Thoughts on Feron Hunt, Nate Hinton, and DeJon Jarreau

May 4th, 2020

By Alan Lu

I took the time to watch SMU’s 6-8 sophomore forward, Feron Hunt play in an AAC basketball game against Houston that took place on January 15th, as I was able to see this with thanks to YouTube via NCAA Full Game.  Hunt had declared to enter the NBA draft awhile back, and Houston also had a couple of players of their own that declared to enter the draft in Nate Hinton and DeJon Jarreau.  I figured that this would be a good opportunity to see them play in a full-length basketball game.  Here are my thoughts on how Hunt, Hinton, and Jarreau fared, as well as how their games may stack up in the NBA.

SMU’s 6-8 sophomore forward, Feron Hunt is a second round prospect for the 2020 NBA Draft.
(Photo: Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Feron Hunt is a very athletic, energetic combo forward that possesses strong defensive skills.  He is a rangy defender that immediately made his presence felt, as defense could be his calling card in the NBA.  He possesses a tremendous ability to block shots for a player his size.  He has very good length, timing, and athleticism to swat numerous shots off the dribble, and he also swatted a shot in the post as well as from just inside the arc another time.  He also will poke balls away and jump passes to get steals, and he is an agile player that possesses good anticipation skills.  He also would hold his ground when defending in the post to force some misses, and he also managed to successfully challenge a three-point shot when guarding an opponent out on the perimeter.

Sometimes though, he may struggle to stay in front of his man, as he can get beat on moves which may lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  Other times, he may gamble too much, as he may over-help off of his man or try to go for a steal, which can lead him to be out of position, as that may force a teammate to have to rotate to commit a foul instead.

On offense, he did a good job of attacking the basket to score inside.  Hunt showed a decent ability to score off the dribble.  He would tend to go to his left to score on strong drives to the hoop, and he also has an assortment of moves he can use to draw fouls upon his defenders.  He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Hunt would often score on cuts and in transition.  He was able to catch a lob off of a backdoor cut to score on an alley-oop dunk, and he also ran the floor to score on a tip slam on a separate play after leaping up to get an offensive rebound.  Sometimes though, he can struggle to score in traffic, as he may not always be able to create much separation between himself and his defender to get an easy shot off.

He also struggled to score in the post.  He had trouble scoring when posting up, as he would end up missing on contested jumpers, and he had one shot blocked early on.  Hunt also had trouble consistently making threes when he would hoist up long-range shots from beyond the arc, and he had trouble knocking down outside shots off the catch.  On the plus side, he was able to use a jab step to make a spot-up three from the right wing once.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game.  Hunt is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he can get his teammates the ball when they are on the move.  He was able to pass out of the post to find an open shooter to notch an assist.  He also drove the ball up court and threw a nifty, no-look bounce pass to a trailer in transition to set up a scoring opportunity for his teammate.  He tended to be accurate with his passes, and he also was able to hit a cutter once.  He also will set screens to help get his teammates open looks to score the basketball.  There was one play where he bobbled a basketball, and ended up throwing a pass that was intercepted by a defender.

Hunt also did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He was quite active in crashing the glass, as he would leap up to haul in boards on both ends of the floor, and he actively pursue the ball to get plenty of rebounds to help his team.

In summary, Feron Hunt is a very athletic, energetic player that has the skills to develop into being a solid defensive player in the NBA.  He will need to improve his jump shot and he may need to improve his ability to score off the dribble, but he is an intriguing prospect that could end up being a second round pick in the 2020 draft if he stays in, as he may have the skills to be a solid role player in the association.

Houston’s 6-5 guard, Nate Hinton is a second round candidate for the 2020 NBA Draft.
(Photo: Mark Mulligan/The Houston Chronicle.)

Houston’s 6-5 sophomore guard, Nate Hinton had a decent showing in his team’s win over SMU.  He showed off versatile scoring skills, and he also played solid defense in this game.

He did a good job of scoring on aggressive drives to the hoop.  He would tend to go left, and he can score on tough floaters and layups in traffic.  He has a very good crossover move to his left, as he can quickly get to the basket.  He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays, and Hinton was able to score on a strong put back after getting an offensive rebound while drawing an additional free throw afterwards.

On the downside, he struggled with his jump shot in this game.  Hinton made an open corner three early on, but he had trouble to consistently make outside shots, and he especially struggled to shoot on the move.  He also missed on a long two off the dribble on a separate possession.

However, he was quite turnover prone on offense.  Hinton is an unselfish player that can pass off the dribble to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  On one good play, he ran the floor and threw a quick bounce pass to a teammate ahead on the break to notch an assist.  However, he also tended to commit ball-handling turnovers, as he was called for traveling a couple of times when attempting to drive to the hoop, and he also had a ball back-tapped and poked away to lose it to an opponent another time.

Also, Hinton did a very job of rebounding the basketball.  He would frequently leap up to get boards on both ends of the floor, and he was very active at crashing the glass to help his team get numerous rebounds.  He also would tip balls to his teammates to help his team get defensive rebounds, and sometimes he would push the ball up the floor after getting defensive boards. 

Plus, he also played decent defense.  Hinton is an active help defender that would get steals.  He was able to reach in to get his hands on a ball to tie up opposing ball handlers, and he also ran back on defense to poke a ball off of an opponent’s leg another time to force a turnover.  He also would actively challenge shots in the paint to force some misses.  He also fought through a screen and contested a three to get a  stop late in this game.  On the downside, sometimes he may struggle to fight through screens or to defend stronger opponents in the post, which can lead him to allow scores.  There was another time where he lost track of his man on a cut to allow a score, and he also committed a reach-in foul another time.

Overall, Nate Hinton is an athletic swingman that can score the basketball in a variety of ways, but he is also sort of a low volume offensive player that doesn’t shoot the ball enough in games.  He rebounded and defended well in this game, but he struggled to knock down long-range shots against SMU on this day.  Hinton is a player that projects to be a 3 and D sort of role player in the NBA, and while it may be uncertain if he will end up getting drafted, he could end up thriving for an NBA team off the bench if they are patient in developing his skills to help him grow as an overall player.

Houston’s junior point guard, DeJon Jarreau is an early-entry candidate for the 2020 NBA Draft.
(Photo: Mark Mulligan/The Houston Chronicle)

Houston’s 6-5 junior point guard, DeJon Jarreau is an interesting case.  His statistical profile doesn’t really jump out by any means, and statistically, he doesn’t look to be much of a prospect.  Visually though, he stood out, as he is a very good athlete, and he is a tenacious, pesky defender whose calling card will be his defense if he makes his way to the NBA someday.

Jarreau played very good defense in this game, and he made numerous strong plays on that side of the ball where he reminded me of Los Angeles Clippers’ standout defensive ace, Pat Beverley in this game against SMU.  Jarreau would rotate to block shots off of drives ferociously on the break, as he possesses very good athleticism, timing, and instincts to do so.  He would actively contest drives and threes to force misses, and he would fight hard through screens to stay in front of opposing ball handlers.  He didn’t have many miscues on this end, but there was one play where he overpursued an opposing ball handler and ended up trailing his man on a drive, which led to a scramble situation that led his team to allow a three-point basket to an opponent.

Offensively, he looked to be a mixed bag.  Jarreau made a spot-up three off the catch, but he didn’t shoot nearly enough threes in this game.  He did manage to post up, as he backed down a smaller defender, and he drew a free throw on a spin move.  Plus, he also did a good job of scoring in transition.

However, he struggled to consistently get scores off the dribble.  Jarreau was able to score on a floater, but he tended to miss on off-balanced shots in traffic, and he also had a shot blocked on the break once.

He also displayed fairly average playmaking skills.  Jarreau is an unselfish player that will move the basketball to find the open man, and he also can pass off the dribble to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  He also threw a long outlet pass to a teammate in transition to set up a scoring opportunity another time.  However, he also tended to throw hasty passes into traffic, as he had several of his passes intercepted by his opponents in this game.

Also, Jarreau did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  He would leap up aggressively to get tough boards on both ends of the floor, and sometimes he would push the ball up the court off of defensive rebounds to create early offensive opportunities for his team.

In summary, Jarreau is an athletic, energetic combo guard that may be one of the best defensive perimeter players in this draft.  He really needs to develop his game on the offensive end, and he especially needs to improve his jump shot and ability to score off the dribble.  Right now, he may be a long shot to be drafted, but his size to play either backcourt position, combined with having good athleticism and defensive skills could enable him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA.

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