Assessing Davion Mitchell, J.T. Thor, and Jared Butler

February 2nd, 2021

By Alan Lu

I decided to take the time to watch Baylor square off against Auburn in a non-conference basketball game that took place on January 30th.  This game featured two of the best point guards in college basketball in Baylor’s junior guard Jared Butler and Auburn’s freshman point guard, Sharife Cooper, and there were other notable prospects that played as well, such as Auburn’s J.T. Thor and Allen Flanigan, as well as Baylor’s Davion Mitchell.  Both Butler and Cooper were held to off shooting nights, but Baylor ended up coasting to get a double-digit win over Auburn.  Here are my thoughts on how Butler, Cooper, Mitchell, Thor, and other various prospects fared in this game.

Baylor’s Davion Mitchell (pictured wearing #45) played very well, as he scored 13 points, made 3 threes, and dished out 7 assists in his team’s win over Auburn.
(Photo:
Raymond Carlin III/USA Today Sports)

Baylor’s 6-2 junior guard, Davion Mitchell played very well in his team’s win over Auburn.  One interesting fact is that he had played at Auburn as a freshman during the 2017-18 season before transferring, and so basically, he was able to help his team defeat his former school.  He primarily excelled as a scorer and facilitator in this game.

Mitchell shot the ball very well to help his team provide floor spacing on offense.  He excelled at making spot-up threes off the catch, and he also would use crossover moves to make pull-up jumpers from both the mid-range and from behind the three-point line.

He also showed a decent ability to score off the dribble.  Mitchell can comfortably knock down pull-up jumpers, and he also drove hard to the hoop to draw free throws another time.  However, he did get his shot blocked on a drive once, as he can struggle to score against length and athleticism at times.

He also displayed solid playmaking skills.  Mitchell is an unselfish player that can get the ball to his teammates in a variety of ways, and he is a good passer off the dribble.  He can throw sharp interior passes to find teammates on the move, and he also can kick balls out to shooters to help them get open looks.  He did commit one turnover though, as he was called for clearing out with his arm while handling the basketball, which led him to commit an offensive foul and a turnover that time.

Also, Mitchell was able to chase down balls to help his team get rebounds on both ends of the floor.  Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  On the plus side, Mitchell was able to intercept an errant entry pass to get a steal, and he was active defensively.  However, he struggled to defend opponents off of drives, and he also got knocked down once, as this would lead his team to commit fouls on those plays.  He also was caught ball watching and lost track of a cutter to allow a score.  Another time, he gave up a bit too much space to a taller shooter to allow him to score on a three-point shot.

Overall, Davion Mitchell had a solid showing in his team’s win over Auburn.  He excelled as a shooter, scorer, and facilitator, and he is an athletic, skilled combo guard that could be a solid value pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range of the upcoming draft.

Auburn’s J.T. Thor played well in his team’s loss to Baylor, and he scored 13 points on 6 of 9 shooting in this game.
(Photo:
Raymond Carlin III/USA Today Sports)

Auburn’s freshman forward, J.T. Thor had a solid showing in his team’s loss to Baylor.  He showed off versatile scoring skills and some ball-handling prowess, and he also played fairly good defense in this game. Thor showed a solid ability to score in the post.  He was able to use a pump fake to score, and he also went up to score another time down low.  He also managed to score on a turnaround jumper. 

He also generally excelled at scoring off the dribble.  Thor was able to drive quickly to his left to score on a layup, and he also scored on a high-flying dunk on a drive in transition another time. He also flashed the ability to knock down jumpers.  Thor was able to make an open three-point shot at the top of the key.  However, he missed on two other spot-up threes and he also missed on a fade-away jumper from the mid-range.

Also, Thor displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Thor can pass and handle the basketball, and he also can lead the break to create transition-scoring opportunities for his teammates.  He can throw solid passes off the dribble as well as in transition, and he also was able to throw an accurate lob pass to find a cutter due to possessing solid court vision.  He also can pass out of the post as well.  However, sometimes he would struggle to handle the basketball when pressured, and he had a ball poked away to commit one turnover. Plus, he also was fairly active at crashing the glass to help his team get rebounds.  He was able to leap up to haul in boards on both ends of the floor, and he was able to push the ball up the court after getting a defensive board once.

Thor also played fairly good defense in this game.  Thor did a very good job of rotating to blocks to help his team protect the paint, and he possesses good length, athleticism, and timing.  He would rotate to contest shots to force misses around the basket, and he also would contest jumpers to get stops for his team.  He also would get his hands on passes to get steals and deflections.  However, he would sometimes sag off of shooters, which would cause him to allow them to score on three-point shots. Other times, he would struggle to defend opposing ball handlers, which would lead his team to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, J.T. Thor played well in his team’s loss to Baylor.  Though he didn’t take many shots in this game, he made shots efficiently, and he was able to score from all over the floor.  He also showed off fairly solid playmaking and defensive skills.  He will need to be a more consistent outside shooter in games, but he is a very athletic, combination forward that may possess considerable upside, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft.

Baylor’s junior point guard, Jared Butler had his ups and downs in his team’s win over Auburn.  He didn’t shoot the ball very well, but he generally excelled in the non-shooting or scoring related elements in this game.

Butler did a decent job of scoring off the dribble.  He can use dribble moves to score on quick layups, and he also used a pump fake move to score on a crafty reverse layup another time.  He also will go hard to the hoop to draw fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line.  Plus, Butler was able to pull up to make a mid-range shot after dribbling off of a screen.  Sometimes though, he would take rushed, off-balanced shots that would lead to misses.

On the downside, he did not shoot the ball very well from downtown.  Butler was able to run off the ball to get it on a dribble handoff, and he was able to make a quick corner three-point shot early on.  However, he tended to miss on his three-point attempts, and he wasn’t able to find his shooting touch from beyond the arc, as he would miss shots both off the catch and dribble in this game.

He also displayed fairly good playmaking skills.   Butler throws solid passes off the dribble, and he also can throw accurate interior passes to set up plenty of scores for his teammates.  He can find teammates on the move, and he also throws good lob passes.  Plus, he also can push the ball up the floor to create transition-scoring opportunities for his teammates.  Sometimes though, he would throw inaccurate passes that would get intercepted, and he also was called for a push off on a drive that led him to commit both an offensive foul and a turnover.

Also, Butler was able to chase down balls to get his fair share of rebounds, as he was able to get them on both ends of the floor.  However, there was one play where he was called for fouling an opponent on a rebound attempt, as he accidentally tripped him that time.

Plus, Butler also played good defense.  He did a very good job of intercepting passes to get steals, and he also would actively contest jump shots to force misses.  He would apply heavy ball pressure, and he was able to poke a ball away to nearly force another turnover.  Plus, he also blocked a shot around the basket due to possessing solid length and timing that time.  However, he struggled to defend taller players in this game.  He bit on a pump fake when rotating to defend in the post, as he flew by his opponent to allow the score.  He also had trouble defending a taller player in the post another time, and he allowed his opponent to score on a dunk in addition.

In general, Jared Butler didn’t have his best game, but he still was able to help his team in other ways aside from scoring the basketball.  He didn’t shoot the ball very well, but he was effective as a facilitator, rebounder, and defender.  It seemed uncharacteristic of him to not shoot the ball well, considering that he did such a good job at that in his team’s win over Kansas.  Still, Butler has had a very good junior season, and he would likely be a solid pick for an NBA team in the mid to late first round range of the 2021 draft.

Auburn’s freshman point guard, Sharife Cooper also put forth an uneven performance in his team’s loss to Baylor.  After having a dominant showing in his team’s win over Missouri, he struggled to consistently make shots on offense.  He especially struggled to make three-point shots, and he also had trouble with turnovers and his on-ball defense in this game.

Cooper did a decent job of scoring off the dribble.  He is a speedy, fleet-footed guard that can quickly get to the rim, and he was able to score on crafty layups.  He also scored on a quick floater, and he also used a spin move to score on a turnaround jumper another time.  Cooper also can draw fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line.  However, he also would tend to rush his moves and take tough-angle shots that would lead to misses, and he also had a couple of his shots blocked.

He also ran the floor to score on a layup in transition once.  Cooper also used a jab step to make a corner three to show his ability to knock down jumpers.  However, he had trouble making outside shots consistently from beyond the arc.

He also displayed decent playmaking skills.  Cooper has very good speed and ball handling skills, and he can draw in multiple defenders and then find open teammates to set up scores due to possessing solid court vision.  He can get the ball to his teammates in an assortment of ways, and he is a good passer off the dribble.  He also can throw accurate lobs, and he can find teammates on the break to get them the basketball.  However, sometimes he would telegraph his passes, as he had a couple of them get intercepted, and he also threw a couple of catchable passes that were dropped out of bounds.  He also would sometimes commit ball-handling turnovers due to recklessness. Also, Cooper did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He would often chase down balls to get his team defensive rebounds, and sometimes he would push the ball up the floor afterwards.

Plus, he also played adequate defense.  Cooper was an active defender in this game, and he would deflect passes and poke balls away to nearly force turnovers.  He would apply considerable ball pressure to make it difficult on opposing ball handlers, and he also would contest threes to force misses.  Sometimes though, he would get beat on dribble moves or off of cuts to allow scores.  Other times, he wouldn’t go out to actively defend or contest shots, which would lead his team to allow opponents to score on three-point shots.

In summary, Sharife Cooper had his ups and downs, but he still showed his vast potential at times in his team’s loss to Baylor.  He is a speedy point guard that can score the basketball, and he can be an electrifying playmaker with the ball in his hands.  He will need to improve his outside shot and be a more focused defender in games.  Right now, he could be a solid value pick for a team in the mid-to-late first round range of the 2021 draft, and he could end up thriving as a role player in the NBA.

Auburn’s sophomore swingman, Allen Flanigan had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Baylor.  He didn’t shoot the ball very well, but he excelled as a facilitator and rebounder when he was on the floor. Flanigan showed a decent ability to score off the dribble.  He was able to score on a strong drive while getting an extra free throw, and he showed a knack for getting fouled by his defenders to get to the free throw line.  However, sometimes he would miss on tough, off-balanced shots around the basket when he wouldn’t get foul calls. He also showed that he can score on hustle plays.  Flanigan was able to score on a quick put back after grabbing an offensive board, but he also missed on a roll to the rim another time.

He also flashed the ability to knock down jumpers in this game.  Flanigan was able to make an open, spot-up three, and he also drew three free throws after taking a pull-up three from way out.  However, he struggled to make jumpers both off the catch or dribble, and he didn’t show much of a feel for his jump shot against Baylor.

Plus, he also displayed satisfactory playmaking skills.  Flanigan is an unselfish player that can throw sharp, accurate interior passes to set up a wealth of scores for his teammates.  He did a good job of finding teammates on the move, and he also can throw lobs and find teammates on backdoor cuts to the hoop.  However, he also was quite turnover prone on offense.  He would sometimes throw rushed, inaccurate passes that would get intercepted.  He also was called for traveling when driving to the hoop due to carelessness, and he also had a ball poked away from behind to lose it another time.

Also, Flanigan did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He was very active at crashing the glass to help his team get boards, especially on the defensive side of the ball, and there was one play where he pushed the ball up the court after getting a defensive rebound.  Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  Flanigan was able to deflect a pass to nearly get a steal, and he also would contest jump shots to force some misses.  He also was an active defender that would look to stay in front of his man on that side of the ball.  However, sometimes he would struggle to defend opposing ball handlers, which would lead his team to commit fouls and allow scores.  Other times, he would sag too far off of shooters, which would lead him to allow them to score on three-point shots.

Overall, Allen Flanigan didn’t have his best game, as he didn’t shoot the ball well, but he still was able to get plenty of rebounds and assists in his team’s loss to Baylor.  He is an athletic swingman that can help his team on both ends of the floor when he is dialed in.  He will need to be a more consistent player in games, but he could be an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider in the second round range of the 2021 draft due to his blend of having athleticism, scoring skills, and the ability to develop on both ends of the floor at the next level.

Baylor’s senior guard, MaCio Teague had his ups and downs in his team’s win over Auburn.  He excelled at attacking the basket and he also rebounded the ball well, but he struggled with his outside shot and did not pick up an assist.

Teague excelled at pulling up to score on mid-range jump shots, and he changes directions well that enables him to smoothly score from those distances.  He also did a good job of scoring on backdoor cuts.  While he was able to pull up to make a three on the break, Teague struggled to consistently score from beyond the arc. He didn’t seem to be too noticeable as a playmaker, though.  He didn’t pick up an assist, but he was called for traveling to commit a turnover once in this game.

Teague also rebounded the ball well.  Defensively, he looked to be perhaps above average.  He did a fairly good job of contesting threes to force misses.  However, he had trouble defending taller players in the post, and there was another play where he didn’t get back on defense, as his team allowed a score on a fast break.

Overall, MaCio Teague didn’t have his best game, but he was able to score on mid-range shots and cuts in this game, and he also helped out on the boards.  Right now, he is a borderline second round candidate for the upcoming draft, but his jump shot could enable him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA next season.

Baylor’s 6-9 junior forward, Matthew Mayer played very well, as he excelled as a shooter, scorer, and rebounder in this game.  He excelled at making spot-up threes, and he also ran in to score on an athletic tip slam after leaping up to grab an offensive rebound.  He did a good job of scoring off the dribble, and he was able to throw down a high-flying, two-handed dunk after driving in from the baseline to score.

As a playmaker, he looked to be perhaps above average.  He is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass to keep the ball moving.  He also was able to drive in and use a spin move before passing the ball back to a teammate to notch an assist.  However, he also was a bit turnover prone.  In this game, he was called for a charging foul, and he also got a pass intercepted due to carelessness.

Mayer did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He looked to be perhaps above average defensively.  He was able to get his hands on a dropped pass to get a steal.  He also successfully drew a charge, and he also contested a three to force a miss.  Sometimes though, he can be over-aggressive, which can lead him to commit touch fouls and to over-rotating to allow scores to the opposition.

Overall, Matthew Mayer played very well, as he scored 13 points, made 3 threes, and he also threw down 2 really nice dunks in this game.  He also rebounded the ball well.  He is an athletic combination forward that has not played much this season, but he has played very well when he’s been on the floor.  He will likely need to stay in school for another season, but if he plays well next season, he could be a potential second round pick for the 2022 draft.

Baylor’s 6-3 sophomore guard, Adam Flagler played very well, as he scored 19 points, made 3 threes, and grabbed 8 rebounds off the bench in his team’s win over Auburn.  He excelled as a spot-up shooter and scorer off the dribble.  He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays, as he was able to score on a cut and on a put back.

He also rebounded the ball very well.  Defensively, he looked to be perhaps above average.  Flagler was active as a defender, as he was able to get his hands on a pass to get a steal, and he also ran in to tie up an opposing ball handler on a drive to nearly get another.  He also would contest threes to force misses.  Sometimes though, he would be late on his rotations, and he also would sometimes struggle to defend quicker ball handlers, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Flagler is an athletic, energetic combo guard that can shoot and score the basketball.  He hasn’t posted gaudy stats, but he has excelled in his role.  He will likely need to stay in school another season or two, but his ability to knock down shots could enable him to make it to the NBA someday.

I didn’t pay much attention to Auburn’s 6-8 sophomore forward, Jaylin Williams, but he played very well in his team’s loss to Baylor.   He scored 17 points on 7 of 10 shooting, he made 3 threes, and he also had 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks in this game.  He is an athletic, energetic combo forward that can make spot-up threes, and he also excelled at making hustle plays on both ends of the floor.  He has played very well this season, and he could be a prospect to keep tabs on sometime in the future.

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