Thoughts on Drew Timme, Amari Bailey, and Julian Strawther
March 24th, 2023
By Alan Lu
Yesterday, Drew Timme and Gonzaga squared off against Jaime Jaquez Jr. and UCLA in a very tough, competitive Sweet 16 game in the 2023 NCAA Tournament. Gonzaga had defeated UCLA in the 2021 Final Four years ago, and it was essentially sort of a rematch this time around. UCLA’s guards got hot early, and made shots to jump start their offense, but Gonzaga was bolstered by the tremendous play of Gonzaga’s senior center, Drew Timme, whose strong all-around performance helped propel his team to get the lead in the second half, and he scored 36 points and had 13 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks to get his team a narrow victory over UCLA.
Drew Timme had a superb showing in his team’s win over UCLA. He did a terrific job of making plays on offense, and he is a very skilled big man that showed a knack for making shots and smart passes to help his team in this game.
Timme did a great job of knocking down jumpers to provide floor spacing for his team on offense. He showed a knack for making mid-range jumpers, as he excelled at doing so both off the catch and dribble, and he would get the ball on the move to knock them down. He also made an open, spot-up three off the catch to show his range, and he shot the ball really well.
He also showed off a strong face-up game. He particularly excelled as a scorer off the dribble, and he is an agile, crafty big man that showed off excellent footwork that would enable him to regularly score or get free throws on strong moves to the hoop. He also thrived at scoring on hustle plays, as he would score off tip-ins, off of a cut, and in transition. He also did a good job of scoring out of the post. Timme would often get deep position, and he has an array of moves combined with having good strength and shooting touch that would enable him to consistently score in the paint. Every once in a while, he wouldn’t get enough touch on his shot, but his ability to maneuver around defenders enabled him to continually score, and he also was able to score on a nifty, up and under move once.
Also, Timme showed off satisfactory playmaking skills in this game. He did a good job of passing out of the post, and he showed the patience and court vision to consistently find the open man. He was able to throw a no-look pass to a cutter to notch an assist. He also recognized a double team quickly out of the post, and he managed to find an open shooter to set up a score for him. He also showed that he can handle the basketball, and he was able to make a drive and dish pass to set up an early score for his teammate. On the downside, he would sometimes rush plays and play too fast and out of control when he would handle the basketball, which would lead him to commit some turnovers.
He also did a great job of rebounding the basketball. Timme would sometimes push the ball up the court off of defensive boards. He also has a very good motor, and he was able to hustle to get a key offensive rebound, which enabled him to pass out of the post to find an open shooter to notch an assist.
Defensively, he looked to be perhaps above average. Timme was able to make some impactful plays on this end, and he excelled as a shot blocker in this game. He flew in to block a shot to prevent Jaquez from scoring on a fast break drive. He also managed to block a mid-range jumper to a teammate another time. On the downside, he had some trouble defending in space and in pick and roll situations, especially in the first half, which would lead his team to give up baskets in the paint. While he did give up some space to shooters, he made a decent effort to close out on them, and he helped his team get enough stops in the second half down the stretch.
In general, Drew Timme put forth an excellent performance to lead his team to get a close win over UCLA. He had a legendary performance at the collegiate level, and he showed that he is a very skilled big man that can consistently make plays on offense, and has been a great college basketball player. Where he may stand as an NBA draft prospect right now may be murkier, however.
On one hand, Timme has proven that he’s consistently one of the best players in college basketball, and his high basketball IQ and offensive skill set could make him a ready-made player for the NBA. He also showed a much better face-up game than anticipated, and it’s clear that he’s put in some work on his jump shot. On the other hand, he’s still not an elite athlete, and questions remain about his lateral mobility and if he’ll be able to defend pick and rolls well in a fast-paced NBA setting. Still, he does consistently give effort on the defensive end despite some physical limitations, and it’s undeniable that Timme has been extremely productive in college basketball. I think it’s about time that maybe Timme gets some late first round consideration, and he could be an intriguing pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range for the 2023 draft.
UCLA’s 6-5 freshman guard, Amari Bailey also played very well in his team’s loss to Gonzaga. He was excellent at making shots in the first half, and he is a smooth scorer that showed a knack for scoring the basketball. Bailey did a very good job of knocking down jumpers to provide his team with floor spacing on offense. He was able to make a pair of open, spot-up threes off the catch, and he also excelled at making pull-up, mid-range jumpers. Plus, he also showed a solid ability to score off the dribble, and he is an agile combo guard that can finish plays using either hand. He struggled a bit to make mid-range jumpers a bit in the second half, but he generally shot the ball well on offense.
He also showed a satisfactory ability to rebound the basketball. Plus, Bailey also defended well. He was able to poke a ball away to get a steal, and he also ran in to deflect a pass to nearly get another. He also showed that he can apply heavy ball pressure, and he was able to pressure an opposing ball handler in the backcourt to help force a passing turnover.
In summary, Amari Bailey had a strong showing in this game. He is an athletic, skilled combo guard that excelled as a shooter, scorer, and defender when he was on the court. He is an underrated prospect that has shown that he can make plays on both ends of the floor, and he could end up being a solid pick for an NBA team in the first round of the 2023 draft.
Julian Strawther had a solid showing in his team’s win over UCLA. After having a slow start, he was able to play better in the second half, and he made a huge, clutch three-pointer that proved to be the game-winning basket to get his team the victory. Strawther did a very good job of knocking down threes in this game. He excelled at making open, spot-up threes off the catch, and he is a quick release that enables him to easily get his shot off. He also has uncanny range, and he was able to make a clutch three from very deep to help get his team the win. He was very hesitant early on, but he was more aggressive in looking for his own shots in the second half, and he excelled at making threes in crunch time.
He also was able to run off of a ball screen to make a mid-range floater. On the downside, he struggled with his jump shot early on, and he wasn’t as consistent at making shots from inside the arc. He was able to score on a drive once, but he seemed to struggle to score more off the dribble, and he doesn’t seem to be as adept at changing directions or finishing plays in traffic in the paint.
Also, Strawther did a very good job of rebounding the basketball, and he was able to haul in many boards to help his team on the glass. Overall, Strawther played well in this game, and he did a good job of shooting and rebounding the basketball. While he may not be an elite shot creator or playmaker, his size, above average athletic gifts and ability to make long-range jumpers could make him a solid pick for an NBA team in the second round range of the 2023 draft.
Jaime Jaquez Jr. had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Gonzaga. He was kind of inconsistent as a shooter and scorer on offense, but he is a skilled, three-level scorer that was able to make some crafty shots, he rebounded the ball very well, and he was able to score on a scintillating fast break dunk in this game.
Jaquez showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays. He would score on aggressive drives in transition, and he was able to pick off a pass to get a steal and go coast to coast to score on a high-flying, breakaway dunk. He also dribbled in to score off of a curl cut, and he also scored on a tip-in after leaping up to get an offensive rebound.
He also did a good job of scoring out of the post. Jaquez is a skilled, crafty scorer that can score on post-up plays, and he was able to score on a fadeaway jumper once. He showed good footwork, strength, and shooting touch to consistently score from the block. He also has an assortment of dribble moves that would enable him to score off the dribble, and he would sometimes score and draw free throws on strong moves to the hoop. On the downside, he would sometimes struggle to score in traffic, and he’s not super quick off the bounce. He also struggled to knock down outside shots, and he also was unable to make a three-pointer from beyond the arc.
He also showed off satisfactory playmaking skills. Jaquez is an unselfish player that passes well out of the post, and he would make good reads to consistently find the open man. He also was able to make a give and go pass to set up a score for an open shooter another time. On the downside, sometimes he would try to do too much when trying to create off the dribble or out of the post, which would lead him to commit ball-handling turnovers.
Also, Jaquez did a great job of rebounding the basketball. He also defended well. He showed a knack for intercepting passes to get steals, and he also flew in to block a shot another time. He also was able to hold his ground when defending a bigger player in the post to force a miss. Sometimes though, he would struggle to guard quicker players, and there was one play where he got beat off the dribble, which led him to commit a foul late in this game.
Overall, Jaime Jaquez played fairly well in his team’s loss to Gonzaga. He didn’t make threes, but he played a fairly solid, old-school type of game. He excelled as a scorer out of the post, rebounded and defended well, and he also managed to get a highlight reel-worthy, steal and dunk midway through. He’ll need to improve his jump shot and shot creation skills, but his ability to make hustle plays combined with having a high basketball IQ could enable him to be a solid pick for an NBA team in the second round of the 2023 draft.
Malachi Smith had a strong showing in his team’s win over UCLA. He excelled as a shooter and scorer, and he excelled as a finisher around the basket. He ran the floor to score early on, and he would chase down loose balls to get offensive rebounds and score on quick put backs. He also did a good job of making pull-up, mid-range jumpers, and he also made an open three off the catch. Smith didn’t shoot the ball quite as well from beyond the arc, but he showed that he can score on the move and knock down some outside shots.
Smith also was able to pass out of the post to find a cutter to notch an assist, and he is an unselfish player that can get the ball to the open man. However, he would sometimes struggle when pressured, which would lead him to commit turnovers. He was called for traveling on a drive to the hoop early on. When pressured and doubled in the backcourt, he threw an inaccurate pass that sailed out of bounds.
He also rebounded the ball well. He also was able to poke a ball away to help his team get a steal. On the downside, he had trouble defending quicker opponents off the dribble, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.
Overall, Smith played well in this game, and he is a strong, skilled scorer that can make hustle plays to help his team when he is on the floor. He will need to improve his defense, but his ability to make hustle plays and score could enable him to make an NBA team’s roster in the future.
Hunter Sallis quietly played well in this game against UCLA. Though he didn’t take many shots, he is a speedy guard that can score on quick drives to the hoop, and he also is an unselfish player that was able to make a swift, drive and kick pass to get a key assist late in this game. He also rebounded the ball well off the bench. Though Sallis doesn’t look to take threes very often, he is a speedy, very athletic combo guard that showed he can make energetic plays on both ends of the floor, and he could be a prospect to watch next season.
Anton Watson had a decent showing in his team’s win over UCLA. He showed off versatile scoring skills. He excelled as a finisher around the basket, and he also made an open, spot-up three off the catch to show his ability to knock down outside shots. Plus, he also rebounded the ball well.
He also played satisfactory defense. He was able to poke a ball away to get a steal. He also contested a shot off of a drive to force a miss. However, he had some trouble defending quicker players, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores. At times. He also was a bit turnover prone at times, and he would try to do too much off the dribble that would lead him to get balls poked away to lose it to his opponents.
Overall, Watson played fairly well, and he is a fairly athletic, energetic combo forward that can make plays on both ends of the floor. He’ll need to show that he can be a consistent outside shooter in games and will need to improve his playmaking skills on offense, but his ability to make hustle plays could enable him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA in the future.
Tyger Campbell had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Gonzaga. He is an agile, skilled playmaker that played very well in the first half, and not nearly as well in the second half. In the first half, he excelled as a shooter, scorer, and playmaker, and he showed a knack for scoring off the dribble on drives and pull-up, mid-range jumpers. He also made good passes off the dribble, and played pesky defense in that time span.
In the second half, he struggled to make shots consistently as he especially struggled to make dribble, mid-range jumpers, and he basically tried to play hero ball late in this game. He tended to take quick, rushed, contested shots that would lead to misses, and he over-dribbled late in this game that led him to getting the ball poked away to commit a costly turnover. He seemed to play selfish basketball late in this game, and he didn’t look to find the open man enough, and he tried to do too much by himself down the stretch.
Overall, Campbell didn’t have a great game overall, but he had a strong start to this game. He’ll need to work on his jump shot and shot selection, but his foot speed and ability to make plays on offense could land him a spot on an NBA summer league roster in the future.
Just one more note, UCLA’s freshman center, Adem Bona did not play in this game due to a shoulder injury that he reaggravated in his team’s second round win over Northwestern. All in all, those are my thoughts on how the Gonzaga-UCLA game went. Thanks for reading.