One of the best freshman defenders in the country, Trevor Keels earned ACC All-Freshman honors on a stacked Duke team with a unique role. Trevor turns 19 in August, making him one of the youngest players in the draft. As a freshman, Keels averaged 11.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 1.3 TOPG on shooting splits of 42/31/67. Below is his full scouting report:
Name: Trevor Keels
Wingspan/ standing reach: 6’7/8’5
Hand size: 9
Pre-Draft team: Duke
Tools: Frame, defense, motor
- Nonstop motor
- Young for his class; turns 19 in late August
- Good release point on jumper
- Strong, NBA ready body/frame
- Quality one-dribble pull-up J
- Fearless attacking the rim and going for rebounds
- Reliable scoop layup move
- Good rebounder
- Good recovery ability on defense
- Can bully smaller/skinnier defenders with quick post ups
- Plus ball-handling ability with some advanced moves
- Active hands and can force turnovers
- Strong as a P&R passer
- Jump shot base is inconsistent and often moving too much
- Myst get better as a shooter, especially spotting up
- Doesn’t blow by defenders on the drive
- Lacks vertical pop: 31 inch max vertical
- Can be turnover-prone in traffic
- Needs to get better at winning the final stands of a defensive play; dominates first point of action, loses shot contests at times
- Must get more comfortable using his left hand at the rim; less than 10 left handed rim attempts at Duke
Trevor Keels is a bulldog style guard with potential as a scorer with playmaking and defensive upside. Still just 18 years old until the end of summer, Keels poses high upside with the early flashes he has shown as a freshman.
As a ball-handler, Keels shows lots of promise through his crafty handle and deep bag, as well as an ability to pass on the move and accurately use shot fakes into passes. As Keels matures and learns how to master his handle in terms of learning how to get to his spots without blow-by ability, his upside can be unlocked as a true point guard at 6’5. Beyond a good handle, Keels thrives at finding big men on the move. He uses straight line drives and showing the ball to quickly turn to a pass as his defenders bite on the fake, creating an open shot at the rim for his big man. Another fake Keels uses is a positive form of a jump pass, especially out of pick & rolls. Shown below is an example, rising for what looks like a floater, which gets the big man into box-out position, forgetting about a potential shot, creating an open shot for the big at the rim on the lob.
Keels’ scoring ability will make-or-break his NBA outcome. While he has mostly projectable shooting form, Keels needs to improve stability and fluidity in his jumper, and improve shot selection. His 3 point percentage took a big hit because of the deep 3s he would take to keep the offense open and flowing in a stacked future-NBA lineup. The bigger concern for Keels comes from his free throw percentage, which was considerably lower than positional average at 67%. Free throw percentage is usually a strong indicator of 3 point shooting success at the next level.
Defensively, Keels’ motor, frame/strength, and recovery ability make him capable of guarding multiple positions, even up to small forwards. Even with a lack of high-level athleticism, Keels still projects as a positive defender due to knowing how to defend one-on-one, active hands, and never taking a play off on defense. Keels’ frame makes him lethal against point guards, and at least above-average against wings. The same way that Keels makes his big men better offensively, he does the same defensively. At Duke, Keels knew he had a cushion at the rim in Mark Williams, which meant he could go all out on harassing ball-handlers and letting Williams finish the play at the rim. This set up easy contests and blocks for Williams, and also made Keels’ job easier, being able to lock down the perimeter and focus on what he does best defensively, both on-ball and away from the ball.
Overall, Keels’ finishing ability, projected growth as a jump shooter, P&R playmaking, and defense make him stand out in a weak point guard class as a top 40 pick with upside. Keels turns 19 in August, so a team willing to invest in his upside as a great defender, solid playmaker that can fit into any lineup, and potential to grow as a shooter, can find a potential starting caliber guard with good draft-night value.
Similar to: Kyle Lowry
Projected draft range: 26-42
Expected role: Combo guard with P&R prowess and lockdown defense that uses a great center at the rim on both ends to elevate his game.
Unplayable if: Jump shot never develops and doesn’t translate, as well as his lack of blow-by speed limiting his offensive creation. Additionally, if Keels is strictly a right-handed finisher, he will become easy to guard at the rim.
Exceeds expectations if: Jump shot develops, turnovers get cleaned up, and