Assessing John Butler, Paolo Banchero, and Mark Williams

April 27th, 2022

By Alan Lu

Recently, Florida State’s 7-1 freshman big man, John Butler decided to enter the 2022 NBA Draft, and he’s seen his draft stock rise lately.  I wanted to take the time to watch him play, so I decided to watch him play in a January 18th game against Duke that went all the way into overtime, with thanks to YouTube via The Draftmatic.  Florida State went toe-to-toe with Paolo Banchero and Duke, and they managed to get the win against them.  John Butler looked to be the best player of this match, with the other standout performers being Paolo Banchero, Mark Williams, and Wendell Moore.  Here are my thoughts on how Butler and other various prospects fared, as well as how their games may translate to the NBA.

Florida State’s 7-1 freshman big man, John Butler scored 14 points, made 3 three-pointers, and blocked two shots, and he made a game-winning block on Duke’s final offensive possession of the game to help secure an overtime win for Florida State on January 18th.
(Photo:
Lance King/Getty Images)

John Butler is a very athletic big man that can shoot, block shots, and defend when he is on the court.  He is rail thin as he will need to add more muscle to his frame, but he possesses an intriguing skill set that may make him a sleeper prospect for the upcoming draft.

He is a good shooter, especially from deep.  In this game, Butler showed a knack for making, open spot-up threes off the catch, and he can reliably knock down threes from beyond the arc.  He also ran off of a ball screen to get the basketball and dribbled in order to knock down a smooth, pull-up, mid-range jumper from the baseline.  Butler also thrived at scoring on hustle plays.  He was able to catch a lob pass off of a backdoor cut in order to score on a thunderous alley-oop dunk.

However, he will need to add a lot more strength, and he really had trouble getting deep position or holding position on the block.  Butler tried to post up once, but the slightest bit of contact seemed to knock him off-balanced, and he ended up missing on a contested, turnaround jump hook.

Also, Butler showed off adequate playmaking skills.  He is a solid passer and ball handler, especially for a player his size.  On one play, Butler handled the ball up court, and he then threw a sharp long outlet pass to find a corner shooter on the break.  He also managed to set an on-ball screen to help his teammate get an open driving lane.  Butler can handle the ball in the open court, and he also was accurate with his passes when he would look to do so.

He didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, but Butler was able to get a pair of defensive boards, and he also pushed the ball up the court off of a defensive rebound once.  Plus, he also played solid defense.  Butler showed a knack for blocking shots off of drives.  He has solid lateral mobility and tremendous length that enables him to stay in front of opposing ball handlers when defending out on the perimeter, and he also blocked a shot late in overtime to get the game-winning stop for his team.  He’ll also use his length and agility to get opponents to take tough angles when they look to handle the ball, as he was able to help cut off penetration and force a ball-handling turnover.  He also rotated to contest a mid-range shot to force a miss another time.  Sometimes though, he’ll play too aggressively, which can lead him to be foul prone.  He would sometimes commit aggressive fouls, as he’ll try to block every shot, and sometimes he can struggle to defend opposing ball handlers at times.  Another time, he bit on a pump fake, which led him to wind up out of position and to allow a score early on.

In general, John Butler had a strong showing to help his team get the overtime win in this game over Duke.  Butler didn’t get quite as much playing time over the course of the season, but he is a very athletic big man that moves well, and he is a versatile player that can play a variety of front court positions.  He will need to get stronger and improve his free throw shooting, but Butler is an intriguing prospect whose blend of size, athleticism, skill set, and upside could make him a good find in the second round of the 2022 draft, as he could project to be a solid role player similar to Toronto Raptors’ big man, Chris Boucher in the NBA.

Duke’s sensational freshman forward, Paolo Banchero scored 20 points, and had 12 rebounds and 7 assists in his team’s overtime loss to Florida State in this game.
(Photo:
Aaron Zhao/Duke Chronicle)

Paolo Banchero had a solid showing in his team’s stunning loss to Florida State.  He did a good job of scoring the basketball and he also passed and rebounded the ball well, but Banchero also kept making defensive mistakes over the course of this game.

Banchero did a good job of scoring off the dribble.  He would use a series of dribbles to score on strong drives to the hoop, and he also managed to score using an up and under, step-through move early on.  He also showed a knack for absorbing the contact to get extra free throws after scoring when taking it to the rim.  He tended to favor going to his left, but he can finish plays using either hand.  He did miss a couple late in this game, as he started to overtly try to force the issue, but mostly he showed that he can be a reliable go-to scorer with the ball in his hands.

He also showed an adequate ability to knock down jumpers.  Banchero ran off of a ball screen to knock down an open, spot-up three off the catch.  He missed on two other occasions, but he moves fairly well off the ball, and he also showed good footwork despite missing on his third three-point attempt late in this match.

He also thrived at scoring on hustle plays.  Banchero showed a knack for scoring off of offensive rebounds.  He ran in to score on a powerful tip slam once, and he also managed to score on a strong put back.  Plus, he also was able to draw free throws after using a crafty pump fake off of a roll to the rim.  He also did a decent job of scoring in the post.  Banchero did a great job of drawing free throws, especially when looking to take turnaround jumpers.  However, after backing down his man once, he missed after using a drop step near the hoop once.

Also, Banchero showcased satisfactory playmaking skills.  He passes and handles the ball well, especially for a player his size, and he was able to rack up assists in this game.  He would throw accurate lobs and interior passes to set up scores for his teammates.  He generally passed the ball well off the dribble, and he also would find open shooters to set up scores for them.  On the downside, he struggled to handle ball pressure when swarmed and doubled after bringing the ball up.  He would tend to pick up his dribble, and on one play after dribbling into a trap, he threw a long, loopy pass that got intercepted.  Banchero would sometimes throw hasty, inaccurate passes that would go astray.  He also dropped a low pass, but then walked with the ball when trying to corral it in the high post, which led him to commit a traveling violation that time.

Plus, Banchero did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  He was able to haul in multiple boards on both ends of the floor, and he especially thrived at collecting defensive rebounds.  On one play, he was able to poke a ball away from an opponent to help his teammate get a defensive rebound.

On the other hand, Banchero struggled on the defensive end in this game.  He had some good moments early on, and he blocked a mid-range jumper within the first few minutes of this contest.  Banchero would use his length to contest shots when in position to force misses, and he also has good strength that enabled him to hold his ground when defending in the post to get a stop another time. 

However, he would tend to over-help in the paint and be caught ball watching, which would lead him to be late to rotate back and to sag too far off of shooters, which would lead him to give up three-point baskets to his opponents.  Sometimes, he wouldn’t actively contest shots, which would lead his opponents to score on open jumpers.  He also over-rotated and closed out too hard another time, as he ended up fouling a shooter on a long two along the baseline and prevented his man from getting to his landing spot.  Other times, he would struggle to fight through screens, which would put his team in scramble situations, especially when defending in pick and rolls.  He also would sometimes get beat off the dribble to allow scores. 

In summary, Paolo Banchero had a solid showing in his team’s overtime loss to Florida State.  He thrived as a scorer, playmaker, and rebounder in this game.  However, he sometimes committed silly turnovers, and he made too many defensive mistakes over the course of this game.  Banchero will need to improve his defense, but his strong scoring skills, athleticism, and ability to make plays on offense will likely enable him to be a top 5 pick, as he could project to be a solid starter in the NBA, similar to former New Jersey Nets’ big man, Derrick Coleman in the association.

Mark Williams had a strong showing in his team’s overtime loss to Florida State.  He is a very athletic center that thrived as an interior player on both ends of the court.  He showed a knack for scoring in the paint.  He showed a solid ability to score in the post.  He would often score on dunks, and he would usually catch lobs and then score on powerful jams afterwards.  He also would run the floor to score on fast breaks.  Every once in a while, he would set up from too far away and struggle to find his shooting touch, which would lead to some misses.  Also, Williams showed off adequate playmaking skills.  He would throw interior passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  He also set solid, firm screens to help his teammates get open jump shots and driving lanes.

Also, he did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  He also played satisfactory defense.  Williams did a great job of blocking shots to help his team protect the paint.  He also would often rotate to contest shots both out on the perimeter and in the paint to force misses.  He also was able to rotate to an opposing ball handler and used the sideline as an extra defender to help force his man to step out of bounds.  Sometimes though, he would be late on his rotations, as he wouldn’t cut off penetration when defending opponents on off-ball motion plays, which would lead his team to commit fouls and allow scores.  Other times, he would sometimes struggle to defend quicker players.  He sagged too far off of a shooter, which led him to allow his opponent to score on a long two.  Another time, he struggled to guard a quicker player in the post, as he stumbled, and allowed his man to score on a turnaround jumper.

Overall, Mark Williams played well in his team’s loss to Florida State.  He wasn’t utilized enough on offense, and Mark Williams catching lobs and scoring on powerful dunks off of them was the most effective play Duke seemed to be running all game long.  He is a very athletic center that projects to be a solid rim protector in the NBA, and he could be an intriguing prospect for teams to consider in the back half of the lottery in the 2022 draft.

Wendell Moore also played fairly well in his team’s loss to Florida State.  He especially thrived as a shooter and scorer on offense, but he also struggled with some turnovers, especially down the stretch. Moore showed a knack for making open, spot-up threes to show his shooting skills, and he especially thrived at making corner threes.  He also was able to score on an acrobatic layup after getting the ball in the post.  He also managed to get the ball on a curl cut, as he dribbled in to score on a mid-range floater.  He also attempted to score on a left-handed drive, but he got his shot blocked, and he had some trouble in trying to get his shots up when he would look to go all the way to the rim to score.

Also, Moore showed average at best playmaking skills in this game.  He is an unselfish player that can make an assortment of passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates, and he will look to find the open man to get them the basketball.  However, sometimes he would throw careless passes that would go astray.  Other times, he would over-dribble into traffic, and it would lead him to commit ball-handling turnovers.

He also was able to haul in boards on both ends of the floor to help his team on the glass.  He also played satisfactory defense.  He would poke balls away to nearly get steals, and he also would contest outside shots to force misses.  On one play though, he bit on a ball fake when defending in the post, which led him to wind up out of position and to commit a foul inside.  Another time, he didn’t pick up a man on defense as his team allowed an opponent to score on a three-point shot.

Overall, Wendell Moore had a decent showing in this game.  He did a good job of knocking down shots when he would hoist them up.  However, he was quite turnover prone, and he didn’t always seem to make great decisions on offense.  Late in overtime, he decided to drive to the rim in hopes to score, but that was baffling because he was not Duke’s best player, and he didn’t get Banchero or Griffin a touch, and Moore ended up getting his shot blocked by Butler on his team’s last offensive possession of the game.  Still, Moore is an athletic, versatile player whose skill set could enable him to thrive as a role player in the NBA, and he could be a fairly solid pick for a team in the late first to the second round range of the 2022 draft.

Anthony Polite had his ups and downs in his team’s overtime win over Duke.  He struggled with his outside shot and had some defensive breakdowns, but he also did a good job of scoring the basketball in the second half, and he also was quite active at crashing the glass in this game.

Polite did an adequate job of scoring off the dribble.  He was able to score on a fadeaway jumper off of a left-handed drive.  On another play though, he ended up missing on another drive to the hoop.  He showed a knack for drawing free throws after getting the ball on fast breaks.  Though he didn’t shoot well from the outside in this game, Polite was able to make an open, spot-up three off the catch once.

He also showed off satisfactory playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that would make drive and kick passes to set up plenty of scoring chances for his teammates.  He also managed to set a good off-ball screen that enabled his teammate to score on a back cut.  However, he also struggled to handle the ball when pressured, and he had a ball stolen away from him once that led to a turnover.

He also showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball.  He was able to get boards on both ends of the floor, and he would tend to bring the ball up after getting defensive boards for his team.  Defensively, he looked to be fairly average.  He was able to tip a poorly thrown pass to himself to get a steal, and Polite also successfully drew a charge when defending a drive once.  He also would contest outside shots to force misses.  He also ran in to help double an opposing ball handler, as he was able to get the opponent to pick up his dribble, which later led to his opponent to throwing a loopy pass.  On the downside, he would tend to over-help in the paint, which would either lead him to sag too far off of shooters, or to bite on pump fakes and play too aggressively, which would lead his team to give up three-point baskets.  He also had trouble defending in one-on-one situations.  He also didn’t communicate to a teammate that an opponent was running off of a screen, which led his team to give up a wide-open three-point basket that time.

Overall, Anthony Polite had some good moments in this game.  He showed off versatile scoring skills, although he was also streaky with his outside shot on offense.  He also was able to make some defensive plays, but he also struggled to defend in other times of this match.  Overall, he will need to be more assertive on offense, and he will need to be a more consistent performer in games.  He’s a long shot to be drafted, but he is a fairly athletic, skilled swingman that could end up carving out a fairly long, playing career in professional basketball.

Trevor Keels had his ups and downs in his team’s stunning loss to Florida State.  Keels played well in the first half, as he shot the ball well early on, but he struggled to make shots as the game wore on, and he didn’t play very well down the stretch.

Keels showed an adequate ability to knock down threes in this game.  He showed that he can knock down open, spot-up threes off the catch, and he especially thrived at making them early on.  However, he ended up being quite streaky with his jump shot, and he really struggled to make pull-up threes or threes from very far out.  He also managed to score on a strong drive in transition while absorbing the contact.  However, he struggled to score on half-court drives, and sometimes he would take tough, rushed shots that would lead to misses.

Also, he displayed fairly average at best playmaking skills.  He was able to make drive and kick passes, and he also threw a long outlet pass to set up a scoring chance for a teammate on the break.  However, he also would throw inaccurate interior passes that ended up getting intercepted, and he also threw a low pass that wound up going out of bounds.

While he didn’t get many rebounds in this game, Keels was able to chase down a couple of defensive boards to get them for his team.  He also played adequate defense in this game.  Keels would poke balls away to get steals, and he also would deflect passes other times.  He also would actively contest outside shots to force misses.  Sometimes though, he would struggle to fight through screens, which would put his team in scramble situations, and another time it led him to commit a reach-in foul on a drive.  He also would get beat off the dribble at times, and he also over-helped and ended up allowing a taller opponent to score on a three-point shot.

Overall, Trevor Keels didn’t have a great game, and he struggled to consistently knock down shots, and he had some turnover issues in this contest.  Still, he showed that he can capably knock down threes when he can get into a rhythm, and he is also an active and aggressive defender when he is on the court.  He will need to be a more consistent performer in games, but he is a very athletic combo guard that could be a solid value pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range in the 2022 draft.

AJ Griffin didn’t have a great game in his team’s overtime loss to Florida State.  While he made shots efficiently, he didn’t take many of them overall, and he didn’t seem to be incorporated very much into Duke’s offense in this game.  Over the course of the season, it seemed as if he and Banchero were on different rhythms all season long.  It seemed as if when Banchero was up, Griffin was down or not playing at all, and that when Griffin was up, that Banchero would be down. 

Though they are both prospects that will go in the lottery, my doubts about their compatibility with each other seemed to gain further traction, as Griffin had long stretches without touching the basketball in his team’s surprising loss to Florida State.  On the other hand, it could also mean that Griffin spent this season without playing with a true point guard, so he wasn’t able to play with a facilitator who would’ve had the court vision to help him and Banchero get going on a consistent basis this year.

Griffin shot the ball well from beyond the arc, and he thrived at making open corner threes off the catch.  Plus, he also managed to get a running start on another play, as he then scored on a switch of hands, mid-range floater.  However, Griffin only took five shots over the course of the entire game, and he often would be standing around, as he would be left waiting to touch the ball while his other teammates would hog it instead.

Also, Griffin displayed satisfactory playmaking skills in this game.  He showed a good ability to make drive and kick passes to set up plenty of scoring chances for his teammates.  He also was able to notch a pair of assists, and he did a good job of finding open shooters throughout this match.  On one play though, he lowered his shoulder on an aggressive drive, which led him to commit a charging foul that time.

Also, Griffin did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  Defensively, he looked to be about average.  He did a good job of blocking shots to help his team protect the paint.  On one play, Griffin rotated to block an opponent’s put back from behind due to possessing good leaping ability, timing, and instincts.  However, sometimes he would have lapses defensively.  He was called for fouling an opposing ball handler due to hand-checking, even though he has the lateral quickness to stay in front of his man, so he didn’t need to resort to those tactics.  He also went too wildly in trying to intercept a pass but he missed, so he wasn’t able to get in front of an opposing ball handler, and it left him out of position and trailing on a drive to allow a mid-range basket that time.

Overall, AJ Griffin didn’t have his best game, but he made shots efficiently in limited touches, and Duke should’ve looked to incorporate him more on offense.  It was a shame that they didn’t look to run more pin-downs or screen action for him, or use him more on cuts or fast breaks to try to get him more touches on offense.  He’s had some really good games this year, and he’s also barely played or been a non-factor in other games.  He could be one of the most polarizing prospects to go in the lottery this year, which especially could be the case, considering he turned in a poor showing in his team’s loss in the NCAA Tournament this past season.  Still, Griffin possesses a solid blend of athleticism, shooting, and defensive potential that could enable him to be a solid player in the NBA.

Florida State’s senior guard, RayQuan Evans had his ups and downs in this game, but he was able to score on a clutch basket late in regulation to help send the game into overtime, where his team was able to secure a surprising win over Duke on this day.

Evans did a good job of scoring off the dribble as well as in transition.  On the downside, he struggled to knock down his outside shots, and he especially had trouble making his mid-range shots.

He also passed the ball well.  He would throw accurate lob passes to set up scores for his teammates on the move, and he generally threw good interior passes over the course of this game.  On the other hand, there was one play where he threw an inaccurate lob pass that got dropped out of bounds.  Also, Evans was able to chase down a defensive board to help chip in on the glass.  He also played fairly average defense.  He would run in to get his hands on passes to get numerous steals, and he also poked a ball away from a post player to get another steal.  He rotated to double an opposing ball handler to help force a traveling violation.  He also managed to contest a corner three to get a stop late in this game.  Sometimes though, he would be late on his rotations, which would lead him to give up three-point baskets to his opponents.  Other times, he would struggle to fight through screens or to stay with his opponents off the ball, and he would end up allowing his opponents to score on mid-range shots.

Overall, RayQuan Evans is a fairly athletic combo guard that can ably create his own shot and also set the table to score and get assists in games.  He will need to improve his jump shot and defense, but his ability to create shots for himself and others could allow him to carve out a playing career in professional basketball.

Malik Osborne is an athletic, energetic combo forward that played for Florida State.  Unfortunately, he turned in a disappointing showing overall. He didn’t shoot the ball very well in this game, but he thrived as a passer, screen setter, and defender to help his team when he was on the floor.

Osborne was able to make a quick, open three off the catch early on, but he struggled to knock down threes consistently as the game wore on.  He sometimes shot the ball too slowly, which would allow opponents to recover to aptly contest his shots to force misses.  Osborne was able to draw free throws after getting the ball on the break, as well as on a drop step move from the post, but he also had trouble consistently scoring from the post, as he had trouble scoring in traffic, especially when he wouldn’t get foul calls.

He also showed off satisfactory playmaking skills in this game.  Osborne is an unselfish player that would look to find the open man, and he also can effectively pass out of the post.  He was able to find a cutter to notch an assist, and he would set solid, firm on-ball screens to help his teammates get open jump shots and driving lanes.  He also received the ball on a cut to the hoop another time, but ended up being called for a charging foul, even though his opponent had slid in at the last moment and appeared to have his foot on the charge circle, so that call probably should have been a blocking foul on the opponent instead.

Also, Osborne did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  He also played adequate defense.  Osborne was able to catch a deflected pass to help his team get a steal, and he also was able to leap up to deflect a pass out of bounds.  He also rotated to help defend a driver and used the sideline as an extra defender to help force a passing turnover.  He also would contest threes to force misses.  However, sometimes he would play too aggressively, as he would over-rotate and bite on pump fakes, which would lead him to wind up out of position and his team would allow scores in the paint.  He also had some trouble defending much taller players in the post, as they could catch lobs over him and score around the basket.

Overall, Osborne didn’t have a great game, but he was able to make team plays to help Florida State in this contest.  He generally struggled to shoot the ball well against good teams this season and he’s a long shot to be drafted, but his athleticism, defensive skills, and ability to compete could enable him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA sometime down the road, especially if he has the drive and the competitiveness to grind his way through the minors and other professional leagues in the meantime.

Other Notes:

Caleb Mills also had a good showing in his team’s surprising overtime win over Duke.  He played good defense, and he thrived as a scorer down the stretch to help his team get the victory.

Mills showed off a variety of scoring skills, as he was able to make a pair of open threes, and he also managed to score off the dribble as well as in the post.  He also showed a knack for driving to the hoop to get fouled to get free throws.  However, he was fairly streaky with his jump shot, so he also ended up missing plenty of shots both inside and out.

He also displayed perhaps adequate playmaking skills.  Though he possesses a score-first, heavy mindset, Mills showed that he can make drive and kick passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  Sometimes though, he would struggle to handle the ball when pressured, and he dribbled towards the baseline and stepped out of bounds once.

He also was able to get a board on each end of the floor to chip in on the glass, and he was able to push the ball up the court off of a defensive board once.  Mills also played solid defense.  He did a great job of blocking shots off of drives to his teammates to help his team protect the paint.  He also rotated to poke a ball off of an opponent out of bounds and intercepted a long pass to get steals for his team.  He also managed to contest a mid-range floater to force a miss.  Sometimes though, he would struggle to defend in one-on-one situations, and his lack of size would make it tough for him to guard bigger players.

Overall, Caleb Mills played fairly well, and he made critical plays to help his team get the win in this game.  He will need to be a more consistent shooter and playmaker in games, but he is an athletic, skilled combo guard that could a prospect to watch in the future.

Cam’Ron Fletcher played fairly well in his team’s overtime win over Duke.  He is a very athletic, high-motor forward that played good defense, and he was sometimes tasked with difficult assignments defensively, as he would guard lead ball-handlers up the court sometimes. 

He was able to score on a running hook shot from around the mid-range in this game.  Fletcher also generally thrived at scoring on hustle plays.  He scored on a quick put back, and he also drove to the hoop to score on a powerful dunk in transition.  However, he also missed on a rushed put back another time, and he was unable to make any of the threes he hoisted up in this contest.

He also displayed fairly average playmaking skills.  He was able to make drive and kick passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  Sometimes though, he would throw passes that would get deflected by his opponents, and he also had some trouble handling the ball when pressured other times.

Also, Fletcher did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He also played solid defense in this game.  He would apply heavy ball pressure when defending opposing ball handlers, as he would get opponents to pick up their dribble or lose the ball, and he would make it difficult for them to pass or handle the basketball due to possessing good length and lateral agility.  He also contested a shot off of a drive to force a miss.  Sometimes though, he would play too aggressively, which would lead him to pick up fouls on the defensive end.

Overall, Fletcher showed some interesting skills in his team’s absolutely stunning overtime win over Duke.  While he didn’t look to take many shots, Fletcher generally made sound plays when he was on the floor, he played good defense, and he could project into a defensive specialist role in the NBA sometime in the future.

Naheem McLeod is a strong, athletic 7-4 center that played fairly well for Florida State in this game.  He was able to make some impressive scores in the paint, and he could be a player to watch next season. McLeod was quite active at scoring on hustle plays.  He was able to score on a put back while getting an extra free throw, and he also scored on a thunderous put back slam due to possessing great size, strength, and solid athletic abilities.  He also managed to score on a couple of rolls to the rim, and he also caught a lob pass to score on a powerful alley-oop dunk.  Sometimes though, he would rush his shots, which led him to miss on a couple of put backs.  He also used a spin move from the post, but he missed on a turnaround jump hook.

He also set an on-ball screen to help his teammate get an open jump shot.  Also, McLeod did a tremendous job of rebounding the basketball, and he thrived at grabbing offensive rebounds.  Defensively though, he seemed to struggle on this end.  He did make one good play, as he helped rotate to press and double an opposing ball handler, which got his man to pick up his dribble, and it helped force a passing turnover.  However, McLeod generally struggled to defend quicker players.  On one play, he didn’t rotate back to his man, as his team allowed his opponent to score on a dunk in the post.  Another time, he sagged in the paint and he didn’t effectively communicate to his teammate as to whom they should defend, and they ended up allowing an opponent to score on a wide-open corner three.

Overall, Naheem McLeod is a strong, athletic center that played fairly well in limited minutes, and he could be a prospect to watch next season.  He has shown some inside scoring skills, and he is a very good rebounder when he is on the floor, so he could be a key contributor for Florida State next year.

Matthew Cleveland didn’t have a great game, but he was able to make some good plays in overtime to help his team to get a stunning win over Duke.  He seemed to be at his best when he would look to score on off-ball motion plays. 

Cleveland generally thrived at scoring on cuts and put backs, and he has good athleticism, motor, and balance that would enable him to finish plays around the basket.  He also was able to pull up to make a long two, as he looked to be quite comfortable in knocking down mid-range shots.  He had trouble scoring consistently off the dribble though, and sometimes he would go in too wildly, which would lead him to rush his shots and miss in traffic.  He also missed badly on a contested three-pointer that he took early on.

He also showed off fairly average playmaking skills.  Cleveland can make passes off the dribble and in transition to get the ball to his teammates.  On one play though, he looked to handle the basketball, but had a ball poked away from him to commit a turnover. Also, Cleveland did a good job of rebounding the basketball. He was quite active at crashing the glass, as he was able to haul in multiple boards on both ends of the floor, and sometimes he would push the ball up the court off of defensive boards.  Sometimes though, he would struggle to get in position, especially when matched up against stronger players, which would lead him to commit fouls when going for rebounds other times. 

He also struggled defensively.  On one good play, he showed solid footwork when defending an opposing ball handler, and he was able to get his opponent to pass the basketball.  However, he tended to be late on his rotations, which would lead his team to give up three-point baskets.  Another time, he committed an aggressive, reach-in foul when he tried to steal a pass. Overall, Matthew Cleveland had trouble knocking down shots efficiently, and he didn’t defend very well in this game, but he rebounded the ball well, and he was able to score in overtime to help get his team the win.  He’ll need to improve his jump shot and he will need to be a more focused defender in games.  He’ll need to stay in school to hone his game, but a solid sophomore season could help him move up draft boards in 2023.

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