Evaluating DeAndre Williams, Abu Kigab, and Jalen Duren in the 1st Round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament

March 17th, 2022

By Alan Lu

Today, I took the time to watch Memphis play against Boise State in the 1st Round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament.  Memphis is a very talented team that has a tremendous group of players, but they had an inconsistent, uneven season, although they played better as of late.  Boise State didn’t have nearly as much talent as Memphis, but they overachieved during the season, and they managed to snag an eight seed to be able to play against them.  In this game though, Memphis dominated from the get go.  Boise State was able to make some runs to keep this game competitive, but overall, they were no match for Memphis, and Memphis ended up getting the win.  Here are my thoughts on how various prospects fared in this contest.

Memphis’ senior forward, DeAndre Williams played very well in his team’s 1st Round win over Boise State in the 2022 NCAA Tournament.
(Photo:
Craig Mitchelldyer/Associated Press, via Sportsnet)

DeAndre Williams had a very good showing in his team’s win over Boise State.  He is an athletic, energetic forward that excelled as a scorer and defender throughout this game.  He thrived at scoring on hustle plays.  Williams ran the floor to score on a dunk, as well as on a double-pump layup in transition.  He also managed to score on a strong put back dunk.  Plus, Williams also did a good job of scoring in the post.  He utilized a spin move to score on a smooth, turnaround jumper.  He also excelled at scoring when left open around the basket, and he was able to throw down a dunk another time.

He also shot the ball fairly well from the outside.  Williams used a step-through move to score on a mid-range jumper off the dribble.  However, he missed his lone three-point shot despite being open to hoist it up from beyond the arc. However, he was quite turnover prone on offense.  He would throw hasty, inaccurate passes that would get intercepted.  He also dropped an inbounds pass that led to another turnover.  He also drove to the hoop, but committed a charging foul on a separate possession.

He also helped out on the glass, as he was able to haul in boards on both ends of the floor.  However, there was one play where he didn’t box out his man, which led his team to allow a put back score.  Williams also played satisfactory defense.  He would use his length to actively contest jumpers to force misses.  However, he would sometimes be too aggressive at times, which would lead him to commit fouls around the basket.

Overall, DeAndre Williams played very well, and he especially thrived as a scorer and defender to help his team get the win.  He will need to improve his three-point shot moving forward, but he is an underrated prospect that could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the mid to late second round range of the 2022 draft.

Boise State’s senior forward, Abu Kigab also had a good showing in his team’s loss to Memphis.  He showed off versatile scoring skills, and he led all players with 20 points in this game. Kigab showed a solid ability to knock down jumpers, and he especially excelled at making threes.  He thrived at making spot-up threes off the catch, and he also moved off the ball to make an open corner three late in this match.  However, he had trouble knocking down mid-range jumpers, and he generally struggled to score off the dribble.  He was able to draw fouls on aggressive drives to get to the free throw line, but he would tend to miss on tough, off-balanced shots in traffic on those possessions.

He also did a good job of scoring in the post.  Kigab was able to score on a fadeaway jump hook.  He also thrived at scoring on hustle plays.  He would score on strong drives in transition.  Plus, he also managed to score on a backdoor cut while getting an extra free throw afterwards.

He also showed off decent playmaking skills.  Kigab can make an assortment of passes off the dribble, and he also can pass out of the post.  Plus, he also did not turn the ball over once in this match.  Though he didn’t grab many rebounds, he was able to haul in several boards in this game.  Kigab also played adequate defense.  He was able to poke balls away to get steals and deflections, and he also ran in to intercept a pass to get another steals.  He also managed to contest a three to force a miss.  However, he would tend to be too physical and aggressive, which would lead him to commit fouls.  Other times, he would give up too much space to his opponents, which would lead him to give up baskets as a result.

Overall, Abu Kigab played fairly well in his team’s loss to Memphis.  He thrived as a shooter and scorer, and he consistently made plays down the stretch.  He’ll still need to be a more consistent outside shooter in games, and he’ll need to be a more disciplined defender, but his ability to score in a variety of ways and defend could enable him to make his way to the NBA someday.

Jalen Duren put forth an uneven performance in his team’s win over Boise State.  He missed a handful of shots, especially in the post, and he also missed some easy chippies around the basket.  He also made a handful of defensive mistakes, but he also was able to make a slew of impactful plays around the basket on both ends of the floor in this game.

Duren was active at scoring on hustle plays.  He managed to score on a couple of strong put backs.  However, sometimes he would miss shots on off-ball motion plays, as he would go in too hard and strong when looking to finish plays around the basket.  He also did a decent job of scoring in the post.  Duren utilized a quick spin move to score on a turnaround layup due to possessing very good strength, footwork, and the scoring touch to do so.  He also managed to score on a broken play another time.  He also reached around to make a great catch in the post, which enabled him to go up to draw free throws another time. However, he also tended to struggle to score in the post in traffic, as he would sometimes throw up ugly misses when contested.  He also used a jab step to attempt a baseline, mid-range jumper, but missed that time.

Also, Duren looked to showcase fairly average playmaking skills.  He was able to throw a couple of sharp, interior passes to help set up scores for his teammates.  He also set a solid screen to help his teammate get a driving lane.  However, he also was called for setting a moving screen another time.  He also threw a rushed, inaccurate pass that sailed out of bounds once.

Plus, Duren also did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  He would often get strong boards on both ends of the floor.  However, there was one instance where he and his team didn’t box out an opponent, which led them to give up a put back score.  Defensively, he looked to be fairly average in this game.  He was at his best when defending in the paint.  He was able to alter a shot off of a drive to force a miss, and he rotated to block another in this contest.  He also was able to contest a couple of outside shots to get stops for his team.  He also jumped on a loose ball that an opponent lost off of a defensive rebound to get a steal. 

However, he would tend to get beat on drives to the hoop, and he would have trouble cutting off penetration, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  Other times, he would be inattentive, and he had a ball thrown off of his back on an inbounds play that led him to give up a dunk to the inbounder.  He also was late to get out on a shooter on a switch as he gave up too much space that time, which led him to give up an open corner three-point basket to his opponent.

Overall, this wasn’t Jalen Duren’s best showing, but he made enough plays to help his team get a much needed win over Boise State in the 2022 NCAA Tournament.  It will be exciting to see how he and his team will match up against Gonzaga in the second round, and Duren is a very athletic, high-motor center that projects to be a lottery pick in the 2022 draft.

Landers Nolley II played fairly well in his team’s win over Boise State.  He shot the ball well, and he was able to make some solid plays to help his team on both ends of the floor. Nolley shot the ball well in this game.  He thrived at making spot-up threes off the catch, and he also was able to knock down a pull-up, mid-range jumper from the baseline.  He also managed to drive off of a screen to score on a mid-range, fadeaway floater another time.  He missed on a baseline drive another time, but generally Nolley did a good job of making his shots on offense.

He also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball, and he would chase down balls to get boards on both ends of the floor.  He also played satisfactory defense in this game.  Nolley poked a ball away to get a steal, and he managed to get his hands on a pass to collect another.  He was able to contest shots off of drives to force misses, and he also contested a long two to get a stop for his team.  On the downside, sometimes he would be too aggressive defensively, which would lead him to commit touch fouls.  Other times, he would get beat off the dribble, which would force his teammates to have to rotate and it led his teammates to pick up fouls afterwards.

Overall, Landers Nolley II had a solid showing to help his team get the victory.  He shot the ball well, and he also did a fairly good job of rebounding and defending in this game.  He may still need to improve his ability to create his own shot and playmaking skills, but his ability to shoot combined with his athleticism could make him an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider in the second round range of the 2022 draft.

Boise State’s senior point forward, Emmanuel Akot did not play very well in his team’s loss to Memphis.  He was asked to carry on a sizable load of the offense, as he was tasked to get shots off late in the clock, as well as to run the point, but he clearly looked to be overmatched, overwhelmed, and overextended against the more athletic, Memphis Tigers’ squad.

Akot didn’t shoot the ball very well in this game.  Though he was able to make an open, spot-up three off the catch early on, he had trouble knocking down threes throughout this game, and he also really had trouble knocking down pull-up, mid-range jumpers.  He also missed on a tough, turnaround jumper in the post.  On the plus side, Akot was able to use a hesitation move to score on an aggressive, right-handed drive to the hoop.  He also made a nifty play by throwing the ball off of an opponent’s back as the inbounder, as he ran in to score on a powerful dunk afterwards.

As a playmaker, he looked to be fairly average in this game.  He is normally an unselfish player that will rack up assists, and sometimes he would look to swing the ball to shooters, but Akot did not seem to pass the ball nearly enough against Memphis.  Instead, he hoisted up a lot difficult shots that resulted in misses.  Also, he had a ball ripped away from him on a left-handed drive that resulted in a turnover.

He did not come away with any rebounds, and Akot did not rebound the ball very well in this game.  He also struggled defensively.  On one good play, he can apply significant ball pressure when defending an opposing ball handler, and he showed solid footwork to be able to cut off penetration to force his man to pass once.  However, he generally had trouble getting back on defense or defending on fast breaks, and other times, he would have trouble defending quicker players, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Emmanuel Akot did not play very well in his team’s loss to Memphis, and he just looked overwhelmed and overmatched as a result.  He’ll need to improve his jump shot and defense, and he will need to take better shots in games.  He may need to spend at least a season in the G-League and/or overseas to hone his game.  If he can make these improvements, that may increase his odds to make it to and succeed in the NBA.  Otherwise, he may likely spend the duration of his post-collegiate career in the G-League or overseas, as it may be doubtful if he has what it takes to make it to the association.

Memphis’ senior point guard, Alex Lomax had a good showing in his team’s win over Boise State.  He turned in a strong, all-around game, and he is a tough, gritty point guard that did everything well on the floor.  He used a pump fake and made a smooth, step-back three while drawing an extra free throw for his team.  He also managed to score on an aggressive layup off of a drive while getting an extra free throw afterwards. 

Lomax also generally passed the ball well, as he threw good passes off the dribble, and he also threw long, accurate outlet passes due to possessing good court vision.  He made high-motor plays to get rebounds for his team.  He also played tough, pesky defense, and he would poke and swipe balls away to get numerous steals and deflections.  Overall, he is a smart, savvy, and seasoned floor general that played very well, and it will be interesting to see how well Memphis will fare against Gonzaga in the second round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament.

Other Notes:

Also, Emoni Bates played briefly in this game.  He made an open three-pointer off the catch to show his shooting skills.  On defense, he bit on a pump fake and was out of position to defend the drive, and it forced his teammate to rotate to commit a reach-in foul.  Overall, he was okay in this match, but not great, but it was great to see him play out on the court, as he has been recovering from a back injury recently. Memphis’ freshman forward, Josh Minott also played sparingly.  He managed to catch a sharp entry pass to score around the basket, but he also missed an open three-point shot another time.  He didn’t make a sizable impact over the course of the entire game, but he was able to show some athleticism and finishing ability when he played out on the court.

Other Notes, Part II:

Gonzaga’s sensational freshman big man, Chet Holmgren scored 19 points, and had 17 rebounds, 7 blocks, and 5 assists to lead his team to a double-digit win over Georgia State in the 1st Round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament.
(Photo:
Craig Mitchelldyer/Associated Press)

Gonzaga’s freshman big man, Chet Holmgren turned in a strong showing in his team’s double-digit win over Georgia State. It was close early, as well as for a sizable portion of this game, but Holmgren helped his team pull away by playing very well on both ends of the floor. He thrived as a scorer in the post, and he would handle the ball well to score on strong drives in transition. He did a tremendous job of rebounding and blocking shots, and while he would sometimes pick up fouls, Holmgren made a strong impact, especially in crunch time in this game. Early on, he looked too passive at times, but he really took over down the stretch. He looked to be every bit as good as advertised, and he is a strong contender to be the top pick for the 2022 draft.

Richmond defeated Iowa in a stunning first round upset, and it is about time we get to know about Richmond’s 5-9 senior point guard, Jacob Gilyard. He is a smart, skilled playmaker that runs the team very well at the point, and he can rack up assists consistently without turning the ball over. He is also a pesky defender that will rake in steals (as he’s consistently in the league leaders in the NCAA in steals), and he also did a very good job of scoring in this game, as he scored 24 points and made two clutch free throws to help seal the win for his team.

North Carolina blew out Marquette to get the win today, and Caleb Love had a very good game to lead them to get the double-digit win today. He is a very athletic point guard that can be as good as anyone when he is dialed in, and he did a very good job of shooting and scoring the basketball, as well as running the point in this game. His stock is going up right now, and it will be interesting to see how well he plays against Baylor in the second round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament.

Michigan managed to get a convincing double-digit win over Colorado State this morning after trailing by as many as by 15, and Michigan’s freshman forward Caleb Houstan played very well in the second half, as he bounced back to turn in a respectable shooting night to help his team get the victory. He struggled to make shots in the first half, but he was able to make 3 threes in the second half, and he played solid team basketball. He has had some very good moments over the course of his up and down freshman season, and when he’s on his game, he’s shown that he can project into a 3 and D role for the NBA. It’ll be interesting to see how well he will play against Tennessee, as that will be a fun and also tough matchup for Michigan in the second round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament.

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