In 2017, a high school sophomore from Greenwood, Indiana exploded onto the national basketball recruiting scene. Two years later, Trayce Jackson-Davis was named Indiana Mr. Basketball and a McDonald's All-American. Nine of the past twelve Indiana Mr. Basketball nominees have gone on to be drafted (seven first rounders). The number 26 RSCI recruit in his class committed to the Hoosiers, giving them back-to-back in-state Mr. Basketball recipients for the first time in 21 years. Jackson-Davis is an ultra-athletic, 6'9" 245 lb. power forward who excels around the basket on both ends of the floor; he projects as a smooth/fluid athlete, a reliable interior scorer with potential to eventually extend his range, and an impactful defender with rim-protection acumen and the potential to viably switch in spurts.
Basketball runs in his blood, but TJD has made his game his own. Jackson-Davis ranks in the 98th percentile as a half-court scorer, putting up 20+ points per 40 minutes on 64+ TS%. Although he doesn’t take many shots from the outside in his role at IU, he’s flashed excellent touch on limited spot-up attempts (96th percentile) to go along with strong cutting instincts and rebounding acumen. Though he hasn't generated a ton of mainstream 2020 NBA Draft buzz to-date, Jackson-Davis will be an intriguing early entrant candidate with a chance to stick in the NBA for a long time.
Derrick Alston Jr. is a wiry, slashing wing prospect with NBA bloodlines and an enticing plethora of skills. He’s improved tremendously year-to-year during his time at Boise State and his stock as an NBA prospect is rising, accordingly. Though not necessarily near the top of this draft class at one particular specialized skill, he's shown proven quite good at a wide array of skills, particularly offensively, that could translate to the next level. Alston can score from all three levels, create for his teammates, and has the tools to be a versatile defender one day. If his trajectory of consistent growth and improvement continues through the latter half of the 2019-20 season, the talented former walk-on could establish himself as one of the more intriguing offensive prospects outside of the first round.
Naji Marshall, a four-star recruit out of Hargrave Military Academy (57th RSCI) in 2017, has blossomed into a strong two-way player for the Musketeers. Marshall tested the 2019 NBA Draft waters under the representation of Nathan Conley (PROSPORT Management) and ultimately decided to return for his junior season. Halfway through his junior campaign, Marshall has appeared to take significant steps forward. On a slight uptick in usage, Marshall has increased his scoring output and AST% while taking better care of the ball and showing tangible improvement on the defensive end. At 6’7”, 220 pounds with a ~7'0" wingspan, Marshall possesses ideal size for a hybrid forward at the next level, with appealing secondary playmaking upside and defensive tools to boot. Though his shooting has been a bit inconsistent, Marshall's physical profile and versatile skill set on both ends of the floor will be enticing to NBA decision-makers and may very well thrust him into 2020 Draft early entrant consideration.
In the modern NBA, efficient shooting is predominantly derived from threes, free throws, and attempts at the rim. While bigs derive most of their looks at the rim from putbacks, lobs, post-ups, and easy assisted looks, wings must be able to adeptly attack the rim from the perimeter as drivers. A well-rounded finishing package for a slashing wing is comprised of a subset of specific situational driving skills, including attacking closeouts, off-the-dribble self-creation, blowing by switching bigs, absorbing contact, one-foot and two-foot bounce, change of pace, stride length, acrobatic mid-air body contortion, fluidity, touch, and more.
In our third Film Room Friday installment of the 2019-20 scouting season, the PBC scouting team has sifted through game film to identify non-big prospects with potential to translate as effective slashers and finishers at the rim. To provide some context, let’s first lay out a few examples of NBA players that excel at attacking the paint on drives and finishing through traffic.
Shooting from range is more valued than ever in the modern NBA. While spot-up shooting acumen spaces the floor and is very valuable in and of itself, what separates truly great shooters and adds exponential offensive value is the ability to shoot off-movement. High-level off-movement shooters are few and far between in the collegiate game, but those who do possess this skill certainly will catch the eyes of professional evaluators.
In our second Film Room Friday installment of the 2019-20 scouting season, the PBC scouting team has sifted through game film to identify prospects with potential to translate as dynamic off-movement shooters.
If you ask Jared Butler what “TTG” means, he’ll tell you “Trained to Go”. And coming into his freshman season at Baylor, it was very clear he was ready to go and compete with anyone who was in his way. By his third collegiate game, Butler dropped 22 points off the bench. By game 15, he was a full-time starter for the Bears. This season Butler is running the show, has put together some very impressive outings, and has thrust himself into the 2020 NBA Draft conversation.
Butler is a 6’3” wiry pick-and-roll initiator with a perpetual green light from deep. After the first seven games of the 2019-20 season, Butler was shooting 52% from the arc opening the season, including a 30-point outburst where he knocked down a career-high eight three-pointers. While he’s regressed a bit back toward the mean since then, Butler has proven to be a major threat from outside and will likely be neck-and-neck with 2019 PBC alum Desmond Bane as the top three-point shooter in the Big 12 this season.
In the pace-and-space modern NBA and in professional leagues around the world, the lane is less congested and there’s more space to fly in and fight for offensive rebounds. Keeping possessions alive on the offensive glass is a valuable, often overlooked skill. Though length and athleticism certainly help one’s chances of bringing down an offensive board, much of the art of offensive rebounding is tied to technique and effort.
In our first Film Room Friday installment of the 2019-20 scouting season, the PBC scouting team has sifted through game film to identify prospects with potential to translate as tenacious offensive rebounders and putback threats.
If your team is in need of a versatile, instinctual defender with a knack for quickly turning defense into easy offense, Trevelin Queen is your man. After transferring to New Mexico State following a successful 2017-18 JUCO campaign as a sophomore at the New Mexico Military Institute, Queen's per-40 numbers as a junior caught the eyes of many evaluators. No longer a secret after being thrust into a higher usage role, Queen is statistically producing across the board early in his senior season. At 6'6" and 190 pounds, Queen is a very good athlete and possesses prototypical physical tools for a modern wing. While the sample size remains small, Queen's instinctual and athletic flashes pop on tape to accompany the strong statistical indicators, and he's certainly thrust himself into the 2020 NBA Draft conversation.
Watching Colbey Ross orchestrate a very talented Pepperdine Waves offense is like witnessing the Millennium Falcon jump to light speed. The fleet-footed lead guard is an offensive maestro, leading college basketball with 198 points produced through the Thanksgiving holiday tournaments. Ross has been a high usage creator since he first set foot in Malibu in 2017, and has thrived as one of the nation's most consistently productive mid-major guards. A career 40+% three-point shooter on 300+ attempts, Ross has the shooting versatility, savvy craft, and competitive edge that will likely garner the attention of the highest leagues in Europe - and although it's certainly an uphill climb for small mid-major guards, don't rule out an eventual shot at the NBA.
Following an impressive showing at the 2018 Division B European U18 Championship (13.5 PPG, 8.0 REB, 6.0 AST), Vrenz Bleijenbergh was offered a scholarship by the Arizona Wildcats and was thrust into the conversation of 2000-born European prospects with potential EuroLeague and/or NBA futures. With his extraordinary combination of length and skill, the 19-year-old led Belgium to a bronze medal and got on the radar of multiple NBA front offices. Bleijenbergh tested the 2019 NBA Draft waters under the representation and advisement of Yannick Kizito of Wasserman, but withdrew ahead of the deadline as he was unable to accept any of his workout invitations because his team was still competing in the playoffs. Since the beginning of the current season, the Belgian is a key contributor to the rotation of the Antwerp Giants, where he regularly matches up against quality European competition in the Basketball Champions League. Due to his outstanding playmaking ability, Bleijenbergh can take on the role as a floor general and adds a different element to last year’s runner-up in the Belgian Pro Basketball League and BCL Final Four participant.
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