Evaluating Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Greg Brown, and Kai Jones

December 6th, 2020

By Alan Lu

I came into watching the Villanova-Texas game primarily to see how Texas’ freshman forward, Greg Brown would perform against one of the best college basketball teams in the country.  Brown seemed to play significantly better in this game today than he had previously for Texas, and he made more intriguing plays this time around by far.  He was making spot-up jumpers, he demonstrated his shot-blocking prowess, and he also showed off strong athletic gifts. 

There was another player that stood out instead as having played the best in this game.  Villanova’s 6-9 sophomore forward, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl played very well on both ends of the floor, as he excelled at attacking the basket to score the basketball, did a solid job of rebounding and defending on the court, and he also showed off a solid mid-range jump shot.  Robinson-Earl scored 19 points and had 8 rebounds in his team’s impressive road win over Texas, and he had a strong performance to lead his team to the victory.  Here are my thoughts on how Robinson-Earl, Brown, and the others fared on this day, as well as where they may currently rate as prospects for the NBA.

Villanova’s sophomore forward, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had a strong showing to help lead his team to a road win over Texas today.
(Photo:
The Canadian Press, via The Sports Network (TSN))

Villanova’s 6-9 sophomore forward, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl played very well to help lead his team to a narrow win over Texas.  He is an athletic, high-motor player that excelled at making plays on both ends of the floor.

Robinson-Earl excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He ran in to score on a powerful, two-handed dunk, and he also would score on strong put backs after leaping up to get offensive rebounds for his team.  Robinson-Earl has solid athleticism and strength, and he would constantly outwork his opponents on the offensive glass to get rebounds and second chance points for his team. 

Plus, he did a fairly good job of scoring in the post.  Robinson-Earl has very good strength to get deep position down low, and he was able to score on a strong drop step move, and on a turnaround jump hook another time.  He also drove in to score on a powerful dunk while getting an extra free throw on a separate play.  He showed a penchant for scoring the basketball inside the paint, and he did not miss often in this game.

He also did a good job of making long two-point shots off of pick and pop plays, and Robinson-Earl can run off ball screens to knock down those jumpers off the catch.  He did hoist up a couple of threes, but he wasn’t quite able to make either of them from beyond the arc.

Also, he exhibited fairly average playmaking skills.  Robinson-Earl is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man to set up scoring chances for his teammates, and he can handle the ball in the open court.  However, he had more trouble handling the ball in traffic, as he had a couple of balls ripped away from him on drives.  Another time, he tried to clear out with his arm when posting up, but he ended up traveling on the play instead, as he had some trouble trying to create separation between himself and his defender.

Robinson-Earl also did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He has good strength, athleticism, and technique that allowed him to get numerous boards on both ends of the floor, and he also was able to box out a smaller defender to leap up high to get an offensive board once.  However, there was one play where he allowed an opponent to get an offensive board over him, and he then got beat on a move inside to allow a dunk that time.

He also played fairly good defense.  Robinson-Earl has solid length and positions himself well that allows him to get numerous stops for his team.  He showed solid recovery speed on a drive as he then used his length and timing to block a shot off of a drive to a teammate.  He also will deflect passes and poke balls away, and he also would actively contest jumpers to force misses.  He also showed decent footwork when defending out on the perimeter, and he was able to double an opponent to get his man to call a timeout instead.  On the downside, he doesn’t have elite lateral quickness, and he can struggle to guard quicker opponents.  Sometimes he would have trouble guarding opponents off the dribble, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  Other times, he was prone to being too aggressive with his hands defensively, which would cause him to commit some fouls.

Overall, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had a good showing in his team’s win over Texas, and he generally excelled in virtually every facet of this game.  He is a versatile player that can contribute in many different ways to help his team in games, and Robinson-Earl could be a good value pick for an NBA team in the late first to the early second round range of the 2021 draft.

Texas’ 6-9 freshman forward, Greg Brown played fairly well in his team’s loss to Villanova.  Though he did not dominate in this game and at times was too passive on offense, Brown shot the ball reasonably well, and he made some terrific defensive plays to highlight his vast upside as a prospect for the NBA.

Brown did a good job of knocking down jumpers to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He was able to make a couple of spot-up jumpers off the catch, and he also made a pull-up jumper from just inside the arc.  He was able to make a couple of long two-point shots, and he did make a deep three early on.  Over time though, he’ll have to show that he can comfortably make threes on a consistent basis.

However, he had trouble creating his own shot off the dribble as he kept being whistled for traveling calls, as he would go too fast and shuffle his feet, and the referees were very nit-picky when he would look to take the ball to the rack.  Brown also missed on a tip-in after leaping up to get an offensive rebound.  Though he ran the floor hard to get a lob pass, he wasn’t thrown a very good pass, and the ball went off his hands, which resulted in a miss for him another time.  He didn’t really look to cut to the hoop or set screens, and so Brown did not seem to be very effective as an off-ball player against Villanova.

He was quite turnover prone on offense.  Brown tended to rush his dribble moves, which would result in traveling violations.  He didn’t really look to pass the ball that much, and so he didn’t really make any noteworthy passes in this game. Brown did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He was aggressive in hauling numerous boards to help his team on the glass.

Also, Brown played fairly good defense in this game.  He did a terrific job of rotating to block shots hard off of drives an in the post, and he would usually swat balls to his teammates.  He was active in contesting jumpers to force misses, and he also showed good recovery speed to successfully challenge a shot in the post another time.

However, Brown can tend to gamble too much defensively, which can lead him to end up being out of position.  He’ll bite wildly on ball fakes, which would lead him to be out of position to cause him to commit fouls and allow scores.  He also will sometimes miss on steal attempts, which will leave his team scrambling because he would then trail his man when defending him off the dribble.  Other times, he may not be focused enough when contesting jump shots, which can lead him to allow opponents to score in the post or on mid-range jumpers.

Overall, Greg Brown has continued to progress as a prospect for the NBA, at least for the time being.  He has shown an improved outside shot lately, and he is finally starting to show the shot blocking skills that he possessed in high school.  It was a bit puzzling why he wasn’t on the floor in crunch time late in the game, as his team could’ve used his defense and spot-up shooting skills.  Right now, he is just starting to show his vast upside as a prospect for the next level, and he is currently projected by plenty of draft analysts as a candidate that could get selected in the lottery of the 2021 draft.

Texas’ 6-11 sophomore center, Kai Jones also played fairly well, even if he didn’t play or shoot the ball nearly enough in his team’s loss to Villanova.  He is a very athletic, energetic big man that has shown versatile scoring skills, and he was able to consistently make solid plays on both ends of the court.

Kai Jones showed a decent ability to knock down three-point shots to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He made a quick corner three early on to show his range, but he missed on two other shots from beyond the arc. 

He also is a very good finisher around the basket.  Jones ran the floor hard to get the ball on a backdoor cut, and he then threw down a powerful, two-handed jam to score the basketball.  Plus, Jones also used a pump fake and drove hard to the rim to score on a smooth layup while getting an extra free throw on the play.

He also displayed fairly average playmaking skills.  Jones was able to set a good on-ball screen to help get his teammate an open jump shot once in this game.  However, he also telegraphed a pass that ended up getting intercepted by a defender that led him to commit his lone turnover of the match.

On the downside, Jones actually did not grab many rebounds in this game, as he only collected a pair of defensive boards against Villanova.  He also was whistled for an over the back foul when going for an offensive board another time.

Jones played solid defense in this game.  He is an active defender that would aggressively deflect passes due to possessing good length, mobility, and anticipation skills, and he also would contest shots in the paint to force misses.  However, there was one paly where he shaded too far to his left, as he got beat off the dribble the other way, which led him to commit a foul and allow a score simultaneously.

Overall, Kai Jones is an intriguing prospect, as his size, athleticism, scoring ability, and defensive potential could enable him to go in the late first to the second round range of the 2021 draft.  He was one of the stars of the Maui Invitational, and he may be a fairly high-upside prospect that could end up being a solid role player similar to current Miami Heat forward, Kelly Olynyk in the NBA.

Villanova’s 6-3 senior guard, Collin Gillespie was able to effectively manage the game well at the point to help lead his team to a win over Texas.  Though he didn’t seem to visually stand out in this game, his ability to run the team at the point, combined with his timely outside shooting and position defense helped his team get the victory.

Gillespie did a good job of knocking down threes, as he can do so off the catch or dribble, and he would take advantage of defenders giving him ample time and space to make outside shots from beyond the arc.  He also ran the floor to score on a layup on the break.  However, he had trouble making mid-range jumpers or shots in the post in this game.

He also displayed solid playmaking skills.  Gillespie is a crafty ball handler that can get to where he needs to go with the ball in his hands, and he can throw outlet passes and kick balls to shooters to set up scores for them.  He generally passed well off the dribble and in transition.  In addition, Gillespie also took great care of the basketball, and he did not turn the ball over once on offense.

Also, Gillespie did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball, and he was able to collect a handful of boards to help his team on the glass.  He also played decent defense against Texas.  Gillespie read an opponent’s eyes and leapt far to intercept a crosscourt pass to get a nifty steal, and he also jumped on a loose ball that his teammate had poked away to help his team get another steal.  He also successfully drew a charge when defending a drive due to being in good position.  Plus, he also will contest threes to force some misses.  Sometimes though, he can be late on his rotations and may give up too much space, which can lead him to allow opponents to score on jumpers.  Another time, he ended up getting beat on a backdoor cut to allow a score, as he was a little too focused at defending out on the perimeter, that his opponent had quickly darted past him on a cut to get the ball instead.

Overall, Collin Gillespie played fairly well to help Villanova get the win over Texas.  He played unselfishly and took great care of the basketball, and he also made threes and played fairly solid position defense.  He’s not really a great athlete and he doesn’t possess overwhelming foot-speed, but his basketball IQ and ability to produce in games could enable him to be an effective backup point guard in the NBA, as his game may be similar to former Villanova player and current Chicago Bulls player, Ryan Arcidiacono.

Texas’ senior guard, Matt Coleman played fairly well, as he scored 17 points, and also threw down an impressive, high-flying dunk in the second half in his team’s loss to Villanova.
(Photo:
Michael Thomas/AP, via Hookem.com)

Texas’ senior guard, Matt Coleman also had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Villanova.  He is an athletic, skilled playmaker that can score the basketball, and he also defended well when he was on the court.  He was a bit turnover prone, but his versatile scoring skills and defensive prowess helped enable his team to stay in the game for most of the way.

Coleman did a good job of knocking down jumpers to space the floor for his team.  He excelled at making pull-up jumpers, especially from mid-range, and he also showed that he can make threes both off the catch and dribble.  Plus, he did an adequate job of scoring on drives to the basket.  Coleman was able to score on tough, reverse layups, and he also drove in hard to score on a high-flying dunk late in this game.  He did sometimes struggle to score in traffic as he showed a penchant for taking difficult shots, but Coleman showed a solid scoring touch with the ball in his hands.

On the downside, he looked to be fairly average as a playmaker.  For the positives, he can throw accurate passes off the dribble, and he can sometimes use his court vision to make nice, timely passes to create scoring chances for his teammates.  However, he also tended to be inaccurate with his passes, as some of them ended up going astray.  Another time, he was called for traveling due to carelessness.

Also, Coleman was able to get his fair share of boards on both sides of the ball, as he would chase down rebounds to get them.  He also played solid defense in this game.  He is an active, aggressive defender that would play passing lanes, poke balls away, and dive for loose balls to help his team get steals and deflections, and he also would contest jumpers to force misses.  He also managed to successfully draw a charge when defending a drive on the break as the referees also deemed it not a flop, even if he did end up doing two, back-roll somersaults afterwards on the play.  However, sometimes he can struggle to defend his man on the ball.  On one play, he was too late to rotate to his man, which led him to foul a three-point shooter.  Another time, he got outmuscled on a drive to allow a score.

Overall, Matt Coleman is an athletic, skilled lead guard that can shoot and score the basketball, and he also will play tough, aggressive defense.  He will need to be a more consistent distributor with the ball in his hands, but his athleticism and scoring ability could enable him to be an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider in the mid to late second round portion of the 2021 draft, as he could project well into a backup point guard role in the NBA.

Texas’ 6-3 junior guard, Courtney Ramey also played well in his team’s loss to Villanova.  He excelled as a shooter and scorer in this game.  He would score on speedy, strong drives to the hoop, and he also showed a knack for making pull-up jumpers.  He also was able to make threes both off the catch and dribble.

As a playmaker, he looked to be about average at best.  He is a quick guard that can consistently get into the lane, and he would throw some solid interior passes to find teammates on the move.  However, he also was quite turnover prone.  He tended to be inaccurate with his passes that would go astray, and he also committed a charging foul off of a drive due to recklessness.

Ramey was able to collect his fair share of boards to get a few rebounds in this game.  He also played solid defense when he was on the floor.  Ramey excelled at poking balls away and challenging jump shots to get stops for his team.  He also was able to successfully draw a charge on an opposing ball handler another time.  However, sometimes he can be too aggressive in making plays out on the perimeter, as he fouled a three-point shooter, and also bit on a ball fake to allow a three-point score another time.

Overall, Courtney Ramey is an athletic, skilled combo guard that can put the ball in the hoop, but he will need to improve in the other facets of the game.  He will need to show that he can effectively run the point, but his ability to knock down shots could enable him to be a solid second round candidate for the upcoming draft.

Villanova’s Jermaine Samuels is an athletic, 6-7 senior forward that had a decent showing in his team’s win over Texas.  He did a tremendous job of rebounding the basketball, and he also passed the ball well, as he can do so out of the post as well as in transition. 

Though he struggled to make jumpers, he showed a decent ability to drive the ball to the hoop to score, and he also scored on a turnaround jump hook to display his ability to score in the post.  Samuels also played adequate defense.  He can jump passes and poke balls away to get steals, and he also contested a corner three to force a miss another time.  However, sometimes he can struggle to defend opponents off of drives or cuts, which would allow his opponents to score inside the paint.

Overall, Jermaine Samuels is an athletic, energetic player that showed that he can do team things fairly well when he is on the court.  He will need to significantly improve his jump shot, but if he continues to play well, he could end up competing for a roster spot in the NBA.

Villanova’s 6-4 sophomore guard, Justin Moore played very well in his team’s win over Texas.  He excelled as a spot-up shooter and scorer on offense.  He made spot-up threes off the catch, and also showed a knack for drawing free throws when hoisting up outside shots from long distances.  He also backed his man down to score in the post, and he also was effective at using dribble moves to score on strong layups.

He also played solid position defense, and he would actively contest shots to force misses.  On the downside, he didn’t grab as many rebounds as he could have, and he also committed a couple of turnovers due to carelessness.  Overall though, Moore played well as he scored 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting, and he made 2 threes to help his team get the win.  Moore’s jump shot could get him to the NBA level, and if he continues to shoot the ball very well, he could end up being able to carve out a career as a serviceable rotation player in the NBA.

Texas’ 6-4 redshirt junior guard, Andrew Jones did not play very well in this game.  He did a good job of rebounding the basketball, as he would tend to push the ball up the court, but he shot the ball very poorly in his team’s loss to Villanova.  

He did score on a crafty, switch of hands layup off of a baseline drive once, but he would miss on off-balanced, contested layups other times.  Jones made an open corner three once, but he had trouble getting his shot to fall on a consistent basis, as he missed too many three-point shots from beyond the arc.

As a playmaker, Jones was able to find a cutter that outran his defender to set up a score at the rim, but he also stepped out of bounds on a drive to commit a turnover on a separate possession.  Defensively, Jones looked to be fairly average.  He excelled as a help defender, but his on-ball defense was not nearly as good in this game.  He was able to intercept a pass to get a steal, was able to tie up an opposing ball handler to get another, and he also jumped on a loose ball that was poked away by a teammate.  However, he would tend to give up too much space to shooters to allow opponents to score on three-point shots, and he also would not quite be in position when trying to draw charges or defending in the post.

Overall, Jones showed flashes of his potential, but he still scored just 5 points on 2 of 10 shooting in his team’s loss to Villanova.  Right now, he will have to play better on offense, but if he makes it to the NBA, it seems that defense could be his calling card.    Jones has not shot the ball very well or taken much care of the basketball, and so he will need to spend more time in school to hone his overall game.

Texas’ 6-9 senior big man, Jericho Sims is an athletic, high-motor player that flashed some of his skills that got him early draft buzz when he was an underclassman, but he did not play well overall in his team’s loss to Villanova.

At times, Sims was able to dazzle with the scores he made in the post.  He managed to use a spin move to score on a jump hook, and he also dribbled off of an offensive rebound to score on a powerful put back dunk another time.  Sims was active at crashing the offensive glass, and he also managed to score on a tip-in.  However, he missed too often when posting up smaller defenders, and it was disappointing that he only scored 7 points on 3 of 7 shooting in this game.

On the plus side, he was able to pass from the post to find an open shooter to get an assist, and Sims will set hard screens to help his teammates get more space to dribble the basketball.  However, he was called for setting a moving screen once, which led him to commit his only turnover.

Sims also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball, and he was able to haul in boards on both ends of the floor.  However, he will need to improve his defense.  For the positives, he has the length and strength to contest shots in the post and mid-range jumpers to force some misses.  On the downside, Sims struggled more to defend in space, as he would really struggle to defend pick and rolls, which would lead him to commit reach-in fouls when guarding opposing ball handlers, or to allow opponents to score on jumpers off of pick and pop plays.

Overall, Jericho Sims had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Villanova, but he wasn’t consistently effective enough to quite make a positive impact to help his team in this game.  Sims will need to be a more consistent scorer in the paint, but he will need to extend his shooting range and improve his defense.  Still, he is a very athletic big man that plays hard, and he could be talented enough to end up getting a training camp invite to an NBA team’s roster sometime down the road.

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