Evaluating Bruce Brown in a Miami-Clemson Game, and More

March 7, 2017

By Alan Lu

Recently, I decided to watch Miami play Clemson in a ACC basketball matchup, as this gave me the opportunity to see Hurricanes’ freshman guard, Bruce Brown play.  With thanks to YouTube via Tiger TV, I was able to see this game online as the two teams faced each other in a game played on February 18th.

This contest also featured several other notable prospects such as Jaron Blossomgame, Donte Grantham, and Davon Reed.  Both teams traded leads back and forth, but in the second half, Miami took control to eventually win this game.  Here are my thoughts on how various prospects fared on this day, as well as how they may fare in the NBA.

Miami’s freshman combo guard, Bruce Brown had a fairly good showing, as he showed off a diverse set of offensive skills, and he also was quite active on the boards, as he helped lead his team to a narrow victory over Clemson.  Brown showed off a fairly good ability to attack the basket to garner scores.  He is an adequate scorer off the dribble, as he has a quick first step, and he has a good strength, ball handling moves, and a decent shooting touch to finish plays around the basket.  Plus, he also can score on hustle plays, as he did so off of a cut and a put back.  However, he also would miss easy shots at the rim at times, as he would not always play under control.

Also, he showed a decent ability to knock down jumpers to space the floor for his team.  Brown managed to make a deep spot-up three off the catch late in the game, though he struggled more to make jumpers when he was on the move.  Plus, he is also a solid playmaker.  Brown is a smart, patient player that sees the floor well, and he has good court vision.  He can make a wide array of passes, as he especially can find the open man off the dribble, and he can hit teammates on the move to collect a string of assists for his team.  But sometimes, he can get sloppy when handling the basketball, which can lead him to commit turnovers.

He also excelled as a rebounder when he was on the court.  Brown was quite active at hauling in boards on both ends of the floor, as he possesses good strength, leaping skills, and instincts to do so.  But he looked to be below average defensively in this game.  For the positives, he managed to knock a ball away from an opponent to help his team get a steal once, and he also contested a three to force a miss another time.  On the other hand, Brown tended to get beat off the dribble to allow scores, and he would have lapses that would lead to allowing other scores to the opposition.

In general, Bruce Brown is an intriguing prospect that may have a variety of skills that could prove to be useful to teams.  He is an athletic, skilled basketball player that can play either backcourt position, and he could end up being a worthwhile pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range of the upcoming draft.

Miami’s 6-6 senior guard, Davon Reed also played very well, as he had a solid showing in helping to lead his team to a narrow win over Clemson.  He excelled on both ends of the floor, as his play was instrumental in getting his team the victory.  Reed showed an adequate ability to knock down threes from beyond the arc.  He showed a knack for making pull-up threes, as he has plenty of range on his shot, and he has a quick release that allows him to easily get his shot off.  However, he struggled to make spot-up threes off the catch, as he can be streaky with his jump shot.

He also showed an adequate ability to attack the basket to garner scores.  Reed ran the floor once, and he managed to throw down an emphatic dunk as a trailer in transition.  Plus, he also managed to score on a crafty drive past defenders.  But he missed on a runner another time, and he also missed after attempting to score from the low post.

Reed displayed very good playmaking skills.  He is a savvy basketball player that handles the ball well and has good court vision, and he can make a bevy of accurate passes to set up numerous scores for his teammates.  He can throw lobs to cutters, he can find teammates off the dribble, and he also will set off-ball screens to get his teammates open shots.  He did commit one turnover, as he attempted a fancy lob pass to a cutter that was broken up by a defender, as that pass was ultimately intercepted.

He also rebounded the ball well.  He especially excelled at hauling in defensive boards, and sometimes he would push the pace to set up early offense for his team.  He also played solid defense.  He has quick hands, as he can get steals, blocks, and deflections on this end of the floor.  But sometimes, he can be too aggressive on occasion, as this can lead him to commit reach-in fouls.

In summary, Davon Reed put forth a solid performance to help lead his team to defeat Clemson.  He is a skilled combo guard that can play either backcourt position, and he could end up being a good find for an NBA team.

Clemson’s 6-7 senior forward, Jaron Blossomgame put forth a fairly uneven showing in his team’s loss to Miami.  He had his highs and lows, but overall his performance here will not likely affect his draft stock that much.  Blossomgame showed a gifted ability to score in the low post.  He is a very skilled low post scorer that is both physical and quick, and he possesses a solid shooting touch.  He managed to score on a running jump hook, and he also used a drop step to score on a step through move another time.  Plus, he can draw many free throws upon opposing defenders, as he has a fadeaway move that he can use to get them to foul him.

Plus, he also showed a decent ability to get scores off the dribble.  He managed to use a step back move to make a fadeaway jumper to show off solid shooting touch.  Also, he drove hard to the hoop to get a score and an extra free throw for his team.  He did have some awkward misses in traffic, but Blossomgame can excel as a scorer on drives when he plays under control.  He also excelled as a scorer on off-ball motion plays.  He managed to score on a timely tip in, as well as off of a put back after grabbing offensive boards for his team.

However, he struggled to knock down jumpers in this game.  Blossomgame missed all of his threes, as he had trouble making long range shots off the catch, even though he would get open quickly off of pick and pop plays as well as after he would run off screens.  He also looked to be below average as a playmaker.  Blossomgame had trouble protecting the basketball at times when he would look to score.  Another time he threw an errant pass that slipped out of his hands, and he also set an illegal moving screen that led him to commit other turnovers.

Blossomgame did show a very good ability to rebound the basketball.  He was active as a scorer off of put backs for his team, and he would leap up to haul in numerous defensive boards.  However, he looked to be below average defensively.  For the positives, he did successfully contest a dunk attempt on the break to force a miss.  Another time, he showed good ball pressure, as he and another teammate trapped an opponent to get him to commit a ball handling turnover.

On the other hand, he would have lapses defensively.  On one occasion, he jogged down the court, as his team allowed a score on a fast break.  Another time, he bit on a pump fake to allow his man to knock down a three-point shot.  On a separate play, he struggled to fight through a screen, which led him to allow a score to a cutter.  Also, he committed a foul in the post on a separate occurrence.

In general, Jaron Blossomgame did not have his best game, but he had some very good moments, as he excelled as a low post scorer and on the boards, and he also would score off the dribble as well as off of hustle plays.  But he struggled with his jump shot, with turnovers, and on the defensive end on this day.  He did show what he can do even when he struggled, as he could potentially be a quality pick in the second round for an NBA team in the upcoming draft.

It was not a particularly great game for Clemson’s 6-8 junior forward, Donte Grantham, either.  The very athletic, but highly inconsistent player had a lot of trouble trying to get going on offense, and he turned in a very disappointing showing as he did not score in this game.  He missed both of his threes off the catch, even though he used a jab step to create space between him and his defender.  He also missed on a mid-range shot, and he did not seem to get the ball on the break at any time in this game.  On offense, he was very passive, and he did not look for his own shot much.

He did do a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  He has very good athletic gifts, as he would quickly leap up to haul in boards, as he did so once to rebound his own miss, and he also would dive on the ground to try to collect other rebounds for his team.  Defensively, he looked to be fairly average.  Grantham made one tremendous defensive play, as he rotated quickly and leapt up to block a shot from behind to prevent an opponent from scoring inside the paint.  He also contested a shot on a roll to the rim to force a miss.  However another time, he lost track of his man, and ended up allowing a score to a cutter.  He allowed a score another time on a roll to the rim.  On a separate play, he jogged down the floor, and his team ended up allowing a basket on a fast break.

In summary, this was not at all a good game for Donte Grantham.  For a player that is very athletic and plays like a point forward, he has games where it seems like as if he just disappears into the background without contributing much on the floor.  It’s rather baffling on just how inconsistent he can be, he had a tremendous showing early in the season against Xavier, and then he can go on to put up atrocious performances in the next batch of games.  He will need to find a way to use his skill set and vast athletic tools to help himself on offense.  His athletic tools and skill set could potentially enable Grantham to be a second round pick, but he will need to be more assertive and improve offensively to give himself a better chance to succeed at the next level.

Miami’s 6-8 senior combination forward, Kamari Murphy also played well, as he helped lead his team to a win over Clemson.  He especially as a scorer and rebounder on the floor, as his strong play helped get his team the victory.

Murphy did a very good job of scoring on hustle plays.  He especially excelled as a cutter to the hoop, as he obtained a score and an extra free throw once, and he also managed to score on an acrobatic scoop shot another time.  Plus, he also managed to catch a lob pass to get a score around the basket.  But sometimes, he would miss shots at the rim in traffic.  He also managed to use a quick hesitation move to get a score off the dribble.  Plus, Murphy showed a great ability to knock down mid-range jumpers off of pick and pop plays, as his ability to do so helped Miami stretch the defenses.

He also showed off adequate playmaking skills.  Murphy showed a good ability to pass the basketball, as he would throw solid interior passes, and he can throw outlet passes and find shooters to set up scores for his teammates.  Plus, he also rebounded the ball well.  He would leap up to haul in numerous boards on both ends of the floor, and he also would tip a ball to a teammate to help his team get a defensive board.  But on one play, he ended up allowing a put back score to an opponent.

Defensively, Murphy looked to be fairly average.  For the positives, he managed to block a shot off of a drive.  He also would look to stay with his man, and he would use his length and quickness to force some misses.  However, he would get beat off the dribble at times, which would lead him to allow some scores off the dribble as well as in the post.  Other times, he would give up too much space to the opposition, which would lead them to knock down jumpers.  Other times, Murphy would be prone to committing touch fouls due to over-aggressiveness.

In summary, Kamari Murphy had a solid showing, as he helped his team get a win over Clemson.  He is a good role player for his team, though he will need to expand upon his range and add more perimeter skills for the next level.  Still, he may have an intriguing set of skills, as he may have what it takes to end up on an NBA summer league roster this year or sometime down the road.

Clemson’s senior center Sidy Djitte played fairly well in a loss for his team.  He excelled at scoring on hustle plays, and he also rebounded and defended well.  As a scorer, he scored on a roll to the rim, as well as off of a put back, as he showed a solid motor to do so.  He did miss on a mid-range jumper, though.  Also, Djitte showed off very good rebounding skills.  He was quite active in crashing the glass, and he even dove on the ground to collect one defensive board.

Plus, he also defended well.  He managed to break up a lob pass to a cutter to help his team get a steal, aand he would use his length and positioning skills to force misses around the basket.  However, he did commit one foul around the hoop, which led his team to allow a score and an extra free throw to the opposition.

In general, Sidy Djitte had a fairly solid game for Clemson when he was on the floor.  Against Miami, he provided good minutes, as he provided energy and he was a solid rim protector for his team on defense.  With his skill set, he could end up on an NBA summer leaguer roster this year or sometime in the future.

Others:

Clemson’s freshman big man, Elijah Thomas excelled as an inside scorer and rebounder for his team, as he would often finish plays in the paint, score on strong moves in the post, and he would score on hustle plays.  He is an athletic, high-motor big man that rebounded the ball well, and he would rip balls away from opponents to get steals and deflections on defense.  He also managed to find a cutter to get a score.  On the other hand, he did not appear to show much of a face-up game, and he also struggled with his position defense, especially when he would defend screens, and he also committed a couple of fouls in the post.  But overall, Elijah Thomas may be an interesting player to keep an eye on, as he could be an intriguing prospect for NBA teams to look at sometime down the road.

Miami’s 6-7 sophomore swingman Anthony Lawrence Jr. showed off solid skills on both ends of the court.  He shot the ball well from beyond the arc, as he excelled at making threes off the catch.  Plus, he is a good athlete that excelled as a scorer on the break, as he managed to score on a drive to the hoop in transition, and he also threw down a dunk another time.

Plus, he showed off good playmaking skills.  He is a good passer that has solid court vision, and he threw a behind the back pass of a drive to find a roll man to set up a score.  He excelled at finding teammates after dribbling off of screens, and he also would often make crisp, accurate passes to them.  He also defended well.  He excelled at jumping passes to get steals, and he also poked a ball away in the post to obtain another steal for his team, as he was quite active as a help defender in this game.

In general, Anthony Lawrence Jr. played well, as he may be a sleeper among prospects for the draft.  Most likely, he will be a player to keep an eye on next year, as he could end up being one of Miami’s top players next season.

Miami’s 6-10 sophomore center, Ebuka Izundu played very well, as he excelled as a scorer for his team.  He often scored in the post, as he has a very good ability to score on jump hooks, and he also showed an adequate ability to score on hustle plays, and on one play, he threw down a powerful dunk to get a score for his team at the rim.

He also managed to find a shooter to set up a score for his team.  Plus, he would play passing lanes to get his team steals and deflections.  However, he did not rebound well, and he tended to commit touch fouls on defense.  Right now, Izundu may still need another year of seasoning as he will need to stay in school, but he could an interesting player to keep an eye on in the future.

Clemson’s 6-3 sophomore guard, Marcquise Reed showed off versatile scoring skills, as he showed an adequate ability to garner scores off the dribble, as he is a quick guard that changes speeds well, and he handles the ball well.  Also, he showed a decent ability to make jumpers.  Mostly, he excelled as a scorer for his team, and in the future, he could end up on NBA teams’ draft boards as a player that could be a microwave type of scorer for them in the future.

Clemson’s Shelton Mitchell excelled as a scorer off the dribble, and he generally passed the ball well.  He has a quick crossover move, and he has a good first step to score on drives to the hoop.  He also managed to score on a floater.  However, he struggled defensively, as he would commit touch fouls, which would result in his team allowing scores and giving up extra free throws to the opposition.  Right now, his offense may be ahead of his defense, but his offensive skills could make him an interesting prospect to keep an eye on in the future.

Clemson’s senior guard, Avry Holmes showed a good ability to knock down jumpers, as he made a couple of threes off the catch, and he also made a pull-up, mid-range jumper.  He struggled more with his mid-range shot, and did not show great playmaking skills, but generally Holmes was efficient in making shots when he would elect to take them.

Overall, this game presented a chance to see what Miami’s freshman combo guard, Bruce Brown can do on the floor.  This contest may only give a faint glimpse of his skill set, but generally, he showed off solid offensive skills, and in this match, he looked to be a smart, athletic player that played with remarkable poise.  Miami will likely be in the NCAA Tournament, but this game helped in understanding Brown’s skill set as he seemed to exhibit his strengths and weaknesses against Clemson on this day.