Assessing Markis McDuffie and Kyvon Davenport

March 14, 2019

by Alan Lu

I took the time to watch Markis McDuffie and Wichita State play against Memphis in a game that was played on January 3rd.  I had not seen a Wichita State game all year long, and I wanted to see how McDuffie was playing in his new role as a featured player on the Shockers.  Though his team lost in this game, he was able to make a variety of shots and he also made some solid hustle plays.  Here are my thoughts on how he fared, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.

Wichita State’s 6-8 senior forward, Markis McDuffie had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Memphis.  He showed good versatility in scoring the basketball, but he was inconsistent in knocking down shots, and had some trouble with turnovers and his position defense.  McDuffie did an adequate job of knocking down jumpers to space the floor for his team on offense.  He can make spot-up threes and mid-range jumpers off the catch, and he especially showed a knack for making shots from the corner.  Adding to that, he also can occasionally make pull-up jumpers off the dribble.  McDuffie was able to make a tough pull-up, mid-range jumper once while drawing an extra free throw afterwards.  However, he struggled more to make shots while on the move, and there were times where he was having trouble making them in this game.

He also showed a decent ability to garner scores off the dribble.  McDuffie was able to get one solid score on an aggressive drive to the rim, as he used a quick overhead ball fake and scored on a tough, double-pump leaner while getting an additional free throw.  However, he also tended to miss on runners, as he would sometimes struggle to get all the way to the hoop when looking to score off of drives.  Plus, he also displayed fairly average playmaking skills.  McDuffie is an unselfish player that will look to move the basketball, and he can kick the ball out to shooters to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  He will also set screens on and off the ball as well.  However, there was one play where he was indecisive on whether to pass or score after driving hard to the rim, and he threw a pass that hit the bottom part of the backboard before it ended up getting intercepted.  On another possession, he threw an errant pass off the dribble that sailed out of bounds.

He also was able to get his fair share of boards when he was on the floor.  McDuffie would look to box out his opponents, and he did so once to get a good, solid, fundamental rebound once.  He also would leap up to get some defensive boards, but he did not appear to come away with enough rebounds in this contest though against Memphis.  Defensively though, he did not play quite as well as anticipated.  For the positives, McDuffie was able to run down a loose ball to intercept an errant pass to get a steal once, and he also managed to deflect a pass another time.  He also can aptly defend in the post when in position to do so.  However, he can struggle to guard his man on the ball, and he also can be unfocused on the defensive end.  He would allow opponents to get deep position down low to allow scores in the post, and he also got beat off of a drive to allow another score around the basket.  He also tended to sag too far off his man, which would cause him to allow opponents to score on three-pointers.  Late in the game, he didn’t run hard back on defense, as he allowed his opponent to score on a fast break dunk.

In general, Markis McDuffie had his ups and downs, but overall he did some good things on the court in his team’s loss to Memphis.  He is an athletic combo forward that can space the floor for his team on offense, and he will keep the ball moving as well.  However, he will need to work harder to score on off-ball motion plays, as he didn’t look to score off of cuts, put backs, or in transition nearly enough, and he also had some trouble in getting all the way to the hoop to score off of drives, as well as with his position defense.  Right now, he may be a second round prospect for the upcoming draft.  If things pan out for him, he could perhaps end up being an effective role player at the next level, and in a favorable scenario, he could be a similar player to Philadelphia 76ers’ forward, Mike Scott in the NBA.

Memphis’ 6-8 senior forward, Kyvon Davenport had a solid performance in his team’s win over Wichita State.  Even though he came off the bench at the onset of this game, he excelled at making shots efficiently as he can do so from all over the court, and he threw down a thunderous late game dunk to help seal the victory.  Davenport excelled at attacking the basket to garner scores.  He would score on quick, strong drives to the hoop, as he can make tough shots around the basket due to possessing good speed, strength, and body control to do so.  He can score on tough, contorted layups and shots, and he also can draw plenty of fouls upon his defenders.  He also did a very good job of scoring in transition as he would often run the floor hard to get the ball, and he managed to throw down a scintillating, high-flying jam on the break late in this contest.

On the downside, he struggled more when looking to score from the post.  He was able to use a quick spin move once, but he ended up missing on a left-handed jump hook.  On a separate play, he had his shot blocked after looking to score on a reverse layup after getting the ball on the block.  He also did a good job of making threes to space the floor for his team.  Davenport was able to make a trail three in transition, and he also made a spot-up three another time.  He also drew three free throws while attempting a corner three once.  He did miss a couple of long-range shots, but in general Davenport did a good job of making long-range jumpers off the catch.

He also displayed fairly average playmaking skills.  Davenport didn’t look to pass often, but he can throw long, accurate passes to his teammates to set up scoring chances for them.  He also managed to set an on-ball screen, as that enabled his teammate to get open to score on a pull-up, two-point shot just inside the arc.  Though he caught a long pass late in this match to score on a dunk in transition, Davenport also dropped a couple of passes in this game against Wichita State, and sometimes he will drop catchable balls on offense.

He also was able to get some rebounds, as he would run down balls to get boards on both ends of the floor.  However, there was one play where he was called for committing an over the back foul when looking to collect a defensive rebound once.  Also, Davenport played decent defense in this game.  He was able to run in to poke a ball away from an opponent off of a drive to force a miss, and he also did a good job of contesting jumpers to force misses, but sometimes he can be foul prone when defending opposing ball handlers or in the post, and he had trouble guarding opponents down low against Wichita State.  He also left his own man to double an opposing ball handler on one play, but that turned out to be a bad gamble as his team allowed an opponent to score on a corner three.  Another time, he rotated on a drive, but he ended up getting beat on a eurostep move, as his team allowed a score around the basket.

In summary, Kyvon Davenport played well in his team’s win, as he mostly excelled as a shooter and scorer while also helping out on the boards and on the defensive end at times in this game.  He has not received much draft buzz for the time being, but he is an athletic combo forward that may have the skills to end up making an NBA team’s rotation at the next level.  Right now, he may be a borderline second round prospect, and if things break his way, he could end up being a similar player to Portland Trail Blazers’ forward, Jake Layman in the NBA.

Other Notes:

Memphis’ senior guard, Jeremiah Martin did not play very well in his team’s win over Wichita State, and often times he would try to force up shots off the dribble that would lead to misses.  He had his shots blocked several times on fast break drives, but he did show a knack for drawing fouls on aggressive drives to the hoop when he would get foul calls. 

He also can throw long outlet passes to his teammates in transition and he also found a roll man to get an assist, but he also had a tendency to throw passes that ended up getting deflected by his opponents.  Defensively, he had generally had trouble guarding on the ball, but his teammates would usually rotate and provide help to force misses.   Overall, Jeremiah Martin may be playing well this season, but this was not one of his better games.  If he does end up finding his way into the NBA, he could perhaps end up being like a taller version of former Detroit Pistons’ guard, Will Bynum in the league.

Wichita State’s senior guard, Samajae Haynes-Jones did not have a great game, either.  He generally struggled to make shots consistently, and he was extremely turnover prone on offense.  He can make spot-up threes off the catch, but he would tend to miss too many open threes, he also tended to throw inaccurate passes that would get intercepted, and he also had a couple of balls poked away.  Defensively, he looked to be above average.  He will play passing lanes, and he can get steals and deflections for his team.  He also managed to fight through a screen to stay with his man to force him to miss on a pull-up three, and Haynes-Jones has good footwork to defend out on the perimeter.  However, he also struggled to defend on the ball at times, as he was prone to fouling opponents off the dribble, and he also over-helped in the paint to allow his man to score on an open three another time.

So far, Haynes-Jones has had a rough senior season, and he has struggled to make shots all year long, despite getting more of them in volume.  Most likely, he will need to spend some time either in the G-League or overseas to hone his game before trying out for the NBA.  But if he does make improvements to become a more efficient shooter and to be a more reliable playmaker, he could then compete for a backup point guard spot.  If he does end up finding his way into the NBA, Haynes-Jones could end up being like a poor man’s version of Royal Ivey in the association.

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