Thoughts on Ziaire Williams, Caleb Love, and Garrison Brooks

December 1st, 2020

By Alan Lu

I took the time to watch Stanford’s freshman forward, Ziaire Williams play in another basketball game at the Maui Invitational, this time against North Carolina that took place this afternoon today.  He got off to a slow start, as he wasn’t involved much on offense early on, and referees also slowed him down by calling him for a slew of traveling calls and fouls, including calling him for a technical foul on a dunk in transition in which he hung on the rim a bit for balance. 

Williams didn’t play nearly as well as he did against Alabama, as he was primarily stifled by bad officiating, but he played solid defense, still was able to knock down some jumpers, and he was aggressive in trying to make plays on both ends of the floor.  This game overall was a terribly officiated game as the officials seemed to do everything in their power to make calls in favor of North Carolina, and North Carolina ended up coming back from behind to win this game against Stanford.  Here are my thoughts on how Williams, Caleb Love, Garrison Brooks, and other various prospects fared on this day.

Stanford’s 6-8 freshman forward, Ziaire Williams was stifled by some pretty bad officiating, but he showed some solid skills as a shooter and defender in his team’s loss to North Carolina.
(Photo:
Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ziaire Williams did a decent job of knocking down jumpers in this game.  He was at his best when he made spot-up threes off the catch, and he has shown a smooth jump shot, as he excelled at making outside shots to provide floor spacing for his team on offense. 

However, he was unable to make pull-up jumpers from the mid-range, and Williams had trouble scoring off the dribble, as he couldn’t find his shooting touch in that range, and he kept being whistled for traveling calls, which took him out of his rhythm.  On one such play where he was called for a traveling violation on a pivot move mid-drive, it took a score off the board, as he would have scored on a drive to the hoop if that call had not been made. Williams also generally excelled at scoring hustle plays.  He was able to dribble in to score on a tough put back around the basket, and Williams also drove in to score on a two-handed dunk on the break.

He displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game.  Williams threw good passes, and he is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass to set up scores for his teammates.  He also managed to find the cutter, and he also used a ball fake to kick a ball out to a shooter another time.  He has solid court vision, but he will need to be more technically sound with his ball handling to cut down on the traveling calls, even if the college referees have been far more strict than NBA officials in cracking down on those possessions.  He did get the ball ripped away from on a drive to commit another turnover, and as he is a tall, ball-handling forward, he does struggle at times to handle the ball when being defended by smaller players that reach down to go for steals.

While he didn’t grab nearly as many rebounds as he did against Alabama, Williams was able to get his fair share of boards, and he was able to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor.  He especially was active in crashing the offensive glass, and Williams was able to score on a tough, acrobatic put back to keep his team in the game.

Williams played solid defense in this game.  He is an athletic, rangy defender that plays aggressive on-ball defense, and he was able to make some really good plays to help his team on the court.  Williams really stretched out to block a three-point shot to a teammate due to possessing very good leaping, timing, and recovery speed, and he also excelled at forcing turnovers.  He is a quick, feisty defender that would poke balls away and get his hands on passes to get steals and deflections, and he would aggressively defend opposing ball handlers.  While he had some trouble fighting through screens, he would tenaciously fight through them to stay with opposing ball handlers.  However, he will need to add strength as he had more trouble defending in the post.  He would get pushed back by stronger opponents, and he was called for committing several fouls in the post, even though he appeared to defend those plays straight up instead.

In general, this was game was pretty frustrating to watch, because anytime Ziaire Williams would pick up some momentum, the referees would make terrible calls to stifle it, which would give the momentum right back to North Carolina.  He was whistled for traveling calls, was called for fouls defensively even when he would contest shots straight up when opponents would basically jump into him, and they also missed a play where Garrison Brooks pushed him and caused him to fall right into his own teammate mid-game. 

Ziaire Williams also was called for an unfortunate technical foul for hanging on the rim a bit too long after dunking the ball on the break to keep his balance and to prevent himself from falling or landing awkwardly afterwards (see the Vit Krejci article I wrote in the September 25th game against Zaragoza where he came in and flew in too fast on a dunk attempt and landed badly, where he injured his knee afterwards).   It was important for Ziaire Williams to keep his balance after going in to score on a dunk, as he made sure to prevent himself from landing awkwardly or getting injured afterwards, which can be a real thing, but the referees instead called him for a technical foul instead.

Still, Ziaire Williams was able to do some good things on the court, even if he faced harsh adversity in his team’s valiant effort in their loss to North Carolina.  He did a decent job of knocking down shots, made some terrific defensive plays, and he really showed his potential to excel as a prospect for the NBA.  He’ll need to be patient in how things go this season, but he could end up being one of the best prospects to come out of the 2021 draft.

North Carolina’s freshman point guard, Caleb Love had his struggles on offense, but his strong, tenacious defensive play, especially in the second half helped his team get a close win over Stanford.
(Photo:
Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Caleb Love had his ups and downs as he really struggled in the first half, but he played well in the second half, and he was able to get some key buckets down the stretch, and he also played very good defense to help his team get the win over Stanford. 

Love played solid defense in this game.  He hustled back to get a terrific shot block on his opponent’s scoring attempt on a drive in transition, and Love was able to swat the ball in a way to get his team the defensive rebound to firmly get a stop for his team.  He did a great job of running and hustling back hard, and really leapt up high to swat that shot.  There was some controversy though, as it appeared as if Love had made physical contact with his opponent’s body on the way down, but no call was made.  Love also was able to deflect a pass to nearly get a steal.  Plus, he also was able to actively contest a shot in the post to force a miss.  On the downside, sometimes he can be caught ball watching, which can occasionally lead his team to allow scores.

On the downside, Love struggled to consistently score off the dribble, and he tended to miss on contested floaters and layups, as he would tend to force the issue too much on offense.  On the plus side, he has good speed that allows him to quickly get to the hoop to score the basketball, and he was able to score on an acrobatic, reverse layup once.

He did a better job of knocking down jumpers, and he did a decent job of doing so in this game. He was able to run off the ball to make a pair of quick spot-up threes off the catch, and he was better at making shots off the catch than when he would look to score off the dribble.  Love did do a good job of making pull-up jumpers from the mid-range, and he has good speed that enables him to get his shot off quickly.

Also, Love was quite turnover prone in this game, and he will still need to improve his playmaking skills to show that he can effectively run the point against top notch competition.  For the positives, he can throw interior passes, and he will sometimes look to find the open man to set up scores for his teammates.  However, he tended to get his passes picked off by his defenders, and he also committed a pair of ball-handling turnovers.  He slipped and fell when trying to take a mid-range shot that led to a traveling violation, and he also had a ball poked away another time.

Love was also able to chip in to get his fair share of rebounds, and he was able to get at least a board on both ends of the floor.

In summary, Caleb Love didn’t have his best game, but he made solid plays down the stretch when it counted with the game on the line, and he made a tremendous shot block that helped propel his team to seal the victory.  While he will need to make more shots consistently and take better care of the basketball, Love is an athletic, high upside prospect that could definitely be a prospect worth considering in the late first to the second round range of the 2021 draft, as he could end up being a solid role player similar to current Brooklyn Nets’ guard, Bruce Brown in the NBA.

Garrison Brooks played well, especially down the stretch to help lead North Carolina to a win over Stanford.
(Photo:
Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

North Carolina’s senior center, Garrison Brooks had a solid showing to help lead his team to a narrow win over Stanford.  He is a very strong, physical big man that excelled as a scorer in the post, and he also rebounded the ball well in this game.

Brooks did a good job of scoring in the post.  He is a strong, mobile player that would frequently score on powerful layups inside, and he also used a spin move to score on a dunk.  He also did a good job of drawing free throws, as his size, physicality, and shooting touch made it difficult for his opponents to guard him.

He also was able to make a mid-range shot off the glass, and he almost made a long two, but it was called off due to a shot clock violation.  However, Brooks was unable to make mid-range jumpers consistently.  While he excelled as a scorer down low and also showed that he can score on off-ball motion plays, sometimes he would miss shots in the paint, as he would not always get enough lift on his shot to score in traffic.

As a playmaker, he looked to be about average.  Brooks is a good screen setter that can help free up his teammates to help them get open shots and driving lanes.  He also will make the extra pass to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  However, sometimes he would have trouble protecting the basketball, and there was one play where he got tied up shortly after grabbing an offensive rebound that led to a jump ball that was awarded to the other team due to the possession arrow.

Plus, Brooks did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He was especially active at crashing the offensive glass to help his team get offensive rebounds, and he would often get tough boards for his team down the stretch.  Defensively though, he looked to be fairly average.  He played physically and was active in contesting shots, but he also tended to commit fouls due to over-aggressiveness.

Overall, Garrison Brooks played well in his team’s win over Stanford.  He is a mobile, physical big man that can score and rebound the basketball.  While he will likely need to extend his shooting range further when his season ends to improve his chances to succeed in the NBA, Brooks showed that he already can play in a tough and physical basketball game, and his ability to score and rebound in the paint could enable him to be a solid role player in the NBA.

North Carolina’s 6-8 junior swingman, Leaky Black played very well to lead his team to a win over Stanford, and he made numerous solid plays down the stretch to help them secure the victory.  He excelled at scoring on left-handed drives to the hoop, and he has a quick and strong first step that enables him to consistently get all the way to the rim to get scores and free throws for his team.  Black also ran the floor to score in transition.  He struggled more when attempting pull-up jumpers from the mid-range, but he did a very good job of scoring the basketball at the rim.

He also played very good defense in this game.  Black played excellent perimeter defense, and he was able to steal a ball away from an opponent on a drive, and he also would deflect passes to make it difficult for his opponents to get their passes through.  He also was very active at crashing the glass to get numerous rebounds for his team.

On the downside, the normally solid playmaker was quite turnover prone in this game.  Black is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass to set up scoring chances for his teammates. However, he had several balls stolen away from him when handling the ball, and he had some trouble handling the basketball in traffic.  He also threw an inaccurate pass off the dribble that ended up out of bounds.

Overall, Leaky Black is an athletic, high motor swingman that played very well, as he excelled as a scorer off the dribble and defender, especially down the stretch to help his team get the victory.  While he actually didn’t take many shots or take a single three-point shot, he was extremely efficient when he would hoist them up, and he was virtually automatic when he would look to take the ball to the hoop to score around the basket.  He is a solid role player whose versatile skill set has helped North Carolina significantly, and he could excel as a defensive specialist one day in the NBA.

Stanford’s 6-9 senior forward, Oscar Da Silva had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to North Carolina.  He struggled to score in the first half, but he excelled as a scorer in the second half in this game. He showed off versatile scoring skills to help his team on offense.  Da Silva excelled as a scorer off of rolls to the rim, and he also used a shoulder fake to score on a fadeaway jumper.  He also excelled at drawing free throws when driving hard ot the hoop, and he also made a spot-up three off the catch to show his outside shooting prowess.  However, he also sometimes would miss easy shots around the basket, and he missed too many shots he could have made early on.

He also was fairly turnover prone on offense.  For the positives, Da Silva can pass off the dribble to set up scoring chances for his teammates, and he can find them on the move to get them the basketball.  However, he dropped a catchable pass that led to one turnover.  He also was called for traveling when splitting a double team off the dribble, even though he appeared to handle the ball cleanly that time.

Da Silva didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, and he was only able to get one defensive board, as Stanford had trouble getting rebounds throughout the entire match.  Da Silva played adequate defense.  He would actively contest and alter shots to force misses, and he is a solid on-ball shot blocker, but sometimes he would commit fouls when contesting shots in the paint.

Overall, Da Silva did not quite play nearly as well as he did against Alabama, and he was inconsistent as a scorer and defender in this game.  He missed too many shots when Ziaire Williams was on the floor, and he only seemed to play well when Williams was off the floor in this game.  Da Silva is a skilled big man that will need to make more solid plays consistently.  Right now, he projects to be a second round prospect for the 2021 draft.

North Carolina’s freshman center, Day’Ron Sharpe played fairly well in his team’s win over Stanford.  Though he didn’t take enough shots in this game, there was a time in the first half where it seemed like he was the best player on his team during this contest due to his solid inside scoring and passing skills.

Sharpe was very efficient in scoring out of the post in the very limited touches he had on offense.  He used a strong drop step move to score on a layup out of the post, and he also managed to score on a put back.  Plus, he also drove quickly to his left to get to the hoop, and he has a solid first step when taking opponents off the dribble from the high post.

He also displayed decent playmaking skills.  Sharpe is a good passer out of the post, and he can pass out of double teams to get assists.  He would routinely find cutters to set up scores for them, and he can throw accurate entry passes to get his teammates the basketball.  However, he was called for setting a moving screen once to commit an offensive foul and a turnover.  He also had a ball stolen away from him on a drive that led to another turnover.

Also, Sharpe rebounded and defended well in this game.  He excelled at jumping passes to get steals, and he also did a very good job of blocking shots off of drives to get stops for his team.  He played solid interior defense as he excelled at defending opponents off the dribble and in the post to force opponents to miss numerous shots.  He was called for a foul once when he hedged out too hard onto an opposing ball handler that was dribbling off of a screen.

Overall, Day’Ron Sharpe is a strong, mobile big man that played very well in his role to help his team get the win over Stanford.  He will need to be more assertive in looking to take shots on offense, but his solid interior play was instrumental in this game, and he could end up being a solid pick for an NBA team in the second round range of the 2021 draft.

North Carolina’s sophomore big man, Armando Bacot had a solid showing in his team’s win over Stanford.  He excelled as a low post scorer, as he has the strength to back his opponents down to establish deep position, has solid footwork that can enable him to get open, and he also excelled at finishing plays around the basket.  He would overpower his opponents to score at the rim, and he also was able to throw down a powerful dunk once.

Bacot also rebounded the ball well, and he was active on the glass, and he would collect plenty of boards due to possessing good size, athleticism, and motor.  However, he tended to throw inaccurate passes that would go astray, and he also committed an offensive foul when looking to score in the post once due to hooking his arm with a defender.  Overall, Bacot did a good job of scoring and rebounding in the paint, and he is a mobile, energetic big man that could end up being a second round pick in 2021.

Stanford’s 6-6 junior guard, Bryce Wills played well in his team’s loss to North Carolina.  He excelled as a scorer off of cuts and drives to the basket, and he was able to score on some tough layups around the basket.  He also scored on a dunk off of a cut, and he also managed to draw free throws on other cuts as well.  However, Wills did not make a three-point shot, and he also struggled to score off the dribble late in this game.

Wills also played solid defense.  He is a rangy defender that excelled at getting steals and blocks, and he would leap up very high to block shots off of drives.  He also was able to jump passes and poke balls away to get steals.  Sometimes though, he would be too aggressive in trying to reach in when defending opponents off the dribble, which would sometimes lead him to commit fouls and allow scores. He did not grab many rebounds in this game.  While Wills can make passes off the dribble, he tended to be a ball-stopper at times, and he also threw an inbounds pass that ended up getting intercepted.

Overall, Wills put forth a solid performance in his team’s loss to North Carolina.  He has excelled as a scorer and defender in this tournament, but he will need to look to get other players more involved on offense, as he can tend to hold the ball too long at times.  Still, he has played well in this tournament, and he may be a second round prospect for the 2021 draft.

North Carolina’s 7-1 freshman center, Walker Kessler did not play much, and he did not have much of an impact on this game.  He showed a good ability to draw free throws to get to the foul line, as he was able to do so in the post and off the dribble, but he missed all of his free throws. 

Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  He was able to deflect a pass out of bounds, but he tended to be foul prone when defending opponents off of drives and in the post, though there were some plays where he appeared to defend straight up, but was called for fouls anyways due to opponents jumping into him to initiate and draw the fouls. 

Overall, this game wasn’t a great showcase for Walker Kessler, but he could be a productive big man if he stays in school and works hard over time to improve his overall skill set.  It was disappointing that he was held scoreless and that he didn’t look to take a shot outside of the paint area, as he was known for his outside shooting prowess in high school.  Kessler may not possess ideal athletic gifts, but his offensive skill set and motor could enable him to be a potential second round pick sometime down the road.

North Carolina’s freshman guard, Kerwin Walton didn’t play much either, and he did not make much of an impact in this game in his team’s win over Stanford.  He took only one shot, as he ran off the ball to get it, but missed on a spot-up three off the catch.  He is an unselfish player that was able to pick up a pair of assists, but he was also called for a pair of traveling violation that led to turnovers.

Walton was able to collect one offensive rebound due to possessing a good motor.  Defensively, he was called for a reach-in foul in the backcourt due to over-aggressiveness.  Overall, this game wasn’t a great showcase for Kerwin Walton, as he barely played and was held scoreless.  He will likely need to stay in school and more time to hone his game, but if he can play up to the abilities he showed as a high school player, he could end up projecting into a microwave type of scorer role off the bench in the NBA sometime down the road if he is able to progress significantly as a player over time.

North Carolina’s 6-0 freshman combo guard, R.J. Davis had a decent showing in his team’s win over Stanford.  Davis excelled as a shooter and scorer in this game, as he made a pair of open, spot-up threes off the catch, and he also is a agile player that can quickly get into the lane to score and draw free throws for his team.  He wasn’t as consistent as a scorer off the dribble, but he was able to show that he can consistently get into the paint to get his shots up.

Davis also rebounded the ball well, and he was able to get his team plenty of boards in this game.  However, he was turnover prone, as he tended to throw inaccurate passes that would go astray, and he also tended to pick up fouls when defending opponents off the dribble.  Overall, Davis had a better game than anticipated, and he is a good shooter that can score the basketball even in limited touches.  He will need to improve in the other facets of the game, but he is a skilled scorer that could end up having a very good collegiate career at North Carolina, and he could be a potential second round pick whenever he decides to declare to enter the NBA draft.

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