Observing Caleb Love, Jalen Johnson, and Day’Ron Sharpe

February 7th, 2021

By Alan Lu

Yesterday, I took the time to watch a competitive, ACC basketball game that took place between North Carolina and Duke.  Though both teams have struggled quite a bit this season, both teams are considered to be a part of one of the fiercest rivalries in college basketball.  North Carolina took a stronghold on this game, as they were able to get an early lead.  Duke clawed their way back, and they were able to come back multiple times, but North Carolina was able to hold on to get the win due to the strong performance of freshman guard, Caleb Love and numerous other players on their team.  Here are my thoughts on how Love and the other players fared in this game.

North Carolina’s Caleb Love had a sterling showing in his team’s win, as he scored 25 points, made 4 threes, and had 7 assists against Duke, and this was his best performance of the season to date.
(Photo:
Nat LeDonne/Duke Athletics, via The Duke Chronicle)

North Carolina’s 6-4 freshman point guard, Caleb Love had a tremendous showing in his team’s win over Duke.  He had a strong all-around game, as he excelled as a shooter and scorer, and he also showed off solid playmaking and defensive skills to help his team get the victory.  He scored 25 points, made four threes, and had seven assists in this game.

Love shot the ball very well in this game, especially from downtown.  He showed a knack for making open, spot-up threes off the catch, and he particularly excelled at making corner threes in transition.  He also dribbled off of a screen and pulled up to make a three off the dribble another time.  Plus, he also can capably score on mid-range jumpers.  He used a crossover move to make a smooth, step-back jumper from the mid-range, and he also scored on a tough floater another time.  He would sometimes take too many mid-range jumpers, but he showed that he can make them when he would hoist them up.

Caleb Love threw down a magnetic dunk on the break early in this game in North Carolina’s 91-87 win over Duke.
(Source: Twitter/@SInow)

He also showed a solid ability to score off the dribble.  Love would tend to favor going to his left, and he was able to score on a strong reverse layup.  He also would go hard to the hoop to draw fouls upon his defenders.  He also excelled as a scorer in transition.  He drove in to score on a high-flying, breakaway dunk while getting an extra free throw, and he also scored another time on a fast break.  Every once in a while though, he would take tough shots that would lead to misses when he wouldn’t get foul calls.

He also displayed decent playmaking skills in this game.  Love did a good job of getting his teammates involved early on offense, and he played unselfishly as he also was able to rack up assists.  He showed a solid ability to pass off the dribble and to find teammates in transition to set up scores for them, and Love was able to throw an accurate lob as well as pass off the dribble to notch assists.  He has shown improved court vision and patience with the ball in his hands recently, and he showed a better feel for playing the point guard position against Duke.  On the downside, he was still fairly turnover prone.  At times, he tended to throw inaccurate passes that would go astray.  He also committed a couple of ball-handling turnovers, as he would sometimes tend to over-dribble without having a plan on offense. Also, Love was able to leap up to get a pair of defensive rebounds, and he was able to push the ball up the floor after getting a board once.

He also played satisfactory defense in this game.  Love was an active defender that would apply considerable ball pressure.  He was able to take a ball away to get a steal, and he also deflected a pass to nearly get another.  He also rotated quickly once to force an opponent to commit an up and down violation late in this game.  On the downside, he can tend to over-help and lose focus of his man, which would lead him to allow opponents to score on backdoor cuts.  Another time, he shaded too far to the left, which led him to get beat off the dribble to allow a score another time.

In general, Caleb Love turned in an impressive performance, and it was most likely his best game of the season.  After struggling pretty much all year long, he reminded NBA teams and scouts why they were once high on him to start the season.  Love is a very athletic combo guard that can consistently get into the lane to score, and he also is a fairly solid defender.  He will need to make more outside shots consistently and continue to improve as a facilitator at the point.  He hasn’t played well this season, but this looks to be his strongest performance in college basketball to date, and that could strengthen his case to be a second round pick if he were to declare to enter the 2021 draft at the end of the season.

Duke’s Jalen Johnson had a solid showing in this game, as he scored 14 points, made 2 threes, and he had 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block in his team’s loss to North Carolina.
(Photo:
Nat LeDonne/Duke Athletics, via Journal Now)

Duke’s freshman forward, Jalen Johnson played fairly well in his team’s loss to North Carolina.  He showed off his versatility by making solid plays on both ends of the floor, and while he didn’t predominantly look to score on isolation plays, he generally would make team plays to help his team stay in the contest.

Jalen Johnson shot the ball fairly well, and he especially excelled at making open spot-up threes off the catch.  He would take advantage of the other team’s big men sagging too far off of him, and he would knock down threes to score afterwards.   However, he tended to miss on contested, mid-range jumpers, and he would take tough, off-balanced shots that would end up missing.

He also did a good job of scoring in the post.  Johnson was able to move off the ball to get the ball down low, and he then quickly scored on a turnaround jumper.  Another time, he used a spin move to score on a turnaround bank shot off the glass due to possessing solid footwork and scoring touch to make the shot.

On the downside, he struggled to score when he would look to go all the way to the hoop to score off the dribble.  He would tend to not make strong moves, as he would look to avoid contact from defenders, which would lead him to miss shots in traffic.

Johnson also displayed good playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that has solid court vision, and he passes well off the dribble.  He can kick balls out to shooters to set up scores for them, and he also can throw solid interior passes to get them the basketball.  He was called for stepping out of bounds once after getting the ball in the corner, and he also threw a pass that a teammate wasn’t ready to catch, but Johnson generally excelled as a facilitator, and his team probably should’ve looked to get the ball in his hands more, as he operated well as a point forward on the floor. Also, he did a satisfactory job of rebounding the basketball.  Johnson was quite active at crashing the glass, and he was able to get multiple boards for his team on both sides of the ball.

Plus, Johnson played fairly good defense in this game.  He is an athletic, rangy defender that can cover plenty of ground.  He was able to intercept a pass to get a steal, and he also took a ball away from a big man to force another turnover.  Plus, he also leapt up to block a shot in the post to himself to get a late-game stop.  He showed good timing to contest shots in the post, and he would play passing lanes to help his team get steals and deflections.  On the downside, he would sometimes struggle to defend stronger players in the post, as he would give up deep position, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  Sometimes, he would be too aggressive, which would lead him to commit touch fouls.  Another time, he was late to rotate to his man, which caused his team to allow an opponent to score on a three-point shot.

Overall, Jalen Johnson had a solid showing in this game.  While he didn’t quite take over this contest, he showed off a wide array of skills that could prove to be helpful at the next level.   He is an athletic, skilled point forward that can distribute the basketball, defend, and also score from anywhere on the floor, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in latter part of the lottery of the upcoming draft.

North Carolina’s Day’Ron Sharpe scored 11 points and had 9 rebounds off the bench, as he made all 5 of his field goals in his team’s win over Duke.
(Photo:
Nat LeDonne/Duke Athletics, via Journal Now)

North Carolina’s freshman center, Day’Ron Sharpe also played well in his team’s win over Duke.  He did tremendous work as an inside scorer for his team off the bench, and he also rebounded really well in this game. Sharpe showed a solid ability to score in the post.  He was able to use a spin move to score on a strong move once, and he also got great position to score on a quick turnaround jumper another time.  He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays, as he was able to score on a couple of powerful tip slams after grabbing offensive rebounds.  Sharpe also ran the floor, made a tough catch and used a spin move to score on the break.   He also would draw fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line.

On the downside, he was quite turnover prone on offense.  Sharpe threw a couple of hasty passes that ended up getting intercepted.  He also had a ball ripped away when posting up to commit another turnover. Also, Sharpe did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  He was very active at crashing the glass, and he led all players in total rebounds with 9 in total despite having played just 17 minutes, as he did a superb job of collecting boards on both sides of the ball.

Defensively, he looked to be fairly average.  Sharpe would jump passes to get steals for his team.  However, he struggled to defend shooters out on the perimeter.  He bit on a pump fake and was out of position, which led his opponent to score on an open three-point shot.  On another play, he sagged too far off of his man and didn’t even contest the shot, which led his man to score another time from beyond the arc.

Overall, Day’Ron Sharpe is an athletic, energetic big man that generally excelled as an interior player to help his team get the win.  He will need to extend his shooting range and improve his ability to defend opponents out on the perimeter.  Regardless, he has been very efficient as an interior player in games, and he could end up being a solid pick for an NBA team in the mid to late first round range of the upcoming draft.

North Carolina’s senior center, Garrison Brooks also had a solid showing in his team’s win over Duke.  He played well on both ends of the floor, and he also demonstrated surprisingly solid passing and defensive skills on top of that, and he also showed off his strong low post scoring skills to help his team get the victory.

Brooks showed a solid ability to score in the post.  He showed a penchant for scoring on turnaround, fadeaway jumpers, and he also managed to score on a powerful dunk another time.   He would generally score on strong moves, and he showed a solid shooting touch from the block.  He also was able to draw fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line.  Sometimes though, he would try to rush his shots, which would sometimes lead to misses when he wouldn’t get foul calls.

He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Brooks was able to score on a drive in transition, and he also drew an extra free throw afterwards.  Plus, he also managed to score on a tip-in after grabbing an offensive rebound.  However, he also missed on a couple of mid-range jumpers.

Also, he displayed solid playmaking skills in this game.  Brooks passed the ball well off the dribble as well as in the post, and he would find teammates on the move to set up scores for them.  He would sometimes push the ball up the court, and he demonstrated solid patience and court vision to consistently find open teammates in this game.  However, he had more trouble handling the ball when pressured, as he ended up having a couple of balls poked away to commit a couple of turnovers.

He also was able to get his fair share of boards to help his team on the glass.  Though he didn’t get as many rebounds as expected, as he was able to chase down a ball to get a tough defensive rebound late in this game, and he made a good hustle play by getting it with two hands and by ripping the ball away from an opponent.

Also, Brooks played solid defense in this game.  He excelled at blocking shots to help his team protect the paint, and he also would intercept passes to get steals.  He also would contest jumpers as well as shots in the paint to force misses.  Sometimes though, he would allow opponents to score around the basket, and he also sagged too far off of a shooter, which allowed an opponent to score on a three-point shot once.

Overall, Garrison Brooks played well on both ends of the floor, and he was able to help his team get the win over Duke.  He’ll need to continue to play well, as he seemed to show a renewed commitment towards doing the little things to help his team in games.  Right now, he projects to be a second round prospect for the upcoming draft, and he could end up being a rotational big man in the NBA.

North Carolina’s freshman guard, Kerwin Walton played very well in this game.  He really showed his sharpshooting prowess, and he did a great job of making open, spot-up threes to score often from beyond the arc.  He also was able to run off the ball to make a three-point shot in this game. He displayed fairly average playmaking skills.  Walton was able to find an open shooter to get an assist, but he also committed a charging foul on a drive in transition that led him to commit an offensive foul and a turnover.

He also was able to chip in to get a couple of defensive rebounds in this game.  Walton was also solid defensively.  He was able to get a steal early on, and he also was active in contesting mid-range shots to force misses.  However, there was another play where he sagged off of his man when defending a three-point shot, which led his team to allow a score that time.

Overall, Kerwin Walton played very well in this game, as he made all four of his three-point shots, and he was extremely effective as a shooter and scorer in this game.  He is North Carolina’s best outside shooter, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range whenever he decides to declare to enter the draft.

Duke’s 6-6 sophomore swingman, Wendell Moore Jr. had a solid showing in his team’s loss to North Carolina.  Even though he botched a crucial play down the stretch, as he was called for traveling by committing an up and down violation when he drove to the hoop but came down with the ball before having thrown his pass, Moore still played well, as he scored 15 points, and had 5 rebounds, and 4 assists in this game.

Moore did a good job of scoring the basketball.  He excelled at scoring off the dribble in this game.  He scored on a reverse layup off of a strong drive, and he also showed a knack for scoring on mid-range jump shots.  He drove in to score from the post, and he also ran the floor to score in transition.  He also made an open corner three off the catch to show his improved outside shot, though he missed on two other occasions from beyond the arc.

On the downside, he was fairly turnover prone in this game.  For the positives, Moore is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass to keep the ball moving.  He was able to find a cutter to notch an assist, and he also can kick balls out to shooters to set up scoring chances for them.  On the downside, he would tend to over-dribble, which would lead him to commit traveling violations.  He also drove blindly into traffic late in this game, and his indecisiveness led him to come down with the ball onto the ground just before passing it out, which led to a costly up and down violation.  In addition, he also had a ball ripped away from him when posting up another time. Also, Moore did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He was quite active at crashing the glass, which enabled him to get plenty of boards in this game.

Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  On one good play, he was able to intercept an errant pass to get a steal.  On the downside, he would tend to be undisciplined defensively, which would lead to foul opposing ball handlers.  On a separate play, he over-helped off of his man and was unable to rotate back, which led him to allow his opponent to score on a corner three that time.

Overall, Wendell Moore was very efficient as a shooter and scorer in this game, and he also rebounded the ball well when he was on the floor.  He will need to take better care of the basketball and show that he can consistently knock down outside shots.  Still, he is an athletic, physical swingman whose scoring ability, defensive potential, and upside could make him an intriguing pick for an NBA team in the second round range whenever he elects to enter the NBA draft.

North Carolina’s sophomore big man, Armando Bacot played fairly well in his team’s win over Duke.  He managed to score 16 points, and he also grabbed six rebounds to help his team get the victory. He showed a decent ability to score in the post, as he would get deep position to score and get free throws for his team, and he also was effective at scoring on hustle plays.  He would throw down dunks off of cuts and in transition, and he also caught a lob pass to score on an alley-oop dunk on the break.  However, sometimes he would take tough shots that would lead to misses, especially when he would not be able to get foul calls.

He also exhibited fairly average playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that would keep the ball moving, and he was able to find a shooter in transition to notch an assist.  However, he also was called for shuffling his feet when posting up to commit a turnover once. Also, Bacot did a fairly good job of rebounding the basketball, and he was quite active at crashing the glass to help his team get offensive boards.

Plus, he also played fairly good defense.  Bacot was able to intercept a slew of passes to get steals, and he also blocked a shot in the post.  He was able to contest a three to force a miss.  When defending on a drive out on the perimeter, he moved his feet well, as he was able to force his opponent to commit a ball-handling turnover.  On the downside, Bacot would sometimes play too physically, which would lead him to commit fouls when defending off the ball.

Overall, Armando Bacot had a satisfactory showing in his team’s win over Duke.  He made solid plays on both ends of the floor, and he also showed a good motor in this game.  He has played well this season, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the second round range of the upcoming draft.

Duke’s freshman guard, D.J. Steward had a decent showing in his team’s loss to North Carolina.  He was able to make some solid plays on both ends of the floor, though he did take too many mid-range jumpers in this game. Steward was able to show off some versatile scoring skills.  He ran off the ball to make an open, spot-up three, though he didn’t take enough threes in this game.  He also scored on a quick reverse layup off the dribble.  Plus, he ran the floor to score in transition.  Though he showed that he can make pull-up jumpers from the mid-range, he took too many jumpers, which led him to miss quite often from that range.

He also displayed average at best playmaking skills.  Steward would sometimes look to pass the basketball, and he was able to find a cutter to set up a scoring chance for his teammate once.  However, he tended to be inaccurate with his passes, and he had a couple of his passes picked off by his defenders.

He also was able to collect a couple of rebounds to collect a pair of defensive boards for his team.  Steward also played fairly good defense.  He was able to block a long two due to possessing solid athleticism and timing, and he also intercepted a pass to get a steal another time.

Overall, D.J. Steward had his ups and downs, but he was able to have some good moments at times in this game.  He will need to improve his shot selection and take better care of the basketball, but his athleticism and scoring ability could make him an option for NBA teams to consider in the second round range of the 2021 draft.

Duke’s freshman point guard, Jeremy Roach had a solid showing in his team’s loss to North Carolina.  He excelled at making plays on both ends of the floor, and he scored 16 points, and had 5 assists, and 3 steals in this game. Roach showed off versatile scoring skills to help his team on offense.  He was able to make a pair of open, spot-up threes, and he also showed a knack for scoring on backdoor cuts to the hoop.  He also did a decent job of scoring on quick drives to the basket, but he also missed on a couple of pull-up jumpers from the mid-range.  Though he made a couple of threes and shot the ball fairly well, he was also a bit streaky with his jump shot at times against North Carolina.

He also displayed solid playmaking skills.  Roach tended to throw solid interior passes, as he was able to find a cutter as well as a teammate in transition to notch assists.  He didn’t commit many turnovers, but he did throw a pass that got intercepted once.

Also, Roach played fairly good defense.  He excelled at getting steals, as he would jump passes and poke balls away to do so.  He also successfully drew a charge when defending on a drive.  Sometimes though, he would get beat off the dribble, which would cause him to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Jeremy Roach played well, as he is an athletic, skilled playmaker that can score the basketball, and he has been improving as an all-around player lately.  He will need to continue to be more consistent as an outside shooter and as an on-ball defender.  If he can put his skills all together, he could end up being a reliable role player as a backup point guard in the NBA.

North Carolina’s 6-8 junior forward, Leaky Black had a solid showing in his team’s win over Duke.  He played well on both ends of the floor.  He excelled at making mid-range jumpers, and he also made an open, spot-up three off the catch.  He didn’t take many shots, but he was very effective at making them to score the basketball for his team.

He also was a solid playmaker in this game.  Black is an unselfish player that would make the extra pass to keep the ball moving, and he was able to string together plenty of assists.  However, he also was called for a charging foul on a drive to the hoop in transition once to commit an offensive foul and a turnover.

Also, he was able to collect his fair share of boards to help his team on the glass.  Defensively, he played fairly average defense.  Black was able to poke a ball away to get a steal.  He also contested a three to force a miss.  Sometimes though, he would struggle to defend opposing ball handlers, which would lead him to commit fouls.  Another time, he sagged too far off of a shooter, which led him to allow his man to score on a three-point shot.  On a separate play, he got outmuscled when defending in the post, which led his opponent to score on a three-point play.

Overall, Leaky Black played well in this game, and he tended to make smart decisions when he was on the floor.  He will need to be more aggressive on offense and be a more consistent shooter in games, but his ability to distribute the ball, score in the open court, and defend could enable him to be a potential second round pick in the 2022 draft.

Duke’s 6-7 freshman forward, Henry Coleman III played very well in his team’s loss to North Carolina.  He excelled at making hustle plays on both ends of the floor.  He scored on a cut to the hoop, ran the floor and caught a lob before scoring in transition, and he would tend to draw extra free throws to help his team afterwards.

He also passed the ball well, and he would hustle to help his team get rebounds.  Coleman also played good defense.  He is a high-motor player that was very active on the defensive end.  He was able to poke a ball away to get a steal, he blocked a shot in the post, and he also successfully took a charge when defending a drive to get another stop.  Plus, he also contested a fadeaway, mid-range jumper to force a miss.  Sometimes though, he would struggle to defend stronger opponents in the post.

Overall, Henry Coleman IIII had a strong showing in this game, and he will need to get more minutes moving forward.  He will also need to extend his shooting range on offense.  Still, he could be an intriguing prospect to keep an eye on, especially if he gets more playing time and minutes in the future.

Duke’s senior point guard, Jordan Goldwire played very well in his team’s loss to North Carolina.  He was efficient as a scorer in this game, and he also played very good defense.  He was a feisty defender that would hound opposing ball handlers to get stops and steals.  He also excelled at scoring on cuts, and he also made a pull-up three.  Also, he tended to throw good passes, as he has solid court vision to set up scores for his teammates, and he can find cutters as well as kick balls out to shooters, but he did throw one ill-advised jump pass that got picked off.

Overall, Goldwire had a very good showing in his team’s loss to North Carolina.  He will need to be more assertive on offense, and make more shots consistently, but his strong defensive skills and ability to run a team at the point could enable him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA sometime in the future.

Duke’s 6-6 junior swingman, Joey Baker played well in his team’s loss to North Carolina.  He was very effective as a shooter and defender in this game.  He excelled at knocking down threes and mid-range jumpers, and he also blocked a shot off of a drive to show some athleticism and timing that time.  Right now, he will likely need to stay in school for another season, but if he plays well next year, he could be a potential second round pick in the 2022 draft.

Duke’s 6-9 sophomore forward, Matthew Hurt did not have his best game in his team’s loss to North Carolina.  He was ineffective for most of this match, but he was able to string together a scoring run before he ended up fouling out of this game.

He struggled to consistently make his three-point shots.  He did make an open trail three off the catch, but he was unable to make shots consistently from long range.  Hurt was more effective as a scorer from inside the arc against North Carolina.  He used a pump fake to score on an aggressive, left-handed drive off the glass.  He also was able to make a turnaround, fadeaway jumper from the post another time.

On the downside, he did not get an assist, and he didn’t grab nearly as many rebounds as he was capable of getting.  Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  He was able to contest a shot in the post to force a miss, and he also deflected a pass to nearly get a steal.  However, he struggled to defend in the post in this game, as he had trouble defending stronger opponents, and he would end up committing numerous fouls to allow scores to them.

Overall, Matthew Hurt did not play very well, and he was neither effective as a long-range shooter nor defender in this game.  He just did not seem prepared to play in this game, and it seemed to cost his team.  He wasn’t very effective in making three-point shots in this game, and he really struggled to defend down low for most of the night.  He’s had a good sophomore season, but this was one of the worst games he’s had recently.  Still, he’s a skilled scorer who can really be an asset to his team when his outside shot is falling, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the second round range of the 2021 draft.

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