Assessing Devon Dotson, David McCormack, and Tyrese Haliburton

January 8th, 2020

by Alan Lu

I took the opportunity to watch Tyrese Haliburton and Iowa State take on Kansas in a Big 12 basketball game that took place today. Though Kansas has more talent top to bottom, it was thought that the talents of Haliburton would make this game at least pretty close, or perhaps even exciting.  That did not turn out to be the case.  While Haliburton played well at first, he and his team ended up struggling to make plays consistently in their team’s lopsided loss to Kansas.  At the game’s end, the standout performers of this match were Devon Dotson, Ochai Agbaji, David McCormack, and Udoka Azubuike. Here are my thoughts on how various prospects fared, as well as how their games may stack up for the NBA.

Devon Dotson could be a first round pick in 2020.  (Photo: Bryon Houlgrave/The Register, via Des Moines Register.)
Kansas’ sophomore point guard, Devon Dotson played very well to lift his team to a double-digit victory over Iowa State. (Photo: Bryon Houlgrave/The Register, via Des Moines Register.)

Kansas’ sophomore point guard, Devon Dotson had a terrific showing in his team’s win over Iowa State. He had a strong all-around game, and he played very well to help get his team the victory.

Dotson did a very good job of scoring on quick drives to the basket. He is a speedy, fleet-footed player that can really get to the hoop, and he also showed good body control that enabled him to get numerous scores and free throws around the basket. He has a solid first step off the dribble, he can also use a quick spin move to get past defenders, and he also scored on a strong reverse layup on a drive in transition another time. However, he would struggle to score in traffic, as he can occasionally force up rushed shots that may lead to some misses.

He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays. Late in this game, Dotson scored on a quick backdoor cut after receiving a nice pass from his teammate, Marcus Garrett.

Also, Dotson did a very good job of knocking down threes to provide floor spacing for his team. He used a pump fake to make a three, and he also utilized a step back move to score on a three-point shot from way out to showcase his range.

He also displayed solid playmaking skills. Dotson did a very good job of passing off the dribble, as he would often kick balls out to shooters to rack up assists, and he also threw an acrobatic pass to find a teammate in transition to set up another score. He also threw an accurate lob pass to help collect an assist on a separate play. He did commit a couple of turnovers, as he threw a couple of hasty passes that ended up being intercepted.

He also rebounded and defended well. Dotson showed a knack for chasing down balls to get defensive rebounds for his team. He also can poke balls and intercept passes to get steals on the defensive end. Also, Dotson would actively contest jumpers to force misses. He did commit a reach-in foul once when rotating to the post, but he generally was an active, alert defender that excelled at getting stops when he was on the floor.

In general, Devon Dotson put forth a tremendous performance, as he absolutely dominated Iowa State to lead Kansas to a blowout win over their opponent. He’s a speedy, skilled player that can really score the basketball, and he is also a solid facilitator. Dotson may be one of the most underrated prospects in this draft, and he could be a very good value pick for a team in the mid to late first round, as he could end up being a solid player similar to Milwaukee Bucks’ guard, Eric Bledsoe in the NBA.

Kansas' sophomore center, David McCormack played very well in his team's win over Iowa State.  (Photo: Reese Strickland/USA Today Sports, via Jayhawk Slant.)
Kansas’ sophomore center, David McCormack played very well in his team’s win over Iowa State. (Photo: Reese Strickland/USA Today Sports, via Jayhawk Slant.)

Kansas’ 6-10 sophomore center, David McCormack also played very well, as he excelled at scoring in the post, would catch lobs to score on alley-oop dunks off off-ball motion plays, and he also knocked down a mid-range jumper to show his range. He also threw an accurate lob pass to notch an assist, and he also excelled as a rebounder on both ends of the floor.

He did miss on a couple of put backs in traffic after leaping up to get offensive rebounds, but still, McCormack generally excelled at scoring the basketball. Plus, he made all four of his free throws.

He also played adequate defense. He was able to find a loose ball to get a steal, and he also held his ground when defending in the post to force a miss another time. However, there was one play where he sagged too far off his man, as he allowed his opponent to score on a close range jumper.

Overall, McCormack is an athletic, energetic big man that played well on both ends of the floor, and he could be a sleeper for the 2020 draft. Right now, he may not have much draft buzz, but he could be a good find for an NBA team in the draft, as he could project to be a solid rotation center in the NBA.

Iowa State's sophomore point guard, Tyrese Haliburton turned in an uneven, but slightly disappointing performance in his team's forgettable loss to Kansas.  (Photo: Charlie Neibergall/The Associated Press, via KUSports.com.)
Iowa State’s sophomore point guard, Tyrese Haliburton turned in an uneven, but slightly disappointing performance in his team’s forgettable loss to Kansas. (Photo: Charlie Neibergall/The Associated Press, via KUSports.com.)

Iowa State’s sophomore point guard, Tyrese Haliburton put forth an uneven performance in his team’s loss to Kansas. He started off playing well early on, as he made solid passes, and he was able to make numerous defensive plays to get steals and stops for his team. However, he became entirely too predictable in his habits over time, as he showed a reluctance to take shots, and he struggled to make jumpers throughout this contest. Because he wasn’t really much of a threat to score, defenses were able to key in on his passes to force him to commit passing turnovers.

Haliburton displayed fairly good playmaking skills in this game. He is a skilled facilitator that sees the floor well, and he would often throw sharp interior passes to find teammates on rolls and cuts to set up scoring chances for his teammates. He also excelled at passing off the dribble, and he also threw a behind the back pass to a teammate around the basket due to possesses very good court vision. However, he became too predictable as he almost exclusively looked to pass, so opponents were able to anticipate his throws to intercept them.

Also, he was able to chip in to get several defensive boards to help his team on the glass. He also showed very good speed when he pushed the ball up the floor off of a defensive rebound.

Also, he played fairly good defense. Haliburton is a quick, rangy defender that excels at playing passing lanes, and he would often intercept and deflect passes to get steals and deflections. He also stayed in front of a drive and cut off penetration early on, which enabled his teammate to rotate to block the shot. However, sometimes he can be caught ball watching, as he can lose track of his man, which can lead his team to allow scores. He also didn’t get back on defense once, as his team allowed a fast break score another time.

However, he struggled to knock down jumpers when he would look hoist them up on offense. He missed too many threes from beyond the arc, and Haliburton also missed a long two off the dribble. He did run off of a ball screen to make a corner three late in this game, but it was too little, too late. He has a slow release that makes it tough for him to get his shot off quickly, and he tried to rush his shots from pretty far out, which would lead to misses. On the lone three he made late in the game, he took his time to make the long-range shot from the corner.

Haliburton also managed to score on a floater on a quick cut to the hoop. He didn’t look to score often when he would attack the basket, but he showed that he can use off-ball movement to score the basketball.

Overall, Tyrese Haliburton didn’t have his best game, but it also didn’t help that his teammates often would miss shots despite being given solid passes and prime spots to score off of them. Haliburton is a skilled facilitator that has solid defensive skills, but he will need to be more aggressive in looking for his shots on offense, and he will have to improve his jump shot. Still, he is a smart, cerebral playmaker that may be a likely bet to go in the lottery, and he could end up being a solid role player akin to New Orleans Pelicans’ guard, Lonzo Ball in the NBA.

Kansas’ 6-5 sophomore swingman, Ochai Agbaji played very well in his team’s win over Iowa State. He excelled as a shooter, scorer, and defender, and he excelled at making plays on both ends of the floor in this game.

Agbaji showed a knack for making spot-up, corner threes off the catch. He did a very good job of making long-range jumpers, and his lone miss of the match was when he missed on a pull-up three after using a side step move to get his shot off.

He also excelled at scoring in the paint. Agbaji managed to score on a reverse layup after getting the ball inside, and he also scored on a floater off the glass off of a drive another time.

However, he was quite turnover prone on offense. For the positives, he is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass to keep the ball moving, and he was able to find open shooters to notch assists. However, he threw a couple of inaccurate passes that got intercepted, and he also had a tendency to get the ball poked away when handling it.

Though Agbaji didn’t grab many rebounds, he was able to leap up to get a couple of defensive boards. On the downside, there was one play where he committed an over the back foul when going for an offensive board once.

Also, Agbaji played good defense in this game. He would frequently intercept and deflect passes to get steals and deflections, and he also has good feet to stay in front of opposing ball handlers. He also will contest jumpers to force misses. On the other hand, there was one play where he gave up too much space to his man, which caused him to allow his man to score on a three-point shot.

In summary, Ochai Agbaji played very well, as he excelled in virtually all facets of the game to help his team get the win. He is a very athletic, skilled swingman that can contribute in many different ways, and he could be a good value pick for an NBA team in the mid to late first round range of the upcoming draft.

Kansas’ senior center, Udoka Azubuike had a strong showing to help lead his team to double-digit victory over Iowa State. He excelled as an inside scorer, rebounder, and defender, as he made solid plays on both helps to help his team win the game.

Azubuike did a very good job of scoring in the post. He would often catch lobs, as he managed to score on a powerful alley-oop dunk once, and he also excelled at drawing free throws after being fouled on other dunk attempts by defenders. He also showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays, as he scored on a put back after grabbing an offensive rebound, and he also ran the floor to score on a fast break while getting an extra free throw on a separate occurrence.

He also displayed decent playmaking skills. Azubuike is a good passer from the post, and he showed a knack for hitting cutters to notch assists. He also would set plenty of screens on offense. However, he did drop a pass out of bounds once, and he also got tied up after making a tough catch in the post another time that led him to commit a turnover.

He also did a good job of rebounding the basketball, as he was active at crashing the glass to help his team get boards on both ends of the floor.

Azubuike also played solid defense. He would actively contest jumpers and shots off of drives to force misses, and he also was able to deflect passes to help make it difficult for his opponents to get their passes through. However, he also was foul prone, as he would sometimes commit fouls on drives and when defending on the block.

Overall, Udoka Azubuike played very well to lead his team to a win over Iowa State. He made a lot of solid plays when he was on the court, and though he hasn’t drawn much draft buzz right now, he has been productive at the collegiate level, and he could be a solid value pick for a team in the second round, as he may project to be a solid role player in the NBA.

Iowa State’s 6-10 sophomore big man, George Conditt IV had some good moments in his team’s loss to Kansas. He didn’t play nearly enough in this game, but he excelled as a rebounder and interior defender when he was on the court.

Conditt played solid defense, as he would run in to block shots ferociously off of drives, and he showed a knack for directing balls to his teammates. Plus, he also ran in to intercept a lob pass to get a steal. Sometimes though, he can be caught ball watching, which can lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

He also rebounded the ball well. He would chase down balls to get plenty of boards on both ends of the floor.

On offense, he showed a good ability to draw fouls when posting up, and he also drew free throws on a cut to the basket. However, he also would miss on jump hooks when he wouldn’t get foul calls, and Conditt struggled to make his free throws in this game. He also missed completely on a mid-range shot, but Conditt did manage to score on a roll to the rim once.

He seemed to be average at best as a playmaker. Conditt would swing the ball to open shooters to set up scoring chances for his team, and he also would roll hard to the rim. However, he also committed a couple of turnovers. He had a ball poked away as he lost it after receiving the basketball on a roll once, and he also committed a charging foul another time.

Overall, George Conditt IV is an athletic, energetic big man that could project to be a rim protector at the next level. Right now, he will need to expand upon his skill set on offense, and he will need to be a more disciplined position defender, but his athleticism, rebounding, and shot blocking ability could potentially enable him to be a second round pick if he decides to declare to enter the NBA draft.

Other Notes:

Kansas’ 6-5 junior guard, Marcus Garrett played fairly well, as he excelled at moving the basketball, and he played solid defense as he would intercept passes and challenge shots to force misses. He also made a three-point shot, but he struggled to score consistently off the dribble when taking it to the rim. Overall, Garrett is a pass-first playmaker that has solid defensive skills, and he is a smart, skilled playmaker that could develop into being an effective rotation player at the next level.

Kansas’ 6-6 freshman swingman, Christian Braun played very well, as he showed a tremendous ability to knock down three-pointers, and he can really make them off the dribble, and he even made a step back three in this contest. He also passed the ball well, and he throws sharp interior passes that can set up scores for his teammates. Overall, Braun really excelled at making plays to help provide a boost for his team off the bench, and he is a crafty, skilled offensive player that could be a prospect to watch down the road.

Kansas’ 6-8 freshman forward, Tristan Enaruna did not have his best game, as he struggled on offense, but he also played solid defense in his team’s win over Iowa State. He missed on a pull-up mid-range jumper late in this contest, and he also threw a bad pass off of a baseline drive that was picked off. He did excel as a defender, as he showed a knack to get steals, he would actively contest jumpers, and he also successfully drew a charge when defending a roll. Right now, Enaruna is a long, athletic combo forward that has been inconsistent on offense this season, but he is an intriguing prospect that may project to be a defensive specialist in the association.

Iowa State’s 6-6 sophomore forward, Zion Griffin was one of the bright spots for his team in their lopsided loss to Kansas. Griffin made a couple of spot-up threes, and he also ran the floor to score on an alley-oop dunk on the break. He is an athletic, energetic player that excelled at making shots in this game, and he could be a prospect to keep an eye on in the future.