Assessing Trent Forrest, Devin Vassell, and David Johnson

February 25th, 2020

by Alan Lu

I decided to tune in to watch Florida State play against Louisville in an ACC college basketball game that took place yesterday. What I saw was basically a tale of two halves. Louisville looked to be in control of the first half, as their guards were making shots, and Jordan Nwora was playing well on both ends of the floor. In the second half though, Florida State took over and ended up winning by double-digits. The Seminoles had strong guard play and played solid defense, and Louisville had trouble making shots, defending, or taking care of the basketball. In addition, Trent Forrest threw down a highlight-reel worthy dunk on Jordan Nwora as an exclamation point for Florida State’s win. Here are my thoughts on how Forrest and other various prospects fared on this day, as well as how their games may translate to the NBA.

Florida State's senior point guard, Trent Forrest had a tremendous game that was capped off by a stunning, high-flying dunk over Jordan Nwora to help get his team the win over Louisville.  (Photo: Mike Olivella/The Osceola.)
Florida State’s senior point guard, Trent Forrest had a tremendous game that was capped off by a stunning, high-flying dunk over Jordan Nwora to help get his team the win over Louisville. (Photo: Mike Olivella/The Osceola.)

Florida State’s senior point guard, Trent Forrest put forth a terrific performance as he had a strong all-around game to lead his team to a double-digit victory over Louisville. He consistently made solid plays when he was on the court as he showed off his trademark strong defensive skills, and threw down a powerful dunk over Nwora late in the game to really seal the win for his team.

Forrest excelled at scoring on strong drives to the hoop as well as in transition. He showed a knack for scoring on floaters, and he also would run the floor to get numerous scores on the break. He would tend to score on drives in transition, and he also threw down a ferocious jam over Nwora that really stood out as his best play of the game.

Plus, Forrest also shot the ball well, and he was able to make a corner three to provide his team with some floor spacing on offense. He didn’t look to take many jumpers, as he seemed to be more comfortable in taking the ball to the rim, but Forrest showed that he can occasionally make jump shots that are outside of the paint.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills. Forrest can throw accurate passes off the dribble, as he can kick balls out to shooters to set up scores for them, and he also was able to find a roll man to notch an assist. However, he also can sometimes commit turnovers due to carelessness, as he threw an inaccurate pass that went astray, and he also was called for traveling when handling the ball in transition another time.

Also, Forrest did a good job of rebounding the basketball, and he was quite active at crashing the boards to help his team on the glass.

Adding to that, Forrest also played tremendous defense. He would jump passes and poke balls away to get steals and deflections for his team, and he would apply heavy ball pressure as he would hound opposing ball handlers, which enabled him and his team to play suffocating defense against Louisville.

Overall, Forrest is an athletic, high-motor playmaker that tends to make solid contributions in a variety of ways to help his team in games, and he has a knack for making winning plays when he is on the court. Right now, he has flown under the radar as a draft prospect, but he could be a very good find for a team in the NBA, as he has the skills to thrive as a role player similar to current Memphis Grizzlies’ guard, De’Anthony Melton in the association.

Devin Vassell may be a likely first round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.  (Photo: Mike Olivella/The Osceola.)
Florida State’s sophomore guard, Devin Vassell was outstanding in the second half, as his strong play in that time span helped lead the comeback charge to propel his team to defeat Louisville. (Photo: Mike Olivella/The Osceola.)

Florida State’s sophomore swingman, Devin Vassell had a fairly good showing in his team’s win over Louisville.  In the first half, he was fairly passive as he tended to hang in the background, but he really took over for most of the second half, as he shot the ball well to help his team put up points on offense.

Vassell did a good job of scoring off the dribble, as he particularly excelled at making shots from mid-range. He showed a knack for making pull-up, mid-range jumpers, and he also used a spin move to make a fadeaway jumper from the left elbow. Plus, he also was able to score on a floater another time. Though he rarely would get all the way to the rim to score, he showed a great ability to make mid-range shots off the dribble.  

In addition, he also was able to make an open trail three to show his range from beyond the arc. He missed a three-point shot completely in the first half as he took it from a little too far out, but Vassell was able to make his next long-range shot as he was well in rhythm to make the shot from beyond the arc.

Also, Vassell will sometimes find the open man to get them the basketball. Occasionally, he had some trouble protecting the basketball, as he was prone to having it getting poked away from him, but he also did not turn the ball over once in this game.  Though he didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, he was able to leap up to get a defensive board on one possession.

Defensively, he looked to be about average at best. For the positives, Vassell will actively play passing lanes, and he was able to jump a pass to get a steal. However, he can be a bit undisciplined defensively, as he bit on a pump fake when defending in the post that led him to commit a foul and allow a score, and he also had a tendency to commit touch fouls when defending opponents off of drives as well as in the post.

In general, Devin Vassell played fairly well in his team’s win over Louisville. He excelled as a shooter and scorer when he was on the floor. Right now, he will need to be a more assertive player on offense and to be a more disciplined defender on a consistent basis, and but he is an athletic, energetic swingman that could be a good value pick for a team in the mid first round range of the upcoming draft.

Louisville’s 6-5 freshman guard, David Johnson had an up and down showing in his team’s lopsided loss to Florida State. He played well in the first half, but then struggled with turnovers and foul trouble in the next half as his team ended up getting blown out in this game.

Johnson showed a knack for getting strong scores off the dribble. He is a very good shot creator that has a series of ball handling moves that he can use to create separation, as he was able to use a ball fake to score on a fadeaway jumper while getting an extra free throw, and he also managed to score on an acrobatic, switch of hands layup off the glass. Though he seemed to favor going to his left, he can finish plays using either hand. He also excelled at making pull-up, mid-range jumpers. On the downside, he had a couple of his shots blocked when going hard to the basket.

Plus, he also did a good job of scoring in the post. When posting up on the block, Johnson used a pump fake to score on a jump hook, and he also managed to get the extra free throw afterwards. However, Johnson was unable to connect on any of the three-point shots that he hoisted up from beyond the arc, and he had trouble making pull-up threes in this game.

On the downside, Johnson was really turnover prone in this game, and he was committing turnovers so frequently in the second half it was getting to a point where the question seemed to be if he has the ability to effectively run the point well at the next level. For the positives, Johnson can throw accurate passes off the dribble, as he will sometimes keep his dribble alive and kick balls out to shooters to set up scores for them. However, he tended to play too carelessly on wildly on offense, which would get him into trouble. He threw a couple of hasty passes that got intercepted, as well as a low pass that was dropped to an opponent, and he also had a ball that was poked away. Late in this game, he was too slow to bring the ball up across half court, which led him to commit 10-second violation as a result.

He also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball, as he would chase down balls to help his team get defensive boards. Defensively, he looked to be about average. He pressured opposing ball handlers well in the first half, but he suddenly struggled more in the next half. He got beat off the dribble on one play that led him to commit a foul an opponent on a drive. He also struggled to defend in the post, as he committed another foul when guarding a bigger player on the block.

Overall, David Johnson had some good moments, but he really struggled in the second half as neither he nor his team could muster up much offense down the stretch in their loss to Florida State. He is a talented combo guard that can take the ball to the rim to score the basketball, and he also boasts having some low post scoring skills, but he will need to show that he can consistently knock down outside shots and take care of the ball better on offense. Right now, he may project to go in the late first to the second round range as he is still a high upside prospect that has the talent to be a good player in the NBA, but at this stage, it could potentially be in his best interests to stay in school to continue to hone his overall game.

Florida State's freshman forward, Patrick Williams could be a first round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. (Photo: Sports Illustrated via David Visser's article.)
Florida State’s freshman forward, Patrick Williams played very well in his team’s double-digit victory over Louisville.(Photo: Sports Illustrated via David Visser’s article at https://www.si.com/college/fsu/basketball/bounce-brains-off-ball-movement-helps-make-fsu-patrick-williams-analysis-seminoles-video-highlights)

Florida State’s freshman forward, Patrick Williams put forth a solid performance to help lead his team to a double-digit victory over Louisville. He played very good defense when he was on the court, and he also excelled at attacking the basket to score for his team.

Williams showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays. He excelled at drawing fouls upon his defenders to get free throws, as he managed to get fouled off of a cut, an offensive rebound, and on a drive in transition. He also was able to intercept a pass, as he quickly drove up the floor to score on a thunderous one-handed dunk on the break. However, there was another play where he missed on a floater off of a put back attempt.

He also flashed the ability to score in the post. Williams was able to barrel in to draw free throws on a drop step move despite apparently gotten away with having switched pivot feet on the play. However, he also had a shot blocked off of himself another time. Williams also launched a three-point shot from well beyond the arc, but missed on his lone three-point attempt.

He also displayed fairly average playmaking skills. Williams would swing the ball to open shooters to set up scoring chances for them. Plus, he also would set solid screens for his teammates to help get them open on offense. Sometimes though, he would commit turnovers due to carelessness, and there was one play where he slipped and fell on a drive that led him to commit a traveling violation.

Also, he was able to help out on the boards to help his team get rebounds on both ends of the floor. Plus, Williams also played solid defense in this game. He is an active, rangy defender that can make plays on the ball, and he has a nonstop motor. He was able to stay with his man when guarding a drive out on the perimeter to block a shot to a teammate due to possessing good recovery speed, leaping ability, length, and timing. He also did a good job of jumping passes and jumping on loose balls to help his team get steals and deflections. However, sometimes he can gamble too much defensively. He bit on an up and under shot fake move once to allow a score off the dribble. On a separate play, he over-helped in the paint, and was late to rotate, which led his man to score on a long two-point shot.

In summary, Williams is a very athletic, energetic combo forward that excels at making hustle plays on both ends of the floor, and he had a solid game in his team’s win over Louisville. He is a talented prospect that could be a good value pick for an NBA team in the mid to late first round range, and Williams could end up being a solid role player in the association.

Florida State’s 6-5 junior guard, M.J. Walker played very well in his team’s win over Louisville. The talented, but inconsistent swingman turned in one of his best games of the season, as he showed the skills that made him considered to be a potential second round prospect in the first place.

He showed off versatile scoring skills as he excelled as a shooter and shot maker on offense. Walker showed a knack for scoring on strong drives to the hoop, as he can finish plays using either hand, he managed to score on a fadeaway jumper, and he also threw down a thunderous dunk late in this game. He also did a decent job of knocking down jumpers to space the floor for his team. Walker dribbled left to make a pull-up three from beyond the arc, and he also used an overhead ball fake to draw free throws on a pull-up, mid-range jump shot. He struggled a little more to make spot-up threes, but he generally did a good job of making shots from all over the floor.

He also displayed fairly good playmaking skills.   Walker can find the open man to notch assists, and he also threw a lob pass to a teammate in transition to set up a score for him. However, there was one play in which he was called for a double dribble, as that turned out to be the lone turnover that he committed in this game.

On the downside, he did not grab any rebounds in this game. Walker played fairly good defense. He is an agile, energetic player that can make numerous plays on the ball. He ran up to back-tap an opposing ball handler to get a steal, and he also intercepted a pass to collect another. On the downside, he can be a bit too aggressive defensively. He bit wildly on a pump fake that led him to allow a three-point basket to an opponent. He also was called for committing a foul when defending in the post off the ball.

Overall, M.J. Walker had a strong showing in his team’s win over Louisville. He’s had his ups and downs throughout his collegiate career, but his strong performance in this game could be a building block for him in his hopes to get drafted and to make it to the NBA. He will need to continue to make shots consistently, but he is an athletic, skilled player that has the skills to make it to the NBA if he can put his skills altogether.

Louisville’s junior forward, Jordan Nwora put forth an uneven performance in his team’s loss to Florida State. He played very well on both ends of the floor in the first half, but he suddenly struggled mightily after that as his team ended up getting pummeled in the second half in their loss to Florida State.

Nwora showed a good ability to make pull-up mid-range jumpers in this game. He was able to use a behind the back dribble move seamlessly to make a pull-up jumper from the right elbow, and he was able to show off versatile scoring skills in the first half.

He also flashed the ability to score off cuts as well as off the dribble. Nwora managed to score on a cut early on, and he also used a quick ball fake to draw free throws on a strong drive to the hoop. He also showed a decent ability to draw fouls upon his defenders. However, he also tended to miss on off-balanced shots in traffic, and he would tend to force the issue too much on offense, which would lead to misses. Though he made a smooth pull-up three late in the first half, Nwora struggled to make long-range jumpers in this game. He really struggled to make threes in the second half, as he would tend to miss pull-up threes, and he would also miss shots that were well beyond the arc, as some of the shots he took seemed to be just a bit outside of his current shooting range.

Nwora was able to bring the ball up once on offense, but his tendency to try to do too much on offense would sometimes get him into trouble. He dropped a low pass to an opponent that led his team to commit a turnover. He also tried to use a spin move to handle the ball past two defenders up the court and lost the ball off of an opponent out of bounds to nearly turn it over. He also had a pass deflected and fell down dribbling while keeping his dribble, as there were times where he would stumble that would nearly lead to turnovers. Though he didn’t commit many turnovers in this game, he also didn’t seem to make any noteworthy passes either, and he did not pick up an assist in this game.

He also did a good job of rebounding the basketball. Nwora was quite active at crashing the boards, especially in the first half, and he would often leap up to get defensive rebounds to help his team on the glass.

Defensively, he looked to be about average at best. He played fairly good defense in the first half, but he really struggled on the defensive end down the stretch in this game. For the positives, Nwora is an active help defender. He was able to stay with an opposing ball handler on a drive to block the shot to a teammate due to possessing good length, athleticism, and timing. He also managed to poke a ball away to nearly get a steal. Plus, he also managed to cut off penetration when defending a drive, as his man later fell down and lost the ball due to good positioning, and Nwora did a good job of containing the dribble game in the first half.

However, he tended to be a bit undisciplined defensively, and he also struggled to guard opponents in one-on-one situations. Nwora tended to commit touch fouls, and he also had trouble defending opponents on drives in transition, as he got beat off the dribble once to allow a score, and he also allowed a smaller opponent to dunk on him late in this contest while committing the foul to allow a score and an extra free throw. He also got outmuscled when defending in the post, as he fouled his opponent that time while allowing the basket, and he didn’t show much resistance when guarding his man on the block. There was another time where he didn’t pick up a roll man, as his teammate rotated instead to foul him while allowing the score. Plus, he was late to rotate to a shooter once, which led him to allow him to score on a three-point shot.

Overall, Nwora had a rough game in his team’s loss to Florida State, but he played well in the first half. Still, there are concerns if he can consistently create his own shot or guard upper-echelon players, and he seemed a bit over-extended in his work load in his team’s loss to Florida State. Right now, he projects to be a 3 and D type of role player at the next level, and while his ceiling may be lower than the prospects at the top of this draft, he could end up being a solid role player as he could be a good value pick for a team in the second round range of the 2020 draft.

Louisville’s senior center, Steven Enoch didn’t really stand out in this game, but he did a fairly good job of scoring in the post in the limited number of touches he had on offense. He was able to get deep position to score on a turnaround jump hook while getting an extra free throw, and he also used a quick shoulder fake to draw free throws on a turnaround jumper. Plus, Enoch managed to score on a strong put back after leaping up to get an offensive rebound. Sometimes though, he would miss shots in traffic as he would occasionally rush his shots around the basket.

As a playmaker, he looked to be fairly average. He would look to find the open man to set up scoring opportunities for his teammates, but he also had a ball poked away when posting up to commit a turnover.

He did not play very good defense in this game. On one good play, he managed to successfully draw a charge when defending a drive. However, he tended to commit touch fouls and he would sometimes be late on his rotations, and he had some trouble defending quicker players off the dribble as well as in the post, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Enoch did not have his best game, as he did not take many shots nor stand out defensively in this match. Right now, he may be a borderline second round candidate for the upcoming draft, but he will need to be a more assertive player on offense and be a more consistent defender to improve his chances to make it to and succeed in the NBA.

Louisville’s freshman swingman, Samuell Williamson played well in limited minutes in the first half, but he didn’t seem to play much in the second half. He was able to score on a strong right-handed drive to the hoop, and he also ran the floor to get a score in transition. He did miss on a tip-in, but generally Williamson excelled at scoring the basketball when he would take shots on offense.

Plus, Williamson also is a high-motor player that can play solid defense. He also managed to dive on the floor to help his team get a loose ball, but was called for committing a foul when defending a bigger player in the post on a separate play. Overall, he is an athletic, energetic player that will make hustle plays on both ends of the floor. He will need to improve his jump shot and get more playing time, but he is an intriguing prospect that could end up being a second round pick in the 2021 draft.

Louisville’s senior guard, Ryan McMahon excelled as a shooter on offense in the first half, but he struggled mightily on defense in the second half in his team’s loss to Florida State. Also, McMahon got himself into an unnecessary verbal altercation with Florida State’s team in the second half of this game.  The unnecessary incident he put himself in may have been the most bizarre part of this game that I didn’t actually notice during the live match, as I later found out by having read an article about it.

McMahon showed a very good ability to make spot-up threes to stretch the floor for his team. He can make quick threes from way out, and he also ran off of a ball screen to make one early on. He also used a pump fake to make one late in the first half, and he also drew three free throws after attempting to hoist up a three later on. McMahon is a very good spot-up shooter that has a quick release, and he can put up points in a hurry especially if he’s given ample time and space to get his shot off.

He also can draw fouls when taking the ball to the rim, and he was able to draw free throws on a strong, left-handed drive to the hoop in transition.

As a playmaker, McMahon didn’t look to pass often, but he didn’t commit many turnovers either. He did throw an inaccurate long outlet pass that went astray that caused him to commit a turnover on one play.

McMahon really struggled defensively, and in the second half, Florida State would consistently pick on him and go at him to highlight his woes as an on-ball defender against taller, more athletic players. Early on, he was able to successfully draw a charge when defending a drive in transition, despite not appearing to be set. In the second half, he really struggled to guard taller players, as he was prone to fouling them when defending them off the dribble, and he also allowed a score to one opponent while fouling him on a pull-up, mid-range jump shot.

Overall, Ryan McMahon is a skilled shooter that can knock down jump shots, but he lacks the ideal size nor the physical tools to play either backcourt position, and he will need to improve his playmaking and defensive skills. Right now, he probably will not make an NBA team’s regular season roster, but in a favorable scenario, he could potentially make an NBA team’s summer league roster, and could carve out a career as a player in the G-League and/or overseas in the future.