Observations on Patrick Baldwin Jr., Colin Castleton, and Anthony Duruji

November 18th, 2021

By Alan Lu

Today, I decided to watch Milwaukee’s 6-9 freshman forward, Patrick Baldwin Jr. play in an early season, non-conference basketball game against a heavily favored Florida team.  Baldwin showed some flashes of his vast potential at times, but he struggled with his shooting, particularly from beyond the arc, and he also seemed to play too lackadaisically at times in his team’s lopsided loss in this game.  For Florida, they had a tremendous all-around game, and they received strong performances from seniors Colin Castleton, Anthony Duruji, and Tyree Appleby.

Florida won this game handily, as they defeated Milwaukee by 36, 81-45. Florida’s senior center, Colin Castleton was among the standout performers in this game. Meanwhile, Milwaukee’s freshman forward Patrick Baldwin Jr. also had some good moments in this game.
(Photo:
Matt Pendleton/USA Today Sports, via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Patrick Baldwin Jr. had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Florida.  He’s a very athletic freshman forward that showed some promising skills in the first half, and he was active as a scorer and help defender in that time span.  However, he couldn’t get his three-point shot to fall, and he would sometimes make some careless mistakes that plagued him and his team.  In addition, there were times where he seemed to take plays off or seemed content to fade into the background too much in his team’s lopsided loss to Florida.

To be honest, I didn’t get a great feel for his strengths in the half court.  He didn’t seem to be a natural facilitator nor looked the part of a go-to scorer on offense, and he didn’t shoot particularly well from beyond the arc.  His shot selection was suspect, and he stood idly for far too long while his guards would freely chuck shots and miss on offense.  For Baldwin though, it’s clear that his size and strong athletic gifts would be advantageous for him when he would be able to score on fast breaks.  When he was in a half-court set, it seemed that Baldwin was at his best when he would look to score in the paint area, whether if it was off of one-on-one plays from the post or short-area drives, or when used off the ball in a motion offense.

Baldwin did a good job of scoring on hustle plays.  He didn’t get a chance to score often on off-ball motion plays, but he capitalized when he would.  Baldwin was able to intercept a pass to get a steal, and he drove up the court and used a behind-the-back move to score gracefully on a layup towards the end of the half.  He also was able to set screens to roll to the rim, and he then got the ball around the basket, as he proceeded to score on a dunk afterwards.

Early on, he was able to get the ball in the post, and Baldwin used a spin move to score on a turnaround, baseline jumper.  He struggled to score consistently on drives to the hoop, but Baldwin was able to get the ball in the high post, and he then drove hard to his left to score on a smooth, finger roll layup.  Baldwin took a lot of mid-range jumpers in this game, but he also seemed to be comfortable in doing so. While the mid-range jumper seemed to be his favorite shot to take in the half-court, he seemed to take too many, and that combined with his inability to make threes seemed to hurt his shooting percentages in this game.

Baldwin was able to make a wide-open, long two-pointer off the dribble.  He also drove to his left, and spun right to score on a mid-range jumper from around the left elbow.  On the downside, he tended to miss on plenty of mid-range jumpers, and he would tend to take tough, contested shots that would lead to misses.  He also was unable to make any of his three-point shots, despite getting ample time and space to take those shots.  Baldwin consistently seemed to kick his legs out when he would shoot, so he’s not balanced when he shoots and there’s plenty of wasted motion.  His quirky shooting mechanics as a result, might make it hard for him to repeat his stroke, which could make it tough for him to knock down outside shots this season.

In this game, he displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Baldwin generally seemed comfortable having the ball in his hands, and he would throw accurate drive and kick passes to find the open man.  He demonstrated good patience to get the ball to his teammates.  He also would set screens, and he was able to help his teammate score on an open jump shot once.  On the downside, he’s still quite skinny for a screen setter, and so defenders would be able to easily go around him to get back to defending their intended matchups.  Also, Baldwin would sometimes be careless with the ball at times.  When handling the ball up the court once, he had it poked away from behind to lose it to an opponent.  He also threw a hasty pass that ended up getting intercepted another time.

Also, Baldwin was able to leap up to get several defensive rebounds to chip in on the glass.  Defensively, he looked to be fairly average.  Baldwin was at his best when he would roam to go get blocks and steals.  He was able to recover to block a shot hard off of a drive to a teammate.  He also defended an opponent off of a drive to the post, as he managed to cut off his penetration, and he was credited with blocking the shot, even though his teammate appeared to have swatted the shot instead.  Plus, Baldwin also was able to pounce on a loose ball off of a drive to get a steal, and he also quickly intercepted a pass late in the first half.  Baldwin showed a knack for playing passing lanes, and he also would contest shots in the paint to force some misses. 

On the downside, his concentration and effort seemed to wane at times, especially in the second half.  Baldwin seemed to lose focus and sometimes his will to defend and get stops, especially when his team was getting blown out of the game.  Baldwin would tend not to hustle back on defense, and he would sometimes give up on plays and allow opponents to have wide-open layups and dunks on fast breaks.  He also would tend to be caught ball watching and over-help far into the paint, and he would too far out of position, which would give shooters ample time and space to knock down three-point shots.  Another time, he lost track of his man to allow a dunk early on.

Overall, Patrick Baldwin Jr. is a very athletic swingman that may have plenty of upside, but he didn’t play very well in his team’s lopsided loss to Florida.  He struggled to consistently knock down shots, especially from beyond the arc, and he seemed to make mental mistakes on both ends of the floor.  Unfortunately, this might be the best team Baldwin gets to face all year long, and he didn’t look very good in this game.  Admittedly, his team also played really poorly, and his teammates would often hurry to take quick shots that would often miss, and they would sometimes miss wide-open shots around the basket.  Baldwin is going to have to carry a team that may be at best mediocre, but luckily for him, they won’t play many top teams this year. 

They will play against Colorado and Rhode Island later this year, and then towards the very end of this year, the Milwaukee Panthers will start to get heavy into playing in Horizon League conference games.  Hopefully, Baldwin’s team will make the NCAA Tournament (or at least, the NIT) so that we’ll get more opportunities to see how well he can play against high-end competition.  In the meantime, Baldwin’s draft stock may be a tad inflated, but facing a lot of low to mid-tier teams could help keep it afloat, as that could keep it steady in the mid to late first round range when the regular season closes.

Colin Castleton had a good showing in his team’s win over Milwaukee.  He is a mobile, skilled big man that primarily excelled as a scorer in the post, and he also did a good job of rebounding and blocking shots to help his team get the victory. He did a satisfactory job of scoring in the post.  Castleton showed off deft footwork and shooting touch to get plenty of scores down low.  He can finish plays using either hand, and he would use a series of moves to score on the block.  Sometimes though, he would not always get deep position, and he seemed to struggle to score more when he would take shots that would be further away from the basket.

Also, he generally excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Castleton was able to throw down dunks in transition and on rolls to the rim, and he also managed to score on a put back.  He also used a jab step to make an open mid-range shot.  He had trouble consistently knocking down his outside shots though, and he also missed on a right-handed drive to the hoop.

Plus, Castleton did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He was quite active at crashing the glass, and he would haul in numerous boards on both ends of the floor.  He also played solid defense in this game.  He did a good job of blocking shots to help his team protect the paint.  He also was able to get his hands on a pass to get a steal, and he also tied up an opposing ball handler to nearly get another.  He also excelled at contesting shots to force misses. 

In general, Castleton played very well in this game, and he consistently made good plays to help his team get a blowout win over Milwaukee.  He did a good job of making plays in the paint on both ends of the floor, and he may have firmly put himself on the map as a draft prospect for the 2022 draft.

Anthony Duruji also put forth a good performance in his team’s win over Milwaukee.  He is a very athletic, high-motor forward that would make high-impact plays on both ends of the floor, and he also managed to show some range in this game. He showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays.  Duruji was able to throw down a powerful dunk off of a strong cut to the hoop.  He also ran the floor and caught a lob pass to score on a powerful, alley-oop dunk.  Plus, he also was able to drive quickly to the hoop to score on a step-through move while getting an extra free throw afterwards.  On the downside, sometimes he would struggle to score in traffic when he wouldn’t get foul calls.  Also, Duruji was able to make an open, spot-up three off the catch.  He didn’t take many outside shots, but he was able to score on his lone three-point attempt.

Also, Duruji did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He also defended well in this game.  He would poke balls away from opposing ball handlers to get steals and deflections, and he was able to run in to get a steal from behind once.  Duruji also rotated to block a shot hard off of a drive to showcase his athleticism, timing, and instincts.  He also did a great job of contesting shots and staying in position.  On one play, he didn’t bite on a pump fake, and he contested a long two and forced his opponent to throw up an air-ball.

In summary, Anthony Duruji had a strong showing in his team’s win over Milwaukee.  He excelled at making hustle plays on both ends of the floor, and he also was able to make a three-point shot.  Currently, he is a borderline second round candidate for the upcoming draft, but even still, he could project into a 3 and D type of role in the NBA.

Florida’s senior point guard, Tyree Appleby also played very well in this game.  He did a great job of knocking down open spot-up threes off the catch, and he has a quick release that would enable him to easily get his shot off.  He also ran off of a ball screen to score on a corner three off of a pin-down.  Plus, he also was able to score on a drive in transition. He also showed off adequate playmaking skills.  Appleby is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he was able to throw an interior pass to set up a score for a teammate on the break.  On the downside, there was one play where he was called for traveling when he drove to the hoop another time.

Also, he did a very good job of rebounding the basketball, and Appleby would chase down balls to help his team get defensive boards.  He also played solid defense in this game.  Appleby did a good job of getting steals, as he was able to poke a ball away, and he also jumped a pass to get another.  He also was able to contest a mid-range shot to force a miss another time. Overall, Tyree Appleby had a good showing in his team’s win over Milwaukee.  He is an agile, skilled playmaker that excelled as a sharpshooter in this game, and he will be a key player for his team this season.

Florida’s 6-3 senior guard, Myreon Jones also played well in his team’s win over Milwaukee.  He especially excelled as a facilitator, but he also showed off versatile scoring skills in this game.  Jones did a good job of making passes off the dribble, and he showed that he can make an assortment of passes to rack up assists.  He also shot the ball well from downtown, and he also excelled as a scorer in transition.  Jones was able to dribble off of a screen to make a pull-up three, and he also ran the floor to score on a breakaway dunk.  He did sometimes would hoist up quick jumpers that would result in misses, but he generally did a good job of making plays on offense.

Overall, Jones did a good job of scoring and passing the basketball.  He is a fairly athletic combo guard that played well within the confines of his team’s system, and he is a skilled scorer that could compete for a roster spot in the NBA next season or sometime down the road.

Florida’s senior guard, Phlandrous Fleming Jr. had a decent showing in his team’s win over Milwaukee.  He shot the three-ball well and he played good defense, but he also struggled to consistently score from inside the arc.  Fleming did a good job of knocking down threes, and he showed that he can do so off the catch and dribble.  He also showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays.  He particularly excelled at scoring off cuts and in transition.  He scored on an emphatic, two-handed jam off of a backdoor cut.  He also ran the floor to score on a dunk, and he also scored on a reverse layup another time.  On the downside, he struggled to consistently score when he would look to score off the dribble.

Also, he displayed decent playmaking skills.  Fleming played unselfishly, and he was able to collect a pair of assists.  He was able to drive off of a screen and throw a lob to set up a score for a roll man.  He also threw good passes off the dribble and from the post.  On one play though, he drove hard to the hoop, but lost the ball as it slipped out of hands and went to an opponent.

Fleming was also able to get a pair of defensive rebounds, and he also leapt up high to get one in this game.  He also played solid defense in this game.  He was able to poke a ball out of bounds to nearly get a steal.  He also blocked a mid-range shot to force his opponent to shoot an air-ball.  Overall, Phlandrous Fleming Jr. is a fairly athletic swingman that played fairly well in this game.  He was able to knock down threes, and he also made some very athletic plays on both ends of the floor.  This was his best game of the season so far, and he will likely be a key contributor on Florida’s team, as he could be his team’s sixth man this season.

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