but Collier was able to score on an aggressive baseline drive once.

He showed promise as an outside shooter in this game.  Collier moved off the ball to make an open corner three.  He didn’t take many threes though, and he ended up missing a deep, pull-up three later on.  He also missed on a couple of pull-up, mid-range jumpers, and defenders were sometimes able to prevent him from getting all the way to the basket.

Also, Collier showcased decent playmaking skills in this game.  He is an unselfish player that can make passes off the dribble and will make the extra pass to find the open man, and Colleir can make an assortment of passes to get the ball to his teammates.  On the other hand, he’ll try risky passes, and he ended up throwing a couple of passes that ended up getting intercepted.

He also was able to get his fair share of boards to help his team get some rebounds.  Collier also dove on the ground for an offensive rebound attempt another time as he made an good hustle play to get his hands on the ball.  Defensively, he looked to be fairly average.  Collier was able to contest a deep three to force a miss.  He also fell backwards and drew a charge on an opposing ball handler, although that move also could have been considered a successful flop.  On the other hand, there were times where he didn’t stay in front of an opposing ball handler when he should have, which led him to commit a couple of reach-in fouls.

Overall, Isaiah Collier had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Oregon.  He didn’t really assert himself that much in the first half, and while he was more involved in the second half, it wasn’t quite enough to offset his team getting into a huge deficit in the first half.  He didn’t quite dominate as expected, but Collier is an athletic, energetic combo guard that showed promise as a scorer and playmaker.  He’ll need to trust his outside shot more and be more focused defensively, but his athleticism, skills, and upside will likely enable him to be a lottery pick in the 2024 draft.  

Jackson Shelstad scored 21 points to help lead Oregon to a win over USC on December 28th.
(Photo: Jason Fairchild/247Sports)

Jackson Shelstad also put forth a terrific showing to help lead Oregon to a win over USC.  He really excelled as a shooter and scorer, and his solid offensive skills were able to lead the way to get his team the victory.

Shelstad shot the ball very well, especially from downtown.  He showed a knack for making quick, spot-up threes on the move, and he can run to spots and quickly catch the ball to make them from long range.  Plus, he also did a very good job of making mid-range jumpers, and he showed that he can make them both off the catch and dribble.  He struggled a little more when attempting to take it all the way to the rim, especially when going up against taller, longer defenders, but he was able to score on a tough, speedy drive in transition while getting fouled once.

As a playmaker, he looked to be perhaps above average.  Shelstad is an agile, crafty point guard that can quickly get to spots on the floor.  He was able to make a savvy, drive and dish pass in transition to notch an assist.  He also managed to find a cutter to set up a score for his teammate another time.  However, sometimes he would throw inaccurate passes that would go astray.  Another time, he was called for pushing off when handling the ball, which led him to commit an offensive foul and a turnover that time.

Also, he was able to get his fair share of boards on both sides of the ball to help his team on the glass.  Defensively, Shelstad looked to be about average at best.  He would play passing lanes, and he was active defensively.  On the downside, his lack of size would make it difficult for him to contest shots, which would lead him to give up baskets to taller shooters.  Another time, he sagged too far in the paint and was too late to rotate and contest the shot, and he ended up fouling a three-point shooter and giving up the basket that time.

Overall, Jackson Shelstad turned in a good showing in this game, and he did a great job of shooting and scoring the basketball to help lead his team to a win over USC.  He is an agile, skilled point guard that can shoot and pass the basketball.  He’ll need to show that he can guard upper-echelon opponents at higher levels, but his solid offensive skills could enable him to be a solid backup point guard at the NBA level.

USC’s freshman guard, Bronny James quietly played well in limited minutes in his team’s loss to Oregon.  He ran the floor to get the ball, and James made a quick, spot-up three off the catch smoothly early on.  He also was able to make a nice, step-back, mid-range jumper from the baseline.

He also passed the ball well, and he showed that he can make passes off the dribble and find his teammates in stride.  Plus, James also rebounded the ball well.  He also played solid defense.  James was able to intercept a pass to get a steal, and he also poked a ball away to help his team get another.  He also contested a mid-range jumper to force a miss.  On one play though, he fell asleep when guarded an opponent, which led him to allow a basket to him on a cut to the hoop.

Overall, Bronny James had a fairly solid showing despite not getting much playing time in this game.  He had a scary incident early on prior to the start of the season, but he’s since recovered, and has acclimated himself quite well to his team since.  James is a skilled player that can shoot, distribute the ball, and defend, and he could project to be a solid role player at the NBA level.

USC’s 6-11 senior center, Joshua Morgan also had a solid showing in his team’s loss to Oregon.  He was especially effective as a finisher around the basket.  He showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays.  He would score on tip-ins and put backs, and he also would tend to score from the post.  He was able to roll to the rim to score out of the post, and Morgan also showed that he can throw down powerful dunks to help his team on offense.  Plus, he also was able to throw an accurate interior pass to find a cutter to notch an assist.

Also, he rebounded and defended well.  Morgan also was able to contest a long two off the dribble to force a miss. Overall, Morgan played well in this game, and he is an athletic, energetic big man that could project into a backup center role at the NBA level.

Kario Oquendo quietly played well in his team’s win over USC.  Oquendo showed off versatile scoring skills as he was able to score inside and out, and he also managed to utilize a nifty Eurostep move to score on the break once.  Oquendo was able to make an open corner three, and he showed both the ability to make hustle plays and score off the dribble to help his team on offense.  He also rebounded the ball fairly well.

On the other hand, he can sometimes tend to force the issue too much at times, which led him to get his shot blocked once, and to getting the ball stolen away from him another time.  Overall though, he excelled as a shooter and scorer in this game, and he is a strong, mobile combo guard that could project into a 3 and D role at the NBA level.

Oregon’s 6-4 senior guard, Jermaine Couisnard also played fairly well to help lead Oregon to a win over USC.  He is an athletic swingman that showed off versatile scoring skills, and he defended well in this game.

Couisnard showed a decent ability to score off the dribble.  He would score on strong, quick drives to the hoop, and he showed the ability to finish in traffic.  On the other hand, he would sometimes miss on tough shots in traffic, especially when he wouldn’t get foul calls.  Couisnard struggled more to shoot from the outside, though.  He was able to make an open, spot-up three once, but he often had trouble knocking down corner threes in this game.

He also passed and handled the ball well.  Couisnard was able to throw an interior pass to notch an assist.  Though he didn’t get many boards in this game, Couisnard was able to get several defensive rebounds.  Also, he defended well.  Couisnard would deflect passes out of bounds to make it difficult for opponents to get their passes through.  He also managed to poke a ball away from an opponent off of a drive to get a steal.

Overall, Couisnard excelled as a scorer and defender in this game to help his team get a victory over USC.  He’ll need to be a more consistent shooter from beyond the arc, but his athleticism and ability to compete and make plays on both ends of the floor could enable him to make it to the NBA someday.

D.J. Rodman also played well in his team’s loss to Oregon.  He is a strong, mobile swingman that showed off versatile scoring skills.  He shot the ball well from beyond the arc, and he showed a knack for making spot-up threes off the catch.  He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Plus, he also managed to score on a nifty, up and under move out of the post.

He also showcased satisfactory playmaking skills, and he is a solid passer that made good passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  On one play though, he was called for traveling when handling the ball once, which led him to turn the ball over.

Also, he was able to get his fair share of boards on both ends of the floor.  Defensively, he looked to be perhaps above average.  Rodman was able to poke a ball away from the post to get a steal.  However, there was another time where he didn’t get up on a shooter as he sagged too far off his man, which led his team to give up a three-point basket that time.

Overall, Rodman excelled as a shooter and scorer, and he generally made solid plays on the court in this game.  He played well in this game against Oregon, and he could project into a 3 and D role at the NBA level.

Kobe Johnson had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Oregon.  He didn’t shoot the ball well at all in the first half, but his passing skills and ability to score off the dribble helped him in the second half of this game.

Johnson showed a decent ability to score off the dribble.  After missing one easy layup inside, Johnson did a good job of scoring on strong drives to the hoop in the second half, as he showed that he can finish plays using either hand.  He also managed to score on a pull-up, mid-range jumper another time.  Plus, he’ll also move off the ball to get open, and he was able to draw free throws off of a cut once.

On the downside, three-point shooting seems to be his Achilles heel, and Johnson continued to shoot poorly from the outside in this game.  He missed all of his threes that he took from beyond the arc, and he was unable to make any of his threes, regardless if they were off the catch or dribble.

Johnson displayed solid playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that consistently threw accurate interior passes, and he would consistently make the extra pass and find the open man to notch assists.  He is a good, secondary ball mover, and he was able to notch many assists in this game.  He did have a ball poked away from him on a drive to commit a turnover once.  Despite that, his playmaking skills seems to be one of the strongest parts of his game.

On the other hand, he didn’t grab many rebounds against Oregon.  Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  Johnson had a fantastic block in this game, as he recovered to swat a shot off of a drive out of bounds early on.  However, he would tend to get beat off the dribble, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  Another time, he was too aggressive when defending his man, which led him to foul an opponent on a mid-range shot.  Also, there was another instance where he and his teammate got confused as to who to guard out on the perimeter, and it led his team to give up an open three-point basket to their opponent.

Overall, Johnson didn’t have a great game, as he struggled to make shots or to defend in this game.  At the next level though, he will need to improve his outside shot significantly, as he will probably project into a 3 and D role at the NBA level.  Right now, he is a borderline second round candidate for the 2024 draft.

Boogie Ellis had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Oregon. He struggled to make shots early on, and he didn’t shoot the ball well at all in the first half.  He shot the ball better in the second half, especially as a spot-up shooter from beyond the arc.  He ran off of a ball screen to make a three while getting fouled early in the second half, and Ellis showcased a fairly solid ability to make threes.   He also passed the ball well in the second half, and he was able to make some good passes off the dribble.  Overall though, he was very streaky as a shooter in this game, and he didn’t shoot well overall.  He’ll need to be more selective when he shoots, and he will need to be a more consistent player to increase his odds to make it to and succeed at the NBA level.

All in all, those are my thoughts on how Kwame Evans, Jackson Shelstad, Isaiah Collier and other various prospects fared in this game.  Thanks for reading.

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