Observations on Oso Ighodaro, Eric Dixon, and Cam Whitmore
February 2nd, 2023
By Alan Lu
Marquette has been one of the most underrated teams in college basketball, and they have been accruing a lot of wins under head coach Shaka Smart. It was also an opportunity to watch a couple of their forwards play, Olivier-Maxence Prosper and Oso Ighodaro, both of whom have drawn some draft buzz lately. I decided to take the time to watch Marquette play yesterday against Cam Whitmore and Villanova, and the Golden Eagles were able to pull out a close win over their conference rival. Whitmore got into early foul trouble, and while he made a couple of shots, he didn’t really have a big impact on this game. Here are my thoughts on how Ighodaro and other various prospects fared in this game.
Marqutte’s 6-9 forward, Oso Ighodaro is an athletic big man that played well on both ends of the floor, and he showed off solid interior skills, especially on offense. Though he doesn’t look to take any threes, Ighodaro is a skilled player that can comfortably score in the post or from the mid-range, and he also is an unselfish player that competes hard on the defensive end.
He didn’t look to take many shots, but Ighodaro was effective as a scorer in this game. He showed a knack for scoring on rolls to the rim, and he showed a solid blend of athleticism, scoring touch, and finishing ability to do so. He was able to catch a lob to score on a strong, alley-opp dunk, and he also scored on a flip layup another time. He also showed a decent ability to score in the post, and Ighodaro also drew free throws on a quick, left-handed drive to the hoop. He struggled more when taking mid-range jumpers, but he was able to make an open hook shot from the mid-range once.
He also displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game. Ighodaro is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass to keep the ball moving, and he was able to pass out of the post to notch an assist. On one play out of the post though, he was called for a traveling violation when dribbling around the mid-range area.
In this game, Ighodaro didn’t grab many rebounds, but he was able to get a pair of offensive boards to help his team on that side of the ball. He also played adequate defense in this game. Ighodaro was able to poke a ball off of a driver out of bounds to get a steal. He also blocked a mid-range jumper due to possessing good length, timing, and instincts. He also did a good job of contesting shots out on the perimeter, as well as challenging shots inside to get stops for his team. On the downside, he would sometimes play too aggressively, which would lead him to commit touch fouls when defending in one-on-one situations. He also had some trouble defending stronger players in the post, especially in the second half.
In general, Oso Ighodaro played well in his team’s win over Villanova. He is a versatile big man that has a fairly solid face-up game, and he will consistently give good effort to help his team on both sides of the ball. He will need to improve his outside shot, but his ability to make plays could enable him to be an intriguing second round candidate for the 2023 draft.
Villanova’s 6-8 junior forward, Eric Dixon had a solid showing in his team’s loss to Marquette. He especially played well in the second half, and he made a lot of good plays down the stretch to help his team on offense.
Dixon is a strong, mobile big man that thrived at scoring in the post. He would often get deep position and use strong drop step moves to score down low. He also thrived at scoring on hustle plays, and he was able to score off of a roll, as well as on a powerful put back. He even showed off some outside shooting skills, and he ran off of a ball screen and was able to make a corner three smoothly. He did a good job of shooting and scoring the basketball, especially late in this game, and he showed off versatile scoring skills that could definitely help him at the next level.
On the downside, he was quite turnover prone in this game. On one good play, Dixon was able to pass out of the post and find an open corner shooter to notch an assist. However, he would struggle to handle the ball when crowded at times, which would lead him to commit ball-handling turnovers. Other times, he would be indecisive, which would sometimes get him into trouble.
Also, Dixon showed a decent ability to rebound the basketball. Defensively, he struggled in this game. He was able to get a steal once. However, he had some trouble guarding quicker players, and he would tend to commit touch fouls when defending off the dribble. He also was called for a reach-in foul when going for a steal in the high post another time.
In summary, Eric Dixon played well, and he thrived as a shooter and scorer in his team’s loss to Marquette. He is a skilled, mobile big man whose game may resemble closely to former Golden State Warriors’ forward Eric Paschall, and Dixon could be an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider late in the 2023 draft, as he could provide them with scoring and some outside shooting ability at the next level.
Villanova’s 6-7 freshman forward, Cam Whitmore didn’t have a great game, and while he was able to make shots efficiently in limited touches, he didn’t get the ball very often, and he struggled defensively, as he ran into rampant foul trouble, especially early on. When he was in the game, he would go for stretches without touching the basketball, and he would occasionally feel like he would have to make a big play and then proceed to do too much on offense. On offense, he was at his best when he would keep it simple and score within the flow of the team system.
Whitmore was at his best on catch and shoot, and catch and finish type of situations. He was able to get the ball on a back door cut, and he was able to dribble in to score on a thunderous dunk. Later on, he was able to get a kick out pass from Dixon, which enabled him to score on a wide-open three-pointer off the catch.
On the downside, Whitmore was at his worst when he would try to create off the dribble in this game. He missed on a deep, pull-up three, and he also missed on a step-back, long two from the baseline. His misses looked pretty, but they were still misses. He also was not very good at passing the basketball, and he was turnover prone when he would look to do so. Whitmore threw a skip pass off the dribble that sailed out of bounds. On another drive to the hoop, he threw a weak pass back that got intercepted by a defender. Perhaps Whitmore was flustered by a lack of touches on offense or by getting into foul trouble, but he had trouble establishing any sort of consistent rhythm in this game.
Also, he did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball. However, Whitmore struggled defensively. On one good play, he was able to contest a shot off of a drive to force the miss. On the downside, he consistently struggled to defend opponents off the dribble, which was rather strange because he has the length and athleticism to excel at guarding them in one-on-one situations.
There was one almost standout play where he appeared to block a shot off of a drive, but was called for a foul instead. On other plays, he often had trouble cutting off penetration when defending ball-handlers off the dribble, which would lead him prone to committing fouls. Another time, he rotated but committed a silly reach-in foul early in the second half, which led him to pick up his third foul at that time, and forced him to miss extra time in this game.
Overall, this game was rather frustrating to watch because Whitmore is a talented prospect that could’ve done so much more, but foul trouble and a lack of consistent play seemed to throw him off his game. Whitmore may be something of a divisive prospect because he hasn’t been very consistent this year, and while he’s had some very strong games, he’s had other games where he’s played quite poorly.
In a favorable scenario, he could end up being a solid starter similar to current Philadelphia 76ers’ forward, Tobias Harris, and Whitmore is a very athletic, high-upside player that can create his own shot and has the tools to develop into a good defender at the NBA level. In an unfavorable scenario, his tendencies to want to isolate and do too much on the floor could also potentially get him into trouble at times, especially if he’s asked to merely be a 3 and D guy in a supporting role, and in a worst case scenario, Whitmore could end up in a situation similar to New York Knicks’ swingman, Cam Reddish. Right now, Whitmore still would be an intriguing candidate to go in the lottery, but in the future, he will need to go to an NBA team that will look to help him develop and progress at the next level.
Marquette’s 6-3 sophomore point guard, Tyler Kolek put forth a strong performance in his team’s win over Villanova. He is a cerebral, savvy playmaker that shot the ball well and made good decisions with the basketball, and he played a very good all-around game to help his team get the victory.
Kolek showed a knack for scoring on open, spot-up threes off the catch. He also excelled at scoring on aggressive drives to the hoop, and he can finish plays using either hand. However, he struggled more when he would try to contort his body and try rushed, contested shots, which would throw his balance off.
He also showcased good playmaking skills. Kolek is an unselfish player that was able to make an assortment of passes to rack up assists, and he excelled at finding his teammates on the move. He also showed a knack for making swift drive and kick passes to get the ball to open shooters, and he generally was able to limit turnovers to a minimum.
Also, Kolek rebounded and defended well. He was able to get a handful of defensive rebounds, and he also would jump passes to get plenty of steals for his team. Overall, Kolek is a smart, skilled point guard that played very well in all facets of this game, and he played a pivotal role in helping Marquette get the win over Villanova in this game. Although he doesn’t possess ideal physical tools for his position, he is a skilled, pass-first point guard that will set the table, and he consistently made strong plays to help his team on the court. He may not have much draft stock at the moment, but he is a high IQ basketball player that may have what it takes to make it to the NBA.
Marquette’s 6-4 sophomore guard, Kam Jones had a solid showing in his team’s win over Villanova. He is an athletic, skilled combo guard that played well on both ends of the floor, and he is a player that can put up points in a hurry. He showed a satisfactory ability to score off the dribble, and he would score on strong drives to the hoop. He also flashed the ability to knock down outside shots. Jones ran off the ball to make a smooth three-pointer, and he also was able to make a deep pull-up three towards the end of the half. On the downside, he can tend to take a lot of quick, rushed shots, and he struggled to knock down three-point shots later on.
He predominantly looked to score, but Jones also took very good care of the basketball and did not turn the ball over on offense. He also was able to chip in to help get his fair share of rebounds. Plus, he also defended well. Jones was able to intercept a pas to get a steal. He also rotated to contest a deep three to force an airball and shot clock violation. Another time, he was able to successfully draw a charge when defending an opposing ball handler.
Overall, Kam Jones played well, and he is an athletic combo guard that can score and defend when he is on the court. His shot selection could use some improvement, but his ability to make shots could enable him to make his way to the NBA someday.
Marquette’s 6-8 junior forward, Olivier-Maxence Prosper didn’t stand out nearly as much as his other teammates, though he was able to have some good moments at times. He didn’t shoot the ball very much, but he was score on an athletic tip slam off of an offensive rebound late in this game.
He did a decent job of scoring off the dribble, and he showed a knack for drawing free throws when driving to the hoop. Prosper has a solid first step, and he can take slower footed big men off the dribble. On the downside, he struggled to knock down jumpers, and he missed all of his three-point attempts that he hoisted up from beyond the arc.
He also showcased adequate playmaking skills. Prosper is an unselfish player that can pass and handle the basketball, and he showed that he can ably pass out of the post. On the other hand, he wasn’t always accurate with his passes, but Prosper generally was able to do a good job of moving the basketball and keeping turnovers to a minimum.
Also, he was able to get his fair share of rebounds, and he especially was active at crashing the offensive glass to get offensive boards. He also played adequate defense. Prosper is agile forward that was able to aggressively defend an opposing ball handler out on the perimeter to force a pass. On another play though, he didn’t cut off penetration on a drive, and he ended up committing a foul as a result.
Overall, this probably wasn’t the best showing for Prosper, but he still had some good moments in his team’s win over Villanova. He’ll need to be a more consistent shooter and he’ll need to be more assertive on offense, but his ability to make hustle plays combined with his skill set could enable him to be an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider late in the draft.
Caleb Daniels had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Marquette. Daniels did a good job of shooting and scoring the basketball. He excelled at making open, spot-up threes from deep, and he shot the ball well from the outside. He showed a knack for scoring off the dribble, and he also was able to throw down a dunk late in this match. Daniels showed good shooting touch, and he showed that he can score patiently, especially when he would look to create off the dribble. Plus, he also did a solid job of rebounding the basketball.
On the downside, he was quite turnover prone. He would be careless with the ball in his hands, as he would commit ball handling turnovers, and he would sometimes throw hasty passes that would get intercepted. He played adequate defense. Daniels would contest shots both out on the perimeter and in the paint to get stops, but sometimes he would be late on his rotations and give up open jump shots to shooters in this game.
Overall, Caleb Daniels played well from an individual standpoint, but he also didn’t take great care of the basketball. He will need to show that he can make better decisions with the basketball at the next level, but his ability to score could enable him to land a roster spot with an NBA team in the future.
It was a tale of two halves for Villanova’s 6-4 senior guard, Justin Moore. He made a valiant comeback to play during the middle of this season, especially since he’s coming off of a leg injury. He played well in the first half, and he showed a strong ability to score off the dribble, as well as a solid ability to score on pull-up threes.
However, Moore was streaky with his outside shot in the second half, and he ended up taking tough, off-balanced shots that would lead to misses. He generally passed the ball well and he was able to make an assortment of passes to get his teammates the basketball, although he also was called for traveling on a drive once. He also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball, and defensively he looked to be perhaps above average. He was able to contest a three to force a miss, but he also allowed opponent to score on a corner three another time.
Overall, Justin Moore played much better in this game than in his season debut this year, although he still struggled to make shots efficiently in this game against Marquette. He’ll need to improve his shot selection and he’ll need to shoot better, but his ability to make plays on offense combined with his toughness and intangibles could enable him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA someday.
All in all, those are my thoughts on how Ighodaro, Dixon, Whitmore, and other various prospects fared in the Marquette-Villanova game that was played yesterday. Thanks for reading.