Evaluating Marvin Bagley III and Mohamed Bamba in the Duke-Texas Game

November 24, 2017

by Alan Lu

This afternoon, I tuned in to watch Marvin Bagley III and Duke play against Mohamed Bamba and Texas in the Motion Bracket part of the PK80 Classic, as this was a highly anticipated matchup that featured two prospects that could go in the top 5 of the 2018 NBA Draft.  This game did not disappoint as it lived up to its billing, and it was a hard-fought one that went all the way to overtime.  In the end, Bagley put on a tremendous showing, as he helped lead Duke to a tough, gritty come from behind win over Texas.  Here are my thoughts on how he, Bamba, and the other various prospects performed on this day.

Duke’s 6-11 freshman big man, Marvin Bagley III played really well, as he showed versatile scoring skills, rebounded the basketball very well, and he displayed great athleticism and motor to help his team get the victory over Texas.  Bagley possesses a very good ability to score in the post.  He can frequently score on left-handed jump hooks, and he also can use drop step moves.  Plus, he has very good hands, and he was also able to throw down an emphatic dunk after catching an entry pass.

In addition, he also showed a very good ability to score off the dribble.  He has a solid first step to the hoop, and he can get buckets or draw free throws on high post drives.  Bagley also shot the ball well, as he was able to make a nifty, pull-up three from beyond the arc.  Also, he is an active, high motor player that can often score on hustle plays, as he will run the floor to score on fast breaks, rolls, put backs, and garbage plays around the basket.  He has good body control, footwork, and shooting touch to score on a reverse layup, and he can frequently throw down thunderous dunks.

Bagley also displayed terrific rebounding skills.  He was basically like a chairman on the boards, as he would frequently haul in boards on both ends of the floor, and he would also capitalize off of offensive rebounds to score on put backs.  He did once committed a foul by pushing an opponent in the back when going for a defensive board, but generally Bagley rebounded really well due to possessing great size, leaping ability, motor, and instincts to do so.  He also displayed adequate defensive skills.  Bagley is a quick, agile player that can play passing lanes, and he was able to leap up to intercept a lob pass to obtain a steal.  He also will contest numerous shots, as he can defend against jumpers, drives, and in the post to force misses.

On the other hand, sometimes he will overhelp in the paint, as he may give up too much space to his man, which can lead his opponents to garner scores.  Other times, he may not rotate in time, which can allow the opposition to score on easy buckets in the paint.  Bagley also did not block any shots in this game, so he might not end up being an elite rim protector at the next level.  He also displayed decent playmaking skills for a big man.  Bagley was able to throw an entry pass to set up a score for his team.  However, he did commit some turnovers, as a couple of them were off of drives.  Bagley had a ball poked away from him, and he also committed a charging foul.  In addition, he also lost a ball after getting a rebound, as his team lost possession of it to the opposition that time.

In general, Marvin Bagley III had a tremendous game, as he really excelled as a scorer and rebounder when he was on the floor.   With Michael Porter Jr. out for the season due to a back injury, Bagley may be looking to take up the mantle as perhaps the new frontrunner to be the top pick for the upcoming draft.  There are a lot of really skilled players at the top of the draft, but Bagley’s strong play against Texas may indicate that he could at least be a sure bet to go in the top 3 in 2018.

Texas’ freshman center, Mohamed Bamba had a fairly good showing as he generally excelled as a rebounder, shot blocker, and interior defender when he was on the floor.  He did foul out of this game, but he defended very well when he played, as Texas fell apart in overtime due to him not being able to participate in that period.  Bamba played very good defense when he was on the floor. He excelled at blocking shots and changing shot trajectories to force misses, as he can rotate from the blind side to prevent opponents from scoring on drives.  He also will play passing lanes, as he was able to deflect a pass out of bounds.

However, sometimes he will gamble a bit too much, which can lead him to be out of position  at times.  Occasionally, he may over-rotate or go for a steal and miss, which can cause his man to end up scoring around the basket.  Late in the game, he was a bit late to rotate on a drive, and he ended up fouling out when trying to swat a shot on a drive.  Also, Bamba showed a very good ability to rebound the basketball.  He especially excelled at hauling in defensive rebounds, as he would often leap up quickly to do so.  However, he did commit a couple of reach-in fouls, as one was off of an opponent’s put back, and another was shortly after an opponent intercepted a lob pass that was intended for him.

Plus, he showed an adequate ability to score in the post.  Bamba managed to use a drop step move to score on a jump hook, and he also excelled at drawing free throws, but he did miss a turnaround jumper as well as a turnaround jump hook, as he struggled with his shooting touch at times on the block, despite showing a good ability to back down his man.  Bamba also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He ran the floor hard, and he was able to get the ball as a trailer in order to score on a thunderous dunk in transition.  He also showed an improved ability to knock down jumpers, as he was able to make an open, pull-up mid-range shot.  However, Bamba missed both of his three-point attempts, as he still has plenty of trouble when trying to make shots from beyond the arc.

He also showed off adequate playmaking skills.  Bamba showed the ability to bring the ball up, as sometimes he would do so off of offensive rebounds.  He also played unselfishly, as he would look to make the extra pass.  He did not commit many turnovers, but he did so one time, as he committed a carrying violation when he faced significant ball pressure.

In general, Mohamed Bamba played fairly well, as he played solid defense, and he also rebounded the ball well.  Also, he showed more of an ability to score in a variety of ways in this game compared to the previous one.  On the downside, he still struggled to consistently make jumpers, and he ended up being called for numerous fouls, as he ended up fouling out of the game.  Even so, he had a good showing in this game, and he could still be a likely bet to go in the top 5 in the upcoming draft.

Gary Trent Jr. had a fairly good game for Duke, and even though he did not make any of his three-point shots, he helped out in virtually other category, as he excelled as a scorer when he was on the floor.  He showed a knack for attacking the basket to garner scores off the dribble, and he possesses a good ability to score on floaters.  Trent would make the extra pass to find the open man, and he also rebounded really well.

Defensively, he would position himself in ways to get the opponent to commit fouls, and on one play, he fought through a screen to do so.  He would occasionally give up too much space to shooters, but generally Trent played adequate defense.  In general, this was a better showing for Gary Trent Jr.  Though he struggled with his outside shot, he played well in all of the other areas, and he could be establishing his footing as a second round prospect if he will end up declaring to be in the upcoming draft.

Texas’ 6-4 junior combo guard, Kerwin Roach II played very well in his team’s overtime loss to Duke.  He excelled at driving the ball to the basket to garner scores, as he threw down many magnetic dunks, including one over Javin DeLaurier towards the end of the first half.  He also played good defense, as he excelled at drawing charges.

Also, he was able to make an open three off the catch.  He did not grab many rebounds or assists, but Roach did a great job of making shots, as he would usually attack the basket to score on half-court drives as well as in transition.  Roach is a very athletic player that can score the basketball, but he will need to improve his playmaking skills, and show that he can consistently knock down outside shots.  Even so, he could an intriguing prospect that could end up being a second round pick in 2018.

Wendell Carter Jr. had a fairly good showing, as he excelled as an inside scorer and rebounder when he was on the floor.  He had his struggles with position defense and turnovers, but he was able to collect yet another double-double in a win for his team.  Carter did a very good job of scoring in the low post.  He was able to knock down a couple of turnaround jumpers, and he also excelled at drawing free throws due to possessing solid footwork, strength, and body control to do so.  Also, he would generally finish plays around the basket to score on hustle plays, and he also managed to throw down a couple of powerful dunks.  However, he did miss on a high post drive, and he did not look to take a jumper against Texas.

He also showed off fairly average playmaking skills.  Carter showed a willingness to throw interior passes, and he will hit the cutter on occasion, but sometimes, he can be inaccurate with his passes, as he may throw it too hard to his teammates, and he also traveled once on a drive in transition.  Carter did a very good job of rebounding the basketball, and he would often leap up to collect boards for his team.  However, he showed off average at best defensive skills.  For the positives, he managed to make a chase down block after getting back to the roll man, and he also jumped an entry pass to collect a steal.  Carter will contest shots in the post, and he will also go out to the three-point line to get his opponents to miss shots.

However, he may tend to commit fouls on defense, as he may not possess elite lateral quickness, as quicker players can get to the hoop off the dribble as well as in the post.  Sometimes, he may give up too much space, other times he may not be able to stay in front of his man to help his team get stops.  In general, Wendell Carter Jr. had a fairly good game, as he excelled as a scorer and rebounder when he was on the floor.  He will need to improve his defense and lateral mobility, but his ability to contribute and make plays in the paint could make him a likely first round pick in 2018.

Texas’ 6-4 point guard, Andrew Jones also had a fairly good showing, as he excelled at scoring and passing the basketball to help his team when he was on the floor.  Jones excelled at driving to the hoop to garner scores and free throws, and he also threw down a dunk off of a cut.  Plus, he threw solid interior passes to notch plenty of assists.  However, he struggled to make three-point shots consistently.  In general, he had another good performance, and Jones could end up being a likely first round pick in the upcoming draft, as he is an athletic lead guard that can shoot and score the basketball, and he may have enough playmaking and defensive skills to adequate play the point at the next level.

Other Notes:
Texas’ 6-9 junior forward, Dylan Osetkowski played quite well in his team’s loss to Duke, as he was able to contribute in a variety of ways.  He excelled as a scorer off the dribble as well as in the post, and he would also score on hustle plays.  He threw down numerous dunks powerfully, and he has the agility and ball handling ability to get past slower footed big men, and he can frequently score in the post.  But he did miss shots around the basket at times, as he was not always able to score in that range.  Also, he ended up missing all five of his three-point shots.

Osetkowski also showed a good ability to pass and handle the basketball.  He is an unselfish player that can hit cutters, although he did throw a lob pass that got intercepted perhaps due to a miscommunication error.  Plus, he would help out on the boards, and he was able to throw down a put back dunk off of an offensive rebound.

In general, Dylan Osetkowski played fairly well in this game, as he showed the ability to score in the paint in a variety of ways, and he is also a good passer that can find teammates on the move.  He may still need to improve his three-point shot, defense, and lateral mobility, but generally Osetkowski is a smart, skilled player that could gain traction as a draft prospect in 2019.

Grayson Allen really struggled in the first half, as he was having trouble knocking down shots, and he ran into rampant foul trouble in that time frame, but then, he started to play better later on, as he would make good passes off the dribble, and he also managed to make a couple of open three-point shots in the corner.  His best score of the game was when he threw down a thunderous dunk off of a cut to the hoop, and while he struggled to consistently score the basketball, he was able to make more jumpers down the stretch,

However, he struggled defensively, as he would tend to commit fouls on drives to the hoop, and he also played too high when defending a cut another time to allow a score.  In general, this was not Allen’s best game, but he made plays when they counted, as it was enough to help his team get the overtime victory.

Trevon Duval did not play very well for Duke, as he had trouble knocking down jumpers, and he committed far too many turnovers.  He would do so carelessly, as he traveled once, lost the ball on a drive another time, also committed a charging foul after throwing a nifty behind the back pass, and he tended to get his passes intercepted.  He did play adequate defense, as he would poke balls away and jump passes to obtain numerous steals, and he would also look to aggressively contest shots to force misses.  However, he also would commit reach-in fouls due to being too aggressive at times.  On offense, Duval appeared to be at his best when he would drive hard to the hoop to score the basketball, but sometimes he would miss wildly around the basket.

In all, Trevon Duval did not play very well, as he struggled considerably on offense, and he did not show great decision-making or shot-making ability on this day.  But he is still a very athletic playmaker that may possess great upside as a prospect for the NBA.  Right now, he may be a mid to late first round candidate for the upcoming draft.

Marques Bolden was not a huge factor offensively, but he did show a good ability to block shots as well as to move the basketball.  He had trouble scoring in the post, but he managed to hit a cutter to set up a score, and he would also alter shots in the paint to force misses defensively.  He showed a better motor in this game as he looked to be dialed in.  He still will need to be more of a presence on offense as well as on the boards, but this game was an encouraging sign for him, as he is taking steps to show that he could develop into being a defensive specialist at the next level.

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