First Look at R.J. Hampton In A Game Versus Tyrese Maxey

September 6, 2019

by Alan Lu

I wanted to watch 6-5 guard R.J. Hampton play, as he is an athletic, skilled combo guard that could potentially go in the lottery in the 2020 draft. He did not play in the McDonald’s All-American game however, so I decided to watch a high school basketball game that he played on December 14th, 2018. He played for Little Elm High School against South Garland, as I was able to see this with thanks to Facebook via NFHS Network Hoops. In this match, he played against fellow first round prospect and incoming Kentucky recruit, Tyrese Maxey, and as Hampton will be playing for New Zealand in the Australian NBL, there may be limited opportunities to watch him play, so this could provide a solid preview of what to expect from him this year.

R.J. Hampton is a very talented player that could potentially be a top 5 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. (Photo by Rosa Baca/Staff Photographer of The Dallas Morning News)

New Zealand’s incoming 6-5 guard, R.J. Hampton is a speedy, skilled combo guard that boasts having strong scoring skills, as he is an electrifying scorer in transition, and he also can contribute in many different ways to help his team on both ends of the floor.

Hampton is an outstanding scorer on fast breaks. He has great foot speed, agility, and acceleration, and he will often push the ball up the floor to score on lightning fast drives in transition. Though he prefers going left, he can score using either hand, and he has good body control that allows him to get baskets on reverse layups, and he also can draw additional free throws afterwards. He changes directions well as his elite foot-speed and agility makes him a tough cover in the open court.

He also possesses a fairly adequate ability to score on mid-range jumpers as well as on half-court drives. Hampton can race up the floor with the ball in his hands, and he can suddenly pull-up to score on a mid-range jumper off the dribble. His tremendous speed and quickness also allows him to quickly get past the first initial defender, and he also can use his deft ball handling skills to weave past defenders that crowd him. At times, he has trouble scoring when the help arrives, as that may lead him to take contested pull-up jumpers and shots around the basket. Other times, he may rush his shots, which can lead him to miss wildly in traffic.

Hampton will also need to improve his ability to knock down outside shots. In this game, he really struggled when he would hoist up threes, as he would tend to miss quick pull-up threes off the dribble.   He will need to expand upon his shooting range, and he also has a tendency to take quick, rushed shots as his shot selection can be spotty at times.

Also, he may possess adequate playmaking skills. Hampton is an unselfish player that throws good passes off the dribble as well as in transition, and he has solid court vision and ball handling skills that allow him to set up numerous scoring chances for his teammates, but his tendency to always try to play too fast can also get him into trouble. He also committed a couple of charging fouls when taking the ball to the rim in transition, and he also would drive the ball recklessly up the court in traffic, which can lead him to lose the basketball. He also had some trouble handling ball pressure when trapped by defenders, as he also ended up throwing a couple of loopy passes that ended up getting intercepted. Hampton possesses elite foot speed and good court sense, which can enable him to excel as a pick and roll ball handler, but he will need to play more under control and demonstrate better decision-making abilities on a consistent basis.

Plus, Hampton also did a very good job of rebounding the basketball. He is very active on the glass, and would frequently leap up to get boards on both ends of the floor. He also would usually push the ball up the court to create transition-scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates. He also managed to save a ball to a teammate to help his team get another defensive board on a separate possession.

He also may possess decent defensive skills. Hampton is a very active help defender that can make numerous plays on the ball. He is adept at collecting steals, as he will jump passes, rip balls away, and jump on loose balls to collect them for his team. He also can block shots as he has good footwork, agility, and anticipation skills to stay with ball handlers to make a play on the basketball off the dribble. He also will contest threes to force misses.

That being said, he will need to improve his position defense, and he can lose his focus on the defensive end at times. Sometimes, he would have lapses, as he would fall asleep on a cut, or not get back on defense, and he also had his hands down when defending an entry pass, which would lead his team to allow scores. Other times, he would struggle to stay in front of his man, as he would get beat off the dribble, which would lead his team to commit fouls and allow baskets to the opposition.

In general, R.J. Hampton is a very talented combo guard that can play either backcourt position, and he is an attack-minded player who can really score when he drives to the ball to the basket in fast break situations. He will need to improve his jump shot and decision-making ability, but despite that, he is a tremendously talented player that has a lot of upside as a prospect for the NBA. Right now, he may project to be a likely lottery pick for the 2020 draft as he could go as high as the top 5, and he is a player to keep an eye on, as he may have the potential to develop into an All-Star caliber player in the association in the future.

Kentucky’s 6-4 incoming freshman guard, Tyrese Maxey had a fairly good game in his team’s loss to Little Elm. He is a very athletic, attack-minded combo guard that will take the ball to the rim to garner scores off the dribble, and he also has some solid playmaking and defensive skills. He looked to be much faster and quicker than how he looked in the McDonald’s All-American game, and he really can kick it into an extra gear with his strong acceleration skills. He did struggle with his jump shot, and did commit some mental errors on offense, though.

Maxey possesses a good ability to get scores off the dribble. He is a fast, agile player that can quickly get to the rim to get scores and free throws, and he also drove in transition to score on a high-flying dunk early on. He also can utilize a series of dribble moves to get past defenders, and he has good body control to finish plays around the basket, but sometimes he can be prone to rushing his shots, which can lead him to miss in traffic.

He also did a very good job of scoring on quick cuts to the hoop due to possessing great speed and body control to do so. However, Maxey struggled to knock down jumpers from further out, as he tended to miss contested pull-up threes when he would hoist up shots from beyond the arc.

Plus, he also displayed adequate playmaking skills. Maxey is a speedy combo guard that can push the ball up the floor to create chances for his team, and he was able to throw a bounce pass to a teammate ahead in transition to notch an assist. He also throws solid interior passes, and he also can aptly find cutters on the move, but sometimes he can be prone to making mental mistakes, as he threw a loopy pass that was picked off once, and he also was called for a carrying violation another time.

He didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, but he was able to leap up to get a defensive board. But sometimes he may not always be in great position to get defensive boards, as he also can be prone to committing fouls when going for them.

Maxey also played adequate defense. He is an instinctive player that can apply considerable ball pressure, and he will jump passes and jump on loose balls to help his team get steals. He also managed to collect one when he helped his teammate trap an opposing ball handler. Plus, he also was able to aptly contest jumpers to force them to miss shots, and he also drew a charge on a drive on a separate defensive possession, but sometimes he can get beat off the dribble, which led his team to allow a couple of scores. Other times, he may be undisciplined on defensively, as he bit on a pump fake once, and he also fouled his man on a pull-up long two on a separate occasion.

In summary, Tyrese Maxey is an athletic combo guard that may have plenty of upside as a prospect for the NBA, and he may rate as a potential first round pick for the 2020 draft. He is a speedy player that can score the basketball, and he also showed some ability to run the point and defend his position. He will need to be more focused on both ends of the floor and improve his jump shot. If things break his way, he could end up developing into being a solid player in the association.

Other Notes:

On a side note, the actual streaming quality of this video was not great, the picture was blurry for a good portion of the game, the camera angles didn’t seem to capture everything that happened in this contest, and the second half was borderline unwatchable. There were interruptions that got in the way of this broadcast, but the positive aspect was that it provided an opportunity to watch two first round prospects for the 2020 NBA Draft, as this game could lend some early insights on what to expect out of both R.J. Hampton and Tyrese Maxey for the upcoming season.

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