Billy: Houston Hoops G Carsen Edwards
POSITIVES: Edwards’ basketball IQ is pretty high and he understands how to work matchups on the floor and build connections with teammates. Multiple times, he hit De’Aaron Fox for a backdoor layup after watching the defense over-extend. Edwards is at his best as a catch-and-shoot three-point guard, making Las Vegas Prospects pay for not sticking closer to him. Whether it was from the left arc or right arc, Edwards was able to knock down threes and that’s where he’s most lethal. Edwards also is a very aware defender and has an ability to grab the steal and make the little plays to make sure his teammates get open looks in transition off those steals. Edwards didn’t drive to the rim often, but didn’t have too much trouble getting there when he did.
NEGATIVES: Being slightly under 6-feet has its disadvantages for him, but that’s made Edwards a better defender in a way. Edwards doesn’t just throw a hand up, but is great about getting a hand in the shooter’s face, where he can’t see the basket. Many times, opponents had no way of being able to see the rim as they elevated for a shot because of Edwards’ hand-placement. Edwards’ didn’t light it up from three-point range the entire night. He started off against Las Vegas as a streaky shooter, but really came on in the second-half before being on the bench for a lot of Houston Hoops’ late game situations.
BILLY’S TAKE: Edwards is a slightly taller Nic Moore. He’s solid from three-point range, understands situations well and can defend well because of his lateral movement. Edwards is stocky even though he’s certainly a compact guard, but makes up for it with the tenacity of his on-ball defense. Overall, he fits well into Larry Brown’s demands of a guard, but doesn’t have the length the other guard prospects have. While SMU is going to get attention from Edwards, the staff’s biggest selling point will have to be Moore’s development and the education, which is important to Edwards. Solid EYBL performance from Edwards that had many talent evaluators there taking notice.
Hatts: Team Texas Elite G C.J. Roberts
POSITIVES: C.J. Roberts showed a lot of toughness in the couple games I got to watch him this past weekend especially on the defensive end. Roberts was tough defensively and moved his feet well both in the half court and when he picked guys up in the full court. Roberts is a lot quicker than he appears and this allowed him to play solid defense throughout both games while he was on the court. Roberts also was able to use this speed on the offensive end to get by a lot of defenders and attack the rim. Roberts did not always make the layups but also drew a lot of fouls. In his loss to the Arkansas in the Saturday night game, Roberts went to the line 12 times and made 8 of those free throws. The final impressive characteristic from Roberts was the leadership and toughness he showed on the court. It was evident throughout both games Roberts was battling a couple nagging injuries however he was still out there battling despite his team being down 15-20 points in both their Saturday games. In the late game, Texas Elite was actually able to make a little bit of a run led by Roberts to get within 10. Throughout both games however, the 6-2, 180-pound point guard was encouraging his team to keep fighting and as he put it learn from each game to get ready for next year.
NEGATIVES: It could have been due to the fact Roberts was battling some injuries but he did struggle shooting the ball throughout both games. Combined over the entire tournament, Roberts went 18 of 49 from the field; with the most notable game that he struggled was a 1 for 10 outing against Pro Skills. Despite these shooting concerns, Roberts likely projects as a point guard at the collegiate level and will have a bit of time to work on his outside shooting. The other concern for Roberts is he did take a lot of hits throughout the games and struggled to hold up physically throughout the weekend. This would be a concern over the course of a whole season, as Roberts would likely need to put on a little bit of muscle to hold up physically.
HATT’S TAKE: While Roberts is a solid player he does have some areas of his game he could improve on. Looking ahead, the Richland point guard, fits the personality of this team as a tough player that is going to come out and work hard on the defensive end of the floor and attack the basket. Despite this, he likely needs to improve as a scorer to become a solid player at the D-1 level, as well as, under coach Brown’s system. The bright side for Roberts is he is only a rising junior and has basically two years to work on these parts of his game while becoming a little bit stronger. Roberts is likely a player to watch down the road if he can improve on the offensive end just because of the relationship he has with the SMU coaches.
Patrick: NJ Playaz G Jagan Mosely
POSITIVES: Mosely’s toughness and team-first attitude at the Houston EYBL trumped everything else. He suffered a severe heel bruise, but played through it and led his team to three straight wins. In those three games, he played 30, 30 and 29 minutes, respectively, and they were probably his three best games of the AAU season. He averaged 17 points on 54 percent shooting and shot 22-of-25 from the foul line (88 percent) in those three games. Despite the injury, he consistently attacked the basket and drew contact. He’s at his best when he attacks and draws contact, and his 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame makes him tough to defend with the ball in his hands. He takes a straight line to the hoop and doesn’t try to be fancy with finishes or moves. Mosely is also a smart shooter, rarely forcing a shot or taking low-percentage shots. He’s active around the basket on both ends and crashes the boards. Defensively, Mosely is smart too. Defending a 2-one-1 in transition, he didn’t overcommit to one player and forced the shooter into an awkward-looking layup. His length (6-foot-9 wingspan) and build make him a tough defensive matchup at either guard spot.
NEGATIVES: Mosely will get his points, but scoring on all three levels isn’t part of his game. He isn’t a high-volume three-point shooter and struggles a bit when shooting off the dribble, even though his form looks fine. While he attacks well, he needs to do a better job of playing above the rim. He was caught in no-man’s land on a few of opponent three pointers, although he arrived just in time to block one of them. He can be a little careless with the ball; he’s averaged 2.1 turnovers per game this AAU season and could anticipate passes better. However, he has the smarts that his awareness should improve.
PATRICK’S TAKE: Mosely would fit well at either guard spot for a college team. He’d bring toughness and good man-to-man defense right away, but won’t light up the scoreboard right away. He can develop a better three-point shot, but he will likely be a catch-and-shoot guy. Mosely’s competitive nature will impress his future college coach from first practice, and that will help him earn minutes right away. He has the physical maturity to play right away, and his smart shot selection will make him an efficient offensive player.