Evaluating Terrence Shannon Jr., Kennedy Chandler, and Kevin Obanor

December 7th, 2021

By Alan Lu

Today, I decided to take the time to watch Texas Tech and Tennessee play at the Madison Square Garden.  This featured two teams that have first round prospects in Tennessee’s freshman point guard Kennedy Chandler, as well as Texas Tech’s junior swingman, Terrence Shannon Jr.  Both teams shot the ball really poorly, and there was an ugly stretch-run in the second half where no one could make a field goal.  Even still, Terrence Shannon Jr. was a standout performer, as he helped Texas Tech get the overtime win over Tennessee.  It was a hard-fought defensive battle, and here are my thoughts on how various prospects fared in this match.

Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 18 points and hauled in 12 rebounds to help Texas Tech get an overtime win over Tennessee at the Madison Square Guarden in New York.
(Photo:
Adam Hunger/Associated Press, via The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Terrence Shannon Jr. played very well in his team’s overtime win over Tennessee.  He excelled at attacking the hoop to score, and he also defended fairly well when he was on the floor.  He also showed some playmaking skills at times as he also was tasked to bring the ball up on occasion, but he also ended up committing some careless turnovers in this contest.

Shannon did a very good job of scoring off the dribble.  He would tend to score on strong, off-balanced floaters and layups, and he also a subtly quick crossover that he can use to get past his man.  He has good strength, balance, and body control to regularly score in traffic, and he has a decent first step that allows him to maneuver his way into the lane.  Plus, he also managed to score on a tough, fadeaway jumper after leaping up to get an offensive rebound. 

Also, Shannon showed a good feel for knocking down mid-range jumpers.  He particularly excelled at going to his left to score on mid-range shots off the dribble.  He managed to split two defenders to score on a smooth, mid-range floater to beat the shot clock in overtime.  He also went left and used a ball fake to score on a smooth, pull-up jumper from the mid-range.  On the downside, Shannon really struggled to knock down threes, as that seemed to be a bit outside his comfort zone in this match, and he particularly had trouble knocking down pull-up threes against Tennessee.

He also displayed fairly average playmaking skills.  Shannon is an unselfish player that will pass off the dribble to find open shooters, and he was able to get the ball to them in the corners to set up scores for them.  On the downside, he had some trouble handling the ball when pressured at times.  When handling the ball once, he stepped out of bounds.  On a drive to the hoop another time, he had the ball poked off of himself to lose it out of bounds another time.  He also threw an inaccurate high entry pass that ended up getting dropped out of bounds.

Plus, Shannon did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He was particularly active at crashing the glass to help his team get defensive boards in this game.  He also played solid defense.  Shannon did a good job of getting his hands on passes to get steals and deflections.  He also actively defended an opposing ball handler to help force a shot clock violation.  He also would contest threes to force misses.  On the downside, he would sometimes struggle to defend opponents off the dribble, as it would either lead him to commit aggressive fouls or to not be able to timely contest shots around the basket.

Overall, Terrence Shannon Jr. had a strong showing in his this game, and he especially thrived as a scorer in overtime.  He’ll need to be a more consistent outside shooter in games, and he’ll need to prove that his three-point shooting this season will not be a fluke.  Still, he’s an athletic scoring swingman that also showed some playmaking and defensive skills, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the mid to late first round range of the 2022 draft.

Kennedy Chandler had his ups and downs in his team’s overtime loss to Texas Tech.  He was able to make some good plays on offense, but he struggled with turnovers and with his jump shot, and he seemed to struggle to create his own shots in the half court at times in this game.  In his best moments, he’s a scorer that can ably create shots for himself and others, and he consistently provided pesky defense for his team in this game.  In his worst moments, he struggled to get clean shots up, and he would force the issue too much by over-dribbling and committing silly passing turnovers.  He’s a talented guard that needs to continue to refine his overall game, and he could be a solid value pick in the mid to late first round range of the 2022 draft.

Chandler showed an adequate ability to score off the dribble. He is a quick guard that can use either hand to get to the hoop. He was able to score quickly on an acrobatic scoop layup. He also used a crossover to score on a crafty, tear drop floater off the glass while drawing an extra free throw afterwards. Sometimes though, he would throw up wild floaters that would miss, and sometimes he would tend to miss shots in traffic due to rushing. He also was able to make an open, pull-up three late in this game to show his shooting skills. Unfortunately though, he often struggled to make threes, as he especially had trouble making them off the catch in this game.

He displayed fairly average playmaking skills in this game. For the positives, he is a speedy playmaker that can throw solid interior passes, and he can quickly get to the paint and drop off passes to his teammates to set up scores for them. However, he was also very turnover prone on offense. Chandler would tend to throw hasty, rushed passes that would get intercepted. He also had a tendency to over-dribble into traffic, which would lead him to commit charging fouls.

Also, Chandler was able to get boards on both ends of the floor to help chip in on the glass. He also played satisfactory defense in this game. Chandler is a pesky defender that would apply heavy ball pressure, and he would poke balls away and deflect passes to make it difficult for his opponents. He would force opponents to commit ball-handling and passing turnovers due to possessing very good hands, quickness, and agility. He also was able to contest threes to force misses, and he also successfully drew a charge due to being in the position to do so. However, he would sometimes be too aggressive in going for steals, which would lead him to commit fouls and end up out of position. Sometimes, this would put him in disadvantageous spots that would lead his team to end up in scramble situations.

Overall, Kennedy Chandler is a very athletic lead guard that has a variety of skills, and at times, he can look like a very good prospect. He was able to use his speed to score at the rim, and he also showed a promising jump shot by making a three late in this game. He was able to make some good passes at the point, and he also generally defended well. However, he also shot the ball poorly, and he would sometimes take tough, rushed shots that would hurt his shooting percentages. He also tended to force the issue too much, which would lead him to commit too many turnovers. He’ll need to play more under control, but he is a talented guard that may have a good deal of upside as a prospect for the NBA.

Kevin Obanor put forth an uneven performance in his team’s overtime win over Tennessee.  Relatively speaking, he was able to have bring forth some of the more memorable moments in his team’s victory, so on the surface, it seems that he played well.  However, he and nearly everyone else shot the ball poorly, so that sort of detracts from his scoring and defense that he brought to the table from an evaluation standpoint.  Compared to basically all other players not named Terrence Shannon Jr. though, Obanor played a relatively good game despite not actually shooting efficiently in this match overall.

Obanor showed a satisfactory ability to score in the post.  He showed a knack for using spin moves to smoothly score around the basket.  On another play though, he used a drop step, but ended up missing on a right-handed jump hook.  He also struggled to finish plays in traffic at times, as he had a couple of his shots blocked when trying to score around the basket.

He also did an adequate job of knocking down open corner threes to show his floor spacing skills on offense.  On the downside, Obanor often missed on spot-up threes elsewhere, and he had trouble making spot-up threes when he would have to take them further away from the three-point line.  Also, he was fairly turnover prone on offense.  He would throw inaccurate passes that would go astray.  When posting up another time, he used a spin move, but was called for a traveling violation on that play.

Also, Obanor was able to leap up to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor to help get his fair share of rebounds in this game.  He also played decent defense when he was on the floor.  Obanor hustled back to make a nice chase down block on the break, as he managed to swat it to a teammate that time due to possessing a solid blend of athleticism, motor, and instincts.  He also was able to contest a mid-range jump shot to force a miss.  He also successfully drew a charge another time.  On the downside, he would sometimes be undisciplined defensively.  He bit on a shot fake that led his team to allow a score around the basket.  He also was late to rotate to a shooter, and he allowed his man to score on an open corner three.

Overall, Kevin Obanor had his ups and downs in his team’s overtime win over Tennessee.  He had some good moments, and there were other times where it seemed like he should’ve made more three-pointers than he did in this game.  While he’s not an overwhelming athlete, Obanor is a mobile, skilled combo forward that consistently played hard and showed a variety of skills, and he currently projects to be a borderline second round candidate in the 2022 draft.

Davion Warren had some good moments in his team’s overtime win over Tennessee.  While he didn’t shoot the ball well overall, he seemed to play relatively well compared to the other players not named Terrence Shannon Jr. in this match. Warren showed a knack for scoring on dunks in this game.  He ran the floor to score on a high-flying jam, and he also threw down a slam another time.  Plus, he also managed to make an open corner three off the catch.  He also showed the knack for drawing free throws on strong drives to the hoop.  On the downside, he had trouble consistently scoring on mid-range jumpers, and he also had his shot blocked when looking to score off the dribble another time.

On the downside, he was a bit turnover prone on offense.  He was called for carrying on a drive to the hoop once.  On another drive, he collided into an opponent, and was called for charging that time.  Also, Warren was able to haul in several defensive rebounds to help his team chip in on the glass.  He also played solid defense in this game.  He was able to make a nice chase down block to swat a shot off of a drive in transition due to possessing good athleticism and timing.  He also managed to get his hands on a ball and he dove for a loose ball on the ground to nearly get a steal another time.

Overall, Davion Warren had a relatively satisfactory showing in his team’s overtime win over Tennessee.  He didn’t shoot well, but neither did most players in this game.  He was able to throw down some nice dunks, he made a high-flying chase down block, and he also made a three to showcase some of his shooting skills.  He is a very athletic swingman that can make energetic plays on both sides of the ball, and in a favorable scenario, he could project into a 3 and D type of role in the NBA someday.

Tennessee’s 6-9 sixth-year senior big man, John Fulkerson had a solid showing in his team’s tough, overtime loss to Texas Tech.  He thrived as a shot blocker throughout this contest, and he excelled as a low post scorer early on.  However, he couldn’t sustain or replicate his early success on offense late in this match, and his team wasn’t able to score enough down the stretch.

Fulkerson showed a satisfactory ability to score in the post.  He was able to catch high entry passes to score early on, and he also used a spin move to score on a tough layup in traffic.  On the downside, he had trouble executing his plays after using spin moves to consistently score from the block.  He did score on an athletic tip slam off of an offensive rebound, but he had trouble finishing around the basket late in this match, as he would sometimes miss shots weakly in traffic. He also did a decent job of passing the basketball.  Fulkerson usually did a good job of passing the ball out of the post, as he would be able to patiently find shooters and cutters to set up plenty of scoring chances for his teammates.  On one post play though, he threw a hasty pass that ended up getting intercepted by a defender.

Also, Fulkerson did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He was quite active at crashing the glass, and he has a keen nose for the ball.  He was able to leap up to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor.  He also played very good defense in this game.  He did a great job of blocking shots to help his team protect the paint, due to possessing good length and timing.  He would hustle to make chase down blocks from behind, and he excelled at contesting shots in the paint to force misses.  He also did a decent job of contesting outside shots to get stops for his team.

Overall, John Fulkerson played well in this game.  He especially played well early on, and he excelled as a shot blocker and interior defender when he was on the floor.  He is an energetic big man that consistently plays with a high motor.  He’ll need to improve his jump shot and extend his shooting range, but his ability to make hustle plays could enable him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA next season.

Texas Tech’s redshirt junior swingman, Kevin McCullar had his ups and downs in his team’s overtime win over Tennessee.  He didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, as he struggled to knock down jumpers, and had trouble scoring in traffic.  He did manage to split a double team to score on a strong, left-handed drive once.  McCullar did a good job of passing the basketball while on the move to set up scores for his teammates, and he showed some ability to be able to run the point.  He also rebounded the ball very well and he was able to successfully draw a charge once.  On the downside, he would sometimes struggle to be in position defensively, and he generally just did not shoot the ball well.  Overall, McCullar is a strong, mobile swingman that showed some playmaking and rebounding skills.   He’ll need to be a more consistent shooter in games, but he could be a prospect to watch in the future.

Santiago Vescovi didn’t have a great game, as he didn’t shoot the ball very well, but neither did most players in this match.  He was able to run off a pin-down quickly to score on an open corner three late in regulation.  He also managed to make an open, spot-up three towards the end of this game to showcase his shooting skills. He also was able to throw solid interior passes at times, and he also would get his hands on passes to get steals.  On the downside, he would struggle to handle ball pressure at times, and he also struggled to defend opponents off the dribble at times, which would lead him to commit fouls.  Overall, he didn’t play very well overall, but he is a gritty combo guard that has a shooter’s mentality, and that could enable him to either compete for a roster spot in the NBA someday, or at least to carve out a lengthy playing career in professional basketball sometime down the road.

It was an odd game for Tennessee’s freshman center, Brandon Huntley-Hatfield.  He entered the game briefly.  He grabbed a defensive rebound, and he ran the floor to catch a lob pass, and he drew free throws on an alley-oop.  He then made one of two free throws, although he would’ve missed both of them if an opponent hadn’t prematurely moved prior to him shooting his second free throw. 

Despite having played well in such a brief amount of time, he exited the game shortly afterwards, and that seemed to be the last he played in this game.  Sure, he’s behind John Fulkerson, Olivier Nkamhoua, and Uros Plavsic in the depth chart, but Huntley-Hatfield seemed to play well when he was on the floor, and he should have played more.  He gave Chandler a lob threat and a finisher that could play above the rim, as well as another athletic big man on the floor.  Maybe Huntley-Hatfield should’ve chosen a program that would’ve given him considerably more playing time in games. I also would’ve wanted to see Tennessee’s little used, 7-0 freshman center Jonas Aidoo play to get a feel for his game at the collegiate level, but he collected a DNP-CD in this game. Aidoo was rated as a five-star recruit by Rivals, but he hasn’t seen the floor much in college so far.

Justin Powell seems like he left a good situation at Auburn, only to come to what seems to be a slightly messier situation at Tennessee.  He was a tall, ball-handling point guard at Auburn that managed to get noticed and draft stock as a freshman, but he later transferred.  At Tennessee, he doesn’t get to handle the ball nearly as often.   Instead, he was stationed as a spot-up shooter, and he ended up missing all of his spot-up threes off the catch.  While he’s shot the ball well overall on the season in his role at Tennessee so far, he failed to make much of an impression in his team’s overtime loss today against Texas Tech.

Josiah-Jordan James struggled in his team’s loss to Texas Tech.  He struggled to make threes for most of the game, and he also had some unsightly misses, as he air-balled a mid-range jumper, and he also blew an open layup on the break after intercepting the pass to get a steal.  He did manage to score on a put back, and he also made an open three late in the game, but that wasn’t enough to showcase his offensive skills.  He did manage to throw an accurate outlet pass to a teammate on the break, and he also set an off-ball screen that helped his teammate score on a three-point shot late in this game.

He also did a very good job of rebounding the basketball, and he would chase down balls to get tough boards for his team.  James also played solid defense in this game.  He would often intercept passes to get steals, and he also contested a three to force a miss.  On one play though, he struggled to defend an opponent on a drive in transition, which led him to commit a reach-in foul.

Overall, Josiah-Jordan James is a strong, mobile swingman that struggled mightily on offense in his team’s loss to Texas Tech.  He fared better in the non-shooting or scoring elements of this game, but his team needed buckets in the worst ways, and he often was unable to give them those today.  He’ll need to be a more consistent performer in games and currently, he is a borderline second round candidate for the 2022 draft.

I also wanted to watch former Florida State player and current Texas Tech swingman, Sardaar Calhoun play, as he is a very athletic player that has shown some three-point shooting skills and can throw down highlight reel-worthy dunks on off-ball motion plays, but he has not played much this year, and he has not shot the ball well at all for Texas Tech.  He did not play in this game because he was out due to COVID-related reasons. I was also disappointed that Texas Tech’s 6-3 French guard, Clarence Nadolny didn’t play much at all. I was hoping he’d see some big minutes, and he is an athletic guard that has been known by his fans to throw down some highlight reel-worthy dunks. Today, he played sparingly as he saw sparse playing time. In this game, he grabbed a defensive rebound, and he committed a turnover another time. He also drew a free throw when handling the ball, but he air-balled the free throw to miss it, so he went scoreless in this game.

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