Evaluating Brandon Miller, Noah Clowney, and Anthony Black
January 11th, 2023
By Alan Lu
Today, I decided to take the time to watch Brandon Miller and Alabama play against Arkansas in a heated, in-conference basketball game. Brandon Miller is a very tall, athletic and skilled forward that has really excelled as a shooter and scorer, and has also played solid defense, and he could be a top 5 pick in the 2023 draft. Arkansas was without their top prospect, Nick Smith Jr. once again, but featured numerous talented prospects that could go high in the draft, such as Anthony Black and Ricky Council IV.
This was a very competitive game that went back and forth. Brandon Miller was held scoreless in the first half, and he struggled against Arkansas’ pressure defense, but he was more assertive in the second half, and he was able to make some clutch shots down the stretch, especially from the outside to help Alabama get the win. Noah Clowney had a big game to help Alabama, and Alabama received solid play from their guards. Here are my thoughts on how Brandon Miller, Noah Clowney, and other various prospects fared in this game.
Brandon Miller quietly had a solid showing in Alabama’s win over Arkansas. He had his ups and downs, but he made some special plays in crunch time, and he did what future superstars do to help his team get the win, which is to make big, critical shots down the stretch. He is a super-talented prospect that can shoot, score, and defend, but he had trouble with Arkansas’ ball denial defense in the first half, and he was held scoreless in the first half. He was more assertive in the second half, and he was able to drain two big threes off the catch to help his team pull away to get the victory.
Miller did a great job of shooting the basketball in this game. He wasn’t assertive for most of this game, but he showed a terrific jump shot and ability to score when he would elect to take shots. He did a tremendous job of running off ball screens, as he was able to draw three free throws on a spot-up three while falling away. He also was able to run quickly off ball screens to make two, big spot-up threes off the catch late in the second half, as he did so smoothly and effortlessly, and it helped Alabama pull away to get a double-digit win.
He also thrived at scoring on hustle plays. Miller was able to rebound his own miss to score on a tip-in by leaping up to get an offensive rebound. He also was able to get a running start to get the ball on a cut, and he dribbled in to draw free throws on a thunderous dunk attempt. He showed an adequate ability to score off the dribble. He was able to run off a ball screen to get the ball, and he drove hard to his right to draw free throws early in the second half. However, he missed on another drive to the hoop. He didn’t look to score off the dribble very much, and he was guarded tightly by Arkansas’ perimeter players for most of this game.
Miller also showed off adequate playmaking skills. He showed a willingness to move the basketball, and when bringing the ball up, he was able to throw a sharp, timely pass to an open corner shooter to notch an assist. He can find the open man to get his teammates the basketball, and he handles the ball well, especially for a player his size. On the other hand, he also committed a couple of turnovers in this game. On one play, he over-dribbled into traffic and ended up losing the ball. On another, he committed an offensive foul off the ball, as he appeared to extend his forearm into a defender while he was crowded that time.
He also was able to get boards on both ends of the floor to help his team chip in on the glass. Miller also played satisfactory defense in this game. He did a great job of blocking shots when defending off the dribble due to possessing very good length, athleticism, and timing. He also was able to poke a ball away to nearly get a steal. He also was quite effective in challenging shots to force misses. However, sometimes he would commit reach-in fouls when defending opposing ball handlers out on the perimeter due to over-aggressiveness.
In summary, Brandon Miller quietly had a good game in his team’s win over Arkansas. He had a slow start to this game, and he wasn’t as assertive on offense as he usually may tend to be, but he played unselfishly, played good defense, and he made a couple of big threes down the stretch. He’s shown why he’s considered to be a top 5 pick for the 2023 draft, and he is a very talented forward that could develop into a star player similar to New Orleans Pelicans’ forward, Brandon Ingram in the NBA.
Noah Clowney had a strong showing to help lead Alabama to a double-digit win over Arkansas. He is an athletic, versatile 6-10 forward that had a very good all-around game, and he showed off a smooth jump shot as well as solid defensive skills that enabled him to play really well all night long.
Clowney did a very good job of shooting the basketball. He thrived at making spot-up threes, especially from the corners, and he also was able to make a pick and pop three to provide floor spacing for his team on offense. He also showed a knack for scoring in the paint. He would make strong moves out of the post and off cuts to get free throws. He also was able to get a running start and dribbled in to score while getting fouled simultaneously. He did a good job of picking and choosing his spots to cut to the hoop and dart to the rim to create scoring chances for himself and his team, and he also shot the ball very well from the outside.
He also displayed decent playmaking skills. Clowney is an unselfish player that can pass and handle the basketball, and he would find the open man, which enabled him to net a pair of assists. On one play though, he drove hard to the rim and committed a charging foul that led him to commit an offensive foul and a turnover that time.
Also, Clowney was able to get his fair share of boards to help his team out on the glass. He also defended well in this game. He did a good job of blocking and altering shots to help his team protect the paint. He also was able to tip a pass to a teammate to help his team get a steal. On one play when defending in the post, he appeared to flop that time, and was called for committing a blocking foul.
In general, Noah Clowney played very well, and he put forth a superb performance to help lead his team to a win over Arkansas. He is a versatile player that can play all of the frontcourt positions, and he is a talented prospect that could be a good pick for an NBA team in the mid to late first round range of the 2023 draft.
This was a very difficult game for Arkansas’ sensational point forward, Anthony Black. After having scored 23 points four days ago in a win over Auburn, things appeared to be on the up and up for him, but this game against Arkansas proved to be much tougher for him, especially since he wasn’t gift-wrapped nearly as many free throws as he was given in the prior game. To put it simply, Anthony Black did not play well at all in his team’s loss to Alabama. Early on, he was able to drive in, flail, and draw a lot of free throwa, but he struggled to knock down shots or even his free throws at the foul line, and he ended up running into turnover and foul trouble, and he really struggled with his jump shot in this game. He seemed to be over-reliant on initiating contact and leaning in to draw for free throws, and he really struggled to make shots when he wouldn’t get foul calls thrown his way.
When he’s playing very well, as in the case in a previous game against Auburn, Black plays like a very athletic point forward that NBA teams may dream of building a heliocentric offensive system around, and can look like a dynamic prospect in the mold of a poor man’s version of Shai-Gilgeous Alexander. When Black isn’t playing well, his inability to trust his jump shot and penchant for committing a rash of turnovers can really take him out of games, and he also plays an offensive style that seems very similar to how San Antonio Spurs’ guard, Romeo Langford played when he was at Indiana, as both seemed very dependent on drawing free throws to generate their offense. In this particular game against Alabama, Anthony Black was especially frustrating to watch, as his tendencies became entirely too predictable, and he really struggled in the second half of this game.
Black was at his best when driving to the rim to score the basketball. He has a herky-jerky style that allows him to initiate the contact when driving to the hoop, and Black was able to draw plenty of fouls to get to the free throw line. He also was able to score on a couple of drives in this game. However, he didn’t always play under control, and he would sometimes miss badly when he would not get foul calls when he would look to score around the basket. He also really struggled to knock down his outside shots, and he did not seem to trust his three-point shot at all. He was very hesitant in taking threes from beyond the arc, even when he would be wide-open. He ended up missing all of his three-point shots, he has a rather slow release in addition to being hesitant to take those shots, which could make it tough for him to adjust to a complementary role at the NBA level, especially if he’s asked to play out on the wing rather than start out as the lead ball handler.
He also was very turnover prone in this game. Black did show solid court vision, and he was able to throw a nice bounce pass to find a cutter once. However, he tended to be careless with the ball on offense, as he would over-dribble into traffic, which would lead him to commit ball-handling turnovers. He had trouble handling the ball when pressured by Alabama’s guards, as they brought forth pesky defense and significant ball pressure. He also would make some careless passes at times, and he threw a shovel pass into traffic that got intercepted once.
Also, Black showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball. He also played decent defense in this game. Black did a good job of getting his hands on balls to get steals and deflections. He also would make good rotations to help his team get stops. On the downside, he had some trouble defending screens off of drives, which led his team to give up a basket once. He also was too aggressive in trying to intercept a pass another time, and he ended up committing a silly foul as a result of wildly attempting to go for a steal around mid-court.
Overall, Black did not play well, and he really struggled in his team’s loss to Alabama, especially in the second half. He didn’t make many shots or free throws early on, despite getting to the foul line often in the first half, and things just seemed to snowball from there for him. Black seems to be overly reliant on drawing free throws, and most of the time, it seems that he’ll simply throw his body around when driving to the hoop to get lots of foul calls. It works when he gets foul calls as in the case of when he played against Auburn. However, that style is entirely too dependent on officiating, and he will need to be able to adjust in games where he won’t get foul calls thrown his way. In this game where he didn’t get nearly as many foul calls, Black ended up really struggling to make shots on offense.
However, his balance tends to get thrown off when doing so, and in the second half, he tended to miss on off-balanced shots when he wouldn’t get foul calls. His unwillingness to take threes and inability to make them also hurt him in this game, because opponents didn’t have to respect his outside shot, and they could just dare him to take three-pointers and get his team’s offense to stagnate. In all, Black is a talented prospect that could still be a solid pick for an NBA team, but he will need to clean up some things on offense. He’ll need to be a better shooter and trust his outside shot more in games, and he will need to take much better care of the basketball, but his ability to score, distribute the ball, and defend could enable still enable him to be a solid pick for an NBA team in the first round of the 2023 draft.
Arkansas’ 6-9 senior big man, Jalen Graham had a very good game in his team’s loss to Alabama. He is an athletic, energetic forward that did a terrific job of scoring the basketball, especially out of the post. He would often use dribble moves to score on jump hooks, and he is an agile player that showed good scoring touch on the block. He also was able to roll to the rim to score on a dunk. He also showed a knack for scoring off the dribble. Graham was able to pull up to knock down a mid-range jumper. He also excelled at driving to the rim to score the basketball, and he even was able to throw down a thunderous dunk to give his team a boost. He also attempted a three, but missed his lone three-point attempt from beyond the arc.
Graham also generally passed and defended well. When posting up once, Graham was able to find a cutter to notch an assist. He was able to get a handful of rebounds to help chip in on the glass. He also played satisfactory defense. Graham was able to block a shot to prevent an opponent from scoring on the break. He also was able to successfully draw a charge. He generally did a good job of contesting shots to force misses. On one play though, he was caught ball watching and roamed too far away from his man as he was wandering into the paint, and he ended up allowing his man to score on an open corner three-pointer.
Overall, Jalen Graham had an excellent showing in his team’s loss to Alabama. Even though he hasn’t played much this season, he put forth a solid mix of athleticism and inside scoring skills, and he was able to make a slew of impressive plays in this game. He is a player that Arkansas will need to play more, and he may be an underrated prospect that may have what it takes to make it to the NBA someday.
Ricky Council IV had some good moments in his team’s loss to Arkansas. He is an athletic swingman that will look to score the basketball, and he can ably create his own shot on offense. On the downside, he was unable to make any of his threes, and he was very turnover prone in this match.
Council did a good job of scoring off the dribble. He has good speed and strength that enables him to get quickly to the hoop, and he would get numerous scores and free throws in the paint. He didn’t always handle the ball cleanly, but he is a strong player that can take on the contact to draw numerous fouls upon his defenders. He also was able to make a couple of pull-up, mid-range jumpers. However, he struggled to make mid-range jumpers consistently, and he also took a really off-balanced, contested mid-range jumper that got blocked once. Council also missed both of his pull-up threes that he took from beyond the arc.
He also was very turnover prone in this game. For the positives, Council is an unselfish player that will look for the open man, and he was able to make a drive and dish pass to notch an assist. However, he would tend to over-dribble, which would lead him to throw hasty passes that get intercepted, as well as to lose balls when handling it.
He didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, but Council was able to get a pair of defensive boards when he was on the court. He also played solid defense in this game. He did a good job of staying in front of his man, and he was able to help force a couple of ball-handling turnovers. He was able to strip a ball away from his opponent to get a steal once. On one play though, he ended up getting beat off the dribble once, which led his team to allow a score.
Overall, Ricky Council IV had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Alabama. He is a strong, athletic swingman that is at his most comfortable when he looks to score off the dribble, and he also played fairly good defense in this game. On the other hand, he will need to significantly improve his outside shot and playmaking skills. If so, that could unlock the rest of his game on offense. Currently, he projects to be a second round prospect for the 2023 draft.
Alabama’s 6-1 junior, Mark Sears had a solid showing in his team’s win over Arkansas. He is a strong, agile point guard that thrived as a shooter and scorer on offense. He excelled at making threes, and on one play, he was able to pull up to make a deep three from way out. He also showed a knack for driving to his left to score on strong drives to the hoop, and he also was able to use a Euro-step move to score on a fast break. Plus, Sears also was able to score on an tip-in after grabbing an offensive rebound.
He also showcased adequate playmaking skills. He was able to make drive and kick passes to get the ball to his teammates. On one play though, he threw a bad jump pass that ended up going out of bounds. He also rebounded and defended well. Sears showed a knack for jumping passes to get steals.
Overall, Sears had a very good game in his team’s win over Arkansas. He scored 26 points, and he is a crafty scorer that thrived at making shots in this contest. He has played very well for his team this season, and he could end up being a solid pick for a team in the second round whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft.
Charles Bediako had a solid showing in this game. He is a very tall, athletic center that thrived at making plays to help his team down the stretch. He would catch lobs to score and draw free throws, and he would score on rolls, put backs, and on fast breaks. He also was able to score on a very athletic tip slam. Bediako is a strong finisher around the basket, and he would often finish plays to score in the paint.
He also would block and alter shots to help his team protect the paint. Sometimes though, he would struggle to defend out on the perimeter in screen situations, which would lead him to commit fouls.
Overall, Bediako played well, and he was able to shore up the interior to help his team get key buckets and stops in this game. He’ll still need to extend his shooting range and improve his jump shot and perimeter skills, but his ability to score as a rim-runner and protect the paint could enable him to be a solid pick in the second round whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft.
Davonte Davis also played very well in his team’s loss to Alabama. He did a great job of rebounding the basketball, and he did a very good job of playing ball denial defense and denying Brandon Miller the basketball in the first half. He played tough, hard-nosed defense, and he is a gritty guard that would apply heavy pressure to make it difficult for his opponents to get open.
He also was able to make a pair of threes to show his shooting skills, as he was able to make them both off the catch and dribble. Davis also did an adequate job of scoring off the dribble. He was able to make a couple of pull-up, mid-range jumpers, but he also had trouble making them consistently.
Overall, Davonte Davis had a solid showing in this game, and he is an athletic, skilled combo guard that played very well. In looking at his season statistics, it suggests that his strong shooting performance may be an outlier than a usual performance. Therefore, he will still need to work on his jump shot to be able to knock them down on a consistent basis, especially from the outside. He is an agile combo guard that can play pesky defense, and he is a prospect that could end up competing for a roster spot in the NBA.
All in all, those are my thoughts on how Brandon Miller, Noah Clowney, and other various prospects fared in the Alabama-Arkansas game today. Thanks for reading.