Analyzing Nigel Hayes, Tyler Lydon, and Others in a Game Between Wisconsin and Syracuse

November 30, 2016

by Alan Lu

This game presented an opportunity to not only watch two of the best teams in the country, but also to watch multiple top prospects for the 2017 NBA Draft.  I was able to get a chance to watch Nigel Hayes, Tyler Lydon, Andrew White play in this game, as well as to watch several other notable players that went on to have impressive performances.  Here are my observations on various prospects that played on this day.

Wisconsin’s 6-8 senior forward Nigel Hayes put forth a very good showing to lead his team to a 77-60 victory.  He nearly was able to get a triple-double, as he had 9 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists in a win for his team.

Hayes showcased terrific playmaking skills.  He did an excellent job of passing the basketball, as he generally displayed great court vision throughout the game.  He especially flourished as a passer from the high post, as he would generally find open shooters and cutters to set up all sorts of scores for his team.  Hayes played like a seasoned point forward, as his outstanding basketball IQ was able to help Wisconsin succeed by making quick, timely passes on a routine basis.

He also did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  Hayes was quite active on the glass on both ends of the floor, as he would show great leaping ability, motor, and instincts to come away with many of them in the game.  In addition, he also was able to tap the ball out to a teammate to help his team come away with a defensive rebound.

Plus, Hayes excelled as a finisher around the basket.  Hayes has very good hands and leaping ability, as he was able to throw down a couple of dunks above the rim.  He also was able to catch a deflected pass that was intended to go to another teammate, and managed to draw free throws around the basket another time.  However, he struggled to make jumpers consistently.  He did make one turnaround mid-range jumper off the catch, but Hayes missed several others from that range throughout this contest.

Hayes also showed fairly good defensive skills.  In this game, he was able to heap on a loose ball after an opponent lost it off the dribble, as he dove on the ground to obtain a steal for his team.  However, he did run into brief foul trouble in the first half after committing an over the back foul when he went for an offensive rebound.

In general, Nigel Hayes had a strong performance as he showed excellent distribution skills and basketball IQ, along with solid rebounding skills and athleticism in this game against Syracuse.  Hayes showed off a unique set of skills that could allow him to be a first round pick this year in 2017.

It was a fairly rough game for Syracuse’s 6-9 sophomore forward, Tyler Lydon.  Anticipated to be the best prospect in this game, Lydon was not very assertive early, and he failed to consistently find a rhythm nor was he much of a presence defensively, as he turned in an overall disappointing game in a blowout loss to Wisconsin.

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of his performance today was his inability to consistently knock down three-point shots.  Lydon did not shoot the ball in the first five minutes of the game, and he ended up missing a lot of spot up threes off the catch.  He did make one three after running off of a curl, but he generally struggled to make those, as he showed a penchant for missing outside shots from downtown.

Another equally disappointing aspect was his lackluster defensive performance.  Known for his shot blocking prowess, Lydon did not show any of that against Wisconsin, as he showed little resistance in defending the paint when he was on the court.

He generally had trouble defending the post, and he also would run into foul trouble due to being out of position defensively.  Lydon was also a non-factor on the boards, as he would get boxed out relentlessly, and he would end up committing a couple of fouls by allowing offensive rebounds and scoring opportunities to the opposition.

If there is any one thing that he excelled at in this game, it was his ability to score inside the paint.  Lydon was able to get a couple of scores within a minute in the middle of the first half, as he scored on a jump hook, as well as a quick put back off of an offensive rebound.

But generally, Lydon did not command the ball enough when he was inside the arc, and he missed too many spot-up threes from downtown.  His lack of assertiveness early in the game really made things difficult for Syracuse, as they relied heavily on two players for their offense in the first half, DaJuan Coleman and Andrew White, and then things fell apart for them when they stopped scoring and when Syracuse continued to allow baskets to the opponents.

In general, Tyler Lydon simply did not have a very good game, and while it’s early in the season, it is possible that his stock may fall if he continues to struggle to be an efficient scorer in games.  Lydon did not look to create his own shot often off the dribble, and he was mostly a non-factor against Wisconsin as his jump shot was not falling.  While he may still be a first round prospect, it will be interesting to see how well he performs the next time he faces a tough team on the schedule.

Syracuse’s senior swingman, Andrew White started off playing extremely well in the first half, as he almost single-handedly kept his team in the game against Wisconsin.  However, the same shots he attempted early on stopped falling in the second half, and overall, White turned in an uneven performance as his team ended up losing by double-digits.

White showcased a strong outside shooting skills.  He excelled at making threes from beyond the arc, as he showed a deft ability to knock down spot-up and pull-up jumpers from long distance.  He also has a quick, compact release that allows him to get his shot off easily over defenders.  However, he tended to be quite streaky, as he would make and miss outside shots in bunches, as he scored all 14 of his points in the first half, and did not score in the second half.

In addition, he had more trouble knocking down mid-range jumpers.  White was able to score on a pull-up jumper after using a step back move, but he missed plenty of them, and he was also not often able to get all the way to the hoop when looking to score off the dribble.

In this game, he showed below average playmaking skills.  White had zero assists, and made no passes that were noteworthy.  He also had trouble protecting the basketball when making a move off the dribble, and he also had trouble with his footwork on another occasion, as this would lead to turnovers.  White showcased fairly average defensive skills.  He showed off solid athletic ability to get his team steals and blocks, as he would play passing lanes to force turnovers, and he was also able to really elevate to swat a shot when defending inside the paint.

However, he tended to struggle to guard shooters.  He was often late on close outs, as he would allow his opponents to score on plenty of jumpers.  Also, White once bit on a pump fake to allow a score around the basket in this game.

Right now, Andrew White looks to be a borderline second round candidate for the upcoming draft.  For an athletic swingman that can shoot the basketball, he showed shaky decision making skills, startlingly bad court vision as he rarely looked to pass nor did he often find open teammates, and he also displayed questionable shot selection, as he would rush up quick, contested shots that lead to misses in the second half.

Plus, he is also on the old side for a draft prospect, as he will be 24 on draft day.  He did make 4 threes in this game.  But he also had more shots (15) than points (14), and his lack of scoring efficiency or passing ability really hindered Syracuse in the second half as they were very dependent on him for offense after he started off really well in the first half.

But, if he can play well against top teams later this season, White could show teams that he would be worth a second round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Other Notes:

Wisconsin’s 6-9 sophomore forward, Ethan Happ had a terrific showing as he was able to help lead his team cruise to a double-digit win over Syracuse.  In this game, he scored 24 points, and notched 13 rebounds, and 4 assists in a victory for his team.

Happ showcased strong low post scoring skills.  He has very good strength, quickness, and set of moves that he can use on the block, as a combination of these things allowed him to score consistently in the paint.  He is an agile big man that can use a spin move to score on a reverse layup, and he also has the shooting touch to consistently score on turnaround jump hooks.

Plus, he possesses a very good ability to score on the move.  Happ excelled as a cutter in this game, and he was able to throw down an emphatic dunk after catching a pass on a backdoor cut.  Also, he was able to get a steal off of a pass in the backcourt to promptly score in transition.

He also showed off solid playmaking skills.  Happ did a very good job of finding open shooters and cutters, and he was able to consistently set up a wealth of scoring chances for his team.  However, sometimes he would commit turnovers, as some would result from inaccurate passing, and another was due to him being in the lane for 3 seconds in the paint.

Happ displayed a great ability to rebound the basketball.  He showed a deft ability to grab boards in traffic, and he would constantly outwork his opponents on the glass to get his team many rebounds in this game.

In summary, Ethan Happ had a very good game, as he was able to continually make strong contributions for Wisconsin against Syracuse.  Happ has been very productive for Wisconsin, and he is definitely a player to watch in the future, as he could definitely be on NBA teams’ radar by 2018.

Wisconsin’s 6-4 senior combo guard, Bronson Koenig had a stellar showing in a 17-point win over Syracuse.  He showed strong shooting skills, as he was able to score 20 points, and he also made 6 threes in a win for his team.   Mostly, he made quick threes off the catch, but he also showed that he can make some from NBA range.  If he makes the NBA in the future, he could potentially be a Brian Roberts type of player in the league.

Syracuse’s 6-9 senior big man DaJuan Coleman showed a solid ability to score in the low post in a loss for his team.  He has great size and strength to play around the basket.  He was able to get deep position to set up on the block, and he has a reliable set of moves that he can use to score down low.  He did struggle to rebound the basketball, and ran into brief foul trouble, but Coleman was one of the few bright spots for Syracuse in their loss to Wisconsin.

Syracuse’s 6-0 senior point guard John Gillon showed a very good ability to score off the dribble, as he would make speedy, hard-nosed drives to the hoop to garner scores and free throws in traffic.  In this game, he was able to get 10 points and 4 assists, as he could be a player that could make an NBA summer league team in the future.

Also, Wisconsin’s 6-2 combo guard, Zak Showalter was able to make a three, score off of a cut, and he also generally passed the ball and defended well.  6-8 senior forward, Vitto Brown excelled at making threes and mid-range jumpers, and he also showcased very good athletic ability by running the floor to score on a dunk in transition.   He also passed the ball well in this game.

Syracuse’s 6-8 senior forward, Tyler Roberson was a non-factor in this game, as he was plagued with foul trouble throughout this contest against Wisconsin.  He did make a couple of noticeable plays, though.  On defense, he was able to showcase great leaping skills by blocking a shot on a high post drive from behind to force a miss.  On offense, he almost scored on a very athletic put back dunk, but he missed on that occasion.

So those are my thoughts on how various prospects played in a November 29th game between Syracuse and Wisconsin.  I will also post the prospects’ write-up in the game that was played between Duke and Michigan State.  Thank you for reading.