Assessing Josh Jackson, Malik Monk, Frank Mason, and More

January 29, 2017

By Alan Lu

This weekend, two of the top teams in the country squared off against each other, as Kansas faced Kentucky on the road.  Both teams have high-end prospects, and it was a very entertaining game that went back and forth as they traded leads throughout the contest.  In the end, Kansas was able to make enough plays to get the win, as they shot the ball well, showed good ball movement, and got critical stops on defense.  Here are my observations on various prospects that played on this day.

Kansas’ 6-8 freshman forward Josh Jackson put forth a good showing to help lead his team to a six-point win over Kentucky.  He showed off versatile scoring skills, solid playmaking abilities, and he also rebounded and defended well in the victory for his team.  Jackson showed off a gifted ability to garner scores off the dribble.  He really excelled at scoring on quick, graceful drives to the hoop, and Jackson was able to make a turnaround jumper off of one.  Plus, he was able to drive the ball up court in transition to throw down an emphatic dunk on the break.

He also displayed a good ability to knock down jumpers for his team.  Jackson excelled at making threes from beyond the arc, as he especially was able to make open spot-up jumpers off the catch.  However, Jackson struggled more to make pull-up mid-range jumpers from the field.  He also showed an adequate ability to finish plays on the move.  Jackson was able to score on a couple of put backs, though he missed a couple of other times when he attempted to score after catching passes around the basket.

Also, Jackson showed off solid playmaking skills.  He consistently threw crisp, accurate interior passes to his teammates, as he threw a very good outlet pass to set up one score, and he really excelled at passing quickly off the dribble to set up others.  While he did lose the ball once to commit a turnover, Jackson displayed great unselfishness and court vision to really help his team on offense.  He also displayed very good rebounding skills.  Jackson is a terrific rebounder for a player his size, as he has elite length, athleticism, and motor to haul in numerous boards on both ends of the floor, and he was able to score on a couple of put backs for his team.

Jackson also defended very well against Kentucky.  He did a great job of collecting steals, as he was able to jump a pass, and he also back tapped an opposing ball handler to collect another one for his team.  Plus, Jackson showed a knack for heaping on loose balls, and he also successfully drew a charge when he was on the floor.

In general, Josh Jackson put forth a solid showing, as he helped lead his team to get the win on the road past Kentucky.  He showed off a good set of all-around skills, and he showed why he could be a likely top 5 pick for the 2017 NBA Draft.

Kentucky’s 6-3 combo guard, Malik Monk played fairly well in a loss to Kansas, as he played especially well in the first half.  But he was quite streaky throughout this contest, as he hit a dry spell for most of the second half, before eventually finding a way to get buckets late in the game.  Monk did a very good job of getting scores off the dribble.  He showed a knack for scoring off of runners, and he also was able to make a running hook.  Plus, he also was able to get a score on a fast break drive.  Also, Monk showed the ability to score on off-ball motion plays, as he was able to make a quick cut, as he scored on a lob pass around the basket.

But he had more trouble making jumpers consistently from the field.  Monk showed a good ability to make quick spot-up threes off the catch, but he struggled to make pull-up jumpers off the dribble.  Also, he was fairly average as a playmaker in this game.  Monk did make one nifty pass, as he drove to the hoop, and he made a behind the back pass to set up a score for his team.  But he did commit a couple of turnovers, as he was inaccurate with his passing, and he had the ball ripped away from him on a separate occasion.

He also was fairly average as a defender.  He was able to knock a ball away to help his team get a steal, but Monk had trouble defending high passes in the post, as his lack of length made it tough for him to contest shots in the paint.

In general, Malik Monk had a fairly good showing, as he showed off a good ability to score the basketball, but he also was streaky with his jumper, and he did not show much in the other areas of the game.  Right now, he will still likely be a lottery pick, but he may have to show teams that he can do more than just shoot and score the basketball when he is on the floor.

Kansas’ 5-11 senior combo guard, Frank Mason also played fairly well, as he helped lead his team to a narrow victory over Kentucky.  He generally excelled at attacking the basket to garner scores, and he also defended well in this game.  He showed a good ability to garner scores off the dribble.  Mason is a strong, aggressive scorer on drives to the hoop, as he can quickly score on runners, and he can take on the contact to score in traffic, as well as get the extra free throw afterwards for his team.

However, he struggled to consistently make jumpers when he was on the floor.  He did make a three off the catch, but he had trouble making other shots from beyond the arc, and he also missed an elbow jumper from the mid-range area.  He also looked to be fairly average at best as a playmaker in this game.  Mason did show a decent ability to find the open man, and sometimes, he would make crisp, accurate throws to his teammates.  But he also tended to be inaccurate with his passing, as his passes would be off-target on occasion, which would lead him to commit a handful of turnovers.

Mason also defended well against Kentucky.  He was able to jump a pass and heap on a loose ball to collect a pair of steals for his team, as he generally excelled as a help defender when he was on the floor, and he did not commit a foul once.

In this game, Frank Mason played fairly well, as he showed a good ability to score and defend when he was on the court.  He struggled with his jump shot and with turnovers however, and it is not wholly certain if he can run the point effectively at the next level.  But given his skill set, he could end up being a solid pick for a team in the second round portion of the upcoming draft.

Kentucky’s 6-9 senior combination forward, Derek Willis played very well in a loss for his team.  He showed off strong shooting and scoring skills, and he could potentially excel as a shooting specialist in the NBA.  Willis displayed a terrific ability to shoot the basketball against Kansas.  He did a great job of knocking down threes from beyond the arc, as his size and vast shooting skills made it tough for defenders to guard him out there.

He also showed a good ability to get scores around the basket.  Willis was able to use a pump fake move to draw free throws on a drive to the basket.  Another time, he caught a pass down low, and was able to get a score at the rim.  He also showed a fairly good ability to rebound the basketball.  He was especially active on the defensive glass, as he was able to haul in numerous defensive boards for his team.  Plus, he also defended well, as he was able to block a couple of shots off of drives to the hoop.

Overall, Derek Willis played a great game in a loss for his team, as he did a superb job of making shots from all over the court.  He especially excelled at knocking down threes for his team, and that skill could potentially help him excel as a role player in the association.

Kentucky’s 6-3 sophomore guard, Isaiah Briscoe also put forth a solid showing, as he contributed in a variety of ways in a loss for his team.  He showed off a good set of all-around skills in this game against Kansas.

Briscoe did a good job of shooting the basketball to space the floor for his team.  He was able to knock down a mid-range jumper and a three-point shot to keep his defenders honest.  Plus, he also showed a solid ability to score on off-ball motion plays, as he was able to score on a cut, and he drew free throws off of a put back.  He also showed an adequate ability to garner scores off the dribble, as he has the strength, quickness, and body control to finish plays around the basket.

Also, he displayed very good playmaking skills.  Briscoe displayed solid patience and court vision, as he was able to make an assortment of passes to set up scores for his teammates. In addition, he also made a dump off pass off of a drive to set up a dunk on such occasion.    But he did commit a few turnovers, as he was inaccurate with his passing at times.  Briscoe also rebounded the ball very well.  He was quite active at crashing the glass on both ends of the floor, as he would frequently leap up to haul in boards to help his team.

Overall, Isaiah Briscoe put forth a very strong performance as he consistently made solid plays against Kansas.  He is a versatile combo guard that has a variety of skills as he can play either backcourt position, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the late first to second round range of the upcoming draft.

Kansas’ 6-10 senior big man, Landen Lucas played very well as he helped lead his team to a win over Kentucky.  He really excelled at scoring the basketball, as his opponents could not stop him from doing so all game long.  Lucas displayed a tremendous ability to finish plays in the paint to get buckets for his team.  He frequently scored on put backs and broken plays, and he was able to throw down a couple of emphatic dunks to garner scores around the basket.

Plus, he showed off good low post scoring skills.  He was able to score on a drop step move, and he was able to get an extra free throw for his team afterwards.  Also, Lucas was able to catch a high pass in traffic, as he promptly managed to get a quick score for his team.  He also showed a fairly good ability to rebound the basketball.  Lucas was active at crashing the glass on both ends of the floor, and he was able to score on a couple of put backs off of offensive rebounds.  Also, Lucas showcased adequate defensive skills.  He was able to get a hand on a pass to help his team collect a steal, but he did get called for committing a foul in the post another time.

In general, Landen Lucas had a terrific showing, as his strong play was instrumental in helping Kansas defeat Kentucky on this day.  He has been a solid player on one of the best teams in the country this season, and he could potentially excel as a role player in the NBA.

Kentucky’s freshman big man, Bam Adebayo had an up and down game, as he had his highs and lows throughout the contest against Kansas.  He showed to have good inside scoring skills, but he struggled to make free throws.  Adebayo played unselfishly and was active defensively, but he also was turnover and foul prone.

Adebayo excelled at finishing plays around the basket.  He is a very athletic, high motor basketball player that did a very good job of scoring on put backs, broken plays, and he also managed to draw free throws after running the floor to get the ball in transition.  He also displayed adequate low post scoring skills.  Adebayo frequently was able to draw fouls on defenders on drop step moves, but he struggled to score on a jump hook another time.  Also, he missed his only mid-range shot that he took when he was on the court.

Adebayo showed off fairly average playmaking skills.  For the positives, he did play unselfishly, and he displayed a willingness to find open shooters, which helped him collect several assists.  However, he also committed plenty of turnovers due to inaccurate passing, as well as his struggles to protect the basketball.

Plus, he also showed an adequate ability to rebound the basketball.  Adebayo was quite active on the offensive glass, as he was able to score on a couple of put backs for his team afterwards.  Also, he would leap up to collect defensive boards, though he did not appear to do so enough on that end of the floor in this game.

He also showcased fairly average defensive skills.  Adebayo showed a solid ability to get steals, as he would knock a ball away to help his team get one, and he also leapt up to break up a lob pass to obtain another.  Plus, he also was able to block a shot in the post due to possessing very good length, leaping ability, and timing to do so.  However, he did tend to have lapses defensively.  Adebayo tended to commit bad fouls in the paint, and sometimes he would over-help in the paint to allow scores around the basket.

In summary, Bam Adebayo had his highs and lows against Kansas, but he still possesses considerable potential to develop as a player for the NBA.  With his skill set, he could likely be selected by an NBA team in the mid first round range of the upcoming draft.

Kansas’ junior point guard, Devonte’ Graham put forth an uneven performance in a win over Kentucky, as he had his highs and lows throughout the contest, but he did help make key plays down the stretch to help his team get the victory.

Graham did a very good job of making jumpers to space the floor for his team.  He showed a knack for knocking down pull-up jumpers off the dribble, especially from mid-range.  He also showed a good ability to knock down threes from beyond the arc.  On the other hand, he struggled to finish plays around the basket, as he had a tendency to miss shots in traffic.

However, he displayed average playmaking skills at best.  For the positives, Graham showed the ability to make accurate interior passes at times, as he showed a good willingness to distribute the basketball.  He was able to throw an accurate lob pass on the break to set up a dunk in this game.  On the other hand, he was quiet turnover prone, as he was inaccurate when he would attempt to throw entry passes, and he also would play too out of control at times.

He also showed a tremendous ability to rebound the basketball.  Graham was quite active at crashing the glass on both ends of the floor in this game against Kentucky.  Plus, he also defended well.  He would play passing lanes, as he did so to get a deflection, and he also was able to knock a ball away from an opponent to obtain a steal.

In all, Devonte’ Graham did not play as well as he could have, but he still was able to make some solid passes in this game.  He was a key contributor to his team in a variety of ways, though he was quite turnover prone as well against Kentucky.  But with his skill set, he could end up being a solid value pick in the second round of the upcoming draft.

Kansas’ 6-8 junior forward, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk also had a decent showing in a win for his team over Kentucky.  While he did not make any threes nor take enough shots offensively, he generally excelled as a scorer and facilitator in this game.  Mykhailiuk excelled as a scorer off the dribble.  He was able to draw numerous fouls on opponents on quick drives to the hoop, as he was able to get to free throw line quite often.  Plus, he also showed a solid ability to make long, two-point shots when he was on the floor.  In addition, he also passed and handled the ball well, as he was able to make a variety of passes to set up scores for his team.

He did not grab many rebounds in this game, but Mykhailiuk was able to haul in a board on both ends of the floor.  But he may need to improve defensively, as on one play, he committed a foul on a drive to give up a score and an additional free throw to the opposition.  In this game, Mykhailiuk made enough plays to help his team get a tough victory on the road.  He is a skilled offensive player that has a high basketball IQ, and he could end up being a solid value pick in the late first to second round range of the 2017 NBA Draft.

For Kentucky’s 6-3 freshman point guard De’Aaron Fox, he did not have a great game against Kansas, though he had some good moments at times throughout this contest.   Fox did a fairly good job of getting scores in the paint and he was active defensively, but he struggled to make shots, committed too many turnovers, and had some bad fouls at times in this match.

He generally excelled at attacking the basket to garner scores, as Fox has the speed to get beat his man quickly down the court, and he has a gifted ball handler that can score on a eurostep move in transition.  Plus, he also can score on runners off the dribble, and he also possesses great athleticism, as he was able to throw down a thunderous dunk around the basket.

However, Fox struggled to make jumpers, as he missed both of his threes, as well as a pull-up, mid-range shot off of a step back move.  His inability to make shots off of jumpers could be problematic for him in the NBA, as opponents can dare him to shoot from out there, which could lead his shooting percentages to plummet at the next level.

He also showed off average playmaking skills at best against Kansas.  Fox did show a willingness to find the open man, and he was able to throw a crisp, accurate lob pass to set up a score at the rim.  However, Fox committed too many turnovers, as he was inaccurate with his passing on occasion, and he also committed a charge on a drive to the hoop.

Also, he showed off average defensive skills.  Fox showed a good ability to collect steals, as he was able to rip a ball away from an opponent to get one, and jumped an entry pass for another.  However, Fox also tended to commit bad touch fouls, as he fouled one on a drive to give up a score and an extra free throw, and he also committed a blocking foul on a drive on a separate occurrence.  In this game, Fox had his ups and downs, but he seemed to fade into the background as the game wore on.  While he made some highlight reel worthy plays early on, his inability to shoot, and tendency to commit turnovers became more noticeable later in the game against Kansas. 

Fox is still a tremendously athletic point guard that has been a strong playmaker and defender over the course of the season, as he could still be a good pick for an NBA team in the lottery, but he will need to improve upon his weaknesses in order to increase his chances to realize his full potential at the next level.

Other Notes:
 Kansas’ 6-5 sophomore guard, Lagerald Vick generally struggled to make shots off the dribble, and he missed his lone three-point attempt.  But, he was able to catch a lob pass from Graham to score on an alley-oop dunk on the break on offense.  Vick also excelled defensively, as he showed quick hands to help his team collect steals on that end of the floor.

Kentucky’s freshman combination forward, Wenyen Gabriel was a total non-factor in this game, as he missed all three of his shots off the catch from beyond the arc, and he also traveled on a drive to the basket.  For a player that had shown an improved outside shot recently, his performance against Kansas was vastly disappointing, as he did not play well at all on this day.

Overall, the Kansas-Kentucky game was a fascinating one to watch, as it was a thriller that went back and forth, as both teams fought valiantly to try to win, but Kansas was able to hold on to get a tough win on the road.

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