Evaluating Agustin Ubal and Santiago Vescovi in Three Games Against Brazil and USA
September 19th, 2022
By Alan Lu
Recently, Uruguay’s 6-6 swingman, Agustin Ubal has been drawing some draft buzz due to his performances in the 2022 FIBA Americup, and his team also features his teammate and current Tennessee guard, Santiago Vescovi. I decided to watch Ubal play in a couple of games against Brazil that was on June 30th, with thanks to YouTube via FIBA – The Basketball Channel, as well as a September 5th Americup game that I saw on WatchESPN. I also caught some highlights of the August 25th game that they played against team USA, with thanks to YouTube via Basket Hub. Here are my thoughts on how Ubal and Vescovi played in those three games, as well as how they may currently stack up as prospects for the NBA.
Agustin Ubal is an agile, skilled swingman that is at his best as a ball-handler and scorer when he is on the floor. He is a tall, lanky swingman that will look to score on aggressive drives and he has shown some defensive potential due to his length and above average athletic gifts. He will still need to improve his jump shot and be a more disciplined defender in games, but he was able to show off a fairly solid set of tools on both ends of the floor.
Ubal showed a satisfactory ability to score off the dribble. He tends to prefer going to his right, and he can score on strong drives, as well as on running layups around the basket. On the downside, he can sometimes take rushed, off-balanced shots which can lead to misses, especially when he doesn’t get foul calls.
He also generally thrived at scoring on hustle plays. Ubal was able to get an offensive rebound and then dribbled to his right to score on a strong put back. He also was able to run the floor to score on a speedy layup. He also managed to get the ball on a quick backdoor cut, but missed on a rushed, backwards running flip layup that time.
He also showed off a solid mid-range shot. He can use either hand when handling the ball, and he did a good job of making pull-up jumpers from the mid-range. Ubal didn’t look to take many threes, but he was able to make an open, three-point shot from deep. However, he had more trouble trying to make threes when he didn’t have ample time or space, and he sometimes miss due to rushing.
Also, Ubal showcased perhaps adequate playmaking skills. He was able to throw timely passes to find teammates on the move, and he also showed that he can pass off the dribble, as well as on the break to get his teammates the basketball. Sometimes though, he would over-dribble into traffic, which would get him into trouble at times. He also can tend to throw hasty, inaccurate passes. On one possession, he threw an inaccurate inbounds pass that sailed out of bounds once. He also dribbled into a trap and threw a pass that got intercepted on a dribble-handoff play.
He also was able to get boards on both ends of the floor to get his fair share of rebounds. Ubal would actively crash the glass to get offensive rebounds. He didn’t tend to come away with many defensive rebounds, but he would tend to bring the ball up afterwards off of them.
Defensively, Ubal has fairly good tools, as he has long arms that allow him to disrupt passing lanes, and he also has above average foot speed and quickness, but he tended to be too undisciplined on the defensive end. For the positives, he was able to leap up to intercept an entry pass to get a steal. He also would actively contest threes to force some misses, and he also has decent footwork that can enable him to cut off penetration when guarding opposing ball handlers out on the perimeter.
On the downside, he tended to close out too hard and get beat off the dribble, which would lead usually him to commit fouls and allow scores. He also tried to front a stronger player in the post, but misplayed the ball and allowed an easy catch and score. He also had trouble fighting through screens, although his teammates didn’t do a good enough job of calling them out, but it would usually lead to opponents to get open jump shots.
Overall, Agustin Ubal is a skilled swingman that thrives as an athletic slasher that also has decent defensive potential, but he will also need to improve his jump shot, defense, and he also will need to add more strength and muscle to his frame. At this stage, he projects to be a second round, draft and stash pick whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft, and he has a similar playing style to former New Jersey Nets’ swingman, Chris Douglas-Roberts. If Ubal can develop a reliable three-point shot and trust it more and improve his focus defensively, he could end up being a solid role player in the NBA.
Santiago Vescovi is a skilled combo guard that played in the June 30th game against Brazil and in the August 25th game against USA, but did not play in the September 5th game against Brazil. He was up and down as a shooter against Brazil, but he was able to run quickly off the ball to make a corner three to show his shooting potential, and he also played fairly solid team defense in that game. Against the United States, he did a much better job of shooting, scoring, and passing the basketball, but he really struggled defensively in that contest.
Vescovi showed a satisfactory ability to knock down threes on offense. He was sometimes too streaky with his jump shot, but he was able to run quickly off the ball to make an impressive movement three from the corner in a game against Brazil, and he also pulled up to make a deep three in the game against the United States. On the downside, he would sometimes get sped up and rush his shots, and he missed his fair share of spot-up threes, as he may have a bit of a slow release that can make it harder for him to be as efficient of a shooter at higher levels.
While he’s not very fast or quick, Vescovi is a shifty scorer that can use change of pace dribbles to score off the dribble. He is a smart scorer that knows when to use his pump fakes, and he also can subtly change directions to get past defenders. Despite not having great athleticism, he generally did a good job of scoring on subtly quick drives to the hoop.
Also, Vescovi showed off solid playmaking skills. He’s not super fast or especially dynamic as a playmaker, but he is a patient player that can make drive and kick passes and can throw timely interior passes to find his teammates on the move to set up scores for them. On the downside, he threw a hasty pass while falling out of bounds in the backcourt, which got intercepted that time.
He didn’t grab many rebounds in either of the two games, but Vescovi showed a willingness to go after loose balls when they are in his reach. On the downside, he generally struggled as a defender, especially in the U.S. game, and his struggles defensively against the U.S. exposed his limitations on that end of the floor. His lack of size makes it difficult for him to guard taller players, and his lack of foot speed or quickness makes it tough for him to defend more athletic opponents.
For the positives, he will defend aggressively and is fairly adept at playing passing lanes, and he will get his hands on balls to help his team get steals. He also defends hard, and he will usually try to close out on shooters. However, he tended to get caught ball watching as he would over-help in the paint, which would lead him to get beat off the dribble or to be late on his rotations. He also had trouble fighting through screens, and he would sometimes take bad angles that would lead his team to give up baskets. He generally had trouble guarding more athletic opponents, as they could easily go by him on quick moves to the hoop.
Overall, Santiago Vescovi is a skilled combo guard that has fairly solid offensive skills, but he also doesn’t have great athletic gifts and will need to improve defensively. Most likely, he will be a borderline second round candidate whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft. If he doesn’t make it to the NBA, he could still have a successful playing career overseas, but if he does make it, he could end up being a similar player to Sarunas Jasikevicus in the league.