Evaluating Matt Mitchell, Neemias Queta, and Jordan Schakel

March 13th, 2021

By Alan Lu

Today, I took the time to watch San Diego State and Utah State play in the 2021 Mountain West Tournament Championship game.  This featured several notable prospects such as Utah State’s 7-0 junior center, Neemias Queta, and San Diego State’s guards, Matt Mitchell and Jordan Schakel.  Queta turned in a solid showing, as he scored 18 points and had 6 rebounds and 3 blocks, but he got little help from anyone else.  Even though San Diego State didn’t shoot well as a team, they defended well, and they managed to shoot better than their opposition to get a win over Utah State.  Here are my thoughts on how Queta, Mitchell, Schakel, and other various prospects fared on this day.

San Diego State’s Matt Mitchell scored 14 points, and he had 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist, and 1 block in his team’s win over Utah State.
(Photo:
Orlando Ramirez/USA Today Sports, via SB Nation’s Mountain West Connection)

San Diego State’s 6-6 senior forward, Matt Mitchell had a solid showing in his team’s win over Utah State.  He didn’t seem to be outstanding on offense, but he was able to make solid team plays on both ends of the floor to help his team get the victory. Mitchell showed a fairly good ability to score off the dribble.  He was able to use a spin move to score on a turnaround, fadeaway jumper.  He also managed to score on a strong, switch of hands layup off the glass.

He also generally excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He was able to score early after cutting to the hoop to get the ball around the basket.   He also would tend to draw fouls upon his defenders to get free throws, as he used a Euro-step move on a drive in transition to get past his man, and he also drew free throws on a put back another time.  On the downside, sometimes he would take rushed shots when taking the ball hard to the hoop, which would occasionally lead to misses, especially when he would not get foul calls.

He also struggled to consistently knock down jumpers when he would be further away from the basket.  Mitchell was able to pull up to knock down a mid-range shot in transition early on.  On the downside, he struggled to make mid-range jumpers consistently, and he also missed on all three of his three-pointers that he hoisted up from beyond the arc.

Also, he displayed fairly average playmaking skills.  Mitchell can throw solid passes off the dribble, as well as out of the post.  He used a quick spin move to throw a drop-off pass to set up a score for a teammate at the rim.  He also is an unselfish player that can quickly get balls to open shooters.  On the other hand, he threw an inaccurate pass from the post that sailed out of bounds.  He also committed a charging foul on a drive that led him to commit an offensive foul and a turnover another time. Adding to that, Mitchell was able to collect his fair share of rebounds in this game.  He was able to push the ball quickly after leaping up to get a defensive board once.  However, sometimes he would commit over the back fouls when going for defensive boards.

Plus, Mitchell also played satisfactory defense in this game.  He was able to rotate to block a shot in the post out of bounds.  He also showed a knack for intercepting passes to get steals.  He did a good job of contesting shots in the post to force misses, and he also contested a mid-range shot to get another stop for his team.  Sometimes though, he would over-help in the paint and sag too far off of shooters, which would lead him to allow them to score on jumpers.  Another time, he was called for committing a reach-in foul when defending on a drive.

Overall, Matt Mitchell played fairly well in his team’s win over Utah State.  He was able to make some solid plays on both ends of the court to help his team win the MWC Tournament championship game, as he helped them earn an automatic bid to the 2021 NCAA Tournament.  He’s not an explosive athlete, but he is a tough, agile forward that has solid all-around skills, and he could end up being a solid pick for an NBA team in the second round of the 2021 draft.

Utah State’s Neemias Queta had 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks in his team’s loss to San Diego State.
(Photo:
Isaac Brekken/Associated Press, via San Antonio Express-News)

Utah State’s 7-0 junior center, Neemias Queta had a strong showing in his team’s loss to San Diego State.  He played well, as he scored 18 points, and had 6 rebounds and 3 blocks, but he received little help from the rest of his teammates, as he only had one other teammate score in double figures, and Utah State shot the ball poorly and committed a lot of turnovers as a team in this game.

Queta showed a fairly good ability to score in the post.  He showed a knack for scoring on turnaround jumpers and drop step moves, and he also would draw plenty of fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line.  He also used a spin move to score on a turnaround jumper from the baseline, and he showed off good strength, footwork, and scoring touch.  Sometimes though, he would take tough, off-balanced shots that would lead to misses, especially when he would not get foul calls. He also generally excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Queta was able to score on a powerful, two-handed dunk off of a roll to the rim.  Plus, he also managed to score on a put back after grabbing an offensive rebound.  On the other hand, he missed on a tip-in another time.  He also was able to make an open, mid-range jumper to show his range.

On the downside, he was fairly turnover prone on offense.  For the positives, he is a fairly good passer out of the post, and he would find cutters and open shooters to set up scoring chances for them.  On the downside, he also committed a couple of ball-handling turnovers, as he would sometimes lose his footing when trying to make plays on the block.  He also was crowded on a drive, and he ended up throwing a hasty pass that got intercepted. He also was able to get his fair share of rebounds in this game, and he was able to leap up to get multiple boards on both sides of the ball.  He also leapt up to get a one-handed defensive board.  However, there was another play where he committed an over the back foul when going for a defensive board on another possession.

Also, Queta played satisfactory defense in this game.  He did a great job of blocking shots off of drives, and he would tend to swat balls to teammates due to possessing very good length, timing, and mobility.  He also was able to make an impressive chase down block.  He also was able to poke a ball away to nearly get a steal.  He also would actively contest jump shots to get stops for his team.  Late in this match though, he ran into foul trouble, which hurt his ability to defend when he was on the floor.  Sometimes he would give up too much space and not show enough resistance when defending in the post, other times he would get beat off the dribble to allow scores.  Another time, he over-hedged onto an opposing pick and roll ball handler, but no one got back to defend the roll, as his team allowed a dunk that time.

In general, Neemias Queta played very well in his team’s loss to San Diego State.  It was a shame that he couldn’t get much help from his teammates on offense to try to make this game competitive for longer stretches.  Still, Queta is a very active, mobile center that could project to be a solid rim protector in the NBA, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the second round on draft day.

I also decided to watch this game, because San Diego State’s 6-6 swingman, Jordan Schakel has been having a very good senior season.  He’s been shooting the ball really well in his role on the team, and so I wanted to watch him play in a live basketball game once again.  Unfortunately, he didn’t play well, as he had his ups and downs, but he did have some good moments on both ends of the floor.

Schakel was quite effective at knocking down mid-range jumpers in this game.  He was able to use a spin move to score on a contested, fadeaway jumper.  He also ran off the ball quickly to make a quick mid-range shot off the catch.  He runs very well off the ball on offense, and he also ran quickly off of a ball screen to make a quick, spot-up three early on.  On the downside, he struggled to make threes consistently in this game, and he tended to miss on his long-range attempts too often.  He also attempted to go all the way to score on a right-handed drive, but he ended up missing off the glass that time. He didn’t pick up an assist in this game, but he was able to push the pace and drive and kick a ball to an open shooter to find the open man on the break.  He also did not turn the ball over once on offense. Also, Schakel was able to leap up to get his fair share of boards, and he was able to get rebounds on both sides of the ball.

He also played solid defense in this game.  Schakel was able to block a shot off of a cut due to possessing solid athleticism and timing.  He also would contest threes to force misses.  He also successfully drew a charge when defending on a drive to get a stop another time.  On the downside, there was one play where he sagged too far off of his man, which led him to allow an opponent to score on an open, three-point shot.

Overall, Jordan Schakel is an agile, skilled sharpshooter whose ability to move off the ball combined with his floor spacing skills may enable him to get looks from NBA teams and scouts late in the second round on draft day.  He struggled to consistently score in today’s game, but he has shot the ball very well this season.  If he has a strong 2021 NCAA Tournament, he could move quickly up draft boards to firmly place himself in the second round conversation.

San Diego State’s 6-10 junior center, Nathan Mensah also put forth a good performance in his team’s win over Utah State.  He made solid, energetic plays to help his team on both ends of the floor, and he managed to score 10 points, and he hauled in 8 rebounds and 2 blocks in this game. Mensah did a good job of scoring in the post.  He showed a knack for scoring on jump hooks, and he excelled as a finisher around the basket.  He also would take on the contact to draw fouls in order to get to the free throw line.  He also caught a lob pass off of a roll to score on a powerful, alley-oop dunk.  On the downside, he also missed a couple of mid-range shots, as he generally struggled to score from further out.

He also showed off adequate playmaking skills in this game.  Mensah was able to throw a good pass out of the post to find a corner shooter to notch an assist.  He also received the ball on a cut to the hoop, and then passed it out to a corner shooter to set up a scoring chance another time.  He did commit a couple of turnovers, but he generally passed the ball well on offense.

Also, Mensah did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He also played solid defense in this game.  Mensah excelled at blocking shots, as he was able to swat a mid-range shot as well as another shot on a drive.  He also broke up a lob pass to help his team get a steal.  He was active at contesting jump shots to force misses, and he also would deflect numerous passes to make it difficult for his opponents to pass and handle the basketball.  However, sometimes he would get backed down and give up too much space when defending in the post, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

In summary, Nathan Mensah is an athletic, high-motor big man that played fairly well in his team’s win over Utah State.  He’s flown under the radar as a draft prospect, but his athleticism, motor, and solid interior play could make him an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider in the second round range of the upcoming draft.

Other Notes:

Utah State’s redshirt junior forward, Justin Bean had a satisfactory showing in his team’s loss to San Diego State.  He is a high-motor player that worked tirelessly on the glass, especially in the second half, and he would leap up to get numerous offensive boards aggressively to help his team get rebounds. He also was effective as a shooter and scorer, even if he didn’t take nearly enough shots on offense.  Bean was able to score on an open, spot-up three, and he also ran off the ball to make a quick, mid-range jumper.  He also scored on a backdoor cut.  Sometimes though, he would get his shots blocked, and he had some trouble making mid-range jumpers consistently.  Late in this game, he did a great job of drawing free throws after grabbing offensive rebounds, and he would often make them when he was at the foul line.

On the downside, he was quite turnover prone on offense.  Bean had a ball poked away when handling it once, and he also would tend to throw hasty passes that would get intercepted.  He also played adequate defense, as he was able to successfully draw a charge when defending on a drive once.

Overall, Justin Bean played fairly well in his team’s loss to San Diego State, and he showed a relentless motor, as he would constantly outwork his opponents on the offensive glass in the second half.  He will still need to improve his passing ability, he will need to be a more consistent outside shooter in games, and he was a non-factor in the first half, but he is an energetic, hustle player whose relentless ability to compete could enable him to carve out a lengthy career in pro basketball, as he could end up carving out a solid career in the G-League and/or overseas when his collegiate career ends.

San Diego State’s 6-9 redshirt senior big man, Joshua Tomaic played fairly well in his team’s win over Utah State.  He excelled as a scorer off the dribble and in the post, and he was able to use a pump fake as he drove in to score on a thunderous dunk.  He struggled to defend in the post, though, but his ability to score in the paint helped his team on offense. Overall, he is an athletic big man that can finish plays above the rim.  He hasn’t put up gaudy stats, and he hasn’t seen the floor very much over the course of his collegiate career, but his motor, athleticism, and promising offensive skills could enable him to end up in the G-League and/or overseas when his collegiate career ends.

San Diego State’s senior point guard, Trey Pulliam played fairly well in his team’s win over Utah.  He showed that he can get quick scores off the dribble, and he also did a good job of making mid-range floaters.  He also threw a crisp, lob pass to set up a score for a teammate on a roll to the rim. He also played fairly good defense, as he showed a knack for poking balls away and for intercepting passes to get steals.  On the downside, he would sometimes be prone to committing reach-in fouls, and he didn’t take a single three-point shot on offense. Overall, Pulliam made solid team plays to help his team win.  He hasn’t put up gaudy stats this year, and he may be a long shot to be drafted.  Still, he was able to show that he can make solid plays on both ends of the court, and he could end up making his way to the G-League and/or overseas when his collegiate career ends.

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