Engel Evaluations

Patrick breaks down a trio of SMU hoops prospects in his FREE Engel Evaluations.

Lamar Stevens

2016 SF, The Haverford School (Haverford, Pa.)

Scoring: Stevens scores most of his points in the paint, and he gets a lot of his touches while moving. He’s a smart player when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands, so he’s in a good position when he does get the ball. He has the quickness to go 1-on-1 with bigger forwards and get around them, but he won’t get the ball on the block and post them up. In one of his AAU games this spring, he scored a handful of points against Scout 100 and King James (Ohio) center Joey Brunk, who stands 6-foot-9 and weighs 230 pounds. Stevens won with quickness and guard-like agility that’s best used when he gets the ball further from the hoop, as he usually does. He used a spin move to get by Brunk and beat the help defender to the hoop, drawing a foul. He got the ball at the key, bringing Brunk out to the free throw line where he’s less comfortable defending. Stevens has good touch on his shots and gets them to go from tough angles. That’s also due to his body control through contact. He has solid speed for his position, runs the floor well in transition and is a plus ball handler at his position. Stevens is a little one-dimensional for a small forward; he lacks a good mid-range jumper and isn’t a three-point shooter. But that doesn’t hurt his overall game.

Playmaking ability: Give Stevens the ball and he’ll find a way to make a play. He attacks his defender and looks for the best shot possible, and times his jumps and shots perfectly so he can draw contact if he senses he won’t have a great shot. Scout’s 15th-ranked small forward (88th overall ranking) is always around the ball and gets a couple of putbacks per game because of his awareness. He’s a consistent playmaker but not one who’s going to make a ton of jaw-dropping plays. He could be better finishing above the rim, but that hasn’t hurt him a ton so far because he shoots more short floaters and runners than layups. He won’t be a team’s leading scorer, but he’ll still take 10-12 shots per game and shoot for a high field-goal percentage.

Defense: . Stevens is a good man-to-man defender and is always in the right spot for defensive rebounds. He won’t guard a big man 1-on-1 in the post, but he’s a fearless defender who comes up with some big blocks. He’ll hustle to block or alter a shot in transition and challenge anyone who tries to go above him. Stevens is a long and thick perimeter defender, but he doesn’t play there as much. He can play in both a zone and man defense.

Projection: Stevens wouldn’t be a usual college small forward because a lot of teams want a little shooting ability from the small position. At 6-foot-6, he’s a couple inches shorter than most power forwards, but guys like Butler’s Roosevelt Jones and Ohio State’s Jae’Sean Tate have had success as undersized power forwards (although Tate is a little bit more of a leaper). He could end up playing there, but could also stick at small forward for a team that likes to attack rather than shoot. If he plays at the four, he’d need to weight around 225 (he’s 205 now). I see Stevens as similar to Jones if he can get up to that weight by the time he steps on a college court. He sounds like a mismatch defensively at the four if he’s up against a 6-foot-10 power forward, but he closes out well and doesn’t give ground, so that helps minimize it. If he plays the three and a little four, which I think is more likely, he’d be similar to SMU’s Sterling Brown, but without a three-point shot.

Offers: SMU, Indiana, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Memphis, Temple, Marquette, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Penn State
HT: 6-foot-6
WT: 205 pounds

Lamar Stevens Highlights

Eric Curry

2016 PF, Southwest Christian (Little Rock, Ark.)

Scoring and playmaking ability: Curry is a little bit like Stevens in that both get a lot of touches while moving because they move well without the ball. Curry’s body control isn’t quite as good as Stevens’, but he’s a long and smooth finisher with similar agility and moves to the basket. His sound footwork with the ball is a big reason he can get around defenders in the paint. Even though he has a smooth finish, he could play above the rim a little bit better and doesn’t draw a whole lot of contact considering how active he is around the hoop. The three-star prospect can take the ball from the top of the key to the hoop, as he has a solid face-up jumper, can hit a 15-foot jumper and every now and again will score with his back to the basket. At 6-foot-7, he’s comfortable challenging an opponent in the post when needed, but he’s not a true post player. He’s a good jumper and puts himself in position to get putbacks or alley-oop passes. His long strides and length help make him a good transition scorer. Curry doesn’t have a three-point shot but is a high-percentage free throw shooter. Curry isn’t the guy to make a big shot in someone’s face, but like Stevens he’s a consistent and high-percentage scorer who looks to make a play. His athleticism allows him to make a few highlight-reel plays too. He sees the court well too and is a good transition passer, often passing to set himself up for an open shot.

Defense: Curry can play on the perimeter and in the paint, and hold his own on the block if he’s asked. He’s not a shot blocker and could do a better job closing out, but he’s a tough assignment on the perimeter for an offensive player. He demonstrated good vision by jumping into a passing lane and snatching a pass out of the air and taking it for a transition basket in one AAU game this past spring.

Projection: Curry and Stevens have some similarity in their games. Curry has the frame to be a power forward in college, but doesn’t have post moves or 1-on-1 defensive ability in the paint, so he's probably going to be more up a face-up four-man or a power wing, even though he doesn't shoot a whole lot of jumpers. I think he can develop a three-point shot that can be used if given space or off of a switch offense. Many of SMU's Sterling Brown’s three-point attempts come in similar situations. Curry might not develop into a guy capable of leading a team in scoring, but he’ll be a threat for double-digit points every night.

Offers: SMU, Oklahoma State, VCU, Saint Louis, Western Kentucky
HT: 6-foot-7
WT: 195 pounds

Eric Curry Highlights

Kameron McGusty

2016 SG, Seven Lakes High School (Katy, Tex.)

Scoring and playmaking ability: McGusty had a huge spring on the Under Armour circuit for the Houston Defenders, rising from unranked four-star recruit to the No. 30 overall player in the nation in the latest Scout 100 (6th-ranked SG). McGusty is an attacker with a lot of athleticism who isn’t afraid to drive into traffic. He shows good ball security when attacking and knows exactly when to pull up and get the shot off. He has active hands as well. Although he’s an off guard, he has point guard ball-handling ability and can create space for himself to shoot a jumper. He can stop and shift directions on a dime because he stays in control. Moving without the ball is a part of his game too; he will frequently slip past his man on the perimeter and get the ball in space near the rim, giving him an easy look. McGusty mixes in a three-point shot, but he doesn’t have a ton of range on it and only shoots it in open catch-and-shoot situations. He can create space to shoot a three, but just isn’t successful shooting it in that spot. He shot just 26 percent on threes this spring but shot 50 percent from the floor and 82 percent from the foul line. This is a high-scoring wing with big-play ability and the moves to break a defender’s ankles. He has a score-first mentality, but isn’t refined as a passer. He sees the sure-thing passes, but not much more.

Defense: McGusty has the size to guard an opponent’s point guard, off guard or small forward and the athleticism to stick on his man. He’s a quick-footed defender who won’t bite easily on an opponent’s fake. He’s able to get by at the high school level, but he needs stronger if he wants to guard college wings. Just like improving court vision will help his passing, it will help him read offenses and jump into passing lanes and make a play.

Projection: A high-scoring wing at the college level. McGusty is a fantastic playmaker with the ball and is an ultra tough matchup for a defender 1-on-1. Getting stronger is a must since McGusty prides himself on aggressiveness and the ability to move through traffic in the paint. Again, he will need to add weight before seeing significant minutes in college, but he’s close to an NCAA-ready scorer now. He’ll play the two or the three, with the three a more likely destination.

Offers: Texas, Oklahoma, Indiana, Tulsa, USC, Kansas State, Houston, Auburn, Boise State, Georgia Tech, Northern Iowa, Middle Tennessee. Interest from SMU and Louisville.
HT: 6-foot-5
WT: 175 pounds

Kameron McGusty Highlights

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