More on MarJon Beauchamp | The Weekend Warrior
FEATURING: MarJon Beauchamp | Prelude: Ages in Draft History | Stephen's Storylines: NBA Early Entrants, Enter the Transfer Portal, & Players Ready to Report | Weekend Warriors: SEC Superteams?
Happy Easter, Draft Fans!
Betting on Beauchamp
Many evaluators have internal struggles with some prospects more than others. Certain archetypes, certain measurements, certain ages may have the tendency to leave scouts with sour tastes and headaches *internally thinking “Sour Tastes & Headaches” is an awesome album name*. This has been the case since the early cave scouts painted their scouting reports on their cave walls. Throughout the history of scouting, we’ve experienced different “ages” of evaluation, if you will. The first period was the “Collegiate Age,” the oldest and most time-honored of the periods in which aspiring professional basketball players went to highly esteemed universities prior to striking out to the pro ranks.
The “Collegiate Age” gave forth to the “Amateur Age,” the age in which players opted to forgo the road more traveled, the age in which players fresh out of high school would test their mettle against the grown men in the NBA (or ABA depending on the year). This age, as one could imagine, was a controversial time for athletes but gave way to some of the most talented players we have ever seen. Following the “Amateur Age,” we were faced with the “Dark Age”—the age in which the powers that be would convince many that legal, able-to-vote American citizens could not try their hand in the professional basketball world. We were told that a college scholarship was payment enough for “amateur” athletes to sacrifice hours of practice, film study, and gameplay in the effort to create billions of dollars for these respectable pillars in education. This dark period in basketball history saw players and families of all types of backgrounds and statuses be bribed with money and favors for a “kid’s” commitment to their school and also the oft-criticized “One & Done” athlete.
But, lo, this dark time would eventually come to an end. Other outlets would rise from the ashes. The NBA would create the NBA D-League, or “D-League,” in an attempt to develop their young or unheralded talent. While in its infancy, it wasn’t a desirable path for basketball players, the NBA would rebrand its farm system to the “G League”—this minor league basketball program would grow large enough to the point in which almost NBA franchise would have one (except you, Phoenix and Portland). It would grow in popularity and in usage to the point in which roughly 45% of the NBA has experience playing in the G League. The G League went on to establish the G League Ignite—a team specifically formulated to recruit the top talent that isn’t draft-eligible (players that are over 18 years old and one year removed from high school). This team would provide the opportunity for these young men to have access to NBA facilities, attend workshops on how to succeed in the NBA, receive NBA-level coaching, play against players with NBA experience, and, of course, make money.
While the creation of this path afforded a path that wasn’t available to players unless they wanted to travel away from the states, its success was more pivotal than the idealization. After having two Ignite players selected in the First Round (three in total) following its inaugural season, the creation of the Overtime Elite league, and the implementation of NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) in college sports soon followed. All of these pathways give players the chance to make money as legal adults while maintaining the NBA’s rule in an attempt to ensure that athletes are “ready” for the next level.
The first G League Ignite players were highly scrutinized—as are most things that are newly introduced. People in general fear change, and the basketball community is no different. People still hate Euro-steps. The Ignite team had to endure a ton. Its opening season did take place when the NBA, and the world, had to figure out how to dance around COVID. The players that were Draft hopefuls fell subject to one of the longest evaluation periods in any age of Draft history. Jalen Green was tagged as an athletic but inefficient volume-scorer. Jonathan Kuminga was looked at as a tweening non-shooting forward. Isaiah Todd could space the floor, but how effective would he be in the paint? What is Daishen Nix’s value if he can’t shoot?
Most of these knocks have been addressed—already—in their rookie seasons in the NBA, while the rest have ample time to be corrected. Evaluators feel varying amounts of either vindication or conviction after one season of play from the first Ignite Draft Class. While instant gratification is our natural impulse, how confident are we as a basketball community in our assessment of G League talent in conjunction with our collegiate and international evaluations after just one season? Should we be married to our level of confidence in scouting prospects that play in a still-young league? Deliberation can ensue from there, but one of my favorite things that we have within the NBA Draft community is the discourse that takes place in the effort to help everyone grow as talent evaluators. We can continue that exchange with one of the incoming Ignite prospects. Let’s dish about MarJon Beauchamp.
The Incredible Journey…
Beauchamp, first of all, is a wing prospect out of the Pacific Northwest. He was in the 2020 class of players that included players like Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, Evan Mobley, and Scottie Barnes and played for the Dream City Christian Prep basketball team. MarJon was roughly believed to be somewhere in the 50s in that class and received offers from Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Georgetown, USC, UCLA, Washington, and Washington State. Beauchamp would decide not to commit to a university; he would instead opt to prepare for the NBA Draft under the newly-founded Chameleon BX—an alternative designed to get players NBA-ready without the requirements that come with being a student-athlete.
To make a very long story short, that venture didn’t succeed for a number of reasons, leaving players like Beauchamp seemingly a step behind the power curve. He would ultimately return home to Washington state due to the start of the COVID pandemic. Wanting to continue to become a pro, he committed to play for Yakima Valley Community College, where he averaged over 30 Points Per Game and more than 10 Rebounds Per Game. He wasn’t short on Division One scholarship options, receiving offers from Texas Tech, LSU, Arkansas, and several others. Beauchamp would bypass the D-I route once again, landing on the Ignite team we have been evaluating all season long.
In the wake of the prior Ignite Draft Class, MarJon pulled up to this G League roster as the most athletic prospect to be had. The team that drafts him wouldn’t have to add the customary five to ten pounds of functional muscle. He is listed at 6’6” and figures to weigh at or near 200 pounds. He has some very solid verticality and has shown on several occasions that he can get up and finish. On the possessions where he attacks the basket without looking to put a shot on the top of someone’s head, Beauchamp has a nice bag of tricks in which he can give his team two points all the same. Observe:
One of the things that stands out the most to me in these examples—of which there are several—is how mature Beauchamp is when the defense is looking to force an error. He has a knack for using eye fakes to bait a defender into committing to contesting a shot. With the defender blowing by, MarJon is able to step by them and finish with an easy lay-in. But his transition game is not limited to finishing well around the rim; Beauchamp can also make defenses pay when they commit to him attacking the basket.
MarJon is very comfortable operating in the forbidden Mid Range area of the floor. There isn’t an overflow of players that look for their shots from the elbow when they feel that they have a lane to the rim. We’ve already seen that Beauchamp’s tendency to poke and prod at the basket can keep defenses on their heels. If teams are reading his scouting report and watching film on him, they may feel a false sense of security in giving up a “less efficient” shot. MarJon, in turn, has no issue taking that shot at a decent clip and converting them on solid efficiency. The Ignite players and coaches trust him in that space, giving him the green light and the ball with the confidence that the ball will find its way home. While the craft and accuracy in the open floor is something many fans and evaluators can appreciate, Beauchamp is good at the fun stuff as well.
The dunks are going to be what makes the daytime sports talk shows. He’s an effortless athlete; he runs the floor well and understands how to play off a teammate to set himself up to be on the right end of a lob. While the fun stuff, like dunking, is what people want to see—let’s take a look at what opposing teams don’t want to see: defense.
Now, let’s not get it twisted. Beauchamp isn’t a finished product on the defensive end of the court—as if any of these incoming players are. Early in the season, screen navigation was a significant issue. However, as the season progressed, MarJon became a better communicator, understood scouting reports better, and found ways to snake around screens. He improved his footwork on that end as well. He went from losing his man due to poor positioning and missteps on his angles to doing the work early. To point you to some counting stats, Beauchamp averaged 1.5 steals per game and 0.8 blocks per game. That defense will only get better as he continues to understand the game and grow more accustomed to the speed of it.
But what about his role in the NBA on offense? We pointed to how he can add points to the box score in transition, but how about in the halfcourt? Well, he isn’t going to be a knock-down three-point shooter—at least initially. He only shot 27.3% from deep on 2.8 attempts per game. The shot isn’t consistent, and the foundation of his form needs some tweaking. However, for those that consider themselves “free throw percentages truthers” (shout out to No Ceiling’s own, Nick Johnson), he is a 71.8% shooter from the stripe. It was also highlighted earlier that he is a valuable scorer in the mid-range. One thing that No Ceiling’s colleague, Maxwell Baumbach, has discussed is that players that commit to the G League are dealing with is actual NBA range. It may not be everything that is wrong with MarJon’s shooting percentage from deep, but it is something that probably garners a respectable amount of consideration.
What we’ve seen from the Ignite coaching staff is that they love to get MarJon moving off of a variety of screen types to create separation for him to attack the defense. From there, Beauchamp is just as judicious in the halfcourt at knowing when to drive to the hoop or pulling up for the middy as he is when pushing the break.
For contending teams, Beauchamp has shown resiliency in his quest to become a professional basketball player. His decision to commit to a Chameleon BX ended up not working out, and it was enough for some players to maybe call it quits. He ended up landing on his feet in the G League, being the one constant that they’ve had all season. He has the frame that translates Day One. He has the athleticism that teams will want from their perimeter players. Despite being 21-years-old, there is still a nice blend of tools and potential left for a team that may not be in title contention to make a commitment to his development.
Early NBA Draft Entrants:
As we continue to march on towards the draft, we are seeing more and more prospects declare for the NBA Draft. We’ll continue to provide the players that have declared, starting with the ones that have declared since the last Sunday’s issuance of “The Weekend Warrior” article. There will be a line of demarcation between the ones that were named last week. Here they are:
Dyson Daniels | Ignite | Perimeter
Justin Lewis | Marquette | Forward | Sophomore
Jeremy Sochan | Baylor | Forward | Freshman
JD Davison | Alabama | Guard | Freshman
Bennedict Mathurin | Arizona | Wing | Sophomore
Shaedon Sharpe | Kentucky | Wing | Freshman
Malcolm Cazalon | Mega Basket | Perimeter
Nikola Jovic | Mega Basket | Forward
Terquavion Smith | North Carolina State | Guard | Freshman
Ryan Rollins | Toledo | Guard | Freshman
Peyton Watson | UCLA | Forward | Freshman
Isaiah Mobley | USC | Forward | Junior
Efe Abogidi | Washington State | Big | Sophomore
Trayce Jackson-Davis | Indiana | Big | Junior
*Names from Last Week*
Jaylin Williams | Arkansas | Big | Sophomore
Jabari Smith Jr. | Auburn | Forward | Freshman
Walker Kessler | Auburn | Big | Sophomore
Kennedy Chandler | Tennessee | Guard | Freshman
TyTy Washington Jr. | Kentucky | Guard | Freshman
Isiaih Mosley | Missouri State | Guard | Junior
Tyler Burton | Richmond | Wing | Junior
David Roddy | Colorado State | Forward | Junior
Drew Timme | Gonzaga | Big | Junior
Marcus Sasser | Houston | Guard | Junior
Keion Brooks Jr. | Kentucky | Wing | Junior
Nijel Pack | Kansas State | Guard | Sophomore
Kenneth Lofton Jr. | Louisiana Tech | Big | Sophomore
Tari Eason | LSU | Forward | Sophomore
Josh Minott | Memphis | Forward | Freshman
Iverson Molinar | Mississippi State | Guard | Junior
Bryce McGowens | Nebraska | Wing | Freshman
Blake Wesley | Notre Dame | Guard | Freshman
EJ Liddell | Ohio State | Big | Junior
Jordan Hall | Saint Joseph’s | Perimeter | Sophomore
Baylor Scheierman | South Dakota State | Wing | Junior
Kevin McCullar | Texas Tech | Perimeter | Junior
Kendall Brown | Baylor | Forward | Freshman
Jabari Walker | Colorado | Forward | Sophomore
Keegan Murray | Iowa | Forward | Sophomore
Jake LaRavia | Wake Forest | Wing | Junior
Mike Miles Jr. | TCU | Guard | Sophomore
Harrison Ingram | Stanford | Forward | Freshman
Aminu Mohammed | Georgetown | Guard | Freshman
Jalen Williams | Santa Clara | Wing | Junior
Jaden Ivey | Purdue | Guard | Sophomore
Jonathan Davis | Wisconsin | Guard | Sophomore
Max Christie | Michigan State | Guard | Freshman
Malaki Branham | Ohio State | Guard | Freshman
Dereon Seabron | North Carolina State | Perimeter | Sophomore
Julian Champagnie | St. John’s | Wing | Junior
Enter the Transfer Portal:
Like the players that are continuing to declare for the Draft, there have been more prospects looking to potentially play for another school. We’ll separate the players who have declared since last Sunday from the players listed last week. Here they are (BOLDED players have transferred to another team):
Emoni Bates | Memphis | Wing | Freshman
DJ Jeffries | Mississippi State | Forward | Junior
Grant Sherfield | Nevada | Guard | Junior
Devonaire Doutrive | Boise State | Guard | Grad Transfer
Antoine Davis | Detroit Mercy | Guard | Senior
Kendric Davis | SMU | Guard | Senior
Jordan Nesbitt | St. Louis | Wing | Freshman
Akok Akok | UConn | Forward | Junior
Dawson Garcia | UNC | Forward | Sophomore
Brandon Huntley-Hatfield | Tennessee | Big | Sophomore
Emmanuel Akot | Boise State | Wing | Grad Transfer
Adam Miller | LSU | Guard | Sophomore
Eric Gaines | LSU | Guard | Sophomore
Jahmir Young | Charlotte | Guard | Junior
KJ Williams | Murray State | Big | Junior
Bennett Vander Plas | Ohio | Forward | Grad Transfer
Landers Nolley II | Memphis | Forward | Junior
* Names from Last Week*
Noah Williams | Washington State | Guard | Junior
Dre Davis | Louisville | Perimeter | Sophomore
Doug Edert | St. Peter’s | Guard | Junior
Matthew Lee | St. Peter’s | Guard | Junior
Daryl Banks III | St. Peter’s | Guard | Junior
Kenneth Lofton Jr. | Louisiana Tech | Big | Sophomore
Jalen Bridges | West Virginia | Forward | Sophomore (R.S)
Jaiden Delaire | Stanford | Forward | Grad Transfer
Joseph Bamisile | George Washington | Guard | Sophomore
Fardaws Aimaq | Utah Valley | Big | Junior (R.S)
Will Richard | Belmont | Guard | Freshman
Trevon Brazile | Missouri | Forward | Freshman
Brandon Murray | LSU | Guard | Freshman
Xavier Pinson | LSU | Guard | Grad Transfer
Terrence Shannon Jr. | Texas Tech | Wing | Junior
Samuell Williamson | Louisville | Wing | Junior
Andre Curbelo | Illinois | Guard | Sophomore
Nelly Cummings | Colgate | Guard | Grad Transfer
Manny Bates | North Carolina State | Big | Junior
Earl Timberlake | Memphis | Guard | Sophomore
Nijel Pack | Kansas State | Guard | Sophomore
Mark Sears | Ohio | Guard | Sophomore
Efton Reid | LSU | Big | Freshman
Courtney Ramey | Texas | Guard | Graduate
Alex Fudge | LSU | Wing | Freshman
Ready to Report:
As the days have passed over the past week, many of the players who declared for the transfer portal have committed to play for new universities. Let’s take a look at who will be sporting new colors:
Andre Curbelo: From Illinois to St. John’s
Doug Edert: From Saint Peter’s to Bryant University
Will Richard: From Belmont to Florida
Eric Gaines: From LSU to UAB
Trevon Brazile: From Missouri to Arkansas
Nelly Cummings: From Colgate to Pittsburgh
Mark Sears: From Ohio to Alabama
Alex Fudge: From LSU to Florida
Samuell Williamson: From Louisville to SMU
Brandon Murray: From LSU to Georgetown
Joseph Bamisile: From George Washington to Oklahoma
Noah Williams: From Washington State to Washington
Warriors of the Week: SEC Superteams?
Recruited: Brandon Miller, Jaden Bradley, Rylan Griffen, Noah Clowney, and Nick Pringle.
Transfers: Mark Sears (Ohio).
University of Arkansas
Recruited: Nick Smith Jr., Jordan Walsh, Anthony Black, Derrian Ford, Barry Dunning, and Joseph Pinion.
Transfers: Jalen Graham (Arizona State), Makhel Mitchell (Rhode Island), Makhi Mitchell (Rhode Island), and Trevon Brazile (Missouri).
Recruited: Yohan Traore, Chance Westry, and Tre Donaldson.
University of Kentucky
Recruited: Chris Livingston and Cason Wallace.
University of Florida
Recruited: Jalen Reed and Denzel Aberdeen
Transfers: Alex Fudge (LSU) and Will Richard (Belmont).