Thoughts on Game 1 of the 2022 Tampa Bay Pro Combine
May 4th, 2022
By Alan Lu
Today, I took the time to watch the first game that played at the 2022 Tampa Bay Pro Combine that took place on April 29th, with thanks to YouTube via BasketballNews.com. It was a fast-paced, very competitive game in which both teams traded leads, but Team 1 was able to come back to edge out Team 2 to get the win, mainly due to the strong performances of UC Santa Barbara’s center Amadou Sow, Oregon’s guard Jacob Young. On Team 2, the standouts looked to be Davion Mintz and Savion Flagg for the losing team. Here are my thoughts on how Sow fared, as well as others who I felt stood out from the rest of the pack. Also, for those that are interested in the box score of this game, the link is here.
Amadou Sow had a strong showing to help lead Team 1 to a win over Team 2 in this game. He is an athletic, energetic big man that thrived as an inside scorer and rebounder, and he also showed off some handles on the offensive end.
Sow showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays. He is a high-motor player that would often score on tip-ins and put backs, and he was also able to post off of an offensive rebound to score on a turnaround, right-handed hook shot from the baseline. He also was able to get a loose ball on the ground, as he then made a strong move to score in the post to show off satisfactory low post scoring skills. Plus, he also thrived at scoring on fast breaks and rolls to the rim.
He also showed off some handles, as he was able to score on a left-handed drive to the hoop early on. He also tried to score on a running floater, but missed that time. Also, Sow took a couple of open, spot-up threes, but missed both times from beyond the arc.
He also looked to be fairly average as a playmaker in this game. Sow is a solid screen setter that would help his teammates get open driving lanes to set up scores for them. He did commit a couple of turnovers, though. When posting up once, he threw a pass that got intercepted. He also dribbled to his left another time, but collided into an opponent, and was called for a charging foul.
Plus, Sow did a great job of rebounding the basketball. He hauled in numerous boards on both ends of the floor, and he also was able to get a loose ball and push it up the court early on. Also, he played satisfactory defense. Sow did a good job of getting his hands on passes to get steals, and he also rotated to poke a ball away to nearly get another. He also would use his length and timing to contest shots both out on the perimeter as well as in the paint to force misses. Sometimes though, he would lose track of his man or not make timely rotations, which would lead him to give up too much space to shooters or to get beat off the dribble to allow scores.
In general, Amadou Sow played very well, and he did a great job of finishing plays around the basket and rebounding the basketball to help his team get the victory. He is an athletic, high-motor big man that could project to be a rim protector in the NBA, and he could be a solid find for an NBA team on draft day.
Davion Mintz also had a strong showing, as he played very well for Team 2 in his team’s loss to Team 1. He particularly thrived as a shooter and scorer in this game, and he seemed to show an improved ability to run the point when he was on the floor.
Mintz shot the ball very well in this game. He showed a knack for making threes and mid-range jumpers. He showed that he can make threes both off the catch and dribble, and he also excelled at making pull-up jumpers. He also managed to draw three free throws on a dribble handoff three late in this match.
Plus, he also showed off adequate playmaking skills. Mintz showed that he can make drive and kick passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates, and he was able to make an assortment of passes to get the ball to them. On the downside, sometimes he would play too fast and out of control, and he threw a rushed, inaccurate pass that sailed out of bounds once.
Also, Mintz did a decent job of rebounding the basketball, and sometimes he would push the pace after getting defensive boards for his team. Defensively, he looked to be about average at best. Mintz jumped a pass to get a steal, and he also contested a three to force a miss another time. However, he tended to struggle to defend in one-on-one situations. He had trouble defending mid-range shots, and he also had trouble defending opponents off the dribble, as he would commit fouls and allow scores.
In summary, Davion Mintz put forth a very good performance in this game. He is an agile, skilled combo guard that can shoot and score the basketball, and he did a great job of making shots when he was on the floor. He played very well on this day, and he could project into a shooting specialist role in the NBA.
Jacob Young also played very well to help lead Team 1 to a win in this game. He is a speedy point guard that showed off versatile scoring skills, and he also thrived as a facilitator to help his team on offense. Young did a good job of scoring off the dribble. He is a quick guard that has a good first step and handles the ball well, and he would regularly get to the hoop to score at the rim. He would tend to drive to his left to score, and he also excelled at making pull-up, mid-range jumpers. On the downside, Young missed all of his threes, but he didn’t take nearly as many of them, so he still did a very good job of scoring the basketball.
Also, Young showed off solid playmaking skills. He tended to throw long, accurate interior passes to find his teammates on the move to rack up assists. He threw a very outlet pass to set up a score for a teammate on the break early on. He also threw a smooth, no-look pass to set up a score for a roll man another time. He also showed that he can consistently make drive and kick passes to get the ball to shooters. Sometimes though, he would telegraph his passes, which would get deflected and intercepted. Late in this match, he took too long to bring the ball up as he didn’t get it past half court in time, which led him to commit an eight-second violation.
Though he didn’t grab many rebounds, Young was able to get a pair of defensive boards in this match, and he would push the ball quickly up the floor both times. He also played fairly average defense. Young was able to block a shot off of a drive to get a stop, and he also contested a mid-range shot to force a miss another time. However, sometimes he would commit reach-in fouls when defending opposing ball handlers, as he would occasionally struggle to stay in front of them. Other times, he would sag too far off of shooters, which would lead him to give up three-point baskets to them.
Overall, Jacob Young put forth a very good performance to help get Team 1 the victory in this game. He thrived as a shooter, scorer, and facilitator in this match. He will need to work on his three-point shot, but Young is an athletic, skilled playmaker that could end up competing for a roster spot in the NBA.
Savion Flagg had a solid showing for Team 2 in this game. He played well on both ends of the floor, and he had a solid all-around performance to help his team in this contest. Savion Flagg shot the ball well, especially from beyond the arc. He showed a knack for making open, spot-up threes off the catch, and he also ran off of a ball screen to make one. Flagg also was able to make a quick, stepback jumper out of the post. Plus, he also managed to score on a floater in traffic.
He also showed off decent playmaking skills. Flagg generally passed the ball well, especially off the dribble. On one play, he used a pump fake and drove towards the baseline, before throwing an accurate no-look pass to set up a score for a cutter. On the downside, there was another play where he threw an inaccurate, kick-out pass that ended up sailing out of bounds.
Also, Flagg did a great job of rebounding the basketball. He would chase balls down to get numerous boards on both ends of the floor due to possessing a good motor, and sometimes he would bring the ball up after getting defensive boards. He also played adequate defense. Flagg ran in to intercept an inbounds pass to get a steal. He also would contest threes to force misses. On one play, he crashed too hard to go for an offensive board, but the other team came away with the rebound, and he didn’t run hard back on defense, which led his team to give up fast break points. Another time, he tried to rotate but then got beat off the dribble, which led to his team allowing the score.
Overall, Savion Flagg is an athletic, strong combo forward that showed off a variety of skills to help his team when he was on the floor. He will need to be a more consistent player in games, but his size, athleticism, and versatility could enable him to make his way to the NBA someday.
Davion Warren is a very athletic swingman that took a lot of shots, and made plenty of plays in this game, despite putting forth an uneven performance overall. He thrived at scoring on hustle plays, as he scored on a dunk in transition, and he also scored on a thunderous dunk off of a quick backdoor cut on a misdirection play. He did an adequate job of scoring off the dribble, though he would sometimes take tough shots that would lead to misses. He really struggled to make threes, but he seemed to do a better job of making outside shots off the catch rather than pull up to take them.
He showed off adequate playmaking skills. Warren is an unselfish player that was able to make an array of passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates, and he also made an impressive behind the back pass to set up a score for a shooter on the break early on. However, he also tended to throw loopy, inaccurate passes that would go astray, and he threw quite a few passes that ended up getting intercepted.
Also, Warren did a decent job of rebounding the basketball, and he also pushed the ball up the court once. Also, Warren played satisfactory defense. He would get his hands on passes and poke balls away to get numerous steals and deflections. He also contested a three to force a miss. He also successfully drew a charge due to good positioning. However, he had some trouble defending opponents off the dribble, as he wouldn’t always cut off penetration, and he would end up committing fouls and allowing scores.
Overall, Davion Warren had his ups and downs, but he took a lot of shots, and he made plenty of plays when he was on the floor. He will need to work on his shot selection and decision-making, but his athleticism, size, and skill set could enable him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA.
Luka Brajkovic is a skilled big man that played well for Team 1 to help them get the win in this game. He played well on both ends of the floor, and he also made shots inside and out. He did a good job of scoring in the post, and he showed solid footwork and shooting touch to regularly score the basketball. Brajkovic also scored on a roll to the rim while getting fouled that time. He also managed to make an open, spot-up three to show his shooting range. However, sometimes he will take tough, contested shots that would sometimes lead to misses.
He also generally passed the ball well, and Brajkovic especially passed the ball well out of the post. He also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball. He also played decent defense in this game. Brajkovic was able to intercept an errant pass to get a steal. He also defended a baseline drive and blocked the shot out of bounds due to possessing solid length and timing. However, he also struggled to defend in the post, as he would sometimes not show enough resistance, or he would close out too hard and pick up fouls.
Overall, Luka Brajkovic had a solid showing to help his team get the win. He’s only an average athlete, but he is a skilled center that showed off versatile scoring skills, and he generally made sound decisions on both ends of the floor. He will need to show that he can consistently play well against taller, more athletic players, but his ability to make shots combined with his feel for the game could at least enable him to carve out a lengthy playing career in professional basketball.
Arizona State’s fifth-year senior forward, Kimani Lawrence played fairly well for Team 2 in this game. He was active as a scorer off the dribble, off hustle plays, and in the post. He was a bit inconsistent at scoring at times, but Lawrence was at his best when he would make strong moves to the hoop.
He looked to be fairly average as a playmaker. Lawrence is an unselfish player that would make the extra pass to find the open man. However, he tended to drop passes that would end up going to his opponents. He also lost a handle on the ball when attempting to drive in transition that led him to turn the ball over.
He also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball, and sometimes he would bring the ball up off of defensive boards. He also defended well. Lawrence was able to block a shot, and he also ran in to intercept a pass to get a steal late in this match.
Overall, Kimani Lawrence is a fairly athletic, strong combo forward that can make hustle plays on both ends of the floor. He will need to work on his jump shot and on his hands to catch more passes. He will need more time to develop his skills and hone his game, but regardless, his athleticism and motor could enable him to carve out a playing career in professional basketball.
Santa Clara’s fifth-year senior forward, Josip Vrankic played fairly well to help Team 1 get the win. He’s not overwhelmingly athletic, but his ability to score and rebound in the paint seemed to help his team in this game. Vrankic generally thrived at scoring on hustle plays. He showed a knack for scoring on rolls, tip-ins, and in transition. However, he had trouble scoring in the post, and he really struggled to score on turnaround jumpers.
Also, he showed off fairly average playmaking skills. He is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass to find the open man. Sometimes though, he would be careless with the ball, which would lead him to commit turnovers.
He also did a very good job of rebounding the basketball. Vrankic was fairly average defensively. He would get his hands on passes to get steals. On the downside, he had trouble defending opponents off the dribble, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.
Overall, Vrankic was productive in limited minutes in this game, and he helped his team as an inside scorer and rebounder in this game. He will need to improve his face-up game and extend his shooting range, and he will need to improve his defense. He may be an unlikely bet to make it to the NBA, but Vrankic’s motor and competitiveness could enable him to carve out a playing career in professional basketball.