Observations on Josh Christopher, Matt Mitchell, and Jordan Schakel

December 11th, 2020

By Alan Lu

Yesterday, I decided to take the time to watch Josh Christopher and Arizona State play against San Diego State in a non-conference, college basketball game.  Arizona State’s freshman swingman, Marcus Bagley didn’t play in this game as he was held out due to a lingering injury, so it was a little disappointing for me that I wasn’t able to watch both Bagley and Christopher play at the same time.  From the get go, San Diego State was able to jump on Arizona State to get the early lead, as they provided strong shooting skills, as well as solid ball movement and defensive skills, and while Arizona State was able to re-take the lead midway, San Diego State made a huge run in the second half to pull away with the victory.

Arizona State’s freshman guard, Josh Christopher has had a solid freshman season, and he did a fairly good job of scoring the basketball in his team’s loss to San Diego State.
(Photo:
Katie MacCrory/Arizona State University Athletics)

Josh Christopher played fairly well in his team’s loss to San Diego State.  He excelled at attacking the hoop to score the basketball, and he is an athletic swingman that showed off versatile scoring skills, and played fairly good defense when he was on the court.

Christopher did a showed a decent ability to score on aggressive drives to the hoop.  He has a good first step off the dribble, and he changes directions well, which would often allow him to drive hard to the hoop and draw many fouls upon his defenders to frequently get to the free throw line. 

However, he had trouble consistently knocking down jumpers on offense.  He was able to make a deep three, but he was inconsistent in making threes from beyond the arc.  Christopher managed to utilize a crossover move to make a long two, but he missed on to two other mid-range shots.  He also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Christopher is an unselfish player that handles the ball well, and he was able to find an open shooter to notch an assist, but he also fell when posting up, as he threw a bad pass that got intercepted another time. Also, he did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  Christopher was active on the glass, and he was able to get plenty of boards when he was on the court.

He also played fairly good defense in this game.  Christopher was active in contesting threes to force misses, and he also managed to block a three-point shot due to possessing good length, athleticism, and timing.  He also managed to get a steal from a post player, and he also successfully drew a charge on a drive.  However, he can be too undisciplined defensively.  He would commit aggressive reach-in fouls, and he also bit on a pump fake that led to a pass that set up a three-point score.  He also argued with officials late in the game, and he was hit with a technical foul that unfortunately fouled him out of the game.

Overall, Josh Christopher is a very athletic swingman that can score and defend in games, but he will need to improve his outside shot and be a more disciplined on-ball defender.  Right now, he is having a very good freshman season, and he is a high-upside prospect that is also a solid candidate to go in the lottery of the 2021 draft this year.

San Diego State’s senior forward, Matt Mitchell played much better in the second half, and he was able to help lead his team to a win over Arizona State.
(Photo:
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press, via The Los Angeles Times)

San Diego State’s 6-6 senior swingman, Matt Mitchell had a decent showing in his team’s win over Arizona State.  He started off slowly in the first half, but with persistence on both ends of the floor, he was able to help will his way to play significantly better in order to help lead his team to the victory.

Michell showed a knack for drawing fouls on drives and in the post to often get to the free throw line.  He would make strong moves to the hoop, and he can use either hand to go hard to the rim to draw many fouls upon his defenders.  He has very good strength, especially for a player his size, which makes him tough to guard in the paint. 

He also showed a decent mid-range shot, and he was able to use a ball fake to make a smooth floater from the mid-range.  However, he had trouble consistently scoring off the dribble when he would not get foul calls, as he would then miss on difficult off-balanced shots in traffic.  He also was unable to make any three-point shots from beyond the arc.

However, Mitchell was fairly turnover prone in this game.  For the positives, he is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  However, he also committed a couple of ball-handling turnovers.  He was called for a traveling violation once, and he also lowered his shoulder on a drive, but committed a charging foul another time.  On a separate play, he threw an entry pass, but he ended up getting intercepted by a defender. Also, Mitchell did a satisfactory job of rebounding the basketball, and he was able to get plenty of defensive boards in this game.

Plus, he also played fairly good defense.  Mitchell was active in contesting jump shots to force misses, as he showed he can defend out on the perimeter, as well as in the post to force misses.  He has very good strength to hold his ground when defending in the post to force misses, and he also has good feet to stay in front of quick ball handlers.  He also intercepted a pass and jumped on a loose ball to get steals for his team.  Sometimes though, he had a tendency to over-help in the paint and to be late to rotate back to his man, which would lead him to allow opponents to score on three-point shots.

In summary, Matt Mitchell played better as the game wore on to help his team get the win over Arizona State.   He is a strong, physical swingman that could project to be a defensive specialist in the NBA.  He will need to be a more consistent shooter and scorer in games, but his size, physicality, and defensive skills could enable him to make an NBA team’s roster at the next level.

San Diego State’s 6-6 senior swingman, Jordan Schakel had a strong showing as he excelled as a sharpshooter and showed off solid all-around skills to help lead his team to a double-digit victory over Arizona State. Schakel did a terrific job of knocking down jumpers, especially from long range to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He would often made quick, spot-up threes off the catch, and he has a lot of range on his shot.  He also would take advantage of being given any sort of space to shoot the basketball, which made him a tough cover, especially as he was able to make threes very efficiently in this game.  He also did a good job of making pull-up jumpers from the mid-range, and he was also able to make a smooth fadeaway jumper from the post. 

Also, Schakel did a good job of scoring on quick drives in transition, and he will use subtle dribble moves to get past defenders to score around the basket. He exhibited fairly average playmaking skills in this game.  Schakel was able to bring the ball up to throw a lob pass on the break to set up a scoring chance for a teammate.  However, sometimes he had trouble handling the ball in traffic, and he would sometimes pick up his dribble when crowded, as he had to call a timeout due to being unable to find viable passing windows.  On the other hand, he kept turnovers to a minimum, as he did not turn the ball over that much against Arizona State.

Plus, Schakel did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He would leap up to get plenty of boards on both ends of the floor.  He also played fairly good defense in this game.  Schakel was able to jump on a loose ball that an opposing low post player lost to get a steal, and he also managed to successfully draw a charge on a drive.  He also would contest jump shots to force misses due to being in good position to do so.  Sometimes though, he would give up too much space to shooters, and there was one play where he got faked out on a ball fake, which led him to be out of position when defending an outside shot from beyond the arc.

In general, Jordan Schakel played very well as he is a smooth scorer that can really shoot the basketball.  His draft stock might not be high right now, but he has a definitive specialty, as he can certainly knock down jump shots, and his ability to shoot and score on offense could enable him to be an effective role player in the NBA.

Arizona State’s 6-3 senior guard, Alonzo Verge Jr. had a satisfactory showing in his team’s loss to San Diego State.  He was fairly streaky with his jump shot, but he really hit his stride early in the second half, when he was able to make some threes and pour on the points for his team.  He managed to score 25 points, and he made 7 threes in this game, but that was not enough to help his team get the win on this day.

Verge is an agile, skilled sharpshooter that really excelled at making threes, particularly deep threes from well beyond the arc.  He also will use a jab step and then knock down outside shots from long distances, and he also pulled up to make another three late in this game.  He was able to use a pump fake to score on a pull-up jumper from the mid-range, but Verge struggled more to score off the dribble from inside the arc.

He also displayed decent playmaking skills.  Verge did a good job of making passes off the dribble, as he would kick balls out to shooters to set up scores for them.  He did commit a few turnovers, as he can sometimes play too fast and out of control on occasion.

He also did a fairly good job of rebounding the basketball.   Verge was able to collect plenty of defensive boards when he was on the floor.  On the downside, he struggled defensively, as he would tend to gamble a bit too much on that end of the floor.  There were times where it helped, as he leapt up high to intercept a pass in the backcourt to get a steal.  Another time, he doubled in the post and helped force his opponent to throw a passing turnover that sailed out of bounds.  Often times though, he would over-help in the paint, which would cause him to be late to rotate back, which would cause him to allow opponents to score on three-point shots.  Other times, he would bite on pump fakes and foul opposing ball handlers, and he also struggled to defend bigger, taller opponents in the post.

Overall, Alonzo Verge Jr. shot the ball well in this game, and he also picked up a fairly good number of assists and rebounds in his team’s loss to San Diego State.  He will need to improve his defensive skills, but his ability to put up points in a hurry could allow him to be a potential second round pick in the 2021 draft.

San Diego State’s 6-10 junior center, Nathan Mensah had a strong showing in his team’s win over Arizona State.
(Photo:
@Aztec_MBB, via Twitter, via Times of San Diego)

San Diego State’s 6-10 junior center, Nathan Mensah from Ghana played very well in his team’s win over Arizona State.  He is a very athletic, energetic big man that consistently made solid plays on both ends of the floor, and he may secretly be one of the most underrated prospects in the 2021 draft.

He did a terrific job of scoring in the paint to score efficiently for his team.  Mensah caught a lob pass to score on an alley-oop dunk early on off of a roll to the rim, and he would frequently score on put backs and in the post.  He can score on powerful dunks around the basket, and he also scored on a smooth jump hook from the block another time.  He also can drive to the hoop to score the basketball. 

There were times where he couldn’t quite finish alley-oop dunk attempts when catching lobs in transition, and Mensah was not able to make a three-point shot, but he did a very good job of finishing plays around the basket to score often for his team.

He displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game.  Mensah was able to find an open shooter after getting the ball on a roll, as he made a good pass that time.   He also handles the ball well, especially for a player his size.  However, he also threw a crosscourt pass from the post that ended up sailing out of bounds. Also, Mensah did a terrific job of rebounding the basketball, and he managed to get a whopping 15 rebounds to help his team clean the glass.

Mensah also played solid defense.  He did a terrific job of blocking shots off the dribble due to possessing good length, athleticism, and timing, and he would frequently challenge shots in the paint to force misses.  He also was able to pick off a pass that was thrown right to him to get a steal.  Sometimes, he would be too aggressive in trying to contest shots, which would lead him to bite on ball fakes and commit fouls.  Another time, he sagged too far off his man, as he allowed his opponent to score on a mid-range shot.

Overall, Nathan Mensah had a strong showing to help lead his team to a win over Arizona State.  He played very well on both ends of the floor, and he could be a potential first round pick in a future NBA draft, as he may have the skills to end up being a solid role player in the NBA.

Arizona State’s 6-0 senior point guard, Remy Martin had a promising start to this game, and he quietly had a solid first half due to his unselfish play and shooting prowess.  However, he did not play very well in the second half, and he put forth an uneven performance that was slightly disappointing overall.

Martin did a decent job of knocking down jumpers to provide some floor spacing for his team on offense.  He has a lot of range on his shot, and he was able to make two deep threes from way out in the first half.  Unfortunately, those were the only two threes he made, and he ended up missing more of his three-pointers in the second half.  He also was unable to make any of his mid-range shots, as he didn’t show much of a feel for his shot inside the arc.

He did do an adequate job of getting to the rim to draw free throws on strong, aggressive drives to the basket, and there was one play where he should’ve gotten continuation when he appeared to make a tough floater falling away, but the referees denied him the basket or continuation, and only awarded him free throws instead.  Also, he can struggle to score against length and athleticism when he is not able to get foul calls when looking to take the ball to the rack.

He also displayed decent playmaking skills.  Martin can throw crisp, accurate passes off the dribble, and he does a good job of changing speeds to set up scores for his teammates.  He also was able to throw a solid, long outlet pass on the break another time.  However, he did commit a couple of turnovers, as he was called for a charging foul off of a drive, and he also threw an entry pass that was picked off by a defender another time.

Martin did a good job of rebounding the basketball, as he would chase down balls to get defensive boards for his team.  He also played fairly average defense.  On the plus side, he did a good job of getting steals in this game.  He was able to quickly intercept a pass to get a steal, and he also poked a ball away to force another turnover.  However, he can sometimes sag too far off of shooters, and he also can struggle to defend opponents off the dribble when defending in one-on-one situations.

Overall, Remy Martin played well at times, but he didn’t make enough good plays in his team’s loss to San Diego State.  He is a game manager that can effectively run the team at the point, and he showed off some shooting skills, but he wasn’t continue to make threes down the stretch, and he had trouble scoring the basketball in the second half.  He also seemed to be too reluctant to shoot the ball at times.  In addition, his lack of size would sometimes make it difficult for him to score or defend against taller opponents.  Right now, he may be a borderline second round prospect for the 2021 draft, but he could project to be a viable backup point guard in the NBA if he can show that he can hold his own against taller, more athletic opponents on a consistent basis.

Arizona State’s 6-9 sophomore big man, Jalen Graham had a solid showing in his team’s loss to San Diego State, and he especially played well down the stretch when his team was basically out of it.  He is an athletic, high-motor big man that can make some solid plays as an interior player, and he showed some scoring and defensive skills late in this contest.

Graham showed a fairly good ability to score in the post.  He was able to use a pivot move to score on a turnaround jump hook.  Plus, he also used a crafty, up and under move and then scored on a very powerful dunk.  He also was able to score on a strong drop step move, and he can barrel his way to the hoop to draw fouls upon his defenders.   He struggled to find his shooting touch early on, as he would sometimes miss on turnaround jumpers and jump hooks. He also was able to score on a right-handed drive to the hoop, and he managed to finish the play while using a jump hook.

As a playmaker, he didn’t seem to be that noticeable in that category.  He didn’t really make any noteworthy passes, but he is an athletic big man that can handle the basketball.  On the downside, there was one play where he lost the ball in the post to commit a turnover. Though he didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, he was able to leap up to get his fair share of boards on both ends of the floor.

He also played decent defense in this game.  Graham did a good job of rotating to block shots to help his team protect the paint, and he would contest shots in the paint to force misses.  He also managed to deflect a pass and contest a three to get a stop another time.  Sometimes though, he would be late on his rotations, and he would be a bit too physical defensively, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Jalen Graham is an athletic, high-motor player that showed promise as an interior player as a prospect for the NBA.  He will need to extend his shooting range and improve his passing ability and on-ball defense, but his athleticism and defensive potential could enable him to be a potential second round pick in a future NBA draft, as he could project to be an effective rotational big man in the NBA one day.

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