Evaluations from the 2021 National Championship Game Between Baylor and Gonzaga

April 6th, 2021

By Alan Lu

Yesterday was the big showdown between two titans of college basketball, Baylor and Gonzaga.  They clashed in a bid to win the National Championship this year, but only one team could come away as the winner of this game.  Gonzaga had come in as the favorite, as they were 31-0 to start the day, and freshman sensation Jalen Suggs had been playing well all year long, and he was able to hit a magical bank three to lift his team to an overtime win over UCLA in the Final Four.

In this game though, Baylor brought the fight to Gonzaga, as they jumped on them early to get a big lead, and they didn’t look back.  While Gonzaga was able to cut it to 9 at one point in the second half, Baylor kept knocking down shots, they passed and rebounded well, and they made a slew of good defensive plays, as they would go on runs to push the lead back out.  When it was all over, Baylor defeated Gonzaga by 16, and they are now the champions of college basketball.  Jared Butler scored 22 points and had 7 assists, and Jalen Suggs also scored 22 points in his team’s losing effort.  Here are my thoughts on how Butler, Suggs, and other prospects fared in this game.

Baylor’s Jared Butler scored 22 points, and he also had 7 assists to help his team win the 2021 National Championship over Gonzaga.
(Photo:
Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images, via DraftKings Nation)

Baylor’s 6-3 junior guard, Jared Butler had a tremendous showing in his team’s win over Gonzaga.  He played well on both ends of the floor, and he consistently made winning team plays to help his team get the victory. Butler shot the ball very well in this game.  He excelled at making threes, as he was able to make a couple of quick, spot-up threes from way out, and he also would use crossover moves and pull up to knock down threes off the dribble.  Plus, he also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He excelled at scoring on cuts to the hoop, and he also drew free throws on a floater off of a drive in transition.

He struggled a little more to score when he would look to drive all the way to the basket to score on half-court drives.  Butler was able to use a crossover to score on a graceful layup once.  He also drove in to draw free throws on a high-flying dunk attempt.  On the downside, he would sometimes take tough, contested shots, as he would sometimes struggle to score in traffic, especially when he would not get foul calls.

Also, he displayed very good playmaking skills.  Butler excelled at throwing crisp interior passes to find teammates on the move, and he would throw good passes off the dribble to set up scores for his teammates.  He was able to string together a series of assists due to possessing good court vision, and he also did not turn the ball over once on offense.

He also was able to collect his fair share of defensive boards to help his team on the glass.  Butler also played satisfactory defense.  He ran in to intercept a pass to help his team get a steal, and he also would deflect passes to make it difficult for his opponents to get their passes through.  He also closed out very hard on a corner shooter, and he forced his opponent to commit and up and down violation.  On the downside, he would sometimes be too aggressive in reaching in, which would lead him to commit fouls on drives in transition.  Another time, he struggled to defend an opponent off the dribble, which led him to commit a foul that time.

In general, Jared Butler played very well to help lead his team to a win over Gonzaga.  He primarily excelled as a sharpshooter in this game, and he also did a very good job as a facilitator and defender when he was on the court.  Butler had a very good tournament showing, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the late lottery in the 2021 draft.

Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs scored 22 points in his team’s loss to Baylor in the 2021 National Championship.
(Photo:
Michael Conroy/Associated Press, via The Boston Globe)

Gonzaga’s freshman guard, Jalen Suggs came into the game with lofty expectations, especially after having played very well and having made the miraculous, game-winning bank three to lift his team to an overtime win over UCLA.  In this game against Baylor, he struggled early on, as he forced the issue a bit too much offense and then ran into early foul trouble, which sent him to the bench.  He came back in the game later in the first half, and he managed to score 22 points overall, but he didn’t get much help from his teammates down the stretch, and his team was never really able to slow Baylor down that much in this game. Suggs excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He showed a knack for scoring on speedy drives in transition, and he also managed to score on a backdoor cut.  On another play, he was able to score around the basket while getting an extra free throw.

He also shot the ball well, and he did a good job of scoring on quick, spot-up threes off the catch.  Plus, he also showed a decent ability to score off the dribble.  He would tend to favor going to his left to score on quick layups, but he also was able to go to his right to draw free throws, though he should’ve been rewarded with the score and an extra free throw on the latter play.  Sometimes though, he would force the issue too much, as he would drive hard into the teeth of the defense to miss in traffic, and he would sometimes go in too fast and out of control.

Also, Suggs looked to be fairly average as a playmaker in this game.  He is a speedy guard that can consistently get into the lane, and he can throw good passes off the dribble to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  He was able to drive and drop it off to a teammate to set up a score for him on the break.  On the downside, he would tend to over-dribble into traffic, which would lead him to commit ball-handling turnovers, and he also threw a bad pass that led to a jump ball that was awarded to the other team via the possession arrow.

Though he didn’t get many rebounds in this game, Suggs was able to get a defensive board against Baylor.  He also played satisfactory defense.  He was able to jump a pass and poke a ball away to get steals for his team.  He also contested a mid-range shot to force a miss.  On the downside, he would tend to gamble too much defensively.  He would commit reach-in fouls, and he also fouled an opponent on a drive in transition while aggressively trying to block a shot.  On another play, he got beat off the dribble as he froze in his tracks and didn’t move his feet very well that time, which led his teammate to rotate to commit the foul.

Overall, Jalen Suggs had a solid showing in his team’s loss to Baylor.  He played a bit too recklessly at times, as he would commit some silly fouls and turnovers on occasion, but he excelled as a shooter and scorer, especially in the second half of this game.  That his team did not win the National Championship is a bit of a downer, considered that he is the best prospect in this game, but even still, he is a very athletic guard that has very good all-around skills, and he looks to be a consensus top 5 pick in the 2021 draft, and he could end up being a star player similar to former All-Star guard, Baron Davis in the NBA.

Baylor’s MaCio Teague scored 19 points and he also blocked Jalen Suggs’ shot in the first half to lead his team to a win over Gonzaga.
(Photo:
Michael Conroy/Associated Press, via KLAS)

Baylor’s 6-4 senior guard, MaCio Teague put forth a very good performance in his team’s win over Gonzaga.  He consistently excelled at making plays on both ends of the floor.  He scored 19 points, made 2 threes, and he had a terrific block on Jalen Suggs early in this game. Teague shot the ball well to help provide his team with floor spacing on offense.  He showed a knack for knocking down pull-up threes.  He also excelled at scoring on mid-range jumpers as he can make them off the catch or dribble, and he especially seemed to excel at making mid-range shots when he would get the switch to isolate and take those shots when guarded by Gonzaga’s Drew Timme.  Teague was a bit streaky with his mid-range shot later on, but he did a good job of knocking down shots, especially in the first half. Also, Teague is a quick guard that excelled at scoring off the dribble in this game.  He was able to use a spin move to score on a crafty, turnaround layup in traffic.  He also ran the floor to score on a drive in transition.

Teague is a good ball handler, and he is an agile guard that was able to get to anywhere he wanted to on the court against Gonzaga.  He also was able to get a pair of defensive boards in this game.  He also played good defense.  Teague blocked a shot off of a drive to force a miss.  He also dove on the ground to jump on an errant pass to force a tie up another time.  He also deflected a pass to nearly get a steal.  On the other hand, there was one play where he bit on a pump fake, and allowed an opponent to score on a drive to the hoop.

In summary, MaCio Teague did a very good job of shooting, scoring, and defending in this game.  He really elevated his play on the big stage, and his strong performance in his team’s win over Gonzaga will serve him well, as that should surely boost his draft stock.  He could be a good find for an NBA team in the second round, and he could project to be a solid role player in the NBA.

Baylor’s Davion Mitchell had 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists in his team’s National Championship win over Gonzaga.
(Photo:
Jamie Squire/Getty Images, via Action Network)

Baylor’s junior guard, Davion Mitchell had a solid showing in his team’s win over Gonzaga.  Like Butler and Teague, he had a very good NCAA Tournament showing this season, and Mitchell may have boosted his draft stock to the late lottery status by continually playing well in big games.  He didn’t quite shoot as well as he had in the other games, but he still managed to score 15 points, and he also notched 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block in this game.

Mitchell is a speedy guard that excelled at driving to the hoop to score, and he particularly showed a knack for going to his right to do so.  He has a lightning quick first step, and he has a good series of dribble moves and change of direction skills to score around the basket.  He also was able to draw free throws on a left-handed drive.  However, he tended to miss more when going to his left, as he struggled to find his shooting touch on those possessions.

Also, Mitchell would use quick crossover moves to create separation between himself and his defenders, and he did a good job of scoring on pull-up, mid-range jumpers.  He also dribbled off of a screen to make a quick, pull-up three.  On the downside, he struggled to make three-pointers consistently, and he especially had trouble making spot-up threes in this contest.

He also showcased adequate playmaking skills in this game.  Mitchell is an unselfish player that would look to find the open man, and he also would drive and kick it out to shooters to notch assists.  On the downside, he ended up throwing inaccurate passes, as a couple of his passes ended up going out of bounds, and he also threw a pass that got intercepted.  He also tried a fancy crossover move, but it ended up getting poked away another time.

Plus, Mitchell did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  He would chase down balls to get boards on both ends of the floor, and sometimes he would push the ball quickly up the court.  He also played satisfactory defense in this game.  Mitchell is a very quick guard that would apply heavy ball pressure to hound opposing ball handlers.  He also hustled hard to poke a ball away to nearly get a steal, and he also was able to get a steal and block in this game.  He also managed to successfully draw a charge another time.  On the downside, he would sometimes have lapses defensively, as he sagged off of a shooter to allow a three-point basket, and he also fouled an opponent in the post.  Another time, he ended up getting beat off the dribble to allow a score.

Overall, Davion Mitchell played very well throughout the 2021 NCAA Tournament, and he may be one of the most underrated prospects in the 2021 NBA Draft.  He is a very talented prospect that has a strong all-around game, and he could be a good pick for an NBA team in the lottery on draft day, as he could be a solid starter similar to Milwaukee Bucks’ guard, Jrue Holiday in the association.

Baylor’s 6-5 redshirt senior forward, Mark Vital played very well in his role to help his team get the win over Gonzaga.  He didn’t really look to score the basketball that often, but he is a glue guy that really showed his importance, as he was everywhere on the glass and defensively.  Vital managed to grab 11 rebounds, and he also had 2 steals and 1 block in this game.

Vital showed that he can score on hustle plays.  He would score on put backs, and he also is a decent inside scorer that managed to also score on a roll to the rim.  He missed a couple of shots off of cuts, as well as on a jump hook.  He also hoisted up an open corner three-point shot, but it missed on his lone three-point attempt from beyond the arc.

He is an unselfish player that also passed the ball well, and he was able to find a cutter to notch an assist.  Vital did a tremendous job of rebounding the basketball, and he would constantly outwork his opponents on the glass to get rebounds on both ends of the floor.  Vital managed to get eight offensive rebounds, and he was able to provide his team with some second chance points. He also defended fairly well.  He would poke balls and intercept passes to get steals, and he also rotated to block a shot hard off of a drive.  On the downside, he would tend to commit fouls when defending drives or in the post.

Overall, Mark Vital had a strong showing in this game, and he was a key contributor to help his team win the National Championship over Gonzaga.  He will need to extend his shooting range and improve his offensive skill set in the future, but his strong rebounding and defensive skills could allow him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA next season or whenever he decides to enter the draft.

Baylor’s sophomore guard, Adam Flagler also played well in his team’s win over Gonzaga.  He excelled as a shooter and scorer, and he would often make quick, spot-up threes off the catch.  He also managed to draw free throws on an acrobatic, reverse layup off of a backdoor cut.  On the downside, he also missed on a couple of mid-range shots off the dribble. He also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  He threw an accurate lob pass to a roll man to notch an assist.  On the other hand, he also threw an inaccurate pass that led to a jump ball that was awarded to the other team.

Also, he was able to get his fair share of boards, and he was able to get a rebound on both sides of the ball.  Flagler also played solid defense.  He was able to intercept a pass to get a steal, and he also rotated to poke a ball away to help force another turnover.  He also managed to successfully draw a charge due to good positioning.  On the downside, he was called for committing an aggressive foul when guarding an opposing ball handler once.

Overall, Adam Flagler is an athletic shooter that can shoot and score the basketball.  He played well in his role off the bench, and he could be due for a breakout season if he stays next year at Baylor.  He will need to continue to hone his game and improve as an overall player, but he is a skilled scorer that could project to be a second round prospect for the 2022 draft.

Baylor’s sophomore big man, Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua had a solid showing in his team’s win over Gonzaga.  He excelled at scoring on rolls to the rim, and he also caught a lob pass to score on an alley-oop dunk.  He also defended well in the post, as he is an agile big man that showed good footwork to stay in front of his man.  He also poked a ball away from an opponent to get a steal.  He also contested a mid-range shot to force a miss.  On the downside, he would tend to commit fouls on drives to the basket due to over-aggressiveness. Overall, he had a solid tournament overall, and he is an athletic, high-motor big man that defended fairly well when he was on the floor.  Tchamwa Tchatchoua will still need to extend his shooting range and improve his skill set offensively, but he could project into a defensive specialist role in the NBA.

Gonzaga’s 6-5 junior guard, Joel Ayayi had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Baylor.  He excelled at scoring on strong drives to the hoop.  He also scored on a high-flying, two-handed dunk on a drive in transition.  He also managed to draw a free throw on a backdoor cut.  However, he also missed on an open three, and he struggled to make his free throws or score on cuts consistently. He also looked to be about average at best defensively.  He was able to deflect a pass once in this game.  On the downside, he tended to sag too far off his man, which would lead him to allow opponents to score on jumpers.

Overall, Ayayi had a good season overall, but he did not take enough shots on offense, and he did not guard shooters very well on the defensive end in this game against Baylor.  He may not be a very dynamic player on offense, and he is not always assertive on offense, but he is an efficient, versatile player that usually plays with a high motor, and he could be a likely second round pick in the 2021 draft.

Gonzaga’s junior point guard, Andrew Nembhard had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Baylor.  He excelled at drawing lots of free throws on strong drives to the hoop, and he also used a behind the back dribble move and a pump to score on a savvy drive another time.  Plus, he also made a quick, step-back jumper from the mid-range.  However, he also missed on all of his three-point attempts in this game.

He displayed decent playmaking skills in this game.  Nembhard is an unselfish player that excelled at finding roll men to set up scores for them.  He also would make swift, drive and kick passes to get the ball to open shooters.  On the downside, he was a bit turnover prone.  He threw an interior pass that sailed out of bounds.  He also mishandled a ball carelessly that went out of bounds due to rushing. Nembhard also did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball.  Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  He was active defensively, but he would commit fouls and he also struggled to defend opponents off the dribble.

Overall, Andrew Nembhard had some good moments in his team’s loss to Baylor.  He excelled as a scorer off the dribble and as a facilitator, but he struggled with his three-point, and on the defensive end in this game.  Throughout the season as a whole, he had a good junior season, and he currently projects to be a borderline second round candidate in the 2021 draft.

Gonzaga’s 6-7 senior forward, Corey Kispert did not play very well in his team’s loss to Baylor.  Though he had a very good senior season overall, he really struggled to make shots or to defend at times in this game, and his struggles to consistently create his own shot or to defend quicker players could be enough to put his lottery status in doubt as a draft stock.

Kispert struggled to consistently knock down threes in this game, but he was able to make a couple of quick threes, as he was able to do so off the catch and dribble.  He also scored on a backdoor cut, but he also had a shot blocked another time after getting the ball on a curl cut. He did a good job of scoring on drives to the hoop when he would get his shots up.  He managed to score on a quick, turnaround jumper, and he also scored on a patient, mid-range floater when going to his left.

On the other hand, he didn’t take nearly as many shots as he was expected to hoist up, and he had trouble getting his shots off at times.  He had a couple of his shots blocked when driving to the hoop.  An opponent closed out hard on him just when he was about to take a corner three, so he came down with the ball, which led to an up and down violation.

He displayed fairly average playmaking skills.  Kispert is an unselfish player that can find the open man, and he also threw a crisp outlet pass to set up a score for a teammate on the break.  On the downside, he threw a hasty behind-the-back pass that got intercepted.  He was also indecisive when looking to shoot or pass another time, and it led him to commit an up and down violation.

He didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, but he was able to get several defensive boards.  Defensively, Kispert looked to be fairly average.  He has shown improved help defense skills, especially lately.  He intercepted a pass to get a steal, and he also rotated to block a shot hard off of a drive.  He also did a fairly good job of defending cutters, and he also contested a mid-range jump shot to force a miss. On the downside, he kept sagging too far off of shooters, and he would get beat on dribble moves, which would lead him to allow opponents to score on deep threes.  He also would be late on his rotations, which would lead him to commit touch fouls.

Overall, Kispert did not have a great game in his team’s loss to Baylor, and his lackluster performance here may raise questions as to what his ceiling may be as a prospect for the NBA.  This game may raise concerns about if he can consistently create his own shot against upper-tier opponents and if he can defend well at higher levels.  Still, his strong shooting skills, ability to move off the ball, and basketball IQ could make him a likely bet to go in the mid first round range on draft day.  In a favorable scenario, he could be a sharpshooter that could provide consistent scoring in the NBA, similar to former Orlando Magic’s forward, Dennis Scott in the association.

Gonzaga’s sophomore center, Drew Timme probably needed a big game to convince NBA teams and scouts that he is worthy of a first round selection in the 2021 draft.  However, he really struggled early, and he was very turnover prone and he was also quite mistake prone on the defensive end, especially early on.  Though he did find his rhythm to excel as an inside scorer, his struggles in protecting the ball and on the defensive end led him to have a lackluster game overall, and his performance here probably did not sway teams or scouts to move him up their draft boards, either.

Timme did a good job of scoring on rolls to the rim.  He did a good job of picking and choosing his spots to roll to the basket, and he would roll hard to score at the rim.  He also ran the floor to score on a powerful dunk in transition. He also scored on a drive to his right, even though it appeared as if he almost lost the ball that time.   Plus, Timme would draw fouls when posting up to get to the free throw line.  He did take a fade-away jumper from the mid-range, but he missed that time.

On the downside, he was too turnover prone in this game.  For the positives, he is a good passer that sees the floor well.  He was able to find a cutter to notch an assist.  He also drove in and made a nifty drop-off pass to set up a score for a teammate around the basket.  On the downside, he really struggled to handle the basketball, and he had a tough time trying to protect the ball when crowded.  When handling the ball, he had a couple of balls end up getting poked away, and he also committed a charging foul on a roll another time.  He was called for an offensive foul when jostling for post-position off the ball.  He also fell when handling it another time as he struggled to handle the ball, and he then threw a bad pass from the ground, as it ended up getting picked off.

Though he didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, he was able to get his fair share of defensive boards in this game.  On the downside, he struggled defensively in this game.  It was a bit of a conundrum for his team.  On one hand, his team needed him for his offense, as they needed more players than Suggs to provide consistent scoring.  On the other, he really struggled to defend Baylor’s players in this game, and he had a really tough time guarding shooters or opposing big men on the move.

For the positives, he was able to rotate to block a couple of shots to help his team protect the paint.  He also managed to contest a couple of jumpers to force misses.  Often times though, he would be too slow to guard shooters, and he would sag too far off of them, which would cause his team to allow them to score on abundance of threes and mid-range jumpers.  He also struggled to defend in space, as he would be late to get back, and his team would allow opponents to score on rolls to the rim.

Overall, Drew Timme did not have his best game, but he had a solid NCAA tournament in general.  His struggles against Baylor could prevent him from getting more draft stock, but he’s been a productive center that has shown that he can score in the post, from the mid-range, and on energetic hustle plays.  Currently, he projects to be a second round prospect.  His average mobility and athletic gifts may be a bit concerning at the next level, especially from a defensive standpoint, and he really struggled to handle the ball.  That said, he still found ways to score efficiently as a roll man and when he would look to score in the post.   He will need to improve his defense, but his solid offensive skills could enable him to be an effective rotational big man in the NBA.

Overall, it was a very good college basketball season, and I had fun watching these games in general.  Understandably, some games were more fun to watch than others. It was exciting to see who would play well, and to see who would excel in competitive, high-stakes basketball games.   Baylor won the 2021 National Championship as Gonzaga dropped to 31-1, but the Gonzaga-UCLA basketball game may be the most memorable college basketball match of the year.

Also, there will be more content to come, as the season may not yet be over in other professional leagues overseas, and the 2021 NBA playoffs is right around the corner, as it will be held in mid-May.  With the high-school All-Star games and the Portsmouth Invitational being cancelled, there may still be a significant amount of ground to cover in preparing to scout and watch prospects for the 2021 and 2022 drafts, and there may be more college seniors to watch over time.

Thank you for reading, and we hope you will continue to stay with us when the 2021 NBA Draft comes, which will be held on July 29th.

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