Observing Terquavion Smith, Dariq Whitehead, and Jarkel Joiner

January 4th, 2023

By Alan Lu

Today, I took the time to watch NC State’s sophomore guard, Terquavion Smith play against Duke in a very competitive in-conference, ACC basketball game.  NC State got off to a fast start early on due to hot shooting, good ball movement, and strong defense, and they managed to stay in control for the rest of the game to get a blowout win over Duke.  They received strong guard play from Terquavion Smith and Jarkel Joiner, as well as terrific post play from their senior big man, D.J. Burns.  Duke had trouble scoring or handling NC State’s press defense, but they received a strong performance from freshman swingman, Dariq Whitehead off the bench. Here are my thoughts on how Smith and other various prospects fared in this game.

Terquavion Smith scored 24 points and made 4 threes to lead NC State to a blowout win over Duke.
Karl B DeBlaker/Associated Press)

NC State’s sophomore guard, Terquavion Smith turned in a strong showing in his team’s win over Duke.  He is a speedy, agile combo guard that thrived at knocking down shots to help his team on offense, and he put forth a very good all-around performance.  He did a great job of knocking down threes, as he thrived at making pull-up threes, as well as quick threes in transition.  He even was able to chase down a ball that he deflected to himself, and quickly made a three on the break afterwards.  He also showed a knack for making mid-range jumpers off the dribble, as well as speedy drives on the break.  He has good shooting touch to pull up to knock down outside shots, and he also can quickly dart to the rim to score.  He showed a satisfactory ability to score on aggressive drives to the rim, but sometimes he would take rushed shots that would lead to some misses.

He also showcased perhaps adequate playmaking skills.  While he didn’t technically get an assist in this game and predominantly looked for his own offense, Smith is a quick and shifty guard that showed that he can make drive and kick passes, as well as timely passes to roll men to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  On one play though, he over-dribbled and lost the ball, which led to a turnover.

Also, Smith was able to chip in on the boards to get his fair share of rebounds, and he was especially active at crashing the glass to get offensive rebounds.  He also played solid defense in this game.  Smith was able to run in to intercept a pass to get a steal due to possessing good hands, quickness, and instincts.  He also managed to block a shot hard when defending in transition to a teammate.  He also showed some ability to defend in the post, and he was able to draw a charge when defending a bigger player that time.  He did allow a score in the post another time, but generally Smith is an athletic, active defender that thrived at making plays in this match.

In general, Terquavion Smith played very well to help lead his team to a win over Duke.  He is a tremendously confident shot maker that consistently gives great effort when he is on the floor, and he is having a very good sophomore season.  Smith is a very skilled combo guard that could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the mid first round range of the 2023 draft.

Duke’s freshman swingman, Dariq Whitehead had a strong showing in his team’s loss to NC State.  He is an athletic, 3 and D player that provided his team with some much needed offense and a spark off the bench, even though Duke really struggled to make plays all night long.  Duke’s offense was terrible before he stepped foot in the game, and Whitehead was able to help upgrade his team’s offense from awful to almost passable due to his strong performance off the bench.

Whitehead did a great job of knocking down threes to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He did an excellent job of making corner threes, and he also was able to dribble up to make a quick pull-up three smoothly on the break.  He also managed to make a contested spot-up three from way out, and Whitehead is a talented shooter that has a lot of range on his shot.

On the downside, he struggled to make shots when he would attempt shots from inside the arc.  On a drive in transition, he used a stutter step, hesitation move, but his shot ended up getting blocked on the play.  He also used a hesitation move for a pull-up, mid-range jumper, but missed that time, too.  Whitehead seemed to have more trouble scoring in traffic on drives to the rim than from beyond the arc, and he seemed to be much more comfortable in taking shots from long distances.

He showed off average at best playmaking skills.  For the positives, Whitehead can throw some solid passes in the half court, and he can find teammates in stride.  He was able to find a cutter to notch an assist, and he also threw a lob to get the ball to a teammate in transition.  On the downside, he had a tendency to over-dribble when handling the ball, and he would tend to get balls poked away to lose it and commit turnovers.  He also telegraphed a pass in the backcourt, which ended up getting intercepted by a defender.

Also, Whitehead was fairly active at crashing the glass, and he was able to help his team get some defensive boards.  He also played satisfactory defense in this game.  Whitehead was able to intercept an errant pass to get a steal, and he also was able to alter a floater to help his team get a stop on the defensive end another time.

Overall, Dariq Whitehead turned in what may have been arguably his strongest performance of the season, and he showed why he was considered for the lottery to start the season.  He is an athletic sharpshooter that could potentially develop into an upper-tier 3 and D player at the NBA level, but he’s struggled to make shots consistently so far this season.  Still, Whitehead played very well tonight, and this is a performance that he can build off of, and he could be a good pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range of the 2023 draft.

NC State’s 6-1 senior guard, Jarkel Joiner put forth a tremendous performance in his team’s win over Duke.  He did a terrific job of shooting the basketball.  He really excelled at making smooth, step-back jumpers from both three-point land and the mid-range, and he shot the three-ball really well both off the catch and dribble.  He was able to knock down many of his outside shots with ease, and he also managed to utilize a Eurostep move to score in transition to showcase his ability to get to the rim.

He also passed the ball well.  Joiner has solid court vision, and he would find teammates on the move to notch assists.  He did a very good job of finding open shooters, and Joiner did a good job of distributing and taking care of the basketball.

Plus, he also did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  He also defended well.  Joiner would poke balls away to help his team get steals and deflections.  He also hustled back on defense to draw a charge on an opponent to get a stop another time.  Overall, Joiner is a skilled, agile playmaker that can shoot and pass the basketball, and he is a talented player that may have what it takes to make it to the NBA.

NC State’s senior big man, D.J. Burns put forth a great performance in his team’s win over Duke.  He is a senior big man that thrived at scoring in the post, and he also showed some passing and defensive skills when he was on the court.  He really excelled at scoring out of the post.  Burns showed off very good footwork, strength, and scoring touch, which enabled him to score early and often.  He would use spin moves to score on turnaround jumpers and jump hooks, and he also was able to score on a running, one-legged baseline floater.  He also would score gracefully on rolls to the rim, and he really thrived as a low post scorer and finisher around the basket.

He also showcased satisfactory playmaking skills in this game.  Burns has good court vision, and he would throw solid passes out of the post to get the ball to his teammates, which enabled him to notch a pair of assists.  He can find cutters and also throw skip passes, and he will make sound passes to get the ball to his teammates on the move.  Sometimes though, he can force the issue a bit too much, which can lead to some turnovers.  He used too many pivot moves and steps when trying to make a play in the post once, which led to a turnover.  Another time in the post, he tried to fit a ball to a cutter, but it ended up getting intercepted instead.

Burns didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, but he was able to tip a ball back to help his team get an offensive rebound.  He also defended very well in this game.  He did a great job of blocking shots to prevent opponents from getting easy shots up in the paint.  He also stayed in front of an opposing ball handler to help force a passing turnover.

Overall, D.J. Burns dominated with his strong interior play on both sides of the ball to help his team get a double-digit win over Duke, and he provided a big boost for NC State off the bench.  As for his NBA prospects, it’s unclear as to how he would fit in the modern NBA game.  Burns is a big-bodied player that has great size and strength, and he is mobile for a player his size, and he was extremely effective as a low post scorer and defender.  On the other hand, he will need to show that he can play effectively in faster-paced, NBA-style games, and he may need to diversify his offensive attack for the next level, because they may not be willing to give him as many post touches as he gets in college. 

Still, Burns turned in a tremendous performance in his team’s win over Duke, and he’s shown that he can play well against NBA-caliber prospects.  In all, Burns reminds me of former Boston Celtics’ big man, Glen Davis, who was a member of the Celtics’ 2008 championship squad.  Burns may need to add more range to his jump shot and show that he can defend out on the perimeter, but his strong performance could enable him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA in the future.

Kyle Filipowski had some good moments in his team’s loss to NC State.  He is an agile, high-motor big man that can handle the basketball. While he struggled to make shots consistently, he thrived at making hustle plays, and he also showed some ball-handling skills when handling the basketball on the break.

Filipowski excelled at scoring on off-ball motion plays.  He did a good job of scoring off of cuts and rolls to the rim, and he also would run the floor to score on the break.  He also was able to make a strong drop step move to score out of the post, and he was able to throw down a powerful dunk once.  On the downside, Filipowski was inconsistent as a scorer out of the post, and he didn’t show much shooting touch, as he missed too many shots he should have made.  He also didn’t shoot the ball well from the outside, and he missed both of his three-point shots from beyond the arc.

He also displayed average at best playmaking skills.  Filipowski is a better than advertised athlete, and he can handle the basketball for a big man.  He can throw solid passes off the dribble to get the ball to his teammates.  However, he can struggle to handle the ball when crowded, which led to a traveling violation once.  He also lowered his shoulder when posting up, which led him to commit a charging foul another time.  He also attempted to throw a fancy drive and kick pass, but he threw it inaccurately and it sailed out of bounds.

Filipowski did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  He was active in looking to contest shots and he was sometimes a threat to block shots.  Sometimes though, he would be late on his rotations, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Filipowski had his ups and downs in his team’s loss, but he is an agile, mobile big man that can handle the basketball.  He has the potential to develop into a point center, but he will need to be a more consistent shooter, defender, and performer in games.  His draft stock may be a tad inflated right now, as he doesn’t really stand out in the other areas, but his offensive potential and versatile skill set could make him an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider in the second round range of the 2023 draft.

Mark Mitchell is an athletic, energetic combo forward that was able to make some plays for Duke early on, but he then faded into the background as the game wore on.  Before Dariq Whitehead stepped foot on the floor, Mitchell appeared to arguably have performed the best for Duke early on, when his team was really struggling to score or make plays in this game.

He was able to score on a couple of put backs, and he also threw down a strong put back dunk early on.  He also showed some ability to score off the dribble, and he also made a bank mid-range jumper once.  However, Mitchell didn’t take many outside shots, and sometimes he would rush his shots, which would lead to some wild misses around the basket.

He also showcased satisfactory playmaking skills.  Mitchell passed the ball well, and he threw good interior passes off the dribble to notch a slew of assists.  He showed that he can find teammates on the move to get them the basketball.  However, he didn’t always handle the ball well, and he committed a couple of traveling violations that led to turnovers.

He also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  Mitchell also blocked a shot to help his team protect the paint once.  Overall, Mitchell had his ups and downs, but he is an athletic, high-motor forward that could be worth it for NBA teams to consider late in the 2023 draft.

Tyrese Proctor had another disappointing showing in his team’s loss to NC State, though he did have some good moments late in this game. Proctor was billed to be a tall, skilled playmaking point guard that some people rated very high to start the season.  But I really haven’t seen anything that really warrants or justifies that in any sort of way.  With all due respect to the other draft analysts, I don’t get it.  Maybe I’m missing something, but I just don’t see it.  From what I’ve seen and read so far, Proctor has just been incredibly overhyped, and he’s massively under delivered.

I really just don’t understand the Proctor hype, he’s not a shooter, he’s only an ordinary athlete, and he doesn’t really do anything that stands out or sets him apart from the other prospects.  He has a budding floater game and has shown the ability to run the team, but he’s shot the ball terribly this season, and I really don’t see how that would warrant him getting first-round draft buzz to start the year.

Proctor struggled to consistently knock down shots on offense.  He missed his lone three-point attempt, as he tried to pull up, but had it blocked, which led to a fast break basket the other way.  On the bright side, he showed a decent ability to score off the dribble.  Proctor was able to use a hesitation move to score on a floater and get an extra free throw.   He also used a hesitation move to score on a crafty, left-handed drive another time, which also getting an extra free throw.  He’s not super fast or quick, but he finds a way to get into the lane, but he didn’t do a great job of making his free throws when he was at the foul line.  Despite showing a promising ability to score off the dribble, Proctor scored just 4 points on 2 of 5 shooting in this game.

He also was very turnover prone on offense.  For the positives, Proctor can pass the ball well when he plays patiently, and he can throw accurate passes off the dribble and in transition.  However, he tended to over-dribble and do too much on offense, which would lead him to commit numerous ball-handling turnovers.  He also threw an inaccurate entry pass that sailed out of bounds another time.

Overall, Tyrese Proctor was able to show some skills that could be intriguing, but he is far from being ready to contribute at the NBA level.  First and foremost, he really needs to add a jump shot to his repertoire, especially if he wants to keep defenses honest.  That could be the key to unlock his overall game.  Otherwise, he may top out at being a fringe backup point guard at the NBA level.  He will need to stay in school to hone his game, but he could be an intriguing prospect if he can add a reliable three-point shot to his arsenal, and if so, if he reaches this best-case scenario, Proctor could be a useful backup guard similar to Golden State Warriors’ guard, Ty Jerome in the NBA.

Duke’s 7-1 freshman center, Dereck Lively II turned in another extremely disappointing performance in his team’s loss to NC State.  He almost scored on a strong dunk after receiving a drop off pass, but it was waved off and it didn’t count, because his teammate drew a foul earlier on the play.  Lively missed a low post shot around the basket, and he didn’t show much of a shooting touch.  He appeared to miss on a roll to the rim, but got a bail out call from the referees, which enabled him to get free throws on that occasion.  He also didn’t look to take jumpers and he also didn’t roll to the rim or run the floor very hard very often, so he was virtually invisible on offense.  Therefore, Lively was not a lively member of Duke’s offense in this game.

Lively attempted to throw an entry pass once, but he threw it so high and inaccurately that it was way off target, and it sailed out of bounds.  He did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  He also showcased decent defensive skills.  Lively managed to block a shot hard to help his team protect the paint, although he didn’t swat it to a teammate that time.  He also used his size, length, and verticality to defend in the post to force a miss.  He also dove on the ground to get a loose ball to get a steal another time.  He struggled to defend out on the perimeter, and he ended up committing a foul when defending a quick ball handler.

Overall, Dereck Lively did not play very well, and he has been kind of disappointing this year.  He hasn’t shown nearly as much offensive skills as anticipated, and he’s been way too passive on offense.  He doesn’t seem to be nearly as skilled as he was hyped up to be.  His draft stock is still far too high, but Lively may have enough upside to be drafted in the second round of the 2023 draft.  Lively will need to significantly improve his skill level on offense and give more effort on both ends of the floor.  Still, he is a very tall, athletic big man that could develop into a rim protector in the NBA, and he could end up being a backup center similar to Los Angeles Clippers’ center, Moses Brown in the association.

All in all, those are my thoughts on how Terquavion Smith and other various prospects fared in the NC State-Duke game.  Thanks for reading.

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