Evaluating Corey Kispert, Jalen Suggs, and Drew Timme in the Gonzaga-Virginia Game
December 26th, 2020
By Alan Lu
Today, I decided to take the time to watch Jalen Suggs and Gonzaga play in a non-conference game against Virginia, and it was another opportunity to see the potential number one overall pick of the 2021 draft in action. It was greatly anticipated that Suggs would dominate in this game, much like he did against Iowa.
Instead, it was Corey Kispert and Drew Timme who put forth dominant performances in Gonzaga’s blowout win over Virginia. Gonzaga jumped out to a sizable lead in the first half, and they never looked back. Kispert made threes early and often as he was a scoring machine in this game, and Timme provided strong interior play for his team. For Virginia, Sam Hauser did not play very well, and Jabri Abdur-Rahim did not play much or make much of an impact at all, but senior center Jay Huff made some solid plays at times on both ends of the floor. Here are my thoughts on how Kispert, Suggs, and the other prospects fared in this game, as well as how they may stack up as prospects for the NBA.
Gonzaga’s 6-7 senior forward, Corey Kispert had a tremendous showing in his team’s win over Virginia. He scored early and often, and the sharpshooter scored 32 points and made 9 three-pointers in this game. He showed off versatile scoring skills as he made shots very efficiently, and he also played a very good all-around game to lead his team to get the victory.
Kispert did a terrific job of knocking down threes to provide floor spacing for his team on offense. He would often make deep threes from well beyond the arc, and he has a lightning quick release that enables him to easily get his shot off. He also showed the ability to make pull-up threes as well as run off the ball to knock down long-range jumpers, and he possesses uncanny range that allowed him to continually make three-point shots throughout the game.
Plus, he also did a great job of scoring on quick drives to the basket. He can quickly go to his left to score at the rim, and he would glide to the hoop to score on layups. He also drove right off of a screen and used a hesitation move to draw free throws early on.
Plus, he also displayed solid playmaking skills. Kispert passed and handled the ball well, and he has good court vision that enabled him to find open teammates to set up scores for them. He was able to throw a sharp interior pass to set up a score for a roll man in this game. He did commit one turnover, but Kispert generally excelled at making decisions when he was on the floor.
He also played satisfactory defense in this game. Kispert was able to pounce upon a loose ball that his teammate deflected to him to help his team get a steal, and he was active in contesting jump shots to force misses. He also managed to successfully draw a charge when defending a drive. However, sometimes he would struggle to defend opponents in one-on-one situations, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores at times.
In general, Corey Kispert played really well, as he excelled as a sharpshooter and scorer in his team’s win over Virginia. He played magnificent basketball from the get-go, and he played a terrific all-around game. He is a very skilled offensive player whose strong shooting and scoring skills may make him a strong candidate to be picked in the lottery of the 2021 draft.
Gonzaga’s freshman guard, Jalen Suggs didn’t have his usual dominant game, but he still played fairly well, as he made a noticeable impact as a playmaker, rebounder, and defender in this game. He played tough, stingy defense, and he consistently threw good passes to help his team on both ends of the floor.
Suggs played solid defense against Virginia. He is a very athletic, rangy defender that did a great job of jumping passes to get steals, and he also rotated to poke a ball away to help force another turnover. He also would actively contest jump shots to force misses. Sometimes though, he would gamble a bit too much defensively. He would sometimes over-pursue opposing ball handlers and get beat off the dribble by smaller, quicker guards, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores. He also would sometimes over-help in the paint and sag too far off of shooters, which would lead him to allow opponents to score on three-point shots.
He also displayed solid playmaking skills. Suggs is an unselfish player that did a great job of finding the open man to set up scores for his teammates, and he also threw crisp, accurate interior passes as he can find his teammates in stride. He also managed to set an on-ball screen once. He did commit one turnover though, as he threw an entry pass that ended up getting intercepted on one play.
Also, Suggs did a very good job of rebounding the basketball. He was quite active at crashing the glass, and he was able to get plenty of boards on boards on both ends of the floor. However, he was called for a foul when going for an offensive rebound once, as he was called for pushing an opponent in the back.
He also did a decent job of scoring off the dribble. Suggs would drive hard to the hoop and use powerful jump stop moves to score off the glass. However, he also had a couple of his shots blocked early on. He attempted to score in the post when going up against a smaller defender, but he ended up missing on an off-balanced, rushed jumper.
He also can score on hustle plays. Suggs was able to run the floor to score on the break. He also drew free throws on a put back after grabbing an offensive rebound. Suggs also took a step back three off the dribble, but he missed on his lone three-point attempt from beyond the arc.
Overall, Jalen Suggs had a decent showing in his team’s win over Gonzaga. He didn’t quite take over the game as expected, but he was impactful in other ways than just scoring the basketball. He passed and defended well, and he made solid plays on both ends of the floor. He’s played very well this season, and Suggs right now could be the front-runner to be the top pick of the 2021 draft, as his strong work ethic and all-around game combined with his great feel for the game could enable him to be a multi-All-Star in the NBA.
Gonzaga’s 6-10 sophomore center, Drew Timme played very well in his team’s win over Virginia. He excelled as an interior player on both ends of the floor, as he especially excelled as a low post scorer and shot blocker in this game.
Timme did a good job of scoring in the post. He would frequently score on powerful jump hooks, and he also scored on a crafty up and under, step-through move early on. He also scored on a drop step move, and he would frequently draw fouls upon his defenders. He also excelled at scoring on rolls to the rim, as he possesses good body control to score on tough, contorted layups around the basket. However, sometimes he would miss on off-balanced, contested turnaround jumpers.
He also would crash the offensive glass to score on put backs. TImme also drove to the hoop to draw free throws on an emphatic dunk attempt. He also attempted a three-point shot, but he missed on his lone three-point attempt from beyond the arc.
He also displayed fairly good playmaking skills in this game. Timme made good passes out of the post, as he was able to string together several assists, and he also was able to find a cutter to set up a score for a teammate on a separate play. Late in this game though, he committed an offensive foul and a turnover when posting up, as he may have extended his arm that led to colliding with his opponent.
Plus, he also did a good job of rebounding the basketball. Timme was able to get plenty of boards on both ends of the floor, and he also brought the ball up quickly off of a defensive board once.
Also, Timme played decent defense in this game. He tended to make good rotations, as he was able to block a shot to a teammate, and he also would contest shots off of drives to force misses. He also was able to get his hands on a pass to get a steal. However, he would tend to sag too far off of shooters, which would cause him to allow them to score on jumpers. Another time, he got beat off the dribble, and he ended up fouling his man and allowing a score simultaneously.
In summary, Drew Timme had a very good showing in his team’s win over Virginia, and he scored 29 points to help them in this game. He is a skilled, mobile big man that made solid plays on both ends of the floor. While he may not have much draft stock right now, he is an underrated prospect that could end up being a solid rotational big man in the NBA.
Virginia’s 7-1 fifth-year senior center, Jay Huff had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Gonzaga. Though he was stricken with foul trouble in this contest, Huff showed off some solid interior skills, as he made shots in the post, was effective as a shot blocker in the paint, and he also made a spot-up three to show some range in this game. He didn’t shoot the ball very much, but he was very efficient in scoring when he was on the court.
Huff showed a decent ability to score in the post. He was able to use a drop step to score on a nifty, up and under move due to possessing solid footwork and scoring touch in the paint. He would draw fouls upon his opponents when posting up on the block. He also was active in scoring off of put backs, and he also managed to score on a strong put back slam. However, he did miss on a jump hook another time.
Plus, Huff also was able to make an open spot-up three off the catch to show his range in this game. He didn’t seem to make any noteworthy passes, but he was a bit turnover prone, though. On one play when posting up, he had the ball stolen away from him to lose it to the other team. He also did a very good job of rebounding the basketball. Huff was able to grab numerous boards on both ends of the floor, and he was especially active in helping his team get offensive rebounds.
He also played adequate defense in this game. Huff did a very good job of blocking shots in the paint due to possessing great size, length, and perhaps above average athletic gifts. However, he also was quite foul prone, as he had trouble defending opponents in one-on-one situations. He was prone to biting on ball fakes and getting beat on moves to the hoop, which would cause him to commit fouls and allow scores.
Overall, Jay Huff played fairly well, even though he actually didn’t play that much in this game. However, he will need to do a better job of staying on the floor moving forward. He will need to focus on being a more disciplined position defender in games, but the fact that he made a three-point shot is an encouraging sign, as that could serve to complement his burgeoning low post scoring skills. Right now, he is a borderline second round candidate for the 2021 draft, and he could end up competing for a backup center role in the NBA.
Gonzaga’s 6-5 junior point guard, Andrew Nembhard had a solid showing in his team’s win over Virginia. He excelled at scoring on pull-up jumpers from the mid-range, and he also scored on a strong floater off the dribble while getting an extra free throw another time. He also passed the ball very well as he consistently threw solid interior passes to find teammates on the move to rack up assists. He also played satisfactory defense in this game. He was active in staying in front of his man to contest shots, and he also jumped on a loose ball to help his team get a steal. However, there was one play where he committed a reach-in foul when defending in the post, and he also allowed an opponent to score on a mid-range shot another time.
Overall, Nembhard made shots very efficiently, and he also excelled as a distributor in his team’s win over Virginia. He is a solid game manager that can effectively run the point, and he projects to be a second round prospect for the 2021 draft.
Virginia’s 6-9 junior swingman, Trey Murphy III played well in his team’s loss to Gonzaga, and he showed off solid shooting and versatile scoring skills in this game. He did a very good job of knocking down spot-up threes off the catch to provide floor spacing for his team. He also ran the floor to draw free throws on the break, and he also drove hard to the hoop to score another time. However, he had some trouble defending opponents in one-on-one situations, which would lead him to commit fouls.
Overall, Murphy is a tall, athletic, skilled player that can shoot and score the basketball, and he may be an underrated prospect for the NBA draft. He has great size that allows him to play multiple positions, and he is a very efficient scorer that shoots the ball well. Right now, he has not drawn much draft buzz and he will need to improve his defense, but his size and shooting ability could enable him to thrive as a role player in the NBA one day.
Virginia’s 6-8 fifth-year senior forward, Sam Hauser did not play very well in his team’s loss to Gonzaga. He struggled to knock down jumpers, especially from outside of the paint area, but he did show the ability to score off the dribble and in the post in this game.
For the positives, he showed a fairly good ability to score on aggressive drives to the basket, and Hauser can finish plays using either hand. He also showed a decent ability to score in the post. He was able to cut to the hoop to get the ball down low, and he used a drop step to score on a turnaround jumper while getting an extra free throw. Hauser showed a knack for drawing fouls upon his defenders when posting up, and he also made a fadeaway jumper from the mid-range. However, Hauser missed pull-up jumpers from the mid-range too often, and he also missed on all of his three-point shots.
He also displayed fairly average playmaking skills. He is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass to keep the ball moving, and Hauser was able to notch an assist in this game. However, after using a jump stop move off the dribble once, he ended up losing the basketball out of bounds. He also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball. Hauser was able to get boards on both ends of the floor, and he also would leap up to get defensive rebounds for his team.
Defensively, he looked to be about average at best. For the positives, Hauser was an active help defender in this game. He was able to intercept a pass to get a steal, and he also deflected a pass out of bounds to nearly get another. However, he would tend to get beat off the dribble and off of cuts, and sometimes he would give up too much space to shooters to allow scores to them.
Overall, Hauser struggled in his team’s loss to Gonzaga, and he did not shoot the ball well in this game. He did score 10 points, but he made just 3 of 11 shots from the field, and he did not make a three-point shot from downtown. He had trouble knocking down jumpers or consistently creating his own shot in this game, but he also seemed to reluctant to take shots at times on offense. Virginia likely needs one more shot creator on offense to be able to compete against elite teams such as Gonzaga. This was not a great showing for Hauser, but his ability to make threes may still make him a borderline second round prospect for the 2021 draft.
Gonzaga’s 6-8 sophomore forward, Anton Watson put forth a solid showing in his team’s win over Virginia. He primarily excelled as a scorer on off-ball motion plays, as he would do so off of rolls and cuts, and he also passed out of the post to notch an assist. He also played satisfactory defense in this game. Watson was able to block a shot in the post, and he also would get his hands on passes to get steals and deflections. However, he would struggle to defend quicker players on the ball, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.
Overall, Anton Watson played well in his role to help his team defeat Virginia, and he excelled at scoring on off-ball motion plays, and he also passed and defended well. He will need to extend his shooting range and continue to improve his on-ball defense, but he is a mobile, energetic big man that may have the skills to project into a defensive specialist role in the NBA someday.
Gonzaga’s 6-5 redshirt junior guard, Joel Ayayi played fairly well in his team’s win over Virginia. He excelled as a scorer off the dribble as he can finish plays using either hand, and he also ran the floor and caught a long outlet pass prior to getting fouled on the break. Ayayi was able to make a spot-up three from way out, but he struggled to make long-range shots consistently, and he didn’t take enough shots in this game.
He also showed off solid playmaking skills in this game. Ayayi is an unselfish player that threw good interior passes to roll men to set up scores for them. He also was active on the glass, as he was able to help his team get plenty of defensive boards to help his team collect rebounds. Defensively, he looked to be about average. He was able to deflect a pass quickly out of bounds to nearly get a steal, but sometimes he would be too aggressive in trying to make plays on that end, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores every once in a while.
Overall, Joel Ayayi had a fairly good showing in his team’s win over Virginia, even though he didn’t really stand out in this game. He is an athletic combo guard that makes solid team plays, and he projects to be a second round prospect for the 2021 draft.
Virginia’s 5-9 junior point guard, Kihei Clark played fairly well in his team’s loss to Gonzaga. He is a speedy scorer that would consistently score on quick drives to the basket, and he also shot the ball well, as he made a pair of pull-up jumpers from the mid-range, and he also made a three-point shot from downtown.
On the downside, he was quite turnover prone on offense. At times, he would kick balls out to shooters to get assists. However, he tended to get his passes picked off, and he also committed some ball-handling turnovers, as he had some trouble handling the basketball when facing heavy ball pressure.
Overall, Clark is a speedy combo guard that can score and defend in games, and he played very well today against Gonzaga. This game showed that Clark may have the skills to play at the NBA level, though he will still need to prove that he can be a consistent scorer and also guard taller players on a daily basis. Right now, he will need to stay in school to hone his game, but he is a talented playmaker that could project to be a solid backup point guard in the NBA sometime down the road.
Gonzaga’s 6-1 redshirt senior guard, Aaron Cook had a decent showing in his team’s win over Virginia. He was able to score on a quick, left-handed drives to the hoop, and he also scored on a baseline cut. He did miss on a tip-in, and he did not look to take jumpers from outside of the paint, but Cook was efficient at scoring within the limited touches he had on offense.
Cook also displayed fairly average playmaking skills. He is an unselfish player that will look to make the extra pass, and he can kick balls out to shooters to set up scoring chances for them, but he was called for a carrying violation once on offense. Defensively, he struggled to defend quicker opponents, and he tended to commit fouls as a result.
Overall, Aaron Cook played well in his role in this game, though he’s still a long shot to make it to the NBA. Though he can run the point, he’s not really a shooter nor an elite shot creator, and he will need to significantly improve defensively. His ability to run the team could enable him to carve out a career in the G-League or overseas, and if he keeps making strides to improve his game, he could end up competing for a roster spot in the NBA years down the road.
Virginia’s freshman forward, Jabri Abdur-Rahim didn’t really do much of anything in this game. Coming into the season, he was a highly touted prospect, and it is also worth noting that he is the son of former NBA star forward, Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
It was disappointing that Jabri Abdur-Rahim didn’t get on the floor very much, and he played only about a minute in the first half. He struggled to defend off of drives and cuts, as he tended to commit fouls and allow scores when he was on the floor. Abdur-Rahim did manage to block a shot, and he showed that he can handle the ball and run off the ball on offense. He missed a three-point shot in this game. Overall, there’s not really much to observe from Jabri Abdur-Rahim’s performance in this match other than he didn’t play very much, and he doesn’t look to be at all ready to play in the NBA yet.
Virginia’s freshman point guard, Reece Beekman put forth a mixed bag in his team’s loss to Gonzaga. He didn’t shoot the ball very often, but he was able to make a corner three. He managed to draw free throws on a speedy drive in transition, but he missed both of his free throws at the foul line. He played unselfishly and he managed to get some assists, but he also was inaccurate on some of his passes, and traveled another time to commit turnovers. Overall, Beekman didn’t really leave enough of an impression in this game, and he will need to stay in school to hone his overall game.