Observing Kai Jones, Terrence Shannon Jr., and Matt Coleman

March 12th, 2021

By Alan Lu

Yesterday, I took the time to watch Texas play against in an in-state rival, Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament.  It was an opportunity to watch various prospects play in a relatively high stakes, college basketball game.  Texas Tech had the lead for most of this game, but Matt Coleman and Kai Jones were able to lead the comeback charge to help Texas get a riveting one point-win.  Though highly touted prospect, Greg Brown didn’t play well, Texas received strong performances from their less heralded players such as Jericho Sims and Jase Febres.  Terrence Shannon Jr. also played well, as he scored 18 points in his team’s losing effort.  Here are my thoughts on how various prospects on both teams fared on this day.

Texas’ sophomore center, Kai Jones (pictured on the right) had a strong, all-around game, as he helped lead his team to a comeback win over Texas Tech.
(Photo:
Orlin Wagner/Associated Press, via ABC News)

Texas’ 6-11 sophomore center, Kai Jones had a solid showing in his team’s comeback win over Texas Tech.  Texas Tech led for most of the game, but Kai Jones showed off strong athletic gifts, versatile scoring skills, and he was able to make some eye-popping plays on both ends of the floor toe help his team get the victory. Jones shot the ball well in this game.   He was able to calmly make an open, spot-up three off the catch, and his size and shooting skills enables him to be a solid floor-spacer when he is on the court.  He missed a long two off the dribble another time, but against Texas Tech, Jones made key shots down the stretch to help his team get the win.

Also, Jones excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Jones ran in to score on a tip slam after grabbing an offensive rebound early on.  Late in this match, he scored on a quick, reverse layup off of a backdoor cut, and he showed incredibly good body control to contort his body and score on a tough angle close-range shot around the basket.

He also showed a fairly good ability to score in the post. He also managed to make a smooth, turnaround fadeaway jumper after getting the ball on the block.  He also showed a knack for drawing non-shooting fouls upon his defenders.  He missed on a tough, fadeaway jumper once, but Jones generally did a good job of scoring the basketball when he would get his shots up.

Though he did not pick up an assist, Jones also did not turn the ball over either on offense.  He would sometimes struggle to handle the ball when pressured, as he had a ball poked away, and he got tied up after dribbling off of an offensive rebound another time, but Jones did a good job of not turning the ball over in this game. He also did a fairly good job of rebounding the basketball.  Jones was especially active at crashing the offensive glass, and he was able to help his team get many offensive rebounds when he was on the floor.

He also played solid defense.  Jones did a good job of blocking shots to help his team protect the paint due to possessing solid athleticism, length, and timing.  He also poked a ball away to nearly get a steal.  He also was able to contest a corner three as well as shots in the post to force misses.  Sometimes though, he would occasionally struggle when defending out on the perimeter.  He gave up too much space to a shooter, which led his team to give up a three-point basket.  Another time, he got beat off the dribble, and he ended up fouling an opponent off of a drive while trying to swat the shot.

Overall, Kai Jones played very well to help lift his team to a comeback win over Texas Tech.  The Bahamas-born center is an athletic, skilled big man that made solid plays on both ends of the court in this game.  He is a talented prospect whose game may be similar to current Memphis Grizzlies’ center, Gorgui Dieng.  Jones could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the first round, and his floor-spacing skills combined with his strong athletic gifts and defensive potential could enable him to be a solid role player in the NBA.

Texas Tech’s 6-6 sophomore swingman, Terrence Shannon Jr. also played well in his team’s loss to Texas.  Shannon scored 18 points and made four three-pointers on offense, and he had a solid, all-around game. Shannon did a very good job of knocking down jumpers to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He really excelled at making open, spot-up threes off the catch, and he particularly showed a knack for making corner threes.  He also ran off of a ball screen, and used a pump fake to make a corner three, and he was very efficient at knocking down long-range shots from beyond the arc.  On the downside though, he had trouble making mid-range jumpers, and he also tended to take contested mid-range shots off the dribble that would lead to misses.

He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Shannon ran the floor to score on a thunderous dunk on the break.  He also was able to draw free throws after running the floor hard to get the ball in transition another time. Also, he showed an adequate ability to score off the dribble.  Shannon would use pump fakes to draw free throws on strong baseline drives to the hoop.  However, on another play after driving the ball to the basket after getting an offensive rebounded, he ended up missing the shot in traffic.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Shannon would sometimes get the ball poked away off of drives, but it would conveniently go to his teammates around the basket to set up scores for them.  He did commit one turnover though, as he had a ball ripped away from him on a drive to lose it on that occasion.

He also was able to leap up to get his fair share of boards, as he was able to get multiple rebounds on both sides of the ball.

Shannon also played good defense in this game.  He was able to intercept passes to get steals, and he also managed to block a shot.  Plus, he also showed a knack for drawing charges when defending drives to get stops for his team.  On the downside, there were times where he and his teammates would forget to guard shooters, as they would be so focused on guarding opposing ball-handlers, that they would end up allowing opponents to score on spot-up threes off of drive and kick plays.

In summary, Terrence Shannon Jr. had a solid showing in this game, and he excelled at making plays to help his team on both ends of the floor.  There were times where he settled for a bit too many contested mid-range jumpers for my liking, and he also sometimes struggled to handle the ball when pressured, but Shannon did a very good job of knocking down jumpers and defending against Texas.  He is a talented prospect that could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the first round, and he could end up being a solid role player in the NBA.

Texas’ senior point guard, Matt Coleman had a strong showing in his team’s comeback win over Texas Tech.  He especially played well down the stretch, and he had a solid, all-around game, as he scored 19 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals to help lead his team to get the victory.

Coleman showed a solid ability to score off the dribble.  He would tend to score on strong drives to the hoop, and he can finish plays using either hand.  He was able to use a quick spin move to score on a crafty floater, and Coleman and has good body control and finishing ability to regularly score on crafty layups.  He also would drive hard to the hoop to draw fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line.  A couple of times, he ended up missing due to rushing, but he was very effective as a scorer, especially down the stretch.

He also flashed the ability to knock down jumpers in this game.  Coleman was able to make a pair of threes to help his team space the floor.  He was able to make an open corner three.  Another time, he dribbled to his left, and he then dribbled the ball so well that he was able to cross up his opponent in such a way that led his man to lose his balance and fall, and Coleman then pulled up to smoothly knock down the three-point shot.  On the other hand, he was also fairly streaky with his outside shot.  While he did make a pull-up jumper from the mid-range, he had trouble making shots consistently from that range.

Also, Coleman displayed adequate playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass to find the open man, and he would throw an assortment of passes off the dribble to notch assists.  He can drive and kick balls out to shooters, and he also can throw timely interior passes to find teammates on the move due to possessing solid court vision.  Sometimes though, he would go too fast and out of control, which would lead him to commit ball-handling turnovers, and he can sometimes struggle to handle the ball when heavily pressured.  Other times, he would throw inaccurate passes that would go astray.

He also was able to leap up to get his fair share of boards, as he was able to get rebounds on both sides of the ball.

Coleman played very good defense in this game.  He was able to run in to tie-up an opponent on a drive to help force a turnover.  He also was able to deflect a ball off of an opponent, and he also ran in to poke a ball away to force other turnovers.  He was an active help defender, and he did a good job of poking balls and getting his hands on passes to get plenty of steals and deflections.

In general, Matt Coleman played very well, as he had a solid all-around game, and he was able to make two clutch free throws to help his team rally back to get a come from behind victory over Texas Tech.  He is a smart, skilled playmaker that tended to make sound decisions on both ends of the floor, and he could be an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider in the second round range of the 2021 draft.

Texas’ senior center, Jericho Sims also played well in his team’s win over Texas Tech.  He excelled as an interior player in this game, and he did a good job of scoring and defending in the paint to help his team get the victory. Sims did a fairly good job of scoring in the post.  He was able to get deep position to score early on, and he also caught a lob pass to score on an alley-oop dunk.  He did miss on a jump hook, but he was very effective as a scorer around the basket.

He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He was able to score on powerful dunks off of cuts and rolls to the rim, and he also scored on a quick put back after leaping up to get an offensive rebound once. On the downside, Sims was quite turnover prone on offense.  He would sometimes commit ball-handling turnovers when posting up, as he would sometimes play too fast and out of control.  He also threw a pass off the dribble that ended up getting intercepted.

Also, Sims did a fantastic job of rebounding the basketball.  He would often chase down balls to get boards on both ends of the floor, and he would sometimes leap up high to get them, and he also drew a foul after grabbing an offensive board once.  However, he was called for committing a loose ball foul when going for an offensive board another time.

He also played good defense in this game.  Sims would often block shots to help his team protect the paint, and he also would intercept passes to get steals.  He also was able to rotate to contest a shot on a drive to force a miss.  Sometimes though, he would be too aggressive when trying to swat shots, which would lead him to commit fouls when rotating to defend opponents off the dribble.

Overall, Sims had a solid showing in this game, and he excelled as an inside scorer, rebounder, and interior defender in his team’s win over Texas Tech.  He is a very athletic, energetic big man that made solid plays on both ends of the floor, and in a favorable scenario, he could project to be an effective rotational big man in the NBA.

Texas’ 6-5 senior guard, Jase Febres had a strong showing, as he shot the ball really well in his team’s win over Texas Tech.  He made 5 three-pointers from beyond the arc, and he also passed the ball and defended well in this game.

 Febres did a terrific job of knocking down threes to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He showed a knack for making three-point shots off the catch and dribble.  He used a pump fake to make a three early on, and he also made a quick, step-back three.  He also made two spot-up threes, and he later ran off the ball to make a quick three another time.

He also threw a crisp, accurate lob pass to help his teammate score on an alley-oop dunk.  Though he didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, Febres was able to leap up to get an offensive board due to making a nice hustle play that time.  He also managed to block a shot off of a cut out of bounds to show off his defensive skills.

Overall, Febres played a very good, all-around game, and he did a tremendous job of knocking down long-range shots to help his team get the win over Texas Tech.  He has not played much this season, but this was his best showing by far, in this season.  As he has not received as much playing time as expected, he will likely need to spend time in the G-League and/or overseas, but if things pan out for him, he could end up competing for a roster spot in the NBA sometime down the road.

Texas Tech’s 6-6 sophomore swingman, Kevin McCullar had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Texas.  Though he struggled to make shots consistently and was a bit turnover prone, and he played very good defense, especially in the first half of this game. McCullar struggled to score consistently, as he missed too often on drives or when he would look to score in the post, but he showed a knack for scoring in transition, and he also made a smooth pull-up jumper from the mid-range.  He did manage to use a jab step to score on a quick, baseline drive off the glass to show his potential to score off the dribble.

On the downside, he was quite turnover prone.  He would tend to commit ball-handling turnovers, as he would make his moves too fast.  He also threw a pass that got intercepted another time. Also, McCullar was able to get his fair share of boards, and he was able to get rebounds on both ends of the floor. He also played very good defense in this game.  McCullar frequently got steals, as he would pick off passes and pounce upon loose balls to do so.  He also managed to block a shot off of a drive out of bounds.  He also successfully drew a charge when defending on a drive another time.  He did commit a foul on a drive once, and he sagged too far off of a shooter another time, which led him to allow an opponent to score on a three-point shot.

Overall, Kevin McCullar is an athletic, energetic swingman that played very good defense in his team’s loss to Texas.  He will need to improve his outside shot, but his ability to guard opponents could make him a second round prospect whenever he decides to declare to enter the NBA draft.

Texas Tech’s 6-2 junior guard, Mac McClung didn’t have his best game, and he was held scoreless in the first half in his team’s loss to Texas.  He was able to string together some good plays in the second half, but he generally struggled to make shots and was turnover prone in this game.

He tended to take a lot of questionable shots, as he settled for a lot of pull-up, mid-range jumpers.  McClung tended to miss too often on quick mid-range jumpers off the dribble, but he was able to make an open, pull-up mid-range jumper once.  He also ran off the ball to make a quick mid-range shot from the baseline another time.  McClung didn’t take many threes, but he missed on a step-back three on his lone three-point attempt from beyond the arc. Also, he showed a decent ability to score off the dribble.  McClung would tend to drive hard to the hoop to get free throws, but he did not do a good job of making them when he was at the foul line.  His best score was when he ran the floor, and he drove up court to score on a speedy, switch of hands layup in transition.

On the downside, he was quite turnover prone in this game.  For the positives, McClung is a fleet-footed guard that can quickly get into the lane and throw interior passes to find teammates on the move.  However, he would tend to commit ball-handling turnovers, as he would play too fast and out of control.  When doubled and facing heavy ball pressure, he threw an inaccurate pass that sailed out of bounds.  Though he is a quick guard, McClung tends to take too many questionable shots, and he did not seem to display enough court sense to be able to effectively run the point on offense right now. Also, he did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  McClung is an energetic guard that would actively pursue balls to help his team on the glass, and he was able to chase down balls to help his team get boards on both ends of the court.

Defensively, he looked to be perhaps above average.  McClung is an active defender that plays very hard when he is out on the court.  He was able to contest a corner three to force a miss.  Hoewver, he also committed an aggressive foul when trying to intercept a pass another time. Overall, Mac McClung struggled to make shots and he was turnover prone in his team’s loss to Texas.  He had trouble trying to get past the taller and longer, Greg Brown in the first half, and McClung seemed to take a lot of quick, contested mid-range shots that missed far too often. 

At the pro level, he may face an interesting conundrum.  At the collegiate level, McClung has seemed to reach folk hero status, and he is revered in college basketball as a scorer on a solid Texas Tech team.  On the downside, he is also an undersized guard that has shown a penchant for taking questionable shots, as he also has put forth less than stellar shooting percentages when he was at Georgetown, and he also has not shown that he can capably run a team’s offense at the point on a consistent basis.

Currently, McClung projects to be a borderline second round candidate.  He is a high-motor guard that can put up points in a hurry, and he can score in creative ways.  He is a solid athlete that consistently plays hard on a nightly basis.  On the other hand, he’s historically been known to be more of a volume scorer than an efficient scorer prior to this season, he hasn’t exactly posted great shooting percentages in his collegiate career.  On top of that, he’s posted consistently low assist totals for a player his size. 

Still, he plays with a grit and tenacity in every game, as that combined with his shot-making ability and athleticism may make him a favorite amongst the college basketball crowd.  In a favorable scenario, McClung could end up being an effective rotation player at the next level, as his ability to score could help him lock down a rotation role similar to former veteran guard, Jodie Meeks in the NBA.

Andrew Jones had his ups and downs in his team’s win over Texas Tech.  He struggled in the first half, but he played better in the second half to help his team get the victory. He did a very good job of knocking down threes in this game.  Early on, Jones was able to make an open corner three.  He ran off the ball to make a quick spot-up three from way out.  He also used a crossover and pulled up to knock down a three off the dribble from well beyond the range another time. Plus, Jones was able to draw free throws on a quick, fadeaway jumper when driving to the hoop.  However, he struggled to consistently score when driving to the hoop, and he tended to struggle to score in traffic.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game.  Jones was able to make a series of good passes, and he is a good passer off the dribble.  He can drive and kick balls out to shooters to notch assists, and he also threw a nice interior pass to a roll man due to possessing solid court sense that time.  However, sometimes he would play too recklessly on offense, as he also ended up committing ball-handling turnovers due to struggling to handle the ball when heavily pressured in those instances. He also was able to leap up to get a pair of defensive boards, and Jones was able to push the ball up the court after getting a defensive rebound once.  He also defended well.  Jones was able to get a steal, and he also contested a mid-range shot to force a miss.

Overall, Jones didn’t have his best game, but he showed a good ability to knock down threes in his team’s win over Texas Tech.  He made solid team plays down the stretch, and he is a borderline second round candidate that could get looks from NBA teams and scouts whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft.

Texas Tech’s 6-7 freshman forward, Micah Peavy played fairly well in his team’s loss to Texas.  He generally passed the ball and defended well, as he would throw interior passes to find teammates around the basket, and he also did a good job of getting steals for his team. He didn’t look to score often, but he showed that he can score when driving to the hoop, and he also scored on a backdoor cut another time.  While he did make a mid-range jumper, Peavy did not take a single three-point shot in this game.

Overall, Peavy is an athletic, energetic forward that could project to be a defensive specialist in the NBA.  He will need to improve his jump shot and he will need to be more assertive on offense.  Most likely, he will need to stay in school for at least another season, but with continued development, he could be a prospect to watch next season.

Texas Tech’s 6-7 senior forward, Marcus Santos-Silva played fairly well in his team’s loss to Texas.  He did an adequate job of scoring in the post, although he also tended to get his shots blocked as well.  He also would score on put backs, and he also drew free throws on a roll to the rim, and Santos-Silva excelled at scoring hustle plays.  On the other hand, he will need to improve his face-up game, and he will need to extend his shooting range moving forward.

He also passed the ball well.  He threw solid interior passes, as he can find cutters, and he is a good passer out of the post.  Santos-Silva showed good court sense, and he was able to rack up assists in this game.

Defensively, he looked to be about average.  He was able to poke a ball to nearly get a steal, but he also struggled to defend quicker opponents, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Santos-Silva is a high-motor big man that was able to score and rebound in the paint quite effectively in the first half, but he struggled to consistently make plays later on.  He did pass the ball very well.  He will need to improve his perimeter skills and defense.  Right now, he is a long shot to be drafted, but he could end up in the G-League and/or overseas when his collegiate career ends.

Texas Tech’s Clarence Nadolny’s dunk in no way counted, but it was amazing to see, nonetheless. Nadolny could be a definite prospect to watch in 2022.
(Source: Twitter/@TexasTechMBB)

Also, Texas Tech’s 6-3 sophomore guard, Clarence Nadolny played well in limited minutes in his team’s loss to Texas.  He was able to make a corner three off the catch.  He also would have scored on a thunderous, high-flying dunk over an opponent on the break, but the referees waved it off instead as they did not give him continuation that time.  Instead, they just awarded him a free throw for his efforts, as he would then miss the free throw later on.

Overall, Nadolny is a very athletic combo guard that can shoot and score the basketball, and he could be deserving of more playing time in the future.  He hasn’t played much this year, but he could be worthy of receiving a lot of playing time on Texas Tech’s team next season, and a strong season next year could get him more looks from NBA teams and scouts by then.

Texas Tech’s 6-7 freshman forward, Tyreek Smith played well in limited minutes in this game. He was able to throw down a powerful dunk, and he also scored on a backdoor cut to the hoop. He excelled at attacking the basket to score at the rim, and he is a good athlete that could be a prospect worth watching in the future, especially if he plays well either in the 2021 NCAA Tournament or next season.

Texas’ freshman forward, Greg Brown did not play very well, and it should be noted that his team went on a huge run without him to get a comeback win over Texas Tech.  It seems that recently, he’s been good for about one highlight a game, and he was able to run in to score on a thunderous tip slam after grabbing an offensive rebound.

However, Brown was a walking turnover machine in this game, as he kept committing one turnover after another.  He really had trouble with his ball-handling and footing against Texas Tech.  He was called for a charging foul on a drive early on.  He then had a ball poked away, and then would also lose the basketball after losing his footing on the court.  He also was called for a double-dribble another time.  Early in this match, he threw an interior pass that got intercepted.

He did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  Brown was quite active on the glass, and he was able to leap up to get plenty of boards on both ends of the court due to possessing great athleticism and motor.

Brown played solid defense in this game.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to wash away all of the careless turnovers he committed, but he definitely showed some potential to be a shut-down defender at the next level.  Brown showed defensive versatility, as he could switch and defend quick guards, and he would use his length, footwork, and agility to stay in front of them to cut off penetration and to force them to pass the basketball.  He also managed to intercept a pass to get a steal.  He also was able to poke a ball to nearly get another.  On one play though, he over-helped in the paint, as he sagged too far off of a shooter, which caused him to allow an opponent to score on a three-point shot.

Overall, Greg Brown’s strong athletic gifts are what has kept his draft stock afloat, but he seems to be way behind the schedule from an offensive standpoint.  He’s really struggled with turnovers in this game as he had trouble handling the ball whenever he was pressured, and it is rare for him to get assists.  Right now, he’s just not a very good ball-handler, and he doesn’t handle ball pressure or change directions very well.  He also hasn’t shot the ball nearly as well from the outside as hoped, but he has been good enough to drop in a rim-rocking, mind-blowing dunk once a game.  Defensively, he has been foul prone, but he has shown the quickness, length, and shot-blocking prowess to be able to guard multiple positions when he’s dialed in.

He has a long way to go offensively though, and that he was not needed on the court in the second half in his team’s comeback win certainly could be a bit damaging to his draft stock.  Brown is a very athletic player whose game is more like a mini-center, but his unrefined offensive skills would make him a very risky pick in the first round. 

His strong athletic gifts could make him worth a gamble in the mid to late second round, however.  He’ll probably never be the supposed elite scorer or shooter that he was hyped up to be.  On the other hand, if Brown does declare to enter the NBA draft at the end of the season, he could continue to hone and develop his game in the G-League next season. 

In watching Brown play, he may be a fairly high upside prospect that may also have a very low floor, as his lack of polish on offense could lead him to struggle right away whenever he gets to the NBA.  In a favorable scenario, if he can carve out a niche role and succeed in the NBA, he could end up being a solid role player similar to Oklahoma City Thunder’s forward, Isaiah Roby.  In a worst-case scenario, Brown could end up folding under the high expectations that may be placed upon him, and he could also end up being like former Denver Nuggets’ forward, Quincy Miller, a player who was a very athletic, promising young forward that had a variety of skills, but couldn’t quite find a way to play well enough to carve out a long career in the association.  If Brown ends up with the right NBA team, he could perhaps realize his potential, as he could then end up being an energetic defensive specialist in the NBA.

Texas’ 6-3 junior guard, Courtney Ramey had a terrible showing in his team’s win over Texas Tech.  He was held scoreless, as he missed on all of his three-point and mid-range attempts in this game.  He also tended to commit ball-handling turnovers due to recklessness. 

He also didn’t seem to give his best effort defensively.  He initially got beat on a cut, and he then bit on a pump fake after recovering to get back to his man, which led him to commit a foul and allow a score afterwards.  On another play, he got caught and stuck on a screen, as he didn’t make any attempt to fight through it, which led him to allow an opponent to score on a baseline, mid-range jumper.

Overall, Ramey just did not play well at all, and he was just outplayed by the other players on the floor in this game.  He didn’t have a good showing at all, but his team will likely make the NCAA Tournament, so he will have plenty of chances later on this season to make a positive impression to try to boost his draft stock.

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