Evaluating James Bouknight, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, and Collin Gillespie
March 1st, 2021
By Alan Lu
James Bouknight had recently returned from elbow surgery, and he’s played a big part in his team’s recent winning streak. I wanted to see him play against one of the best teams in college basketball, so I elected to watch him play in a February 20th game against Villanova, with thanks to YouTube via The Draftmatic. Bouknight played fairly well in a loss in that game, as he did a good job of shooting and scoring the basketball, he rebounded well, but he also committed too many careless turnovers on offense. Villanova played a solid team game to get the win, as they were bolstered by the strong play of Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Collin Gillespie, and Jermaine Samuels. Here are my thoughts on how Bouknight and other various prospects fared, as well as how their games may translate to the NBA.
Connecticut’s 6-5 sophomore guard, James Bouknight had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Villanova. He scored 21 points, made 3 three-pointers, and he also had 10 rebounds, but he also committed too many turnovers in this game. Bouknight did a good job of knocking down threes to provide floor spacing for his team on offense. He showed a knack for making pull-up threes from beyond the arc, as he was able to use a side step move to his left early on, and he also made a step-back three from way out. Later in this game, he moved quickly off the ball to knock down a spot-up three off the catch.
He also showed a solid ability to score off the dribble. Bouknight was able to drive up court, as he used a Euro-step move to his left to score on a contested floater falling away. He also would go hard to the hoop to score on strong drives to the basket. Plus, he showed a knack for drawing fouls upon his defenders to often get to the free throw line, though he also missed more free throws than expected.
Also, he excelled at scoring on hustle plays. Bouknight was able to run in to score on a tip-in after leaping up to grab an offensive rebound. On the downside, he really struggled to knock down mid-range jumpers, and he especially struggled to make pull-up jumpers from the mid-range. He also had a penchant for taking them, and as he missed on plenty of them, it hurt his shooting percentages a bit in this game.
On the downside, Bouknight was quite turnover prone in this game. For the positives, he is a fleet-footed, agile guard that can consistently get into the lane, and he can throw passes off the dribble as well as in the post to set up scoring chances for his teammates. He was able to drive in and kick a ball out to a corner shooter to notch an assist. However, he had a tendency to over-dribble in traffic, as he would sometimes dribble around without a plan, and he would sometimes not be decisive in where he wanted to go with the ball, which would lead him to get balls poked away to commit turnovers. Other times, he would sometimes dribble into a double team, and he would end up throwing weak passes that would get intercepted.
Plus, Bouknight did a terrific job of rebounding the basketball. He has a keen nose for the basketball, and he would chase down balls to often get boards on both ends of the floor. Sometimes, he would push the ball quickly up the court after getting his team defensive rebounds.
He also played adequate defense in this game. When defending in the post, Bouknight quickly was able to reach in and take a ball away to get a steal due to possessing good instincts to do so. He also leapt up to deflect a pass another time. However, there was one play where he shaded too far to the left, but he got beat off the dribble, as he allowed his man to score on a baseline drive, and he wasn’t quite able to use the sideline as a defender effectively. Another time, he over-helped in the paint, though his teammate had likely also picked up his man that was handling the ball, and so no one guarded the cutter behind him that was around the paint, which led his team to allow a dunk off of a cut late in this match.
In general, James Bouknight generally excelled at shooting and scoring the basketball, and he also rebounded the ball well, but he also committed too many turnovers in his team’s loss to Villanova. He’s played well this season, and he’s helped his team get more wins than expected, but his three-point percentage has tapered off this year. Currently, Bouknight is an athletic, skilled swingman that could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the mid first round range of the 2021 draft, as he could end up being a similar player to current Sacramento Kings’ guard, Buddy Hield in the association.
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl quietly had a strong showing in his team’s win over Connecticut. He scored 17 points and he also grabbed 11 rebounds, and he also made 2 three-pointers and notched 2 steals in this game. Robinson-Earl shot the ball very well to provide his team with floor spacing on offense. He showed a knack for making open, spot-up threes off the catch, and he moves fairly well off the ball. He was able to make an open three-pointer on a pick and pop play, and he also moved off the ball to make another three-point shot later on. Plus, he also was able to make a mid-range jumper from outside the left elbow.
He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays. Robinson-Earl was able to score on a quick tip-in after getting his own miss to score around the basket. He also showed a fairly good ability to score off the dribble, and he was able to drive hard to the hoop to score on a switch of hands floater. Also, he showed a satisfactory ability to score in the post. He was able to catch a lob pass to score on a layup off the glass after getting the ball in the post, and he also drew free throws another time. Sometimes though, he would take tough, rushed shots, which would lead to misses when he would not be able to get foul calls.
He also displayed fairly average playmaking skills. Robinson-Earl can pass out of the post, and he also brought the ball up once. He also set an on-ball screen to help his teammate score on an open jump shot. He did commit one turnover, as he passed up an open three, and he drove in to the post, but he later was called for a traveling violation on that play. Also, Robinson-Earl did a great job of rebounding the basketball, and he was very active at crashing the glass to get numerous boards on both ends of the floor.
Plus, he also played fairly good defense in this game. Robinson-Earl would run in to intercept passes to get steals, and he also deflected a pass to nearly get another. He also did a good job of contesting mid-range jump shots to force misses. He also would stay in front of opposing ball handlers due to possessing solid footwork and length, and he would allow his teammates to roam in to steal balls away from them due to good positioning. On the downside, he would sometimes struggle to defend taller opponents in the post, as they could shoot over him. He also would sometimes struggle to defend opponents off the dribble and would occasionally be late on his rotations, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.
In summary, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl played very well in his team’s win over Connecticut. He is a versatile, high-motor forward that can do a little bit of everything. He doesn’t seem to make explosive plays, and he will need to improve his outside shot, but he is a better than advertised athlete that plays hard, and he also consistently plays well when he is on the floor. He has been a productive player in college, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second range on draft day.
Villanova’s 6-3 senior point guard, Collin Gillespie had a solid showing in his team’s win over Connecticut. He scored 20 points, and he also had 6 rebounds, and 2 assists to help his team get the victory.
Gillespie did an excellent job of scoring in the post. He is a strong post-up guard that has good strength to back down his man to score often in the paint. He would overpower his defenders and use pump fake moves to score, and he also would often get extra free throws afterwards. He was able to score on a fadeaway jumper, and he also scored on a crafty, up and under move another time.
He also showed an adequate ability to score off the dribble. Gillespie has a very good pump fake move that enabled him to score on a strong drive to the hoop, and he would tend to favor going to his left to score the basketball. He also would draw fouls upon his defenders when he would take the ball aggressively to the rim. However, sometimes he would take tough, rushed shots that would lead to misses, and he also had his shot blocked once.
However, he struggled to consistently knock down jumpers further away from the basket. Gillespie was able to make a deep three off the catch, but he struggled to make three-pointers consistently, and he especially had trouble making pull-up threes. He also was able to draw free throws when hoisting up a pull-up jumper from the mid-range on a separate possession.
On the downside, Gillespie was quite turnover prone on offense. For the positives, he is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he can throw accurate passes off the dribble as well as from the post. He was able to drive in to throw a crisp, interior pass to find a cutter to notch an assist once. However, sometimes he would throw inaccurate entry passes that would wind up going out of bounds. He also was called for traveling on a drive early on, which led to a score getting wiped off the board. Gillespie also did a very good job of rebounding the basketball, and he showed that he can get tough rebounds to help his team on the glass.
He also played adequate defense in this game. He was able to dive on the ground to help his team get a steal, and he also would tend to contest threes to force misses. He also was able to defend an opponent off of a drive, and he was indirectly able to force his man to commit a ball-handling turnover. On the downside, sometimes he would be late to contest shots and give too much space to shooters, which would allow them to score on jumpers. Another time, he got beat off the dribble, which led his teammate to rotate to commit the foul. On a separate play, he tried to hustle back, but was called for a foul by tripping up an opponent from behind.
Overall, Collin Gillespie played fairly well in his team’s win over Connecticut. He especially excelled as a scorer in the post, and he is a very good post-up guard that has a strong pump fake move that he can use to consistently get defenders in the air to score around the basket. Gillespie is a smart, skilled playmaker whose game bears a strong resemblance to current Chicago Bulls’ guard, Ryan Arcidiacono, and like his predecessor, both players are good post-up guards that also can reliably run the point. If things break his way, Gillespie could end up being a reliable backup point guard in the NBA.
Villanova’s senior forward, Jermaine Samuels also had a solid showing in his team’s win over Connecticut. He excelled at making plays on both ends of the floor, and he consistently made solid team plays to help his team get the victory.
Samuels showed a fairly good ability to score off the dribble. He would consistently draw fouls when driving to the hoop and posting up to get to the free throw line often. He also was able to cut to the hoop, as he darted to the rim to get the ball, and he managed to throw down a thunderous, high-flying dunk late in this game. He also flashed the ability to knock down jumpers. Samuels used a jab step to make a baseline, mid-range jumper. However, he missed on his lone three-point attempt, and he also had a couple of his shots blocked.
Also, he displayed satisfactory playmaking skills. Samuels was able to throw a lob pass to notch an assist, and he also would throw good passes off the dribble to set up scoring chances for his teammates. He also was able to set an on-ball screen, and he also did not turn the ball over once on offense. Though he did not get many rebounds in this game, Samuels was able to leap up to get a board on both ends of the ball, and sometimes he would tip balls to help his team get extra rebounds.
Plus, Samuels also played fairly good defense. He would run in to take balls away from opponents off of drives and in the post to get steals, and he also was able to get run in and get his hands on a pass to get another steal. He also managed to poke a ball away to nearly force another turnover. He also would contest threes and hold his ground when defending in the post to force misses. Sometimes though, he would struggle to defend opponents off the dribble, which would lead him to commit fouls. Other times, he would overplay entry passes or get outmuscled when defending opponents in the post. Another time, he gave up too much space to a shooter, which led him to allow a three-point basket another time.
Overall, Jermaine Samuels played well in his team’s win over Connecticut, and he made solid plays consistently on both ends of the floor. Though he has flown under the radar, he has played well for Villanova this season. He currently projects to be a borderline second round candidate, but in a favorable scenario, he could project to be a 3 and D type of role player in the NBA.
Connecticut’s 6-6 junior swingman, Tyrese Martin had a decent showing in a loss to Villanova. He was effective as an inside scorer and rebounder, though he struggled with his outside shot in his team’s loss in this game. Martin showed a solid ability to score on strong drives to the hoop. He would tend to favor going to his left to score at the rim. Plus, he excelled at scoring on strong put backs after grabbing offensive rebounds. On the downside, he missed on all of his three-point attempts, and he was unable to connect from long distances.
He wasn’t able to get an assist in this game, but Martin was able to throw an entry pass to set up a scoring chance for his teammate. On the downside, he was called for a charging foul when driving to the rim to commit a turnover once. Also, Martin did a great job of rebounding the basketball, and he would aggressively leap up to get numerous boards on both ends of the floor due to possessing above average athletic gifts and a good motor.
Defensively, he looked to be fairly average. He was able to contest jumpers to force misses. He also helped trap and double a ball-handler mid-court with a teammate to force a traveling violation. Also, he was able to go in to tie-up an opposing rebounder to nearly get a steal. Sometimes though, he would get beat off the dribble, which would cause him to commit fouls and allow scores. Another time, he didn’t contest a drive in transition, which led his team to allow a score. On a separate play, he over-helped in the paint and was late to rotate, which led his team to allow a three-point basket.
Overall, Tyrese Martin had some good moments in his team’s loss to Villanova. He showed a knack for scoring around the basket and for getting rebounds, but he also struggled with his three-point shot in this game. Still, he has had a fairly good season this year, and he could be a prospect to follow sometime down the road.