On January 13, I made the trip out to Baton Rouge to watch Alabama face off versus LSU in a conference matchup. I had primarily come to see two top point guards in the conference face off against each other in Collin Sexton and Tremont Waters. However, Alabama’s Braxton Key and John Petty also stood out to me and will be featured later on.
Collin Sexton vs Tremont Waters was my top matchup to watch, and early on it was a great matchup. Without getting into a game report, Sexton scored 15 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, had 3 assists, 1 block, and 9 turnovers on 4-16 shooting. Waters scored 19 points, had 5 assists, grabbed 3 rebounds, had 3 steals, and just 1 turnover. I was inattentive to the stats during the game, but I felt that Sexton’s stats severely undersold his skills he displayed.
My main takeaway regarding Collin Sexton was that his mechanics from a standstill jumper and a moving shot are wildly different. Something else that stood out to me was how he let emotions affect his play-style. In the final minutes of the first half, Sexton and Waters exchanged words and some light shoving, which led to Sexton seeking his own shot, regardless of quality of the shot, which impacted his low FG%. He also was overly aggressive attacking the basket, especially when Waters was guarding him. There was one possession where coach Avery Johnson called a play, but Sexton waived him off in order to get an isolation against Tremont Waters, which occurred right after their incident.
Sexton has an incredible motor and displayed it by never taking a play off, and consistently hustling harder than any other player on the court. His high motor allows him to attack the basket very easily, where he can use a variety of moves to beat his defender off the dribble. Sexton has an elite spin move, a good Euro-step, great body control and explosiveness, and most importantly he has excellent vision while attacking the basket.
Collin Sexton will thrive in a system where he can run the offense and have the ball in his hands quite a bit. He must have a coach who will be patient with him and help him play within himself and abandon emotional play that has led to reckless play at times. While I see almost no chance that the Mavericks draft Collin Sexton in order to pair him with Dennis Smith JR, Sexton is a must-have in the top 10. His scoring potential, athleticism, and high motor on both ends are major pluses in the NBA.
A top 50 recruit in 2017, Tremont Waters had been committed to Georgetown until late in recruitment, where he flipped to LSU. Waters is a dynamic scorer, particularly off the dribble, and can read defenses at an elite level for a freshman. My full scouting report on Waters from earlier this year can be found here. Waters was primarily guarded by Sexton, but often used screens to draw a mismatch against a bigger defender. Waters’ basketball IQ was on display Saturday night with just one turnover against a strong Alabama defensive showing and playing the passing lanes well on defense. Tremont Waters is excellent in transition, and despite being undersized, is able to make almost any pass from and to anywhere on the court.
Another top 30 freshman recruit to Alabama, John Petty came off the bench vs LSU and went 2-8 from the field (2-7 from 3) with 6 points, 1 steal, 1 rebound, and 1 turnover. Petty is shooting 36% from 3, but just 56.5% from the free throw line this season. His mechanics need improvement, as there’s lots of movement in his shot. My biggest concern involving Petty is his low feel for the game. He made a lot of jump passes, fed into the traps that LSU set, missed rotations on defense, and had poor shot selection. Petty is a good athlete, but is still very raw at this point in his career, and likely will not be in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Lastly, Braxton Key went 3-8 (0-2 from 3) for 6 points, 2 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 turnovers. Key stood out on the defensive end, where he consistently held his own thanks to his size and athleticism. Key withdrew from the 2017 NBA Draft after a decent freshman season. His scoring has declined in his few games since returning from injury, but his playmaking, defense, and rebounding have been just as good, if not better than last year.
Thank you for reading, and check out my next game report on Texas-TCU on February 10 when Mo Bamba visits DFW! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @MavsDraft!