Duke-Florida State the Rematch: Assessing Jayson Tatum, Frank Jackson, Jonathan Isaac, and More

February 28, 2017

By Alan Lu

Duke and Florida State met in an ACC rematch earlier today, and in the previous match the Seminoles handily in January.  But this time, Duke played host to Florida State, and as they went on a run during the middle of the first half, that helped them set the tone as the Blue Devils went on to win this game.  Here are my thoughts on how various prospects fared on this day.

Duke’s 6-8 freshman forward, Jayson Tatum put forth a solid performance, as he showed off a wide array of skills to lead his team to a victory over Florida State.  Tatum showed a gifted ability to garner scores off the dribble.   He possesses a solid first step, strength, and body control to get buckets and free throws for his team.  He has the quickness to regularly get past his man, and he has the body control to draw many fouls upon opposing defenders, but he struggled to consistently knock down jumpers in this game.  Tatum did use a pump fake to make a pull-up three, and he also made a pull-up, mid-range jumper another time, but he tended to miss on shots that were outside the paint.

He also showed off decent playmaking skills.  Tatum is an unselfish player that generally threw solid interior passes, as he would find open teammates underneath the hoop off the dribble, and he also showed the ability to hit a cutter.  However, he also tended to commit turnovers off the dribble as he would play too wildly at times, and he ended up committing a couple of charging fouls in this game.  Also, he showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball.  He hauled in many defensive boards when he was on the floor, and he also would leap up to collect rebounds o help his team.

Plus, he also showed off tremendous defensive skills.  Tatum has great length, athletic ability, and anticipation skills to make many plays on this end of the court.  He managed to rip a ball away from an opponent off of a drive, and he also leapt up to get a loose ball in mid-air to collect a pair of steals.  Also, he showed a great ability to block shots, as Tatum has great timing and recovery speed to do so.

In general, Jayson Tatum had a very good game, as he showcased a solid set of all-around skills to lead his team to the win.  The way he played, he could be a good candidate to be a top five pick, and he could likely end up being a very good player in the NBA.

Duke’s freshman combo guard, Frank Jackson had a great game, as he helped lead his team to defeat Florida State.  He showed off great athleticism and versatile scoring skills, as he really stepped up his performance and played well on this day.  Jackson showed off a very good ability to garner scores off the dribble.  He has a solid first step, and he possesses great speed, quickness, and shooting touch.  He often scored on strong, speedy drives to the hoop, and he also was able to score on a one-handed, teardrop.  But as well as he played on offense, he did struggle more when he would take shots in traffic.

Jackson also showed a good ability to knock down jumpers.  He used a crossover move to make a pull-up three, and he also made an open three in the corner.  He showed a deft ability to make outside shots, but he tended to miss on pull-up, mid-range jumpers.  He showed off fairly average playmaking skills.  Jackson showed the willingness to find open shooters when he was on the court.  However, he did not collect many assists, and he once committed a turnover by throwing a bad inbounds pass that was intercepted.  He also did a fairly good job of collecting rebounds for his team.  Jackson hauled in boards on both ends of the floor, and he would leap up to collect boards to help his team in this game.  But defensively, Jackson looked to be below average.  He had a tendency to commit touch fouls.

In general, Jackson showed off a very good ability to shoot and score the basketball, as well as solid athletic gifts when he was on the court.  He is a player that may have a great deal of upside as a prospect for the NBA, but he has been quite inconsistent at times over the course of the season.  But when he is playing very well, he looks like a player that has All-Star potential, as he could end up being a good pick for a team in the late first to the second round range of the upcoming draft.

Florida State’s freshman forward, Jonathan Isaac had a very good start to the first half, as he was shooting and scoring early for his team.  But afterwards, he sat for a period of time, and when he came back, he was mostly ineffective for the rest of the game, as he rarely received touches on offense, or looked to shoot the basketball.  Isaac showed a very good ability to get scores on the move.  He was able to score on a couple of hustle plays, as he did so off of a put back, and he also made a quick cut on the baseline to throw down an emphatic dunk.  Plus, he showed an adequate ability to get scores off the dribble.  Isaac has a decent first step, and he was able to draw fouls upon opposing defenders, as he managed to get to the free throw line once after using a hop step move.

He showed a fairly average ability to knock down jumpers, though.  Early in the game, Isaac managed to make a quick three off the catch from pretty far out.  But offensive touches became infrequent for Isaac oddly enough as the game wore on, and his jump shot seemed to have left him later in the contest.  As a result, Isaac struggled to make threes off the catch, or a pull-up, mid-range jumper from there on out.

Isaac displayed adequate playmaking skills.  He played quite unselfishly, as he did so to a fault.  He generally made solid interior passes, and he would tend to find the open man to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  But he did commit one traveling violation, as he attempted to score on a drive after using a pump fake move.  He also showed off a very good ability to collect rebounds.  Isaac hauled in numerous boards on both ends of the floor, and he possesses great length, athleticism, and motor to do so.

Also, he showcased adequate defensive skills.  Isaac would use his length and quickness to contest shots, and he was able to force misses in transition as well as on a three-point shot.  Plus, he also stayed in font of his man once to force a ball-handling turnover.  But he did commit a couple of fouls on drives to the hoop due to over-aggressiveness.  Another time, he got beat off the dribble, which led his team to allow a score.

In general, Jonathan Isaac started off having a very good game, and then Florida State stopped looking to incorporate him into their offense as the match wore on.  Isaac became decidedly more passive on offense as a result, and he did not actively look for his own shot later in this contest.  While he is a vastly talented player that will likely be a lock to go in the lottery, the one lingering, but significant question that may remain is whether or not if Isaac will be a shot-creator at the next level.  But there is no doubt that his game fits the modern NBA, and he will likely need to be put on a team that will look to find creative ways to get him the basketball at the next level.

Duke’s 6-9 senior big man, Amile Jefferson put forth a great performance, as he played very well in helping to lead his team to defeat Florida State.  He was perfect from the field, and he also excelled as a rebounder, shot blocker, and defender in this game.  Jefferson really excelled as an inside scorer for his team.  He is a high-motor player that would score on off-ball motion plays, as he did so once on a roll, another time off of a cut, and he also scored on a tip-in.  Jefferson would find himself open around the basket, as he would finish plays around the hoop to score the basketball.

Also, he showed the ability to create his own shot to garner other scores.  Jefferson used a pump fake to get a score from the low post.  He also managed to draw free throws off of a high post drive, but he showed off below average playmaking skills in this game.  Jefferson did make a good pass from the post to a shooter to help set up a score for his team.  But he had some trouble in making plays off the dribble, as he traveled once, and lost the ball another time.

Plus, Jefferson showed off a great ability to rebound the basketball.  He was quite active at crashing the glass, and he would leap up to collect many defensive boards when he was on the floor.  He also defended well.  Jefferson showed a knack for blocking shots in the post, and he also deflected a pass to help his team get a steal.  He showed a very good ability to force misses in the paint as he would use his length, athleticism, positioning ability, and smarts to do so.

In this game, Amile Jefferson played very well, as he helped lead his team to a win over Florida State.  He played a pivotal role as played well in virtually all facets of the game.  With his skill set, he could be a good find for an NBA team, as he could potentially excel as a role player at the next level.

Duke’s 6-5 sophomore guard, Luke Kennard played fairly well, as he showed off plenty of skills to help lead his team to a victory over Florida State.  He scored the basketball in a variety of ways, he also made good passes, and he also collected tough boards for his team.  Kennard showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays.  He possesses a great motor, and he was able to score on a put back, and he also drew free throws after grabbing an offensive rebound another time.  Plus, he showed a good ability to space the floor for his team.

He showed a knack for making pull-up threes, as he made one bank three off the dribble, and he also made another three after running off of a screen, but he struggled to consistently score off the dribble.  Kennard was able to score on a floater, and he drew free throws on another drive to the hoop.  However, he struggled to score consistently on runners, and he also struggled more when he would take shots in traffic.

Also, Kennard showed off adequate playmaking skills.  He generally made solid passes, as he would find shooters and roll men to set up scores due to possessing very good court vision.  But he was called for a couple of traveling violations off of drives to the hoop.  Kennard showed a very good ability to rebound the basketball.  He was quite active at crashing the glass on both ends of the floor, and he would tend to capitalize on offensive rebounds by getting scores afterwards.  Defensively he was not that noticeable, but he did commit a foul on a fast break drive that led his team to allow a score and an extra free throw.

In this game, Luke Kennard had a fairly good showing, as he showed off good offensive skills as well as a good ability to rebound the basketball.  With his skill set, he could end up being a good role player in the NBA, as he could be a solid value pick for a team in the late first round range of the upcoming draft.

Florida State’s 6-6 sophomore guard, Dwayne Bacon started off being very passive on offense for a good portion of the game.  He excelled as a passer in the first half, though he did not look for his shot much early on.  But then, he started being more assertive towards the middle of the second half, and Bacon was able to showcase a diverse skill set as he was really able to flourish offensively as a scorer for his team.

Bacon really excelled as a shooter and scorer on the floor.  He did a very good job of knocking down pull-up jumpers to help his team, as he did a great job of spacing the floor in the second half.  Also, he showed an adequate ability to get scores off the dribble, as he managed to throw down a dunk on the break.  Plus, he also showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays, and he also managed to draw free throws after posting up.

He also showed off adequate playmaking skills.  Bacon played quite unselfishly, especially from the get go, and he showed the ability to find shooters as well as cutters to set scoring chances for them.  However, Bacon tended to commit turnovers off the dribble, as he would play too wildly on occasion.  He also showed a decent ability to rebound the basketball.  Bacon was quite active on the offensive glass, and he showed the ability to score off of offensive boards.  Defensively, he was not that noticeable, but he was called for a reach-in foul once.

In this game, Bacon put forth a fairly good performance, but he seemed to play two very different styles in each half.  In the first half, he looked to be primarily a facilitator for his team.  In the second half, Bacon looked to score the basketball.  Regardless, he played well, especially later on when he decided to assert himself.  With his skill set, he could potentially end up being a late first round pick in the upcoming draft.

Other Notes:

Xavier Rathan-Mayes had a fairly good game in a loss for Florida State, even if he did not really look to set up his teammates that often in this contest.  He excelled at scoring on quick drives to the hoop, as he has a solid first step off the dribble.  He also showed an adequate ability to make mid-range jumpers, as he was able to knock down a long two-point shot off the dribble.  Mayes is an athletic combo guard that can score the basketball, and while he may not be a true point guard, his offensive skills could give him a shot to make a team’s roster in the NBA.

Duke’s Grayson Allen was not fully healthy when he played this game, and it showed in his performance against Florida State.  He did show an adequate ability to score off the dribble, as he managed to score on a turnaround jumper.  He also played unselfishly, as he would look to find the open man on the court.  Also, he defended fairly well, as he managed to deflect a pass, and he tipped it to himself to get a steal.  But on offense, Allen did not take a whole lot of shots, and he had trouble controlling the basketball.  In this game, Allen did not have his best game, but he was not fully healthy, and his team managed to get the win against Florida State.

For Duke’s 6-5 senior guard Matt Jones, he did not have a great game offensively, but he showed a decent ability to rebound and defend when he was on the floor.  Jones showed the ability to score on hustle plays, as he managed to score on a tip-in, and he flashed the ability to knock down jumpers, as he made a three off the catch.  But he struggled to make jumpers consistently, and he also was unable to score on drives to the basket.

He did show an adequate ability to defend, and he managed to find a loose ball to collect a steal.  Also, he showed a decent ability to rebound the basketball, as he would garner numerous offensive rebounds.  In general, this was not Jones’ best game, but his team played well, and Jones had his moments at times in this game.

Florida State’s 7-4 sophomore center, Christ Koumadje showed a great ability to block shots, as he has great length, quickness, and timing to swat shots off of drives.  However, he did not show much in terms of offensive skills, as he would miss on jump hooks. Though on one play, he did make one good catch in traffic on a roll to the rim, and he managed to draw free throws on a jump hook.  While he may not be ready to play in the NBA, Koumadje could be a player to keep an eye on in the future.

Among Duke’s reserve freshmen big men Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, neither of them made much of an impact in this game, as both of them committed fouls in limited minutes.  But of the two, Giles may have played slightly better, as he managed to grab one offensive rebound against Florida State in this particular match.

Overall, this was a fascinating game to watch, and for a while, it appeared that maybe Florida State had what it takes to pull off a tough win on the road against a deep, talented team that has one of the best fanbases in college basketball.  But it was not meant to be for them, and Duke was able to control the game for most of the way from the middle of the first half and onwards to get the win over Florida State.

Jayson Tatum, Amile Jefferson, and Frank Jackson all had terrific games for Duke, and Luke Kennard also played well.  Jonathan Isaac started off playing well, but he faded into the background, with Dwayne Bacon playing significantly better as the contest wore on.  Florida State found a way to make it close after falling behind fast early in the second half, but it was not enough for them as Duke managed to come away with well-earned victory.