Assessing Bennedict Mathurin, Oumar Ballo, and Pelle Larsson in the Arizona-Stanford Game

January 21st, 2022

By Alan Lu

Yesterday, I took the time to watch Bennedict Mathurin and Arizona play against Stanford in a Pac-12 matchup. He and Arizona jumped on Stanford early, and Mathurin especially thrived as a shooter and scorer on the break as they ended up winning by double digits.  Also, Arizona’s center Oumar Ballo played very well as he scored 21 points, and their guards also excelled to help their team get the victory.  Here are my thoughts on how Mathurin and other various prospects fared on this day.

Arizona’s 6-7 swingman, Bennedict Mathurin played very well early on, and he went on to score 13 points in his team’s win over Stanford.
(Photo:
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press)

Bennedict Mathurin had a solid showing in his team’s blowout win over Stanford.  He played really well early on, and he was at his best when he was able to shoot, score, and make plays quickly in transition.  He struggled to operate more in the half court, as he committed some careless ball-handling turnovers, and also had some defensive lapses, but Mathurin showed his versatility and strong athletic gifts to help his team get the victory.

Mathurin shot the ball very well, especially from beyond the arc.  He was able to make a couple of quick, spot-up threes on the break, and he also made another open three from way out.  He ran off a ball screen to attempt a baseline mid-range jumper, but he missed that time, though it seemed as if he had gotten fouled on the way down. Also, he ran the floor and managed to score on a fast break dunk early on, and he thrived at scoring on fast breaks.  On the downside, Mathurin missed on a finger roll layup on a half court drive to the hoop, and he struggled more to consistently score in the half court.

Plus, he also displayed decent playmaking skills in this game.  Mathurin can make swift passes off the dribble, and he would sometimes make good reads to set up scores for his teammates.  He also passes the ball well in transition, and he can throw accurate interior passes to get his teammates the basketball.  On the downside, he struggled to handle the basketball when pressured on half-court plays.  On one play, he collided into opponent while losing the basketball simultaneously that led him to commit an offensive foul.  He also tended to lose the basketball when handling it in the half court, as balls would sometimes slip out of his hands, and he would go too fast due to rushing. Though he didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, Mathurin was able to get a defensive board on one possession.  On another play though, he committed a lane violation, which allowed his opponent to get another free throw, but it turned out that it didn’t matter, because his opponent still ended up missing the free throw anyways.

Defensively, he looked to be about average.  For the positives, Mathurin is an athletic swingman that would use his length and athleticism to successfully challenge shots to force misses.  He rotated to block a shot hard off of a drive, and he would contest outside shots to get stops for his team.  He also managed to successfully draw a charge due to being in good position to do so.  However, he also would tend to over-help and over-rotate, which would lead to scramble situations where he and his teammates would be out of position, and it would lead them to give up three-point baskets.  He also can tend to be undisciplined defensively.  He was caught ball watching, and lost track of his man on a cut, and he ended up rotating on a pass and committed a foul inside.  He also tended to commit fouls when guarding opposing ball handlers, and he also got overpowered prior to committing a blocking foul that also led him to allow a score to his opponent.

Overall, Bennedict Mathurin played fairly well in his team’s win over Stanford.  He was at his best when he was able to make plays out in transition, where he would use his quick decision-making skills, shooting ability, and athleticism to his advantage.  In the meantime though, he’ll need to improve his handles and ability to score in the half court.  He is a very talented prospect that is a solid bet to go in the lottery in the 2022 draft, and he could project to be a solid role player in the NBA.

Arizona’s 7-0 center, Oumar Ballo scored 21 points in his team’s win over Stanford.
(Photo:
Neville E. Guard/USA Today Sports, via SB Nation’s Arizona Desert Swarm)

Oumar Ballo turned in a magnificent performance, as he dominated in his team’s win over Stanford.  He is a strong, athletic 7-0 center that proved to be a very dependable interior player down the stretch, and he thrived at scoring, blocking shots, and defending in this game. Ballo did a good job of scoring in the post.  He would get deep position to get the ball down low, and he utilize pump fakes to score around the basket.  He can score on powerful dunks or layups, and he also can absorb the contact to draw fouls to frequently get to the free throw line.  He also managed to score on a left-handed, turnaround jump hook late in this game.  Plus, he also showed a knack for scoring on strong rolls to the rim.  He also tried to score on a left-handed drive, but he missed that time.  He did a great job of scoring the basketball, although he didn’t really need to take a jump shot from outside of the paint area in this particular match.

He didn’t seem to be too noticeable as a playmaker, though.  He did set good screens, which would enable himself to get open to score on rolls afterwards.  On the downside, he also threw a hasty pass that got intercepted once.  Also, Ballo did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  Ballo also played solid defense, and he especially defended well in the second half.  He especially defended well in the post.  He did a good job of blocking shots in the post to his teammates, and he also would actively contest shots and hold his ground to force misses.  He generally excelled at contesting shots in the paint to get stops for his team.  On the downside, every once in a while, he would get beat on quick moves to the hoop.

Overall, Oumar Ballo excelled as an interior player in his team’s win over Stanford.  He dominated, especially down the stretch.   While he’ll need to expand upon his game on offense, Ballo’s size, athleticism, and interior play could help him at the next level, and he is an athletic big man that could be an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider in the second round range of the 2022 draft.

Arizona’s 6-5 swingman, Pelle Larsson also turned in a very good showing in his team’s win over Stanford.  He was able to do a little bit of everything to help his team.  He scored on strong, change of pace drives to the hoop, and he also showed some surprising shot blocking prowess, as he had a nice stretch run of making strong defensive plays down the stretch. Larsson did a good job of scoring off the dribble.  He showed that he can score using either hand, and he was very effective at changing speeds and using hesitation moves to score on layups off of crafty drives to the hoop.  He also thrived at scoring on off-ball motion plays, as he was able to score in transition, as well as on a quick, backdoor cut.  He showed a knack for drawing free throws after getting the ball underneath the hoop.  He also made a pull-up three from way out, but he struggled to make spot-up threes from beyond the arc.

Plus, he also passed and handled the ball well.  Larsson did a great job of passing the basketball.  He especially excelled at passing off the dribble, and he would often throw crisp, accurate interior passes to find his teammates on the move to set up scores for them.  He can make swift drop-off passes, and he also was able to throw an accurate lob pass. He also would be patient in making plays off the dribble, and he would kick balls out to open shooters to set up scoring chances for them.

He also was able to get a board on each end of the floor to help chip in on the glass.  Larsson also played good defense in this game.  He did a great job of blocking shots, especially out on the perimeter.  He showed a knack for swatting outside shots, and he also made a timely block on a shot off of a drive to help force a shot clock violation.  Larsson did a good job of contesting shots to force misses, and he also showed a knack for drawing charges to get stops for his team. 

Plus, he also managed to intercept a pass to get a steal.  On the downside, he can be too aggressive in trying to make plays, which would lead him to foul jump shooters.  He bit on a pump fake and fouled a post player to commit a foul and allow a score once.  He also was too aggressive on a close out another time, and fouled an opponent on a corner three. Overall, Pelle Larsson played very well, and he generally played sound, smart, team-oriented basketball to help get his team the win.  He just showed a knack for making sound plays on both ends of the floor, and he showed off solid playmaking and defensive skills in this game.  He will need to improve his outside shot, but his ability to make plays on both ends of the floor combined with his basketball IQ could enable him to make his way to the NBA someday.

Arizona’s 6-7 sophomore swingman, Dalen Terry had a solid showing in his team’s win over Stanford.  He is an athletic slasher that thrived at attacking the basket to score, and he also played unselfishly and showed off a versatile set of skills in this game.  He’ll still need to improve his three-point shot, and he was also a bit turnover prone, but he played well to help his team get the victory.

Terry excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He is a good athlete, and he thrived at scoring on fast breaks.  He also looked to be comfortable at scoring from the mid-range.  He would often dribble to his left after getting the ball around that range, as he was able to score on a mid-range floater, and he also would go to his left to score and get fouled.  He did a decent job of scoring off the dribble, but he was a bit streaky in trying to knock down mid-range shots.  On the downside, he struggled to knock down three-point shots, and he missed both of them that he took from beyond the arc.

Also, Terry showed off decent playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that made good reads on the floor, and he showed that he can make passes off the dribble.  He was able to throw a swift interior pass to set up a score early on.  He also drove up the court and threw a no-look pass ahead to a teammate on the break to notch an assist.  Sometimes though, he would struggle to make decisions when pressured, and he threw a couple of hasty, inaccurate passes that went astray and led to turnovers.  He also committed a charging foul off of a drive another time.

Plus, Terry did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  He would chase balls down to get numerous boards on both ends of the floor due to possessing solid athleticism, motor, and instincts.  He also was able to push the ball quickly up the court after getting a defensive board once.  He also played satisfactory defense.  He would contest shots to force misses, and he also intercepted an errant pass to get a steal.  On another play though, he got outmuscled when defending in the post, and he ended up fouling his opponent and allowing the score afterwards.

Overall, Dalen Terry played well in this game.  He made solid team plays throughout the night, and he showed his versatility in his team’s win over Stanford.  He will still need to improve his outside shot, but his athleticism, playmaking, and defensive skills could make him an option for NBA teams to consider in the second round of the 2022 draft.

Arizona’s 6-3 redshirt freshman point guard, Kerr Kriisa also had a solid showing in his team’s win over Stanford.  He primarily thrived as a facilitator, and he did a good job of running the point and leading his team to get the victory.  He struggled to shoot or score the basketball consistently, but he was able to knock down a couple of pull-up jumpers to show his ability to make his outside shots.

He also showed off solid playmaking skills.  Kriisa is a creative facilitator that showed a knack for finding open teammates due to possessing good court vision.  He threw a nice, between the legs pass back to a shooter to set up a score for him on the break.  He also would throw sharp, timely interior passes to find his teammates on the move to set up scores for them.  On the downside, sometimes he would over-dribble, which would lead him to commit ball-handling turnovers. Also, Kriisa did a decent job of rebounding the basketball in this game.  He also played decent defense in this game.  Kriisa was able to draw a charge on an opposing ball handler.  On another play though, he was called for a handchecking foul when guarding an opponent another time.

Overall, Kerr Kriisa played fairly well, and he especially thrived as a facilitator in this game.  He will need to be a more consistent shooter, and he will need to show that he can guard upper-echelon opponents in games.  He will most likely need to stay in school to hone his game, but he could be an intriguing prospect to watch in the future.

Arizona’s 6-4 sixth-year senior guard, Justin Kier played very well in his team’s win over Stanford.  He had a strong, all-around game, and he excelled at making plays on both ends of the court. He did a tremendous job of shooting and scoring the basketball.  He was able to dribble up to calmly knock down a three-point shot to show his shooting skills, and he also thrived as a scorer off the dribble, as well as off of off-ball motion plays.  He would use change of pace dribbles to score on strong, right-handed drives to the hoop.  He also managed to score on a drive in transition, as well as on a quick, backdoor cut.

He didn’t seem to be noticeable as a playmaker, but he threw a rushed, dribble handoff pass that ended up getting dropped by his teammate.  He was active in crashing the glass to get boards for his team.  He also defended fairly well.  He was able to poke a ball away to get a steal, and he also ran in to tie up an opposing ball handler to nearly get another.  He also would contest shots to force misses.  On the downside, he would sometimes reach in and gamble too much, which would lead him to wind up out of position and occasionally commit fouls.

Overall, Justin Kier thrived at making plays on both ends of the floor.  He especially excelled as a scorer in this game, and he is an agile combo guard that whose skill set could end up competing for a roster spot in the NBA next season.

Christian Koloko had his ups and downs, and he ran into foul trouble in the first half.  He thrived as a dunker in the limited touches he received in this game, though.  He was able to score on thunderous dunks off of a baseline cut, as well as after catching a lob around the basket another time.  On the downside, he struggled more to score on more traditional post plays, as he also had a fadeaway jump hook blocked another time.  He also tried to make a play after getting the ball on a cut another time, but ended up committing an offensive foul and a turnover that time.

He didn’t grab many rebounds, but he was able to chase down balls to get a board on each end of the floor.  He also played perhaps above average defense in this game.  Koloko was able to block a couple of shots in the post, though he swatted them right back to his opponent each time.  He also was able to challenge a three-point shot to get a stop another time.  On the downside, he would be too aggressive in contesting shots, which would lead him to commit fouls around the basket.

Overall, Christian Koloko didn’t make as big of an impact as hoped, but his team didn’t really need him to, as the rest of his teammates stepped up to help them get a double-digit win over Stanford.  Koloko will need to expand upon his skill set on offense and improve his jump shot, and he will need to be a more disciplined defender in games.  Still, his size, athleticism, and motor could enable him to be an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider in the second round range of the 2022 draft.

Stanford’s 7-1 freshman center, Maxime Raynaud had a decent showing overall in his team’s loss to Arizona. He played well early on, and it appeared that he should get much more playing time, especially considering that his teammates struggled.  But the more he played, the more he seemed to struggle on the court, though he showed the resolve and willingness to battle through adversity towards the game’s end. Raynaud was able to make an open, spot-up three-point shot off the catch, and he has a good stroke that allowed him to knock down the shot from beyond the arc.  That was the lone three-point attempt he hoisted up, and he will need to trust his outside shot far more in the future.

He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He also was able to score on a roll to the rim.  Plus, he also was able to score on a put back after missing one another time.  He struggled more to score in the post, as he had a couple of his shots blocked, and he had trouble getting his shots to go down, especially when going up against more athletic opponents that were almost as tall as him. Also, Raynaud was quite turnover prone.  He was quite inaccurate with his passes, and he threw a couple of balls away that sailed out of bounds.  He also held the ball too long another time, as he had a ball stolen away from him by an opponent that led to a fast break the other way.

He did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  Raynaud was able to block a shot off of a drive to a teammate.  However, he had trouble guarding opponents in the post, He would get outmuscled and take bad angles, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Maxime Raynaud was one of the better performers on his team in a night where the entire Stanford team pretty much struggled overall.  Still, Raynaud has a bright future in college basketball.  While he doesn’t possess overwhelming athleticism, he is a skilled, energetic center that could project to be a stretch big in the NBA someday.

I was really excited to watch Stanford’s 6-8 freshman forward, Harrison Ingram live, but he was largely disappointing in his team’s lopsided loss to Arizona.  He struggled to create his own shot in the half court, and he was often entirely too passive on offense.  He didn’t seem to be nearly as athletic as he looked to be on tape, and he was struggling to finish plays in traffic or to rebound the basketball at times against longer, more athletic opponents.  He did play hard though, so I’ll give him credit for that, and his best skills were his passing and defense in a game where he struggled mightily.

Ingram struggled to consistently score in this game, but he showed a decent ability to make threes and score in the post when he would elect to hoist up shots from that range.  He seemed to be far more comfortable posting up, and he was able to go to his left and execute a strong dropstep move to score and get an extra free throw.  He also missed on a floater another time, as he set up too far away.  He also was able to go to his left to make a pull-up three from way out.  Unfortunately, he didn’t seem to be comfortable in taking threes, and it led him to make some questionable decisions as a result.  Even more trouble, he didn’t take a single spot-up three off the catch, as both of the threes he took were off the dribble. On the downside, he would sometimes take tough, off-balanced shots that would lead to misses.  He struggled to consistently score off the dribble, as he missed on a pull-up, mid-range jumper, and he also missed on an off-balanced, contested layup another time.  He also missed on a wild put back early on in this contest.

He also displayed satisfactory playmaking skills.  Ingram would throw good passes off the dribble, and he showed that he can make an assortment of passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  He also played patiently, and he would pass out of the post to find open shooters.  On the downside, there was one play where he mishandled the ball and lost it that led to a turnover.  He also dropped a ball in the high post that went out of bounds another time.

Plus, Ingram showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball.  He was active at crashing the glass to haul in multiple boards on both ends of the floor.  However, sometimes he would not be able to get balls in his area, as he would occasionally lose out to more athletic opponents in traffic, and he also committed a loose ball foul when going for a defensive board once. 

Also, Ingram played solid defense in this game.  He was able to jump on a loose ball an opponent lost as well as intercept a telegraphed pass to get steals for his team.  He also successfully drew a charge when defending a drive due to good positioning.  He also was able to challenge a three-point shot to get a stop another time.  On the downside, there was one play where he went too far in one direction and sagged too far off of a shooter on a switch, which led him to give up a three-point basket to an opponent.

Overall, Harrison Ingram didn’t have his best game, but he still showed some passing and defensive skills in his team’s loss to Arizona.  He will need to trust his outside shot more, and he will need to show that he can ably create his own shot against upper-echelon opponents on a consistent basis.  He didn’t play well against Arizona, and there is a concern that his lack of elite athleticism and shot creation ability could limit his potential for the next level.  Still, Ingram is playing well this season overall, and his size and playmaking skills could allow him to get selected in the second round of the 2022 draft.  If things go as expected, he could end up being a similar player to former New York Knicks’ swingman, Landry Fields in the association.

Azuolas Tubelis played early on, but he collided into an opponent and suffered an ankle injury, which caused him to be out for the rest of the game.  He showed a solid ability to score around the basket.  He managed to absorb the contact to score on a strong roll to the rim.  He also took a couple of open, spot-up threes, but missed from beyond the arc.

He also was able to throw a sharp entry pass to show his passing skills.  He also was able to collect a pair of defensive rebounds to help his team on the glass.  Also, Tubelis managed to chase down a loose ball to help his team get a steal another time.  Overall, Tubelis ended up getting hurt, so he wasn’t able to finish the game, and he didn’t really get a chance to show the full arsenal of his skills.  Still, he showed some offensive skills and flashed a solid basketball IQ on the court.  He will need to improve his outside shot, but his ability to score and make plays on offense could enable him to be a second round pick whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft.

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