Assessing Ron Harper Jr. and Trayce Jackson-Davis

January 25th, 2021

By Alan Lu

Yesterday, I decided to watch Ron Harper Jr. and Rutgers play against Trayce Jackson-Davis and Indiana in a competitive, Big 12 conference basketball game.  It was a close game and every time when Rutgers looked like they would pull away, Indiana would manage to stay in this contest.  In the end, Rutgers were able to get a victory to edge out Indiana, and Rutgers were able to get a much-needed win to put a stop to a 5-game losing streak.  Here are my thoughts on how Harper, Jackson-Davis, and the others fared in this game.

Rutgers’ Ron Harper Jr. scored 15 points and had 12 rebounds in his team’s win over Indiana.
(Photo:
Doug McSchooler/Associated Press, via Star Tribune)

Rutgers’ 6-6 junior forward, Ron Harper Jr. played fairly well in his team’s win over Indiana.  Though he didn’t make threes efficiently, he excelled at making shots inside the arc, he played unselfishly, and he also rebounded and defended well in this game.

Harper showed a fairly good ability to score in the post.  He has good strength, footwork, and shooting touch, and he would score on crafty, turnaround jumpers from the mid-range after getting the ball on the block.  He also managed to draw free throws on a two-handed dunk attempt.  Sometimes he would miss on tough, contested jumpers, but he generally excelled as both a low post scorer and mid-range shooter on offense.

He also did a good job of drawing fouls to get to the free throw line.  Harper used a pump fake to draw free throws on an aggressive, left-handed drive to the hoop.  He also ran the floor, and drew free throws on a powerful dunk attempt on the break.  He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays, and he was able to get the ball on a cut, as he used his shoulder to create space to get open, and he then promptly scored on a powerful dunk.

Also, Harper was able to make a quick, open spot-up three in transition.  On the downside, he struggled to make threes consistently, even though all of his three-point attempts from on spot-up opportunities from beyond the arc. He also showed off satisfactory playmaking skills.  Harper is an unselfish player that would look to find the open man to set up scores for his teammates, and he also can throw passes off the dribble and in transition to get his teammates the basketball.  He also will set screens for his teammates.  He did commit one turnover though, as he had a ball poked away on a drive to lose it that time.

Plus, Harper did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  He especially excelled at crashing the glass to get defensive boards, and sometimes he would push the ball up the court afterwards.  He also would box out his opponents, and there was one play where he did so that it led him to draw a foul on his opponent late in this game.

Adding to that, he also played decent defense in this game.  He’s an active help defender that can cover plenty of ground, and he also is a solid interior defender.  Harper was able to hustle back to block a shot emphatically off of a drive in transition out of bounds, and he really leapt up to do so that time.  He also was able to dive on a ground to recover a loose ball, and he also would deflect passes to nearly get steals.  He also has good strength to hold his ground when defending in the post, and he would actively contest shots to force misses.  He also was able to contest a mid-range shot to get a stop another time.  However, he seemed to struggle more to defend out on the perimeter.  Sometimes he doesn’t call out screens, which would lead his teammates to run into screeners or to get confused on whom to guard, which would lead his team to allow scores.  He also struggled at times to defend opponents on drives, as he ended up picking up a couple of fouls.  There was also another play where he sagged off of a shooter, and ended up allowing him to score on a three-point shot.

In general, Ron Harper Jr. had a solid showing in his team’s win over Indiana.  Though he didn’t shoot the three-ball well in this game, he did virtually everything else well.  He is a strong, physical player that can guard bigger opponents due to possessing very good strength and a wide frame, and he is a versatile swingman that can play both out on the perimeter and in the post.  He may need to improve his ability to create shots for himself and others, but his jump shot and defense could make him a solid pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range of the 2021 draft.

Indiana’s sophomore big man, Trayce Jackson-Davis had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Rutgers.  He made some solid, energetic plays at times, and he was able to make some impressive defensive plays, but he also missed too many shots and was quite turnover prone in this game.

He did a fairly good job of scoring on hustle plays.  Jackson-Davis can score on rolls and cuts to the hoop, and he was able to slip behind a zone defense to catch a lob to score on an alley-oop dunk.  He also ran in to score on a tip slam off of an offensive rebound.  He would roll hard to the hoop, and he did a good job of drawing free throws, but he also had a couple of his shots blocked other times, as he would not always go up strong in traffic.

Also, Jackson-Davis displayed a decent ability to score off the dribble.  On a play where he went to his left, he used a hesitation move to score on a crafty layup, and he also was able to get an extra free throw afterwards.  Another time though, he used a spin move, but missed on a contested leaner.

However, he struggled to score in the post.  On one good play, late in this game, he drew free throws after being fouled upon catching the basketball.  However, Jackson-Davis had a couple of his shots blocked, and he also missed on a quick, turnaround jump hook.  He especially struggled to handle the taller, longer Myles Johnson, and he also had some trouble receiving the ball in the post, as his opponent both played solid ball denial defense, and interior defense in this game.

He also was quite turnover prone on offense.  For the positives, Jackson-Davis was able to pass the ball out of the post, and he also set a hard off-ball screen to help get a shooter an open jump shot another time.  However, he also committed a couple of ball-handling turnovers.  He was called for traveling when trying to post up.  He also had a ball ripped away by a weak-side help defender on another post play.  Later on, he threw a hasty outlet pass that ended up getting deflected and intercepted.

Also, he was able to get his fair share of rebounds to help his team on the glass, and he would leap up to get some defensive boards in this game.  However, there was one play where he was called for an over the back foul when going for an offensive board once.

Plus, Jackson-Davis played satisfactory defense in this game.  He excelled at blocking shots, as he would swat shots off of drives due to possessing solid length, athleticism, and timing.  He also leapt up to break up a lob pass to get a steal, and he also would get his hands on passes to get steals and deflections.  He also managed to contest a step-back, long two to force a miss another time.  However, sometimes he would give up deep position, as he would not always show much resistance, which would lead him to allow opponents to score in the post.

Overall, Jackson-Davis made some good plays in this game, but overall, his performance was a bit lackluster, as he didn’t make enough shots nor grab enough rebounds, and he was too turnover-prone when he was on the floor.  He will need to extend his shooting range and take better care of the basketball.  Currently, he is a second round prospect for the upcoming draft, and he could project to be a rotational big man in the NBA.

Rutgers’ 6-4 senior point guard, Geo Baker had a stellar showing in his team’s win over Indiana.  He excelled at making plays on both ends of the court, and he especially made his impact felt on offense to help his team get the victory.

Baker shot the ball very well, as he excelled at scoring on quick, spot-up threes from beyond the arc.  He also did a decent job of scoring off the dribble.  He would tend to favor going to his left, but he used a crossover to score on a layup, and he also split the defense and elevated to make a smooth, pull-up jumper from the mid-range another time.  He also ran the floor to score on an emphatic dunk on the break.  However, sometimes he would take tough, contested shots that would lead to misses.

Also, he displayed solid playmaking skills.  Baker is an unselfish player that would look to find the open man, and he can throw lob passes and pass off the dribble to set up scores for his teammates.  He is a quick guard that can split double teams to consistently get to the hoop.  He didn’t turn the ball over very often, but there was one play where he lost the ball on a drive, as the ball slipped out of his hands on that occasion.

Though he didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, Baker was able to get a defensive rebound when he was on the floor. He also played decent defense.  Baker is an active help defender that can force opponents to commit plenty of turnovers.  He did a good job of helping his team force turnovers.  Baker excelled at playing passes to help his team get steals and deflections.  He also ran in to defend in the post, as he was able to poke a ball to a teammate another time.  Sometimes though, he would struggle to defend quicker players and give up too much space to shooters, which would cause him to allow scores to them.

Overall, Geo Baker played very well in this game, and he led all scorers with 19 points, he made 4 threes, and he also dished out 5 assists to help his team get the victory over Indiana.  He’s been inconsistent as a shooter on the season, but he is a talented player that can provide a spark for his team on offense.  He’ll need to make more shots consistently, but if he can cultivate his talents and pool them together, he could perhaps project into a backup point guard role in the NBA someday.

Rutgers’ 6-11 redshirt junior center, Myles Johnson also played well in his team’s win over Indiana.  He primarily excelled as an interior player for his team, and he played solid post defense to help his team get the victory. Johnson excelled as a low post scorer in this game.  He would frequently get deep position to score down low, and he also scored on a reverse layup.  Plus, he also ran in to score on a tip-in off of an offensive rebound.

On the downside, he was fairly turnover prone on offense.  For the positives, Johnson can pass out of the post to find the open man, and he also was able to throw a long outlet pass to set up a scoring chance for a teammate out on the break.  However, he was called for an offensive foul and a turnover when he was jostling for low-post position once.  He also threw a questionable alley-oop pass intended for a cutter that got broken up and intercepted another time. Johnson did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He would leap up to crash the glass to get plenty of boards on both ends of the floor.

Also, Johnson played solid defense.  He did a tremendous job of blocking shots, and sometimes he would swat balls to his teammates.  He has very good length, strength, and timing, and he would swat shots hard to help his team protect the paint.  He also would use his length to get his hands on passes to get steals, and he has very long arms that make it difficult for opponents to get their entry passes through.  He also used his length to poke a ball away from an opponent, right as he was about to pass.  He also excelled at deflecting passes, and he was able to run down a loose ball that a teammate poked away to help get his team another steal.  He did a good job of contesting shots in the post, as he has very good length, strength, and timing to force plenty of misses. On the downside, sometimes he would not communicate screens to his teammates, which would cause his team to allow scores on those plays.  Another time, he was called for fouling an opponent on a drive that led to a three-point play for the opposition.

Overall, Myles Johnson had a good showing in his team’s win over Indiana.  Though he didn’t take many shots, he was very effective as an inside scorer, as he scored 8 points on 4 of 4 shooting, and he also excelled as a rebounder and defender in this game.  Though he may not have much draft stock right now, he could transition well to the NBA.  He could be quite useful as a rotational big man in the NBA, and he could end up being a solid rim protector for an NBA team off the bench at the next level.

Rutgers’ 6-11 freshman center, Cliff Omoruyi also played well in this game.  He primarily excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He did a good job of scoring on rolls to the rim, as he was able to throw down an emphatic, two-handed dunk, and he also rolled hard to the hoop to score another time.  He also caught a lob pass to score around the basket.  Omoruyi only missed once on an alley-oop layup, and he was very effective as an inside scorer when he was on the floor.

He also passed the ball well.  He threw an accurate pass to find a cutter to notch an assist.  Also, he did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  Defensively, he looked to be fairly average.  Omoruyi was able to deflect a low pass out of bounds to almost get a steal.  However, he struggled to defend in the post, and he ended up fouling opponents on rolls to the rim twice in this game.

Overall, Omoruyi is an athletic, energetic big man that did a very good job of scoring around the basket, particularly on rolls to the rim.  He will need to extend his shooting range and be a more disciplined on-ball defender, but he could be a solid player for Rutgers in the long-term, and like his teammate Myles Johnson, he could project to be a rotational big man as a defensive specialist type of player in the NBA someday.

Indiana’s 6-2 freshman point guard, Khristian Lander played very well in this game.  He excelled as a shooter to help his team space the floor on offense.  Lander was able to make an open, corner three off the catch.  He also used a jab step and dribbled to his right, as he pulled up to make a three from way out.  He did miss on a quick mid-range shot after running off of a screen, and he didn’t look to shoot enough, but he did show the potential to be a good shooter due to his ability to make threes in this game.

He looked to be fairly average as a playmaker on offense.  Lander would look to make the extra pass to keep the ball moving, but sometimes he would get his passes deflected out of bounds.

He also played fairly average defense.  He was able to stay with an opposing ball handler to successfully contest a mid-range floater.  Another time though, he over-helped in the paint, and was late to rotate back, which caused him to allow his opponent to score on a three-point shot.

Overall, Khristian Lander played well in his team’s loss to Rutgers.  He is starting to gain confidence as a player in college basketball.  He arrived onto college basketball as a highly touted recruit, but hadn’t seen the floor nor played very well prior to this game.  If he can build upon the solid performance he put forth against Rutgers, he could eventually develop into being a scoring point guard that could help a second unit for an NBA team off the bench sometime down the road.

Indiana’s 6-4 sophomore guard, Armaan Franklin played fairly well in his team’s loss to Rutgers. He excelled as a shooter and scorer in this game.  He can run off ball screens to make spot-up threes, and he also would aggressively drive the ball to the hoop to get to the free throw line.  However, he would sometimes take tough shots off the dribble that would lead to misses.

He looked to be fairly average as a playmaker.  He can throw solid interior passes, as he can find teammates on the move to set up scores for his teammates.  However, sometimes he would throw inaccurate passes that would end up out of bounds.  He also had a ball poked away that led to another turnover.

He also was able to collect his fair share of rebounds to help his team get boards on both ends of the floor.  He struggled defensively though, as he had trouble defending opponents off the dribble, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Armaan Franklin did a good job of shooting and scoring the basketball in this game, but he also struggled with turnovers and on defense.  He will need to take better care of the basketball and improve his defense, but he is a skilled shooter that could project into a microwave type of scorer role in the NBA someday if things break his way.

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