Evaluating Silvio De Sousa and Mike Bothwell in the 2022 Southern Conference Championship Game

March 7th, 2022

By Alan Lu

Today, I decided to watch Chattanooga square off against Furman in the 2022 Southern Conference Championship game.  Both teams struggled to score early on, and it appeared as though it was going to be a low scoring affair that would not provide much excitement.  However, things got very interesting late in the second half, and Furman’s senior guard, Mike Bothwell made a step-back three to tie it up at 51 all late in regulation to send the game into overtime.  Both teams played very hard, and the game went back and forth.  Bothwell scored on a quick drive to briefly get his team the lead late in overtime but Chattanooga’s senior guard, David Jean-Baptiste made a running, very deep three to score on a game-winning shot to get Chattanooga to the 2022 NCAA Tournament.  Here are my thoughts on how various prospects fared on this day.

Chattanooga’s senior center, Silvio De Sousa scored 17 points and had 14 rebounds to lead his team to an overtime win over Furman.
(Photo:
Laura O’Dell/Chattanooga Athletics)

Chattanooga’s senior big man, Silvio De Sousa was a consistently solid performer throughout this game.  He is an interior player that would often look to score in the post, he also showed some playmaking skills, and he also defended well to help his team get the overtime win over Furman. De Sousa thrived at scoring on hustle plays.  He would often run in to score on strong tip-ins to help his team get numerous second chance points.  He thrived at crashing the offensive glass, and he would frequently score on tip-ins afterwards. 

Plus, he also showed a solid ability to score off the dribble.  On one drive, he used a jab step, and he drove quickly to the hoop to score and get an extra free throw afterwards.  He showed a surprisingly solid first step to the hoop, and he also showed some handles to score that time. De Sousa also did an adequate job of scoring in the post.  De Sousa would often get deep position, and he was able to score on a layup and on a powerful dunk in this game.  He also used a pivot move to score on a left-handed, hook shot.  Sometimes though, he would not always finish plays around the basket.  Occasionally, he would miss easy shots at the rim, and he also had a dunk attempt blocked from behind.

Also, De Sousa displayed fairly average playmaking skills.  He will sometimes pass out of the post, and he was able to find a cutter to help set up a score for him once.  He also handles the ball well for a big man.  However, sometimes he would make hasty decisions out of the post that would lead to turnovers.  When posting up once, he threw a low pass to a cutter that was dropped and went out of bounds.  Another time when he posted up, he nearly lost the ball, and he then lowered his shoulder and was called for a charging foul that time.

Plus, De Sousa did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  He was a chairman of the boards, and he would frequently haul in boards to help his team on both ends of the floor.  He has a keen nose for the basketball, and he really excelled at crashing the glass to help his team get rebounds.

He also played solid defense in this game.  De Sousa was able to block a shot in the post to a teammate.  He also would poke balls away to nearly get steals.  He did a very good job of contesting outside shots, as he especially excelled at challenging three-pointers to force misses.  Another time, he helped double and press upon an opposing ball handler to help force a timeout call.  On the downside, he also tended to over-help in the paint and wander away from his man, as he would lose track of cutters and allow opponents to score around the basket.

In general, Silvio De Sousa played very well, especially in the second half to help his team get the overtime win over Furman.  He has had an up and down collegiate career, as he started out at Kansas, but struggled to get consistent playing time there.  He also missed a full season when he was a sophomore due to a NCAA investigation, and he also was involved in a fight as a junior that led him to get a heavy suspension.  After transferring to Chattanooga, he’s starting to realize some of the considerable potential that he showed at Kansas, and he turned in a good showing to help Chattanooga get to the 2022 NCAA Tournament.  De Sousa still hasn’t gotten quite as much playing time as expected this season, but he is playing well at the right time, and he is an athletic, energetic big man that could compete for a roster spot in the NBA sometime down the road.

Furman’s senior guard, Mike Bothwell also had a strong showing in his team’s overtime loss to Chattanooga.  He is an agile, skilled combo guard that excelled as a sharpshooter and scorer in this game, and he was able to get any shot he wanted to score on offense.  He seemed to have consistently played the best throughout this contest, but it was unfortunate that his team lost a buzzer-beating three in overtime.

Bothwell did a great job of knocking down jumpers to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He showed a knack for scoring on smooth, step-back threes, and he has good footwork and shooting touch to doso.  He also used a spin move to score on a fadeaway, mid-range jumper.  He also did a very good job of scoring off the dribble.  he would often score on strong drives to the hoop, and Bothwell changes speeds well, and can accelerate to score in traffic.  He can absorb the contact to score and draw fouls upon his defenders, and while he would often score going to his left, he can finish plays using either hand.

He also showed off adequate playmaking skills in this game.  He can throw solid interior passes, as he was able to make a drop-off pass from the post to notch an assist, and he also found a cutter to notch another.  Sometimes though, he would be careless with the ball on offense.  He dropped a pass off of a cut that went out of bounds, and he also stepped out of bounds when dribbling it in the corners a couple of times that led to turnovers. Plus, he also showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball.  He would hustle to chase down balls to help his team get boards on both ends of the floor.

Also, Bothwell played satisfactory defense in this game.  He is an active, aggressive defender that excelled at helping his team get steals and blocks.  He managed to poke a ball away on a drive to get a steal, and he also hustled back to intercept a weak entry pass to get another.  He also managed to block a shot in the post to a teammate, and he also contested a three to force a miss.  Sometimes though, he would over-help and get caught ball watching, as he would be late to rotate on cuts or to shooters, which would lead him to allow scores.  He also can struggle to defender taller, stronger players in the post.

In summary, Mike Bothwell played very well in his team’s tough loss to Chattanooga.  He had a strong, all-around game, and he especially thrived as a shooter and scorer for his team.  He may be underrated as a draft prospect, and he is an agile, skilled combo guard whose ability to make shots could enable him to make his way to the NBA someday.

Furman’s senior swingman, Jalen Slawson turned in an uneven performance in his team’s overtime loss to Chattanooga.  He is an unselfish player that was able to score in catch-and-shoot situations, and he also was able to make several strong defensive plays, but he didn’t play nearly as well as expected, as he struggled to consistently make shots, and he sometimes struggled with his on-ball defense in this game.

Slawson flashed the ability to knock down threes in this game.  Slawson would move off the ball to make open, spot-up threes off the catch.  However, he was quite streaky with his shot, and he also missed on plenty of threes from beyond the arc, and he also would miss deep threes short, as he doesn’t seem to yet possess NBA three-point range. He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Slawson was able to score on a quick reverse layup after making a quick, backdoor cut to the hoop.  However, he had his shot blocked in the post, and he often had trouble getting all the way to the hoop when looking to score or make plays off the dribble.

He also displayed fairly average playmaking skills.  Slawson is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man.  He was able to drive the baseline and used a spin move to make a nifty, drop-off pass to notch an assist once.  He also managed to find a cutter from the post another time.  He also would swing the ball to open shooters and set on-ball screens to help his teammates get open jump shots.  However, he did not take enough shots in this game, and he also was a bit turnover prone.  He threw a bounce pass that was dropped out of bounds.  He also struggled to handle ball when pressured, and he had a ball poked away when posting up another time that led to another turnover. Also, Slawson was able to leap up to get his fair share of defensive rebounds.  On the downside, there was one play where he didn’t box out his man properly, and he ended up fouling his opponent when going for a rebound once.

Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  For the positives, Slawson did a great job of hustling to block shots to help his team protect the paint, and he would make impressive chase down blocks due to possessing good leaping ability, timing, and instincts.  He also managed to successfully draw a charge when defending in the post.  On the downside, he would have trouble staying in front of his man when defending drives, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  He’s not especially quick, and he generally struggled to defend more athletic opponents on the ball.  He also would tend to front his man in the post, but he would allow easy catches and then get outmuscled to allow scores at the rim.

Overall, Jalen Slawson didn’t play nearly as well as hoped, but he was still was able to make a pair of threes and block numerous shots to help his team in this game.  He was inconsistent as a shooter and shot maker though, and he really struggled to create his own shot at times.  He also struggled with his on-ball defense, and he seemed to be much more comfortable as a roamer, which would free him up to block shots.  He’s had a solid senior season, but he’s not a great athlete, and he’ll need to improve on both ends of the floor in order to improve his odds to make it to and succeed in the NBA.  Regardless, his solid production at the collegiate level could allow him to carve out a playing career either in the G-League and/or overseas when his collegiate career ends.

Chattanooga’s David Jean-Baptiste’s game-winning, buzzer-beating three put his team on top to win 64-63 in overtime over Furman in the 2022 Southern Conference Championship game to help Chattanooga advance to the 2022 NCAA Tournament.
(Source:
Twitter/@SportsCenter)

Chattanooga’s 6-1 senior guard, David Jean-Baptiste played well when his team needed it the most, and his game-winning three will go down in Chattanooga Mocs folklore as one of the greatest shots ever made in his team’s history. Jean-Baptiste had struggled to shoot and score nearly all game long, but he was able to dribble quickly up the floor to score on a very deep three off the dribble to make a clutch, game-winning three to help his team get an automatic bid to the 2022 NCAA Tournament.  He didn’t shoot well overall, but Jean-Baptiste showed that he can knock down outside shots both off the catch and dribble, and he also was able to make a fadeaway jumper out of the post to show some of his post-up skills.

He took a lot of shots on offense, but he was able to make a drive and kick pass to show some of his playmaking skills.  He also was able to get a pair of defensive boards to help chip in on the glass.  Jean-Baptiste also played adequate defense.  He did a decent job of contesting jumpers in this game, and he also managed to rotate to alter a shot off of a drive another time.  However, sometimes he wouldn’t quite be in position to make plays, which led him to commit a blocking foul, and he also gave up a bit too much space to a three-point shooter once.

Overall, Jean-Baptiste is an athletic, combo guard that made a big-time three-point shot when his team needed it the most.  He is a clutch shooter that will keep shooting, and he is a confident player that believes in himself.  He will still need to prove that he can consistently shoot well in big games, but his ability to make shots in big moments and intangibles could make him a prospect to watch in the 2022 NCAA Tournament.

Chattanooga’s 6-4, redshirt sophomore guard, Malachi Smith had his ups and downs in his team’s win over Furman.  He didn’t shoot the ball very well, as he often would miss on mid-range shots or in the post, but he was able to make a mid-range jumper, and he also scored on a floater in the post once.  Smith didn’t take many threes, but he was able to make a quick, spot-up three to show some of his shooting skills.  He also used a pump fake to score off the dribble once.  Plus, he also managed to score on a strong, backdoor cut while drawing an extra free throw once, and Smith seemed to be at his best when scoring off of backdoor cuts in this game.

He looked to be about average at best as a playmaker in this match.  Smith can throw an assortment of passes off the dribble to notch assists, and he can find teammates on the move to do so.  However, he would tend to over-dribble, as he would get balls stripped away from him and lose the ball to commit an abundant amount of turnovers.

Also, he did a great job of rebounding the basketball, and Smith was able to haul in plenty of boards in this game.  He also defended well.  Smith rotated to poke a ball away to get a steal.  He also would apply good ball pressure when defending opposing ball handlers, and he also contested a shot in the post to force a miss another time.  On the other hand, he once got beat on a quick move that led him to foul his opponent.  Another time, he didn’t close out or contest a step-back three, which led him to give up the basket to his opponent that time.

Overall, Malachi Smith didn’t have his best game, but he had the ball in his hands a lot, and he rebounded the ball very well. Though he took a lot of questionable shots and was turnover prone in this game, he’s had a good season this year for Chattanooga, and he could be a player to watch in the 2022 NCAA Tournament.

Furman’s fifth-year senior guard, Alex Hunter had his ups and downs, but he excelled at making threes both off the catch and dribble, as he shot the ball well from beyond the arc.  He struggled to score off the dribble when he would try to score on threes or mid-range jumpers, though.  Hunter also displayed satisfactory playmaking skills.  He showed he can make passes off the dribble to set up plenty of scoring chances for his teammates.  However, on one drive to the hoop, he tried to rush himself, but he slipped and fell, and was called for a traveling violation that time.

Hunter also showed a satisfactory ability to rebound the basketball, and he would tend to push the ball up the floor off of defensive boards.  He also defended well.  He would contest shots to force misses.  Hunter also ran in to tie up an opposing ball handler in the post, and forced a tie-up to get a steal that time.

Overall, Hunter was able to provide shooting and some scoring for his team, and he also showed off some all-around skills in this game.  He hasn’t exactly put up gaudy stats, and he is undersized for the point guard position, but Hunter is an agile, skilled playmaker whose ability to knock down outside shots could enable him to carve out a playing career in professional basketball.

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