Thoughts on D.J. Burns, Jared McCain, and DJ Horne in the Elite Eight of the 2024 NCAA Tournament

April 1st, 2024

By Alan Lu

Yesterday, I took the time to watch NC State play against Duke in an Elite Eight basketball game in the 2024 NCAA Tournament.  NC State has been tremendous in the postseason, and they ended up playing a very good team game to defeat Duke in this game.  Here are my thoughts on how the top performers fared in this game.

DJ Burns scored 29 points to help lead NC State to an upset win over Duke in the Elite Eight of the 2024 NCAA Tournament. (Photo: Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports via Reuters)

NC State’s 6-9 senior big man, D.J. Burns had a strong showing to help lead his team to a convincing win over Duke.  He is a strong, mobile big man that excelled at making plays out of the post, especially as a scorer and distributor on offense.  He’s very light on his feet for a big man, and he really excelled at making plays to help his team get the victory.

Burns did a good job of scoring out of the post.  He would often get deep position, and then use spin moves to either score on drop steps or turnaround jump hooks due to possessing a good blend of strength, footwork, and scoring touch that would enable him to consistently score the basketball.  Sometimes though, he wouldn’t always find his shooting touch, as he would occasionally miss on contested jumpers.  He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He would run the floor to get the ball, which would enable him to get strong scores around the basket while getting fouled.  He also was able to utilize a spin move off of a short roll to score on a nifty baseline floater.  Plus, he did a good job of making mid-range jumpers, as he was able to make them both off the catch and dribble.

He also showcased solid playmaking skills in this game.  Burns showed a knack for finding cutters out of the post to set up scoring chances for his teammates, and he is a very good passing big man that thrives at finding the open man.  His superb ability to pass out of the post has helped NC State immensely this season.  There was one play where he lowered his shoulder when operating out of the post, which led him to commit an offensive foul and a turnover that time.

Though he didn’t get many rebounds in this game, Burns was able to get a few defensive boards to chip in on the glass.  He also defended well.  Burns did a good job of contesting and blocking shots to help his team protect the paint.  He would rotate to contest shots off the dribble, and he would hold his ground and contest shots when defending in the post to force misses.  However, sometimes he would commit fouls due to over-aggressiveness.  Also, there was one play where he gave up too much space when defending a turnaround jumper down low, which led his team to give up the basket that time.

In general, D.J. Burns played very well to help lead his team to a stunning, double-digit win over Duke.  He’s played very well this season, and he is a skilled big man that could be a very good find for an NBA team, especially if he’s available to be had in the second round of the upcoming draft or as an undrafted free agent in the offseason.

Duke’s freshman guard, Jared McCain scored 32 points, made 5 threes, all of 11 of his free throws, and had 6 rebounds in his team’s surprising loss to NC State yesterday. (Photo: Samantha Owusu-Antwi/Duke Chronicle)

Jared McCain played well in his team’s loss to NC State.  He is an agile, skilled combo guard that thrived as a shooter and scorer to help his team on offense.  He excelled at making threes both off the catch and dribble, and he also ran off a ball screen to make a smooth corner three late in the game.  He also showed that he can score off the dribble and on pull-up mid-range jumpers, but he also would sometimes struggle to score in traffic, as he would take tough shots that would lead to misses.  He also was able to score on a tip-in off of an offensive rebound another time.

As a playmaker, he looked to be fairly average.  On offense, he really excelled as a scorer and handled the ball well.  He didn’t look to pass the ball very often, but sometimes he would throw inaccurate passes that would go astray and lead to turnovers.  He also showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball.  Defensively, he was able to poke a ball off of an opponent out of bounds to force a turnover.

In summary, McCain had a strong showing in his team’s loss to NC State.  He is an agile, sharpshooting guard that rebounded the ball well.  He’ll need to improve his playmaking skills, but his ability to make shots and decisions on offense could enable him to be a solid late first round pick in the 2024 draft.

DJ Horne had a solid showing to help lead his team to a win over Duke.  He showed a solid ability to knock down threes and mid-range jumpers, and he especially showed a knack for making pull-up, mid-range jumpers.  He also was able to score on hustle plays.  He was a bit streaky with his outside shot, but his ability to knock down jumpers and score on off-ball motion plays helped his team on offense.

He also showed off satisfactory playmaking skills in this game.  Horne showed that he can find teammates on the move, as well as make quick passes off the dribble to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  On the downside, he threw an inaccurate interior pass that ended up going out of bounds, and he also had a ball poked away that led to another turnover.  Also, Horne did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball. Also, he was able to contest a three to force a miss once.

Overall, Horne played well, as he continued to excel as a shooter and scorer on the floor, and he also showed off an improved ability to pass and handle the basketball.  He is an agile, skilled combo guard that can knock down jump shots, and that could enable him to make his way to the NBA someday.

Michael O’Connell played well in his team’s win over Duke.  He passed and rebounded the ball very well, and though he didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, he excelled at making team plays to help his team get the victory.  He showed a knack for finding open teammates on the move to set up scores for his teammates, and he particularly excelled at throwing long, accurate passes to find them on fast breaks.  He also rebounded the ball well.  He also was able to rotate to poke a ball away to nearly get a steal once.  However, there was another play where he was called for committing a blocking foul when defending an opposing ball handler.

O’Connell didn’t shoot the ball efficiently or very well from the outside, but he was able to run the floor to make a three in transition, and he also managed to score on a drive in transition another time.  Overall, O’Connell played fairly well in this game.  Though he didn’t shoot the ball well and is only an average athlete, he is a smart, skilled point guard whose ability to pass and rebound the basketball could enable him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA someday.

Jeremy Roach had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to NC State.  He’s an athletic, strong combo guard that showed that he can attack the basket to score and draw free throws off of drives to the rim.  He also showed that he can knock down pull-up, mid-range jumpers.  However, he would take tough, contested shots off the dribble that would lead to misses.  In addition, he was fairly turnover prone on offense.  On one good play, he was able to throw an accurate interior pass to a roll man to notch an assist.  However, sometimes he would over-dribble and be careless with the ball in his hands, which would lead him to commit ball-handling turnovers.

He also was able to get his fair share of boards, and he was able to get multiple offensive rebounds in this game.  He also played adequate defense.  He would get his hands on passes and poke balls away to help his team get steals, and he also rotated to block a shot off of a cut another time.  Sometimes though, he would be late on his rotations, which would lead his team to allow opponents to score on open shots.

Overall, Roach had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to NC State.  He is an athletic combo guard that shows off promising skills on both ends of the floor, but he’ll need to be a more reliable shooter and playmaker in games.  Currently, he is a second round prospect for the 2024 draft.

Kyle Filipowski struggled in his team’s loss to NC State.  Though he showed the ability to make plays and score out of the post, he struggled defensively, and he ended up fouling out of this game. Filipowski did a decent job of scoring out of the post.  He would score on strong drop steps and jump hooks, but sometimes he would struggle with his jump shot, and take tough, contested shots that would lead to misses.  He also attempted several threes, but he was unable to make any of them from beyond the arc.  He also is an unselfish player, and he was able to pass out of the post to find a cutter to notch an assist.  However, he was also fairly turnover prone, and he would sometimes throw inaccurate passes or be careless on offense.

Also, Filipowski did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  On one play though, he threw an opponent down when going for a defensive board, which led him to commit a foul that time. Defensively, he struggled.  He would tend to get outmuscled when defending in the post to allow scores.  Other times, he would play too aggressively and wind up out of position, which would lead to scramble situations and to his team to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Filipowski did not play very well in this game, and there’s a possibility that he may be a bit overrated as a draft prospect.  Still, he is an offensively skilled, energetic big man that could project to be a rotational big man in the NBA, and Filipowski could end up being a likely first round pick in the 2024 draft.

Sean Stewart is a tremendously athletic big man that thrived at making hustle plays to help his team off the bench.  Stewart didn’t take many shots on offense, but he was able to score on a roll to the rim.  Also, he rebounded the ball well, as he was active at crashing the glass on both ends of the floor.

Defense could be Stewart’s calling card in the NBA.  He is really athletic, and he is a rangy defender that would quickly rotate to swat shots to help his team protect the paint.  He also would get his hands on passes to get steals and deflections.  However, sometimes he would play too aggressively or get outmuscled when defending stronger opponents at the rim, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  Overall, Stewart played fairly well in this game, and he is a really athletic big man that could be a prospect to watch in the future, as he could end up going in the late first to the second round range in the 2025 draft.

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

NBA Scouting Live
error: Content is protected !!