Evaluating Keve Aluma, Dereon Seabron, and Terquavion Smith

April 22nd, 2022

By Alan Lu

Terquavion Smith is an athletic, combo guard that played his freshman season at NC State before recently declaring to enter the NBA draft.  He’s seen his draft stock climb up, and so I wanted to take the time to watch him play to assess his skills.  I decided to watch him and Dereon Seabron play against Virginia Tech in a January 19th game, with thanks to YouTube via cylonwolf.  Smith looked to be an agile, combo guard that can knock down jumpers and defend, but he also looked to be a streaky shooter that displayed spotty shot selection at times, and he will also need to improve his playmaking skills.

As for the game itself, Virginia Tech got off to a big lead to open the game, but NC State kept chipping away.  NC State was nearly able to come all the way back to win it, but Virginia Tech held them off to get the win by playing good defense and by getting key stops in the end.  Keve Aluma and Dereon Seabron looked to have played the best in this game. Terquavion Smith had a shaky first half, but seemed to play much better in the second half, while it seemed to be nearly the reverse for Virginia Tech’s senior forward, Justyn Mutts.  Here are my thoughts on how Aluma, Seabron, Smith, and other various prospects fared on this day.

Keve Aluma did a good job of making plays in both halves, and he led Virginia Tech to get a narrow win over NC State on this day. He currently projects to be a borderline second round candidate for the 2022 draft.
(Photo:
Ethan Hyman/The News & Observer via Associated Press, via The San Diego-Union Tribune)

Keve Aluma had a solid showing to help Virginia Tech get the win over NC State in this game.  He is an agile, skilled combo forward that showed off solid, all-around skills to help his team get the victory. Aluma did a good job of scoring in the post.  He would get deep position, which would enable him to score on jump hooks, as he can do so using either hand.  He also was able to score another time after getting the ball around the basket. 

He also thrived at scoring on hustle plays.  He ran the floor to score on an emphatic dunk on the break.  He ran in to score on a quick put back off of an offensive rebound.  On the downside, he struggled to score on face-up plays in this contest.  He missed on an open three, and he also missed on a right-handed drive in traffic another time.

As a playmaker, he looked to be about average at best.  Aluma can throw solid passes out of the post, and he also can set firm, on-ball screens to help his teammates get open driving lanes.  He was able to throw a bounce pass out of the post to find a cutter to notch an assist, due to possessing solid patience and court vision that time.  However, sometimes he would struggle to handle the ball when pressured, especially when operating out of the post, which led to a several ball-handling turnovers.

Also, Aluma did a terrific job of rebounding the basketball.  He would often chase down balls to help his team get boards on both ends of the floor, and he also showed a good motor to help his team get extra boards.  He also played satisfactory defense.  Aluma blocked the shot hard out of bounds when defending a drive late in this game to get a key stop for his team.  He also did a good job of holding his ground when defending in the post, and he would contest shots in the paint to force misses.  He also used his length to actively contest a long two to get another stop.  He also leapt up to deflect a pass out of bounds on a separate possession.  On the downside, there was one play where he was late to get back, as he ended up fouling an opponent on a drive in transition to also give up the basket that time.

In general, Keve Aluma played fairly well, as he especially thrived as a scorer, rebounder, and defender in this game.  He made solid team plays in this game overall.  He was a little too unselfish at times as he didn’t take as many shots as expected, and he was a little turnover prone, but he put forth a solid performance overall.  Aluma is an agile, skilled big man that can do a little bit of everything. On the other hand, he is undersized to play inside, and he may have to show teams that he can consistently play out on the perimeter to show that he can also play small forward, if necessary. Currently, he projects to be a borderline second round candidate for the 2022 draft.

NC State’s sophomore swingman, Dereon Seabron is an aggressive, athletic player that can score, pass, and rebound the basketball, and he currently projects to be a second round prospect for the 2022 draft.
(Photo:
Jessica Hill/Associated Press, via WTKR)

Dereon Seabron also had a solid showing in his team’s loss to Virginia Tech.  He is an athletic, energetic point forward that thrived at attacking the basket to score and get assists in this game, and he also made good defensive plays to help his team when he was on the court.

Seabron showed a knack for scoring on strong drives in transition.  He is an athletic swingman that has a solid first step to the hoop combined with having solid strength for a player his size, and he would often score on right-handed drives on fast breaks.  He also showed a knack for using crafty, subtle Euro-step moves to get past his defenders to score, and he was also able to score on an athletic dunk. 

He also did a decent job of scoring off the dribble.  He would tend to score on strong, right-hand drives to the hoop, and he also showed a knack for getting fouled to get to the free throw line.  He also drew free throws when hoisting up a pull-up, mid-range jumper.  However, sometimes he would take tough, off-balanced shots that would lead to misses, especially when he wouldn’t get foul calls.  Plus, he also did not take a single three-point shot in this game, and he will need to improve his outside shot and extend his shooting range moving forward.

On the other hand, Seabron was quite turnover prone on offense.  For the positives, he is an unselfish player that can pass and handle the basketball, and he would make drive and kick passes to set up scores for his teammates.  However, sometimes he would tend to rush himself, which would lead him to commit ball-handling turnovers.  Other times, he would throw inaccurate, rushed passes that would end up going astray.

Also, Seabron was able to chase down balls to get his fair share of rebounds in this game, and he would often tend to push the ball quickly off of defensive rebounds.  On one play though, he didn’t box out his man, and a bigger player outmuscled him, which caused him to allow a put back score.  He also played decent defense.  Seabron was able to jump on a loose ball to get a steal, and he also jumped a pass to get another.  He also hustled back to poke a ball away to nearly get a steal another time.  He also defended a shot in the post to force a miss.  He also showed solid lateral quickness to stay in front of opposing ball handlers, and he also helped force a shot clock violation once.  Sometimes though, he would be caught ball watching, and it would lead him to give up open shots.  Other times, he would be too aggressive defensively, and he bit on a pump fake that led him to wind up out of position and it put his team in a scramble situation that caused them to give up a basket.

In summary, Seabron played fairly well, and he is an athletic, aggressive point forward that showed off a variety of skills to help his team in this game.  He will still need to work on his jump shot and get stronger, but he is a talented prospect that could end up being a second round pick if he decides to enter and stay in the 2022 draft this year.

Terquavion Smith is an agile, skilled combo guard that can knock down jumpers and defend in games, but he was up and down as a shooter and scorer against Virginia Tech.  He really struggled to make shots in the first half, but he was able to find his shooting stroke in the second half to help his team stay in the game.

Smith thrived at scoring on quick drives in transition.  He was able to drive quickly to his left to score on an off-balanced, baseline floater.  He also nearly scored on a high-flying, breakaway dunk, but it didn’t count because his teammate was called for committing a foul beforehand.

He also did an adequate job of shooting the basketball.  Smith showed that he can knock down open, spot-up threes off the catch, and he also was able to make a quick three-pointer in transition.  On the downside, Smith was quite streaky with his outside shot, and he especially struggled to knock down pull-up jumpers.  Smith would tend to force up tough, difficult shots, which led to some bad misses, especially early on, and it also didn’t help that he wasn’t able to get foul calls despite drawing contact from his defenders on some of those shots.  He also struggled to consistently score off the dribble, especially when operating in half-court sets.  Smith had trouble scoring in traffic, and he also had his shot blocked midway through this match.

Smith didn’t look to pass the ball very often, and he wasn’t really operating as the team’s point guard in this game.  Actually, when his team won the tip, they had Seabron bring the ball up the court, and Smith operated as more of an off-ball, shooting guard instead.  Smith showed a heavy, score-first mindset, and he primarily looked to take outside shots, but he also showed that he can make passes off the dribble, and he also pushed the ball off of a defensive board to throw a skip pass to a shooter on the break another time.  However, sometimes he would try to do too much when handling the basketball, and he had a ball ripped away from him to turn the ball over once.

He didn’t grab many rebounds, but Smith was able to chase down a ball to get a defensive board, as he then pushed the ball quickly up the floor.  He also played solid defense.  Smith is an athletic, active defender that would get steals and apply considerable ball pressure to make it difficult for his opponents to pass and handle the basketball.  Smith ran in to poke a ball away from a post player to get a steal.  He also showed a knack for jumping passes to get other steals, and he also chased down a loose ball that his teammate deflected to help get another. 

He also has solid lateral quickness that would enable him to cut off penetration when defending opposing ball handlers, and he also would close out hard on three-point shooters to force misses.  On the downside, there was one play where he bit on a ball fake, which led him to commit a foul on a drive due to winding up out of position.  While he would sometimes cheat too far off his man and over-help in the paint, smith showed good closeout speed to be able to recover to contest outside shots.

Overall, Terquavion Smith had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Virginia Tech, but he definitely showed some promising skills along the way.  He is an athletic combo guard that can knock down outside shots, he can throw down dunks on the break, and he generally played tough, pesky defense when he was on the floor.  He will need to improve his shot selection and show NBA teams that he can reliably run the point.  He’s not exactly a polished prospect, but Smith showed some skills that could enable him to be a better player in the NBA than he was in college. He possesses an intriguing blend of athleticism, shooting and defensive skills that could enable him to project to be a rotation-caliber guard in the NBA, similar to current Phoenix Suns’ point guard, Aaron Holiday in the association.

Justyn Mutts is a strong, energetic combo forward that played fairly well to help Virginia Tech get the win.  He especially thrived at making plays in the first half.  He struggled with turnovers in the second half, but he was able to show off a variety of skills to help his team to get the victory.

Mutts showed a solid ability to score in the post.  He showed good strength, footwork, and scoring touch to finish plays around the basket.  He scored on a reverse layup, used a spin move to score on a turnaround layup, and he also scored on a powerful dunk.  However, he had trouble consistently scoring on turnaround jumpers.  Mutts also thrived at scoring on backdoor cuts.  Plus, he also moved off the ball to knock down an open, spot-up three to showcase his shooting skills.

He also looked to be fairly average as a playmaker in this game.  Mutts is an unselfish player that threw solid interior passes out of the post to notch assists, and he also showed that he can throw accurate passes on fast breaks.  However, sometimes he would throw hasty passes that would get intercepted.  Other times, he would struggle to handle the ball when pressured, which would lead him to commit offensive fouls and ball-handling turnovers.

Also, he did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  Mutts is a strong, combo forward that would chase down balls to get boards on both ends of the floor.  He also played good defense in this game.  Mutts would block shots to help his team protect the paint, and he also deflected a pass to nearly get a steal.  He also would contest threes to force misses.

Overall, Mutts had a solid showing to help his team get the win in this game.  He showed off a variety of skills in this match, and while he will need to trust his outside shot more and improve his handles, Mutts is an energetic combo forward that could project into a defensive specialist role in the NBA.

Jericole Hellems had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Virginia Tech.  He’s normally known for his outside shooting, but he struggled with his three-point shot in this game.  He did a much better job of making shots inside the arc to help his team on offense.

Hellems showed a knack for scoring in the post.  He would often score smoothly on tough, fadeaway jumpers, and he would absorb the contact afterwards.  He also ran the floor to get the ball, and he used a pump fake and dribbled to his right to score on a pull-up, mid-range jumper.  Plus, Hellems also did a good job of scoring on strong, right-handed drives, and he took on quite a bit of contact that would normally net him foul calls if this were any other game.

He struggled to find his shooting touch from beyond the arc, but Hellems was able to make a wide-open corner three in transition late in this game.  Also, Hellems displayed satisfactory playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that can pass off the dribble as well as out of the post, and on one play, he pushed the ball up the court and kicked it out to an open shooter to notch an assist on the break.  However, there was another play where he over-dribbled and ended up having the ball ripped away from him to commit a turnover.

Also, Hellems was able to get boards on both ends of the floor to help chip in on the glass, and he would tend to push the ball up the court after getting defensive rebounds.  However, he would sometimes get outmuscled by his opponents, which would lead opponents to get offensive rebounds in his area.  Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  Hellems did a good job of playing with verticality to help his team get some stops.  He blocked a shot when defending in the post.  He also would look to stay in front of opposing ball handlers, and he was able to contest a couple of jumpers to force misses.  He also helped trap an opposing ball handler in the backcourt to help force his opponent to commit a traveling violation late in this match.  On the downside, he would tend to misplay passes, which would lead him to wind up out of position.  Other times, he would get beat off the dribble by quicker players.  Sometimes, he would over-help in the paint, and be late to rotate back or to contest shots, which would lead him to give up open three-point shots.

Overall, Hellems had some good moments in this game.  He struggled with his three-point shot, but he did a good job of scoring in the post and off the dribble, and he also generally passed the ball well.  He will need to be a more consistent outside shooter in games, and he will need to improve his defense, but if things pan out for him, he could project into a 3 and D role in the NBA.

Storm Murphy had a decent showing in this game. He didn’t shoot the ball well, but he made solid team plays to help Virginia Tech get the win.  He didn’t shoot the ball very well overall, but Murphy was able to make an open three at the top of the key after running off a ball screen to get the ball.  He also managed to use a spin move to score off of a drive to the hoop.  On the downside, he often struggled to make spot-up threes or pull-up, mid-range jumpers in this game.

He also displayed fairly solid playmaking skills.  Murphy showed that he can make an assortment of passes off the dribble, and he is a patient player that tends to throw good passes.  He also dribbled in and threw a bounce pass to a cutter to notch an assist.  He also generally made good decisions with the ball in his hands when he would look to distribute the basketball.

While he didn’t get many rebounds in this game, Murphy was able to get boards on both ends of the floor, and he would chase down balls to get a board on each end of the floor due to possessing a good motor.  He also played satisfactory defense in this game.  Murphy ran in to intercept a pass to get a steal.  He would often contest shots, both out on the perimeter and in the paint to get numerous stops for his team.  He also successfully drew a charge when defending a drive due to good positioning.  However, on one play, he didn’t actively contest a floater when defending a drive in transition, which led him to give up the basket.  Another time, he was called for fouling an opposing ball handler, as he tripped up his man on that occasion.

Overall, Storm Murphy is a smart, high-motor point guard that operates fairly well as a game-managing point guard on offense.  He didn’t shoot the ball very well in this contest, but he passed and handled the ball well, and he also played tough, feisty defense in this contest.  He may only be an average athlete, doesn’t possess ideal size for the point guard position, and he doesn’t look to shoot the ball enough, but Murphy’s ability to run the point and compete could enable him to carve out a playing career in professional basketball.

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