Assessing Melvin Frazier, Markis McDuffie, and Shaquille Morris

February 23, 2018

By Alan Lu

I took the time to watch a basketball game that took place on February 21st between Wichita State and Tulane, as this featured a prospect that has been swiftly moving draft boards in Tulane’s junior guard, Melvin Frazier.  I had not seen him play in a full game prior to this one, and though Landry Shamet was out due to an illness, it was an opportunity to see Frazier play against a very good college basketball team that could be one of the best in the country.   I had initially seen the first half on television through the CBS Sports Network, but I caught the second half online through YouTube via College Sports.

This game gave me the chance to watch some of Wichita State’s other prospects perhaps more in depth, and some of them stepped up to the challenge, such as Markis McDuffie, Conner Frankamp, and Shaquille Morris.  After the Shockers built a big lead at the end of the first half, Tulane rallied to try to make a furious come back, but Wichita State was able to hold them off to get the win.  Here are my thoughts on how various prospects performed on this day.

Tulane’s junior guard, Melvin Frazier had a fairly good showing in his team’s loss to Wichita State.  He started off slowly as he was held scoreless in the first half and ran into some early foul trouble, but he was the main catalyst in leading Tulane’s comeback charge, as he scored all of his 22 points in the second half of this game.

Frazier excelled as a shooter when he was on the floor.  He excelled at knocking down corner threes off the catch, and he would make opponents pay for giving him the space to get his shot off.  Also, Frazier managed to dribble off of a screen to score on a quick, pull-up mid-range jumper once.  He also did a very good job of scoring on hustle plays.  Frazier excelled at scoring on fast breaks, as he runs the floor well, and he also can use ball-handling moves to get past his man.  Also, he managed to score on a quick put back off of his own miss once.

Plus, he also showed an adequate ability to get scores off the dribble.  Frazier is particularly adept at scoring on tough floaters on drives to the basket, and he also does a good job of dribbling off of screens to get the matchup he wants.  He also managed to use a behind the back move once to score on a runner.  Plus, he also has a quick first step to the hoop.  But he also missed a number of times off of drives, as he may not always play under control, and he can struggle to score in traffic on occasion.  He also attempted to score in the post once, but he ended up getting his shot blocked on a turnaround jumper.

Also, he displayed good playmaking skills.  Frazier is a speedy, skilled ball handler that can deftly handle ball pressure, and he can make a wide array of passes to set up scores for his teammates.  He would frequently push the ball up the floor off of defensive rebounds to create fast break opportunities for his team, and he made solid passes throughout this contest.  He did commit one turnover, as he was called for a carrying violation once when dribbling off of a defensive board.

Frazier did a great job of rebounding the basketball in this game.  He was especially active at crashing the defensive glass as he would leap up to get numerous defensive boards for his team.  However, he will likely need to improve his defense.  For the positives, he will play passing lanes, and he can pick off passes to get some steals for his team.  He also managed to contest a mid-range shot to force a miss.

On the other hand, sometimes he may gamble too much defensively, and other times he may lapses on this end of the court.  Frazier may struggle to stay with his man off the dribble at times, which can cause him to commit fouls and allow scores.  Another time, he over-rotated to guard his man out on the perimeter, but missed badly on a steal attempt, as his opponent drove by him to score on a pull-up mid-range jumper.  He also missed on a steal attempt that allowed his man to score on a cut.  But late in the game, he was not really guarding a player, as his teammate had to step up on a drive, which allowed a player to get open underneath the hoop.

In summary, Melvin Frazier played fairly well, even though he struggled to consistently make plays in the first half, as his strong play in the second half was pivotal in helping his team cut the lead considerably later on.  He is an athletic, skilled basketball player that can help a team on the offensive end, and he could end up being selected in the late first to the second round range by an NBA team in the upcoming draft.

Wichita State’s 6-8 junior forward, Markis McDuffie had a solid showing in his team’s win over Tulane.  He played much better on this day than he had previously, as this may have been his best game of the year so far.  He excelled as a shooter and scorer on offense, and he also made solid passes when he was on the floor.

McDuffie did a very good job of shooting the basketball to space the floor for his team.  He excelled at knocking down spot-up threes off the catch, and he also dribbled in to score on a pull-up three another time.  He was able to make a bank shot, pull-up mid-range jumper once, as he flashed the ability to score on mid-range jumpers.

He also did a good job of scoring on drives to the basket, as he displayed versatile scoring skills in this game.  On one play, he used a ball fake to score on a quick drive to the hoop while drawing an extra free throw simultaneously.  Plus, he also scored on a scoop layup off of a cut, as he can use off-ball motion plays to get additional scores.

Plus, he also showed off solid playmaking skills when he was on the court.  McDuffie is an unselfish player that did a good job of finding the open man, and he also would throw crisp, accurate entry passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates on the block.  He also brought the ball up once off of a defensive board.  But he did commit one turnover, as he dropped a low pass thrown by his teammate out of bounds on one offensive possession.

He also would help his team get boards when he was on the floor.  However, he displayed just average at best defensive skills in this game.  For the positives, he would contest shots on drives to force misses.  However, he also would commit touch fouls at times, as he once tripped up an opponent on a baseline drive.  Sometimes, he would struggle to stay in front of his man when defending them off the dribble, which would lead him to allowing scores.  Another time, he gave up too much space to his man, as this led his team to give up a three-point basket to the opposition.

In general, Markis McDuffie had a very good game, as he played a solid brand of basketball in his team’s win over Tulane.  He is a very athletic basketball player that can play multiple positions, and he may likely project into a 3 and D type of role at the next level, but he also can be a point forward-like facilitator if he’s asked to do so.  He is a talented player that could swiftly move up draft boards if he continues to play as well as he did in this game against Tulane, as he could end up being a worthwhile pick in the second round for an NBA team whenever he decides to enter the draft.

Wichita State’s senior big man, Shaquille Morris also played very well, as he was able to help lead his team to a close win over Tulane.  He really excelled as a scorer when he was on the floor, and he generally played a good all-around game against them.  Morris did a very good job of getting scores in the post.  He is a strong, physical low post player that possesses good footwork, hands, and shooting touch to score often down low.  He would use spin moves to get past his man, and he also showed a knack for scoring on turnaround jump hooks.  He also managed to catch a lob pass, as he used a spin move to score on a strong, switch of hands layup while drawing an extra free throw once.  He didn’t miss often in the paint, but he did not have his shot blocked once off of a high post drive, as he may not always get much lift on his shot.

Morris also shot the ball fairly well, as he was able to knock down an open three off the catch to show off his shooting skills.  He did miss on a couple of mid-range jumpers, but that he made his lone three-point shot is an encouraging sign that he may potentially be able to stretch the floor at higher levels of professional basketball in the future.  Plus, he also excelled at scoring on hustle plays, as he showed a good ability to score on rolls as well as on put backs.  He did miss a tip in once, but he immediately followed that up by scoring on a nifty jump hook off of another offensive board to help his team on offense.

He displayed fairly average playmaking skills in this game.  He did not look to pass often against Tulane, but he did not really have to as he really excelled at getting scores and free throws for his team on offense.  His lone turnover though was when he made his moves too quickly out of the post in an attempt to score, but he had the ball ripped away from him due to playing too fast and out of control that time.

Morris did a good job of getting rebounds for his team, as he was quite active at crashing the glass on both sides of the ball.  He also played above average defense against Tulane.  Morris did a good job of blocking shots, as he swatted one shot off of a drive ferociously out of bounds, and he also swatted a mid-range shot another time.  He also would look to contest shots in the paint to force some misses.

But sometimes, he would have lapses that would lead his team to allow scores.  On one play, he was in no man’s land defending an area on the break, but he was unaware that an opponent was behind him, and his team allowed a score around the basket.  Another time, he didn’t call out a screen when defending a drive as he switched on to a quicker player, but he sagged too far off his man, as this led his team to allow a score.  He also sagged too far on a separate play, which allowed his man to make an easy entry pass to set up a low post score for a teammate.

In summary, Shaquille Morris had a solid showing, as he scored 25 points on 11 shots, and he also grabbed 9 rebounds to help his team get a win over Tulane.  Not only did he excel as a low post scorer on offense, but he also made his only three-point attempt to show his shooting skills from beyond the arc.  Morris may perhaps be an underrated prospect for the NBA, as he could end up being a good find for a team at the next level.

Wichita State’s senior guard, Conner Frankamp also played well, as he excelled at making plays on offense to get his team a win over Tulane.  He made a couple of threes, he also scored on quick, crafty drives to the hoop, and he also showed solid distribution skills as he continually showed solid passing and ball handling skills in this game.

Frankamp did a very good job of making shots from all over the floor.  He especially had a knack for knocking down pull-up jumpers, and a couple of times, he would split double teams to get scores off the dribble.  He also excelled as a scorer on drives to the hoop due to possessing solid ball handling skills and shooting touch, as well as good agility to get past his man.

He also showed off solid playmaking skills.  Frankamp threw solid interior passes and he was able to throw a lob pass to set up a score for a teammate on a roll, and he also showed a knack for splitting double teams to set up scoring chances for himself as well as a teammate, as he threw a nifty interior pass to a roll man once.  He handled the ball very well and he also showed off very good court vision and patience to get his teammates the ball in prime spots to score on offense.

He also seemed to exhibit average at best defensive skills.  For the positives, he excelled at jumping passes to get steals, and he also managed to draw a charge to get a stop for his team.  Also, Frankamp will contest jumpers to force misses.  However, he would occasionally give his man too much space to shoot, which would allow opponents to score on jumpers.  Other times, he may not be in the right spots as he can be caught ball watching, and he had some trouble defending opponents off of cuts.

In summary, Frankamp had a solid showing, as he showed off versatile scoring skills, and he also excelled as a facilitator when he had the ball in his hands against Tulane.  He is a smart, skilled basketball player that can help a team on offense, and he could likely end up being a good addition to an NBA team’s summer league roster.

Tulane’s 6-8 senior swingman, Cameron Reynolds put forth a fairly good performance in his team’s loss to Wichita State.  He is a fairly good athlete that excels as a floor spacer on offense, and he did a good job of making open corner threes from beyond the arc in this game.  He also can draw fouls on aggressive drives to the hoop, but sometimes he may miss shots in traffic as he may not possess an elite first step to the basket.

He also managed to catch a high entry pass, as he went up to get a score at the rim once, and he also scored off of a cut another time.  Reynolds will also set screens.  He managed to set an on-ball screen and popped off of it once to set up a score for a shooter on offense.  He also displayed adequate rebounding skills.  He would help get his team some defensive boards, but he also had a tendency to commit fouls when opponents would collect offensive rebounds.

Defensively, he looked to be about average.  He excelled at poking balls away to get steals for his team.  But sometimes, he would be late on his rotations, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  In summary, Cameron Reynolds is a skilled scorer that can make shots in plenty of ways for his team.  He has been overshadowed by his more higher profile teammate this season, which is compounded by the fact that his team has struggled to consistently win basketball games, so he may not have much draft stock currently.  But if he continues to play well, he could perhaps get a Portsmouth invite, which could lead him to finding a way to make an NBA team’s summer league roster in the future.

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