Assessing Chet Holmgren, Andrew Nembhard, and Drew Timme in the Gonzaga-UCLA Game

November 23rd, 2021

By Alan Lu

Today, I took the time to watch Chet Holmgren and Gonzaga play against UCLA in an early season, non-conference basketball game.  It was expected to be a very competitive matchup, but Gonzaga jumped on UCLA from the get go, and ended up cruising to a 20-point victory.  Chet Holmgren and Andrew Nembhard turned in very impressive performances, and Holmgren dominated by making very good plays on both ends of the floor.  Drew Timme and Julian Strawther were some of the other standout performers in this game.  Here are my thoughts on how Holmgren, Nembhard, and other various prospects fared on this day.

Chet Holmgren had a strong, all-around game, as he scored 15 points, had 6 rebounds, 4 blocks, and made 2 three-pointers in Gonzaga’s win over UCLA.
(Photo:
L.E. Baskow/Associated Press, via Orange County Register)

Chet Holmgren put forth a magnificent performance in his team’s win over UCLA.  He had a terrific all-around game, and he did just about everything well to help his team get the victory.  He did a great job of blocking shots, he defended very well, he was able to score on a smooth, two-handed dunk off the dribble, and he also knocked down a pair of threes to show his shooting skills.

Holmgren did a great job of shooting and scoring the basketball.  He showed a knack for scoring on strong drives to his left.  He drove quickly off of a screen to score on a smooth layup early on.  He also managed to use a scintillating, behind-the-back dribble move to fake out his defender in order to score swiftly on a powerful dunk on a drive in transition later on.

Plus, he also excelled at scoring from the post.  Holmgren was able to use a ball fake to his right to use the baseline to score off the glass.  He also used a pivot move to score on a left-handed, turnaround jump hook another time.  He has good footwork, ball handling, and scoring touch to frequently score in the paint.  Plus, he did a good job of knocking down threes, and he was able to make a pair of open, spot-up threes off the catch.

Also, Holmgren displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game.  He is a good passer and ball handler, especially for a player his size.  He did a great job of throwing crisp, accurate interior passes, and he would sometimes find teammates on the move to set up numerous scoring chances for them.  On the downside, he also was fairly turnover prone on offense.  He would sometimes try too hard to create shots off the dribble, which would lead to turnovers.  He ended up stepping out of bounds on a baseline drive, and he also was called for traveling after shuffling his pivot foot on a spin move on another drive to the hoop.  Early in this game, he had a ball stolen away from him shortly after grabbing an offensive rebound.

In addition, Holmgren did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  He was able to leap up to collect boards on both ends of the floor, but he also was called for committing a couple of over the back fouls when going for defensive rebounds.  Adding to that, Holmgren played very good defense in this game.  He did a tremendous job of blocking shots in the paint due to possessing great length, mobility, and timing.  Though he would get pushed back considerably when defending in the post, Holmgren is a smart defender that uses his size, length, and instincts to frequently swat and challenge shots in the paint to force misses.  He was very active in contesting shots to get stops, and he also did a very good job of getting out onto shooters to challenge outside shots to force misses.  Plus, Holmgren was able to intercept a pass to get a steal.  Sometimes though, he would bite on pump fakes, which would lead him to be out of position and allow opponents to score on mid-range jumpers.  He also got outmuscled early on a drive, which led him to commit a foul.

In general, Chet Holmgren played really well in this game, and he had a fantastic showing, as he made great plays on both ends of the floor.  He excelled as a shooter, scorer, and rim protector, and he also showed off some range, passing skills and handles on offense.  He made a really good case for himself to be the frontrunner to be the top pick of the 2022 draft, and he is a uniquely talented player whose strong all-around skills could enable him to be a franchise player in the NBA.

Gonzaga’s point guard, Andrew Nembhard scored 24 points, and dished out 6 assists in his team’s win over UCLA.
(Photo:
Ethan Miller/Getty Images, via Los Angeles Daily News)

Andrew Nembhard had a superb showing in his team’s win over UCLA.  Nembhard did a tremendous job of shooting and scoring the basketball, and he is a quick, speedy playmaker that played a very good all-around game. Nembhard did a good job of knocking down jumpers to provide floor spacing for his team.  He especially excelled at making mid-range jumpers off the dribble.  He made a smooth, step-back mid-range shot once.  He also quickly drove to his left and stopped on a dime, and he managed to get his defender to fall before making an open, mid-range floater.  He also was able to make threes both off the catch and dribble, but he was fairly streaky with his three-point shot on this day.

He also showed a very good ability to score off the dribble.  Nembhard showed a quick first step to the hoop, and he would often score on speedy, right-handed drives to the basket.  He also was able to score on a crafty, switch of hands layup on a drive in transition.  He also can use either hand to get to the hoop, and he would end up getting fouled by defenders to get to the free throw line often.

He also displayed good playmaking skills in this game.  Nembhard excelled at making swift, drive and kick passes to get the ball to open shooters, and he would throw crisp, accurate interior passes to find teammates on the move to rack up assists.  Sometimes though, he would throw hasty passes that would get intercepted, as he would sometimes rush his moves.  He also was called for a carrying violation another time.

He also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  Nembhard was able to haul in multiple boards on both ends of the floor.  On the downside, he was unable to get a rebound against a taller player once, and it led him to be called for committing a foul on an opponent’s put back.  Nembhard also defended well in this game.  He did a great job of getting steals, as he was able to pounce on a loose ball, intercept a pass, and he also poked a ball away to get steals for his team.

In summary, Andrew Nembhard played a fantastic game to help lead his team to a blowout win over UCLA.  He is a smart, skilled playmaker that showed off better athleticism than advertised, and he had a very good-all performance to help Gonzaga get the victory.  This most likely his strongest performance of the season, and his superb performance in this game may strengthen his case to be a first round pick in the 2022 draft.

Gonzaga’s junior center, Drew Timme scored 18 points, and had 8 rebounds in his team’s double-digit win over UCLA.
(Photo:
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images, via NBC Los Angeles)

Drew Timme had a solid showing in his team’s win over UCLA.  Timme didn’t exactly dominate in this game like he did against Texas, and he struggled to make plays at times, but he was able to find his footing as a low post scorer and interior defender to help his team get the victory. Timme did a decent job of scoring in the post.  He showed that he was comfortable in going to his right to score on jump hooks, and he also can contort his body to make a tough shot down low at times.  He also can use subtle moves to get around defenders to get his shots off.  On the downside, sometimes he struggled to find his shooting touch at times, especially early on, which would lead to some misses.

He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Timme was able to score on a backdoor cut as well as on a roll to the rim.  He also showed a solid ability to score off the dribble, and he was able to score on a strong drive while getting an extra free throw once.  He also took an open three-point shot, but missed that time when he hoisted it up from beyond the arc.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game.  Timme is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he was able to throw good passes off the dribble as well as throw sharp interior passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  He also managed to set a good on-ball screen to help his teammate score on an open jump shot.  On the downside, he had trouble with his footwork in the post on a couple of possessions, and it led him to commit a couple of traveling violations.

Also, Timme did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  He was able to chase down balls to get plenty of defensive boards for his team.  Plus, Timme played good defense against UCLA.  He was able to block Jaquez’s shot when defending in the post to a teammate, and Timme did a very good job of defending in the paint, especially when he would guard opponents in the post.  He also would often contest mid-range shots and shots off the dribble to force plenty of misses.  On the downside, he would sometimes be too aggressive and over-rotate, which would lead him to be out of position at times.  He also sagged a bit too far off of a shooter, which led him to allow an opponent to score on a mid-range shot once.

Overall, Drew Timme played fairly well in his team’s win over UCLA.  He didn’t immediately look to always be the go-to scorer, but he didn’t have to, as he played his part as a solid inside scorer and interior defender in this game.  He made solid team plays to help his team get the win, and he could be a good find for an NBA team whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft.

Gonzaga’s sophomore forward, Julian Strawther played well in his team’s win over UCLA.  He had a solid all-around showing, and he showed off versatile scoring skills and made solid plays to help his team get the victory. Strawther showed a knack for making strong moves on off-ball motion plays to get free throws, as he was able to do so off of a cut as well as off of a put back.  He also was able to make a pair of spot-up threes, and he also made one from way out to show his range.  Plus, he also scored on a nice, contorted floater off of a drive to the hoop.  Sometimes though, he would be streaky with his jump shot, which would lead him to miss his fair share of shots.

He also passed and rebounded the ball well.  Strawther was able to make a swift drive and kick pass to notch an assist.  He also would often chase down boards to help his team get rebounds on both ends of the floor, and he would tend to bring the ball up off of defensive rebounds afterwards.  He also leapt up high to get an offensive rebound in traffic early on.  He did throw an inaccurate pass though that ended up getting intercepted once. 

Overall, Julian Strawther put forth a good performance in his team’s win over UCLA.  He excelled at making plays, especially on offense and on the glass, and he is an athletic, skilled forward that could be an intriguing prospect to watch in the future.

UCLA’s junior swingman, Johnny Juzang had his ups and downs in his team’s double-digit loss to Gonzaga.  He seemed to provide quick offense for them early on, but there were times where he would go stretches without the ball, and he ended up being rather inconsistent in this game. Juzang did a decent job of knocking down jumpers on offense.  He showed a knack for pulling up to score on smooth, mid-range jumpers, and he can use either hand to do so.  He also made an open, spot-up three off the catch to show his sharpshooting prowess, though he missed on two other occasions.  On the downside, he struggled more when he would try to take the ball all the way to the hoop.  He had a couple of his shots blocked off the dribble, and he also would miss on turnaround, baseline jumpers when looking to score out of the post.

He also was fairly turnover prone on offense.  On one good play, Juzang threw an accurate interior pass to set up a score for a teammate on the break.  However, he also had some trouble handling the ball when pressured.  He slipped and fell as he lost the ball upon catching it, which led to an early turnover.  He also was called for clearing out when posting up once.  He also had a ball poked away as it got stolen away from him later on in this match.

Though Juzang didn’t grab many rebounds, he was able to get a pair of defensive boards, and he was able to leap up to get a defensive rebound aggressively once.  He also played decent defense in this game.  Juzang was able to jump a pass to get a steal.  Sometimes he would lose his focus as he lost track of a cutter once, but he also would funnel his man into the help, as his teammate was able to force the miss regardless.

Overall, Johnny Juzang didn’t have his best game, but he still was able to have some good moments at times in UCLA’s loss to Gonzaga.  Juzang has at times been streaky as a shooter since he was one of the breakout stars of the 2021 NCAA Tournament, but his shooting and scoring skills, and combined with his athleticism and feel for the game could enable him to be worth considering for NBA teams to take in the late first to the second round range of the 2022 draft.

UCLA ran most of their offense through Jaime Jaquez Jr., but it was very inefficient as their offense stalled for most of this game against Gonzaga.  Jaquez tended to post up a lot, and he also made the baffling decision to try to post multiple times against Timme, which would often times not work.  He had more success in making outside shots off the dribble, and in attacking the basket to score against smaller players, but he generally struggled against the length and athleticism of Gonzaga’s defenders.

Jaquez often would post up, but he would often tend to miss when trying to score from the block, especially when trying to do so against taller defenders.  He did a better job of posting up smaller defenders, as he would be much more effective in using ball fakes and up and under moves to score over them.  In general though, he often missed on turnaround jumpers and leaners in traffic, and his shot selection was quite baffling, to say the least.

Though he didn’t shoot well overall against Gonzaga, Jaquez seemed to do a fairly good job of knocking down mid-range jumpers in this game.  Jaquez has a lot of subtle dribble moves that he can use to create separation and get defenders in the air, and he showed a knack for using them to score from the mid-range.  He also was able to go to his left to make a pull-up three, but he struggled to make threes consistently.  He also did an adequate job of scoring off the dribble, and he was able to go hard to draw free throws on a strong drive in transition down the stretch.  Plus, he also managed to score on a backdoor cut late in this game. He also displayed decent playmaking skills.  Jaquez is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he can pass off the dribble as well as from the post to set up scores for his teammates.  On the downside, when posting up once, he threw a weak interior pass that ended up getting intercepted.

He also showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball.  Jaquez was able to get boards on both ends of the floor.  He struggled defensively though, and he really struggled to move or defend opposing ball handlers on that side of the ball.  He had trouble staying with opposing ball handlers when defending off the dribble, and there was one play where he fell down when guarding a quicker player, and he allowed his man to score on an open mid-range shot.

Overall, Jaime Jaquez did not play very well in his team’s loss to Gonzaga.  He took many shots, but he didn’t score efficiently, and his tendency to try to post up bigger players down low led to a bogged down offense and to many missed shots.  He had more success when he would look to score against smaller defenders, and when he would face up to take mid-range jumpers, but Jaquez just didn’t have a great game in general.  Right now, he’s probably not suited to be a first round pick, but his intangibles combined with at times craftiness on offense could make him a second round pick in the 2022 draft.

I didn’t start off intending to watch UCLA’s 6-5 sophomore swingman, Jaylen Clark play, but he made his presence felt in the second half of his team’s loss to Gonzaga.  He excelled at attacking the hoop to score the basketball, and he is a very athletic, energetic player that made solid hustle plays on both ends of the floor. He was able to block a shot in the paint hard to a teammate.  He also sprinted down the court to score on a thunderous dunk in transition.  Plus, he showed a knack for making strong moves to draw fouls in order to get to the free throw line.  Overall, Clark scored 8 points and had 5 rebounds off the bench, and all of his boards were offensive rebounds.  He’ll need to improve his outside shot and extend his shooting range, but Clark was one of the better players on UCLA’s team in this game, and he could project into a defensive specialist role in the NBA, especially if he continues to develop and progress as an overall player.

UCLA’s 6-8 freshman point forward, Peyton Watson has not been having a great season so far, but he was coming off his strongest performance yet, as he had scored 19 points in his team’s win over Bellarmine a day ago prior to this game.  He still had not shot the ball well this season, and his inability to knock down jumpers showed in his team’s loss to Gonzaga.

Watson was held scoreless, as he had trouble scoring on aggressive drives to the hoop, and sometimes he would take tough, contested jumpers.  He also missed a mid-range jumper off the dribble badly off the glass.  On non-shooting or scoring related possessions from him, Watson fared better.  He is a skilled, savvy playmaker that was able to drive up the court and make a nice dish to a teammate on the break to notch an assist late in this match due to possessing good court vision.

He also has the tools to be a good defender.  Watson has good feet defensively, and he is a very long and athletic swingman that would use his length and quickness to hound opposing ball handlers.  He fought hard around screens to quickly get back to his man to defend opposing ball handlers, and he also knocked a ball away to nearly get a steal once.  On the downside, he can be quite undisciplined at times.  He bit on a pump fake from a low post player that led him to commit a foul down low.  He also got beat off the dribble by the team’s opposing point guard to allow a score.

Overall, Peyton Watson didn’t have a great game, but he could be an intriguing player for UCLA once they can firmly figure out a role for him on the team.  He’s a very athletic player that can distribute the basketball and defend, and he may have a great deal of upside.  On the downside, he’s not a great shooter, and it remains to be seen if he can ably create his own shot or effectively score off the dribble in the half-court.  He started off as a highly regarded prospect for the NBA, and his stock has dropped a bit, though not too much.  He really needs to improve his jump shot, but it’s possible that his game may be a better fit in the faster paced NBA.  Watson has struggled to put the ball in the hoop in most of the games this year, but his vast athleticism and upside could make him a candidate worth considering in the late first to the second round range for the 2022 draft.

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