Scouting Notes: UL Monroe @ TCU November 17, 2022

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The TCU Horned Frogs finally clicked in their fourth game, playing host to the Warhawks of the  University of Louisiana at Monroe. TCU star guard Mike Miles missed his second straight game with a bone bruise on his foot, and was in a walking boot during pregame warmups. Luckily for the Horned Frogs, they were able to more than make up for his absence with outstanding defense, good ball movement, high-level activity, and three point shooting.

In this game, two NBA teams had scouts in attendance: the Brooklyn Nets and Charlotte Hornets. However, both scouts were pretty ready to call it a day by almost half, since TCU was up 53-26. In the limited valuable action that the scouts were deep studying this game, let’s take a look at what they liked and didn’t like:

The Good:

While TCU doesn’t have any draftable prospects outside of Mike Miles, there are future pro prospects, which always requires NBA teams to do due diligence in making sure no players fly under the radar and get swooped up, resulting in a ‘how did we miss this guy?’ conversation. The prospects scouts looked for were Micah Peavy (who the Nets also scouted last year), Chuck O’Bannon, Emanuel Miller, and maybe PJ Haggerty in a very long-term study.

Micah Peavy:

  • Got to the basket confidently and easily
  • Peavy was the best defender in this game. He gave ULM nightmares and created multiple 10+ second possessions of chaos for ball-handlers. Peavy should compete for All-Defense in the Big 12 as a junior.
  • Jump shooting remains an issue, but he didn’t attempt a jumper until garbage time.

Emanuel Miller:

  • Miller was arguably the best player vs ULM, being the second best defender while also cutting and thriving off-ball as a finisher and mid range shooter.
  • With great athleticism and size at 6’7, Miller’s versatility is going to at the least catch the eyes of NBA scouts. He needs a consistent jumper to take the next step as a prospect, and for TCU to be a title contending team.

Chuck O’Bannon:

  • We only got one half of O’Bannon because of a flagrant two at the end of the first half that seemed to cause a scuffle at the tunnel headed into halftime. O’Bannon was active on defense, hustling to loose balls and stopping plays before the Warhawks could get to their spots.
  • O’Bannon’s jumper is awkward, but it seems to find a way in. He is auto-eligible for the NBA Draft in 2023, so look for the NBA pedigree to play a role in him getting an opportunity in the Summer League before heading overseas. 
  • Being a sixth year player and only 6’6, O’Bannon is too much of a tweener with age that teams do not like giving the benefit of the doubt to.

Eddie Lampkin:

  • Lampkin is college basketball’s Isaiah Stewart, for better or worse. His lack of vertical athleticism is a limiter even at 6’11, but he can rebound the ball like few others in the country. 
  • Lampkin clearly improved his passing tonight, making some impressive passes in the short roll and as a cutter. 
  • Defensively, Lampkin lacks versatility, which is a major turn-off to NBA teams and scouts. Lampkin still is a professional overseas at a minimum.

The Less Good, But Not Bad:

Nika Metskhvarishvili is someone I had been told to watch for, with a clean jumper at 6’7. Unfortunately, at 23 years old and lacking volume on a mid-major team, it is unlikely to see him as an NBA prospect. The Georgia (country) native will likely head back overseas to play professional basketball, so this is more of a European-minded scouting evaluation in what I have made of Metskhvarishvili, in a simple way:

  • His jump shot form is clean; projects well with higher level talent as an off-ball player at 6’7.
  • His defensive instincts are at minimum passable. I saw him come over at the perfect time for a help-side block at the start of the game, which was impressive.
  • I noticed a few passes of his where his teammates just couldn’t get to the spot in time. He sees the floor well, and again, would probably have made some of those passes with better teammates (with all due respect).
  • Metskhvarishvili being 23 and lacking a distinguished role right now limits his effectiveness. If he becomes a pure off-ball player offensively and a small forward on defense, he has a promising role overseas.

Would have liked to see more:

Rondel Walker is someone I was really excited by to start the season as a transfer from Oklahoma State. His defense was yet again solid in this one, as was the whole team’s. However, he still is finding his role in the TCU offense, so his offensive production was lacking. He kept the ball moving, but I would like to see him used more off of screens, since his only first half shot was a moving three pointer, with four more coming closer to garbage time.