Thoughts on Trae Young, Jevon Carter, and Khadeem Lattin in the West Virginia-Oklahoma Game

January 9, 2018

By Alan Lu

I took the time to watch Trae Young and Oklahoma take on West Virginia in a game that was played on January 6th, as I was able to catch it on WatchESPN.  It was a hard fought game in which both teams traded leads, but Jevon Carter and the Mountaineers ended up getting a double-digit victory over the Sooners.  Here are my thoughts on how Trae Young played, as well as how Jevon Carter and Khadeem Lattin fared on this day.

Oklahoma’s freshman point guard, Trae Young had an uneven performance, as he played well in some moments, and he struggled in other parts of this game.  Against West Virginia, he excelled at scoring the basketball, but he struggled to regularly knock down jumpers, protect the basketball, or to defend when he was on the floor.

He did a good job of getting quick scores on aggressive drives to the basket.  He is an agile, shifty guard that can accelerate, and he also changes speeds very well, and he really excelled at drawing many fouls upon the opposition.  He frequently was able to get to the free throw line, though it did seem like he also was getting favorable calls, even when he was on the road.  He handles the ball well, and he can score on floaters, but sometimes he would miss shots in traffic, as he would also be prone to overtly forcing the issue on offense.

He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays, as he managed to get a loose ball to score on a cut, and he also managed to score off of a put back another time.  However, he did not shoot the ball well from beyond the arc against West Virginia.  Young did make several pull-up threes, as he can make shots from way out, and he can use step back moves to create separation between himself and his defender, but he also missed many three-point shots.  Young tended to rush up a lot of tough, difficult outside shots that were contested, as he would hoist them up even when the defender would be draped all over him.   He couldn’t make threes consistently, but he didn’t make it any easier on himself by attempting many contested shots from really far out.

Also, he did not do a good job of distributing or taking care of the basketball against West Virginia.  Though Young has played really well this season, and he had some solid moments in this game, as he would display solid court vision, he tended to try to do too much on offense, as he would over-dribble, he would take really questionable shots, and he also committed many turnovers against the Mountaineers.   Young showed a good ability to throw passes in transition, and he would throw accurate interior passes to set up numerous scoring chances for his teammates.  However, he tended to get the ball poked away after handling the ball in heavy ball pressure, and he also would throw careless passes that would end up getting intercepted.  He also set a moving screen that led him to commit an offensive foul and turnover another time.  He also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  Young was able to get an offensive rebound as he managed to score on a put back, and he would frequently push the ball up the floor after getting defensive boards for his team.

In addition, he did not play very good defense in this game.  Young really faltered on the defensive end late in the first half when he was struggling on offense, and he seemed to take his woes with him to the other side of the ball.  He did not seem to give full effort on several occasions, as he would get beat off the dribble easily, and he would not make much of an effort to stay in front of his man when challenged.  He also bit wildly on a pump fake to allow a three-point score, and he also committed a foul on a three-point shooter after chasing his man to the baseline, as he can be undisciplined defensively even when he is active on that end of the floor.  Late in the first half, Young was taken off the assignment of guarding Jevon Carter, as he really was not defending well in the first half, but it was not all bad for Young on the defensive end.

Young showed a good ability to get steals, as he excelled at playing passing lanes, and he would quickly jump on passes to force turnovers, which would help him create fast break scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.  He also was able to poke a ball away after making a rotation to step up on a drive.  Young did defend significantly better in the second half when he did not have to guard Carter, and he also managed to contest jumpers to force misses.

Though Young ended up scoring 29 points, this was not one of his better games this season, as he would heave up a lot of contested shots, he was prone to over-penetrating that would lead him to commit turnovers, and there were times where he would not give full effort on defense, but this does not take away from the fact that he has been having a terrific season.   He is a smart, skilled player that possesses solid offensive skills, but this game also may highlight his weaknesses as a player right now.   Still, it’s likely that he will bounce back, and he will likely be a lottery pick in 2018.

West Virginia’s senior point guard, Jevon Carter played really well in his team’s win over Oklahoma.  He is a floor leader that can really run a team, and he has seemed to significantly improve his skill set since the last time I saw him play.  He is a versatile scorer that can make solid plays against the best point guard prospects, and he is also a smart facilitator that sees the floor well.   But the most impressive thing is that he is a tough, gritty player that will really get after it on defense, and he showed a superb ability to guard opponents and bring heavy ball pressure.

Carter did a good job of knocking down jumpers to space the floor for his team.  He would run quickly to spots to get open, and he would make quick spot-up threes off the catch.  He also managed to draw free throws on another three-point shot after running to the corner to get the ball.  Plus, he also showed a solid ability to knock down mid-range jumpers, as he can do so off the catch or dribble.  He also showed an adequate ability to score on drives to the basket.  Carter changes speeds well, and he has a good first step to the hoop that can enable him to quickly get to the basket, but sometimes, he can miss shots around the hoop, as he may not always finish plays in traffic.

He also displayed solid playmaking skills.  Carter excelled at throwing long, accurate outlet passes to get his teammates scores on fast breaks, and he would also get the ball to shooters to notch additional assists.  He is a patient player that possesses good court sense, and he also managed to hit a cutter to set up another score once.  Carter also handles the ball really well, as he can really make it difficult for his opponents to guard him, but he did commit a couple of turnovers, as he lost the ball once due to playing too fast, and he also threw a bounce pass that got intercepted due to carelessness another time.  Carter also did a good job of grabbing rebounds to help his team on the glass.  He would frequently leap up to get boards, and he was able to haul in multiple rebounds on both ends of the floor.

He also showcased very good defensive skills.  Carter is an aggressive defender that will bring significant ball pressure, and he possesses solid lateral footwork as well as a great motor to guard his opponents.  He was able to poke balls away from opponents to get steals, and he also jumped a pass to force another turnover.  Plus, he also managed to block a three-point shot due to possessing very good footwork and timing to do so.

Also, Carter would contest threes to force misses, and he also is a strong, physical player that can hold his ground when defending in the post, as he did so once to force his man to miss a shot, but sometimes, Carter may commit fouls, as he may reach-in or end up being called for hand-checking due to over-aggressiveness when defending ball handlers.  Every once in a while, he may have a lapse, which can lead him to not making a proper rotation at times.  A couple of times, he ended up getting beat off the dribble, as he can struggle to stay in front of his man on occasion.

In general, Jevon Carter played really well to help his team to get an impressive win against Oklahoma.  He is a tough, gritty playmaker that tended to make smart plays when he was on the floor, and he will really compete, as he also really excelled defensively in this game.  With his skill set, he could end up being a good value pick for an NBA team in the second round of the upcoming draft.

Oklahoma’s 6-9 senior big man, Khadeem Lattin was not really a factor in this game, and he actually did not play very much against West Virginia.  He did show a good ability to draw fouls upon the opposition as would look to finish plays around the basket, and he would also roll to the rim.  He also did a good job of getting scores off of put backs.  However, Lattin struggled to finish plays in traffic in this game, as he had his shots blocked around the hoop a couple of times.

He did set good screens in this game, as he managed to set one on-ball screen that helped free up a shooter, which led his teammate to knock down a three-point shot once.  Lattin did a fairly good job of rebounding the basketball, as he was especially active on the offensive glass. However, he did allow an opponent to get a rebound in his area once, as he did not always get balls that were within his reach.

He did not play great defense in this game, though.  Lattin would contest and alter shots to force opponents to miss shots on occasion.  However, he also would pick up quick fouls, and he would struggled to defend mid-range jumpers, as well as in the post.  In general, Khadeem Lattin did not play very well, but he also wasn’t involved much on offense against West Virginia.  He will need to assert himself more on that end of the floor, and he will need to be a more disciplined defender on a consistent basis.  His play has tapered off recently, but as he may project to be a rim protector at the next level, Lattin may have the skills to end up on an NBA summer league roster if he can stay focused and if he can consistently play well in games.

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