Analyzing Vernon Carey Jr., Tre Jones, and Javin DeLaurier

December 4th, 2019

by Alan Lu

Tuesday’s match-up between Duke and Michigan State was a highly anticipated college basketball game that took place on December 3rd, as it featured numerous prospects such as Vernon Carey Jr., Tre Jones, Matthew Hurt, and Cassius Winston. Unfortunately, Duke’s 6-5 freshman guard, Cassius Stanley was unable to play reportedly due to a knee injury,but his team still dominated nonetheless. Tre Jones had a solid all-around game, and Duke received strong interior play from their frontcourt, as they also stifled their opponents on defense to cruise to a double-digit victory. Here are my thoughts on how Carey, Jones, and the others fared, as well as how their games may translate to the NBA.

Vernon Carey Jr. had a tremendous showing, as his strong all-around play helped lead Duke to a sizable victory over Michigan State. (Photo: Al Goldis/Associated Press via M Live.)
Vernon Carey Jr. had a tremendous showing, as his strong all-around play helped lead Duke to a sizable victory over Michigan State. (Photo: Al Goldis/Associated Press via M Live.)

On a night where Golden State Warriors’ forward, Draymond Green had his jersey retired by Michigan State, it was Duke’s 6-10 freshman center, Vernon Carey Jr. that put forth a dominant showing in his team’s win over the Spartans. Carey showed off versatile scoring skills, and he also was active as a rebounder and interior defender when he was on the court.

Carey did a very good job of scoring in the post. He has very good strength, combined with possessing solid agility, footwork, and shooting touch, and he would often score on powerful dunks, drop step moves, and turnaround jump hooks in the paint. He also showed a knack for drawing hoards of free throws after making strong moves to the hoop. But sometimes, he would miss shots in traffic, and he also had a couple of shots blocked, as he would sometimes go up too strong, and other times he would not go up strong enough when he would look to score on the block.

Plus, Carey shot the ball well. He showed that he wasn’t afraid to take outside shots from beyond the arc, and he was able to calmly make a spot-up three off the catch in the second half.

He also can score on hustle plays. Carey excelled at scoring on strong put backs after getting offensive rebounds, and he also ran the floor and caught a long pass to draw free throws on the break. However, sometimes he would miss shots after getting balls on rolls to the rim, as he would occasionally miss shots tentatively in traffic.

He also displayed fairly average playmaking skills. Carey is an unselfish player that will move the basketball, and he does a good job of passing out of the post. However, sometimes he can struggle to protect the basketball. He dropped an inaccurate pass as he was lead out of bounds as a result of that pass, and he also had a ball poked away from the post that led him to commit a turnover on a separate possession.

Also, Carey did a very good job of rebounding the basketball. He would often leap up to haul in boards on both ends of the floor, and he also managed to get a couple of strong rebounds in traffic. He was active at crashing the glass to get offensive boards, as he was able to provide his team with plenty of second chance points afterwards.

He also played adequate defense. Carey did a good job of rotating to block shots in the paint to teammates, as he would make it difficult for opponents to score in the post or off the dribble. He also managed to successfully draw a charge when defending a drive due to good anticipation skills and positioning.

However, sometimes he can get caught ball watching, which can lead him out of position to defend in the post. He also would sometimes get beat off the dribble or be late to get back to his man when hedging on screens, which would lead his team to allow scores.

In general, Vernon Carey Jr. played very well, as he showed off very good all-around skills to help lead his team to a double-digit victory over Michigan State. He showed off versatile scoring skills, as well as a solid ability to rebound and defend, and he is a potential lottery pick that could project into being a solid starter in the NBA.

Duke's sophomore point guard, Tre Jones played very well as he helped lead his team to another victory in the college basketball season.  (Photo: Al Goldis/Associated Press via Bleacher Report.)
Duke’s sophomore point guard, Tre Jones played very well as he helped lead his team to another victory in the college basketball season. (Photo: Al Goldis/Associated Press via Bleacher Report.)

Duke’s sophomore point guard, Tre Jones also had a solid showing in his team’s win over Michigan State. Though he did commit his fair share of turnovers, Jones also passed and defended well, and he was able to make some tough shots to help his team in this game.

Tre Jones did a good job of driving to the basket to score on tough layups, and he also managed to make a couple of quick, pull-up jumpers from beyond the arc to help his team space the floor on offense. He did have a few bad misses, as he air-balled a long two and missed on an off-balanced drive in transition once, but generally Jones showed a knack for getting his team buckets against Michigan State.

He also displayed fairly good playmaking skills. Jones is a pass-first point guard that was able to throw pinpoint passes to set up scores for his teammates, as he can find them on the break, and he also would throw accurate lobs to help his teammates score on alley-oop dunks. Jones possesses very good court vision, and he also was able to weave a long bounce pass to find a teammate running far ahead on the break. On the downside, Jones also did commit a slew of turnovers on offense. He would sometimes over-dribble, which would lead to a series of careless ball-handling miscues, and he was also called for committing a flagrant foul after pushing off when trying to drive on the break late in the game. Sometimes he would telegraph his passes, as some of them would end up being deflected and intercepted by his opponents.

Though Jones didn’t grab many rebounds, he was able to get a couple of defensive boards to help his team on the glass. He also played solid defense. Jones is a pesky, tenacious defender that did a great job of getting steals. He showed a knack for poking balls away and jumping passes to do so, and he also leapt up to block a shot on a separate possession. However, he also can gamble too defensively, as he would end up committing reach-in fouls from time to time.

In summary, Tre Jones had a very good showing in his team’s win over Michigan State. He is a cerebral, gritty playmaker that excelled at making plays on both ends of the floor, and he played a smart, sound game in this contest. Jones could be a good value pick in the mid to late first round range of the 2020 draft, and he could project to be a solid role player in the association.

Duke's senior center, Javin DeLaurier also had a tremendous showing, as he helped lead his team to a double-digit victory over Michigan State.  (Photo: Bre Bradham/The Chronicle.)
Duke’s senior center, Javin DeLaurier put forth an excellent performance, as he helped lead his team to a double-digit victory over Michigan State. (Photo: Bre Bradham/The Chronicle.)

Duke’s senior center, Javin DeLaurier put forth a tremendous performance to help lead his team to a win over Michigan State. He made solid plays from the get-go, as he excelled as a finisher around the basket, and he also showed off strong rebounding and defensive skills in this game.

DeLaurier did a great job of scoring on hustle plays. He would often score on powerful, alley-oop dunks, as he would do so off of rolls and in transition. He also managed to score off of offensive rebounds, and he was also able to score on a thunderous tip slam in this contest.

He also threw a solid entry pass to notch an assist, and DeLaurier also did a good job of not turning the ball over on offense. He also did a good job of rebounding the basketball, and he also played terrific defense. DeLaurier would jump passes to get steals, and he also swatted a shot off of a cut. Plus, he also closed out hard on an opponent in the mid-range area to get his man to commit a double dribbling violation. But sometimes he would struggle to guard his man, which would lead him to commit fouls when defending drives every once in a while.

Overall, Javin DeLaurier played very well to help lead his team to a comfortable victory over Michigan State, and he is an athletic, high-motor player that could project to be a solid rim protector at the next level. While he may not be a lock to be drafted, DeLaurier has the skills to make an NBA team’s roster as a backup center in the association.

Duke’s freshman forward, Matthew Hurt played fairly well in his team’s double-digit win over Michigan State. He did a good job of making shots to provide floor spacing for his team, and he also made some solid hustle plays on the defensive end when he was on the court.

Hurt is a very good shooter that showed a knack for making spot-up threes off the catch. He can knock them down off of pick and pop plays, and he also has good form on his shot. He also would run the floor to score on fast breaks, and Hurt also managed to score on an emphatic two-handed dunk in transition. However, he had trouble scoring in the post, and he also missed on a contested pull-up, mid-range shot on a separate occurrence.

He also is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man to set up scores for his teammates. Though he did not get many rebounds, he was able to collect a couple of defensive boards to help his team on the glass.

Hurt also played solid defense. He did a great job of blocking shots in transition to get the ball to his teammates, as he showed off very good motor, recovery speed, and instincts to do so. He also managed to contest a mid-range shot to force a miss. However, he also tended to commit fouls on opposing ball handlers after rotating to help on those plays. On another play, he got backed down in the post, which led him to foul his man and allow the score simultaneously.

Overall, Matthew Hurt shot the ball well, and he also played good defense to help his team get a double-digit victory over Michigan State. Hurt is a smart, skilled combo forward that can help his team in a variety of ways, and he has the talent to be a first round pick, as he could end up being a solid role player in the NBA.

Michigan State’s senior point guard, Cassius Winston had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Duke. He had a slow start in the first half, as he had trouble consistently getting all the way to the basket and asserting himself on offense, but he was able to make some solid plays to help his team try to close the gap in the second half.

Winston did a decent job of scoring off the dribble. He can score on patient, right-handed drives to the hoop, as he can sneak past his man to score off the glass, and he also managed to score on a nifty floater another time. He also showed a knack for drawing fouls when taking the ball to the rim. However, he also tended to miss on wild, off-balanced runners in traffic, and he also would tend to get his shots blocked in this contest.

He also was able to make a trail three in transition to show his ability to space the floor, but Winston had trouble making pull-up jumpers from the field.

Also, Winston displayed solid playmaking skills. He is a subtly quick guard that sees the floor well, and he can find teammates on the move to set up scores for them. He managed to throw a nifty drop off pass to find a cutter after drawing in two defenders on a drive, and Winston also can throw accurate lob passes to set up dunks for his teammates. He did commit a few turnovers though, as he can be prone to committing ball-handling turnovers on occasion due to carelessness.

Defensively, he looked to be fairly average. He was able to poke a ball away to get a steal, but sometimes he had trouble guarding his man, which would lead him to allow scores off the dribble.

Overall, Cassius Winston did not have his best game, but he was able to string together some good plays to help his team in the second half. He will need to prove to teams that he can consistently create his own shot when facing more athletic players. Even still, he is a smart, skilled playmaker that can effectively run a team, and he could be a likely second round pick that could project well in a backup point guard role in the NBA.

Michigan State’s 6-8 junior big man, Xavier Tillman had a strong showing in his team’s loss to Duke. He excelled at scoring on strong moves in the post, and he also showed good footwork and scoring touch to score on a nifty, up and under move once. He also did a very good job of scoring on rolls to the rim. However, he struggled to make jumpers consistently, and he would sometimes miss shots in the post when they would be contested.

Tillman showed off adequate playmaking skills in this game. He did a good job of passing off the dribble to find open teammates, and he also can pass out of the post to get them the basketball. He also sees the floor well, as he was able to find a cutter to help set up a score. However, he also had some trouble protecting the basketball, which would lead him to commit several turnovers.

Tillman also did a very good job of rebounding the basketball, as he was quite active at crashing the glass. He also played decent defense. Tillman would get his hands on passes and he was able to poke a ball away in the post to help force turnovers, and he also would block shots in the paint to help his team get stops. He also tended to make good rotations defensively, and he has good strength to hold his ground when defending in the post. However, he would tend to be foul prone when going for the basketball, and he would sometimes struggle to guard his man, which would cause him to commit fouls and allow scores on occasion.

Overall, Xavier Tillman had one of the better games amongst players on Michigan State’s team in their loss to Duke. He mostly excelled as a scorer in the post and rebounder when he was on the floor. Right now, he may be a borderline second round candidate for the 2020 draft. On the downside, he is an undersized power forward that will need to improve his jump shot and perimeter skills, and he will likely need to show that he can guard players out on the perimeter. On the other hand, he has been playing well in his role on his team this year, and he also sets good screens on offense. He’s a productive player at the collegiate level, and in a favorable scenario, he could perhaps end up being a rotation player for a team in the NBA.

Michigan State’s 6-11 sophomore center, Marcus Bingham Jr. played fairly well in his team’s lopsided loss to Duke. He showed off versatile scoring skills, and he is an athletic big man that played the game with great energy. He excelled at making spot-up threes off the catch, and he also did a good job of throwing down emphatic dunks off of off-ball motion plays. He can find open shooters to set up scores for them.

Defensively, he looked to be about average. For the positives, he did a good job of blocking shots in the post to prevent opponents from getting easy shots in the paint. However he also struggled to defend in the post, as his lack of strength made it difficult for him to guard his man on the block, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores around the basket. Overall, Bingham is an athletic, high-motor player that could project to be a defensive specialist in the NBA, and he could be a second round pick whenever he decides to enter the draft.

Other Notes:

Duke’s 6-7 sophomore forward, Joey Baker shot the ball very well in his team’s win over Michigan State. He has a very good pump fake that would often get his defenders in the air, and he made a slew of spot-up threes and pull-up, mid-range jumpers to help his team space the floor on offense. Baker also used a step back move to find an open shooter to notch an assist. Overall, Baker is a skilled, mobile shooter that could project to be a shooting specialist for an NBA team in the league.

Michigan State’s 6-7 sophomore swingman, Gabe Brown had an uneven performance, but he some good moments at times in his team’s loss to Duke. He was able to score on a quick put back, and he also scored on a left-handed drive while drawing an extra free throw. Plus, he also was able to make an open three off the catch. However, Brown struggled to make long-range jumpers consistently from beyond the arc, and he also had his shot blocked off of a cut to the basket once.

He also rebounded the ball well, as he would chase down balls to come up with tough boards in traffic. He also is an unselfish player that would find the open man to set up scores for his teammates. Overall, Brown is an athletic swingman that showed off an interesting set of all-around skills. He will need to improve his jump shot, but if he can do so, he could project to be a 3 and D type of role player in the NBA.

Michigan State’s sophomore swingman, Aaron Henry had a very disappointing showing in his team’s loss to Duke. Regardless, he was able to make some solid plays at times when he was on the floor.

For the positives, he showed off adequate playmaking skills in this game. Henry can pass out of the post, and he also drew in multiple defenders when driving to the hoop, as he threw a nifty dump-off pass to set up a dunk for a teammate. He possesses good patience and court vision, and he can pass off the dribble to find teammates in stride. However, Henry was called for traveling when posting up another time, and he also lost the ball when handling it to commit another turnover.

However, Henry was far too passive on offense, as he attempted just two field goals, and he missed on his only free throw attempt. Henry missed on a three-point shot in transition, and he seems to have a fairly slow release when hoisting up the long-range shot from beyond the arc. Late in the game, he did manage to make one field goal, as he was able to receive a nice pass from Tillman to score on a high-flying dunk off of a backdoor cut.

Overall, Aaron Henry did not have a great game, and his strong tendency to fade into the background on offense really hurt him from being able to establish himself as a scoring option in this match against Duke. Henry is a very good athlete, but he can tend to be too aloof at times, and he doesn’t seem to have a great feel for the game. Right now, he may be a borderline second round candidate for the 2020 draft, and he will have to be more assertive in looking to make plays on a consistent basis. In a favorable scenario, he could end up finding a way to make an NBA team’s roster sometime in the future, as he could end up being a fringe rotation player similar to former Houston Rockets’ forward, Troy Williams in the association.

Duke’s freshman swingman, Wendell Moore Jr. has had a rough start to the season, and I was hoping that he would play well in this game to justify his draft stock. Unfortunately, he did not play well against Michigan State, as he held scoreless, and he ended up running into foul trouble in this game.

On the bright side, Moore is an athletic swingman that was able to chase down an errantly thrown pass to collect a steal, and he also managed to find an open shooter to notch an assist. Plus, he also was able to grab a rebound.

However, he only took one shot in this game, and he ended up missing on a pull-up jumper from the mid-range area. Moore also struggled to guard his man defensively, and he would tend to pick up quick reach-in fouls when defending opposing ball handlers.

Overall, Moore did not have his best game, and he did not have much of an impact in his team’s win over Michigan State. Still, he seems to be rated fairly high as a draft prospect due to his perceived upside as a prospect. He is a project player that may be far from being polished, but in this contest, he flashed some potential as a playmaker and defender. If he can continue to hone his overall game, he could end up being an effective role player akin to Brooklyn Nets’ guard, Garrett Temple in the NBA.