We had the opportunity to see the majority of Arizona’s prospects in action this past weekend and here are some general thoughts and observations:
1. There’s some very good point guards in 2018
After watching nearly every top point guard in the class this past weekend, there isn’t a huge gap among them. Darius Garland was probably the best point guard we saw this past weekend, but Tre Jones isn’t far behind. Quentin Grimes is one of the few that has the size to play other positions beyond point guard. Jahvon Quinerly struggled offensively, but made the right decision almost every time and found his teammates with ease.
Devon Dotson is probably underrated at this point. He does a good job of finding his teammates, but his offensive game continues to get better and he showed us the ability to finish in a variety of ways.
When Brandon Williams was healthy he was right there and figuring everything is good with his knee moving forward, he’s in this group as well.
Arizona is in the running for a handful of point guards to the point where it almost seems impossible to think that Arizona won’t land a very good one in this class.
2. Marvin Bagley is as good as it gets
The worst game he had was the opening game, but he still scored 20 points and added 15 rebounds. Yep, that was his worst game. The other efforts included 36 and 11, 26 and 17, and 29 and 18 to closes it out.
The only prospects we can recall liking this much were Kevin Durant and Greg Oden. We know Oden didn’t match the hype, but much of that had to do with injuries. If Bagley can come close to Durant, the hype he is receiving now is worth it.
If we’re being picky, the only concern may be that he is physically maxed out or at least close to it. However, he can probably still get stronger and that’s only if we’re being overly picky. There’s really nothing he can’t do and his top six schools are going to do as much as possible to land the best prospect regardless of class.
3. Shareef O’Neal’s success depends on him
Sounds silly, but it really does. O’Neal has a ton of upside and in that regard he’s one of the best forwards in the class.
The issue with upside is that not every player reaches his and that’s where the frustration with scouting comes in.
O’Neal needs to take to coaching and work better to his strengths. If he does that, he is going to have a very long and successful career. That’s the main aspect of his game to watch moving forward, but you won’t find anybody that says the talent isn’t there.
4. Be thankful Arizona got Chase Jeter
Bol Bol is very good and clearly the top center prospect in the west, if not the country. Moses Brown is up there, but we saw Bol be more consistent. Nazreon Reid is also right there and physically he is probably the best center prospect in the country, but he needs to show he can bring it every night and his offensive game is limited.
As good as Bol Bol is, there are still some questions. He carries himself too low offensively and he needs to find a way to get stronger and use that strength for post position. Eventually, a player needs to rely on more than just size and sometimes Bol Bol’s success is because he is just bigger than everybody else.
So where does Jeter come into play?
It’s not because Bol Bol isn’t going to be good, because he is. Rather, if Arizona doesn’t land Bol Bol, the only other target it is really on is Reid and that seems highly unlikely. There’s not one center beyond that Arizona should offer and can realistically get.
There’s a huge gap from the top three centers to the rest in the country and only three schools are going to land them, so getting Jeter was absolutely huge.
5. Motor is important
Too many times we caught ourself saying, “If only he would play hard all the time.”
Gerald Liddell is a five-star talent, but sat on the perimeter way too much and didn’t seem engaged at times. Cameron Reddish basically played when he wanted to and when he did, he was nearly unstoppable. We can name numerous prospects that had similar issues and it’s frustrating.
It’s also why guys like Marvin Bagley are so highly regarded and why Taeshon Cherry is more likely to be successful than not.
A player can have a ton of talent, but if he isn’t going to put in the effort to make a difference, that talent goes to waste. Coaches need to be able to assess whether or not a player is going to consistently want to dominate because the wrong move in that evaluation can really set a team back and become contagious.