Thoughts on Jeremy Sheppard and Patrick Baldwin Jr. in the Rhode Island-Milwaukee Game

December 13th, 2021

By Alan Lu

Today, I wanted to see Patrick Baldwin Jr. play against a reasonably tough opponent, and Rhode Island is an Atlantic-10 conference team that has won a majority of their games this season.  I wasn’t really expect him to play too well though, as he’s on a losing team that only has won twice this year, and he didn’t shoot the ball well in either of his team’s losses to Florida and Colorado. 

Still, he did score 26 points and make 6 threes in his team’s win over Robert Morris this year, so Baldwin has shown that he’s capable of having a tremendous game.  Today though, his team got off to a really bad start, and Rhode Island ended up coasting to a blowout win.  Baldwin didn’t shoot the ball well, but he fared better in the non-shooting or scoring related elements of this game.  Here are my thoughts on how Jeremy Sheppard, Patrick Baldwin Jr., and others fared on this day.

For those who were hoping that this match would be a Patrick Baldwin Jr. showcase and breakout game against Rhode Island; that did not turn out to be the case.  Instead, the NBA scouts that made the trip over there were treated to a Jeremy Sheppard showcase, in which he thoroughly dominated as a scorer and lead ball handler throughout this game.  If they weren’t there to watch Sheppard or had no intent to do so, nor were interested in watching any other player not named Baldwin, well, they probably ended up walking away disappointed in how this game turned out.

Rhode Island’s senior point guard, Jeremy Sheppard scored 25 points to help lead his team to a double-digit win over the Milwaukee Panthers.
(Photo:
The Providence Journal)

Rhode Island’s 6-1 senior point guard, Jeremy Sheppard had a very good showing in his team’s win over Milwaukee.  Sheppard is an agile, skilled combo guard that excelled as a shooter, scorer, and defender throughout this contest, and he showed that he was comfortable in running the point when he was on the floor.  Sheppard scored 25 points and had 8 rebounds, and he had a strong, all-around game to help his team get the victory.

Sheppard did a very good job of shooting the basketball in this game.  He did a great job of knocking down threes to help space the floor for his team on offense.  He showed that he can make threes off the catch, dribble, as well as when he would run off screens.  He ran off of a ball screen to make a quick three early on.  He also was able to make a deep three from way out. Sheppard also utilized a behind-the-back crossover to score on a smooth, step-back three-pointer later on.  Plus, he also was able to drive to the hoop to score on a quick, mid-range floater. He also did a good job of scoring off the dribble.  He was comfortable at going to his left quickly to score, as he managed to score on a tough floater, and he also used a hesitation move to score quickly off the glass another time.  Sheppard also can change directions and he was able to seamlessly go to his right to score off the glass.

As a playmaker, he looked to be fairly average in this game.  Sheppard is an agile combo guard that can handle the basketball.  He also managed to throw an accurate interior pass when doubled to a cutter to notch an assist, and that was a really nice read and find that time.  On the downside, he can sometimes struggle to handle ball pressure, which can lead him to commit ball-handling turnovers.  On one drive to the hoop, he ended up shuffling his feet, as he was called for traveling just as he ended up falling down.

Also, Sheppard did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  He was really active at crashing the glass to help his team get defensive boards, and sometimes he would push the ball up the court afterwards.  He also played solid defense in this game.  He showed a knack for poking and swiping balls away to get steals for his team.  He also was able to deflect a pass out of bounds once.  He also managed to contest a quick three to get a stop another time.  Every once in a while, he can struggle to defend opponents off the dribble, and he ended up committing a foul on a drive as a result.

Overall, Jeremy Sheppard played very well, as he had a strong, all-around game in his team’s win over Milwaukee.  He was a standout performer in what was an otherwise, mediocre college basketball game.  He and his team played very well, as they thoroughly imposed their will on a disappointing Milwaukee Panthers team that had trouble getting their offense going for most of this match.  While it’s uncertain if NBA scouts that were in attendance at the game in Milwaukee actually took note of Sheppard’s dominance in this match, I took note of that, so there’s that.  I think he’s helped himself by playing well in this game, and he is a skilled combo guard that could end up competing for a roster spot in the NBA.

Patrick Baldwin Jr. had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Rhode Island.   His team started off down 10-0 before he even was able to do anything on offense, and his team was down so fast because of reasons that didn’t have anything to do with him.  In the meantime, Baldwin deferred a lot throughout the game, and he was at his best as a facilitator and defender when he was on the court.  Still, he had trouble getting all the way to the hoop or good shots up, and he struggled to score and also had some defensive mistakes at times in this game.

He showed an adequate ability to score off the dribble.  Baldwin showed a knack for being able to draw non-shooting fouls on aggressive drives to the hoop, and he was able either hand to do so.  He also drove hard and used a jump stop to get fouled to get to the free throw line another time.  While Baldwin didn’t look to attack the basket very often, he showed that he can draw fouls upon his defenders when he would look to do so.

On the downside, he struggled to knock down his jump shots in this game.  Shooting was supposed to be Baldwin’s bread and butter, but he really just couldn’t get going, and he took a lot of tough, pull-up threes that missed.  Sometimes he would rush up deep threes off the dribble from far away, and he even threw up an-airball when hoisting up a pull-up three from way out.  Baldwin was able to make a quick, deep spot-up three late in this match, and he showed a smooth shooting stroke when it splashed into the net.

Also, Baldwin showed off good playmaking skills in this game.  He is an unselfish player that passed and handled the ball well when he was on the court.  He was able to push the ball quickly off of a steal, and he made a nice drop-off pass to set up a score for a teammate on the break.  He also passed the ball well off the dribble as well as in the post, and Baldwin excelled as a passer in transition.  When posting up once, he threw a savvy, no-look bounce pass to find a teammate down low due to possessing good court vision.  He did commit one turnover, though.  He received the ball once on a dribble handoff, but he over-dribbled into traffic, and had a ball stolen away that time.

Baldwin did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  He was able to leap up to get a handful of defensive boards when he was on the floor.  Also, he played adequate defense in this game.  Baldwin was able to poke a ball away from a post player to get a steal.  He also managed to intercept a pass late in this game.  He showed a knack for poking balls and getting his hands on passes, as he is an athletic, active help defender that can make plenty of plays on the ball. 

On the downside, he struggled to defend in the post, and he especially didn’t seem to be comfortable at defending down there in the first half.  He picked up two quick fouls when defending in the post.  He was called for a clear out when defending a post player while jockeying for position.  He also whiffed on a steal attempt while trying to intercept a pass, and later fouled a post player another time.  Later on, he gave up deep position, and he didn’t actively contest the shot to allow a score.  Sometimes, he would struggle to defend opponents off the dribble or off screens.  He got caught on a screen and struggled to fight through it, and it led to a pass that later led his team to allow a dunk off of a roll.  Another time, he ended up getting beat on a hesitation move on a quick fast break drive to give up the basket late in this match.

Overall, Patrick Baldwin Jr. didn’t have a great game, but he had some good moments in his team’s loss to Rhode Island.  It was hard for him to get into a groove on offense, especially with his team trailing considerably so early on, but he was at his best when he would distribute the basketball in this game.  He also was active defensively for a good portion of this match, and he showed improved focus, and he was active in trying to disrupt opponents’ passes or ball-handling in order to help his team force turnovers. 

Baldwin doesn’t really have great teammates to play off of, so they weren’t able to get him many open shots or clean looks, and he ended up having to force up some tough shots to try to help his team get back in the game, which hurt his shooting percentages.  In the NBA, he’d have better teammates to play off of, and he would be able to play at a much faster tempo, so he’d have more opportunities to get open three-point shots and fast break opportunities, which theoretically could ramp his chances to improve his shooting percentages, as so long as he could prove he could make the adjustment to playing at that level.  I don’t think this game will impact his draft stock at all, as he has shown pretty much the breadth of his strengths and weakness when he was on the court.  Right now, he projects to go in the mid first round range of the 2022 draft.

Rhode Island’s 6-3 redshirt junior guard, Jalen Carey played very well in his team’s win over Milwaukee.  Carey is a very athletic, energetic guard that excelled as a scorer off the bench, and he also was able to make a good defensive play in this match as well. Carey showed off versatile scoring skills in this game.  He shot the ball well, and he showed off a good outside shot in this game.  He was able to use a crossover to score on a smooth corner three off the dribble.  Carey also made a nice, quick step-back move to score on a smooth, mid-range jumper while drawing an extra free throw afterwards.  He also received the ball on a backdoor cut, and he dribbled in to score on a two-handed dunk in traffic.  Also, Carey was able to draw free throws on a speedy drive to the hoop once. Also, Carey was able to leap up high to get a defensive rebound once.  He also played satisfactory defense in this game.  Carey was able to deflect a pass out of bounds once.  Late in this contest though, he ended up getting beat off the dribble, as he had trouble staying in front of a quick guard that time.

Overall, Jalen Carey excelled at making throughout the game to help his team get the win.  This was arguably his best game of the season, and it could prove to be a springboard to help Carey gain confidence moving forward this year.  He’ll need to  keep playing well, but if so, he could be a prospect to keep tabs on in the future.

Makhi Mitchell played fairly well in his team’s win over Milwaukee.  Rhode Island’s 6-9 junior big man, excelled as a scorer on offense, and he also showed some range late in this match.  He struggled with turnovers, and he really had trouble passing the basketball at times, but Mitchell played well down the stretch in this game.

Mitchell showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays.  He sprinted down court to get the ball on a cut, and he then promptly scored on a dunk.  He also managed to score on a tip-in.  He also showed a solid ability to score on strong, left-handed drives to the hoop.  He also managed to use a drop step move to score in the post.  On another play though, he missed on a rushed turnaround jump hook.  Late in this game, he used a crossover move to calmly knock down a smooth, 17-foot shot from the mid-range.

On the downside, Mitchell was quite turnover prone on offense.  He tended to throw inaccurate passes that would sail out of bounds, and he tended to be very off-target on his passes.  When handling the basketball, he was called for a carrying violation once.  He also set a moving screen earlier in the game.  Also, Mitchell did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He has a keen nose for the ball, and he was able to haul in multiple boards on both ends of the floor. He also played decent defense in this game.  Mitchell was able to deflect a pass out of bounds.  He also did a good job of contesting threes to force misses.  Sometimes he would be too aggressive when fighting for position in the post, which led him to commit a foul when defending in the post off the ball.

Overall, Makhi Mitchell is a strong, athletic big man that showed off solid inside scoring skills in this game.  He has been a pivotal role player on his team this year.  He’ll likely need to show that he can play well against upper-echelon teams, but he could be a prospect to watch sometime in the future.

(Side Note: Makhi Mitchell and Makhel Mitchell are twins that are both juniors on Rhode Island’s basketball team. The next blurb will be my take on how Makhel Mitchell fared in his team’s win over Milwaukee.)

Rhode Island’s 6-10 junior center, Makhel Mitchell appeared to be his team’s best prospect at the start of the game, and he is a strong, mobile shot blocker that can make energetic, high-motor plays on the floor.  He didn’t dominate this game, but he was able to make impactful plays at times to help his team get the victory.

Mitchell showed a solid ability to score in the post.  He was able to score on a turnaround, jump hook while fading away from the baseline, and he showed a good shooting touch to do so.  He also would make strong moves to get fouled in order to get to the free throw line often.  He also rolled to the rim, and he was able to score on a powerful, two-handed dunk late in this contest.  On the other hand, he struggled to knock down mid-range jumpers or threes, and he had trouble making shots when he would be further away from the basket area.

Also, Mitchell passed the ball well in this game.  He is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he was able to throw an accurate interior pass to find a cutter to notch an assist.  Also, Mitchell did a decent job of rebounding the basketball, and he was able to haul in boards on both ends of the floor.  He also played adequate defense.  Mitchell did a good job of blocking shots in the paint to his teammates to help protect the paint for his team.  However, sometimes he would be too aggressive in looking to make plays, which would lead him to commit fouls.  He would sometimes commit fouls after trying to rotate to defend around the basket.  He also was called for a reach-in foul when he tried to intercept a pass in the post another time.

Overall, Makhel Mitchell had a decent showing in his team’s win over Milwaukee.  He didn’t stand out as much as I thought he would in this game, but he still made solid team plays when he was on the floor.  He’ll likely need to stay in school to continue to work on and expand his game offensively, but he could project into a rim protector role if he makes it to the NBA one day.

Milwaukee’s redshirt junior guard, DeAndre Gholston played fairly well in his team’s loss to Rhode Island.  He excelled as a shooter and scorer, especially early on, and he is a strong, physical guard that consistently provided his team with offense in a game where offense was hard to come by for them on this day. Gholston shot the ball well, especially from downtown.  He did a good job of scoring on three-point shots, and he also was able to move off the ball to score on a quick, spot-up three midway through the match.  He also managed to score on a fade-away, mid-range jumper from the baseline another time.

He also did a decent job of scoring in the post as well as off the dribble.  Gholston managed to score on an up and under move with his left hand.  He also drove in and scored on an off-balanced, fall away jumper in transition.  He also showed a penchant for drawing fouls upon his defenders when driving to the hoop, and he also has a solid first step to the hoop.  Sometimes he would take tough, off-balanced shots that would lead to misses.  He also tried to score on a couple of put backs, but was unable to on those possessions, as he didn’t get enough lift on his shot.

Gholston looked to be a bit turnover prone on offense.  On one good play though, he threw a sharp interior pass to find a cutter in order to notch an assist, as he made a good read and pass that time.  However, he would sometimes struggle to handle the ball when pressured, and he had a couple of balls swiped away from him on drives to lose it to his opponents.

Also, Gholston did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He was quite active on the glass, and he was able to haul in multiple boards on both sides of the ball.  On the downside, he struggled on the defensive end.  On one good play, Gholston was able to get his hands on a pass to get a steal.  However, he had trouble defending quicker players, as he didn’t move well to his left, which would lead him to commit touch fouls.  He also gave up too much space to a shooter, which led him to allow a three-point basket to an opponent once.

Overall, DeAndre Gholston had a solid showing in this game.  He thrived as a shooter, scorer, and rebounder when he was on the floor, and he proved to be a reliable scoring option for his team against Rhode Island.  He’ll need to improve his ball-handling and defense, and he will need to prove to teams that he can play well against upper-echelon opponents on a consistent basis, but his ability to score the basketball could make him a borderline second round candidate whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft.

Donovan Newby excelled as a shooter and scorer for Milwaukee in his team’s loss to Rhode Island.  He excelled as a spot-up shooter from downtown, and he was able to run off of a ball screen to make an open, spot-up three once.  He also showed that he can draw free throws when looking to score off the dribble or in the post.  He also was able to get a stop defensively.  On one play when defending an opposing ball handler, he was able to force his man to commit a traveling violation.  Overall, Newby is an agile sharpshooter that can knock down threes, and that could enable him to carve out a lengthy playing career in professional basketball.

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