Evaluating Jalen Duren, J.D. Davison, and DeAndre Williams

December 14th, 2021

By Alan Lu

Today, I took the time to watch a competitive basketball game that took place Memphis and Alabama, and it featured several first round prospects that could be taken over the next two drafts.  Alabama had been coming off their strongest game yet, as they had just defeated Gonzaga, and they had tremendous games from Alabama’s freshman point guard J.D. Davison, and from their junior guard Jaden Shackelford.  Memphis was coming off a four-game losing streak, and they had some bad games from both Jalen Duren and Emoni Bates.

In this game though, it was a hard fought game, but Memphis was able to pull away due to their strong team play, and they were able to defeat Alabama at their own game by speeding them up and forcing them to play at a faster tempo than they were comfortable playing.  Jalen Duren, DeAndre Williams, and Landers Nolley were the standout performers on Memphis, and Keon Ellis and J.D. Davison also played fairly well.  Here are my thoughts on how various prospects fared on this day.

Memphis’ freshman center, Jalen Duren (pictured on the left) and senior forward DeAndre Williams (pictured in the middle) both played very well in their team’s win over Alabama.
(Photo:
Joe Rondone/USA Today Sports Network, via Sports Illustrated)

Jalen Duren had a strong showing in his team’s win over Alabama.  He asserted his dominance in the paint early and often on both ends of the floor, and he also showed some passing skills in this game. Duren did a great job of scoring on hustle plays.  He would often throw down dunks off of rolls, he would catch lobs to score on alley-oop dunks, and he also managed to score powerfully off of put backs and in transition.  He missed a mid-range jumper after setting a screen for a teammate, but Duren thoroughly excelled as an inside scorer on offense.

He also showed off satisfactory playmaking skills.  Duren was able to show that he can pass out of the post to find open teammates.  He also drove to the hoop and then kicked it out to an open corner shooter to notch an assist.  He also did a good job of setting hard screens for his teammates on offense.  On one play when posting up once, had had a ball stripped away from him, which led him to commit a turnover.

Also, Duren showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball, and he did a great job of getting offensive boards for his team.  Duren also played adequate defense in this game.  He did a good job of rotating to block and contest shots in the paint to force misses.  On the downside, sometimes he would take bad gambles defensively, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

In general, Jalen Duren played well in this game, and he thrived as an interior player to help his team get the victory over Alabama.  He will still need to extend his shooting range and be a more disciplined defender, but he is a very athletic big man that will likely get picked in the lottery on draft pick.

Alabama’s freshman point guard, J.D. Davison turned in another solid showing in his team’s loss to Memphis.
(Photo:
Petre Thomas/USA Today Sports, via Marietta Daily Journal)

J.D. Davison played fairly well in his team’s loss to Memphis.  He did a great job of passing the ball in the first half, and he also was active as an offensive rebounder and defender on the court.  He was sometimes too passive on offense, and he didn’t take nearly enough threes in this match, but he was able to get a couple of late scores to help try to keep this game close.

Davison did a decent job of scoring off the dribble.  He has a fairly solid first step, and he can finish plays using either hand.  He also was able to use a spin move to score on a smooth layup.  He also managed to get the ball deflected right to him after initially trying to pass off the dribble in order to score on a quick layup.  However, sometimes Davison would struggle to quickly get to the hoop on half-court drives, and he would occasionally miss tough shots in traffic.  Davison also was able to draw free throws on a put back to show that he can score on hustle plays.  He didn’t take many threes though, and he missed a quick, spot-up three off the catch in his lone attempt from beyond the arc.

Also, Davison showcased good playmaking skills in this game.  He is a very unselfish player that did a great job of passing the basketball.  He would throw timely interior passes to find his teammates on the move, and he also threw crisp lob passes to set up scores for his teammates.  He showed a knack for racking up assists, and he can make swift drive and kick passes to find open shooters.  Sometimes though, he would struggle to handle the ball when trapped or facing heavy ball pressure.  When handling the ball when trapped, he lost the ball and mishandled it to commit a turnover once.  When trapped and pressured by multiple defenders out on the perimeter another time, he threw a hasty pass that got intercepted.  He also drove in, but had the ball stolen away on a separate possession.

Plus, Davison did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  He especially showed a knack for crashing the glass to get offensive boards for his team, which would help his team get second chances to score on offense.  He also played satisfactory defense in this game.  Davison did a good job of poking balls away to get steals, and he also managed to block a shot hard around the basket due to possessing very good athleticism, timing, and instincts.  He also managed to jump on a loose ball to help his team get another steal, and he also deflected a pass another time.  On the downside, he would sometimes struggle to defend off the dribble, as he would sometimes miss on steal attempts or struggle to stay in front of his opponents, which would lead him to end up being out of position.

Overall, J.D. Davison had a solid showing in this game.  He didn’t look to take nearly as many outside shots or shots in general, but he was very effective as a facilitator and offensive rebounder, and he was able to score some baskets down the stretch.  He will need to be a little more aggressive on offense, but he is a very talented playmaker that would be a good pick for an NBA team in the lottery of the 2022 draft.

Memphis’ senior forwaard, DeAndre Williams scored 20 points, and had 6 rebounds and 3 steals in his team’s win over Alabama.
(Photo:
Karen Pulfer Focht/Associated Press)

DeAndre Williams played very well in this game, as he had a strong all-around showing to help lead his team to a double-digit victory over Alabama.  He showed off versatile scoring skills in this game.  He excelled at scoring on hustle plays, especially on backdoor cuts.  He was able to catch a lob off of a backdoor cut once, which enabled him to promptly score on an alley-oop dunk.  He also ran the floor and caught a lob to score on a high-flying, alley-oop dunk another time.

Plus, Williams did a good job of scoring in the post, as well as on outside shots. He was able to score on a fade away jumper from the mid-range.  He also made an open corner three another time.  He did struggle to score on a couple of half-court drives, but Williams generally thrived at making plays off the dribble to create scoring chances for himself and his teammates.

He also displayed very good playmaking skills in this game.  Williams showed a knack for dribbling up the court and throwing accurate lob passes to set up scores for his teammates.  He thrived at throwing interior passes, as well as passing off the dribble and on the break to rack up assists.  On one play though, he had a ball poked off of him when handling the ball that led him to commit his lone turnover.

Also, Williams was able to haul in several defensive boards to help chip in on the glass.  He also played very good defense in this game.  Williams did a great job of jumping passes to get a steal, and he also poked a ball out of bounds to nearly get another.  He also managed to successfully draw a charge to get a stop for his team. Plus, he also blocked a three-point shot late in this game.  He also appeared to block a shot off of a drive after staying with his man on a switch earlier, but it didn’t count because the first half was over when he swatted the shot.

Overall, DeAndre Williams is a very athletic point forward that had a strong, all-around game in his team’s win over Alabama.  This was his team’s best win yet, and they could look to build off of it.  Williams was very instrumental in helping his team get the victory, and he is an underrated prospect that could be a good pick for an NBA team in the second round of the 2022 draft.

Keon Ellis had a solid showing in his team’s loss to Memphis.  He especially played well early on, and he had some very impressive moments, as he scored 19 points and had 6 rebounds in this game. Ellis did a tremendous job of scoring on thunderous dunks on the break.  He would throw them down on strong drives in transition, and he also ran the floor to do so another time.  He also excelled as a scorer off the dribble on half-court sets.  Ellis managed to score on a tough runner from around the mid-range.  He also drove in and used a pump fake to draw a foul to get to the free throw line. 

Plus, he also did an adequate job of knocking down threes in this game.  Ellis showed that he can make them both off the catch and dribble, but he also was too streaky with his outside shot at times, as he also missed his fair share of three-point shots from beyond the arc.  He also was a bit turnover prone.  On one good play, Ellis threw a crisp, accurate lob pass to set up a score for a teammate on the break.  However, he also can be careless at times on offense.  He was called for traveling when handling the ball once.  He also threw a couple of inaccurate passes that ended up getting intercepted.

Also, Ellis showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball.  He was active at crashing the glass on both ends of the floor, and he would sometimes push the pace afterwards.  He also played satisfactory defense in this game.  Ellis was able to jump a pass quickly to get a steal.  He also ran in to tie up an opposing ball handler to get another.  Plus, he also managed to block a shot, and he would contest shots in the paint to help force some misses.  On the downside, he sagged too far off his man and was late to rotate that time, which led him to give up a corner three basket to his opponent.  He also spaced out another time and lost track of his man on a cut to allow a score another time.

Overall, Keon Ellis played well in this game.  He is a very athletic, energetic swingman that excelled at making hustle plays on both ends of the floor, and he is a high flyer that can throw down some really fantastic dunks on the break.  He’ll need to prove to NBA teams that he can consistently score in games, but he is an intriguing prospect that could be a good pick in the second round of the 2022 draft.

Landers Nolley II had a solid showing in his team’s win over Alabama.  Though he didn’t shoot the ball too well, he excelled as a facilitator and defender, and he also had his moments as a shooter on offense in this game. Nolley did a decent job of knocking down threes to help provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He made a couple of corner threes early on, and he also made a deep, turnaround, spinning three off the dribble.  He was fairly streaky with his three-point shot, but he excelled as a shooter in the first half.  He also used a hesitation move to score on a smooth, pull-up jumper from the baseline.  However, he tended to miss on jumpers off the dribble.  He did manage to score on a put back in traffic after leaping up to get offensive rebounds.

He also passed the ball very well in this game.  Nolley showed a knack for throwing crisp, accurate interior passes to find his teammates on the move to set up scores for them.  Sometimes though, he would have trouble handling the ball when pressured.  He had a ball stolen away from him once.  Also, Nolley was able to leap up to get multiple boards on both sides of the ball to get his fair share of rebounds.

He also played great defense.  Nolley was able to double an opposing ball handler and was able to pounce on a mishandled, loose ball to help his team get a steal.  He also did a terrific job of intercepting passes to get steals.  He also managed to poke a ball away to nearly get another.  Nolley is a long, athletic forward that did a very good job of defending opponents off the dribble, and he was able to cut off penetration and force his opponent to commit a traveling violation on another possession.

Overall, Landers Nolley II played fairly well in his team’s win over Alabama.  He generally excelled at making plays on both ends of the floor, and he showed off his versatility by helping his team in virtually every facet of the game.  He especially thrived as a facilitator and defender, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the second round range of the 2022 draft.

Lester Quinones also played well in this game.  He did a great job of drawing free throws in this game, and he also managed to score on a fade away jumper from around the right elbow, as well as by running the floor to score in transition.  Quinones also played decent defense.  He also excelled at intercepting passes to get steals, but he also fouled an opponent on a mid-range shot after biting on a pump fake that time.  Overall, he had a solid showing, and though he didn’t make any threes, he made solid team plays to help his team get the win over Alabama.

Memphis’ 5-9 senior guard, Tyler Harris did a great job of knocking down threes off the bench in his team’s win over Alabama.  He really excelled at making spot-up threes off the catch.  He was able to make a spot-up three while getting fouled at the same time to draw an extra free throw.  He also was able to make his third three from way out.  He is a quick, agile guard that can shoot and score the basketball, and his solid ability to knock down jump shots could enable him to carve out a solid playing career in professional basketball.

Charles Bediako had a decent showing, as he especially played well early on in his team’s loss to Memphis.  He excelled as an interior player at times, although he also did not grab a single rebound in this game.  He showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays, particularly on rolls to the rim and on fast breaks.  He was able to score on a thunderous dunk early on a roll to the rim, while drawing an extra free throw.  He also ran the floor and caught a lob pass to score on an alley-oop dunk.  He also tried posting up once, but had his shot blocked that time.

He also played decent defense in this game.  He showed a knack for getting steals, as he was able to poke a ball away when defending in the post, and he also was able to get his hands on a pass another time.  He also rotated to block a shot hard off of a drive out of bounds due to possessing good athleticism, timing, and instincts.  However, he would sometimes be too aggressive in trying to make plays on the defensive end, which would lead him to commit touch fouls.

Overall, Charles Bediako had a fairly solid game when he was on the floor, but he also didn’t play enough in his team’s loss to Memphis.  He is an athletic, energetic big man that can make very athletic hustle plays on the court, and he could be an intriguing pick for an NBA team in the second round of the 2022 draft.

Jaden Shackelford did not play very well in his team’s loss to Memphis.  A game ago, he put forth a tremendous performance to help his team defeat Gonzaga.  However, he struggled to get shots up against a tough, athletic Memphis defense, and his struggles to knock down outside shots early on led him to have a bad offensive night. Shackelford didn’t shoot well, but he was the most comfortable in making shots from the mid-range.  He made a long two from the corner early, and he also managed to score on a fade-away floater from the mid-range.  He also was able to make an open three, but he didn’t make threes consistently in this game.  He also struggled to consistently score off the dribble.  On the plus side, Shackelford was able to score on a put back after getting an offensive rebound once.

Also, he was quite turnover prone in this game.  He had trouble handling the ball when pressured, or when he was matched up against longer, more athletic defenders.  In this game, he tended to get sped up, and it would lead him to commit ball-handling turnovers.  On the other hand, Shackelford rebounded the ball very well on both ends of the floor.  He also played decent defense in this game.  He showed a penchant for intercepting passes to get steals.  On another play though, he closed out too hard on a shooter, and he fouled him on a three-point shot.

Overall, Jaden Shackelford didn’t play very well in this game, and it seemed to undo his strong and sterling momentum as a poised sharpshooter and scorer that he had a game ago in his team’s win over Gonzaga.   He’ll need to show that he can consistently knock down shots against top-notch teams, though his performance against Gonzaga was still quite a memorable one.  Shackelford will need to show that he can match up against longer, more athletic opponents on a consistent basis, but his ability to knock down shots could get him plenty of looks in the second round from NBA teams on draft day.

Memphis’ freshman forward, Emoni Bates has really struggled to shoot the basketball ever since he played very well in his team’s early season win over Saint Louis.
(Photo:
Joe Rondone/USA Today Sports Network, via Sports Illustrated)

Memphis’ 6-8 prodigious freshman forward, Emoni Bates had his ups and downs in his team’s win over Alabama.  He didn’t shoot the ball very well overall, and even worse, his team had big runs without him on the floor.  Bates showed very spotty shot selection at times, and he didn’t shoot well, but he was able to show some playmaking and defensive skills at times to help his team in this game.

Emoni Bates flashed the ability to knock down outside shots against Alabama.  He was able to run off a ball screen to score on an open corner three off the catch to show his shooting skills.  However, he really struggled to shoot off the dribble, and he would take wild, contested and off-balanced mid-range jumpers that would miss badly.  He tended to rush quick, hurried shots too often, and he had a left-handed drive blocked out of bounds once.  Sometimes though, he would push the ball up the court and drive quickly to the hoop, and it would occasionally be rewarded with trips to the free throw line.

Also, Bates displayed fairly average playmaking skills.  Sometimes he would show some patience, court vision, and the ability to play the point.  Other times, he would suggest that he should not play the point, as he would rush himself and force the issue by playing too wildly before committing ball-handling turnovers.  For the positives, Bates can throw crisp, accurate interior passes, and he was able to throw a no-look interior pass once.  He can find teammates on the move when he plays patiently and under control.  However, sometimes he would try to overtly force the issue too much.  On one drive, he used a behind-the-back crossover move before utilizing a wild spin move in which he then fell and lost the ball out of bounds.  Another time, he drove to the hoop, but had the ball stolen away from him.

He also was able to leap up to get a pair of defensive rebounds.  On one play, he pushed the ball quickly up the floor.  Another time, he ended up getting tied up shortly after grabbing a defensive board.  Bates also played satisfactory defense in this game.  He was able to jump a pass quickly to get a steal.  He also stayed in front of his opponent, and used his length and quickness to help force a traveling violation.  On another play though, he sagged too far off his man and was late to contest the shot, which led him to give up a three-point basket to his opponent.

Overall, Emoni Bates has been struggling to play well, ever since he turned in a strong showing in his team’s win over Saint Louis early in the season.  Bates has not shot the ball well, and he’s been very turnover prone, as he’s been trying to rush himself too much at times.  He still has time to figure things out, and he has tended to play much better when he plays patiently.  He’ll need time to iron out the flaws of his game.  He’s been on a shooting slump right now, but if he can figure out a way to get back on track, he could end up being a lottery pick in the 2023 draft, as he could end up having a similar career path to Golden State Warriors’ forward, Andrew Wiggins in the NBA.

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