Breaking Down Chris Boucher, Alec Peters, and Others in the Oregon-Valparaiso Game

November 17, 2016

by Alan Lu

Today, I wanted to check out some of the prospects ranked in the top 100 that were playing in the basketball game between Oregon and Valparaiso.  There were five players that I wanted to scout from both teams, and only one player was unable to play due to injury (Dillon Brooks).

In this game, Chris Boucher, Alec Peters, and Jordan Bell all put forth strong performances, and the game was competitive for all of the first half and for some of the second half.  But Oregon was too much for Valparaiso in the end, as they were able to cruise to a double-digit victory.

Here are my observations on Chris Boucher, Alec Peters, Jordan Bell, and Tyler Dorsey in this game. 

Oregon’s senior big man, Chris Boucher had a terrific game in a 76-54 win over Valparaiso.   He scored 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting, made 3 threes, grabbed 9 rebounds, and blocked 3 shots to lift his team to a blowout win over the Crusaders.

Boucher showcased versatile scoring skills.  He really excelled at knocking down outside shots, as he displayed a very good stroke from the perimeter, and his size and quick release made it difficult for his opponents to ably contest them.  Plus, he did a great job of attacking the basket to garner scores in the paint.  Boucher was active on both ends of the floor all game, and he was able to throw down a multitude of impressive dunks at the rim.

A couple of them came on the break, while he also scored another one on a cut to the hoop.  Boucher boasts having tremendous speed, length, and leaping skills, and he also is a good ball handler for a player his size.  He also was able to score in the post once, as he used a quick drop step to get past his man to get a bucket around the basket.  His best score of the night was when he jumped a crosscourt pass from an opponent to nab a steal, and Boucher managed to take it coast to coast at full speed, as he used an overhead ball fake to throw down speedy, emphatic jam in transition.

He also was extremely active on the boards.  Boucher’s tremendous length, activity, and ball location skills enabled him to get to many balls, as he would leap up to tip the ball to himself at times, and he also was able to score on a couple of put backs.

Boucher especially made his presence felt on the defensive end.  He possesses terrific length, athleticism, and anticipation skills, as Boucher would often make acrobatic blocks off of drives.   He possesses terrific recovery speed, and he would usually alter his opponents’ shot trajectory to force misses, or convince them to pass up a possible shot altogether.

Also, Boucher has quick feet, as he can ably guard opponents out on the perimeter as well as in the post.   He defends screens well, and early in the game, he was able to quickly switch out on an opponent’s dribble handoff, which caused them to pause, and ended up forcing a shot clock violation.   Also early on, he was able to draw a charge on the opposition.  He did put on an excellent performance.  Boucher did not make too many mistakes, but he may have made a few minor ones in this game.  

In the half court, he had some trouble driving to the hoop, despite showing a terrific ability to do so in the open floor.  He was called for a carry early on, and he also missed another time off of a quick, reverse acrobatic layup.

He also had some trouble defending cuts.  While Boucher defended very well, sometimes he would be caught ball watching, as his man was able to catch him napping and take advantage of it by making his move to the hoop to get the ball and go up with to get a score or free throws.  As a result, Boucher ran into brief foul trouble, but had a really good game regardless.

In general, Chris Boucher had an outstanding game in a win for Oregon.  He showcased a strong ability to score inside and out, solid rebounding skills, excellent defense, as well as displaying terrific athletic ability when he was on the court.  There is no doubt that with his unique skill package and physical tools that he brings to the table, that Boucher could be a first round pick in 2017.

Valparaiso’s 6-9 senior forward Alec Peters also played fairly well in a loss to Oregon.  He made his impact felt early on, as he ended up scoring 24 points in this game.  Peters is a crafty scorer that can do so in many different ways.  He is known to be a knock-down shooter, particularly from beyond the arc, but he also showed a solid ability to score off the dribble, in the post, as well as around the basket.

At the onset of the game, he started off showing a strong ability to knock down jumpers.  Peters can make plenty of outside shots off the catch or dribble, and he moves fairly well off of screens.   But he struggled with his jump shot later on, as he particularly had more trouble when attempting pull-up threes or jumpers off of screens.

Peters also displayed a fairly good ability to score off the dribble.  He is a patient player that knows how to pick and choose his spots to score on the floor.  He was able to make a floater, as well as a tough reverse layup against Oregon.  But he also seemed to have more trouble when he was forced to change directions, as his lack of an elite first step made it tough for him to get to the basket quickly.

He did show a strong ability to score off of cuts.  Peters used his smarts to take advantage of when his man would look at the ball for too long, and then he would make his move to the hoop to quickly get the ball to get a score or free throws for his team.

Peters also showcased some low post skills.  He was able to draw a foul on a smaller player despite posting up far away from the paint early on.   Later in the game, he showed off good footwork to score on a deft, up and under move.

But Peters also had some lapses on offense, especially from a playmaking standpoint.  For the positives, he will swing the ball to shooters to set up the occasional scoring chance.  But there was one play, where he committed a charging foul after getting the ball as a trailer on the break to commit a turnover.  He also threw an errant pass that Boucher was intercept that led to fast break points for Oregon.

Peters did not rebound the ball particularly well, as his average at best athletic tools paled in comparison to when he was matched up against either Boucher or Jordan Bell.   Peters did make a couple of plays in this category, as on one instance, he was able to knock a ball off of an opponent to prevent his man from getting a defensive rebound, and this helped Valparaiso retain possession of the basketball.  On another, Peters was able to score on a tip in.

Defensively, Peters was decent in this game, but it may be hard to envision Peters being a plus-level defender at the NBA level.  For the positives, he was able to get a ball that was thrown right to him to get a steal, and he also managed to draw a charge on a drive.  Generally, he tended to be in the right spots on defense.

However, Peters tended to struggle to force misses off of drives.  Usually, he would be in a good position to contest shots, but his lack of length or elite athletic ability made it tough for him to force misses.  Another time, he played too high in his stance, and did not quite slide his feet, which led to an opponent getting around and underneath him to score around the basket.

In this game, Alec Peters was clearly Valparaiso’s best player, as he was by far his team’s most reliable and dependable player all game long.  It was clear that his solid offensive skills and strong understanding of the game helped Valparaiso stay in the game for a majority of the game.  But he also seems to have clear weaknesses.    Peters is not particularly fast nor athletic compared to the other top prospects his size, and his lack of elite physical tools may make it tough for him to excel defensively in the league.

Right now, Peters may project to be a second round prospect.  Currently, there may be valid reasons for an NBA team to both take or not take him in the upcoming draft.  Certainly though, his scoring ability and smarts could get him a fair chance to both make an NBA team and to have a lengthy career there, whether if that ends up being next year or down the road.

Oregon’s junior big man, Jordan Bell also had a fairly good game, as he showed a more diverse skill set in helping to lead his team cruise to a double-digit victory over Valparaiso.  After starting off slowly from an offensive standpoint, Bell continually played better on this end of the floor as the game wore on.  He did have his share of erratic misses, as he did miss a couple of easy shots, but he did show an improved ability to score from all over the floor.

Bell showcased great athletic gifts, and he showed a good ability to finish plays around the basket, as he plays well above the rim.  He threw down many emphatic jams, but his best one may have been on a drive on the break where he scored on a thunderous dunk late in the game.  He showed a fairly average ability to score off the dribble, as he did have some wild misses at times.  But Bell does have a good first step, especially from the high post, which allows him to get to the hoop fairly easily.

He also shows promise as a low post scorer.  Bell played with surprising physicality as he would back his man down, and he was able to score on a jump hook in the paint.  But perhaps the most encouraging development of his offensive game is his willingness to take and make three-point shots.  Bell was able to knock down an outside shot off the catch in the first half, as this could allow the rest of his game to flourish offensively.

Bell also did a fairly good job of rebounding the basketball.  He would sky for boards on both ends of the floor, and he also showed a very good motor by chasing down another.  Defensively, his performance was solid.  Bell was did a terrific job of blocking shots, as his length, great athletic gifts, and instincts allowed him to swat many of them to prevent opponents from getting easy shots off the dribble. 

Also, he did a good job of contesting shots to force misses, as he also would step out to defend the three to force a miss from beyond the arc.  He did run into some foul trouble due to over-aggressiveness, but generally Bell’s defense and shot blocking prowess really helped shore up the paint for Oregon.

In this game, Jordan Bell was able to show a variety of skills to help Oregon get the victory.  Namely, he stood out on defense by blocking shots and forcing misses, as that will likely be his calling card at the next level.  But he also showed versatility as a scorer on offense.  He showed range from beyond the arc, the ability to score off the dribble and in the post, and also finished plays around the basket to help his team.

Moving forward, he will need to be more of a consistent scorer, but he does seem to be improving on offense as he was able to score in many different ways, and his rebounding and defense were both on point as he helped lead his team to a double-digit victory.

Sophomore guard Tyler Dorsey didn’t have the best night for Oregon, but he did enough good things to help his team win the game.  Dorsey displayed good playmaking skills.   He showed a solid ability to move the basketball, as he played unselfishly, and did not tend to force the action very often.  He generally would find the open man, as he was able to get a couple of assists off the drive to set up scores for his teammates.

He also showcased surprisingly good inside scoring skills.  Dorsey was able to score in the post on a drop step move past a taller defender.  Another time he was able to get the ball close to the basket, and he was able to draw the contact to get free throws on a dunk attempt.

But he displayed only an average at best ability to make threes or score off the dribble in this game.  Dorsey is very quick, and has a couple of solid moves that enable him to get to the basket, and he did make an open three in the corner early on.  However, Dorsey generally struggled to make shots, as he had generally trouble getting his shot to fall consistently against Valparaiso.

In general, this was not Tyler Dorsey’s best showing, as he had an off night.  But even so, there is plenty to like in despite of that.  He is a very athletic combo guard that can finish plays around the basket against bigger players, and he is a patient player that showed better than advertised playmaking skills.

Right now, Dorsey will need to work on being a more consistent performer when he is out on the court.  He has had his ups and downs so far this year, but his strong physical profile and intriguing set of skills could allow him to be a potential first round pick down the road.

So those are my thoughts on the four prospects that I scouted in this game between Oregon and Valparaiso.  There will likely be more games to evaluate later in this week.  As always, thank you for reading.