Analyzing Monte Morris, Deonte Burton, Przemek Karnowski, and Others in a Game Between Iowa State and Gonzaga

November 27, 2016

by Alan Lu

Today, I decided to watch Iowa State play against Gonzaga.  It was an opportunity not only to watch two of the best teams in college basketball, but it also presented a chance for me to scout multiple NBA prospects in this game.

While Iowa State’s senior point guard Monte Morris is largely considered the first round prospect, fellow senior combo guard Deonte Burton had the best showing among all the players on this day.  For Gonzaga, redshirt senior center Przemek Karnowski had a very impressive first half, as he helped lead his team to a narrow victory.  Junior point guard, Nigel Williams-Goss shot the ball incredibly well, as he also had a great game.  Here are my thoughts on how various prospects performed.

Iowa State’s 6-2 point guard, Monte Morris had a decent showing in a 73-71 loss to Gonzaga.  Though he did not shoot the ball particularly well, he played well in virtually all of the other facets of the game, as he provided a steady hand at the point, and he generally made smart decisions on both ends of the floor.

Morris showcased solid playmaking skills.  He did a terrific job of distributing the basketball, as he would constantly find open shooters, as he would sometimes do so off the dribble.  Morris is a patient player that has very good speed to draw in defenders, as he can quickly kick the ball back out to his teammates.  At times, he would throw difficult passes in traffic, but they did not usually result in turnovers on this day.

He also displayed adequate defensive skills.  Morris was quite active in playing passing lanes, as he would heap on loose balls and errantly thrown passes to collect steals.  Plus, he would get his hands up to get a deflection on occasion.  Sometimes though, he would be late to rotate to contest shots, which would allow his opponents to make open threes.

Morris also showed an above average ability to rebound the basketball.  He helped out on the glass for his team quite a bit, as he was able to come away with multiple boards on both ends of the floor.  Morris struggled to be an efficient scorer against Gonzaga, but there were some things that he did very well when he would look to score the basketball.

In this game, he showed a strong ability to score on drives to the hoop.  Morris excelled at scoring on tough floaters and runners, and on one play he was able to draw the contact to get the extra free throw after he was able to score for his team.  His best play was when he weaved past multiple defenders, and used a step back move to score on a fadeaway jumper in the paint.  On that particular possession, it highlighted Morris’ solid speed, quickness, ball handling skills, body control, and ability to score on tough shots in the paint.

But, Morris really struggled to knock down jumpers against Gonzaga.  He generally had trouble making mid-range shots, whether if they were pull-up jumpers or off the catch.  He also did not have that much more success in making threes either, as he generally struggled to knock down long range jumpers.  However, he was able to make one open three off the catch in this game.

Overall, this was not Monte Morris’ best game, but he still was able to show his strengths as a player on the court.  He is a cerebral playmaker that will manage the game effectively, as he can control tempo, and he will get everyone involved to set up scores for them.

Morris also played well in most of the other areas, as he excelled at taking the ball to the basket to get scores in the paint, as he was an active rebounder and defender.  He did not shoot the ball well, but he generally has been a good shooter over the course of his collegiate career.  Morris may not be a very flashy player nor has elite physical tools, but he is a smart, productive player that could potentially end up being a first round pick in 2017.

Iowa State’s senior combo guard, Deonte Burton had a terrific performance in a loss to Gonzaga.  He really put on a clinic in the second half as he almost single-handedly carried his team to rally back from being down by double digits.  As he scored 29 points, made 3 threes, and grabbed 12 rebounds, Burton may have had the best overall game among any one player that played in this game.

Burton really excelled at scoring on the move.    He possesses great strength, size, and motor to play either backcourt position, and he frequently was able to get put back scores off of offensive rebounds.  Also, he was able to score on a reverse layup off of a cut to the hoop another time.

He also shot the ball very well.  Burton did a great job of knocking down threes, especially in the second half, as he really has improved his jump shot recently.  He made a couple of threes off the catch, and he also made one after using a jab step to create separation between him and the defender.

Plus, Burton did a great job of scoring on pull-up jumpers from inside the arc.  He has a good step back move, and he has a quick, compact release that allows him to get his shot off fairly easily.  His ability to put up points in a hurry could potentially allow him to thrive as a microwave type of scorer off the bench at the next level.

He also excelled as a low post scorer.  Burton showed a good set of moves on the block, as he was able to pivot to score on a fadeaway jumper, and he also used a spin move to score on a jump hook another time.  Burton has terrific strength that enables him to overpower other opposing guards on the block, which can enable him to score often down low.

But, he generally struggled more to score off the dribble when he would attempt to go all the way to the basket.  Burton tended to miss wildly when he attempted to score in traffic, especially off the dribble when taking it to the rim, but he would generally follow it up with offensive rebounds to allow himself additional opportunities to get scores for his team.

Burton displayed decent playmaking skills.  While he did not look to pass often, he did not really have to, as he was shooting and scoring the basketball really well against Gonzaga.  When he would pass, Burton was able to find the open man to set up a couple of scoring chances.  The most encouraging thing from watching play off the ball, is that he would set numerous screens for his teammates.  Burton sets firm, wide screens that really allow his teammates to get scoring opportunities off the dribble, which can allow them better chances to score for his team.

Also, Burton showcased magnificent rebounding skills.  He was quite active on the glass on both ends of the floor, and he would often capitalize on offensive rebounds by quickly scoring on put backs afterwards.  He also was able to tip a ball to a teammate to help his team get an offensive board.  But sometimes, he would commit loose ball fouls when going for additional rebounds.

In this game, Burton showed average defensive skills.  For the positives, he is a gifted shot blocker for a player his size, as he was able to swat a much taller opponent’s shot in the post.  He also got a shot block on a smaller opponent off the drive, but it was called off due to his teammate committing a foul beforehand.  However, Burton tended to give up too much space to allow opponent to knock down jumpers.  Sometimes he would struggle to defend in the post, as he was tasked to guard much taller players at times, which would cause him to allow scores or commit fouls on occasion.

In summary, Deonte Burton played a great game in a loss to Gonzaga.  He showed strong all-around skills, and he could really ascend up draft boards if he keeps playing like this in the remaining games on his team’s schedule.

However, his numbers have been fairly pedestrian throughout his collegiate career, which can explain why his draft stock is not very high in the present.  If he keeps playing as well as he did against Gonzaga, Burton could wind up being drafted by an NBA team in 2017, as he could potentially be a similar player to current Washington Wizards’ guard, Marcus Thornton in the league.

Gonzaga’s 7-1 senior center, Przemek Karnowski put forth a good showing to help his team get a two-point victory over Iowa State.  He started off playing very well in the first half, as he was doing nearly everything well in the early going.  He cooled off considerably in the second half, but still he managed to have a considerable impact to help his team get the win.

Karnowski demonstrated terrific playmaking skills in this game.  He showed remarkable court vision as he made a lot of well-timed passes to set up a wealth of scores for his teammates.  He did an excellent job of passing out of the post, as he would regularly find open shooters, and he also was able to pass out of double teams.

But his best play of the game could very well perhaps be the pass of the year in college basketball.  On one possession when he was posting up, he made a no-look pass to a cutter to set up a dunk for his team.  Karnowski is a magnificent passer, as he may very well be the best passing big man in the NCAA this year.

He also showed solid rebounding skills.  Karnowski was quite active on the glass, as he was able to collect numerous boards on both ends of the floor, and he also was able to tip a ball to a teammate to set up another score for his team.  He showed a good ability to score on the move.  Early in the game, he received the ball quickly on a backdoor cut, and he managed to use a step-through move to score around the basket.

He also displayed average low post scoring skills.  Early on, Karnowski was scoring primarily on jump hooks, as he would get deep post position on the block.  However, he struggled to score on jump hooks consistently as the game wore on, as he sometimes struggled to score in traffic, and other times would not get enough lift on his shot.

Defensively, he may have been above average.  He did a decent job of forcing misses in the post as well as off of drives.  But on one play, he hung back a bit too far, and ended up committing a foul around the basket in a late attempt to rotate back to his man.   Also, he did not always get consistent playing time in crunch time, as this may also have been because he struggled to score in the second half of the game.

In all, Przemek Karnowski had a fairly solid performance in a win for his team.  He struggled to score consistently, but he made terrific passes, and he was a force on the boards.  Right now, he may be a borderline second round pick for the 2017 NBA Draft, but there is no doubt that his ability to pass the basketball could warrant him a shot to make a roster at the next level, as well as maybe to allow him to end up being a solid role player in the league.

Gonzaga’s 6-3 junior point guard Nigel Williams-Goss had a very good game, as he helped lead his team to a narrow victory over Iowa State.   In the win for his team, he scored 18 points, made 6 threes, and he also had 4 assists, and 4 rebounds.

Williams-Goss did a great job of knocking down threes from beyond the arc.  He made a slew of spot up and pull-up threes, as sometimes he would do so from NBA range.  He also showed a solid pump fake move, and he also was able to grab an offensive rebound to score on a pull-up three on a separate possession.

But, he struggled to score more when he would look to attack the basket.  Williams-Goss did not seem to have an elite first step to the hoop, and he would miss on tough shots off the dribble.  In this game though, he shot the ball incredibly well from downtown, that he did not really need to look to score when he was inside the arc.

He also displayed solid playmaking skills.  Williams-Goss played calmly and patiently for most of the game, and he would make very good interior passes to his teammates to set up a wealth of scores for his team.  Also, he was able to find open shooters to set up additional scoring chances for them.

However, he did have some turnovers.  One was due to carelessness, as he was called for traveling when making a move off the dribble in the second half when Iowa State was making a huge run to get back in the game.  But his first one was where he hastily tried to fit a ball into traffic earlier against Iowa State.  He also showed a decent ability to rebound the basketball.  He was quite active in collecting defensive rebounds, as he was able to garner a handful of them to help his team.

In general, Nigel Williams-Goss played very well to help lead his team to victory.  He was probably the best player on Gonzaga in this game against Iowa State.  So far this year, Williams-Goss is off to a solid start.  If he keeps playing as well as he did against the Cyclones, he could end up being a second round pick in 2017.

Other Notes:

Iowa State’s 6-4 senior combo guard, Nazareth Mitrou-Long shot the ball well early, as he made 4 threes, all of them in the first half.  But he struggled with turnovers, and then with his jump shot in the second half, as he was not nearly as effective late in the game.  Right now, he looks to be an unlikely candidate to be drafted, but his jump shot could allow him to make someone’s NBA summer league team sometime down the road.

Gonzaga’s 7-0 freshman big man, Zach Collins shows plenty of promise as a basketball player, as he showcased solid inside-outside scoring skills.  He was able to make a three, score in the post, as well as finish plays around the basket, and he also was able to block a shot early in the game.  With his skill set, he could potentially develop into a Kyle Wiltjer-type of player for his team.

Gonzaga’s 6-4 senior combo guard Jordan Mathews started well early, but then cooled off considerably in the second half.  He showed the ability to attack the basket to get scores off the dribble as well as in transition, and he is a very good athlete that can score in the paint.

He also made one good pass to get an assist, as he used a pump fake, and found an open shooter off the dribble to set up an early score.  However, Mathews struggled with his jump shot, as he was not much of a factor late in the game.  Right now, he may not be a likely candidate to be drafted, but he could be a player to watch down the road, especially if he can show that he can be a consistent performer, and also if he can show that he can play well in big games.

Iowa State’s 6-8 senior combination forward Merrill Holden had a couple of good moments in this game.  He displayed good inside scoring skills, as he was able to make a mid-range jumper, and he also was able to get a strong put back score around the basket, as well as to draw an extra free throw on the play.  On the put back score, Holden showed strong hands, finishing ability, as well as good rebounding skills, as well as having a terrific motor on the floor.

Holden has very good hands, as he was able to catch an up for grabs inbounds pass in traffic, though he did not get enough time to shoot the ball, as the shot clock expired on that occasion.  Not much else seemed noticeable about how he played in this game, but he is an athletic, but undersized power forward that has a terrific motor.  Holden may be a long shot to be drafted, but he may have what it takes to potentially make an NBA summer league team, as that could allow him the opportunity to make an NBA roster sometime down the road.

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