Assessing Daniel Gafford, Kerwin Roach, and Jericho Sims

November 11, 2018

by Alan Lu

I took the opportunity to watch Texas play against Arkansas in the Armed Forces Classic that was played on November 9th, as it featured numerous prospects including Razorbacks’ sophomore center Daniel Gafford, a player that could end up getting selected in the lottery for the 2019 draft.  This game did not disappoint, as it was a hard fought match in which both teams traded leads and it even went into overtime, but the Texas Longhorns held on for the win.  Here are my thoughts on how various prospects fared on this day, as well as where they may project as players for the NBA.

Arkansas’ 6-11 sophomore center, Daniel Gafford put on an impressive performance as he made a slew of good plays on both ends of the floor to help his team stay in the game.  He is an athletic, high motor big man that is a strong finisher around the basket, he is a good low post scorer, and he has shown an improved jump shot.  Plus, he rebounded the ball well and played solid interior defense to help his team protect the paint.

Gafford did a good job of scoring in the post.  He has good strength to establish deep position inside, and he often would back his man down to get where he needed to go on the block.  He has good elevation to score on jump hooks, and he often drew free throws after posting up.  Plus, he also found himself open after getting the ball down low, as he then scored on a thunderous dunk, but sometimes, Gafford would not always show great shooting touch, as he would sometimes miss on turnaround jump hooks, and he often did not take advantage of opportunities to cash in at the free throw line.

Plus, he also excelled at finishing plays around the basket to get scores for his team.  Gafford was able to catch a lob to score on an emphatic alley-oop dunk, and he also threw down a scintillating jam after finding himself open after rolling to the hoop another time.  He also runs the floor well, as he managed to catch a long pass to score on the break.  In addition, Gafford has shown an improved face-up game, as he effortlessly made a mid-range jumper on one play.  However, on his lone drive to the basket, he used a pump fake, but he ended up missing awkwardly after attempting to take it to the rim off the dribble.

However, he will still need to improve his playmaking skills.   For the positives, Gafford is an unselfish player that can pass out of the post, as he can find the open man when given the space and time to do so.  But he also can be inaccurate with his passes, and he also can struggle to protect the basketball.  There was also one play where he attempted a jump pass that ended up being intercepted by his opponent.  Gafford can struggle to pass out of double teams when posting up, and on one occasion, he tried to split it, but ended up getting the ball ripped away from him just as he was about to pass the basketball.

Also, Gafford did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He would frequently leap up to get defensive boards, and he also showed good toughness and resiliency in this game.  On one play, he ended up getting stepped on, but later came back to play in this contest.  Plus, he also played solid defense.  Gafford is a gifted shot blocker that excels at swatting shots on the ball when defending in the post due to possessing very good length, strength, and timing to do so.  He also was able to intercept a bounce pass to get a steal, and he also will rotate to defend shots in the paint to force misses.  Gafford showed a decent ability to stay with opposing ball handlers, and he also will jump on loose balls on the ground.

However, sometimes he can be slow to get back on defense, as this can cause his team to commit fouls or allow scores in transition.  Gafford can sometimes be foul prone in trying to block shots due to over-aggressiveness.  Other times, he can be out of position when defending a shooter, as he may over-help in the paint every once in a while, and he also once bit on a pump fake and got beat off the dribble to allow a score on a floater.

In general, Daniel Gafford had a very good game in his team’s loss to Texas, and he stood out as the best performer in this contest by scoring 20 points, and he also collected 12 rebounds and 2 blocks against Arkansas.  Gafford is a very athletic, high motor big man that possesses a solid motor, and he has continued to improve as an overall player on both ends of the floor.  With the way he’s playing right now, Gafford could be a likely bet to go in the lottery in 2019, as he could project into being a solid rim protector in the NBA.

Texas’ senior combo guard, Kerwin Roach II had a fairly good game to help lead his team to an overtime win over Arkansas.  Though he struggled to make shots consistently, Roach was able to make a clutch pull-up three to send it to overtime, and he also showed off good shot creation, rebounding, and defensive skills.

Roach showed off an adequate ability to knock down jumpers to space the floor for his team.  He took many of them throughout this game, and he excelled at making spot-up threes from beyond the arc.  Roach struggled more to make pull-up jumpers, but he was able to make a big pull-up three when his team needed it the most.  He also showed a decent ability to score on drives to the hoop.  Roach possesses a good first step, and he is a quick player that can get to the rim.  He excelled at doing so on drives in transition, but sometimes he can play a bit out of a control, which can lead him to miss shots in traffic.

Plus, he also showed off decent playmaking skills.  Roach is an unselfish player that can make an assortment of passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates, and he can either kick it out to shooters or throw crisp interior passes to do so.  But he can tend to play too fast at times, as he can get his passes deflected and intercepted on occasion, and he also ended up committing a traveling violation after using a pump fake on a drive in transition due to taking one too many steps.  Also, Roach did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  He was very active at crashing the glass as he would often leap up to get defensive boards, and sometimes he would push the ball up the floor off of them.

He also played very good defense.  Roach has solid footwork to defend out on the perimeter.  Plus, he is a pesky defender that can intercept passes and poke balls away from his opponents to get steals and deflections for his team.  But sometimes, he can be undisciplined defensively, as he bit on a pump fake once to allow his man to score on a three-point shot, and he also committed a foul trying to jump a pass in transition another time.

In summary, Kerwin Roach had an adequate showing in helping to lead his team to a tough win over Arkansas.  He is an athletic combo guard that can play either backcourt position, and he possesses the ability to be both a microwave scorer and a solid defender at the next level.  He will need to be a more consistent player on offense and show that he can run the point, but Roach is a talented prospect that could be a good find for a team in the second round on draft day.

Texas’ 6-9 sophomore center, Jericho Sims had a fairly good showing in his team’s overtime win over Arkansas.  He showed off good athletic abilities, and he primarily excelled as a finisher and a shot blocker around the basket.  Though he did commit a handful of turnovers and fouled out, he did a good job of battling inside with Gafford to help the Longhorns in this game.

Sims did a decent job of scoring in the post.  He drew many free throws, as Sims will go up strong, and he has ball fakes, a drop step, and a turnaround jumper that can enable him to do so.  Sims also used a drop step to score on an elevated turnaround jumper, but sometimes, Sims can rush shots or set up too far away, which can lead him to miss shots badly around the basket at times.  He also is a very good finisher around the basket.  Sims has good hands to catch plenty of passes, and can score on emphatic dunks.  Plus, he also is a solid offensive rebounder, and he excelled at scoring on put backs.

However, he also can be careless on offense, which can lead him to commit turnovers.  Sims tended to go over the back on offensive rebounding attempts, which would cause him to be foul prone, and for his team to lose possession of the basketball.  He also was called for pushing his opponent off the ball to commit another offensive foul.  Plus, there was another play where Sims ended up catching a pass out of bounds, as he landed awkwardly after catching a slightly inaccurate inbounds pass.  In this game, Sims did not grab many rebounds, but he would leap up high to get a couple of offensive boards.  However, sometimes he had trouble corralling balls on offense to secure possession, and he also tended to go over the back to commit fouls, as he was undisciplined in his approach to go for boards.

Defensively though, he looked to be about average.  For the positives, Sims showed off good shot blocking skills, as he possesses good length, timing, and instincts to swat shots around the basket.  He will actively contest shots inside, and he also challenged a mid-range shot to force a miss.    However, he may tend to give up too much space or positioning down low, which can cause him to commit fouls and allow scores in the post.  He also had some trouble in helping his team defend screens.  There was one play where he didn’t communicate that a screen was coming, as his teammate ended up committing a foul that time.  On a separate instance, Sims over-hedged, and didn’t get back to the roll man, as his team ended up allowing a dunk.  Overall, Jericho Sims is an athletic big man that excelled as a finisher around the basket, and he generally showed a pretty good motor.  He will need to improve in the finer points of the game, but he may be a second round prospect that could project to be a backup center in the NBA.

Isaiah Joe is a 6-5 freshman guard that plays for Arkansas, he shot the ball really well from downtown, as he made five three-pointers to effectively space the floor for his team on offense.  He can make threes off the catch or dribble, and he has a pump fake and a step back move that enables him to create separation between his man and his defender.  Plus, he also ran off of a screen to get the ball in order to make a mid-range jumper.  Though he did not stand out in the other areas, Joe is a very good shooter that could end up having a solid season this year, and he may have a game that may be reminiscent to Milwaukee Bucks’ guard Jodie Meeks in the NBA.

For Texas’ 6-9 senior forward Dylan Osetkowski, he didn’t play too well, as he struggled to knock down shots and committed plenty of turnovers and fouls, but he also drew many free throws, and collected a good number of rebounds and steals when he was on the floor.  On offense, he excelled at scoring on hustle plays, as he possesses a good motor, and he can draw numerous free throws after getting rebounds and moving to get the ball around the basket.  He did get his shot blocked on a turnaround jump hook and had trouble knocking down threes consistently, but Osetkowski was able to make an open corner three once.

Osetkowski also does a good job of kicking the ball out to shooters off the dribble.  However, he can tend to throw ill-advised passes and also commit traveling violations, and he also was called for a push off when going for an offensive board on one occasion.  Defensively, he showed active hands, as he can intercept passes and poke balls away to get steals.  However, he tended to give up too much space to allow his man to score on jumpers, and he also struggled to stay in front of quicker players on that end of the floor.  Overall, Dylan Osetkowski had his ups and downs, but he is a tough, gritty combo forward that possesses a good motor, and his ability to make plays on both ends of the floor could enable him to make an NBA team’s summer league roster either in 2019 or sometime down the road.

Texas’ freshman 6-3 guard, Courtney Ramey did a good job of knocking down spot-up threes, and he also drove in to score on a dunk in transition.  He did run into some foul trouble, and he will likely need to improve his playmaking and defensive skills, but Ramey’s a good athlete that can shoot and score the basketball, and he could be a player to keep an eye on in the future, as he may project to be an E’Twaun Moore type of player in the NBA.

Arkansas’ Adrio Bailey is a 6-6 junior forward that plays the game with a lot of energy, and he is a good athlete that plays like a big man.  He is a very good finisher around the basket, and he was able to catch a lob pass around the basket to score on a high-flying alley-oop dunk to help his team.  Plus, Bailey was able to knock down a couple of mid-range jumpers.  Adding to that, he showed off low post skills, as he managed to score on a turnaround jumper.

Also, Bailey played pretty good defense.  He managed to intercept a pass to get a steal, and he blocked a shot ferociously on a drive.  However, he can have lapses defensively, as he over-helped in the paint, lost track of his man, and allowed his man to cut to the hoop, prompting his team to rotate to commit the foul.  In general, Adrio Bailey is a good collegiate role player for Arkansas, but he will still need to add more perimeter skills to increase his odds to successfully make the jump to the NBA.  He will need to expand upon his range, add more ball handling skills, and show that he can guard opponents out on the perimeter.  Still, he could be an interesting prospect to keep an eye on, as he could be a potential second round pick in 2020 if he keeps progressing as an overall player.

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