Analyzing Romeo Langford, Ayo Dosunmu, and Juwan Morgan

January 4, 2019

by Alan Lu

I decided to take the opportunity to watch Romeo Langford and Indiana take on Ayo Dosunmu and Illinois in a Big Ten conference game, as this featured two first round prospects that were matched up against each other.  Both Langford and Dosunmu played very well, and while Illinois kept it close for a while, Indiana proved to be too much for them as they were able to run away with the victory.  Here are my thoughts on how Langford and Dosunmu fared, as well as how their games may translate to the NBA.

Indiana’s 6-6 freshman swingman, Romeo Langford had a terrific performance in his team’s win over Illinois.  He showed a tremendous ability to score the basketball, and he is a foul drawing expert that showed a knack for getting to the free throw line, and for getting his opponents into foul trouble.  Langford showed a great ability to score off of strong drives to the hoop in his team’s win over Illinois.  He is a crafty scorer that possesses very good strength, tremendous body control, and poise, and he would often get scores or draw free throws when taking the ball to the rack.  He has an assortment of ball handling moves that he can use to get past defenders, he can finish plays with either hand, and he showed an outstanding ability to score in traffic.  He really plays like a wily, seasoned veteran as he has an uncanny ability to get defenders to think they can swipe the ball away from him, only to foul him instead.  And when they don’t foul him, Langford has tremendous balance and body control that enables him to score at the rim at will.

He also did a good job of scoring in the post.  Langford was able to use a quick jab step to score on a strong jump hook in the paint.  His lone misstep when taking a shot in the paint was when he missed on an open layup off of a cut late in the second half, though that was long after he had established himself as a dominant scorer in this contest.  Langford also flashed the ability to knock down jumpers.  He was able to dribble left to patiently make a pull-up three.   However, he struggled to consistently score on pull-up jumpers, and while he showed a fantastic ability to draw free throws, he could look to improve his ability to make them when he is at the foul line.

Also, he showed off good playmaking skills.  Langford is a patient player that plays unselfishly, and he will look to find the open man.  He throws accurate interior passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates, and he especially can find them when dribbling as the primary ball handler in transition.  He also managed to throw a behind-the-back pass off of a drive to find an open shooter, which displayed his solid court sense.  However, he can be careless at times, as he was called for a traveling violation when dribbling up court in transition once, and he also threw a low inaccurate pass that went out of bounds on another play.  Plus, he also showed an adequate ability to rebound the basketball.  He was quite active on the glass, and he would tend to leap up to get defensive boards to help his team.  Also, he was able to run in to get a defensive rebound on another possession due to possessing good athleticism, motor, and instincts to do so.

Langford also played fairly good defense.  He is an active help defender that can roam and play passing lanes, and he was able to jump a pass to get a steal.  In addition, he would jump on loose balls to help his team collect additional steals.  Langford showed adequate footwork when defending ball handlers out on the perimeter, and he also was able to contest a baseline drive to force a miss, but he also would be prone to committing reach-in fouls, though some of the calls looked to be sort of questionable.  There was also one play though where he over-helped in the paint and was late to rotate back, which allowed his man to score on a corner three.

In general, Romeo Langford had an outstanding performance, as he scored 28 points, and notched 6 rebounds and 3 steals in his team’s double-digit win over Illinois.  He showed a terrific ability to score on strong drives to the hoop, and he also did a tremendous job of getting to the free throw line.  In some ways, Langford has a game that may loosely resemble current Houston Rockets’ guard James Harden as both are patient, smart scorers that have an uncanny knack for scoring exceptionally well off the dribble, except that Langford is nowhere near the shooter that Harden is now or was back then.  Still, Romeo Langford is a smart, very skilled basketball player that has a high basketball IQ, and he could be a solid bet to be a top 5 pick, as he could end up being a similar player to that of San Antonio Spurs’ swingman DeMar DeRozan in the NBA.

Illinois’ freshman combo guard, Ayo Dosunmu also played very well in his team’s loss to Indiana.  He did a great job of shooting and scoring the basketball, and he is an athletic playmaker that also showed off solid court vision and some rebounding skills when he was on the floor.  Dosunmu did a very good job of knocking down spot-up threes to space the floor for his team on offense.  He is a gifted shooter that can take advantage of the space that opponents gave him, and he was able to make a wide open three on the wing, as well as a couple of open corner threes off the catch.

He also excelled at scoring on speedy drives to the hoop.  He has a very quick first step that enables him to get past his man, which enables him to get scores and free throws.  Also, he was able to score on a cut to the hoop from the baseline.  He also has good strength that enables him to get scores in traffic, but sometimes, he would miss on floaters in traffic, as he would occasionally rush his shots.  He also displayed good playmaking skills.  Dosunmu is a creative facilitator that will look to find the open man, and he showed a knack for finding the open man ahead and throwing accurate outlet passes in transition to set up scoring chances for them.  He throws nice touch passes, and he also can kick the ball out to shooters off the dribble.  His lone turnover though was when he threw a hasty pass that ended up getting intercepted by a defender.

Also, Dosunmu would chip in to get his fair share of boards when he was on the floor.  He ran in and leapt up to get a defensive board, and he also was able to make an impressive one-handed grab to get a defensive rebound another time.  Though he didn’t come away with many rebounds overall, some of the boards he was able to obtain were quite impressive in this game.

Defensively, he looked to be perhaps above average.  For the positives, Dosunmu is a quick, fleet-footed defender that can apply heavy ball pressure and play passing lanes, and he was able to jump up to get a loose ball to obtain a steal.  He also managed to contest a runner off of a drive to force a miss.  Another time, he helped trap an opponent in the backcourt, which forced his man to commit a 10-second violation.  However, he can tend to struggle to defend opponents off the dribble.  He tended to get beat off the dribble, which would lead his team to commit fouls and allow scores.  He also was late on a rotation, which led his team to allow a pull-up three score.

In summary, Ayo Dosunmu is an athletic, skilled combo guard that can contribute in many different ways, and he also is a versatile scorer that can get numerous buckets to help his team.  His versatility could prove to be an asset at the next level, and he could project to be a mid to late first round pick on draft day.

Also, Indiana’s 6-8 senior forward, Juwan Morgan had a fairly good showing as he managed to notch a double-double in his team’s win over Illinois.  He was active as a scorer off of hustle plays, as he managed to draw free throws on a roll to the rim, and he also would score on put backs off of offensive rebounds.  He also flashed the ability to score in the post, and he also made an open spot-up three-point shot from beyond the arc, but sometimes he would miss shots around the basket due to rushing.

As a playmaker, he looked to be average at best.  He was able to throw one good interior pass to set up a scoring chance for a teammate.  He even showed off some handles, as he managed to dribble out of a crowd after getting a defensive rebound once.  However, he tended to be inaccurate on his passes, as he had a couple of them get intercepted, and another pass ended up sailing out of bounds.

Morgan did a very good job of rebounding the basketball, and he would often leap up to haul in boards on both ends of the floor.  Also, he showed off adequate defensive skills.  He showed a strong ability to get steals, as he would poke balls away and jump passes to do so.  He also managed to swat a shot on a drive to himself due to possessing good timing, leaping ability, and instincts that time.  He also showed an ability to defend bigger players in the post, and he even used a pull out the chair move to force an opponent to commit a traveling violation.  Also, he was able to contest a couple of threes to force misses.  However, sometimes his lack of size when defending bigger players in the post make it hard for him to aptly contest shots, which would cause him to allow scores inside.  He also would sometimes give up too much space to his man, which would allow his opponents to score on jumpers inside the arc.

Overall, Juwan Morgan is a skilled combo forward that will compete hard on both ends of the floor, and he excelled as a rebounder and defender in this game.  On offense, he showed that he can do a lot of things, but none particularly that well, as he would occasionally tend to rush his shots, and he was also streaky with his jump shot.  Still, he is an intriguing prospect whose skill set allows him to help his team in plenty of ways, and his skill set could potentially enable him to make an NBA team’s roster.

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