Thoughts on Jarrett Culver, Dedric Lawson, and Tariq Owens

February 23, 2019

by Alan Lu

I decided to take the time to watch Jarrett Culver and Texas Tech play against Kansas in a Big 12 basketball game that was played on February 23rd.  This was anticipated to be quite a competitive match, but it turned out to be a lopsided affair in favor of Texas Tech.  The Red Raiders jumped on the Jayhawks earlier and ended up winning handily, as Culver had a solid all-around game, and Texas Tech did a great job of knocking down shots, rebounding, and defending the get the win.  Here are my thoughts on how various prospects fared on this day, as well as how their games may translate to the NBA.

Texas Tech’s 6-5 sophomore guard, Jarrett Culver had a solid showing in his team’s double-digit win over Kansas.  He showed off versatile scoring skills, and he played well in virtually all facets of the game.  Culver did a fairly good job of scoring on smooth drives to the basket to garner scores.  He can finish plays using either hand, and he has very good body control to score on acrobatic layups.  He also managed to score on a tough runner in traffic, and he also used a pump fake to get another bucket.  He also can draw fouls on opposing defenders, but sometimes he may take tough shots, which can lead to misses and blocked shots.

He also showed an adequate ability to knock down jumpers to space the floor for his team on offense.  Culver was able to make threes both off the catch and dribble, though he had trouble to consistently knock down pull-up jumpers.  Culver also excelled at scoring on hustle plays, as he was able to run the floor to score on a high-flying dunk on the break, and he also scored on a layup off of a curl cut.  On another play, he was able to get an offensive rebound to draw free throws on a put back.  On the downside though, Culver struggled to consistently make his free throws, as he will need to improve his ability to make them when he is at the foul line.

Also, Culver displayed good playmaking skills.  He is a patient player that possesses good court vision, and he will find open shooters to set up scores for them.  He also drove up the court and threw a nifty drop off pass to a teammate to notch an assist on the break.  Culver also can bring the ball up as he handles the ball well.  He nearly committed a turnover once, as he tried to quickly split a double team when looking to create off the dribble, but he ended up having a ball poked away to a teammate.

Though he did not grab many rebounds, he was able to get a board on each end of the floor.  Culver also played solid defense.  He is a rangy defender that would actively contest and alter shots off of drives to force misses due to possessing good leaping ability, timing, and instincts.  He also would actively play passing lanes, and he also managed to successfully draw a charge when defending a drive another time, but there was one play where he was caught ball watching that led him to allow an opponent to score on a three-point basket.

In general, Jarrett Culver played well as he scored 26 points and notched 4 assists in his team’s win over Kansas.  He showed off versatile scoring skills, and he also passed and defended well when he was on the court.  He put forth a solid performance as he excelled on both ends of the floor, and he looks to be a good bet to go in the lottery on draft day.

Kansas’ junior forward, Dedric Lawson may have had the best game among prospects on his team that NBA scouts were watching that day against Texas Tech.  He had a slow start to this game, but he played better as the game wore on, and he showed a knack for drawing fouls upon opposing defenders.  Lawson showed an adequate ability to score off the dribble as well as in the post, and he would crash into defenders to draw hoards of free throws to help his team.  He also showed that he can make layups and floaters off of drives.

He also was able to make an open, spot-up three from beyond the arc, though Lawson did not look to take jumpers nearly enough in this contest.  Sometimes, he would miss shots because he would try to overtly force them up in traffic.  However, he can be a bit turnover prone, though.  On one good play though, Lawson was able to kick it out to a shooter to set up a scoring chance for his teammate.  On the other hand, he was called for traveling when posting up once, and he also dropped a catchable pass in the post that went out of bounds.

Lawson did not do a great job of rebounding the basketball, and he tended to allow opponents to grab numerous boards when battling for them in this game.  On the bright side though, he did get multiple boards on both ends of the floor.  Defensively, he looked to be about average.  For the positives, Lawson was an active help defender, as he was able to block a shot from behind to prevent an opponent from scoring off of a drive, and he also poked a ball away to help his team force a turnover.  However, he had trouble staying in front of his man or making timely rotations, which would lead him to commit fouls on drives, as well as allow scores to shooters.

Overall, Dedric Lawson had a fairly good game in his team’s loss to Texas Tech.  He struggled at first, but was able to adjust when the contest was underway in the second half.  Unfortunately for him, his team was down by too much, as he was unable to help bring them back.  Right now, he is a competitive combo forward that could project to be a 3 and D type of player in the NBA, and he could end up being a second round pick on draft day as he could end up being like a poor man’s version of Brooklyn Nets’ forward, DeMarre Carroll in the association.

Texas Tech’s 6-10 senior big man, Tariq Owens had a good game, as he knocked down mid-range jumpers, and really excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He scored on dunks off of cuts and in transition, and he also scored on a put back after grabbing an offensive rebound.  Though he didn’t grab many rebounds overall, he was very active on the glass offensively, and he did a very good job of getting offensive rebounds due to possessing good size, athleticism, and motor.

He also played very good defense.   Owens was an active help defender that would block and alter shots off of drives, and he would contest shots from all over the floor to force misses.  He also managed to get a steal as well, but sometimes, he would be foul prone, and on one play, he ended up getting outmuscled by an opponent when defending in the post, which forced him to commit a foul down low.  Overall, Tariq Owens had a solid showing in his team’s win over Kansas.  He is an athletic, high motor big man that could project to be a defensive specialist at the next level, and he could end up making an NBA team’s roster one day.

Texas Tech’s senior point guard, Matt Mooney played very well in his team’s win over Kansas.  He excelled at making threes as well as shots off the dribble, and Mooney showed a knack for knocking down pull-up jumpers.  He also showed a good ability to score off the dribble.  Plus, he also showed off fairly good playmaking skills.  Mooney is an unselfish player that can make the extra pass, and he would kick the ball out to shooters and find cutters to notch assists.  But sometimes, he would try to do too much when trying to make plays off the dribble, which would lead him to commit some turnovers.  Adding to that, Mooney also defended well, as he would play passes to get steals and deflections for his team.  In summary, Mooney had a good showing in his team’s win against Kansas.  He is a smart, skilled playmaker that can certainly help a team on offense, and he could potentially make an NBA team’s roster as a backup point guard at the next level.

Kansas’ 6-2 freshman point guard, Devon Dotson had been playing well recently, but this game against Texas Tech was not a particularly good one for him, as he struggled with turnovers and with his defense in his team’s double-digit loss to the Red Raiders.  When Dotson would elect to score, he would tend to drive the ball to the basket, to which he had mixed results in doing so.  He showed the ability to score on speedy drives when he would play under control, but he also would tend to force up shots wildly, which would lead to misses in traffic.  He didn’t look to take many jumpers from outside the paint area, but Dotson was able to make an open three off the catch on his lone three-point attempt from beyond the arc.

However, he can tend to play too recklessly, and he committed a couple of turnovers on offense.  One was where he committed a charging foul when he collided into a defender off the dribble.  He will also need to improve defensively.  He tended to give up too much space to shooters, which would cause him to allow three-point baskets to them.  His lack of size made it difficult for him to successfully challenge shots on the defensive end, and he also struggled to guard opponents on the ball, as he would tend to commit reach-in fouls on opposing ball handlers.

Overall, Devon Dotson did not play nearly as well as anticipated, and he turned in a disappointing showing in his team’s loss to Texas Tech.  He did show that he can make baskets in a variety of ways, but he would play too recklessly on offense, and he also had trouble locking down his opponents on the defensive end.  He is a speedy combo guard that has at times have had very solid performances, but he also can be too inconsistent in games.   Right now, he may be a second round prospect, but he is a talented combo guard that may have considerable upside, as he may project to be a similar player to New Orleans Pelicans’ rookie, Frank Jackson in the NBA.

For Kansas’ 6-5 freshman guard Quentin Grimes, his performance against Texas Tech was a mixed bag.  He did not look to shoot often, and he did not make nearly enough shots.  He did make a spot-up three after being left wide open once, but he missed on two other occasions after getting the ball off the catch from long distance.  Though he did draw free throws on a strong drive in transition, he missed both of his free throws, and he has been a subpar free throw shooter on the season.  On the other hand, he actually showed solid playmaking and defensive skills, and he looked to be more active on the glass than he has been previously.  Grimes tended to throw solid passes, as he can throw sharp interior passes, and he also can kick it out to shooters to set up scores for them due to possessing fairly good court vision.  He also did not commit a single turnover on offense.

Grimes also was able to leap up to get several defensive boards, and he even managed to jump to get a tough defensive rebound in traffic.  He also played adequate defense.  Grimes was able to jump on a loose ball to get a steal, and he also poked a ball away when an opponent tried to split a double team to nearly get another.  Also, he was able to contest a mid-range jumper to force a miss.  However, he also was called for a foul on a drive once, and he sagged too far off his man another time, which led to a scramble situation in which an opponent made an open three.

Overall, Quentin Grimes continues to frustrate with his lack of shooting or scoring output on the season, but he also did some good things in this game against Texas Tech, as he made good passes, came away with a very tough defensive board once, and he also defended fairly well.  Grimes has continued to flounder on offense as he’s really struggled to make shots, but this time around, he’s putting in the effort to fare better in the other elements of the game.  He is still a very unpolished prospect as he will likely need to spend more time or multiple years in college honing his craft, but he could end up being an interesting prospect if he can regain the shooting touch that NBA scouts desperately coveted when he made 6 threes in his team’s win against Michigan State in the Champions Classic early in the season.

Other Notes:

Texas Tech’s 6-8 senior forward, Norense Odiase did a tremendous job of rebounding the basketball, and he would tend to score on hustle plays.  He was active defensively, as he was able to block a shot and draw a charge off of a drive, and Odiase is a strong, high-motor player that could end up making an NBA team’s summer league roster this year.

Also for Texas Tech, Brandone FrancisDavide MorettiDeshawn Corprew, and Kyler Edwards all excelled at knocking down spot-up threes to help Texas Tech space the floor on offense, and their excellent three-point shooting was a key factor in catapulting the Red Raiders to a blowout win over the Jayhawks.

Kansas’ 6-5 freshman guard, Ochai Agbaji had been drawing some draft buzz recently, but this was not a good game for him.  He had trouble knocking down jumpers or getting scores off the dribble, and he also was caught napping on a backdoor cut, which led him to allow a score.  Agbaji did not shoot the ball well, and he just did not perform well in his team’s loss to Texas Tech.

Kansas’ 6-10 freshman center, David McCormack had a fairly solid showing in limited minutes, as he excelled as a low post scorer due to possessing good athleticism, strength, and shooting touch in the paint.  He also was able to leap up to grab some rebounds, but he struggled with turnovers and also committed a bad foul defensively around the basket that led his team to allow a score and an extra free throw on one play.  Overall, McCormack could be a player to watch in the future.

Kansas’ 6-8 sophomore swingman, K.J. Lawson had a decent showing in his team’s loss.  He excelled as a shooter, as he can make pull-up jumpers, and he also was able to throw a nice drop off pass off of a drive to set up a scoring chance for a teammate.  However, he was a bit turnover prone as he had some trouble handling the ball in traffic.  He will also need to improve his position defense, as he would tend to over-help and sag off his man, which would lead opponents to score on threes, and he also got beat off the dribble, which caused a teammate to rotate to foul an opponent, which led to a three-point play around the basket.

Kansas’ 6-5 sophomore guard, Marcus Garrett played fairly well in his team’s loss to Texas Tech.  He was able to score off of a cut, and he also was able to knock down jumpers to help space the floor for his team.  He did commit an over the back foul when going for a defensive board once, but Garrett showed that he can get scores off the dribble as well as spot-up to make shots, and he could be a player to watch if he can continue to shoot the ball well.

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