Assessing Jaden Ivey, Trevion Williams, and Keegan Murray

January 27th, 2022

By Alan Lu

Today, I decided to watch Jaden Ivey and Purdue take on Keegan Murray and Iowa in a Big Ten Conference basketball game.  Ivey was returning from a minor hip injury, so his team brought him along slowly and had him come off the bench.  Even still, Ivey was stellar in his return, and Purdue played very well on both sides of the ball, as they contained Keegan Murray and prevented most of his teammates from getting going in this game.  Purdue was able to get the win, and they received strong performances from Jaden Ivey, Trevion Williams, and from their other guards, who shot the ball very well.  Here are my thoughts on how Ivey, Williams, Keegan Murray, and other various prospects fared on this day.

Jaden Ivey played very well in this game, as he scored 15 points off the bench after returning from a hip injury to help lead Purdue to a win over Iowa.
(Photo:
Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press, via wlfi.com)

Jaden Ivey had a strong showing, as he played a very good all-around game in his team’s win over Iowa.  He is a very athletic combo guard that can really get to the hoop, and he also both shot the ball really well, and defended well when he was on the court. Ivey did a great job of shooting the basketball to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He showed that he can comfortably make threes both off the catch and dribble.  He made an open corner three from way out, and he also made a couple of quick, step-back threes effortlessly.  Sometimes though, he can tend to force the issue a bit too much, and he missed on a contested, fadeaway mid-range jumper once due to rushing.

He also did a great job of attacking the basket to score on offense.  Ivey would often score on strong, speedy drives to the hoop, and he also managed to score on a quick, reverse layup once.  He did an excellent job of scoring on speedy half-court drives, as well as fast break drives.  He also managed to get the ball on a cut, and he then scored on a double-pump layup from the baseline.  The only really strange thing about his offense in this game was that he missed way too many free throws, despite getting to the foul line very often.

Ivey showed off solid playmaking skills.  He played unselfishly, and he was able to rack up numerous assists in this game.  He did a very good job of making drive and kick passes, and he also would make speedy drop-off passes to find open teammates around the hoop to net assists due to possessing very good speed, athleticism, and court vision.  He also would set good off-ball screens, and he was able to help free up a teammate to allow him to score on a backdoor cut.  On the downside, sometimes he would try to rush plays, which would lead him to commit ball-handling turnovers.  He tried to rush his move on a baseline drive, but slipped and fell to commit a traveling violation.  Another time when handling it, he had a ball stolen away by a defender.

Also, Ivey did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He also played solid defense in this game.  Ivey was able to rotate to steal a ball away from an opposing ball handler due to possessing very good foot speed, quickness, and instincts.  He also excelled at contesting jumpers to force misses.  On one hand though, he committed a reach-in foul when going for an offensive board due to over-aggressiveness.  Another time, he was a bit inattentive, and he ended up getting beat off the dribble once to allow a score.

In general, Jaden Ivey played very well, and he was extremely efficient in making plays throughout the game.  His only weakness in this match was his inability to knock down his free throws in his team’s win over Iowa.  Still, he is a very talented player, and he may be the most athletic player in this year’s draft.  He brought forth a strong showing, and he is a strong contender to be a top 5 pick in the 2022 draft.

Purdue’s senior center, Trevion Williams also played very well, as he scored 12 points, and had 10 rebounds and 5 assists to help lead his team to a win over Iowa.
(Photo:
Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press, via Morganton News Herald)

Trevion Williams also had a strong showing in his team’s win over Iowa.  He is a strong, physical big man that thrived at making plays in the post, and he also defended well to help his team get the victory. Williams showed a solid ability to score in the post.  He would tend to score on right handed hook shots, and he has good strength, balance, and shooting touch to do so.  He would often get deep position, and he was able to score on a fadeaway hook shot once.  He also would use shoulder fakes to be able to score and draw fouls.  Every once in a while though, he would take tough shots and he got caught at an odd angle underneath the hoop once that led to a miss.  He also generally did a good job of scoring on hustle plays.  Williams ran the floor to score on a reverse, double-pump layup.  He also caught a lob pass off of a cut to score on a strong, alley-oop dunk.  He missed a put back though due to rushing, and he also missed on a couple of drives, as he would run out of gas after trying hard to get his way to the hoop on those occasions.

Plus, Williams also displayed good playmaking skills.  He is a very good passer out of the post, as he would throw swift passes to find open shooters and cutters to set up scores for them.  He also did a good job of throwing sharp and accurate interior passes to get his teammates the basketball.  Every once in a while, he can be a bit turnover prone due to rushing.  There was one pass that he threw that ended up getting intercepted.  He also would sometimes struggle to handle the ball in the post when pressured, as he was called for a push off when trying to get the ball in the post off the ball, and he also had a ball poked away another time.

Also, Williams did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He was quite active at crashing the glass, and he was able to haul in a handful of boards on both ends of the floor.  He also played satisfactory defense.  Williams did a great job of poking ball away from opposing ball handlers to get steals due to possessing long arms and good instincts.  He also would contest shots both out on the perimeter and in the paint to force misses.  Sometimes though, he would occasionally struggle to defend opponents out on the perimeter.  On one play, he sagged too far off his man, and allowed him to score on a baseline, mid-range jumper.  He also got beat off of a drive another time, which led him to give up the basket that time.

In summary, Trevion Williams played very well in his team’s win over Iowa.  He especially thrived as an offensive player in the post, and he also rebounded and defended well.  He’ll need to take more outside shots in games.  Even still, he is one of the best passing big men in college basketball.  He is having a very good senior season, and he could end up being a good pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range of the 2022 draft.

Keegan Murray had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Purdue.  He had a rough first half, in which he didn’t shoot the ball well early on, and ran into foul trouble that prevented him from playing for a stretch run in that time span.  He played better in the second off, and he was able to shoot and pass the ball fairly well, and he was also very active on the boards.  However, he was inconsistent as a scorer overall and didn’t shoot the ball enough, and he also made his fair share of defensive mistakes in this game.

Murray shot the ball fairly well, especially from beyond the arc.  He did his best work at making open, spot-up threes off the catch quickly in transition, and he run quickly to his spots to catch the ball and knock down threes from beyond the arc.  He also ran off the ball and made an off-balanced, pull-up mid-range jumper another time.  On the downside, he struggled more to score on his mid-range shots in this game.

He also was fairly active as a scorer on hustle plays.  Murray pushed the pace and drove hard to the hoop to score on a graceful, finger roll layup in transition late in this game.  On the downside, he missed on a tip-in after grabbing an offensive rebound another time.  Also, Murray sometimes didn’t look to move off the ball to get open enough, and he didn’t really look to score off of cuts in this game.  He also was able to draw free throws on a strong drive to the hoop to show his ability to score off the dribble.  He also posted up once, but missed on a tough, contested jump hook.

Also, he displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game.  Murray played unselfishly, and he would throw timely passes to find teammates on the move to set up scoring chances for them.  He also would sometimes find open shooters to get them the basketball.  He also managed to set an off-ball screen once.  On the other hand, there was one play where he dribbled to his left, but he fell and slipped, and then got tied up, which led him to commit a turnover.

Plus, Murray did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He would chase down balls to get numerous boards for his team on both ends of the floor, and sometimes he would push the ball quickly off of defensive rebonds afterwards.  He also boxed out an opponent, which led him to draw a foul on his opponent after getting the inside position once.  On the downside, sometimes he would be late to making plays for rebounds, which led him to commit a foul on a put back, and to commit an over the back foul on an offensive board another time.

Defensively, he looked to be fairly average at best.  For the positives, Murray was able to rotate to block a shot in the post due to possessing solid athleticism and timing and due to making a good rotation.  He also would hold his ground when defending in the post and contest shots to force misses.  Plus, he also would get his hands on passes and pressure opponents off of rebounds to get steals and deflections.  On the downside, he would often tend to over-help in the paint and be late to rotate back to his man, which would lead him to allow opponents to score on open threes.  Other times, he would sometimes be too aggressive in trying to make plays, which would lead him to commit touch fouls.

Overall, Keegan Murray didn’t have his best game, but he seemed to more and more comfortable in taking threes from beyond the arc.  He was at his best when he would take threes in transition, and he was able to make his second three on a give and go while running to the corner to make a three on the break.  He was a bit too streaky as a shooter, and it was baffling that he didn’t do a better job of scoring in the non-three-point shooting aspects of the game.  He also will need to improve his on-ball defense and work to be a more disciplined defender in games.  Currently, he projects to be a mid-first round pick in the 2022 draft.

Kris Murray had a strong showing in his team’s loss to Purdue.  He’s the twin brother of projected lottery pick, Keegan Murray, and Kris Murray showed off versatile scoring skills as he excelled as a shooter and scorer in this game. Murray was very active at looking to score on hustle plays.  He particularly thrived at scoring off of offensive rebounds, and he would dribble in to score around the basket.  He also would take it hard to the hoop and absorb the contact to draw fouls to get free throws off of put backs, cuts, and drives.  Sometimes though, he would go in too aggressively, which would lead to misses.  He also struggled to score consistently off the dribble, as he would sometimes rush his shots and miss wildly when he wouldn’t get foul calls.

Also, he shot the ball fairly well in this game.  He did a good job of moving off the ball to make, open spot-up threes off the catch, but he also would be streaky with his three-point shot other times.  He showed a good feel for making mid-range shots when he would take them, and he also ran off the ball and got fouled in the mid-range area to get to the foul line. He didn’t seem to be too noticeable as a playmaker, but Kris Murray showed that he can handle the basketball.  On another occasion though, he had a ball poked away when handling it once.  Also, he did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  He especially excelled at crashing the glass to get offensive boards, and he was able to provide his team with numerous second chance points. 

Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  He was able to aggressively pressure an opposing ball handler to help force a ball-handling turnover.  He also deflected an entry pass off of an opponent to get a steal another time.  However, he would tend to be late to defend cutters.  He also would sometimes struggle to defend off the dribble, which would usually lead him to commit fouls as a result. Overall, Kris Murray played well in his team’s loss to Iowa.  He was very active at scoring on off-ball motion plays, and he also shot the ball well.  He’ll need to improve his playmaking and defensive skills, but he is an athletic, combo forward that could be a prospect to watch in the future.

Sasha Stefanovic also played well, especially early on, and he thrived as a shooter and scorer in his team’s win over Iowa.  Defensively, he was up and down, as he struggled to defend on the ball at times, but he also was able to make a couple of solid hustle plays on the defensive end late in this game. He did a great job of shooting and scoring the basketball.  Stefanovic showed a knack for making quick, open spot-up threes after running off of ball screens, and he is a deceptively quick guard that consistently excelled at getting open in order to quickly knock down long-range jumpers.  He also was able to make an open, spot-up three from way out.  Plus, he also managed to score on a quick, backdoor cut to the hoop.

He also displayed perhaps above average playmaking skills.  For the positives, Stefanovic is an unselfish player that would look to find the open man to notch assists.  He also threw an accurate lob pass to a cutter to set up a score for him.  However, he also struggled to handle the ball when pressured, and he had a couple of balls poked off of his leg on drives to the hoop, which led to a couple of ball-handling turnovers.

Also, Stefanovic showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball.  He also looked to be fairly average defensively.  He was able to rotate to alter a shot in the post due to possessing good timing.  He also ran in to jump on a pass to help his team get a steal.  On the downside, he had trouble staying in front of quicker players, as he was called for a flop once, and fouled an opponent on a curl cut another time.  Another time, he was too small to guard an opponent off of an offensive rebound, and he ended up fouling an opponent on a put back and allowing a score.

Overall, Sasha Stefanovic is a skilled guard that had a solid showing in his team’s win over Iowa.  He shot the ball very well, and he especially thrived as a shooter in this game.  He particularly had a knack for using off-ball motion to score both from beyond the arc and around the basket.  He isn’t an overwhelming athlete, and he will need to improve his ball-handling and defense, but his jump shot and ability to move off the ball on offense could enable him to project into a shooting specialist role off the bench in the NBA.

Purdue’s junior guard, Isaiah Thompson also played well in his team’s win over Iowa, especially in crunch time.  He is an agile, skilled combo guard shot the ball really well, especially in the second half to help his team get the victory. Thompson showed a knack for scoring on quick, open spot-up threes off the catch.  He would quickly get to his spots on the floor, and he showed that he can make them from well beyond the arc.  He also managed to score on a couple of smooth, pull-up mid-range jumpers.  He also drove in to draw free throws on a strong drive to the hoop another time.

He also displayed fairly average playmaking skills in this game.  Thompson would find open shooters, and he also generally handled the ball well.  He did commit a couple of turnovers, though.  He collided into an opponent when handling the ball and lost the basketball once.  He also threw a hasty entry pass that got picked off. Also, Thompson was able to leap up to get a defensive board.  Defensively, he didn’t look to be very noticeable on that end of the floor, as he didn’t seem to do anything that great or poorly on that side of the ball, and he just seemed to sort of blend in on the defensive end.  Overall, Isaiah Thompson shot the ball really well, and he is an agile, combo guard that thrived as a shooter and scorer in this game.  He’ll need to be more assertive in looking for his own offense in the future, but he could be a player to watch next season, especially if he continues to improve as an overall player.

Iowa’s 6-9 forward, Patrick McCaffery played fairly well in his team’s loss to Purdue.  He shot the ball fairly well in this game.  He especially did a great job of scoring on smooth, pull-up mid-range jumpers, and he showed a knack for scoring off of floaters.  He also faked a pass and made an open three once.  However, he struggled to make threes consistently. Also, he was able to find an open shooter to get an assist, and he also was quite active at crashing the offensive glass to help his team get some rebounds.  On defense, he was able to get his hands on a pass to help his team get a steal once.  Overall, McCaffery is a mobile, crafty swingman that can shoot the basketball.  He’s not an overwhelming athlete, but his size and shooting potential could enable him to project into a shooting specialist role in the NBA someday.

Joe Toussaint also played fairly well in his team’s loss to Purdue.  He is a speedy combo guard that thrived at scoring on quick drives to the basket, and he also would take on the contact to often get to the free throw line.  He struggled to knock down jumpers, though.  He did pass and handle the ball well, and he was able to make a speedy, drive and kick pass to notch an assist.

He also showed off satisfactory defensive skills.  He would poke balls away to make things difficult on opposing ball handlers, and he also would jump passes to get steals due to possessing very good speed, quickness, and instincts.  Sometimes though, he would be too aggressive in trying to make plays, which would lead him to commit reach-in fouls, although he did appear to nearly get steals on those occasions.

Overall, Joe Toussaint is a speedy combo guard that could be a player to watch next season.  He is one of the most athletic players on Iowa’s team, and his elite foot speed enables him to consistently get into the lane to make plays on offense, as well as to get steals for his team on defense.  He will need to improve his jump shot and be more assertive on offense, but he has the talent to be able to make his way to the NBA one day.

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