Gonzaga vs USC Recap


On December 2, Gonzaga and USC met in Las Vegas, where Gonzaga won handedly by a score of 89-76. While the score seems lopsided, there are several draft takeaways to be had over several players, including lottery prospect Isaiah Collier and rising prospects such as Anton Watson, Kobe Johnson, and others.

Isaiah Collier

This was my first time watching the top 5 prospect and arguably top lead guard in the draft class, and he impressed with his court vision and ability to be a floor general, along with his powerful driving. Collier finished with 14 points on 6-14 shooting, along with 4 rebounds, 6 assists to 3 turnovers, and 1 steal. He also went 2-6 from the free throw line and 0-1 from 3, highlighting the shooting concerns that make teams hesitant to move Collier to the top of their draft board. Collier showed power in some of his drives, and while he didn’t always land assists, his passing was sharp and set up high-percentage looks through NBA sets. 

Defensively in this video, Collier has 2 positives and 1 negative. The negative was a zoning out (second to last play), but could have been a one-off given his general on-ball ability and motor, which also were shown in the video. The last play shows him getting back and hustling forcing a poked ball, but ultimately going to the man at the rim for an easy layup.

Offensively, while his jump shot and free throws were generally rough, his scoring ability within 15 feet remains strong. He has NBA moves with strong fakes and creative ways to score, including an advanced spin move, which have helped him thrive this season as a 2 point scorer. He should be able to generate lots of free throws in the NBA, which is another reason why adding a reliable jump shot remains so important, because his jumper and free throw development should go hand-in-hand.

Boogie Ellis

Boogie Ellis was the star in this game, going for 28 points on 12-21 shooting, 7 rebounds, 4 assists to 1 turnover, along with 2 steals. His scoring ability has popped this season, even with Collier joining him in the backcourt, being able to truly score at all 3 levels with deep range on his jump shot. His shot creation within the 3 point line was impressive, being able to slice in and out of traffic, using hop steps and spins to get layups and jumpers that kept the defense off balance. He also showed playmaking ability by passing out of drives. A big swing skill for Ellis’ NBA upside is his point guard ability. With Isaiah Collier starting alongside him, this is harder to showcase on a nightly basis, but flashes like this game are promising for NBA scouts. Ellis should be able to pop in the G League right away, but his playmaking will be what determines if he gets the call to the NBA or not.

Kobe Johnson 

Kobe Johnson, the younger brother of Hawks’ forward Jalen Johnson, had a good game despite 3-10 shooting. He had some impactful defense (although had an ugly play with teammate DJ Rodman due to miscommunication, shown below), and did well near the rim with good finishing moves. The first play in the video above also shows his 3 point ability with a great give & go that relocates him to the open corner. Johnson has taken a jump offensively, but will need to improve on his current 43.5% shooting from the field for his draft stock to further improve. Kobe Johnson finished this game with 7 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block on 3-10 shooting.

Oziyah Sellers

While offense didn’t pop for Oziyah Sellers in his five minutes of action, his defense, however, did. His instincts and ability to create havoc defensively is something for scouts to monitor as a great skill. If his offense comes around, Sellers can emerge as a prospect on the wings.

Nolan Hickman

Nolan Hickman is someone that generally has had issues with passiveness and not taking over games when given the chance, but that was not the case in this game. Hickman finished with 10 points on 4-6 shooting, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks with just 1 turnover. His stepback 3s were promising, as he continues to score more efficiently on more volume in a variety of ways, both jump shooting and getting near the rim. As he finds ways to take over more frequently and more creatively, his draft stock will improve. While he may end up being a 4 year player and a 2025 prospect, this type of game was promising in building towards his highest pre-draft ceiling.

Dusty Stromer

Dusty Stromer has a beautiful jump shot, and made some intelligent plays, including the above touch pass. Stromer finished the game with 15 points on 5-13 shooting, along with 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 block with only 1 turnover. With good size on the wings as a shooter at 6’6, Stromer is an intriguing long-term prospect.

Anton Watson

Anton Watson is a great example of the aforementioned setting up his senior season and booming in his draft-eligible year. While it is early in the season, Watson has shown higher volume flashes of his great feel for the game on both ends, including proper defensive rotations at a high level, along with smooth passing, both shown in the videos below. Watson is a unique connecting piece that should be able to impact winning basketball as a rookie. 

Anton Watson finished this game with 9 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, and 1 block on 4-9 shooting.