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Champions Classic Recap, Tyrese Hunter Shoots, and Big Men Debate | The Morning Dunk
The Champions Classic has come and gone, along with a few other early season matchups. Our own Nathan Grubel breaks down what happened prior and what's coming during Feast Week.
Welcome back to another edition of The Morning Dunk!
Plenty has happened over the past few weeks. College basketball is in full swing, with big events taking place and plenty more lined up during the Thanksgiving holiday break. Prospects outside of the NCAA have continued to dominate in their respective areas.
Basketball, as we are continuously reminded, is a global game. Top performances are found far outside our backyards, so it’s in our best interest to remain vigilant across all levels to monitor the next great breakout talent.
While I do touch on international and G-League prospects every now and then, not to mention the Overtime Elite program, what I do every Monday is recap the best storylines from college basketball in the name of scouting. Which prospects are separating themselves? Who had the top performances of the previous week?
This time around, I’ll offer a quick recap regarding players who stood out to me from the Champions Classic, and I’ll take a look at previewing Feast Week tournaments as well as some other outbursts that are taking the draft world by storm.
We’ll start at the top though with the biggest winners from last Tuesday’s action.
Top Champions Classic Prospects
Cason Wallace absolutely STUFFED the stat sheet against Michigan State in Kentucky’s 2OT loss. While his squad didn’t come away with the win, Wallace put forth a fantastic effort contributing 14 points, five rebounds, five assists, and eight (!!) steals. Coach John Calipari wants to trust Wallace with the ball in his hands early on in the season, and when Wallace is looking to score, he absolutely can deliver.
In that game, we saw examples of the jump shooting, soft touch inside the arc, and command in transition. Wallace has real three-level scoring upside that goes far beyond just finishing easy plays off the catch. He’s more than capable of creating off screens up top in pick-and-roll offense, and he played with good pace and poise out of those sets against tough Spartan defenders opposite him like AJ Hoggard.
But by the end of the game, there just wasn’t enough aggression offensively to match his BRILLIANT defensive performance. Guys who are projected lottery picks are expected by scouts and evaluators to show that assertiveness on offense when the game is on the line. Wallace was passive too many times in the second half, and he didn’t look like he was in the right rhythm to take over the game the way the Wildcats needed him to.
Because Wallace did so much well elsewhere on the floor, including playing tight man-to-man defense, forcing turnovers, displaying pristine defensive footwork, and rebounding the ball at the guard spot, I can’t hold too much against him this early in the year. Few guards have as complete of a game as Wallace does, especially when you throw in the passing ability. While not a great passer, he has the vision to make all of the reads you want him to on the break and coming off screens.
I personally want to see more from Wallace as a scorer, but it takes time for point guards to adjust at the college level. Even if he’s more of a combo guard in the NBA, this current Kentucky team will be at its best with Wallace at the helm when the going gets tough.
If he can develop in that area, particularly over the course of the season, it’ll be difficult to leave him outside of the Top 10 on draft boards across the country, mine included.
Even though Jalen Wilson wasn’t the most efficient scorer on the floor, he was the best offensive option the Kansas Jayhawks have had not just on Tuesday against Duke, but for this entire four-game start to the year.
Scoring 25 points while adding 11 rebounds and five assists, Wilson did everything Kansas needed him to do and then some.
Even after going 0-for-7 from three-point range, Wilson didn’t let that hold him back from looking for more efficient looks in the halfcourt. The pull-up mid-range game off the catch and coming off motion was strong, as was his driving ability to get to the rim.
Wilson’s live-dribble passing has been one of the best developments in his game so far this season. He’s taking real command of the offense, and leveraging his ability to score from anywhere on the floor to get his teammates involved. Yes, Wilson has been the focal point, but plenty of other guys got in on the action offensively, and Wilson’s been happy to funnel everything through him and make the most of it.
Defensively, Wilson’s versatility, length, and activity allowed him to cover a lot of ground on that end along with Kevin McCullar, Dajuan Harris, and Gradey Dick. This Jayhawks unit is real on that end, and that group has the chemistry and experience to get stops when they’re needed. Wilson took on the responsibility of trying his hand against whoever had the hot hand on Duke and did that job well enough given the offensive burden he carried.
If Wilson continues to score at this rate, as well as act as the fulcrum of the offense, then I wouldn’t be surprised to hear his name called in the first round of the 2023 draft. Kansas will be one of the big players all year long, so Wilson will have every opportunity to deliver on pressure-packed stages against top Big 12 competition and beyond.
Coming into the season, I wondered if Gradey Dick would either separate himself and burst onto the first round scene, or fade into the background should his shooting go the same direction as one former freshman outside threat in Caleb Houstan.
Houstan got a lot of the same intrigue last year as a jumbo shot maker who could space the floor, handle in a pinch, and provide real size and rebounding on the wing.
The difference, though, is that Dick is a much better athlete, creator, and at-rim finisher.
For all that I didn’t appreciate about Houstan’s game, Dick is much more of a threat offensively. He’s a lob catcher along the baseline, is a threat to finish reverse layups, has real touch inside the paint, and has some real pull-up stuff in his bag. Dick can create looks for himself as well as he can come off screens, turn, and knock down shots.
But really the at-rim game stood out to me against Duke. The ways he was able to finish were something to behold, and according to some scouts I talked to was definitely a part of his game in high school. The Sunrise Christian standout didn’t disappoint against the Blue Devils, racking up 14 points on 6-for-11 shooting. Even though he didn’t knock down a three, Dick has had other great perimeter performances on the season outside of this one game.
I have zero concerns he’ll continue to serve as one of the most dangerous perimeter shooters in the country, but if he can play defense like he did late in the game against some of Duke’s top guard options, along with the scoring punch, he’s first-round material and could possibly challenge as high as the lottery.
Prior to the Champions Classic, Tyrese Proctor hadn’t shown scouts, or at least myself, that he had the chops to come in and make an impact in the scoring department right away.
Poor shooting performances, which came back to a lack of shot attempts in general, limited what Proctor could offer in the passing department in the previous game too. In order to get the most out of the ability to set the table for others, the threat to score HAS to be there in order to get defenses thinking about what could possibly be taking place on any given possession.
Without that level of confusion or fear, defenders can dial in on what strengths to pay attention to. Passing lanes can be taken away, and screens can be played in a way to limit certain opportunities.
That’s why Proctor’s pull-up shooting attack at the foul line area was a welcomed sight to see from the Duke prospect in the second half against Kansas.
Proctor came right out of halftime and started to light up the sagging Jayhawk defenders. It was almost as if he was insulted by the amount of space he kept getting on the perimeter, and so he had enough and knew he was going to prove that he can score the ball just like everyone else on his team. That breakthrough of confidence helped the rest of his squad fill in the gaps around him and make better use of their own talents.
Overall, the offense fell into the type of rhythm I expect to see from a Blue Devils unit. Proctor can see over defenses at 6’5” and process the game at a high level. He recognizes the balance between scoring and distributing, it’s just a matter of hitting the shots. On Tuesday he did later in the game, but still only finished with nine points on 3-for-9 from the floor. His shooting splits haven’t been great so far, but sometimes all it takes is to see a few go in like that to get a player going.
Should Proctor continue to grow as a shotmaker (he scored 13 points in the following game against Delaware), I would expect to see his stock continue to climb. He’s a capable defender, guard rebounder, and transition playmaker. There’s more to see development-wise in all of those areas, but the talent is clear. Proctor is a point guard to keep an eye on.
Tyrese Hunter: Back in First-Round Conversation?
There was no better feeling than seeing Tyrese Hunter absolutely SHRED the perimeter defense of Gonzaga on Wednesday night.
And when I say that, it’s more to express joy towards a player overcoming adversity in a high-leverage moment to emerge on a big stage.
Coming into the year, outside of a few good outings shooting jumpers at an efficient rate, Hunter’s place in the draft conversation was tightly focused on his ability to score. Hunter’s freshman year splits at Iowa State didn’t inspire confidence in scouts and evaluators, as his percentages were poor across the board. Hunter fell firmly outside of big boards after only converting on 39% of all of his shots last year with a True Shooting percentage of 47.5%; those numbers looked even worse when put together with his turnovers in large part due to the fact he’s a 6’0” guard (that measurement may be a little generous).
Despite his shorter stature, Hunter is built incredibly well for a guard. His body composition and demeanor reminded me of Donovan Mitchell when I saw him in person last season in Brooklyn. Long arms, muscles all over, speed, and verticality to get up and hammer it home at the basket. These are all traits of Mitchell and have helped him maintain relevancy in the NBA despite his lack of height at the guard spot.
Even though I noticed a number of similarities in their collegiate approaches including their defensive tenacity and pick-and-roll play, the shooting of Hunter made the entire comparison fall apart.
As I’ve written about before, when I studied Mitchell during his sophomore year at Louisville, I came to the conclusion there was little that he COULDN’T do on the floor offensively. Maybe he wasn’t the highest-level shooter or scorer in the country that season, but when breaking down his skill on tape there was little I saw that led me to believe his game was going to fall apart in the league.
The outside shot looked clean, with good arc and form. Mitchell could finish among the trees because of his strength and body control in the air. His touch allowed him to hit runners and looks in the paint at different angles. Also, Mitchell was a tough-as-nails competitor on both ends. Really the only slight question I had was about his passing, but I saw too many positives to let that one question gain any merit in my evaluation. The more I looked at his report, the more I tried to ask myself if I was missing anything.
What was going to derail him from becoming a really good-to-great guard in the NBA? I truly couldn’t come up with anything.
To bring that story back full circle, I had all of those same thoughts come to me about Hunter last year IF, and yes a pretty big if, the shot came around and he could knock down a better portion of those looks, particularly from 16 feet and out.
Then, this performance happened.
It’s as if all of the shooting questions were answered in one heat-check performance for the ages. Hunter’s 26 points on 9-of-14 from the field including 5-for-8 from three helped Texas blow the doors off Gonzaga in the first game in the new home arena for the Longhorns.
Looking at the shots he hit, they were all taken within the flow of the game. Hunter was comfortable the whole night, with the belief he had in himself oozing out the entire game.
My favorite detail from his dazzling display though is the number of soft makes he had from range. Mitchell has become such a great shooter from deep that a lot of his makes don’t even touch the rim. When evaluating jump shooters, looking at the makes is just as important as questioning the misses.
How does the ball come off his fingertips? What was the rotation like on the ball? And does the ball go straight through the net? Does it maybe bounce off the top of the rim and in, or rattle around?
Soft makes with the right backspin and arc are the best to see, and that’s what I got from Hunter in that game.
He really looks like he’s put in the work to shoot off the catch, as well as take two dribbles off the shot fake and pop from just inside the arc. Those shots, taken with confidence, are NBA-level looks. Hunter has the start-stop game to set those up all day long in the league should defenders actually have a reason to close out on him like that.
Early returns suggest those shots will be there for him at his next stop. While he’s close to 60/40/90 through three games, there’s plenty of time for Hunter to come crashing back down to earth and settle in closer to his splits from the prior year. But if these numbers offer a clearer picture into what the future looks like for the sophomore guard, then we’re not only talking about him as a draft prospect but potentially much higher than that.
The completeness of Hunter’s game, still as sound as ever at the point of attack defensively, while cutting down on the turnovers in his last two games, is really starting to take shape.
I’ve been on record to say that Hunter has that same type of upside as Mitchell that could land him in the lottery. More outbursts like this one, and that might not be too far out of the equation. At the very least, he’s earned looks inside the top 45 and potentially closer to the first round.
Terrence Shannon Jr.’s Hot Season Start
For years, it seems as if we as draft evaluators have been waiting for the Terrence Shannon Jr. breakout offensively.
Between some inconsistency, lack of role clarity, and the fact he’s been in and out of the starting lineup through three years in college, Shannon hasn’t had the type of opportunity to prove he can be a real shot-maker at this level and beyond.
Fast forward to now, and he’s done everything he can for Illinois to emerge as the team’s best offensive weapon.
This guy has been LIGHTING IT UP through the Fighting Illini’s first four games. Averaging 24.3 PPG on a scorching 57.4/53.8/74.4 slash line, Shannon’s outside shooting looks like it’s the real deal this time around.
Shannon is launching jumpers immediately off the catch, setting up outside shots, and using the threat of those looks to explode past defenders to get downhill with his left and jam it home over anyone trying to help at the rim.
His explosiveness and leaping ability have always been known commodities to what he can bring to the table offensively. On defense, Shannon can guard multiple positions, rotate, and make plays on the ball as well as clean the glass. The versatility he brings as a 6’6” wing is exactly what NBA teams want on their rosters IF the shooting is legit.
That’s really been one of the main ingredients missing to bring his case forward as a role player in the league. There are a few things I would love to see polish on, including being able to get to and finish with his right, changing speeds off the dribble, and cutting down on the turnovers. But even if those things don’t fully come around, having Shannon operate as a catch-and-drive or catch-and-shoot threat depending on what defenses give him can be enough offensively if he’s efficient.
So yes, there’s a cap on Shannon’s ceiling in terms of what type of offensive threat he can be in the NBA. But some of these scoring performances, especially his outburst against UCLA on Saturday, aren’t off the table as a lot of those shots are the types of looks he could get within the flow of the offense.
Screening for others, popping off, and coming off movement to catch and fire from the wings or corners are exactly the type of off-ball looks from the perimeter that he can generate because of his strength and speed as an off-guard. Being efficient off these forces defenses to play tighter on him, opening up the backdoor cuts and slips to the basket where he can finish with authority.
Shannon’s abilities to find guys on the move, rebound effectively, and outlet or fill the lane in transition tie his game together neatly with the shooting efficiency. Maybe his draft stock can’t rise all the way into the first round, but I wouldn’t completely rule it out for him.
Either way, I was as skeptical as a number of others coming into this season in regard to Shannon. I wanted him to show enough at Illinois to get him back into a draftable position, let alone in a spot on my board where I’m determining a first or second-round grade.
What Shannon has done to start the year has him closer to 30 than 60. He’s finding real confidence in his outside stroke, very similar to Hunter who I wrote about in a prior section. Seeing upperclassmen find their footing is awesome to behold. Not everyone’s developmental curve is linear. There are bumps and bruises along the way for every prospect. Speaking of bumps, Shannon’s game on Sunday against Virginia was in fact one of those missteps. But nevertheless, I fully expect him to bounce back from that performance.
Shannon looks as if he’s embraced the journey and put in the work to put himself in a position to succeed in chasing the next step in his career of making it to the league. I’m here for all of the TSJ madness over the coming months.
Kel’el Ware Up and Down
It’s incredibly common to see any freshman big come in and struggle to find their footing, especially if they’re coming off an injury that h eld them back from being full strength during the preseason process immediately before the start of the year.
That was the case for Oregon’s Kel’el Ware. Ware was able to suit up for the season’s tip-off game against Florida A&M but didn’t have quite the statistical output most draft followers would expect out of a debut. Same thing occurred in the Ducks’ second game.
Then Ware broke out and showed all of why he’s a projected lottery pick as a two-way 7-footer with outside touch, rim protection, and high-efficiency play finishing potential.
Ware put up a season-high 16 points and 7 rebounds, looking great doing so. He was active around the basket, got some easy post opportunities, and the 2-of-3 from three-point range was a chef’s kiss on the night. Not to mention the sweet fading jumper along the baseline.
What could continue to hold Ware back to an extent is the talent in front of him on the roster. N’Faly Dante has paid his dues and waited for a season where he’s actually fully healthy and ready to go. Dante has been the starter at center for this Oregon squad, and has had a few games, most notably against Houston Sunday night, where he’s looked like one of the best big men in the country.
Nate Bittle has also been trying to find his way in college basketball, but is still another 7-footer who is a year older than Ware and therefore also deserves the same chance to discover where he fits within the fabric of the team.
So it’s not as cookie cutter for Ware to step into starter’s minutes from day one. Three out of four games now, Ware has struggled to leave his mark on the game in a way that a lottery pick should.
But the flashes that we have seen in each contest, on top of the big-time performance against Montana State, are enough for me to wrestle with where I should have him on my draft board.
Coming into the season, I didn’t know how high to value Ware. I still believe in the athletic talent of Dereck Lively at Duke, and think the way he so effortlessly moves up and down the floor along with his rim protection and shooting potential deserve a look in the lottery. And I’ll double down on ANY Jarace Walker stock, as while he’s more of a forward he’s stepping up as the main big man down low for Houston and providing a two-way impact few others are in college basketball.
Ware though is right there with both of those guys and has shown about what I expected. Lively is also trying to assimilate himself in a young Duke lineup, and Walker has been better of late but didn’t get off to a hot start shooting the basketball either.
The coordination, timing, length, and shooting ability of Ware has me intrigued and monitoring closely as we continue to progress through the season. Oregon is a good squad with Will Richardson and Quincy Guerrier also able to put up points in bunches to support the bigs on the roster. Therefore, Ware will have plenty of opportunities on Pac-12 stages to prove he’s as talented as any other center in the nation.
Feast Week Tournaments and Games To Watch
Tip-Off Matchups (11/21):
Texas Tech vs. Creighton, 2:30pm EST(ESPN2)
Louisville vs. Arkansas, 5pm EST (ESPN2)
Ohio State vs. San Diego State, 9pm EST (ESPNU)
Cincinnati vs. Arizona , 11:30pm EST (ESPN2)
Pelle Larsson (6’5”, 215 lbs.)
Azuolas Tubelis (6’11”, 245 lbs.)
Kerr Kriisa (6’3”, 180 lbs.)
Nick Smith Jr. (6’5”, 185 lbs.)
Anthony Black (6’7”, 195 lbs.)
Jordan Walsh (6’7”, 200 lbs.)
Ricky Council IV (6’6”, 205 lbs.)
Trevon Brazile (6’10”, 200 lbs.)
Brice Sensabaugh (6’6”, 235 lbs.)
Arthur Kaluma (6’7”, 220 lbs.)
Trey Alexander (6’4”, 187 lbs.)
Ryan Kalkbrenner (7’0”, 225 lbs.)
Baylor Schierman (6’7”, 201 lbs.)
Ryan Nembhard (6’0”, 170 lbs.)
This tournament is a chance for Arkansas to potentially dominate in terms of NBA-level talent. I would currently have at least three first-round grades on the Razorback roster, with Ricky Council and Jordan Walsh not terribly far behind. Creighton, however, would be my favorite to emerge victorious because of the blend of talent and experience. Arthur Kaluma has plenty to show, Trey Alexander has been impressive on both ends to start the year, and when Ryan Kalkbrenner is at his best it’s hard to score in the paint against him, let alone stop him on the offensive glass. The one prospect to keep an eye on is Brice Sensabaugh, who I shouted out far before the season as a name I wanted to track at Ohio State. He’s a unique wing prospect given the vertical pop and shooting ability at his size, but he could continue to climb up draft boards if he has a good run in Maui.
Battle 4 Atlantis
Tip-Off Matchups (11/23):
Kansas vs. NC State, 12pm EST (ESPN)
Dayton vs. Wisconsin, 2:30pm EST (ESPN)
USC vs. BYU, 5pm EST (ESPN2)
Tennessee vs. Butler, 7:30pm EST(ESPN2)
Jalen Wilson (6’8”, 225 lbs.)
Gradey Dick (6’8”, 205 lbs.)
Ernest Udeh (6’11”, 240 lbs.)
Kevin McCullar (6’6”, 210 lbs.)
KJ Adams (6’7”, 225 lbs.)
MJ Rice (6’5”, 220 lbs.)
Dajuan Harris (6’1”, 170 lbs.)
Zuby Ejiofor (6’9”, 235 lbs.)
DaRon Holmes (6’10”, 225 lbs.)
Toumani Camara (6’8”, 220 lbs.)
Mike Sharavjamts (6’8”, 180 lbs.)
Koby Brea (6’6”, 206 lbs.)
Terquavion Smith (6’4”, 165 lbs.)
Julian Phillips (6’8”, 190 lbs.)
Josiah-Jordan James (6’6”, 214 lbs.)
Tre White (6’7”, 210 lbs.)
Kijani Wright (6’9”, 205 lbs.)
Boogie Ellis (6’3”, 185 lbs.)
Drew Peterson (6’9”, 205 lbs.)
Kansas is the clear favorite to take over in the Battle 4 Atlantis. Jalen Wilson has emerged as a do-it-all offensive force for the Jayhawks, Gradey Dick is one of the best freshman scorers, and defensive pieces like Dajuan Harris, Ernest Udeh, and Kevin McCullar bring balance to the lineup. With depth to rely upon consisting of rangy wings, bruising forwards, and crafty guards, Kansas is too deep to knock off right now. However, Dayton also has some real pieces to contend with including DaRon Holmes and Toumani Camara. “Mongolian Mike” is a real point guard prospect to monitor at 6’8” for the Flyers. I would expect to see Tennessee and USC play tough brands of basketball, and Terquavion Smith could have one of the best performances in the event with his explosive combination of speed and shooting.
Phil Knight Invitational
Tip-Off Matchups (11/24):
North Carolina vs. Portland, 1 pm EST (ESPN)
Iowa State (Big 12) vs. Villanova (Big East), approx. 3:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
UConn (Big East) vs. Oregon (Pac-12), 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Alabama (SEC) vs. Michigan State (Big Ten), approx. 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Brandon Miller (6’9”, 200 lbs.)
Noah Clowney (6’10”, 210 lbs.)
Jaden Bradley (6’3”, 185 lbs.)
Charles Bediako (7’0”, 225 lbs.)
Rylan Griffen (6’5”, 180 lbs.)
Kel’el Ware (7’0”, 210 lbs.)
Will Richardson (6’5”, 180 lbs.)
N’Faly Dante (6’11’, 230 lbs.)
Quincy Guerrier (6’8”, 220 lbs.)
Nate Bittle (7’0”, 215 lbs.)
AJ Hoggard (6’4”, 210)
Jaden Akins (6’4”, 180 lbs.)
Malik Hall (6’8”, 225 lbs.)
Mady Sissoko (6’9”, 240 lbs.)
Joey Hauser (6’9”, 230 lbs.)
Jaxon Kohler (6’9”, 250 lbs.)
Caleb Love (6’4”, 200 lbs.)
RJ Davis (6’0”, 175 lbs.)
Pete Nance (6’11, 230 lbs.)
Armando Bacot (6'11”, 235 lbs.)
Cam Whitmore (6’7”, 232 lbs.)
Mark Armstrong (6’2”, 180 lbs.)
Brandon Slater (6’8”, 220 lbs.)
Justin Moore (6’4”, 215 lbs.)
Jordan Hawkins (6’5”, 195 lbs.)
Adama Sanogo (6’9”, 250 lbs.)
Andre Jackson (6’6”, 210 lbs.)
This side of the Phil Knight exhibition will feature Alabama’s Brandon Miller as the top prospect in the field. Off to a strong start from three-point range on the year, Miller is flashing every tool that NBA teams want from a modern wing. Transition playmaking, shooting from deep, and reliable defensive versatility—Miller has soared up draft boards for a reason. Cam Whitmore’s status for the event is still up in the air, but if he plays he’d be another freshman difference-maker in the field as a true combo forward. Kel’el Ware would be the other lottery prospect callout here, as he’s started to show some intriguing offensive capability in terms of shooting from distance as well as creating his own jumper along the baseline. His activity rebounding and getting second-chance points keeps Oregon going, along with his ability to protect the rim on the other end. Sleeper prospects in this grouping include Michigan State’s AJ Hoggard, North Carolina’s Caleb Love and Pete Nance, and Connecticut’s Jordan Hawkins.
Phil Knight Legacy
Tip-Off Matchups (11/24):
Duke (ACC) vs. Oregon State (Pac-12), 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Florida (SEC) vs. Xavier (Big East), approx. 5:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Purdue (Big Ten) vs. West Virginia (Big 12), 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
Portland State (Big Sky) vs. Gonzaga (WCC), approx. 12:30 a.m. 11/25 (ESPN)
Dariq Whitehead (6’6”, 190 lbs.)
Dereck Lively (7’1”, 215 lbs.)
Tyrese Proctor (6’5”, 178 lbs.)
Kyle Filipowski (6’11”, 220 lbs.)
Mark Mitchell (6’8”, 215 lbs.)
Will Richard (6’4”, 206 lbs.)
Alex Fudge (6’9”, 194 lbs.)
Kowacie Reeves (6’6”, 190 lbs.)
Colin Castleton (6’11”, 240 lbs.)
Julian Strawther (6’7”, 205 lbs.)
Nolan Hickman (6’2”, 180 lbs.)
Hunter Sallis (6’5”, 185 lbs.)
Drew Timme (6’10”, 235 lbs.)
Anton Watson (6’8”, 225 lbs.)
Rasir Bolton (6’3”, 185 lbs.)
Jordan Pope (6’2”, 165 lbs.)
Michael Rataj (6’9”, 205 lbs.)
Glenn Taylor Jr. (6’6”, 200 lbs.)
Colby Jones (6’6”, 207 lbs.)
Kam Craft (6’6”, 188 lbs.)
Desmond Claude (6’5”, 195 lbs.)
Over in the Legacy half of the Phil Knight exhibitions, Duke has a clear runway as the team to watch from a scouting perspective. Dariq Whitehead is back in the lineup after missing some time due to a preseason injury. If he can find his footing offensively, he has the tools to emerge as a top offensive option for the Blue Devils. Kyle Filipowski is who Duke currently runs the offense through, with Dereck Lively, Tyrese Proctor, and Mark Mitchell trying to fill in the gaps around him. Gonzaga has all of the offensive firepower to still make some noise against any competition, and Florida led by Will Richard and Alex Fudge has one of the best defensive wing units in the country. Look out for Xavier’s Colby Jones to continue his two-way wing play, and Oregon State’s Jordan Pope could have a breakout performance if he plays up to his scoring standards against Duke.
Bonus Game To Watch
Wednesday 11/23, 10:30pm EST: UCLA vs. Pepperdine - How could I not bring attention to the best non tip-off game on the West Coast this week? Maxwell Lewis, Houston Mallette, and Jevon Porter are prime draft candidates this year with at least one of them holding real first-round stock. That trio will face off against Jaime Jaquez Jr., Amari Bailey, and breakout junior guard Jaylen Clark who has had a terrific start to the year. Keep an eye on Adem Bona for the Bruins as well.
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