Observing Trey Townsend and BJ Freeman in the 2024 Horizon League Championship Game

March 13th, 2024

By Alan Lu

Yesterday, I took the time to watch Trey Townsend and Oakland square off against BJ Freeman and Milwaukee in the Horizon League Championship Game yesterday.  It was a tough, hard-fought game, but Trey Townsend dominated to help lead his team to get the win and automatic bid to get into the 2024 NCAA Tournament.  Here are my thoughts on how Townsend and others fared in this game.

Oakland’s Trey Townsend scored 38 points, and had 11 rebounds and 5 assists to get his team a win over Milwaukee, which gets Oakland an automatic bid for the 2024 NCAA Tournament.
(Photo: AJ Mast/Associated Press, via Macomb Daily)

Oakland’s 6-6 forward, Trey Townsend had a strong showing to help lead his team to a win over Milwaukee.  He thrived as a scorer, primarily from the low post, and he is a strong, mobile forward that consistently made solid plays throughout the game. Townsend showed a solid ability to score out of the post.  He is a physical, bruising forward that would often carve out space to operate down low, and he would often score on strong drop steps and jump hooks around the basket.  He showed good strength, as well as the shooting touch and footwork to consistently score, and he is a crafty player that also would draw a lot of fouls to frequently get to the free throw line.  

Plus, he also would score on strong drives to the hoop, and his strength and shooting touch enabled him to excel around the basket.    He also showed a knack for scoring off of put backs.   He didn’t take any threes in this game, but he didn’t have to as he was really efficient at making shots, especially in the paint. He also showcased solid playmaking skills.  Townsend was able to make passes off the dribble and out of the post to find open shooters, which would enable him to set up scores for them.  On one play though, he tried to dribble out of the post, but was called for a traveling violation due to taking too many steps.

Also, Townsend did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He excelled at hauling in boards on both ends of the floor.  There was one play though where he committed an over the back foul when going for a defensive board once.  Plus, he also played solid defense in this game.  Townsend would jump passes to get steals and deflections, and he utilized his length, positioning, and timing to block shots, as he was able to make an impactful block to swat a corner three late in the game.  On the downside, sometimes he would have lapses, as he and his teammate got confused as who to guard early on, which led to an open alley-oop dunk. Another time, he didn’t contest a corner three despite staying with his man, which led his team to give up another basket.

Overall, Townsend put forth a terrific performance to lead his team to a win over Milwaukee to get Oakland an automatic bid to the 2024 NCAA Tournament.  Townsend is an undersized power forward whose game seems to fit the college game much better than the NBA, and at the collegiate level, his strength and low post skills enabled him to get his team an automatic berth.  However, he will need to extend his shooting range and add a reliable outside shot for the next level.  Still, his production and promising skill set could enable him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA in the future, and if he adds a reliable jump shot to his arsenal, he could end being a solid role player at the next level.

Milwaukee’s 6-6 swingman, BJ Freeman had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Oakland.  He is a fairly athletic, skilled swingman that showed off versatile scoring skills, but he also showed some spotty shot selection as he didn’t shoot the ball well in this game.

Freeman showed that he can score out of the post.  He was able to score on a strong drop step move, and he also slipped past defenders to score while getting fouled another time.  He also showed a decent ability to score off the dribble.  He is a quick guard that has a solid first step to the hoop, and he showed that he can ably score on switch of hands, layups.  However, sometimes he would go in too quickly, and he would also miss on contested, rushed drives in traffic.  Freeman struggled to knock down threes in this game, as he especially had trouble making pull-up threes.  But he was able to run off a ball screen to make a quick, open corner three once.

On the downside, Freeman was quite turnover prone on offense.  On one good play, he utilized a spin move to drop off a pass to a teammate around the basket to notch an assist early on.  However, he tended to over-dribble and mishandle the ball at times, which would lead him to commit ball-handling turnovers. 

He also was able to chip in to get a few defensive boards when he was on the floor.  Freeman also played adequate defense.  He was able to contest a three to force a miss, and he would actively look to challenge shots to help his team get stops on that side of the ball.

Overall, Freeman didn’t have his best game, as he struggled to make shots against Oakland.  He will need to improve his jump shot and take better care of the basketball, but his skill set could enable him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA in the future.

Erik Pratt had a decent showing in his team’s tough loss to Oakland.  He is a 6-5 junior guard that likes to handle the basketball, and he also showed off versatile scoring skills and above average athletic gifts in this game. He did a good job of knocking down threes, and he especially excelled at making open, spot-up threes off the catch.  He also would finish plays around the basket to score out of the post, and he was able to score on a sweeping hook shot once.  Plus, he also showed that he can draw fouls when he would look to drive to the hoop.  However, sometimes he would take rushed shots when taking it to the rim, which would lead to misses.

He also showed off satisfactory playmaking skills.  Pratt is an unselfish player that can pass and handle the ball, and his size and court vision would allow him to find open shooters to notch assists.  However, there was one play where he fell while handling the ball, as he ended getting the ball ripped away from him to commit a turnover.

Also, Pratt was able to haul in boards on both ends of the floor, as he was able to get his fair share of rebounds in this game.  He also played decent defense, and he showed solid athleticism and footwork to stay in front of opponents when defending off the dribble.  Overall, Pratt played well, and he is an agile, skilled big point guard whose versatility and skill set could enable him to play in the NBA someday.

Jack Gohlke had a solid showing to help lead his team to a win over Milwaukee.  He is a sharpshooter that excelled at knocking down threes to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  Gohlke showed off a solid pump fake, and he would use a quick side step move to his left to knock down corner threes.  He also thrived at utilizing stepback moves to make corner threes, and Gohlke also ran off the ball to make a corner three another time.  He did a great job of making corner threes.  On the downside, he would sometimes take quick, rushed shots that would lead to misses, but he generally excelled as a floor spacer on offense.

He also threw an outlet pass to find a teammate on the break to notch an assist.  Also, he did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball, and Gohlke was able to haul in boards on both ends of the floor.  Plus, Gohlke also defended well, and he also did a good job of jumping passes to get steals.

Overall, Gohlke had a solid all-around performance to help lead his team to a win, and especially thrived as a three-point shooter from beyond the arc.  He may not have ideal size or physical tools to play out on the wing, and he may have to show that he can reliably run the point at higher levels, but Gohlke’s jump shot could enable him to play in professional basketball in the future.

Milwaukee’s 6-9 senior forward, Langston Wilson also played well in his team’s loss to Oakland.  He thrived as a finisher around the basket, and he excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Wilson was able to catch a lob pass to score on a powerful, alley-oop dunk, and he also showed that he can ably score off rolls and cuts to the basket.  He also was able to throw down a thunderous dunk off of a cut.  He also would’ve scored on athletic tip slams, but it didn’t count due to his teammate traveling once, and that his teammate drew a foul another time.  In addition, Wilson was able to score on a tough put back while falling away due to possessing good scoring touch and balance around the basket.

Plus, Wilson also showed some low post scoring skills, as he was able to score on a jump hook from the baseline while getting fouled.  On the downside, there was one shot where he missed a face-up mid-range jumper badly from the baseline, and he will still need to improve his outside shot.

Also, he did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  Wilson also played satisfactory defense.  He was able to run in to make a high-flying block to swat a shot from the post, and he would contest and alter shots from the post to force misses.  On one play though, he got beat on a drop step move in the post, which led him to commit a foul that time.

Overall, Wilson played well in his team’s loss to Oakland.  He is an athletic, high-motor forward that will make hustle plays on both ends of the floor.  He will need to expand his skill set offensively, but his athleticism and ability to make high-motor plays on both ends of the floor could enable him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA someday.

Milwaukee’s 6-0 point guard, Kentrell Pullian had a satisfactory showing in his team’s loss to Oakland.  He is an agile, skilled playmaker that excels at attacking the basket, and he was able to make some very solid plays on both ends of the floor.

Pullian did a good job of scoring off the dribble.  He is a fleet-footed guard that has a quick first step and he can use an assortment of moves to get around defenders to consistently score around the basket.  He showed solid handles, scoring touch, and balance to do so.  Though he did make a spot-up three off the catch, Pullian struggled to make threes consistently in this game.  Sometimes he would take tough shots in the lane, which would lead him to get his shots blocked.

He also showed off satisfactory playmaking skills.  Pullian showed that he can make quick passes off the dribble to set up scores for his teammates at the rim.  He also took very good care of the basketball and did not turn the ball over once.  Though he did not get many rebounds in this game, Pullian was able to get multiple offensive boards when he was on the floor.  He also defended well.  He would often get his hands on passes to get steals and deflections.  He also hustled back to make a big chase down block to stop a fast break, as he managed to swat it to a teammate.

Overall, Kentrell Pullian played very well, as he excelled at making plays on both ends of the floor in this game.  He is an athletic, high-motor guard that showed a knack for making hustle plays.  He’ll need to improve his jump shot and show that he can reliably run the point at higher levels, but he is a tenacious playmaker that could end up making his way to the NBA someday.

Oakland’s 6-9 junior forward, Chris Conway had a satisfactory showing in his team’s win over Milwaukee.  He was able to notch a double-double and also made numerous shot blocks, but he also didn’t shoot the ball very efficiently in this game.  Conway showed a decent ability to score out of the post.  He was able to score on a subtle, up-and-under, step-through move early on, as well as on a turnaround jumper from the baseline.  He has solid footwork and is a fluid player that demonstrated the scoring touch to be effective at scoring from the block, but he also struggled to find his shooting touch at times, which would lead to misses.

He also excelled at scoring quickly off offensive rebounds, as he was able to score on a quick put back as well as on a tip-in.    He also moved off the ball to get it, which enabled him to make a quick, mid-range jumper to show off his emerging jump shot.

He looked to be fairly average as a playmaker.  He didn’t seem to make any noteworthy passes, but he did show that he can handle the ball in short spaces.  On one post up though, he had a ball poked away from him to commit a turnover.

Also, Conway did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He also played solid defense.  He thrived as a shot blocker in the paint, and he would tend to swat those shots to his teammates.  On one play though, he sagged too far off of his man, which led his team to give up an open mid-range basket to his opponent.

Overall, Chris Conway had a fairly solid showing in his team’s win over Milwaukee.  He is a mobile, interior player that can make hustle plays on both ends of the floor.  He will need to expand his skill set offensively, but he could project to be a backup big man at the NBA level.

Oakland’s 6-3 senior guard, Blake Lampman also played fairly well in his team’s win over Milwaukee.  He was especially effective as a floor spacer and defender in the first half, and while he started to cool off in the second half, he had a fairly sizable impact to help his team get the victory.

Lampman was able to make a pair of quick, open spot-up threes off the catch, and he also moved off the ball to make a movement three once.  He also ran the floor to score on a two-handed dunk on the break.  On the downside, he was too streaky with his jump shot, but he generally kept defenders honest with his ability to knock down outside shots.   He also passed and rebounded the ball well. 

He also defended well.  Lampman would swipe balls away to get steals, and he also found a loose ball to help his team get another one.  When defending an opposing ball handler off of a drive once, he managed to block a shot to a teammate. He did get beat off the dribble once, which led his teammate to commit a foul, but in general, Lampman was active as a help defender, and he made an impact with his ability to make plays on the defensive end.

Overall, Lampman had a fairly solid showing in this game, and he was able to make some solid plays on both ends of the floor.  He is a better athlete than advertised, and he was able to make some impressive plays in this game.  He’ll need to be a more consistent shooter in games, but he is a skilled playmaker that could end up making an NBA team’s summer league roster sometime down the road.

Milwaukee’s 6-10 forward, Faizon Fields had some good moments in his team’s loss to Oakland.  He didn’t take many shots, but he was efficient with the touches he received on offense.  Fields showed a knack for making mid-range jumpers off the catch, as he moved off the ball to make one early on, and he also utilized a jab step to make another.  He also managed to use a hop step to score off the glass after getting the ball in the high post another time.  Plus, Fields also passed the ball well, and he was able to throw an accurate lob pass to set up a score for his teammate.

He also did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  He was able to poke a ball away from a low post player to get a steal.  He also held his ground when defending in the post and contested the shot to force a miss.  However, he tended to commit fouls due to over-aggressiveness, and he also bit on a pump fake that led him to foul another time.  He especially struggled to defend in the post, as he would get outmuscled by his opponents.  He ended up fouling out of this game, so he wasn’t able to have a sustained impact when he was on the floor.

Overall, Faizon Fields had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Oakland.  He is an athletic big man that showed an emerging face-up game and has the potential to be a rim protector at the next level, but he will need to be more assertive on offense and add more muscle to his frame.  If everything pans out for him, he could end up making his way to the NBA someday.

All in all, those are my thoughts on how Townsend, Freeman, and other various prospects fared in this game.  Thanks for reading.

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