Evaluating Jaden Ivey, Caleb Love, and Dawson Garcia

November 20th, 2021

By Alan Lu

Today, I took the time to watch Purdue’s sophomore guard, Jaden Ivey play against Caleb Love and North Carolina in an early season, non-conference college basketball game.  Purdue came out strong and forcefully, but North Carolina kept fighting to stay in it. 

At the end, Purdue’s versatility and overall skill level was too much for North Carolina to overcome, as their shooting, passing, and interior play enabled the Boilermakers to run away with the victory.  Jaden Ivey turned in a very strong performance in this game, and Dawson Garcia, Sasha Stefanovic, Trevion Williams, and Caleb Love all played well in this match.  Here are my thoughts on how they and various prospects fared on this day.

Jaden Ivey was terrific against North Carolina, and he scored 22 points, and had 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and also made 2 three-pointers to help get his team the victory.
(Photo:
Marc Lebryk/USA Today Sports, via SB Nation’s Hammer and Rails)

Jaden Ivey had a tremendous showing in his team’s win over North Carolina.  He is a fantastic athlete that did a terrific job of taking the ball to the rim to score early and often, and he also showed off some range, as well as very good playmaking skills to rack up assists.

Ivey did a very good job of scoring on strong drives to the basket.  He was able to drive to the hoop to score on thunderous dunks in transition.  He also used a nifty, Euro-step move to score on a strong fast-break drive another time.  Plus, he also changes directions well and has a good first step, and he was able to score and get free throws using either hand to score off the dribble.

Plus, he also shot the ball in this game.  Ivey showed a solid ability to knock down outside shots, and he was able to pull up and elevate to score on mid-range jumpers and threes off the dribble.  He also ran off of a ball screen to make a quick three another time.  Ivey was fairly streaky as an outside shooter at times, but he showed very good footwork, focus, and the shooting stroke to be able to calmly knock down those jumpers.

Also, Ivey did a good job of passing and handling the basketball.  He showed off very good footwork, ball-handling skills, and court vision, and he would patiently make smooth passes off the dribble to set up scores for his teammates.  He can make swift, accurate drive and kick passes, and he also can make no-look interior passes to get the ball to his teammates.  He also has a quick spin move that he can use to create separation between himself and his defender, and he has a very quick first move that enables him to consistently get into the lane.  He did commit one turnover, though.  On that play, he fell on a left-handed drive and was called for traveling due to playing a bit too fast and out of control that time.

Also, Ivey did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  He would chase down balls to get defensive boards quite often, and he would tend to bring the ball quickly up the floor.  He also played decent defense in this game.  Ivey was an active, athletic help defender that would look to force turnovers.  He would get his hands on passes to get steals and deflections, and he also poked a ball away to help his team get another steal.  He also managed to rotate to contest a drive to force a miss another time.  On the downside, sometimes he would give up too much space to shooters, which would allow them to score on jumpers.  He also surprisingly got beat off the dribble on a drive late in this game, and committed a foul and allowed the basket, but he seemed to be taken by surprise that his opponent decided to score and not dribble the clock out.

In general, Jaden Ivey turned in a very impressive performance to help lead Purdue to a convincing win over North Carolina.  He scored 22 points and had 10 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals, and he also made a couple of three-pointers to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He had a terrific all-around game, and he is a very athletic scoring guard that could be a top 5 pick in the 2022 draft.

Caleb Love had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Purdue.  He struggled to make plays consistently early on, but he was able to play well down the stretch, and he made key baskets to keep his team in the game. He did a decent job of attacking the hoop to score on strong drives to the hoop.  He tended to be more effective in going to his left to score, but he also was able to change directions midway and go right to score on a ferocious dunk in the second half.  He also would drive hard to the hoop to draw fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line.  Sometimes though, he would try to force the issue too much, which would lead him to miss shots in traffic.

He also showed an adequate ability to knock down jumpers in this game.  Love did a good job of making step-back jumpers from the mid-range, and he also was able to make a pair of pull-up threes off the dribble.  He handles the ball well and has good footwork that can easily enable him to get his shot off.  However, he had trouble making pull-up threes consistently from way out, and sometimes he would take tough, contested shots that would result in misses.

Also, Love displayed decent playmaking skills on offense.  He is a very athletic lead guard that can quickly get into the lane to create shots for himself and others.  He can kick it out to shooters off the dribble to set up scores for them.  He also threw a skip pass to help set up a score for a shooter another time.  On the downside, sometimes he would throw hasty, inaccurate passes that would go astray.

In addition, Love was able to chase down several defensive rebounds to get his fair share of boards to help his team.  He also played adequate defense in this game.  Love was able to get a steal, and he also blocked a three-point shot due to possessing good athleticism, timing, and instincts.  On the downside, sometimes he would get beat off the dribble, which would lead him to allow scores to his opponents.

Overall, Caleb Love played fairly well in this game, and he especially excelled as a scorer and facilitator in the second half to help his team keep the game close.  He’ll need to improve his jump shot and shot selection, but he is a talented combo guard that could be worth taking in the second round of the 2022 draft.

North Carolina’s sophomore big man, Dawson Garcia played very well in his team’s loss to Purdue.  He did a great job of shooting and scoring the basketball, especially early on.  He struggled a bit with turnovers, and he had trouble defending stronger opponents in the post, especially down the stretch as he ended up fouling out of this game. Garcia did a great job of knocking down open, spot-up jumpers off the catch, especially from beyond the arc.  He showed a lot of range on his shot, and he also was comfortable in making corner threes and scoring on pick-and-pop plays.  He also showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays.  Garcia did a good job of scoring on strong put backs, and he also managed to score on a backdoor cut.  Plus, he also did a decent job of scoring on aggressive drives to the hoop.  He did miss on a put back late in this game, though.

On the downside, he was a bit turnover prone on offense.  For the positives, Garcia was able to find a cutter to help set up a score for a teammate.  He also managed to set a hard screen to help create an open driving lane for his teammate.  On the downside, he would tend to throw inaccurate passes that would end up going out of bounds.  He also posted up once, but ended up having the ball poked away from him that led to another turnover. Also, he showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball.  Garcia was quite active at crashing the glass, and he did a good job of hustling to get offensive boards to help his team.  Defensively though, he struggled in this game.  For the positives, Garcia is an active help defender that can make some plays on the ball.  He was able to get his hands on an errant pass to get a steal.  He also managed to block a shot in the post to force a miss. 

On the downside, he really struggled to defend opponents in the post, especially when he was tasked to defend the much stronger, Trevion Williams.  Garcia would often get backed down and give up deep position down low, which would lead him to allow scores.  He also would bite on shoulder fakes and up and under moves, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  He had trouble holding position, and he struggled to prevent his man from getting deep position on the block. In summary, Dawson Garcia is an agile, skilled big man that can shoot and score the basketball.  He’ll need to improve his passing and defensive skills, but his ability to make shots from all over the floor could enable him to project well into shooting specialist role in the NBA.

Purdue’s fifth-year senior guard, Sasha Stefanovic played very well in his team’s win over North Carolina.  He is an agile, energetic swingman that excelled as a sharpshooter and facilitator on offense, and he constantly competed hard in this game to help get his team the victory. Stefanovic did a great job of knocking down jumpers to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He showed a penchant for making threes and mid-range jumpers, and he can knock down threes off of pin-downs, as well as off the catch and dribble.  He also has a lightning quick release that enables him to get his shot off easily.  He also managed to drive to the hoop to draw free throws on a strong layup in transition.

Plus, he also displayed solid playmaking skills.  He played unselfishly, and he would consistently get the ball to open shooters to set up scores for his teammates.  He also was able to throw an accurate lob pass to a roll man to notch an assist later on.  There was one play though where he lost the ball when handling it to commit a turnover. Also, he was able to get a pair of defensive boards in this game. 

Defensively, Stefanovic looked to be fairly average.  He ran to intercept a pass to get a steal once.  On the downside, sometimes he can tend to be out of position defensively.  There was one play where he sagged too far off his man, which led him to allow a corner three score.  He also committed a blocking foul on a drive another time. Overall, Sasha Stefanovic shot the ball really well, and he especially thrived as an offensive player in his team’s win over North Carolina.  He is a quick, high-motor player that excelled as a shooter and passer, and he could project well into a shooting specialist role to the NBA.

Trevion Williams also played very well in his team’s win over North Carolina.  He especially did a great job of scoring in the post, especially down the stretch.  He has great strength that would enable him to consistently establish deep position down low, and he would use a good set of moves that would enable him to get open shots.  He would often use shoulder fakes and ball fakes to get around his man, and he also managed to score on up and under moves, as well as turnaround jump hooks. Williams also was able to score on a strong put back, and he also drove hard to the hoop and used a pump fake to get fouled to get to the free throw line. 

He also did a decent job of passing out of the post.  He also showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball, and he was able to leap up high to get an offensive board due to making a good hustle play.  He also played adequate defense in this game.  He was able to intercept a pass to get a steal.  He also rotated to contest a floater to force a miss.  Another time, he was called for committing a reach-in foul when trying to intercept a pass. Overall, Trevion Williams is a strong, physical center that thoroughly excelled as a low post scorer, and he was a tremendous asset for Purdue to have as a player off the bench.  He did a great job as a back-to-the-basket scorer, and he could be an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider in the second round of the 2022 draft.

North Carolina’s sophomore guard, R.J. Davis also had a solid showing in his team’s loss to Purdue.  He showed off versatile scoring skills, and he is a speedy combo guard that can score on pull-up jumpers and on strong drives to the hoop.  He also managed to make an open corner three to show his range. On the downside, sometimes he would tend to miss on contested, off-balanced layups in traffic, especially when he wouldn’t get foul calls.  Also, Davis showed a satisfactory ability to pass and rebound the basketball.  He was active defensively, but seemed to struggle to defend opponents off the dribble in this game.  Overall, Davis played well in this game, and he could be an intriguing prospect to keep tabs on in the future.

Purdue’s 6-10 freshman big man, Caleb Furst played fairly well in this game.  He did a very good job of making spot-up threes off the catch, and he excelled as a spot-up shooter on offense.  He also ran the floor to score, but he also missed on a jump hook in the post completely another time. Furst also defended well in this game.  He was able to block a couple of shots, and he did a good job of contesting shots from out on the perimeter as well as in the paint.  Sometimes though, he would commit fouls when defending opponents off the dribble.  Overall, he is a tall, mobile big man that excelled as a floor spacer and shot blocker in this game, and he could be a prospect to watch sometime down the road.

Zach Edey had a decent showing in this game.  He played well early on, but he later ran into foul trouble, and so he had trouble staying on the floor.  Edey did an adequate job of scoring in the post.  He would get deep position, and that would enable him to score on right-handed, turnaround jump hooks.  Sometimes, he would be streaky with his shot, as he would also sometimes struggle to get enough touch on his shot, which would result in misses.  He also managed to catch a lob pass to score on an alley-oop dunk off of a roll to the rim. On the downside, he was turnover and foul prone in this game.  Edey had some trouble getting shots up in the post, which would lead him to commit turnovers.  He was called for traveling, and he also would commit fouls when trying to jockey for position on the block.  He also was called for setting a moving screen another time.

He also was able to get a few rebounds to help chip in on the glass.  On the downside, he was called for pushing off from behind, which led him to commit an offensive foul when going for an offensive board.  Defensively, he struggled in this game.  For the positives, he would use his great size to contest shots in the paint to force some misses.  He also managed to pounce a loose ball that was poked away to help his team come up with a steal.  On the downside, he would sag too far off of shooters and give up too much space, which would lead him to allow opponents to score on open jumpers.  He also was too aggressive on a close out another time, which led him to be out of position and to trail his man, which led him to allow a score off the dribble.

Overall, Zach Edey had his ups and downs, but he had his good moments, especially early on in Purdue’s win over North Carolina.  He will need to be a more disciplined player on both ends of the floor, as that could help him stay on the floor for longer stretches, and he will need to improve his defense.  Currently, his size and low post scoring skills could make him a borderline second round candidate for the 2022 draft.

Other Notes:

I also took the time to watch New Zealand play yesterday in an NBL Blitz preseason game against South East Melbourne, with thanks to YouTube via National Basketball League. It was a fun, entertaining match that went all the way down to the wire, and New Zealand ended up winning a close one on a last-second bucket. Also, both Ousmane Dieng and Hugo Besson played very well for the New Zealand Breakers in this game. For those that are interested in the box score of this game, here is the link.

Ousmane Dieng did a great job of driving to the hoop to score the basketball.  He seemed to be inconsistent as an outside shooter, but he was able to make a wide-open three.  He also passed the ball very well, and he showed good patience and court vision to get the ball to his teammates to get assists.

Hugo Besson also played well.  He also excelled at scoring on strong drives to the hoop.  He threw down a nice two-handed dunk off of a baseline drive to showcase his athleticism.  He also was able to score on crafty layups around the basket.  He didn’t seem to pass the ball as well, and he committed some unsightly turnovers, but it’s clear that both he and Dieng are very talented prospects that should see plenty of playing time on the New Zealand Breakers.  I think both will be drafted by NBA teams, and both could future first round picks in the 2022 draft.

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