Evaluating James Wiseman, Boogie Ellis, and Precious Achiuwa

November 9th, 2019

by Alan Lu

Recently, there has been news about Memphis’ 7-1 freshman center, James Wiseman in his team’s and NCAA’s dispute regarding his eligibility. It was said that his current coach and former Orlando Magic star guard Penny Hardaway helped him and his family move when Wiseman was in high school before he became Memphis’ head coach, and the NCAA initially ruled Wiseman ineligible. But through the judge’s ruling, the Tigers were able to temporarily get Wiseman his eligibility back, which allowed him to play against Illinois-Chicago.

With that set in motion, I set out to watch James Wiseman play, and he managed to put on a terrific performance, as he scored 17 points, and had 9 rebounds, and 5 blocks to lead his team to a blowout win over Illinois-Chicago. In addition, his teammate, Boogie Ellis managed to make 6 threes as he scored 22 points. Here are my thoughts on how Wiseman and Ellis played on this day, as well as how they and other various players may stack up as prospects for the NBA.

James Wiseman showed why he's the favorite to be the number one overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft.  (Photo: Joe Murphy/Getty Images via SB Nation.)
Memphis’ 7-1 freshman center, James Wiseman was allowed to play in this game against Illinois-Chicago through a temporary restraining order, and he dominated in his team’s win over Illinois-Chicago. (Photo: Joe Murphy/Getty Images via SB Nation.)

Memphis’ 7-1 freshman center, James Wiseman had an excellent showing in his team’s double-digit victory over Illinois-Chicago. Hopefully, he’ll be able to continue to play throughout this season, but if ends up being his last game of the year, this would be a remarkable way for him to go out. Wiseman thoroughly dominated on the defensive side of the ball as he excelled at getting rebounds, blocking shots and getting stops, and he also showed off solid low post and inside scoring skills on offense.

Wiseman did a very good job of scoring in the post. He has great footwork, shooting touch, as well as a solid set of low post moves to garner numerous scores on the block. He used a quick ball fake to score on a turnaround jumper using his right shoulder, and Wiseman also utilized a spin move to score on a thunderous dunk another time.

He also showed a knack for drawing fouls upon his opponents, as he would dribble in to draw fouls off of put backs, off-ball motion plays, as well as down low in the post, and Wiseman also caught lob and went up strong to get to the foul line on a separate play.

Plus, Wiseman also was able to make a turnaround, mid-range jumper from the elbow to show his ability to shoot the basketball. He also would run hard down court, as he was able to score on a fast break.

Also, he displayed fairly average playmaking skills. Wiseman can handle the basketball, and he also can find teammates on the move to set up scoring chances for them in transition. He also was able to pass out of the post to find an open man another time. Plus, he also will set plenty of screens for his team, and can get open by rolling hard to the hoop. He did commit one turnover though. After running the floor hard down court, Wiseman tried to use a spin move off the dribble, but lost his balance, and was called for traveling.

Wiseman did a very good job of rebounding the basketball. Wiseman would leap up to get plenty of boards on both ends of the floor, and it also seemed that he could have obtained other balls, but teammates ended up interfering with him early in this contest.

Adding to that, Wiseman also played excellent defense. He is a fantastic shot blocker that can stay with opposing ball handlers and rotate to defend on drives and in the post to swat many shots ferociously, as he would sometimes block it to teammates, other times he would swat it out of bounds. Wiseman did a very good job of contesting jumpers to force misses, and he showed a knack of getting opponents to miss shots in the paint. He also is a mobile big man that would quickly hedge out on screens, as he has the footwork to defend out on the perimeter.

In general, James Wiseman had a magnificent performance to lead Memphis to a double-digit win over Illinois-Chicago. Wiseman was dominant in his team’s victory, and he showed why he is the favorite to be the top pick of the 2020 NBA Draft. He’s an athletic big man who possesses outstanding defensive and shot blocking skills, he’s a versatile scorer that excels at making shots in the post as well as from the mid-range area, and he is also a very good rebounder. Right now, he looks to be the best prospect for the 2020 draft, and Wiseman has the skills to be a superstar in the association.

Memphis' freshman guard, Boogie Ellis had a tremendous game, as he scored 22 points and made 6 threes in his team's win over Illinois-Chicago. (Photo: Kenny Stubblefield/247Sports.)
Memphis’ freshman guard, Boogie Ellis had a tremendous game, as he scored 22 points and made 6 threes in his team’s win over Illinois-Chicago. (Photo: Kenny Stubblefield/247Sports.)

Memphis’ 6-2 freshman guard, Boogie Ellis did a great job of shooting and scoring the basketball to help his team get the win over Illinois-Chicago. Ellis is an athletic combo guard that can make shots in a hurry, and he has uncanny range on his shot. He was able to make numerous three-point shots from well beyond the arc, and he is an excellent shooter off the catch.

Plus, Ellis was able to get his man to respect his shot by crowding him, and Ellis then managed to drive left quickly to the hoop to score on a graceful layup. Also, he ran off of a curl cut to score off the glass after dribbling in from the high post. He did have his shot blocked once when attempting a mid-range shot in transition, as Ellis may not have an elite first step to the hoop, but generally Ellis did an outstanding job of making shots, especially from behind the three-point line.

He also handled the ball well, but sometimes he would be inaccurate on his passes. He threw one interior pass that was intercepted by a defender, and he also had a pass deflected that nearly led to another turnover.

Ellis also played decent defense in this game. He was able to get a loose ball that an opposing ball handler dropped to get a steal, and he also held his ground when defending in the post to force his man to lose the ball out of bounds. However, he was called for a reach-in foul when defending an opponent around mid-court once due to over-aggressiveness.

In summary, Boogie Ellis is a very good shooter that can put up points at will, and he is a terrific spot-up shooter that has great range on his shot. He did a great job of spacing the floor and making shots, and he is a solid prospect who may have a similar game to current Los Angeles Clippers’ guard, Landry Shamet. Ellis is a player to watch this season, and he could project to be a solid role player in the NBA, as he could end up going in the late first round of the 2020 draft.

Memphis’ 6-9 freshman forward, Precious Achiuwa had an uneven performance in his team’s win over Illinois-Chicago. He was quite mistake prone in the first half, as he had missed a couple of shots badly, and committed a slew of turnovers, and it was frustrating to watch him botch plays in that time span.  However, he was able to string together a couple of solid plays in the second half, and he was able to make enough plays later in the game to show why he’s being considered a first round prospect this year.

Achiuwa excelled at scoring on hustle plays. He was able to score on a tip-in, and he also made a nice cut to the hoop as he leapt up to score on an alley-oop dunk. He’s an athletic combo forward that can finish plays above the rim, and he will play the game with great energy.

He also showed an adequate ability to score on aggressive drives to the basket. Achiuwa would tend to favor going to his right, as he was able to use a ball fake before spinning right to score off the glass, and he also went right to score off the glass another time. However, he also can be prone to rushing his shots, as he ended up missing once on an off-balanced floater, and he also missed after getting past a defender to shoot an open layup around the basket.

Plus, he also did a decent job of scoring in the post. Achiuwa has a fairly good set of dribble moves and footwork, as he would use a couple of ball fakes to score on a fadeaway jumper. However, he also missed completely on a turnaround jumper, as he can be prone to rushing his shots at times. He did take a corner three once, but he missed on his lone three-point attempt from beyond the arc.

In this game though, Achiuwa was entirely too turnover prone on offense. For the positives, he can push the pace when handling the ball up the floor, and he can throw long passes to find open teammates to set up scoring chances for them. However, he tended to play too wild and out of control, as he struggled to take care of the basketball. He was called for a charging foul off of a baseline drive once, and he also stepped out of bounds another time. He also had trouble dribbling the basketball or handling pressure, as there were times where he did not handle the ball well at all with the ball in his hands.

Achiuwa also did a very good job of rebounding the basketball. He would frequently leap up to get defensive boards, and sometimes he would push the ball up the court.

Also, Achiuwa played adequate defense. He did a good job of rotating to contest shots to force misses, and he also was able to deflect passes to nearly get steals. However, he had a tendency to sag off of shooters, which would lead him to allow opponents to score on three-point shots. There was another play where he over-rotated when defending his man out on the perimeter, as he ended up getting beat off the dribble, which led him to allow his opponent to score on a dunk off of a drive.

Overall, Precious Achiuwa is a talented, athletic combo forward that plays hard, and he can make some solid plays on both ends of the floor. However, he will need to learn to play more under control, and he will need to improve his jump shot. Right now, his draft stock may be a bit too high at the moment, as he will need time to hone his game. Right now, he may be a good value pick for a team in the late first to the second round range, and he has the skills to end up being an effective role player in the NBA.

Other Notes:

Memphis’ 6-7 freshman forward, D.J. Jeffries played very well, as he had a solid all-around performance to help lead his team to a blowout victory over Illinois-Chicago. He excelled at scoring off of cuts, as he was able to score while getting an extra free throw once, and he also managed to score on a reverse layup. Plus, he also was able to catch a lob pass to score on an alley-oop layup. Jeffries also showed an adequate ability to score on high post drives, though he also had his shot blocked once on a separate play in traffic.

Jeffries also shot the ball very well, as he excelled at making open, spot-up threes from beyond the arc. He also showed off fairly average playmaking skills. Jeffries can kick balls out to shooters off the dribble to set up scoring chances for them. However, he will need to work on his ball handling, as he lost the ball driving to the hoop once, and he also was called for traveling on a separate occasion.

In addition, he was able to get his fair share of rebounds, as he would run in and leap up to get defensive boards to help his team on the glass. Jeffries also played very good defense. He managed to intercept a pass to get a steal, and he also would poke balls away and get deflections to try to help force turnovers. In addition, he also excelled at defending his man, as he would contest threes, shots in the post, as well as off of drives to force misses.

Overall, Jeffries is a tough, athletic swingman that showed a good set of all-around skills to help lead his team to a win over Illinois-Chicago. He may not currently have much draft stock, but he is definitely a player to keep an eye on, as he can help out in virtually every facet of the game. Jeffries is a talented player that could project into a 3 and D role in the NBA, and he could end up going in the late first to the second round range either in the 2020 draft or sometime in the future.

Memphis’ 6-5 freshman guard, Lester Quinones quietly had a good game, as he shot the ball well, and he also showed off some passing and rebounding skills. He excelled at making spot-up threes, and he also made one long-range shot from well beyond the arc. He also can find cutters and kick balls out to shooters to set up scoring chances for them, and Quinones will also chase down balls to get rebounds for his team. He also was able to make a good defensive play by contesting a corner three to force a miss.

Overall, Quinones is a fairly athletic shooter that could be a player to keep an eye on in the future. He is a second round prospect that could project into a 3 and D type of role in the NBA, and he may have the skills to end up being an effective role player in the association.

I also was looking forward to watch Illinois-Chicago’s 6-4 senior guard and stat stuffer Tarkus Ferguson play, but unfortunately he did not play, and his team was blown out from the get go. Hopefully, Ferguson can find a way to earn an invite to Portsmouth at the season’s end, as that was probably my one chance to watch him play this year.