Observing Ty-Shon Alexander and Alpha Diallo

April 23rd, 2020

by Alan Lu

Recently, Creighton’s junior guard, Ty-Shon Alexander declared his intentions to stay in the 2020 NBA Draft.  This came as something that was a bit of a surprise because though he played for a solid Creighton team that was in position to lock up a high seed in the now-cancelled NCAA Tournament, he did not quite have much draft stock throughout this season.  He was regarded as a bubble second rounder prior to his entry, but he has since announced that he is remaining in the draft.  Therefore, I decided to take the time to watch him play against Providence in a Big East basketball game that took place on February 5th, as I was able to see this with thanks to YouTube via Friar TV.  This was also an opportunity to watch Providence’s 6-6 senior swingman, Alpha Diallo play, so here are my thoughts on how Alexander and Diallo fared, as well as how their games may translate to the NBA.

Creighton’s junior guard, Ty-Shon Alexander is a second round candidate for the 2020 NBA Draft.
(Photo: Paul Kim, via Creighton University Athletics)

Ty-Shon Alexander is an adequate shooter that can knock down jumpers to help his team space the floor on offense.  He can knock down three-point shots off the catch or dribble, and he has a fairly quick release that enables him to get his shot off.  He also was able to make a quick, turnaround mid-range jumper, and he also moves well off the ball, as he can draw fouls upon his defenders after hoisting up jump shots.  Sometimes though, he can be streaky with his jump shot, and he also ended up missing his fair share of threes despite having ample room to get his shots up.

He didn’t tend to get all the way to the rim very often, but Alexander was able to score on a quick, left-handed layup off the dribble.  He also attempted to score on a backdoor cut from the baseline, but he ended up missing that shot at the rim.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game.  Alexander was able to throw a quick pass to find a cutter to notch an assist, and he also can throw solid passes off the dribble to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  He also tended to push the ball up the floor after getting defensive rebounds.  Sometimes though, he may be prone to playing too fast and out of control.  On a few occasions, he would drive too fast up the court, as he would occasionally struggle to handle the ball in traffic, and he also threw a pass that was deflected another time.  He committed his lone turnover though when he tried to get the ball on a backdoor cut, but he ended up dropping a catchable pass out of bounds. Also, Alexander was able to haul in his fair share of boards to help his team on the glass, and he showed the ability to crash the boards to get defensive rebounds.

Plus, he also played decent defense in this game.  Alexander is an active defender that would play passing lanes and contest shots.  He was able to deflect a pass to nearly get a steal, and he also would contest plenty of shots off the dribble to force misses due to possessing solid length, athleticism, and instincts to do so.  Sometimes though, he would tend to be caught ball watching, as he would get beat on cuts and also be late on his rotations to allow opponents to score on three-point shots.  He also would sometimes struggle to get around screens, which would lead his team to have defensive breakdowns.

In general, Ty-Shon Alexander is an agile, skilled combo guard that has the ability to excel on both ends of the floor.  He’ll need to make more jump shots consistently and improve his focus defensively, but he has some interesting skills that could enable him to be a potential second round pick late in the 2020 draft.  In a favorable scenario, Alexander could end up being an effective rotation player similar to former NBA veteran guard, Willie Green in the association.

Providence’s senior swingman, Alpha Diallo is also a second round candidate for the 2020 NBA Draft.
(Photo by David Hahn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Providence’s 6-6 senior swingman, Alpha Diallo is an athletic, energetic player that could project to be a defensive specialist at the next level.  He is a rangy defender that can cover plenty of ground on defense, and he is also an aggressive player that will look to score the basketball, but Diallo also was very turnover prone in this game.

Diallo possesses a decent ability to score on strong drives to the basket.  He has a solid first step off the dribble, and he has a good right-hand that he can use to finish plays at the rim.  He also managed to barrel his way to the hoop to draw free throws after posting up on the block.  Plus, he also can score on hustle plays, and he almost scored on a put back off of an offensive rebound, but his teammate was awarded the basket after a defender had goal-tended the shot earlier.

He also shot the ball very well in this game.  Though he has struggled to be consistent with his outside shot over the years, Diallo was able to make a pair of open corner threes, and he can make long-range shots off the catch when he has the time and space to do so.  He also was able to run off of a ball screen to make a mid-range jumper, but he struggled to make mid-range shots on offense.

On the downside, Diallo was incredibly turnover prone in this game.  On the plus side, he can pass out of the post to notch assists, and he also will occasionally look to find the open man to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  He would tend to be inaccurate in throwing his passes, as a couple of those sailed out of bounds, and he also had another that ended up being picked off.  He also sometimes struggled to handle the ball in traffic, as he would sometimes lose the basketball, and he also was called for a push off another time.  He also would sometimes drop catchable passes, as he had a penchant for committing far too many careless turnovers on offense.

He also did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball.  Diallo would tend to leap up to aggressively get defensive boards, and sometimes he would push the ball up the floor to create scoring opportunities for his team.  He also tipped a ball to a teammate to help his team get a defensive rebound on a separate possession.

Plus, Diallo played very good defense in this game.   The most intriguing aspect of his game is his defense, and he is an active help defender that can get plenty of stops for his team.  Diallo is a rangy player that would block shots in the paint hard to his teammates due to possessing good athleticism, timing, and instincts, and he also would get his hands on passes and jump on loose balls to get steals and deflections.  He also would rotate to contest jumpers to force misses, and he excelled at defending shooters from beyond the arc.  On the downside, there was one play where he shaded too far to his left, and he ended up getting beat off the dribble once to allow a score late in this game.

In summary, Alpha Diallo is an athletic swingman that has the ability to develop into being a solid defender at the next level.  He also is an aggressive scorer that will look to create his own shot on offense.  On the downside, he can be too turnover prone, as he will need to improve his decision-making skills, and he will need to consistently knock down outside shots to show teams that he can be a legitimate long-range threat at higher levels.  Right now, he may be a borderline second round candidate, but if things break his way, he could end up being an effective rotation player similar to former NBA veteran, Alonzo Gee in the league.

Other Notes:

Providence’s 6-6 sophomore guard, A.J. Reeves did a very good job of making jumpers to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He excelled at making spot-up jumpers off the catch, and he also made a step back three late in this game.  He also can score on backdoor cuts, as he was able to throw down an athletic, two-handed jam in this game.  On the downside, sometimes he can tend to be caught ball watching and may sag too far off his man on the defensive end, which can lead him to lose track of his man to allow scores to his opponents.  He also struggled to consistently score off the dribble, as he had some trouble trying to score in traffic.  Overall, A.J. Reeves is an athletic, agile player that can score the basketball in a variety of ways.  He will need to be a more consistent shooter in games and be more disciplined on defense, but he may be an intriguing long-term prospect, as he could potentially end up being a second round pick in the 2021 draft.

Creighton’s 6-5 junior swingman, Denzel Mahoney played in this game, and he had declared to enter the 2020 draft just recently.  Unfortunately, he did not play well in this game.  He had trouble knocking down jumpers, and he also struggled to score in the post. 

Mahoney is also an unselfish player that will sometimes look to pass off the dribble, and he also set a good off-ball screen to help get his teammate an open jump shot.  However, he also threw a hard pass to a cutter that ended up being dropped by his teammate, which led to a team turnover that time.

He also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball, and he will actively look to crash the glass.  Mahoney also played solid defense.  He was able to tip an entry pass to a teammate to help his team get a steal due to possessing good hands, instincts, and anticipation skills.  He showed a knack for deflecting passes, as he would make it tough for opponents to get their passes through.  On the downside, there was one play where he sagged too far off his man and was late to contest the shot, which led his man to score on a corner three.

Overall, Mahoney didn’t really have a great game, as he came off the bench and never really established his rhythm on offense.  On the plus side, he is an energetic player that will look to make hustle plays on both ends of the floor, and he showed a knack for crashing the glass and for getting deflections on defense.  This was not one of his better games, and he wasn’t really featured that much on offense nor did much on that end.  It seems that he should stay in school for at least another year to work on and expand his game, and he doesn’t possess a great ability to create his own shot off the dribble nor is an elite shooter.  Still, he did contribute to a solid team in college basketball, and if he chooses to stay in this draft, Mahoney probably will go undrafted, but could end up finding a way to carve out a career in either the G-League or overseas.

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