Analyzing Nico Mannion, Josh Green, and Ayo Dosunmu

November 11th, 2019

by Alan Lu

I took the time to watch Arizona’s guards, Nico Mannion and Josh Green play against Ayo Dosunmu and Illinois in a game that took place on November 10th. Illinois was able to get off to an early lead due to hot shooting from their junior guard, Trent Frazier, but Arizona then received strong guard play as well as a terrific all-around performance from Zeke Nnaji, as Arizona was able to run away with the victory. Here are my thoughts on how various prospects fared, as well as how their games may translate to the NBA.

Nico Mannion could be a potential top 5 pick in the 2020 draft. (Photo: Jacob Snow/USA Today Sports via SB Nation's Arizona Desert Swarm.)
Nico Mannion had an outstanding game as he scored 23 points and had 9 assists to lead Arizona to a double-digit victory over Illinois. (Photo: Jacob Snow/USA Today Sports via SB Nation’s Arizona Desert Swarm.)

Arizona’s freshman point guard, Nico Mannion is a cerebral, skilled playmaker that played a solid all-around game to lead his team to a double-digit victory over Illinois.

Mannion is a quick, shifty guard that can use his acceleration to get into a second gear, and he would frequently score on runners off the dribble. He also used a nice hesitation and a stutter step move before going right to score on a nifty drive off the glass. Mannion also was able to knock down a couple of pull-up jumpers from just inside the arc, as he generally did a solid job of scoring off the dribble.

He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays. Mannion was able to draw a non-shooting foul after getting the ball on a cut, and on a separate play, he ran in to score on a tip-in after getting an offensive rebound.

He also showed a decent ability to knock down jumpers. Mannion did a good job of making long two-pointers off the dribble, and he also ran swiftly off of a ball screen to make an open spot-up three off of a dribble handoff. However, he missed on two other long-range shots from beyond the arc, but generally Mannion excelled at making shots in this game.

Also, Mannion displayed good playmaking skills. He is a very good facilitator that has solid court vision, as he would throw sharp interior passes to find open teammates, and he also can throw lob passes to set up scores for his teammates. Mannion excels at passing off the dribble to find open shooters, and he also can throw behind the back passes effortlessly.  However, there were times where he would struggle to protect the basketball, as he had a couple of balls poked away from him, and he also was called for traveling on a separate play. He also threw a pass that was dropped by a teammate in traffic, and he also was called for setting a moving screen that led him to commit several turnovers in this contest.

Plus, he also did a fairly good job of rebounding the basketball. Mannion would chase down balls to get boards for his team on both ends of the floor to help his team on the glass.

He also played decent defense in this game. Mannion is an active help defender that would run in to poke balls away to get steals, as he is a subtly quick player that has good hands and instincts to do so. He also was able to jump on a loose ball to help his team get another steal, and he also managed to deflect a pass another time. He has good feet to actively stay with opposing ball handlers, and he was able to contest several jump shots to force misses.

However, he also unsuccessfully attempted to take charges when defending drives that led to no-calls, which caused him to allow scores to his opponents. Also, he occasionally had some trouble defending opposing ball handlers, as he was called for a reach-in foul once, and also was beat off the dribble to allow a score another time.

In general, Nico Mannion is a smart, skilled point guard that can help a team in a variety of ways, and his ability to make shots, pass the basketball, and high basketball IQ allowed him and his team to easily get the win over Illinois. Mannion is a very talented player that has a knack for making sound decisions on both ends of the floor, and he could be a likely lottery pick that has the skills to be a solid player in the NBA.

Josh Green could be a potential lottery pick in the 2020 draft. (Photo: Rick Scuteri/Arizona Daily Star.)
Josh Green played very well in Arizona’s win over Illinois. (Photo: Rick Scuteri/Associated Press via Arizona Daily Star at tucson.com.)

Arizona’s 6-5 freshman guard, Josh Green also played very well to help lead his team to a blowout victory over Illinois. He showed off versatile scoring skills and also shot the ball well, and he also consistently made solid plays on both ends of the floor.

Green did a very good job of making open, spot-up threes off the catch, and he also was able to knock one down on the break. Plus, he also was able to score on a nice runner off the dribble, and he also pulled up to make a mid-range jumper from the baseline another time.

He also would run the floor to get easy baskets in transition. He did sometimes miss shots in traffic, as he had a shot blocked off of a put back, and missed on a cut to the hoop as well as on a floater off of a drive on a separate play, but generally, Green excelled at making threes as shots on the break to get a multitude of scores for his team.

Also, Green displayed good playmaking skills. He can throw accurate long interior passes to find teammates on the move, and he also can kick balls out to shooters to set up scores for them. He did throw a pass that was deflected once, but generally he did a good job of moving the basketball. He didn’t look to handle the basketball too often, but he was effective in where he needed to go on the floor, and he did not commit a single turnover on offense.

He also was able to get his fair share of rebounds to help his team collect boards on both ends of the floor. Green also played fairly good defense, as he was able to jump on a loose ball to help his team get a steal, and he also contested a three to force a miss on a separate play.

In summary, Josh Green played very well to help lead his team to defeat Illinois in a non-conference, college basketball. He is an athletic swingman that can shoot and score the basketball, and he also passed and defended well. Green is a talented prospect that could be a lottery pick in 2020, as he has the skills to end up being a solid player in the NBA.

Illinois' sophomore guard, Ayo Dosunmu is a first round prospect for the 2020 NBA Draft.  (Photo: Rick Scuteri/AP via News-Gazette.)
Illinois’ sophomore guard, Ayo Dosunmu had some impressive scores, but overall his struggles to make jump shots were disappointing to watch in his team’s loss to Arizona. (Photo: Rick Scuteri/AP via News-Gazette.)

Illinois’ 6-5 sophomore guard, Ayo Dosunmu put forth an uneven performance in his team’s loss to Arizona. While he had some very good moments at times, his inability to consistently knock down jumpers and penchant for committing turnovers prevented him from being able to truly dominate the game when he was on the floor.

He quickly raced out after the tip by getting the ball, as he quickly dribbled up the floor to apparently score on an open layup, and he showed a blindingly fast, first step to the hoop. The only problem was that the clock didn’t start, so that basket was waved off. That Dosunmu was unable to get that basket to count off the opening tip may have been analogous to how his night would go.

For the positives, he is a very good scorer off the dribble. Dosunmu is a speedy, fleet-footed guard that can really get to the rim, and he showed a knack for scoring on quick drives in transition. He was able to use a Euro-step to get one score, and he also managed to score on a floater. Dosunmu can finish plays using either hand, and he would often score on layups in the open court.

However, he really struggled to knock down jumpers in this game. Dosunmu missed on a couple of mid-range jumpers, and he would often miss on spot-up threes from beyond the arc. He did make one three-point shot on the break early in the second half, but generally had had trouble making jump shots off the catch or dribble from outside of the paint area.

Dosunmu showed off average at best playmaking skills. For the positives, Dosunmu can find open shooters to notch assists, and he also can find roll men on the move to get them the basketball. However, he tended to play too wildly when looking to make a play off the dribble. He was called for carrying violation early on, and he also had a ball stripped from him to commit another turnover. Later on, he was called for a charging foul as he ended up colliding into a defender on a separate play.

Though he did not grab many rebounds, Dosunmu was able to leap up to get a couple of boards when he was on the court. However, he did not defend very well in this game. He picked up a couple of fouls, as he fouled an opponent off of a cut, and he also fouled an opposing ball handler another time due to over-aggressiveness. On a separate play, he ended up getting beat off the dribble to allow his man to score on a runner.

Overall, Dosunmu is a talented combo guard that handles the ball well, and he is a speedy playmaker that can attack the basket to get numerous scores at the rim. However, he will need to improve his jump shot and position defense, and he also can tend to be too careless with the basketball on offense. Right now, his draft stock may be a bit too high for him at the moment, but he is a talented prospect that could be worth selecting in the late first to the second round range, as he could end up being a similar player to former Los Angeles Lakers’ guard, Shannon Brown in the NBA.

Arizona’s 6-11 freshman big man, Zeke Nnaji played very well, as he excelled as a scorer and defender to help his team get the win over Illinois.

He did a great job of knocking down open mid-range shots off the catch, and he also would throw down numerous dunks to finish plays around the basket. Nnaji was able to run the floor to score one on the break, and he also caught a lob pass to score on an alley-oop dunk another time. He also showed the ability to score off of high post drives as well as off of hustle plays, and he even spun to catch a ball off of a cut to score on a smooth layup.

However, Nnaji also missed on an off-balanced reverse layup, as well as on a turnaround jumper off of a drive from the high post, and he would occasionally struggle to score in one on one situations. Still, Nnaji excelled at making shots, as he showed off versatile scoring skills on offense.

Also, he displayed average at best playmaking skills. Nnaji is a good passer that can find open shooters to set up scores for them. On one play, he was able to find a teammate on a dribble handoff and set a solid screen for him to get the assist.  Sometimes, he can be prone to being careless with the basketball when making plays off the dribble, which can lead him to commit turnovers.

He also was able to get his fair share of rebounds to help his team on the glass. Nnaji also played adequate defense. He would hold his ground and contest shots in the post to force misses, and he also was able to get his man to travel once. He also was able to successfully challenge a three another time when defending out on the perimeter.

However, sometimes he can struggle to defend his man. At times, he may get beat off the dribble, which can lead him to commit fouls and allow scores. There was one play where he allowed an easy catch when defending in the post, as he was out of position, and ended up allowing the basket early in the match.

Overall, Zeke Nnaji is a skilled, multi-faceted player that can score the basketball, and he also has a fairly solid motor to make plays on both sides of the ball. He has not been getting much draft buzz right now, but he should, as he is a talented prospect that could end up thriving in his role in the NBA.

Other Notes:

Illinois’ 7-0 freshman center, Kofi Cockburn from Jamaica had an up and down performance in his team’s loss to Arizona, but he was able to do some good things when he was on the floor.

Cockburn can score in the post as well as off of hustle plays. He is a strong, mobile big man that can use his size and a drop step move to draw fouls on defenders, and he also excelled at scoring on rolls as well as in transition.   He was able to throw down some powerful dunks on off-ball motion plays, but he also ended up missing on a couple of wild put back attempts after getting offensive rebounds.

However, sometimes he would struggle to make plays in the post, as he was called for a push off, and he also was called for a double dribble another time, which led him to commit turnovers.

Also, he did a fairly good job of rebounding the basketball. Cockburn was able to leap up to get boards on both ends of the floor, but there was one play where he forgot to block out, which led his opponent to score on a tip-in.

He also played adequate defense. Cockburn did a good job of blocking shots to protect the paint, as he has good length and timing to do so. He also managed to hold his ground when defending in the post to force an opponent to miss on a tough layup. On the other hand, there were times where he would be caught ball watching, and he also had a tendency to commit too early on the play, which would occasionally lead his team to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Kofi Cockburn is a tough, bruising big man that can finish plays in the paint, as well as rebound and block shots to help his team in games. He will need to improve his face-up game and shore up his position defense, but he is a player that could be a prospect to keep an eye on in the future.

Former UC Irvine star guard and current Arizona Wildcats’ 6-0 senior guard, Max Hazzard had a terrific showing to help lead his team to a double-digit victory over Illinois. Hazzard played very good defense, as he would run in to intercept and poke balls away to get steals, and he would drive up court to score on fast breaks.

He also showed a knack for making three-point shots, as he was able to make a step back three, as well as one off the catch. However, Hazzard can be too aggressive on the defensive at times, as he was called for committing a couple of reach-in fouls.

Overall, Hazzard is an agile, skilled combo guard that can shoot and defend to help his team in games, and he played very well to help lead Arizona to a win over Illinois. He is an underrated prospect that could end up being a solid find for a team in the NBA, as he could end up thriving as a role player similar to former Golden State Warriors’ guard, Ian Clark in the association.

Arizona’s 6-10 senior big man, Chase Jeter had a quiet game, as he made some solid defensive plays, but he did not stand out offensively against Illinois. On the bright side, he was efficient in getting his points within the very limited amount of touches he had on offense.

Jeter played solid defense. He was able to leap up to intercept an entry pass to get a steal, and he also stayed with an opposing ball handler to block an opponent’s layup. He showed a knack for intercepting passes to force turnovers, and Jeter also managed to contest a long two to force a miss another time. Generally, Jeter was active in making plays on the ball, and he did a good job of making disciplined plays to get stops for his team. However, there was a separate play where he committed a foul when defending in the post upon the catch.

He also excelled at drawing free throws off of hustle plays, and he also drove in from the high post to score another time. He also did a great job of collecting offensive rebounds. However, Jeter did not look to score very often, and he also threw a pass that sailed out of bounds once.

Overall, Jeter did not really stand out, but he did rebound and defend well when he was on the court. He did a good job of playing within his role to help the team get the win, and he is a borderline second round candidate that could compete for a backup role in the NBA.

Illinois’ 6-2 junior guard, Trent Frazier shot the ball very well early on, and he was able to get his team to build a lead in the first half. He excelled at making spot-up threes off the catch, and he also used a crossover and a nifty behind the back dribble move to knock down a pull-up three from beyond the arc.

Frazier also showed a knack for scoring on mid-range jumpers, and he also managed to score on a quick baseline drive. However, he struggled to pass the basketball, as he threw a ball that sailed out of bounds once, and he also committed a foul on defense by colliding into an opponent when defending off the ball.

Overall, Trent Frazier is an athletic, skilled combo guard that can shoot and score the basketball, and he could be a definite player to keep an eye on. He excelled at making shots from all over the floor, and if he continues to play well this year, he could potential end up making it to the NBA as a shooting specialist in the mold of a Wayne Ellington type of player in the association.

Illinois’ 6-2 senior point guard, Andres Feliz showed a knack for scoring on floaters, as well as using spin moves to score off the dribble, but he also struggled to make jumpers from outside of the paint area. He is a fairly quick guard that showed a good shooting touch for making pull-up jumpers as well as shots on drives to the basket, but he ended up committing far too many turnovers on offense. Right now, he may be a long shot to be drafted by a team in the NBA, but he is a fairly athletic, skilled player that can make shots, as his ability to shoot and score the basketball could enable him to make an NBA team’s summer league roster either in 2020 or sometime down the road.

Arizona’s 6-9 senior big man, Stone Gettings showed a knack for collecting steals, as he was able to poke a ball away, intercept a pass, and he also ran in to get a loose ball another time. Gettings did not look to score very often, but he was able to make an open, spot-up mid-range jumper off the catch. However, he did not grab a single rebound and was very foul prone.

Right now, Gettings may be a long shot to be drafted and he doesn’t seem to possess ideal physical tools to play inside, but he is an instinctive defender that also showed a solid mid-range shot, and at best, he could project into a Josh Harrellson type of player if he ends up making team’s roster in the NBA.