Evaluating Moritz Wagner and Robert Williams in the Sweet 16

March 22, 2018

by Alan Lu

I decided to take the time to watch Moritz Wagner and Michigan play against Robert Williams and Texas A&M, as it was a greatly anticipated Sweet 16 matchup that was played this Thursday.  However, the game itself was a one-sided affair, as Michigan quickly pounced on the Aggies fast and furiously, and they ended up cruising to a blowout win.  Moritz Wagner was the star of this game, as he played terrific basketball.  Here are my thoughts on how he fared, as well as how the other prospects did on this day.

Michigan’s 6-11 junior big man, Moritz Wagner had a strong showing in his team’s double-digit win over Texas A&M, as he primarily excelled as a shooter and scorer in this game, but he also showed some handles, as well as some defensive skills when he was on the court.  Wagner showed off versatile scoring skills, as he was able to score very efficiently in a number of ways. 

He did a great job of running the floor to get scores on fast breaks, and he was also to throw down an emphatic dunk after getting the ball as a trailer in transition late in the game.   Plus, he can also score on rolls to the rim, though sometimes he may miss as he may not always finish plays under control.  Also, Wagner has good low post scoring skills, as he was able to score on a one-legged fadeaway from the block early on.   Plus, he also used a deft behind the back move to score on a runner off the bank when driving to the basket.

On top of it, Wagner did a great job of knocking down spot-up threes off the catch.  He was able to make a corner three, and he also was able to knock down a three-point shot off of a pick and pop play after initially setting the screen.  He also displayed decent playmaking skills.  Wagner played unselfishly, as he would look for the open man, and he would find teammates on the break to set up scoring chances for them.  He also handled the ball well, and he can use quick ball handling moves to get past his man.  While Wagner wasn’t credited with an assist in this game, it seemed like he did a good job of moving the basketball in this game.

Also, he was able to chip in on the boards, as he was able to come away with rebounds on both ends of the floor.  Defensively, he looked to be above average.  Wagner was active defensively, as he jumped a pass to get a steal, and he altered a shot when defending in the post to force a miss another time.  Plus, he also was able to successfully contest a mid-range shot on another possession.  However, he generally struggled to defend in the post.  He would tend to get backed down as he would give up positioning in the paint to his opponent, and sometimes he would get beat on moves, as this would lead him to commit a foul or allow scores as a result.

In general, Moritz Wagner had a very good game, as he really played well to help lift his team to a 27-point victory over Texas A&M.  Not only did he do excellent work to knock down a variety of shots from the floor on offense, but he also displayed solid athletic gifts and motor in this game.  This was by far his best game of the tournament this year, and Wagner could end up being a solid pick for an NBA team in the first round of the upcoming draft.

Texas A&M’s 6-10 sophomore big man, Robert Williams put forth a very good performance in his team’s loss to Michigan.   He made solid plays on both ends of the floor, and even though his team was blown out, he consistently played well in this game, as he may have even made his case stronger for him to go in the lottery this year.

Williams did a great job of scoring on hustle plays.  He would score on thunderous jams off of rolls to the rim, and he also leapt up to score on a rim-rattling, alley-oop dunk on the break.  Plus, he also managed to score on a tip slam off of an offensive board.  But sometimes, he can miss shots around the basket as he may not always play under control.

He also did a good job of scoring in the post.  Williams backed his man down, and he was able to score on a jump hook.  He also would draw fouls upon the opposition in other post-up situations.  Also, Williams played unselfishly, as he would look to move the basketball, and he was able to notch several assists in this game against Michigan.  In addition, he would crash the glass on both ends of the floor to help his team on the boards.

Plus, he played fairly good defense in this game.  Williams did a great job of emphatically blocking shots on drives, and he would use his length, activity, and quickness to get steals, and he did so once after trapping an opponent in the corner.  Adding to that, he also would contest jumpers to force some misses.  However, sometimes he would not always make the proper rotations or give his man too much space to shoot, which would allow opponents to score on three-point baskets.

In general, Robert Williams played well in virtually all facets of this game, as he consistently made plays for his team, even though they ended up being handed a double-digit loss by Michigan.  Williams is a very athletic big man that can make impactful, high motor plays on both ends of the floor, and he may project to be an energetic, defensive specialist at the next level.  If he decides to enter the draft, there may be a good chance that he could end up getting picked in the late lottery in the upcoming NBA draft.

Michigan’s 6-6 sophomore swingman, Charles Matthews played very well, as he really excelled at scoring the basketball to help his team get a double-digit victory over Texas A&M.  He did a very good job of scoring on strong drives to the hoop.  He has a powerful, shifty player that accelerates well, and he can use dribble moves to help him get scores around the basket.  Matthews scored once after using a ball fake, and he also used a powerful jump stop to score on a baseline drive another time.  Plus, he also managed to score after using a hesitation move while drawing an extra free throw once.  Matthews scored often on quick, aggressive drives to the basket, as he has a good first step to the hoop.

He also showed an adequate ability to knock down jumpers.  Matthews was able to make a mid-range shot, as well as a three off the catch to space the floor for his team, though he struggled more to make long-range jump shots from beyond the arc.  Matthews also played unselfishly, as he would throw good interior passes, and he would also leap up to help his team get defensive rebounds.

In general, Charles Matthews played very well, as he scored 18 points, and he also collected 5 rebounds and 2 assists in a win for his team, and he may end up being a second round pick whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft, as he could project into being a good role player at the next level.

Michigan’s 6-4 senior guard, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman played very well in his team’s win over Texas A&M.  He played a solid all-around game, as he was able to score 24 points, and he also made 4 threes while collecting 7 assists and 5 rebounds to help get his team the victory.  Abdur-Rahkman shot the ball well, as he excelled at knocking down spot-up threes off the catch, and he also can make them in transition.

Plus, he also showed a decent ability to score on drives to the basket.  He can score on quick drives after getting the switch off of screens, and he also managed to score on a floater.  But sometimes, he may miss shots, as he may struggle to score in traffic.  Also, he passed the ball well in this game.  Abdur-Rahkman has good court vision, and after using a pump fake in the post, and found a shooter to set up a score early on.  Late in this contest, he also managed to throw a behind the back pass in transition to set up a dunk for a teammate.

Also, he defended well.  Abdur-Rahkman did a good job of contesting shots on drives to force misses, and he also drew a charge when defending another drive.  In summary, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman had a solid game, as he played very well on both ends of the floor to lead his team past Texas A&M.  He is an athletic, high motor player that will compete on every possession, and he could end up being a solid addition to an NBA team’s summer league roster.

Michigan’s 6-8 senior forward, Duncan Robinson had a solid showing in his team’s win over Texas A&M.  He did a good job of knocking spot-up threes off the catch.  Plus, Robinson was able to use a pump fake to score on a baseline drive.  In addition, he also ran the floor to score on a two-handed dunk in transition, but he will also need to improve his defense.  For the positives, he did a good job of playing passing lanes, as he managed to intercept a pass to get a steal.

However, he had trouble defending opponents in the post.  He would tend to get backed down, which would cause him to commit fouls or allow scores down low.  Sometimes, he would be called for holding his man when defending down low.  Another time, he fouled an opposing ball handler due to over-aggressiveness.

In general, Duncan Robinson played very well, as he shot the ball well, and he also would make hustle plays on both ends of the floor.  He is a solid role player for his team, and he could potentially project into a shooting specialist role at the next level, as he may end up being a solid addition to an NBA team’s summer league roster.

Texas A&M’s junior center, Tyler Davis had a fairly good game in his team’s loss to Michigan.  He excelled as a low post scorer and finisher around the basket, but he also struggled with his position defense.  Davis has very good strength, as he can back down his man to score on jump hooks, and he also managed to score on a put back.  But sometimes, he would miss shots around the basket, as he would not always get great lift on his shot.

He also was active at crashing the glass to help his team get boards on both ends of the floor.  Also, Davis managed to block a shot off of a drive out of bounds.  However, he would tend to give up too much space to his man on defense, as he would allow his man to score on three-point baskets.  He also had trouble defending opponents on drives in this game.

In summary, Tyler Davis excelled as a inside scorer and rebounder, but he will still need to improve his passing ability and position defense.  He is a productive player at the collegiate level, but it may be uncertain if he can make nearly as much of an impact in the NBA due to the significantly faster pace of the game.  If he does decide to declare for the draft, he could be a potential second round pick in 2018.

Texas A&M’s junior swingman, D.J. Hogg struggled to make long-range jumpers, and he did not really defend well in this game, but he showed that he can draw fouls when taking it to the hoop off the dribble, and he also managed to score on a tip in.  Hogg also passed the ball well, but he did throw an errant interior pass that got picked off once.  Overall, this was not one of his better games, as he did not really play too well against Michigan, but Hogg’s skill set could perhaps enable him to get picked in the second round by an NBA team if he decides to declare to enter the draft.

Texas A&M’s 6-10 senior big man, Tonny Trocha-Morelos was able to make a few good plays, as he scored on a fadeaway turnaround jumper from the high post, and he also made a quick three-point shot off of a pick and pop play.  Trocha-Morelos did not really stand out in the other moments, though.  He did use his length to contest a three-point shot to force a miss, but he also bit on a ball fake to commit a foul on a drive, which led his team to allow a score and a free throw.  In summary, he had an average game, but he did show a diverse skill set offensively, which could perhaps enable him to make an NBA team’s summer league roster this year.

Admon Gilder did not really stand out either but he generally passed the ball well, and he showed a knack for scoring on drives as well as on the break.  He also scored on a tip in after grabbing an offensive board early in this game.  However, Gilder struggled with his jump shot though, and in this game, he did not score efficiently in his team’s loss to Texas A&M.

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