Evaluating Ariel Hukporti, Alex Toohey, and Jaylin Galloway in a 2023 NBL Blitz Game

September 26th, 2023

By Alan Lu

Recently, I took the time to watch Ariel Hukporti and Melbourne play in a September 20th NBL Blitz game against Sydney, with thanks to YouTube via National Basketball League.  Hukporti recently returned from an injury-plagued season, and he is an athletic, skilled big man that could end up being selected in the 2024 draft.  This game also featured two other draft prospects such as Alex Toohey and Jaylin Galloway.  Here are my thoughts on how they fared in this game, as well as how their games may currently stack up as prospects for the NBA. Also, for those that are interested in the box score of this game, here is the link.

Melbourne’s 7-0 center, Ariel Hukporti played very well to help lead his team to a win over Sydney in his team’s September 20th NBL Blitz game.
(Photo: Kelly Defina/Getty Images, via ESPN)

Ariel Hukporti had a solid showing to help lead his team to a double-digit win over Sydney.  He is an athletic, energetic big man that played well on both ends of the floor, and he was very active in helping to make plays, especially in the paint.

Hukporti showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays.  He would often score on rolls, put backs, and fast breaks, and he would run the floor to get open, which would enable him to score on thunderous jams.  He was able to catch lobs to score on powerful, alley-oop dunks, and he also showed that he can ably score in traffic.  He also was able to show some shooting skills by being able to make an open mid-range floater from the baseline once.

On the downside, he struggled to score consistently out of the post.  On one good play, Hukporti was able to utilize a strong drop step move to score.  However, he would tend to take tough, contested jumpers that would lead to misses, and his low post moves seemed to be kind of mechanical as he had trouble maneuvering past his opponents in those situations.  

He also showcased satisfactory playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that would make the extra pass to find the open man, and Hukporti was able to make a drive and kick pass to set up a scoring chance for a teammate.  He also would set solid screens to help his teammates get open driving lanes.  But on one play, he threw an inaccurate pass that sailed out of bounds.

Plus, Hukporti also did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He was quite active at crashing the glass, and he was able to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor.

He also played solid defense in this game.  Hukporti did a great job of blocking shots off of drives, and he would often swat them to his teammates due to possessing solid length, timing, and positioning.  He also would often rotate to contest shots in the paint to force misses, and he also would contest jumpers to get stops for his team.  Plus, he also would rotate on opposing ball handlers and use his length to force turnovers.  On the downside, he would sometimes be caught ball watching and be out of position, which would lead his team to give up open shots.  He would sometimes to play too aggressively, which would lead him to be out of position on the defensive end.

In general, Ariel Hukporti played well to help his team get a win over Sydney.  He excelled at making plays to help his team shore up the interior, and he provided his team with some much needed energy in doing so.  He’ll still need to improve his outside shot and continue to expand his game, but his ability to make plays in the paint combined with having good size and athleticism could make him a solid pick for an NBA team in the second round of the 2024 draft, and he could potentially move up into the late first round range towards the end of the season.

Alex Toohey played very well for Sydney in this game, especially early on, and he put on a terrific display in the first half.
(Photo: Russell Freeman/Getty Images)

Sydney’s forward, Alex Toohey also played well in this game, especially in the first half.  He is a skilled, sharpshooting forward that excelled at making plays on offense, and he showed a knack for putting the ball in the hoop.  He really put his shooting prowess on display, and he made great decisions on offense in the first half. On the downside, he struggled defensively, especially in the second half.

Toohey shot the ball very well, especially from deep.  He showed a knack for making open, spot-up threes off the catch.  He has a lot of range on his shot, and he also has a quick release that enables him to easily get his shot off.  He also showed that he can move off the ball to get open to get the basketball.

He also showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays.  Toohey excelled at scoring on quick, strong cuts to the hoop, and he also can take on the contact to draw fouls upon his defenders in order to get to the free throw line.  Plus, he also showed a decent ability to score off the dribble.  Toohey particularly excelled at going to his left to score, and he was able to score in traffic in doing so.  On the downside, he would sometimes take tough shots, which would lead to misses.  He also attempted to score out of the post, but missed on a contested, fadeaway jumper.led to hel

He also showed off decent playmaking skills.  Toohey is an unselfish player that can pass and handle the basketball, and he will make the extra pass to find the open man.  He would quickly find open shooters to get them the basketball, and he also can throw accurate passes off the dribble.  On the downside, he would sometimes be too reckless when looking to make moves off the dribble.  He was called for a charging foul when colliding into an opponent that led him to commit an offensive foul and a turnover.  Another time, he tried to be too fancy when driving to the hoop, as he tried a behind-the-back dribble move but lost the ball instead.

Though he didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, Toohey was able to get a board on each side of the ball, and he was able to push the ball up the floor off of a defensive board.  Defensively, he looked to be about average at best. For the positives, he was a willing help defender that can make some athletic plays to help his team on the defensive end.  Toohey was able to jump on a loose ball that was poked to him to help his team get a steal, and he also deflected a pass another time.  He also rotated to the post to block a shot to a teammate.  He also contested shot when defending in the post to force a miss.  However, he often had trouble staying in front of quicker players on drives to the hoop.  He would tend to get beat off the dribble, which would lead him to allow scores.  Other times, he would get overmatched when defending taller, stronger opponents in the post, which would lead him to give up baskets to them.

Overall, Alex Toohey had a solid showing, and he put forth a very impressive first half showing in this game.  He is an agile, skilled swingman that can shoot and pass the basketball, and he is an underrated prospect that could certainly help a team on offense.  He will need to improve his defense, but his ability to make shots and decisions on the floor could enable him to project well into a shooting specialist role in the NBA.

Sydney’s swingman, Jaylin Galloway had a fairly solid showing in his team’s loss to Melbourne in their September 20th NBL Blitz game.
(Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Jaylin Galloway also played well for Sydney in his team’s loss to Melbourne.  He is an athletic, skilled swingman that made solid plays on both ends of the floor, and he was able to make some solid hustle plays on offense, especially early on.

Galloway did a good job of scoring off the dribble.  He was able to get a running start to get the ball, and he then drove hard to his right to score on a thunderous dunk.  He also managed to go hard to his left to score and get an extra free throw.  He also showed that he can take on the contact to draw fouls in order to get to the free throw line.  Also, he was able to utilize a quick ball fake to make an open deep three to show off his shooting skills.  However, he struggled to make outside shots consistently, as he tended to miss on open, spot-up threes in this game.  He also didn’t take as many shots as expected on offense.

He also showed off adequate playmaking skills.  Galloway is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass to find the open man, and he also can pass and handle the basketball.  He also was able to make some solid passes off the dribble and in transition to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  On the downside, he would sometimes try to do too much on offense, which would lead him to commit turnovers.  He can sometimes be too loose with his handles, and on one drive, over-dribbled and ended up getting the ball taken away from him.  He also threw a hasty entry pass another time that ended up getting intercepted.

Also, Galloway did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He was quite active at crashing the glass, and he was able to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor.  He would sometimes push the pace off of defensive rebounds, and he also would tip balls to help his team get extra rebounds.

Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  For the positives, he was able to jump on a loose ball to help his team get a steal.  He also was able to close out on a three-point shooter to force a miss.  On the downside, he would tend to be late to rotate as he would not find a man on time, which would lead his team to allow scores.  Other times, he would not hustle back hard enough on the defensive end as he would only jog back, which would lead his team to commit fouls and allow scores on the break.

Overall, Jaylin Galloway had a solid showing in his team’s loss to Melbourne.  He is an athletic, skilled swingman that can score the basketball in a variety of ways, and he looks to be significantly more athletic than expected.  On the other hand, he was too passive on offense at times, and he didn’t always seem to give enough effort on the defensive end.  He’ll need to improve his jump shot and defense, but his athleticism and budding skill set could make him an intriguing second round prospect for the 2024 draft.

All in all, those are my thoughts on how Hukporti, Toohey, and Galloway fared in this game.  Thanks for reading.

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