Evaluating Jordan Ford and Yoeli Childs in the WCC Tournament

March 10th, 2020

by Alan Lu

The game between Saint Mary’s and BYU took place late yesterday in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference tournament, and it was a slugfest in which neither team reached 60 points, but Saint Mary’s was able to rally from behind to get a one-point win over BYU due to the strong play of Jordan Ford, who also made the game-winning mid-range shot with 1.4 seconds left in this game. Here are my thoughts on how Jordan Ford, Yoeli Childs, and other various players fared on this day.

Saint Mary's senior guard, Jordan Ford played very well, as he scored 18 points and made the game-winning basket to lead his team to a win over BYU in the West Coast Conference tournament.  (Photo: Isaac Brekken/The Associated Press, via ABC4.com.)
Saint Mary’s senior guard, Jordan Ford played very well, as he scored 18 points and made the game-winning basket to lead his team to a win over BYU in the West Coast Conference tournament. (Photo: Isaac Brekken/The Associated Press, via ABC4.com.)

Saint Mary’s 6-1 senior guard, Jordan Ford had a solid showing to help get his team the win over BYU, as he was able to overcome a slow start by having a strong second half to get the victory for his team. He excelled as a shot maker and scorer, and he also was active defensively as he was able to get two steals. He’s a crafty offensive player that showed a knack for making deep threes, smooth pull-up, mid-range jumpers, and he also can score on floaters off the dribble. He did sometimes miss shots off of drives in traffic, as he can struggle to get all the way to the basket, but Ford is such an agile player that he can quickly get his shot off using deft ball handling and short bursts.

Though he didn’t look to pass too often, Ford’s strong ability to make shots made it so that defenders had to be up on him, and he was able to draw in multiple defenders at times to find open shooters to set up scoring chances for them. He also moves well off the ball on offense. He was called for a charging foul once when driving in to try to score on a floater, but generally Ford showed off adequate playmaking skills due to his ability to score and make plays on the floor.

Plus, he also was able to get his fair share of defensive boards to help his team on the glass. Ford also played adequate defense. He was able to intercept a pass to get a steal, and he also poked a ball away on a drive to help his team collect another. On the downside, his lack of size made it tough for him to contest jumpers of taller opponents, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

In general, Jordan Ford is a very skilled, crafty playmaker that excelled as a shooter and shot maker on the floor. Though he doesn’t seem to show overwhelming foot-speed at first glance, Ford is a subtly, very agile player that possesses solid ball handling skills and footwork, and he was able to get any shot he wanted to down the stretch. Early in the second half, Ford actually wasn’t being aggressive enough to try to take shots on offense, but he was able to take over by making a barrage of shots late in this game. Right now, he may be a borderline second round candidate for the upcoming draft. NBA teams will want to know if he can effectively run the point at the next level and if he can guard taller, more athletic players, but Ford is a talented player that may have the skills to thrive in the NBA as a role player in the association.

BYU's senior forward, Yoeli Childs had a fairly good showing despite having committed too many turnovers in his team's loss to Saint Mary's in the West Coast Conference tournament.  (Photo: Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo, via KSLSports.com.)
BYU’s senior forward, Yoeli Childs had a fairly good showing despite having committed too many turnovers in his team’s loss to Saint Mary’s in the West Coast Conference tournament. (Photo: Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo, via KSLSports.com.)

BYU’s 6-8 senior forward, Yoeli Childs played fairly well in his team’s loss to Saint Mary’s. He started off fairly slowly, excelled as a scorer midway through this game, and then he strangely seemed to fade into the background as this game wound down to a close.

In the early going, Childs struggled with turnovers. He committed lots of turnovers, and he ended up committing far too many of them in this game. He had a tendency to get the ball stripped when handling it and trying to score off the dribble, and he also would throw hasty passes that would go astray. While he was able to set a good on-ball screen to help his teammate get open to knock down a jumper, that alone wasn’t nearly enough to offset the five turnovers he committed on offense.

Childs showed a fairly good ability to score in the post. He is a strong, mobile player that is at his best when he is able to get deep post position on the block, and that would enable him to score on plenty of strong, turnaround jump hooks. He also made a quick rip move from the high post to score on a powerful dunk, and he can outmuscle his opponents to get scores down low. However, he also tended to miss too many easy shots around the basket, and he also had a tendency to miss shots in traffic, as he was prone to rushing his shots down the stretch, and he also had a couple of his shots blocked when taking them from around the basket.

He also did a good job of scoring on jumpers to provide floor spacing for his team. Childs was able to make a couple of open threes from beyond the arc, and he also was able to make one on a pick and pop play from way out. He also caught the ball in the high post, and turned to take a face-up mid-range jumper, and drew free throws on a crafty rip move when attempting to take the shot. Childs also showed a good ability to get free throws when crashing the glass. However, he had trouble making his free throws, so he didn’t quite capitalize on his trips to the foul line as much as he should have.

Also, Childs did a good job of rebounding the basketball. He would leap up to haul in boards on both ends of the floor. He was called for committing a foul after missing out on an offensive rebound attempt once, and he also allowed a put back score to a taller opponent another time.

However, Childs will need to improve his defense. For the positives, he was able to intercept a pass to get a steal. He also rotated to contest a drive to force a miss, and he also defended straight up in the post to help force his man to commit a traveling violation another time. He can defend well when he’s in position to do so. On the downside, he had trouble guarding taller, more athletic opponents off the dribble. Sometimes he wouldn’t show much resistance when defending in the post, and his lack of size made it tough for him to aptly contest shots, as opponents would just shoot over him to score on the block. Childs also tended to struggle to guard opponents in space. He also sagged too far off his man on a switch, which led him to allow his man to score on a three-point shot. He also got beat on a step back move and gave up too much space another time, which allowed his opponent to score on a pull-up, mid-range jumper.

In summary, Childs is a mobile, physical combination forward that can score the basketball in a variety of ways, but he also tended to commit too many turnovers and defensive mishaps in this game. He will need to improve his playmaking and defensive skills, as he is not a lock to be selected in the 2020 draft, but if he can be effective enough in contributing in those areas, he could perhaps find a way to provide some value to an NBA team as a rotational combo forward off the bench at the next level.

BYU’s 6-5 redshirt senior guard, Jake Toolson had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Saint Mary’s. On one hand, he showed off his strong ability to make outside shots, as he would tend to make deep threes off the dribble, and he also was able to make a step back three from well beyond the arc. He also is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he can pick up assists by making timely passes, and he also threw a long outlet pass to set up a scoring chance for a teammate on the break.

However, he was too turnover prone in this game on offense. He had a tendency to throw hasty passes that would get intercepted and wind up out of bounds, and he also had the ball ripped away from him a couple of times when handling the ball by his opponents.

Toolson did a good job of rebounding the basketball, as he would chase down balls to get boards, and he even boxed out an opponent to get a defensive rebound once. He was able to intercept an inaccurate inbounds pass to get a steal, but he also struggled with his on-ball defense. He tended to struggle to defend out on the perimeter, as this would lead his team to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Toolson is a good shooter that can knock down pull-up threes off the dribble, and he also rebounded the ball well. However, he also committed too many careless turnovers, and also seemed to struggle defensively. Toolson is a player that may only possess average athletic gifts, and he struggled to get all the way to the basket, or to limit turnovers on offense. Still, Toolson is a player that can shoot the basketball, and his strong ability to knock down jumpers could enable him to make an NBA team’s summer league roster either later this year or sometime down the road.

Saint Mary’s 6-8 redshirt junior forward, Malik Fitts struggled for most of this game, as he did not shoot the ball well in his team’s close win over BYU, but he was able to make enough plays down the stretch, as he was able to score on a floater off of a right-handed drive, as well as rotate to block a shot off of a drive to help get his team the victory.

Fitts struggled to score efficiently in this game, but he was able to flash the ability to score off of drives, and he would draw fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line. He tended to miss on floaters though, and he had trouble scoring in traffic.   He was able to make an open three off of a pick and pop play, but Fitts struggled to consistently make his threes from beyond the arc.

He also displayed fairly average playmaking skills in this game. Fitts would sometimes make the extra pass to keep the ball moving, but he was unable to pick up an assist in this game. There was one play where he dribbled right into traffic, and when he passed out from a double team, it led his team to commit a shot clock violation by the time he made the pass. His lone turnover of the game came when he was called for a traveling violation when dribbling in from the high post due to taking one too many steps.

Fitts also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball. He was active at crashing the glass to help his team get boards on both ends of the floor, but sometimes he would be caught ball watching or forget to block out, and he would end up fouling opponents on put backs to allow scores and extra free throws. Also, there was another play where a ball went off his hands on a defensive rebounding attempt that went to an opponent instead.

He also defended well in this game. Fitts was able to rotate to block a shot off of a high post drive due to possessing good athleticism, timing, and instincts, and he also was able to run back on defense to intercept a pass to get a steal. He is an active help defender that can make plays on the ball, and he excelled at intercepting passes to help his team force turnovers. He also would actively contest shots to force misses.

Overall, Malik Fitts did not have his best game, but he is an athletic combo forward that may possess the ability to defend multiple positions at the next level. He will need to show that he can consistently make jump shots and ably create his own shot off the dribble, but still, he may be an intriguing player to watch, and he could potentially be a second round pick in 2021.

BYU’s 6-4 senior guard, Tyler Haws struggled in his team’s loss to Saint Mary’s. He initially showed some interesting skills, but then really struggled to make shots in his team’s loss in this game.

Haws was able to make a smooth, step back three off the dribble, and he is a talented shooter that can make quick outside shots from well beyond the arc. However, he tended to miss three-point shots off the catch as well as on drives, and he was unable to knock down pull-up, mid-range jumpers that attempted on the floor. He was able to score on a quick, backdoor cut, but Haws just did not shoot the ball very well on offense against Saint Mary’s.

He did a decent job of passing the basketball, and Haws would throw nice touch passes to find shooters and teammates around the basket to notch assists. He threw a nice touch pass to find a teammate in the post, and he also threw an accurate lob pass to a roll man to set up a score another time. However, he also can tend to throw hasty passes on occasion, and he also had a couple of passes that wound up being picked off by his defenders.

Though he didn’t grab many boards overall, he was able to get rebounds on both sides of the ball.   Haws also played decent defense in this game. He showed a knack for drawing charges when defending opponents off of drives as well as in the post, and he would actively contest shots to force misses. Haws also managed to poke a ball away in the post off of an opponent to help force a turnover. On the downside, he can be too aggressive defensively, which can lead him to commit touch fouls. He also bit on a pump fake in which he got beat off the dribble, as he ended up allowing a crosscourt pass that set up a three-point basket for an opponent. He also got beat on a baseline drive another time, which led him to allow a basket to his man that time.

Overall, T.J. Haws did not play very well in his team’s loss, and he also got into an unnecessary verbal scuffle with an opponent in which he and another player received double technicals. Haws is a seasoned veteran at this level, and he is a player that can knock down outside shots, and also effectively make plays on both ends of the floor, but his lack of elite physical tools can make it tough for him to get his shot off when his threes are not going down. Right now, he may be a long shot to be drafted, and he will need to show that he can play well against more athletic players, but his jump shot could be his calling card to the NBA, and in a favorable scenario, Haws could project to be a shooting specialist for a team off the bench in the association.