Observing Jordan Hawkins, Andre Jackson, and Adama Sanogo in the UConn-Gonzaga Game
March 26th, 2023
By Alan Lu
Yesterday, I took the time to watch Connecticut play against Gonzaga in what seemed like would be a very competitive, Elite Eight game in the 2023 NCAA Tournament. It was competitive in the first half, but Connecticut had control for most of the game, and after Drew Timme picked up his fourth foul on an offensive rebounding attempt early in the second half, it sent Timme to the bench, and Connecticut reeled off big runs to run away with a huge victory over Gonzaga to get to the Final Four. Jordan Hawkins was tremendous in this game, and so were his teammates. Here are my thoughts on how Hawkins and other various prospects fared on this day.
Connecticut’s 6-5 sophomore guard, Jordan Hawkins had a tremendous showing to help lead his team to a blowout win over Gonzaga. He is an agile, skilled sharpshooter that did a terrific job of shooting and scoring the basketball. He really thrived as a three-point shooter in this game, and his quick release and ability to move off the ball and run off ball screens enabled him to make a barrage of quick, spot-up threes on offense.
He took advantage of any sliver of space he was given on offense, and he also was able to pull up to make a three-pointer another time. Plus, he also ran quickly off of a ball screen and drew three free throws when hoisting up a three-point shot once. He struggled to make pull-up mid-range jumpers, and he also missed on a high-flying dunk attempt off of a drive, but Hawkins still shot the ball very well, and he was excellent at making threes in this game. In addition, he also showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball, and he would sometimes quickly bring the ball up the floor off of defensive rebounds.
In general, Jordan Hawkins put forth a terrific performance, and he was fantastic in his team’s double-digit victory over Gonzaga. He is an athletic, very skilled player that can really shoot and score the basketball, and he would be a very good pick for an NBA team in the lottery of the 2023 draft. His tremendous jump shot, ability to move off the ball to get open, and strong feel for the game could enable him to be a star player in the NBA.
Connecticut’s 6-6 junior point guard, Andre Jackson also had a strong showing in his team’s win over Gonzaga. He is an athletic, skilled playmaker that did a great job as a facilitator, he rebounded the ball very well, and he also thrived as a cutter to score on offense.
Jackson did a tremendous job of scoring on back door cuts. He also was able to score on a powerful dunk off of a cut once in this game. He also managed to score on a strong drive to the hoop. On the downside, he didn’t shoot the ball well from the outside, and he missed all of the threes he took from beyond the arc.
Also, Jackson did a terrific job of passing the basketball. He showed that he can make an assortment of passes, and he can operate quickly on the move to find open teammates to rack up assists. He also was able to pass the ball back to a teammate on a dribble handoff and set a solid on-ball screen to help get him open to set up a score for him. Jackson has very good court vision, and he is a tall playmaker that played with poise and took great care of the ball. Plus, he also did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.
In summary, Andre Jackson played very well in his team’s win over Gonzaga. He’s a smart, skilled playmaker that excelled at making plays on both ends of the floor. He is a facilitator that sees the floor well, and he thrived at scoring on back door cuts. He’ll need to improve his jump shot, but his high basketball IQ and solid skill set could make him a solid pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range of the 2023 draft.
Adama Sanogo had a fairly solid showing in his team’s win over Gonzaga. He is a strong, mobile big man that thrived as a passer in this game, and he also has very good strength that enabled him to finish plays around the basket.
Sanogo thrived at scoring on rolls to the rim. He was able to make a tough catch off of a roll to score once, and he also made a strong move to score another time. He also flashed the ability to score out of the post. He is a strong, powerful player that can utilize drop step moves, which enabled him to score once, and to draw fouls to get to the free throw line. However, he had trouble scoring on jump hooks, as he didn’t really have much shooting touch in this game.
He also showed off good playmaking skills in this game. Sanogo did a great job of passing out of the post, as he would often find open teammates around the basket and cutters to set up scores for them. He also would throw timely, accurate passes, and he did a good job of recognizing double teams to consistently find the open man. He did commit a couple of turnovers though, as he was called for traveling when dribbling off of a short roll, and he also had a ball stolen away from him when posting up another time.
Also, Sanogo did a great job of rebounding the basketball. He also played satisfactory defense in this game. He as able to rotate to block a shot hard off of a drive to help his team protect the paint. Another time though, he was late to get back on defense and bit on a pump fake, which led him to commit a foul on that play.
Overall, Adama Sanogo played well in his team’s win over Gonzaga, and he especially thrived as a passer on offense. He played smart basketball, despite not shooting the ball as well as anticipated out of the post. He’ll need to work on his jump shot and show that he can be a consistent scorer against taller, more athletic opponents, but he showed a good feel for the game against Gonzaga, and his ability to produce and make plays on offense could enable him to be a solid second round pick for the 2023 draft.
Connecticut’s 6-8 freshman forward, Alex Karaban also played well in his team’s win over Gonzaga. He is a versatile scorer that showed that he can be both a stretch big, and a skilled low post scorer in the paint. He would make open, spot-up threes from beyond the arc, and he showed good strength and footwork to consistently score out of the post. He even utilized a pump fake and drove in to score on a mid-range jumper another time. He was streaky with his outside shot, but he still showed that he can comfortably knock them down when counted upon to do so.
As a playmaker, he looked to be about average. He is a skilled big man that can pass and handle the basketball. After getting the ball on an dribble handoff once, he then quickly threw a sharp, interior pass to a roll man to notch an assist. On the downside, he was called for stepping out of bounds when trying to handle the ball from the corner once, and he also threw a hard pass that sailed out of bounds another time.
Also, Karaban was able to get his fair share of boards to help chip in on the glass. Defensively, he looked to be perhaps above average. Karaban was able to block a shot to help his team protect the paint once. However, on another play, he rotated late and committed a foul on a drive in transition that led his team to allowing a score and an extra free throw that time. Overall, Karaban is a skilled big man that can score in a variety of ways. He’ll need to improve his handles and defense, but his ability to make shots could enable him to make it to the NBA in the future.
Tristen Newton played fairly well in his team’s win over Gonzaga. He is a tall, 6-5 playmaking guard that excelled at making energetic plays to help his team in this game. He showed a knack for scoring and drawing free throws on strong, aggressive drives to the hoop. He also is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man. Plus, he also defended well, and he was able to get his hands on a pass to get a steal. On the downside, he didn’t shoot well from the outside, and he missed all of the threes he took from beyond the arc.
Overall, Newton had a fairly solid showing in this game, and he is a tall, athletic playmaker that can score and pass over smaller defenders, and he also is a pesky defender that can force turnovers. He’ll need to be a more consistent shooter in games, but his ability to make plays on both ends of the floor could enable him to make it as a versatile, backup guard in the NBA.
Connecticut’s 6-3 senior guard, Joey Calcaterra also played well in his team’s win over Gonzaga. He is an agile, skilled sharpshooter that showed a knack for running off ball screens and moving off the ball to score on open, spot-up threes off the catch. He also ran the floor to score on the break.
He also was able to throw an accurate lob pass to set up a scoring chance for a teammate on the break. He also defended well, and he applied pressure when defending an opposing ball handler and poked a ball off of him to help force a turnover that time. Overall, Calcaterra is a skilled combo guard that can comfortably play either backcourt position at the collegiate level, and he is a very good shooter whose jump shot and feel for the game could enable him to make it to the NBA in the future.
Connecticut’s 6-4 senior guard, Nahiem Alleyne also played well in this game. The former Virginia Tech guard scored in a variety of ways and defended well. He made an open three off of a kick out pass. He also thrived at scoring on strong, quick drives to the hoop. He also managed to jump on a deflected pass to help his team get a steal, which enabled him to score on a break. Overall, he excelled at making plays in limited minutes off the bench, and he is an athletic, energetic combo guard whose ability to make hustle plays on both ends of the floor could enable him to make it to the NBA someday.
Connecticut’s 7-2 freshman center, Donovan Clingan had a solid showing in his team’s win over Gonzaga. He is a strong, powerful player that showed off more athleticism than advertised, and he thrived as a shot blocker and interior player on both ends of the floor.
Clingan played satisfactory defense in this game. He did a great job of rotating to block shots to help his team protect the paint. On the downside, he would sometimes commit fouls due to over-aggressiveness, and he also fouled a jump shooter on a three-point shot. Another time, he got beat off the dribble, which led his team to commit a foul on that play.
Overall, Donovan Clingan played well in limited minutes off the bench. He thrived at making strong, energetic plays on both ends of the floor. He’ll need to improve his jump shot and mobility, but his ability to block shots and defend in the paint could enable him to project into a backup center role in the NBA.
Drew Timme did not play very well in his team’s loss to Connecticut. He might have played the best amongst Gonzaga players in their blowout loss in this game, but he still struggled considerably at making shots from the post, or to defend when he was on the floor. Even worse, he committed his fourth foul very early in the second half, when he was called for throwing an inadvertent elbow towards Andre Jackson when going for a rebound, and while Gonzaga was already trailing then, the Zags were unable to keep up with UConn, as they ended up getting blown out to lose by nearly 30 points in the end.
Timme did a good job of scoring on hustle plays. He was able to use a series of shot fakes to score on a roll to the rim, and he would run in the floor to score on fast breaks. He even managed to score on a strong dunk in transition. Plus, he also drew free throws on a put back after getting an offensive board.
He also showed the ability to make strong moves to score off the dribble as well as out of the post. However, he had trouble getting a consistent feel for his jump shot when taking jump hooks or making moves out of the post, which would lead him to miss plenty of shots. Timme also didn’t really look to take face-up jumpers from outside the paint area. He struggled to consistently score out of the post when matched up against a strong big man of a similar size, and he will also need to work on his outside shot, which could help him keep defenders honest in these type of games.
As a playmaker, he looked to be about average. The tone of the game was pretty much set when he was called for a couple of traveling violations when looking to score out of the post, and Timme’s footwork has generally been in question. When he’s not called for traveling, his footwork looks very good, and it can allow him to dominate as a scorer in the post. But sometimes he may take an extra step or too, and when he is called for traveling violations, it leads him to commit turnovers and can take him out of his element. It seemed that it may have rattled him a bit, as he never really was able to get into a consistent rhythm out of the post, and he also fumbled a ball away off of a roll to turn the ball over later on in the game. For the positives, he did pass the basketball well on offense. He did a good job of throwing interior passes from the post to notch assists, and he also threw a solid outlet pass to set up a score for a teammate on the break.
He also showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball. Sometimes though, he wouldn’t always box out, which would lead him to give up boards to his opponents. Defensively, he struggled in this game. For the positives, he was able to rotate to contest a mid-range jumper from the baseline to force a miss, and he also held his ground when defending in the post to get a stop another time. However, he would tend to gamble too much, which would frequently lead him to be out of position. He would miss on steal attempts, which would lead him to give up easy baskets at the rim. He would leave his man to double in the post, but it would lead his team to give up easy baskets to open cutters at the rim. He also would sag too far on drop coverages and sometimes wouldn’t even make an effort to close out on shooters, and he would allow them to score on open jump shots. In this game, Timme was a defensive liability, but so were his other teammates on the floor, and neither he or his team could generate consistent offense to allow them to be able to keep the game close down the stretch.
Overall, Drew Timme didn’t play very well, and this game could signal to NBA teams as why they may be hesitant in drafting him in the 2023 draft. On one hand, he’s a terrific college basketball player that usually operates well as a scorer out of the post, and he can dominate especially when matched up against smaller defenders. On the other hand, he hasn’t really seemed to work on his outside shot that much, and he looked very bad defensively in this game, as his lack of lateral mobility and ability to help as a defender made it difficult for his team to get stops against Connecticut. Timme will need to improve his lateral mobility and defense, and he’ll need to show NBA teams that he can be a passable defender at the NBA level. Still, he’s been a very productive college player overall, and his offensive skill set could be enough for him to warrant a selection in the mid to late second round range in the 2023 draft.
Julian Strawther also did not play very well in his team’s loss to Connecticut. He was coming off of a very good game before, and he had made the go-ahead basket in his team’s win over UCLA previously. But in this game against Connecticut, Strawther looked to be a one-dimensional shooter that couldn’t really help out that much in the other areas of the game, and opponents could key in and guard him tightly to prevent him from excelling as a shooter or scorer on the floor.
In this game, Strawther was at his best when attacking the hoop to score the basketball. He was able to score and get free throws when he would use crafty dribble moves to get past defenders, and he showed good balance and finishing ability on half-court drives at times. He also managed to score on a drop step out of the post.
On the downside, he seemed to be inconsistent at scoring off curl cuts. He showed a decent ability to make mid-range floaters, but Strawther took a lot of threes and missed them all from beyond the arc. If three-point shooting is his primary skill, he didn’t do a good job of showing it in this game, as he missed both on open threes, as well as on a pull-up three off the dribble. While he was more effective as a driver, he was still inconsistent at making shots off the dribble overall, and defenders were able to key in on his three-point shooting tendencies to get him to miss on quick, rushed jump shots.
Strawther was able to get one assist, but he also committed a turnover when a ball slipped out of his hands when he tried to pass the basketball once. He also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball. Defensively, he struggled in this game. He tended to be late on his rotations or getting back on defense, and his team had trouble getting stops against Connecticut.
Overall, Strawther didn’t play very well against Connecticut, and he’ll need to be able to show that he can be a more versatile player, but he’ll also need to be an elite shooter in the NBA. Otherwise, his lack of versatility might make him unplayable in an NBA playoff game. Right now, he’s a second round prospect for the 2023 draft.
All in all, those are my thoughts on how Hawkins and other various prospects fared in this game. Also, congratulations to Florida Atlantic for their Elite Eight win and on getting to the Final Four. Thanks for reading.