Evaluating Tyler Wahl, Jaden Ivey, and Johnny Davis

March 1st, 2022

By Alan Lu

Wisconsin defeated Purdue today to get a share of the Big Ten title.
(Photo:
Andy Manis/Associated Press)

Today, I decided to watch Johnny Davis and Wisconsin take on Jaden Ivey and Purdue in a tough, competitive Big Ten conference basketball game in a battle for the Big Ten title.  Both Ivey and Davis looked to be up and down, as Ivey was hesitant, tentative and turnover prone early on.  Davis didn’t seem to be aggressive enough, but as the game wore on, both of them started to find their strides, with Ivey really pouring on the points for his team. 

However, Purdue’s big men were overmatched by Tyler Wahl and Wisconsin’s big men, as both Trevion Williams and Zach Edey looked sluggish and missed too many easy shots, especially on Williams’ end.  Wisconsin played harder, and they were able to get a hard-earned, well-deserved victory over Purdue.  Here are my thoughts on how various prospects fared in this match.

Wisconsin’s 6-9 junior big man, Tyler Wahl scored 19 points and collected 5 steals in his team’s win over Purdue.
(Photo:
John Fisher/Getty Images)

Wisconsin’s Tyler Wahl played very well in his team’s win over Purdue.  He put forth a strong, all-around performance, and he was the definitive, best big man in this game, as he outperformed higher profile big men such as Edey and Williams to get his team the victory.

Wahl did a good job of scoring off the dribble.  He excelled at scoring on right-handed drives, and he has a crafty pump fake that he would use to help finish plays and score around the basket.  He also thrived at scoring in the post.  He was able to score on a turnaround layup.  He also got deep position and used a shoulder fake to score on a turnaround jump hook.  He showed subtly good agility, as well as sound footwork and the shooting touch to consistently score in the paint.  He also managed to score on a quick put back, but sometimes he would miss shots on off-ball motion plays due to rushing.

He also showed off good playmaking skills in this game.  He is an unselfish player that can pass and handle the basketball.  Wahl made good, timely passes off the dribble, as he was able to make an assortment of passes to notch assists.  On the downside, he threw one pass that ended up getting intercepted once.

Though he didn’t get many rebounds in this game, he was able to chase down balls to get boards on both ends of the floor.  Wahl also played good defense in this game.  He was able to rotate to swipe a ball from a high post player to get a steal, and he also dove on the ground to get a loose ball to get another.  He also intercepted an inbounds pass to get a clutch steal late in this contest.  Plus, he also played good position defense, and he was able to block a couple of shots around the basket.  He also managed to contest a shot and held his ground to force a miss when defending in the post another time.  On the downside, there was one play where he got beat off the dribble to allow a score once.

Overall, Tyler Wahl put forth a superb performance to lead his team to a win over Purdue.  He really gave Purdue’s big men fits with his high offensive skill level and mobility, and they simply could not guard him tonight.  He may have had a career game, but he played very well, and he made a lot of solid team plays to help Wisconsin win a share of the Big Ten title.

Purdue’s sophomore guard, Jaden Ivey played well in his team’s loss to Wisconsin.
(Photo:
Andy Manis/Associated Press)

Jaden Ivey had a solid showing in his team’s loss to Wisconsin.  He had his ups and downs in the first half, as he was tentative, settled for a handful of tough, contested mid-range shots, and he wasn’t taking enough threes or driving hard enough to the basket.  He also was committing too many passing turnovers, although he did throw some good passes to notch assists in the first half.  On top of that, he missed way too many free throws.  He really found his stride in the second half, and he did a superb job of shooting and scoring when he would elect to do so.  He did not command the ball enough, but he showed that he is a very athletic and talented combo guard that can do everything he wants on the basketball court.

He showed a solid ability to knock down jumpers in this game.  Ivey was able to effortlessly knock down smooth, step-back threes, and he also made a deep three from way out to tie the game late in this match.  Plus, he also was able to use a hesitation move to score on a contested mid-range jumper off the dribble.  On the downside, he struggled to make pull-up, mid-range jumpers consistently.

He also did a very good job of scoring off the dribble.  He would score on strong, speedy drives to the hoop, and he showed a knack for taking on the contact to draw extra free throws afterwards.  Ivey was able to split a double team effortlessly to score while getting fouled.  He also managed to get fouled and score on an acrobatic, reverse layup.  He is a speedy, electrifying scoring guard that does a great job of driving hard to the hoop both in the half court and in transition to score and get numerous free throws for his team.  On the downside, he missed too many free throws when he was at the foul line.

Also, Ivey displayed adequate playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that can throw good passes off the dribble, and he would throw accurate interior passes to find open teammates to set up scores for them.  He also would quickly take the ball to the hoop and kick balls out to open shooters.  Sometimes though, he would throw hasty, ill-advised passes that would get intercepted or go out of bounds, and he did not always pass well or display good decision-making skills in this game.  He also passed up on some open shots, and his team needed him to be more assertive in the first half.

Adding to that, Ivey was able to get his fair share of boards to help his team out on the glass.  He also played satisfactory defense.  Ivey was able to run in swiftly to get a steal, and he would actively contest mid-range jumpers to force misses.  On the downside, he would be too aggressive, as he would bite on pump fakes and over-rotate, which would lead him to be out of position when defending on the ball, as that led him to foul an opponent on a drive, and he also allowed opponents to score on a couple of outside shots.

In general, Jaden Ivey played fairly well in this game.  He had moments where he took over, and it seemed as if he would lead his team to another victory.  However, Wisconsin ended up getting the win instead, but Ivey had the best game amongst any Purdue player that participated in this match.  He is a very athletic, scoring combo guard that can really score the basketball, and he also has shown emerging playmaking and defensive skills.  He could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the top 5 of the 2022 draft, and he could develop into being an All-Star in the association.

Wisconsin’s sophomore guard, Johnny Davis had 16 points and 8 rebounds in his team’s win over Purdue tonight.
(Photo:
Andy Manis/Associated Press)

Johnny Davis also played well in his team’s win over Purdue.  He didn’t make a three-point shot nor took many threes, but he was decisive in driving hard to the basket, and he also was comfortable in making mid-range jumpers.  He quietly had a solid, all-around game to help get his team the victory.

Davis showed a solid ability to score off the dribble.  He would drive hard to the hoop to get to the free throw line quite often.  He also did a satisfactory job of knocking down mid-range jumpers.  He was adept at making smooth, pull-up mid-range jumpers, and he also dribbled in and made step back, long two leaner off the glass late in this contest.  He did miss on his fair share of mid-range shots, as he would sometimes tend to take tough, contested shots, but he generally excelled at knocking down shots from that range.

He looked to be fairly average as a playmaker in this game.  Davis can throw sharp, accurate passes off the dribble, as he can kick balls out to open shooters, and he also threw a sharp interior pass to notch an assist once.  However, sometimes he would rush his passes, as he threw one that ended up going out of bounds, and he also threw a hasty, rushed pass that got intercepted another time.

Also, he did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  He also played satisfactory defense in this game.  Davis would contest threes to force misses, and he also was able to fight through a screen to get all the way back to his man to cut off penetration and force a pass.  He also would deflect passes to nearly get steals other times.  However, sometimes he would struggle to stay in front of his man on drives, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  Another time, he gave up too much space to a shooter, which led him to allow his man to score on a step-back three.

In summary, Johnny Davis had a solid showing, as he played well on both ends of the floor to help his team get the victory.  He will need to improve his three-point shot moving forward, but he is a solid prospect that has been a very productive player this year, and he would likely be a good pick for an NBA team in the lottery of the 2022 draft.

Wisconsin’s freshman guard, Chucky Hepburn played very well in his team’s win over Purdue.  He shot the ball especially well, and he thrived as a shooter and scorer in this game. Hepburn did a tremendous job of knocking down threes to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He showed that he can make threes off the catch, dribble, and ball screens, and he also made a quick three off of a pin-down early on.  He also made a clutch, step-back bank three to get his team the go-ahead basket to get the win for his team.  He struggled to make pull-up, mid-range jumpers, but Hepburn especially thrived at making threes in this match. 

Plus, he also showed a satisfactory ability to score off the dribble.  He in particular showed a knack for scoring on left-handed drives, and he was able to score and get an extra free throw once.  He also will absorb the contact to draw fouls and get to the free throw line.  Sometimes though, he would force up tough shots that would lead to some misses. He also passed the ball well in this game.  Hepburn was able to get a pair of assists, and he also threw a crafty, wraparound pass off the dribble to nearly get another.  On the downside, he didn’t get any rebounds on this night.  He also was foul prone, as he committed one when trying to intercept a pass once, and he also was called for a couple of blocking fouls on drives due to being in the restricted area.

Overall, Chucky Hepburn played really well, and he is surging at the right time as the postseason is near.  He has been streaky with his shot for a good portion of this season, but he is an athletic combo guard that can shoot and score in bunches, and this game was a major step in the right direction for him.  He turned in a strong showing and made the shot of the year for his team, and he will be a player to watch for the 2023 draft.  If he can continue to hone his game and develop as an overall player, he could end up being a solid role player in the NBA one day.

Zach Edey had his ups and downs, but he turned in an uneven performance in his team’s loss to Wisconsin.  While he had his moments at times, he missed some easy shots in the post, and he missed far too often, as he was unable to quite assert his dominance when he was on the floor, despite playing against much shorter big men in this game.

Edey thrived at scoring on hustle plays, due to possessing great size and a good motor.  He would move off the ball, and he was able to score on strong, powerful dunks off of hard rolls to the rim.  He also excelled at scoring off of offensive rebounds.  He was able to score on a put back and get an extra free throw, and he used his tremendous size to perfection to score off of his own miss.  He also managed to score on a tip-in later on.

However, he struggled to consistently score in the post.  When he would get deep position and have the block in a one-on-one situation, he would easily get up right-handed, turnaround jump hooks, and he was able to score on a couple of those.  Sometimes though, he wouldn’t get enough lift on his shot, and he would miss on right-handed hook shots, and he would be short on some of those.  He didn’t get nearly enough shooting touch on those, and he also missed on an alley-oop dunk awkwardly another time.  For a 7-4 center, he didn’t show a good enough shooting touch, and he wasn’t usually able to overpower or overwhelm his opponents down low on sheer size and strength.  His lack of overall athleticism and inconsistent shooting made it tough for him to consistently score on low post plays in this game.

On the plus side, Edey set good screens for his teammates, and he would free up shooters to set up scores for them.  He is a very tall, big center that would use his size, wide frame, and physicality to get his teammates open shots. Also, he did a very good job of rebounding the basketball, and Edey is a very tall center that would hustle to get boards on both ends of the floor.  Sometimes, he would go in too aggressively, which would lead him to commit loose ball fouls when going for offensive boards.

However, he struggled defensively.  For the positives, he would rotate to challenge shots in the paint, and he was able to block and contest them to force some misses.  He also was able to get an opponent to miss a shot in the post due to possessing very good size and strength.  However, Edey is just not very fast or quick, and he would sometimes be too undisciplined on the defensive end.  He would tend to get beat off the dribble by quicker players, and he usually didn’t show enough recovery speed to be able to get back on the play.  He also over-helped in the paint and sagged way too far off of a shooter, which led him to give up a three-point basket to an opponent early on.  He also didn’t effectively communicate a screen to a teammate when defending a pick and roll, and his team gave up a mid-range basket another time.  He really struggled to defend out on the perimeter, and his lack of mobility or willingness to get out to guard shooters out there could make it difficult for him to get meaningful and consistent minutes at the NBA level.

Overall, Zach Edey had some good moments, but he also missed too many easy shots in the post, and he struggled too much with his position defense in this game.  He will need to improve his ability to shoot and make shots and he will have to defend better on a more consistent basis.  He had some ugly looking misses, and his inability to consistently score in the post and defensive struggles really made it tough for him at times today. He reminded me of former Purdue big man Isaac Haas, another very tall, strong center that relied on sheer size and strength, but Edey struggled quite a bit at times, and he will need to be able to match up better against more mobile, athletic big men on a consistent basis. Currently, he is a borderline second round candidate, but he will have to improve his defense and jump shot moving forward.

Sasha Stefanovic had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Wisconsin.  He played extremely well early on, and he was running super quickly off of ball screens to make threes off of pin downs.  From how he was shooting the ball early on, it looked as though he would have a career night.  However, it did not turn out to go that way.  He didn’t look to shoot nearly as often and he struggled more with his jump shot as the game progressed, and he ended up fading into the background in crunch time.

Stefanovic shot the ball well, especially from downtown.  He may run the fastest off of ball screens in all of college basketball, and he would make lightning-quick threes after coming off of pin downs.  He also was able to make a deep three.  Plus, he also was able to score on a right-handed drive very early in this game.   However, he struggled more to score off the dribble, and he had a couple of drives blocked when going to the hoop.  When he would drive to the hoop, he would exclusively look to go right, and he would rarely ever look to go left when taking the ball to the rim.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  He was able to throw a crisp, accurate interior pass to find a teammate on the move to notch an assist.  He also didn’t turn the ball over in this game, although he would sometimes be too predictable with his drives to the basket.

Though he didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, Stafanovic was able to get a pair of defensive boards for his team.  He also played adequate defense.  He would contest outside shots to force misses.  On the downside, he struggled more to defend later on, and sometimes he would struggle to stay with his man on pin-downs and would give up too much space, which would lead him to give up three-point baskets to his opponents.

Overall, Sasha Stefanovic had a red-hot start to this game, and it looked as though he would dominate and take over after making three quick three-pointers and scoring 11 points in the first eight minutes of the game.  However, that turned out to be the best stretch of the match for him, and he seemed to disappear and fade away from there on out.  He’s a spot-up shooter that seems to be dependent on ball and player movement to get open shots from his teammates, and he’s not really someone that can consistently create his own shot. 

This game seemed to show his strengths and weaknesses as a player as a result.  While he’s a very good spot-up shooter, his athletic limitations may pose as significant hurdles for him in the NBA.  Currently, he is a borderline second round candidate for the 2022 draft, and he is a spot-up shooter who reminds me of current Chicago Bulls guard, Matt Thomas.  In a favorable scenario, Stefanovic could project to be a shooting specialist in an NBA team’s rotation in the association.

Brad Davison didn’t have his best game, but he was able to make some solid plays to help his team when they needed him.  He is a tough, gritty combo guard that consistently plays hard.  He didn’t quite play as well as some of his other teammates, but he made enough plays to help his team get the win over Purdue.

He was inconsistent as a shot maker in this game, but he flashed his ability to knock down jumpers, especially in the second half.  Davison ran off a pin-down to make a quick three.  He also ran off a pin-down to score on a fall-away, pull-up, mid-range jumper another time.  On the downside, he would sometimes take rushed, contested shots that would lead to misses.  He also showed a satisfactory ability to score off the dribble.  Davison was able to drive to the hoop to score on a right-handed drive using one foot while falling away.

He looked to be fairly average as a playmaker.  Davison did not get an assist nor commit a turnover in this game.  He also did not take as many shots as expected in this game.  He was able to throw an accurate interior pass to create a scoring chance for a teammate once.

Davison did a good job of chasing down balls to get defensive boards, and he would get his hands on them to help his team get rebounds.  On the other hand, he also was called for a loose ball foul when going for a defensive board another time.  Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  On one good play, he managed to successfully draw a charge after defending a screener off a dribble-handoff.  However, he also would struggle to stay with his man at times, which would lead them to score on him.

Overall, Brad Davison didn’t have his best game, but he made team plays to help his team get the win.  He’s not an elite shooter, but he moves well off the ball on offense, and he can knock down spot-up jumpers to space the floor for his team.  He’s not an elite playmaker or defender, but he will make the extra pass and take charges.  He’s a long shot to be drafted, but he has shown that he can knock down jump shots and make winning plays in big games, and his toughness and poise could enable him to carve out a lengthy playing career in professional basketball.

Trevion Williams was surprisingly bad in his team’s loss to Wisconsin.  His draft stock had seemed to be steadily rising all throughout his senior season, and he had played very well prior to this game.  He had shown strong passing skills, an improved jump shot, and he was a very good per-minute big man on a very good Purdue team this year. 

However, Williams seemed to do nothing well tonight.  He really struggled to operate as a scorer or passer out of the post, he didn’t show a workable face-up game, and he looked bad defensively.  His inability to make plays on either hand against a fairly mobile big man could cause some doubts about his ability to effectively transition to paly in the NBA, as his game seemed eerily reminiscent of another former Purdue big man that had a short-lived NBA career in former Portland Trail Blazers big man, Caleb Swanigan, who didn’t pan out in the NBA.

Williams struggled to consistently score in the post.  On the plus side, he is a strong, physical player that can score on jump hooks using either hand.  However, he tended to take tough, contested jump hooks, and he would often miss them fading away.  He also nearly would’ve scored on a dunk, but his teammate drew a foul earlier on the play, so it negated that.

He also missed on an awkward, off-balanced layup off the dribble, and Williams also missed on his lone three-point attempt.  Despite using a pump fake, he missed on a roll to the rim in traffic.  He struggled to get easy shots when going up against more agile Wisconsin big men, and he didn’t show enough lift when trying to score in the post, as he consistently missed on tough, contested shots down low.

Also, Williams looked to be fairly average as a playmaker in this game.  For the positives, he showed that he can throw swift passes out of the post to consistently find cutters.  However, sometimes he would throw hard passes that would get dropped by his teammates, and he also threw a long inbounds pass that got intercepted another time. 

He also did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He would chase down balls to get boards due to possessing good motor.  Defensively, he really struggled in this game.  For the positives, Williams was able to contest a couple of mid-range shots to force misses.  On the downside, he would tend to get beat off the dribble, and he also would over-rotate and allow opponents to get easy scores around the basket.  He really had trouble defending quicker players, and on one play, he rotated, but got quickly beat on a pick and roll drive, as his team gave up the basket.

Overall, Trevion Williams may have had his worst game of the season.  He was bafflingly bad in his team’s loss to Wisconsin, and he never really found his footing in this game.  He couldn’t make shots consistently, and he had trouble getting his teammates to catch passes or to score off of them.  He and Edey looked to be very immobile at times on both ends of the floor, and Williams had trouble defending in space in this game.  Williams will need to improve his jump shot and extend his range, and he will need to improve his defense.  Currently, he is a borderline second round candidate, and a strong postseason could move his draft stock moving forward.

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