Evaluating Matisse Thybulle, Noah Dickerson, and Kevin Porter Jr.

January 31, 2019

by Alan Lu

Though the game was on pretty late, I decided to take the chance to watch Kevin Porter Jr. and USC play against Matisse Thybulle and the Washington Huskies in a Pac-12 college basketball game.  The Huskies jumped on USC early, and made it difficult for the Trojans to rally back, as they played well in virtually all facets of the game.  Kevin Porter Jr. came off the bench and struggled in the first half, as he did not take many shots and wound up foul trouble, but then played better later on.  But it was too little too late for USC, as Washington ended up winning due to receiving strong performances primary from Matisse Thybulle, Noah Dickerson, and Jaylen Nowell.

Washington’s 6-5 senior swingman, Matisse Thybulle had a very good showing in his team’s win over USC.  He played terrific defense, was active on the boards, and he also excelled as a slasher to get his team buckets on offense.  Thybulle played outstanding defense in this game, and his calling card in the NBA will likely be due to his strong defensive skills.  He is a rangy defender that can get numerous steals and blocks, and he also will apply heavy pressure to opposing ball handlers on the ball due to possessing very good athleticism, agility, awareness, and instincts.  He would often block shots to prevent opponents from scoring off the dribble.  He swatted a shot off of a drive from behind, and he also made an impressive block on an opponent’s pull-up mid-range jumper and forced a tie up that helped his team get the ball.  Also, Thybulle does a great job of playing passing lanes, as he will pounce on poorly thrown passes to get steals, and he also managed to successfully reach in to poke a ball away from an opponent on a drive to force another turnover.

Also, Thybulle did a very good job of attacking the basket to garner scores.  He would often score on thunderous dunks, as he ran the floor to throw one down on the break, and he also drove hard to the rim to score on another scintillating jam after driving to his left.  He also scored on a floater off of a drive.  He did miss once after using a crossover, but generally Thybulle did a good job of getting all the way to the rim to score the basketball.

He also showed a decent ability to shoot the basketball.  Thybulle was able to make an open three, and he also drew three free throws after attempting another from beyond the arc.  Also, he was able to pull up to knock down a long two off the dribble.  He struggled more to score on threes from beyond the arc, but his ability to knock down jumpers was able to help space the floor for his team on offense.

However, Thybulle was quite turnover prone in this game.  For the positive, he can find teammates on the move, as he was able to find a cutter to notch an assist, and he also can kick the ball out to shooters to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  On the other hand, he would sometimes be careless on offense, as he had a ball poked away when looking to create something off the dribble, and he also threw a loopy pass that ended up getting intercepted.  There was one play where he tried to throw down a very aggressive dunk off the dribble, but was called for an offensive foul instead as an opponent drew a charge on him.

He also did a fairly good job of rebounding the basketball.  Thybulle was quite active on the glass as he would get plenty of defensive boards, and he also managed to get an offensive rebound.  However, there was one play where he was called for committing a reach-in foul on an opponent’s offensive rebound once.

In summary, Matisse Thybulle is a smart, skilled swingman that has terrific defensive skills, and he did a great job of scoring the basketball in this game.  Honestly, he looked to be the best prospect here, and Thybulle is an underrated prospect as he’s been one of my favorite college players to watch all year long.  In looking at all the information and in watching this game, Thybulle could be a very solid value pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range of the upcoming draft.

Washington’s 6-8 senior forward, Noah Dickerson played very well in his team over USC.  He really excelled at scoring in the post as well as off of hustle plays, and he is a strong, agile player that dominated opponents in the paint.  He also rebounded the ball well, and he also played good defense.  Dickerson excelled at scoring in the post, as he would often back down his man, and he would score on strong spin moves around the basket.  He also was able to score on a turnaround jumper, and he also drew free throws on a reverse layup due to possessing good footwork, agility, strength, and scoring touch on the block.

He also excelled at scoring on put backs, and he also would throw down dunks, as he did so once in transition as well as off of a cut.  Another time, Dickerson rolled to the rim, and he was able to get free throws after getting the ball to do so.  In this game, his solid blend of having the strength, quickness, and scoring touch enabled him to score often when he would take shots in the paint.  Also, Dickerson showed some passing skills.  He used a jab step, and found a cutter to set up a score once.  He also passed out of the post to notch another assist.  On the other hand, he did commit a couple of turnovers.  He was caught traveling in the post once, and he also was intercepted after trying to throw an outlet pass that went to a defender.

In this game, he did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  Dickerson also played adequate defense.  He also was able to intercept a pass and he also found a loose ball off of a dropped pass to get steals.  Adding to that, Dickerson managed to rotate back to his man to swat a shot around the basket.  However, sometimes he can get beat on plays, which can lead him to commit fouls and allow scores every once in a while.

Overall, Noah Dickerson played very well, as he especially excelled as an inside scorer and rebounder.  Though he does not possess the ideal size to play inside, he makes up for it with his motor, and ability to produce on the court.  Right now, he may be a potential second round pick, and he is a productive player that could end up being an effective role player at the next level.

USC’s 6-5 freshman guard, Kevin Porter Jr. had his ups and downs in his game, but overall, he struggled considerably in his team’s loss to Washington.  He struggled mightily in the first half, as he had trouble incorporating himself into his team’s offense, and he ran into foul trouble.  He then played better later in the game as he showed versatile scoring skills and some passing ability, and technically, he did notch four assists in this game, but his effort was inconsistent, lackluster, and ultimately disappointing overall when he was on the floor.

Porter did an adequate job of getting scores off aggressive drives to the basket.  He didn’t look to go all the way to the hoop very often and he would tend to be quite passive on offense, but he showed that he can consistently draw free throws on his opponents when he would take it to the rack.  However, he attempted a pull-up mid-range jumper on a drive in transition another time, only to have his shot blocked and then tied up, in which the possession arrow went to Washington, because Porter forced up a bad shot on the break and Thybulle defended the possession very well.

Also, Porter showed a decent ability to knock down jumpers.  He used a side step to make a nifty pull-up three from the corner, as he can make long-range shots off the dribble.  However, he tended to miss on pull-up jumpers, and he also missed on a corner three off the catch another time.  On top of that, he also struggled to make free throws when he was at the foul line.  He also flashed the ability to score on off-ball motion plays.  Porter was able to slip behind the defense to get the ball off of a cut, and he caught a lob pass to score on an energetic, high-flying alley-oop dunk.  However, he did not look to score off of cuts nearly enough.  When Porter would play off the ball, there would be plenty of times where he would just stand around very far away from the three-point line, and as a result, he would be unlikely to get all the way to the rim off the dribble or to make jumpers from that distance.  Also, Porter would crash the glass to get an offensive rebound, but he ended up missing on a put back after dribbling in to try to score from close range due to rushing his shot.

While he did not look to shoot the ball enough, Porter did display fairly good playmaking skills.  He can throw accurate passes off the dribble, as he can drop it off to find teammates underneath the hoop to set up scores for them.  He also was able to throw a nifty, no-look interior pass due to possessing good court vision, and he can really make things happen for his team on offense with the ball in his hands.  But in the first half when he was playing off the ball, his team ended up in a rut with him on the floor, because Porter would rarely move into open areas off the ball.  As a result, his teammates would be unable to find him, and he would not be in a position to threaten the defense.  He also committed a couple of turnovers.  On one play, threw a lazy pass that was intercepted by a defender, who then scored on a fast break as a result.   On another, he attempted to try to score off the dribble, but had the ball poked away to lose it to a defender.

Though he didn’t grab many boards overall in this game, Porter was able to get a rebound on each end of the floor.  However, he will need to improve his position defense, and one concern is that he tends to foul too much, which limits his ability to stay on the floor.  On one good play though, Porter was able to aggressively close out on a shooter after initially sagging to force a miss when guarding a three-point shot once.  On the other hand, Porter tended to be very foul prone in this game.  He had trouble defending opponents off of drives and in the post, and he had a tendency to commit reach-in fouls.  He appeared to make a frustration foul late in the first half, as on his second foul came right after he had the ball stolen away from him on a drive.  He also gave up too much space once to allow an opponent to score on a long two. He also was late in getting back on defense another time, which led his teammate to foul an opponent on a fast break drive.

Overall, Kevin Porter Jr. has had a rollercoaster ride of a season, and it was a tale of two halves for him in his team’s loss to Washington.  In the first half, he was not engaged on offense, and he struggled defensively throughout the night.  But in the second half, Porter played with great energy on offense, he was able to score in a variety of ways, and he looked to take the ball to the basket more, which allowed him to get some assists off the dribble.

Porter is an athletic swingman that people consider to have considerable upside, but he is nowhere near as polished as a prospect as anticipated.  He will need to be a more consistent shooter and scorer in games, he will need to improve his position defense, and he will need to improve his feel for the game.  He will especially need to work on moving off the ball on offense to be able to put himself in better opportunities to score when used in a complementary role.

Right now, he is projected to go in the mid first round by numerous sites, but that is probably much too high for him, as he may be nowhere close to being ready for the next level.  In fact, it’s entirely possible that he may be grossly overrated, and that he may be ranked high by scouts purely based on his high school success and perceived upside.  It also doesn’t help that he’s had leg injuries, and also has been suspended by his coach for disciplinary reasons.  The tough thing is, he’s probably not nearly as good as he’s hyped to be, but in order to maximize his NBA potential, he probably needs to find minutes on a college team.  But he also shouldn’t continue to be ranked anywhere close to as high as he is right now as a prospect if he continues to struggle at the college level. But if an NBA team that does decide to take him in the first round, they will have to be patient with him in order for Porter to have a chance to realize his full potential at the next level.

USC’s 6-10 senior center, Bennie Boatwright had a decent game in his team’s loss to Washington.  He showed off versatile scoring skills and the ability to space the floor, and he also made some good passes when he was on the floor.

Boatwright showed an adequate ability to make them in this game.  He was able to make a couple of spot-up threes, and he also made a contested long two, as he has very good size to make them over his opponents.  He did a very good job of making mid-range jumpers, and he could use jab steps and step back moves to create separation between himself and his defender.  He was quite streaky in making outside shots from beyond the arc, but that he was able to make plenty of them was encouraging in itself.

He also flashed the ability to score in the post.  Boatwright benefitted from a couple of passes from Porter in the second half, as he would score on jump hooks as a result.  However, he did miss on jump hooks on other junctures, and he also missed on a turnaround jumper after using a spin move.  Also, he was able to score on an emphatic dunk after being left open around the basket on one play, but Boatwright missed another time after being left open inside the paint, and he also missed on a drive to the hoop.  On the other hand, he did a good job of drawing fouls after getting offensive rebounds.

Boatwright showed off decent playmaking skills.  He would generally throw accurate interior passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates, and he also would swing the ball to open shooters, but he did have a pass deflected once, and he also committed a turnover another time.  However, he did not do a good job of rebounding the basketball.   Boatwright did haul in multiple boards on both ends of the floor, but he did not get nearly enough rebounds for a player his size.  He also committed a foul on a put back once.  Another time, he did not block out, and ended up allowing his opponent to score on a put back.

Defensively, he looked to be average at best.  For the positives, Boatwright was able to block a shot from behind on a drive to show off some rim protection skills.  He also used a nifty pull out the chair move when defending in the post to force a travel.  However, he was late on his rotations, as he allowed an opponent to score once on a roll, and another to score on a corner three.  He also gave up too much space to allow an opponent to score in the post.  Another time, he ended up getting beat off the dribble to give up a basket in transition.

Overall, Bennie Boatwright had an above average showing in his team’s loss to Washington.  He made a variety of shots even if he took a lot of them, and he made some good passes and defensive plays at times.  He struggled to be consistent overall, but he shows good promise as a floor spacer on offense.  Right now, he may be a second round prospect, as he could end up filling a role as a stretch big at the next level.

Washington’s 6-4 sophomore guard, Jaylen Nowell had a fairly good all-around game in his team’s win over USC.  He did a good job of knocking down open, spot-up threes, and he showed a knack for scoring on quick drives to the hoop, and he also showed good balance by scoring on a reverse layup after going in from the baseline.  He also used a nifty ball fake to score on a speedy drive in transition.

While he showed some passing and ball handling skills, Nowell was quite turnover prone in this game.  For the positives, Nowell can throw solid interior passes, as he can throw accurate outlet passes, and he also can find teammates on the move to set up scoring chances.  On the other hand, sometimes he will throw inaccurate passes, and he also can be sloppy in making plays off the dribble, which can lead him to commit hoards of careless turnovers on offense.

Also, he did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  Nowell would often leap up to haul in tough boards on both ends of the floor, and he can get tough rebounds to help his team on the glass.  He also played good defense.  He was able to rip a couple of balls away from defenders to get steals, and he also rotated to defend in the post to force an opponent to make a tough spin move that led him to lose the basketball.

Overall, Jaylen Nowell had a solid game, as he showed off a good set of all-around skills.  His only noticeable hiccup was the amount of turnovers he committed, but he showed that he can score the ball in a variety of ways, and that he can help a team in a number of ways.  He may not have much draft buzz at the moment, but he could be a sleeper prospect, as he could be an E’Twaun Moore like player that could be a good find for an NBA team in the second round of the upcoming draft.

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