Thoughts On The 2021 Tampa Bay Pro Combine Championship Game

June 8th, 2021

By Alan Lu

In the championship game that took place on Day 3 of the Tampa Bay Pro Combine on June 5th, Team 1 played against Team 4 for the rights to finish with an unbeaten, 4-0 record in this tournament, and Team 1 ended up getting a hard-fought, overtime victory. 

It was very competitive from the get-go as it went all the way into overtime, and Clay Mounce was able to throw a nice pocket pass to set up a score for Terry Taylor around the basket to get Team 1 the lead and the go-ahead basket, which helped them win the championship game.  Based on what I saw, the top players of this match looked to be Terry Taylor, Hasahn French, and Joel Ntambwe.  Here are my thoughts on they fared, as well as how other players performed in this contest.

Austin Peay’s 6-5 forward, Terry Taylor turned in a strong showing, as he dominated in the second half and in overtime to lead Team 1 to a close win over Team 4 in the 2021 Tampa Bay Pro Combine.
(Photo:
Robert Smith/tnsports360.com, via TN Sports 360)

Team 1’s Terry Taylor played very well, especially in the second half and in overtime to lead his team to a win over Team 4.  He excelled as a scorer and defender in this game, and he made clutch plays down the stretch in overtime. Taylor excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He would tend to favor going to his left to score on strong drives in transition, and he can go coast to coast to do so.  He also ran in to score on a tip-in after grabbing an offensive rebound. He also did a good job of scoring in the post.  Taylor showed a knack for scoring fadewaway jumpers, and he also would outmuscle his opponents to score around the basket.  On the downside, he would sometimes rush his shots, which would lead to misses.

Also, he showed a solid ability to score off the dribble.  Taylor drove hard to his right and he was able to spin the other way to score off the glass.  Plus, he also did a good job of scoring on pull-up jumpers from the mid-range.  On the downside, he was unable to make any of the three-point shots that he hoisted up from beyond the arc. He also was a bit turnover prone on offense.  Taylor threw an inaccurate pass that was deflected off of a teammate that landed out of bounds.  He also dribbled for a bit too long that led to a shot clock violation, but he would’ve scored on a mid-range floater if there was more time on the clock.

Plus, he also did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  Taylor was quite active at crashing the glass, and he managed to haul in multiple boards on both ends of the floor.  Also, Taylor played solid defense in this game.  He was able to block a shot hard off of a drive to a teammate.  He also pounced on a loose ball that a teammate poked away to help his team get a steal.  He also managed to contest a three to force a miss another time.

Overall, Terry Taylor played very well in this game, and he is a strong, athletic forward that excelled at scoring, rebounding, and defending when he was on the floor, especially down the stretch.  He will still need to improve his outside shot, but he is a productive player that could find a way to make it to the NBA next season.

Saint Louis’ 6-7 forward, Hasahn French played very well for the Team 4 in the final game on Day 3 of the 2021 Tampa Bay Pro Combine.
(Photo:
SLU Athletics, via St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Team 4’s Hasahn French had a strong showing in his team’s loss to Team 1.  He is a strong, athletic big man that excelled as an interior player for his team, and he also showed some point forward skills, as he thrived as a playmaker and as a ball-handler in transition in this game. French would tend to score on hustle plays.  He was able to score on a powerful dunk off of a roll to the rim.  He also pushed the ball up the court to score on a powerful, two-handed slam in transition.  He also ran in to score on a tip-in.  Sometimes he would try to rush plays, which would lead to misses, especially when he would not get foul calls.

He also displayed a satisfactory ability to score in one-on-one situations.  French spun powerfully to his left to score on a quick drive to the hoop.  He also drove in to score on a jump hook from around the mid-range area.  He also used a drop step to score on a fadeaway jump hook in the post. He didn’t look to take many threes, and he missed his only three-point attempt from beyond the arc.  French looked to be a little more comfortable in taking and making mid-range jumpers, but he really struggled to knock down his free throws when he was at the foul line.

French also passed and handled the ball very well on offense.  He did a terrific job of pushing the ball up the court to create transition-scoring opportunities for himself and his team.  He showed a knack for throwing accurate long interior passes, and he did a good job of finding his teammates on the move.  He was able to drive in quickly and drop it off to notch an assist on the break.  He also threw a very long outlet pass to get the ball to a teammate out in transition.  He also can make drive and kick passes.  French also does a great job of pushing the ball hard up the court off of defensive rebounds, and he has the playmaking skills that can allow him to be a point center at the next level. Also, he did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  French was able to haul in numerous boards on both ends of the floor, and he would tend to push the ball quickly up the court after getting his team defensive rebounds.

He also played decent defense in this game.  French was able to block a shot when defending in the post to himself.  He also has good strength to defend in the post, and he would contest jump shots in the paint to force misses.  However, his lack of size would make it tough for him to contest shots from taller players, which would allow them to easily shoot over him to score on him.  Another time, he got beat on a spin move to allow a score off the dribble another time.

Overall, Hasahn French played very well in the final game of the Tampa Bay Pro Combine, and he could be an intriguing prospect for the NBA.  He doesn’t possess a conventional skill set, as he doesn’t really have a consistent jump shot to play small forward, yet he also is undersized to play inside. On the other hand, he holds position very well, and he is a very good playmaker that operates really well with the ball in his hands in transition.  He may still be a long shot to be drafted, but in the right scenario, he could end up being an effective role player similar to former Houston Rockets’ forward, Chuck Hayes in the association.

Team 4’s Joel Ntambwe also played well in his team’s loss to Team 1.  He shot the ball well, and he showed off versatile scoring skills in this game.  He excelled at knocking down jumpers, and he also would score on quick, right-handed drives to the hoop.  He was able to throw a long outlet pass to notch an assist, but sometimes he would have trouble creating separation to get his own shot up on offense.

He also was active as a rebounder, as he was able to haul in boards on both sides of the ball.  Defensively, he looked to be about average.  Ntambwe was able to jump on a loose ball that a teammate poked away to help his team get a steal, but he struggled to defend quicker opponents off the dribble. Overall, Ntambwe is an athletic, skilled swingman that can shoot and score the basketball.  He had a solid tournament overall, and he could project to be a shooting specialist in the NBA.

Team 4’s Richard Washington also had a solid showing in his team’s loss to Team 1.  He excelled as a shooter and scorer on offense.  He showed a knack for making long-range jumpers, and he also did a good job of scoring on hustle plays.  Washington showed that he can score on step-back jumpers, and he made shots efficiently on offense.

He also was able to haul in rebounds on both sides of the ball.  He struggled to defend in one-on-one situations, as he would get outmuscled when defending in the post.  He also didn’t appear to make any notable passes.  Overall, Washington is a fairly athletic swingman that can knock down jump shots, and that could help him compete for a roster spot in the NBA next season.

Team 1’s Obadiah Noel played well in his team’s win over Team 4.  He’s a strong, athletic combo guard that can consistently get into the lane to score.  He tended to favor going his left to score in the paint.  He also managed to drive to the hoop to score on a powerful, two-handed dunk.  He also would score on crafty layups around the basket, and he showed that he can absorb the contact to draw fouls upon his defenders.

He also did a good job of making step-back jumpers from just inside the arc, but Noel struggled to make threes from long range.  He didn’t look to pass the ball that much, but Noel was able to make a drive and kick pass to set up a score for a teammate in transition.  On another play, he stepped out of bounds to commit a turnover. Also, Noel was able to get a defensive rebound, and he also poked a ball away to get a steal.  On another play though, he got beat off the dribble, which led him to have to foul his opponent.

Overall, Obadiah Noel had a solid showing overall in the final day of the Tampa Bay Pro Combine.  He’s a very aggressive, scoring point guard that can really take opponents off the dribble to get his points, but he will still need to improve his jump shot.  He had a fairly good showing overall in this tournament, and he may have what it takes to make it to the NBA, whether if it is next season or sometime down the road.

Other Notes:

Team 1’s Sterling Manley had a solid showing to help lead his team to a win over Team 4.  He is an athletic big man that excelled as an interior player, and he also showed an improved face-up game on offense. Manley was able to flash the ability to score in the post.  He was able to back his man down to score on a turnaround jumper.  He also used a quick drop step to score another time.  However, he struggled to consistently score on turnaround jumpers, as he would sometimes struggle to find his shooting touch.

He also would score on hustle plays.  He was able to score on a put back.  He also ran the floor to score on a powerful dunk in transition.  Also, Manley was able to use a crossover to his left to make a smooth, step-back jumper from the mid-range.  He missed on another step-back jumper from that range, but he did a good job of making shots from that area to show his improved shooting skills.

On the downside, he was called for setting a moving screen once that led him to commit an offensive foul and a turnover.  Manley also was quite active at crashing the glass, and he was able to get plenty of boards on both sides of the ball.  He also played fairly solid defense, and he was able to block a couple of shots to help his team protect the paint. Overall, Sterling Manley is an athletic, energetic big man that can score, rebound, and defend in the paint.  He didn’t play much at North Carolina, but Manley had a strong TBPC tournament overall.  Right now, he may not have much draft stock, but if things break his way, he could project to be a solid rim protector in the NBA.

Team 1’s Nate Reuvers also played fairly well to help lead his team to a win over Team 4.  He excelled as a shooter and defender when he was on the court. Reuvers showed a knack for making pull-up threes to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He also managed to score on an athletic, put back dunk after leaping up to grab an offensive rebound.  However, he also missed on a mid-range shot and on a jump hook from the post, as he struggled more to score from inside the arc.

He also displayed some passing skills, and Reuvers was able to throw a timely pass to find a cutter to notch an assist.  He also showed some rebounding skills, and Reuvers was able to get boards on both sides of the ball.  He also played solid defense.  He did a great job of blocking shots off of drives due to possessing solid length, timing, and mobility.  He also was able to contest a shot in the post to force a miss.  He also jumped on a loose ball that a teammate poked away to help his team get a steal.  On the downside, he would pick up fouls when rotating on drives at times due to over-aggressiveness.

Overall, Nate Reuvers had a solid showing in the 2021 TBPC championship game.  He is a skilled, floor spacing big man that can block shots, and he could be a sleeper prospect for the upcoming draft.  He will still need to be a more consistent shooter, and he will need to show that he can defend upper-echelon opponents on a consistent basis.  Reuvers helped himself by having a fairly solid tournament showing overall.  If things break his way, he could end up being an effective rotational big man in the NBA.

Team 4’s Jayvon Graves played fairly well in this game.  He is an athletic combo guard that primarily excelled as a scorer and rebounder when he was on the floor. He excelled at scoring in transition, and he also scored on acrobatic layup off of a speedy drive on the break.  He also would frequently draw free throws on strong, left-handed drives to the hoop.  He also was able to score on a tip-in as well as on a cut to the basket.  He also made a quick corner three to show his range from beyond the arc.  On the downside, he would sometimes miss shots in traffic, as he would occasionally struggle to make shots when he would not get foul calls.

On the downside, he was quite turnover prone on offense.  He struggled to handle the ball when pressured, and he would tend to over-dribble into traffic.  He also would tend to throw inaccurate passes that would get intercepted. Also, Graves did a good job of grabbing offensive rebounds for his team.  He also played adequate defense.  He was able to contest a three to force a miss.  On the downside, he also got beat off the dribble another time, which led his team to allow an opponent to score on a dunk.

Overall, Jayvon Graves is an athletic, energetic combo guard that can score and rebound the basketball.  He will need to be a more consistent shooter and playmaker in games, but his ability to crash the basket to score and rebound could enable him to carve out a solid playing career in professional basketball.

Team 1’s Clay Mounce played well in his team’s win over Team 4.  He didn’t take many shots and he was a low usage player in this game, but he knocked down shots, made a clutch pass, and he also defended well when he was on the floor. Mounce excelled at scoring on quick, spot-up threes off the catch.  He was able to score on a corner three, and he also ran quickly off the ball to make a three from way out another time.  Also, Mounce was able to score on a nifty, fadeaway jumper from the post to showcase his versatile scoring skills.

He also displayed satisfactory playmaking skills.  Mounce was able to drive and dish it to a teammate, as he threw an accurate entry pass to get a key assist in overtime late in this game.  On the downside, he was called for stepping out of bounds that led to a team turnover once. He also played fairly solid defense in this game.  Mounce would get his hands on passes to help his team get steals.  Another time though, he got beat off the dribble, which led his teammate to have to rotate to commit a foul that time.

Overall, Clay Mounce is a mobile, skilled swingman that can shoot and pass the basketball.  He will need to be more assertive on offense, and he will need to show that he can guard upper-echelon opponents in games.  If things pan out for him, he could end up being a shooting specialist off the bench in the NBA.

Team 1’s Ethan Esposito may have played his best basketball game in all of the games that he played in this tournament.  Though he didn’t make a three, he excelled as a scorer and rebounder in this game. Esposito generally excelled at pulling up to score on mid-range jumpers.  He also would score on hustle plays, as he managed to dribble in to score on a strong put back, and he also threw down a powerful dunk off of a backdoor cut.  He also showed the ability to create his own shot, as he used a spin move to score on a layup off the dribble.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game.  Esposito was able to pass out of the post to notch an assist.  However, he also threw a pass away another time due to miscommunication. Esposito also rebounded the ball well, as he was able to get boards on both sides of the ball.  Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  He was able to contest shots off of drives to force a couple of misses.  However, he struggled to defend quicker opponents at times, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.   Another time, he also lost track of a cutter to allow a score to his man.

Overall, Ethan Esposito played fairly well in his team’s overtime win over Team 4.  He will still need to significantly improve his outside shot and be a more consistent defender in games.  He still may be far away from reaching the NBA right now, but his above average athletic gifts, motor, and ability to crash the basket to score and rebound could enable him to carve out a solid playing career in professional basketball.

Team 4’s Quade Green put forth an uneven performance in his team’s loss to Team 1.  He played very well in the first half, as he would consistently score on quick, strong drives to the hoop.  He showed a knack for scoring on acrobatic layups, and he would often draw fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line. He also has a quick crossover that enabled him to score on a mid-range floater.  However, Green just didn’t shoot well, as he especially struggled to make shots in the second half and in overtime.  He struggled to make mid-range jumpers consistently, and he also had trouble scoring in traffic down the stretch.  He also threw up two unsightly air-balls when attempting threes from beyond the arc.

Also, Green displayed satisfactory playmaking skills.  He is a good ball handler that can throw crisp, accurate interior passes to find teammates on the move, and he also would throw long outlet passes to get them the ball in transition.  Green operated well when he would play under control, and he was able to dribble around and probe the defense prior to throwing an accurate shovel pass to set up a score for a mid-range shooter.  On the downside, he can tend to be inaccurate with his passes at times, as it can sometimes go astray. He also would crash the glass to help his team get defensive rebounds.  Also, Green was quite active as a defender in this game.  He would get his hands on passes and poke balls away to help his team get steals.

Overall, Green is a quick, agile playmaker that can score and pass the basketball, but he strangely struggled with his jump shot, free throw shooting, and with turnovers in this game.  He needs to play more with a sense of calmness to help him focus more on offense.  Right now, he may be a borderline second round candidate for the upcoming draft, but in a favorable scenario, he could end up being an effective backup point guard in the NBA.

Team 4’s Jordy Tshimanga had some good moments at times in this game.  Tshimanga excelled at scoring in the post on offense.  He is a strong, athletic big man that can score using either hand, and he would tend to score on turnaround jump hooks.  Sometimes though, he would miss shots, as he would not always find his shooting touch.  He missed on a roll to the rim, and he also missed completely on a mid-range jumper another time. He also showed some passing and defensive skills.  When posting up once, Tshimanga was able to find a cutter to notch an assist.  On defense, he managed to block a shot when defending in the post to a teammate.  Tshimanga also would crash the glass to help his team get defensive rebounds.

Overall, Jordy Tshimanga was able to make some good plays, but he didn’t seem to play nearly enough in the TBPC championship game.  He will need to improve his face-up game and work on his jump shot, but he could compete for a roster spot in the NBA either next season or sometime down the road.

Team 1’s Jahvon Blair didn’t shoot the ball very well in this game, but he did have his moments.  He shot the ball a lot, but he wasn’t very efficient in scoring on outside shots.  He was able to make a couple of threes, as he also made a step-back three late in this match, but he hoisted a lot of three-point shots that ended up missing.  Blair scored on a mid-range floater off the bank, but he also struggled to consistently score off the dribble or from the mid-range.

He also showed off adequate playmaking skills.  Blair was able to make drive and kick passes and he also threw a very long outlet pass to get the ball to a teammate on the break.  However, he tended to get the ball poked away to commit turnovers, as he struggled to handle the ball under pressure at times.  He also threw an inaccurate pass that led to an over and back violation.

Also, Blair was able to leap up to get a defensive rebound.  He also played decent defense in this game.  Blair was able to intercept a pass and poke a ball away to help his team get steals.  On one play though, he didn’t fully recover when trying to fight through a screen as he then trailed his man on a drive, and it led his teammate to have to rotate to commit a foul instead.

Overall, Blair is an athletic, agile point guard that can shoot and score the basketball, and he can put up points in bunches.  When he plays well, he can operate and function as the lead initiator that can get points and assists effortlessly.  However, he also can tend to be a very streaky shooter, and he can sometimes be prone to committing careless turnovers.  In all, he made a good decision to play at this tournament, as he also won the 2021 TBPC Three-Point Contest.  Blair currently projects to be a borderline second round candidate, but if things break his way, he could end up being a solid backup point guard that could provide some scoring and playmaking skills off the bench in the NBA.

Team 4’s Makuach Maluach didn’t really do much in this game, as he didn’t play much nor shoot the ball particularly well.  He was able to score on a quick, left-handed drive on the break.  He also jumped on a loose ball that a teammate poked away to help his team get a steal. Overall, he is an athletic swingman that may still have a long way to go, as he will need to continue to improve his shooting and playmaking skills.  Right now, his defense may be ahead of his offense, but his athleticism and motor could allow him to carve out a playing career in professional basketball.

Houston’s 6-7 forward, Justin Gorham had a tremendous showing for Team 5 on Day 3 of the 2021 Tampa Bay Pro Combine.
(Photo:
Sarah Stier/Getty Images, via Fansided’s Busting Brackets)

The Day 3 Standouts of the TBPC, in my opinion:

There were a lot of good performances on the final day of the Tampa Bay Pro Combine, and it’s hard to pick just three players that definitely did the best on this day.  I looked at all five of the games that were played on this day and ultimately came to a decision.

The 3 Stars on Day 3 of the Tampa Bay Pro Combine:

  1. Team 5’s Justin Gorham
  2. Team 2’s Micah Potter
  3. Team 1’s Terry Taylor

Justin Gorham really impressed me with his strong shooting, rebounding, and scoring display in both of the games he played on the final day.  In the morning game, he showed off tremendous scoring skills, and he was scoring on crossover, step-back threes effortlessly. When he played in college at Houston, I thought of him as a tough, gritty role player that could rebound, defend, and knock down spot-up threes, but I really feel he unlocked new dimensions to his game by showing that he can shoot, score, and take on a significantly higher volume role on offense.

Micah Potter really shot the ball well, as he showed deft footwork to score in the post, he scored on energetic, off-ball motion plays, and he also showed a solid three-point shot to provide floor spacing for his team.  He was active on both ends of the floor, he showed better than advertised athletic gifts, and he showed that he can flat out score the basketball in this setting.

Terry Taylor was consistently solid on the final day, and he turned in a very impressive performance to help Team 1 stay unbeaten throughout the entire tournament.  He is an athletic forward that has great strength, and he was routinely able to score off the dribble, in the post, and he also rebounded and defended well.  He still needs to improve his three-point shot, but he did everything else well, and he was a reliable go-to scorer down the stretch to help his team get a big overtime victory.

Anyways, those are my thoughts on how the final day of the 2021 Tampa Bay Pro Combine tournament went.  I will look to review how the first five games went in Day 2 of the TBPC, and then I will make picks for who I would select to be on the all-tournament team, and then compare with who actually made their list instead.

Also, there will be some fun NBA playoff basketball games to watch, so stay tuned for that.  Thanks for reading.

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