Today, the ACC continued its tournament for the 2nd round in Brooklyn, the PAC 12 and the Mountain West started play in Las Vegas, the Big East started up in the MSG, the Big 12 started up in Kansas City, The SEC Tournament began in St. Louis, and the Conference USA Tournament began in Frisco where I attended the first round games.
The ACC’s main prospects to watch from March 7 were Omer Yurtseven (NC State), Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame), Nickeil Alexander-Walker (VT), Oshae Brissett (Syracuse), Tyus Battle (Syracuse), and Louisville’s forwards Raymond Spalding & Deng Adel. Here’s how each did:
- Omer Yurtseven had 20 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 blocks on 8-16 shooting. While NC State’s tournament was a short one, they are still likely to be in the big dance. Yurtseven has a great chance to boost his stock in a huge stage. BC’s Jerome Robinson and Ky Bowman had great games, combining for 50 points. BC’s run is tested at 1 PM versus #19 Clemson.
- Bonzie Colson had a rough outing, and the team trailed for most of the game. Notre Dame pulled of a miraculous comeback versus VT, but Bonzie Colson was a major reason why they needed to come back. Colson shot 1-10 from the field with 2 points at halftime, and finished with 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks on 4-14 shooting. Notre Dame will need him to be better tomorrow versus Duke.
- On the other end of that game, Nickeil Alexander-Walker was quiet in recording just 7 points and 5 rebounds on 3-7 shooting. He has great physical tools, but has mostly been unable to live up to his hype. He would be best suited returning to school for his sophomore season. He needs to become more consistent to warrant a first round selection.
- Oshae Brissett and Tyus Battle had opposite games for the Orange. Oshae Brissett, a perfectly sized small forward, recorded 20 points, 10 rebounds, 1 block, and 1 steal on 7-14 shooting. While Brissett has been very inconsistent as a shooter, he has NBA upside as a mid second round pick. He’s a quality athlete, he can penetrate and create, and when his shot is falling he is an effective offensive player. He may benefit from playing against man-to-man defenses. Tyus Battle, on the other hand, had one of his worst games of the season. Battle had 15 points on 4-21 shooting, along with 2 assists, a steal, and 3 rebounds. You can read my scouting report on him above, but I think Battle would benefit by either staying at Syracuse for another year or by going pro and accepting a role in the NBA G-League.
- Lastly for the ACC, Deng Adel and Raymond Spalding had quality outings in a win over Florida State. Spalding had 18 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks on 8-13 shooting. Spalding has improved a lot in his junior season, and should be a late second round target. Deng Adel has also seen a major improvement as a junior, and should go pro as well. Adel had 15 points and 8 rebounds, and 2 assists on 6-13 shooting (2-4 from 3). Adel is best in transition, and is a good playmaker for a wing. He’s not a great athlete in the half court, but can shoot and make the smart play. He is lethal from mid-range as well. Louisville faces Virginia at 11 AM CT.
In the Mountain West, the main prospect to watch is UNLV’s Brandon McCoy. In an overtime win over Air Force, McCoy had 23 points, 12 rebounds, an assist, and 3 blocks on 9-18 shooting. McCoy is still somewhat raw, but his offensive production is hard to ignore. McCoy is a good athlete, a great rebounder, and has a good jump shot. He’s still young and has experience playing for the U19 USA team last summer. Consider McCoy a fringe first round prospect for now.
In the Pac-12, the only notable game was Washington State vs Oregon. The game was an OT thriller that featured PAC-12’s Most Improved Player Robert Franks of Washington State and Troy Brown & Kenny Wooten of Oregon. Robert Franks had 16 points and 3 rebounds on 6-11 shooting. Look for him to be on draft boards next year after his junior season. As for Oregon, Troy Brown was 0-8 until the end of the game. He finished with 8 points on 2-10 shooting, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals, and 4 turnovers. Kenny Wooten only had 2 points on 1-2 shooting, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Oregon will likely need to make a run in the PAC-12 Tournament to make the NCAA Tournament. If both Wooten and Troy Brown stay, which I think would be beneficial to Brown more than Wooten, they could be looking at a deep NCAA Tournament run with the additions of top recruits Louis King and Bol Bol in 2018-19.
In the Big East, St Johns defeated Georgetown 88-77 behind Shamorie Ponds’ 26 points and 3 rebounds on 9-14 shooting. Ponds will definitely get drafted if he decides to forgo his final two collegiate seasons at St Johns. He could go anywhere from the late teens to the very early second round.
Next, Oklahoma State defeated in-state rival Oklahoma to begin the Big 12 Tournament. Trae Young continued his slump, going 7-21 from the field for 22 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, 4 steals, and 4 turnovers. Oklahoma is in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament. However, that shouldn’t affect Young’s draft stock, but rather seeing him continue slumping or breaking out of the slump in postseason play will have more of an impact on his draft stock.
Lastly, I attended the Conference USA first round games at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco. The main takeaway from the first round was the impressive performance from UAB PF William Lee. Before the season, William Lee was on my radar as a player to keep an eye on as a senior, and he has shown to be worth a look from NBA teams. Against Florida Atlantic, Lee had 20 points on 8-12 shooting (4-8 from 3), 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Lee has an NBA frame, standing at 6-9/210 with long arms. Lee is very athletic, which he showed early on with his two vicious blocks. Lee made the All-Conference USA defensive team for the third consecutive year in 2017-18. The other area he impressed me with was shooting. While for the season he’s been a 33% shooter from 3, he hit his first 3 of the game, then to start the second half he hit three 3s on the first 3 possessions. Two were from a standstill and one was off the dribble. He must add consistency in his jump shot, and if he does, he will without a doubt be on an NBA Summer League roster. Lee is very talented and athletic, and some team will be quick to attempt to find a diamond in the rough in him. His game is well suited for the modern NBA, and even though he’s from a mid-major, he may still be able to find a niche in the NBA one day.
These games recapped today didn’t feature many top prospects, but March 8th will feature many top teams and prospects throughout the country: Almost everyone in the top 25 plays tomorrow, and Michael Porter Jr is set to return against Georgia in the 2nd round of the SEC Tournament.