Observations on James Wiseman, Shakur Juiston, and Precious Achiuwa

November 13th, 2019

by Alan Lu

I took the time to watch Memphis’ 7-1 freshman center, James Wiseman play against Oregon in the Phil Knight Invitational on November 12th. It was a matchup between the more experienced Oregon team against a young, Memphis team that featured a lot of freshmen on their roster. It was close all the way through, but Oregon was able to get the non-conference win, and they did a good job of limiting James Wiseman’s touches on offense. Wiseman ran into foul trouble in the first half and his team struggled to get him the basketball, but he played well down the stretch despite his team’s eventual loss to Oregon.

James Wiseman had a slow start, but quietly had a strong second half, as he had a fairly good game against Oregon. (Photo: Joe Rondone/Commercial Appeal.)
Memphis’ 7-1 center, James Wiseman had a slow start due to early foul trouble, but he ended up playing fairly well as he notched a double-double in his team’s loss to Oregon. (Photo: Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal.)

James Wiseman had a fairly good game overall though it paled in comparison to his dominant performances he’s had in his first two games. Wiseman had a slow start in the first half, as he ran into early foul trouble, and was held scoreless, also because he did not attempt a single shot in the first half, and his teammates often had trouble trying to get him the ball in the post. He rebounded the ball consistently well throughout, and in the second half, he excelled at finding his own offense, as he would often score off of hustle plays, and he was able to notch a double-double in his team’s loss despite having a relative off night.

Wiseman excelled at scoring on hustle plays in this game. He would often score on tip dunks, and he did a good job of drawing numerous fouls after crashing the glass to get offensive rebounds. He also rolled to the rim to score on a powerful dunk, as he can finish numerous plays above the rim.

He also can space the floor, as he was able to make an open mid-range jumper from around the foul line area. Wiseman also hoisted up a three-point shot late in the game, but he missed his lone three-point attempt from beyond the arc.

He struggled more to score in the post, but even so, he showed an adequate ability to score down low. He tended to be crowded by multiple defenders down there, and his guards often had trouble getting the ball to him in the paint. Wiseman was able to catch the ball on the block midway through the second half, as he dribbled in to score off the glass. He also managed to use a spin move when handling the ball to draw free throws on a separate possession. However, he missed on a turnaround jumper from the high post, and he also missed on a dunk attempt in traffic on a separate play.

Also, he displayed average at best playmaking skills. Wiseman was able to throw an outlet pass, and on a separate play, he set a good screen once to help get a shooter open on offense. However, Wiseman had some careless mistakes on offense that led his team to commit turnovers. His first turnover was questionable, as he received the ball on a roll to the rim, but was called for a charging foul on a play where it appeared as if his opponent had exaggerated his movements by flopping backwards.   Wiseman also dropped a pass in the paint another time, and he also was called for up and down after using a step back move around the mid-range area, but he jumped up and came down with the basketball without taking the shot.

Wiseman did a great job of rebounding the basketball. He was very active at crashing the glass to collect boards on both ends of the floor, and he was like a chairman of the boards in this game. He would often leap up to grab rebounds, and he would tend to score on put backs to help provide his team with second chance points. However, there was one instance where he fumbled a ball on an offensive rebound attempt out of bounds, as there was a stretch run when his team had trouble getting him the ball midway through this game, and it seemed to briefly hinder his ability to catch the basketball.

Defensively, he looked to be fairly average against Oregon. He wasn’t the tremendous shot blocking presence in this game due to early foul trouble, and he had some trouble defending in the paint. Wiseman still was able to swat a shot when defending in the post to a teammate, and he also showed an adequate ability to defend in the post as well as on drives to get stops for his team. However, early on, he bit on a pump fake when defending in the post to give up the score and an extra free throw. He had a tendency to commit fouls, as he’ll be too aggressive in trying to block shots. He also got beat off the dribble when defending a high post drive to allow a score once, He also gave up too much space to a shooter, as he ended up allowing his man to score on a three-point shot. Right now, Wiseman is an active defender that will contest and block shots to help his team protect the paint, but he will need to be a more disciplined defender to avoid foul trouble, and he will have to improve his ability to defend out on the perimeter.

In summary, James Wiseman still had a fairly good game overall in his team’s loss to Oregon, even if he didn’t have the dominant showing that he was anticipated to have. He didn’t get nearly as many offensive touches as he had received in the previous contests, but Wiseman made solid plays down the stretch to get baskets, and he also rebounded the ball very well.  Compared to his first two games, Wiseman’s performance in this game was relatively disappointing though still good overall, as Oregon really crowded him and made it tough for him to get the ball in the post, and he had a couple of uncharacteristic drops before he found his groove in the second half of this game. 

Wiseman is a solid overall prospect that has great size, solid rebounding and defensive skills, and he is an effective scorer in games, but he will need to improve his face-up game, as well as find more ways to get himself involved on offense. Right now, he looks to be a solid contender to be a number one overall pick of the 2020 draft, though he may not be the no-doubt choice to for the top spot that he was initially thought to be.

Oregon's senior forward Shakur Juiston did a very good job of scoring the basketball, and he played outstanding defense in his team's upset win over Memphis. (Photo: Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal.)
Oregon’s senior forward Shakur Juiston did a very good job of scoring the basketball, and he played outstanding defense in his team’s upset win over Memphis. (Photo: Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal.)

Oregon’s 6-7 senior forward, Shakur Juiston put forth a solid performance to help lead his team to a win over Memphis. He played very good defense from the get-go, as he was all over the passing lanes to help his team force turnovers, and Juiston also excelled as an inside scorer and rebounder in this game.

Juiston excelled at scoring on hustle plays. He showed a knack for scoring on put backs, as he would then draw extra free throws afterwards. He also managed to cut to the hoop to score off of an inbounds play, and he also caught a long pass to draw free throws after running the floor to get the ball on the break. He did miss a couple of shots in traffic in transition, but generally, he did a very good job of using off-ball movement to get scores around the basket.

He also showed a solid ability to score in the post. Juiston had a knack for making turnaround jumpers, and he also caught a lob pass to score on alley-oop dunk after being left open underneath the basket. He also managed to dribble in to score off the glass another time, and Juiston generally showed good athleticism, scoring touch, and finishing ability to get a multitude of scores from the block. Juiston also took a few threes from beyond the arc, but he was unable connect on any of his long-range attempts.

On the other hand, Juiston was too turnover prone on offense. For the positives, he is an unselfish player that will keep the ball moving, and he was able to throw a nice interior pass to set up a score for his teammate that time. However, he also tended to have the ball ripped away from him when handling it amidst considerable ball pressure, as he had trouble protecting the basketball. He also was called for a traveling violation, and he also committed a charging foul off of a drive another time. He also can be inaccurate on his passes, as he may be prone to throwing hasty passes every once in a while.

Juiston did a very good job of rebounding the basketball. He would leap up to haul in boards on both ends of the floor, and he also excelled at scoring on put backs after grabbing offensive rebounds for his team.

Also, he played stellar defense in this game. Juiston would often jump passes, as he was able to get a plethora of steals for his team, and he also poked a ball out of bounds to nearly force another turnover. He is a rangy defender that excels at playing passing lanes, and he really made it difficult for his opponents to get their passes through, as he played shutdown defense in this match.

Overall, Shakur Juiston played well, as he made a lot of solid hustle plays to help his team get a narrow victory over Memphis. He will still need to improve his jump shot and ball handling skills, but he is an athletic, high-motor player that could be a good value pick for an NBA team in the second round, as he could project to be a defensive specialist along the lines of a Luc Mbah a Moute type of player in the association.

Memphis’ 6-9 freshman forward, Precious Achiuwa’s play was a bit disappointing, as he had a lackluster showing in the loss to Oregon, though he was able to make some good plays at times in this game.

Achiuwa did a fairly good job of scoring on hustle plays. He was able to roll to the rim to score early on, and he also caught a lob pass to score on an alley-oop layup off of a cut while drawing an extra free on a separate offensive possession. He also was able to draw fouls after looking to score in the paint, but he also had his shot blocked on a put back after collecting an offensive rebound once.

He also struggled to knock down jumpers in this game. Against Oregon, he missed on a turnaround mid-range jumper from the baseline, and he also threw up an airball when attempting his lone outside shot from beyond the arc.

He also showed off adequate playmaking skills. Achiuwa passed the ball well, as he threw a long pass off of a defensive rebound to set up a score for his teammate on the break. However, late in the game, he didn’t pass the ball in, and he was called for committing a five second violation due to his indecisiveness and to his teammates not getting decisively open on offense.

He also was able to collect his fair share of rebounds to help his team on the glass. However, Achiuwa will need to improve his defense. For the positives, he defended well early on, as he would poke balls away to help force turnovers, and he also would be active in playing passing lanes. He also managed to contest a three to force a miss. However, he had trouble guarding drives out on the perimeter, as he would sometimes get beat off the dribble, and other times he would keep backpedaling to where he would not be able to aptly contest the shot. Achiuwa also was foul prone, as he can be too aggressive in looking to make plays.

In the previous game, Achiuwa had collided into Braelen Bridges on a rebound attempt, which briefly knocked his opponent unintentionally out of the game for a brief while. Against Oregon, he ran hard into Chris Duarte off the ball, as Duarte ended up banging his knee and Duarte ended up being knocked out of the game. Other times, Achiuwa may be out of position by over-helping off of his man to double on ball handlers, which can lead his team to end up in scrambling situations.

In general, Precious Achiuwa is a very athletic combo forward that can attack the basket to score, and he showed off better than advertised passing skills in this game against Oregon. However, he will need to improve his jump shot and learn to play more under control, especially on the defensive end. Right now, his draft stock may be a bit too high for him at the moment, but Achiuwa could potentially be a worthwhile pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range, as his vast athleticism and motor could potentially enable him to thrive as a role player in the league.

Oregon’s 6-2 senior point guard, Payton Pritchard had an uneven performance in his team’s win over Memphis. He played well at the onset of this game, and had some good moments at times, but he ended up missing too many three-point shots, and he also committed too many turnovers on offense.

Pritchard is a crafty scorer off the dribble, as he can maneuver his way to get scores in the paint. He also was able to make a couple of pull-up threes, but he struggled to make jumpers consistently.

He also is an unselfish player that can throw interior passes, as he can find teammates on the move to set up scores for them. However, he tended to be inaccurate with his passes as he had a couple of them intercepted, and he also had committed a slew of ball handling turnovers, as he can struggle to handle the ball when faced with heavy pressure.

He did do a decent job of rebounding the basketball, and he also played adequate defense. Pritchard was able to deflect a pass to nearly get a steal, but he was called for committing a foul on a drive on a separate play.

Overall, Payton Pritchard did not have a great game, as he missed too many threes, and committed too many turnovers in this game. But he still played unselfishly, and he was able to make big shots at times against Memphis. He will need to make more shots consistently, and take better care of the basketball, but if he can improve upon his weaknesses, he could perhaps find a way to be a backup point guard in the NBA.

Oregon’s 6-6 junior guard, Chris Duarte played well when he was on the floor, but an unfortunate play where Achiuwa collided into him caused Duarte to injure his knee, as he ended up missing the rest of this game.

Duarte excelled at finishing plays around the basket, and he also was able to score on a put back after getting an offensive rebound once. He also shot the ball fairly well, as he was able to make an open three in transition. He will need to improve his passing skills, as he had a pass deflected that nearly resulted in a turnover.

Duarte also was able to get a couple of rebounds, and he also defended well. He managed to block an opponent’s put back attempt from behind due to possessing good motor, instincts, and timing, and he also drew a charge when defending a roll man early in the first half.

Overall, Chris Duarte is a solid team player that can contribute in a variety of ways to help Oregon on both ends of the floor. He will need to show that he can make jump shots consistently and he may not possess ideal physical tools, but Duarte is a skilled, versatile combo guard that will hustle to make plays on both ends of the floor, and he may have the skills to make a team’s roster in the NBA.

Oregon’s 6-4 senior guard, Anthony Mathis shot the ball very well, as he showed a knack for making spot-up threes off the catch, and he also has a lot of range on his shot. On the other hand, he will need to improve his defense. On one hand, he was able to deflect a ball from going to a post player to nearly get a steal once. However, he struggled to defend his man at times, as he would be called for reach-in fouls, and he also committed a blocking foul when attempting to draw a charge another time.

Overall, Mathis is a skilled shooter that can make numerous shots to space the floor for his team. He is undersized to play out on the wing and possesses less than ideal physical tools, but he is a player that can knock down shots efficiently, and he could project to be a shooting specialist in the NBA.

Other Notes:

Oregon’s 6-9 sophomore big man, Francis Okoro had a decent showing in his team’s win over Memphis. He showed off some low post scoring skills, as he has good strength and mobility to finish plays inside, as he can also draw extra free throws on those plays, though sometimes he would also struggle to score in traffic. He also excelled at scoring on put backs after getting offensive rebounds. However, he will need to improve his defense, as he can tend to be out of position, which can lead him to commit fouls and allow scores when defending in the paint. Overall, he is a strong, mobile big man that can score and rebound in the paint, and Okoro could be a player to keep an eye on in the future.

Oregon’s 6-5 sophomore guard, Will Richardson showed off versatile scoring skills as he can make spot-up threes, and he also can get smooth scores off the dribble, as he manage to score on a reverse layup off of a left-handed drive once. He also passes the ball well, as he threw a long pass to set up a score for a teammate on the break, and he recorded a whopping 6 assists in this game.

He is an athletic, skilled swingman that has seemed to make significant strides in his game, and Richardson is a talented point forward that could swiftly move up draft boards if he keeps playing well this season.

Oregon’s 6-6 freshman swingman, Addison Patterson excelled at scoring on quick drives to the basket, and he also played solid defense, as he would intercept passes to get steals for his team. He will need to improve his jump shot, but Patterson is a fairly athletic, high-motor player that could potentially end up being a solid prospect for the NBA either next season or sometime down the road.

Oregon’s 6-8 freshman forward, Chandler Lawson is a solid athlete that excelled at scoring on hustle plays, and he could be a player to watch sometime in the future.

Memphis’ 6-2 freshman guard, Boogie Ellis made a couple of spot-up threes early on, and he showed his trademark deep range, as he can make shots from way out. He also would chase down balls to get rebounds for his team. However, he really struggled to make jump shots as the game wore on, and he would tend to miss wildly when attempting to score quickly off the dribble. He did not pass the ball well, and he would tend to be out of position defensively, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores. Overall, Ellis did not play very well, as he struggled to make shots or to get stops in this game against Oregon, but he will have many more games to showcase his skills. Currently, he will need to get back to shooting as well as he did against Illinois-Chicago, he could prove that game to not be a fluke. Right now, he looks to be a second round prospect, and he may have a similar game to former Cleveland Cavaliers’ guard, Daniel Gibson in the NBA.

Memphis’ 6-3 freshman guard, Damion Baugh had a fairly good game in his team’s loss to Oregon. He excelled at attacking the basket to garner scores, as he did a great job of scoring on acrobatic shots off of put backs, and he also showed an adequate ability to make shots off the dribble. He also displayed decent playmaking skills, threw solid interior passes to find teammates on the move, but sometimes he would struggle to make plays off the dribble, which would lead him prone to commit turnovers.

Baugh also rebounded and defended fairly well. He brought heavy ball pressure as he has good agility and footwork on that side of the ball, and he can poke balls away to force opponents to commit turnovers. Plus, he also managed to draw a charge when defending on a drive. However, he can be too aggressive at times, as he ended up committing several fouls when defending his man.

Overall, Baugh is an athletic combo guard that can help out in a variety of ways to help his team in games, but he did not take a three-point shot, and he will need to improve his shooting range to be able to keep defenses honest. Still, he played fairly well in this game, and he may be a second round prospect to keep an eye on in the future.

D.J. Jeffries had some good moments, but overall, his performance looked to be fairly average on this day. He showed a decent ability to make mid-range jumpers, and he can get scores when using off-ball movement. But sometimes he would miss shots in traffic when looking to score around the basket, and he also did not take a single three-point shot in this game.

He is an active help defender that was able to block a shot off of a drive after defending out on the perimeter, and he also intercept a pass to get a steal. However, Jeffries struggled to defend inside as his lack of size made it hard for him to successfully challenge shots when defending in the post, and sometimes he would be caught ball watching, which would leave him out of position when defending opponents off the dribble.

Overall, Jeffries is an athletic, high-motor swingman that can make plays on both ends of the floor, but he will need to improve his jump shot and also show that he can lock down his man defensively. Right now, he may be a second round prospect, as he could be a player to watch sometime down the road.

Memphis’ 6-5 freshman guard, Lester Quinones had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Oregon. He showed a knack for drawing free throws when driving to the basket, and he also can score on hustle plays. He also showed an adequate ability to pass the basketball, as he can find cutters. He also is an active defender that was able to intercept a pass and draw a charge. However, though he made two three-point shots in this game, Quinones missed on far too many spot-up threes. Overall, Quinones is a skilled combo guard that can make shots in a variety of ways, but he will need to be a more consistent shooter in games. Right now, he may be a second round prospect for the time being, but if he improves upon his weaknesses, he could potentially end up being a shooting specialist in the association.

Oregon’s 6-8 freshman forward, C.J. Walker had a disappointing showing in his team’s win against Memphis, as he was held scoreless, and did not play much in this game. He missed on a fadeaway mid-range jumper, and he also was called for traveling shortly after getting a steal. Walker looked to be about average defensively. He did intercept a pass to force a turnover, but he tended to be foul prone when defending around the basket due to over-aggressiveness. Right now, Walker may be far from being a polished prospect, but he is an athletic combo forward that has some defensive skills. He will need to improve considerably on both ends of the floor, but some have him rated as a potential second round pick for the upcoming draft.