Evaluating Tyler Dorsey, Trevon Bluiett, and Others in the Sweet 16

March 24, 2017

By Alan Lu

This Thursday featured several notable Sweet 16 games that were played in this year’s NCAA Tournament.  I mostly scouted the contest that played between Oregon and Michigan.  But the most surprising outcome that happened on this day was one where Xavier stunned Arizona to get a two-point victory, led by Trevon Bluiett’s 25-point outburst to move on to the Elite Eight.  Here are my thoughts on how various prospects played on this day, and how they rate as prospects for the NBA.

Oregon’s sophomore guard, Tyler Dorsey did a great job of shooting and scoring the basketball to get the win for his team over Michigan.  He really excelled at knocking down quick threes off the catch, and sometimes he would use a pump fake to create separation between himself and his defender.   Also, he showed a fairly good ability to get scores off the dribble, though he did struggle to make pull-up jumpers or to score in traffic at times.  Plus, he also showed off adequate playmaking skills, as he would kick it out to shooters to set up scoring chances for them.  Also, Dorsey would help out on the glass to get his team some defensive rebounds.

In general, Tyler Dorsey has been having himself a terrific NCAA Tournament this year, as he has really excelled as a shooter and scorer for his team, and he also has made clutch shots time and time again.  He made a game winning three to help propel Oregon past Rhode Island in a second round match, and Dorsey scored the go-ahead layup to get his team past Michigan in the Sweet 16.  He is a skilled, crafty playmaker, and he could end up being a solid find for a team in the NBA.

Jordan Bell also had a terrific showing in a win for Oregon.  He played very well on both ends of the floor, and he brought a commanding interior presence to his team on this day.  Bell did a great job of scoring on hustle plays.  He generally excelled at throwing down dunks, and he managed to throw down a thunderous alley-oop dunk off of a give and go on the break.  Plus, he also managed to score on a put back another time.

Also, he showed an adequate ability to score in the post.  Bell managed to use a pivot move to score on a reverse layup.  Also, he used a pump fake another time, and drove after posting up to draw free throws for his team.  But he also struggled to score on jump hooks when he would attempt them.  He also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Bell showed a good ability to find shooters from the post to set up scores for them.  But there was one play where he was called for offensive basket interference after his teammate attempted to score on a drive to the hoop.

Plus, Bell showed off a terrific ability to rebound the basketball.  He was quite active on the glass on both ends of the floor, and Bell would often leap up high to collect numerous boards in this game.  Also, he showcased adequate defensive skills.  Bell did an excellent job of blocking shots, as he would swat a couple of them off of drives, and one off of a roll due to possessing very good length, athleticism, and timing to do so.  He also managed to jump a pass to get a steal, and he would use his length to contest shots in order to force misses.  However, sometimes he would struggle to guard shooters.  At times, he would give up too much space, others he would bite on a pump fake or a jab step move that would give the opponent enough separation to take and make jumpers.

In summary, Jordan Bell played very well to help lead his team to a narrow victory over Michigan.  He made many impactful plays throughout this contest, and he is an athletic, high motor big man that could be a solid rim protector at the next level.  With his skill set, he could end up being a good pick in the late first to the second round range of the upcoming draft.

Michigan’s D.J. Wilson put forth a decent performance in a loss to Oregon.  He showed his strengths and weaknesses as an overall player in this match.  He was very effective at knocking down threes, but he also generally seemed to struggle to play as well in the other areas of the game.  Wilson did a very good job of knocking down threes to space the floor for his team.  He showed a knack for making spot-up shots off the catch from long range, as he can also do so off of pick and pop plays.

However, he generally struggled to create his own shot.  Wilson does not look to score off the dribble or in the post very much, and it showed in this game.  He was open after catching an entry pass in the post, but he used a pump fake despite no one seemingly being around him, and defenders then collapsed on him, as he ended up missing a fairly easy shot around the basket.  He also used a step back move, but missed a mid-range shot after initially running off of a pin down.

He also displayed good playmaking skills.  Wilson threw crisp, accurate passes, as he can do so off the dribble as well as in the post.  One nifty pass was when he drove to the hoop, where he managed to get a defender to bite on his pump fake, and he then threw a crisp, interior pass to set up a score for his teammate around the basket.

However, he did not do a very good job of rebounding the basketball in this game.  Wilson did crash the defensive glass at times.  But for a player that is as athletic or tall as he is, he struggled to consistently come away with boards.  On one play, he did not block out well enough, as he ended up allowing a put back score, and he may need to add considerably more strength to do a better job of boxing out his opponents.

Plus, Wilson also showcased adequate defensive skills.  He did a very good job of blocking and contesting shots off of drives to force misses, and he also would challenge some shots in the post.  Also, he managed to poke a ball out of bounds to almost get a steal for his team.  However, he also picked up a couple of fouls inside the paint, though some of that was due to making a rotation when a teammate would get beat on a move to the hoop.  But at times, Wilson would either give up too much space or be late on his rotation, which would allow the opposing team to score on jumpers.

In summary, D.J. Wilson had a fairly good showing in a loss to Oregon.  He is a very athletic big man that can make threes and block shots, but he has trouble creating his own shot when asked to do so, and he also is not as good of a rebounder as he should be.  But as he is a player that may project well into the modern NBA game and that he may possess considerable upside, Wilson could be a good pick for a team in the late first to the second round range of the upcoming draft.

Oregon’s junior swingman, Dillon Brooks did not have his best game, as he struggled to score in the post or off the dribble consistently, but he did show a very good ability to knock down threes from beyond the arc.  He also threw crisp, accurate passes due to possessing solid court vision to set up numerous scores for his teammates.  While Brooks did not play as well as some of his other teammates, he did excel at making threes against Michigan, and his strong ability to pass the basketball helped Oregon significantly on this day.

Michigan’s senior swingman Zak Irvin had a solid showing, as he especially played well on offense in a loss to Oregon.  He excelled at knocking down spot-up threes and pull-up, mid-range jumpers, but he also showed the ability to score off of cuts and drives to the basket.  Plus, he also is an unselfish player that generally passed the ball well.  Zak Irvin generally played well on offense, and he could end up being a solid addition to an NBA team’s summer league roster this year.

Derrick Walton Jr. also generally played well in a loss for Michigan.  He showed a very good ability to shoot the basketball, as he excelled at knocking down numerous pull-up jumpers, and he also showed a good ability to score on quick drives to the hoop.  He also showed solid playmaking skills, as he would make an array of passes to set up many scores for his teammates.  But sometimes, he would commit careless turnovers, as he would occasionally lose the basketball every once in a while.

He also rebounded the ball well, and showcased adequate defensive skills.  Walton was able to collect his fair share of defensive boards.  Defensively, he managed to rip a ball away from an opposing ball handler to get a steal, and he also drew a charge another time.  In this game, Derrick Walton Jr. played very well to keep his team in the game pretty much all the way to the end.  He has had a solid senior season and NCAA Tournament, and he could be a good find for a team in the NBA.

Oregon’s 6-2 senior guard, Dylan Ennis also played well, as he helped get his team a narrow victory over Michigan.  He really excelled at getting scores on strong drives to the hoop, and one time he managed to score on a hop step move.  Ennis also showed a good ability to score off of cuts to the basket.  However, he did struggle more when he would attempt jumpers from the field.

He also showcased adequate playmaking skills.  Ennis generally threw solid passes, and on one play, and he managed to throw a lob pass to a teammate on a give and go to set up a dunk.  But he did commit a couple of turnovers, as he committed a charging foul off of one drive, and he fell down and threw a bad pass that led to another.

In general, Dylan Ennis had a solid showing in a win for his team.  He may be one of the more unheralded players on his team, as he comes off the bench for a very good Oregon team, but he has played quite well for them this year.  With his skill set, he could end up being a good addition to an NBA team’s summer league roster.

It was not a great game for Michigan’s sophomore big man, Moritz Wagner, as he did not particularly play well on either end of the court.  He did play incredibly well in a second round win against Louisville, so it became somewhat mind-boggling when he ended up playing really poorly in a loss to Oregon.

He really struggled to score on the block in this game.  Wagner tended to miss on awkward shots in the post, as he would rush his shots.  Other times, he would spin into the defenses, and he would not always use the proper hand to finish.  He did not handle pressure or tight defense very well, and it made him have a tough game as a result.

He also had trouble making threes from beyond the arc.  Wagner has a fairly slow release, and sometimes he would make it tougher on himself.  On one play, he passed up a relatively open shot, dribbled around, and then took a contested pull-up three that ended up being a miss as the shot clock expired, but it was not all bad for Wagner.  He showed a good ability to score off the dribble, as he drove in patiently to score on a floater, and then managed to draw an extra free throw on that play.  Also, he showed a good ability to get scores on rolls to the rim.  However, Wagner displayed below average playmaking skills.  He generally tended to throw hasty passes, and he also lost the ball on one drive to the hoop that ended up being a turnover.

He also did not rebound nor defend particularly well.  Wagner had trouble beating his man to spots to get to balls that were up for grabs on rebounding opportunities.  He also struggled to defend opponents in the post as well as off the dribble, as he generally struggled to move his feet, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores as a result.

In general, Moritz Wagner had the opposite of a good game in his team’s loss to Oregon.  He often struggled most of the time when he was on the floor, and he seemed to be sluggish as he occasionally labor up and down the court on this day.   Wagner just simply did not play very well, and as a result Michigan will not advance to play in the Elite Eight.  As for his draft stock, he may rate as a second round prospect for the time being.

Other Notes:

Xavier’s junior swingman Trevon Bluiett had a fantastic showing to lead his team Xavier to a surprising win over Arizona in the late game.  Bluiett showed a great ability to make jumpers and get scores off the dribble, and he also was able to score in the low post.  Bluiett is a strong, shifty guard that possesses very good body control, as he can score on numerous drives to the hoop.  With his strong ability to shoot and score, combined with having good athleticism and playmaking skills, as well as having terrific poise and basketball savvy, Trevon Bluiett would be a very good choice for an NBA team in the first round of the 2017 draft.

Arizona was stunned in their loss to Xavier, as they relied on a two-man game with Allonzo Trier as their scorer out on the perimeter, and with Dusan Ristic as their scorer in the post.  But that was not enough for them as their other players struggled to get going, or struggled to get involved much on offense.

For the Wildcats, they had trouble getting freshman forward, Lauri Markkanen involved enough on offense.  The guards did not look for him often, and Markkanen did not look to command the ball enough.  He was quite passive on offense in this game, and Arizona’s offense really sputtered down the stretch as they ended up losing in the Sweet 16.

I also managed to catch a little bit of the Gonzaga-West Virginia game.  Gonzaga came away with a win as expected, but the score was a lot closer than anticipated.  West Virginia’s junior guard, Jevon Carter showed a good ability to make threes and score off the dribble, as he could be an intriguing prospect to keep an eye on in 2018.

I did not see much of the Kansas-Purdue game either, but I did manage to see a magnificent, 360 dunk that was made on a breakaway by Kansas’ sophomore guard, Lagerald Vick in the Jayhawks blowout win over the Boilermakers.

Overall, this was quite an entertaining day, as it started off with a strong Oregon-Michigan game that went back and forth all the way until the end, and then the next batch of games had outcomes that went as expected.

But the most surprising of all was Trevon Bluiett’s hot shooting and blistering first half performance against Arizona, and Xavier managed to carry that into the next half as the other players such as J.P. Macura and Malcolm Bernard started hitting shots to get the Musketeers a stunning victory.  Friday’s games could also turn out really well, as most of the NBA teams and scouts will surely be focused on the South region, and in particular the UCLA-Kentucky rematch to see who will come out on top of that one.