Observing Anthony Edwards, Rayshaun Hammonds, and Santiago Vescovi

January 15th, 2020

by Alan Lu

I decided to take the time to watch Georgia’s star freshman guard, Anthony Edwards play in an SEC basketball game against Tennessee that took place today. He had been having some rough outings as of late, so I wanted to see if he would be able to bounce back against a talented team that currently, at best looks to be a mid-tier team in their conference.

It also presented an opportunity to watch Tennessee’s prodigious freshman guard, Santiago Vescovi from Uruguay, who was recruited to play for them mid-season after their starting point guard Lamonte Turner was lost for the season due to injury, and Vescovi had also played well for the Uruguay National Team in the G-League Challenge. Sure enough, Edwards dominated throughout this contest, as he poured on 26 points to lead his team to a rout over Tennessee.   Here are my thoughts on how Anthony Edwards fared, as well as how he and the other prospects’ games may translate to the NBA.

Georgia's superstar freshman guard, Anthony Edwards had a terrific game, as he scored 26 points to lift his team to a double-digit victory over Tennessee. (Photo: Anthony Walsh, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.)
Georgia’s star freshman guard, Anthony Edwards had a terrific game, as he scored 26 points to lift his team to a double-digit victory over Tennessee. (Photo: Anthony Walsh, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC).)

Georgia’s freshman guard, Anthony Edwards had a tremendous showing in his team’s blowout win over Tennessee. He really excelled as a shooter and scorer when he was on the floor, and he had a terrific all-around game, as he showed why he is a strong contender to be the top pick of the 2020 draft.

Edwards did a terrific job of knocking down threes to provide floor spacing for his team on offense. He showed a knack for making step back, pull-up threes, and he showed that he can deftly use dribble moves, and make threes off the catch and dribble while taking on the contact to score from beyond the arc.

He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays. Edwards was able to run the floor to get the ball, as he scored on a thunderous two-handed dunk off of a drive on the break. Plus, he also made a nice backdoor cut to the hoop from the baseline to score on acrobatic layup off the glass.

Surprisingly though, Edwards struggled to score more on half-court drives to the hoop, as he would sometimes miss on tough runners in traffic, though on some of those it looked as if he was fouled, and he also had his shot blocked after driving in from the high post another time. He did show a very good ability to draw free throws when he would take the ball to the rim.

Also, he displayed decent playmaking skills. Edwards excelled at throwing interior passes to set up scores for his teammates, as he can find them in transition, and he also threw an accurate lob pass to a cutter another time. He also does a very good job of passing off the dribble. He did through an inaccurate pass that a teammate dropped to an opponent, and he also dropped a catchable pass out of bounds another time.

Plus, Edwards did a very good job of rebounding the basketball. He would frequently leap up to collect defensive boards to help his team on the glass, and he would sometimes push the ball up the court afterwards.

He also played decent defense. Edwards looked to be more focused and engaged defensively, as he was active in contesting three-point shots to force misses, and he also poked a ball away when defending the post to nearly get a steal. Sometimes, he would give up too much space to shooters, but the other team often did not capitalize on those opportunities.

In general, Anthony Edwards played really well in his team’s double-digit win over Tennessee. He is a very athletic combo guard that can play either backcourt position, and he showed off tremendous athleticism, as well as stellar shooting, scoring, and playmaking skills to help his team get the victory. He is undoubtedly in the number one overall pick conversation for the 2020 draft, and Edwards has the skills to end up being a superstar in the NBA.

Rayshaun Hammonds could be a potential first round pick in the 2020 draft.  (Photo: Dale Zanine/USA Today Sports, via The Rockdale Citizen.)
Georgia’s junior forward, Rayshaun Hammonds also played very well in his team’s win over Tennessee. (Photo: Dale Zanine/USA Today Sports, via The Rockdale Citizen.)

Georgia’s junior forward, Rayshaun Hammonds had a solid showing in his team’s win over Tennessee. He excelled as a shooter and scorer when he was on the floor as he scored the basketball in a variety of ways, and he also played fairly good defense to help get his team the victory.

Hammonds did a very good job of knocking down open, spot-up threes to space the floor for his team. He calmly made long-range jumpers, as he excelled at making them off the catch.

He also excelled at scoring on strong drives to the hoop. Hammonds managed to score on a smooth, finger roll layup while getting an extra free throw once, and he also used a spin move to score on a tough, fadeaway jumper in traffic. He also showed an adequate ability to score in the post. Hammonds was able to score on jump hooks, though he did miss a couple of shots on occasion.

On the downside, he did commit a couple of turnovers on offense. For the positives, he is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, as he will sometimes swing the ball to open shooters. However, he committed a traveling violation once due to steps when handling the ball, and he also was called for setting a moving screen. Late in this game, also threw an inaccurate pass that was dropped by a teammate out of bounds.

Also, Hammonds was able to haul in his fair share of boards when he was on the floor, as he did a good job of crashing the offensive glass in this game.

Plus, Hammonds played decent defense. He was able to get his hands on a pass to collect a steal, and he would contest jumpers as well as shots in the paint to force a wealth of misses. He also would apply considerably pressure opposing ball handlers, which would make it difficult for his opponents to handle the basketball. However, he had trouble guarding taller players in the post, which would cause him to allow scores.

In summary, Rayshaun Hammonds had a solid showing to help lead his team to a double-digit win over Tennessee. He is an athletic, skilled combination forward that can score the basketball, and while he may need to improve his playmaking skills and be a more consistent defender in games, his ability to put the ball in the hoop could enable him to develop into becoming a solid role player in the NBA.

Tennessee's freshman point guard, Santiago Vescovi had his ups and downs in his team's lopsided loss to Georgia.   (Photo: @vol_hoops, via VolNation.)
Tennessee’s freshman point guard, Santiago Vescovi had his ups and downs in his team’s lopsided loss to Georgia. (Photo: @vol_hoops, via VolNation.)

I also decided to watch this game not only to watch the potential number one overall pick in Anthony Edwards, but also to see Tennessee’s 6-3 point guard, Santiago Vescovi, who had played very well in the NBA G-League International Challenge, and later joined Tennessee midseason. Recently, Vescovi had been excelling as a shooter and scorer despite committing a high number of turnovers to start his collegiate career. The question I wondered, was whether or not if he should be considered a first round prospect, especially for the 2021 draft.

Though Vescovi had some good moments at times against Georgia, he had a relatively lackluster showing in his team’s loss. He didn’t take or make enough shots when he was on the floor, and he struggled to make threes consistently in this game.

He did make a deep three early on, but he struggled to make long-range jumpers as the game progressed. Vescovi did score on an acrobatic reverse layup off of a cut, as he was able to show that he can score on off-ball motion plays.

He also did an adequate job of scoring off the dribble. Vescovi managed to score on a crafty floater when going to his left, and he also can draw fouls upon his defenders. However, he also missed on a right-handed drive another time, as he had missed it too hard off the glass.

Vescovi also displayed decent playmaking skills. He showed that he can calmly run the point, and he was able to throw entry passes to notch assists. He also made a couple of nifty passes off the dribble, as he would kick balls out to shooters to set up scoring chances for them. Sometimes, he would look to be too fancy on his passes, which can lead to turnovers.

Also, Vescovi did a good job of helping out on the glass, and he also ran down a ball to get an offensive rebound while drawing a non-shooting foul early on in this contest. He looked to be about average defensively. He was able to contest a deep three on a switch to force a miss, but he also had some trouble defending quicker guards off the dribble, which would cause his team to allow scores.

Overall, Vescovi was able to make some solid plays at times when he was on the floor, but he did not make jumpers consistently or stand out enough in this game. He did not take enough shots, and he didn’t make enough threes when he would look to hoist them up. Vescovi seems to possess a decent ability to make shots when he would, and he showed that he can effectively run the point, but his lack of elite physical tools may limit his ceiling as a draft prospect. Still, Vescovi is a skilled playmaker that could project to be a second round pick for the 2021 draft, and if he can continue to improve his jump shot and on-ball defense, he could end up being a reliable role player similar to former Cleveland Cavaliers’ guard, Daniel Gibson in the NBA.

Tennessee’s senior guard, Jordan Bowden put forth an inconsistent performance in his team’s loss to Georgia, but he played better towards the game’s end.

Bowden showed a very good ability to make pull-up, mid-range jumpers, as that was his bread and butter throughout this game. He would dribble in to make shots from just inside the arc, and he even used a crossover move to make a long two off the dribble.

He also did a good job of scoring on quick, left-handed drives to the basket. However, Bowden was unable to make any of his three-point attempts, as he really struggled to make shots from beyond the arc, though he did draw free throws when hoisting up a corner three once.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills. Bowden is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he also threw a sharp pass to a cutter to set up a scoring chance for his teammate. However, he did commit one turnover, as he lost the ball when handling it on one occasion.

Though he didn’t grab many rebounds, Bowden was able to collect his fair share of boards to help his team on the glass, and he also tipped a ball to a teammate to help his team get a defensive board.

Defensively, he looked to be about average at best. Bowden applied solid ball pressure when defending an opposing ball handler once, as he managed to poke a ball away to get a steal. He also contested a shot off of a drive to force a miss. However, he had trouble guarding quicker opponents off the dribble, which would cause him to commit fouls frequently. He also got beat on a step back move another time, which led him to allow an opponent to score on a three-point shot.

Overall, Jordan Bowden had some good moments in his team’s loss to Georgia, but he also struggled considerably with his three-point shot and on-ball defense today. Right now, he’s been in a serious shooting slump, as he also went 1 for 17 from the field in a January 11th win over South Carolina. Right now, he may be an unlikely bet to be drafted, and he will need to regain the shooting touch he once had, but even still, Bowden is a skilled enough player to make an NBA team’s summer league roster later this year.

Tennessee’s freshman swingman, Josiah James made some good plays in his team’s loss to Georgia. He did a very good job of knocking threes to keep defenses honest, and he shot the ball well from beyond the arc. He also chipped in to get rebounds for his team.

James excelled at making open, spot-up threes off the catch, and he also ran off of a ball screen to make an open corner three later in this game. He also drew free throws off of a jump hook after grabbing an offensive rebound to show his low post scoring skills. However, James had trouble making shots inside the arc, as he struggled more to score off the dribble.

He also displayed decent playmaking skills. James can throw accurate entry passes and he will look to find the open man to notch assists. He did commit one turnover, as he threw a weak bounce pass that ended up being intercepted by a defender.

Also, he was able to get his fair share of boards, as he would help collect rebounds on both ends of the floor. On one play, he managed to push the ball up the floor off of a defensive rebound.

Defensively, James looked to be about average at best. For the positives, he can jump on loose balls to get steals, and he also closed out hard on a corner shooter to force a miss. However, he had trouble guarding quicker opponents off the dribble, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores, and he even fell on a spin move once that led him to allow the basket. He also can sometimes lose track of his man when guarding shooters, which led him to allow opponents to score on three-point baskets.

Overall, James is a tough, physical player that can play a variety of positions, and he is a player that can shoot and pass the basketball. He will need to show that he can consistently create his own shot and guard upper-echelon opponents in the meantime. Right now, he may be a second round candidate for the 2021 draft, but he will definitely need to stay in school to work on his game. If he can improve upon his weaknesses, he could at best develop into a P.J. Tucker-like player for the next level.

Georgia’s 6-4 senior guard, Jordan Harris played very well off the bench, as he excelled at attacking the basket to garner scores, and he played very good defense in this game. He’s a very athletic player that would score and draw free throws on quick drives to the basket, and he also managed to score on a high-flying dunk in transition after getting a quick steal on the defensive end. Harris applied solid ball pressure when guarding opponents, and he will also play passing lanes to get steals and deflections for his team.

Overall, Harris has provided a solid scoring punch and good defense off the bench for his team, and he could help Georgia compete for an at-large bid in an attempt to make the 2020 NCAA Tournament. Harris may be a sleeper as a draft prospect and he should definitely play more, as he could compete for a roster spot next season in the NBA.

Georgia’s 6-8 freshman forward, Toumani Camara provided solid inside scoring, rebounding, and defensive skills in his team’s win over Tennessee. He excelled at scoring on drives and in the post, and he also drove in to score on a powerful jam while getting an extra free throw once. He also managed to score on a reverse layup off the glass another time.

Camara also passed the ball well and would set good screens, and he was active as a rebounder and shot blocker in this game. He also managed to draw a charge when defending a drive. He had some trouble defending in the post, but Camara’s length, activity, and positioning helped is team get stops.

Overall, Camara is an athletic, hybrid forward that could project to be an energetic defensive specialist at the next level. He will need to expand his shooting range and continue to work on his jump shot, but he could be a prospect to keep an eye on in the future.

Georgia’s 6-2 redshirt senior guard, Donnell Gresham Jr. excelled at scoring on strong drives to the hoop, as he showed good foot-speed, strength, and body control to finish plays around the basket, and he also excelled at intercepting passes and poking balls away to get steals and deflections. He made shots efficiently and played solid defense in his team’s win over Tennessee. He will need to improve his jump shot, but his ability to make plays on both ends could enable him to make an NBA team’s summer league roster later this year.