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No Stone Unturned: The Wings, Part 2
Scouting reports and notes on intriguing under-the-radar wings, including comments from four different coaches! The second in a three-part wing series of No Stone Unturned.
Welcome to the third installment of No Stone Unturned! In this series of articles, I will be digging into five players at different positions who are flying under the radar but warrant attention. For my methodology, I started by seeking out players with interesting statistical profiles. From there, I compiled a list, worked my way through the film, and chose my favorites. I did my best to avoid prospects who have received rankings on mainstream Top 100 lists and early mock drafts. I’m looking for deep cuts who aren’t receiving much love yet but still have a real crack at making a mark this coming season. You can read the first piece of the series on big men here, and the first of the wing pieces here. Enjoy!
Norchad Omier, 6’7”, Junior, Miami
2021-2022 Stats: 17.9 PPG, 12.2 RPG, 1.2 APG, 2.7 TOV, 1.6 SPG, 1.9 BPG
2021-2022 Shooting Splits: 63.2/33.3/72.9
Signature Performance: vs. Louisiana-Monroe. 35 points, 13 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block. 13-21 FG, 9-12 FT.
Tough Test(s) (Games Against Quad-1 Competition):
-vs. Illinois. 14 minutes, 4 points, 5 rebounds, 1 block, 5 turnovers, 5 fouls. 2-2 FG.
-vs. Texas Tech. 5 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 4 turnovers. 2-4 FG, 1-5 FT.
Right now, Norchad Omier is a “small big,” but his path to the NBA is to become more of a wing. Born in Bluefields, Nicaragua, Omier is a late-bloomer who didn’t start playing basketball until he was 13. He eventually ended up playing high school ball at Miami Prep in Florida. Omier accepted a scholarship offer from Arkansas State and played some of the most productive basketball in the country for two seasons. From there, he caught the eye of the University of Miami coaching staff. In a conversation with Miami Associate Head Coach Bill Courtney, he laid out what drew them to Omier. “We lost a lot of guys in our front court. We need frontcourt help in the portal…We had seen what he was doing, the numbers he was putting up. Once he put his name in the portal, he was a priority for us. We have the largest Nicaraguan population in the country, he has family in the area, and he’s such a wonderful kid. It was a great fit.”
So, about those numbers he was putting up—they were monstrous. Omier’s an automatic finisher on the interior, ranking in Synergy’s 94th percentile for scoring around the basket. He can function as a lob threat, but he also has a patient post game and soft touch near the rim. Best of all, his hands are baby soft, and he only needs one of them to catch a pass at the rim. His 12.2 rebounds per game ranked him fourth in the nation. “He’s one of the best rebounders in the country, regardless of level. Teams have to be so intentional on their block outs,” Courtney noted, later adding, “he’s an absolute monster on the glass on both ends of the floor. He carves out space and uses both hands, and he grabs it above the rim.” From a technical aspect, his rebounding is nearly flawless. If a ball is up for grabs, he’ll tip it up to keep it alive and often end up securing it. He’s also exceptionally fast on the floor, which also helps in terms of finishing and shot-blocking. Omier has NBA tools from a build and athleticism standpoint. When he’s bumped, he can stay vertical on defense and finish through it on offense.
What makes Omier most intriguing to me is his defense. This past season he posted a STL% of 3.2 and a BLK% of 6.9, both absurd numbers. Given those statistics and his relative inexperience, it’s easy to imagine Omier as a riverboat gambler who is flying all over the play, trying to stir up chaos. That couldn’t be further from what he is, though. Omier is fundamentally sound. He’s a great pick-and-roll defender who can stay with guards before flying off the ground to swat their shots. “He’s tremendous in ball screen coverage. He keeps his hands off guys and doesn’t foul,” said Bill Courtney. He doesn’t hunt for blocks, he genuinely provides good rim protection, and he deters shots when he doesn’t get the rejection. He can scramble and get into the correct spot on the floor in a hurry. At the point of attack, he’s poised and doesn’t get suckered by countermoves. Off the ball, his recognition is sublime, and he reacts at warp speed. He won the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year because he’s the entire package, not an opportunist who simply posts gaudy numbers.
I’m also optimistic about his move up to Miami, given that his best skills tend to be scalable. Coach Bill Courtney agreed, saying, “I think the rebounding will translate. His ability to get fouled will translate. His speed and quickness down the floor will translate.” His motor makes him an incessant pain to deal with; he’s always getting in the offense’s way on defense, he’s constantly mixing it up on the glass, and he’s going to deflate your spirits with second-chance buckets. If he were a lesser athlete, I’d have more reservations, but he’s a great one. The fact that he’s so new to high-level basketball doesn’t hurt, either. The amount of time he’s spent around coaching staffs and facilities like the ones he’ll have access to at Miami is far less than that of his peers. Players like Trey Murphy III and Keegan Murray have shown us that not every developmental trajectory is the same, and late-bloomers can explode for gigantic seasons when you aren’t expecting it.
What Needs Improvement
The most glaring issue when you watch Norchad Omier is how frequently he travels. His post footwork simply isn’t polished yet. When he meets resistance on the interior and has to go into a more complicated move, he’s prone to getting happy feet. When I spoke with Bill Courtney, expanding Omier’s post game was one of the first developmental focal points he mentioned. “When he catches it in the post, he’s going to have to make adjustments against higher-level competition. He’s going to face taller and more athletic guys he can’t overpower.” They’re also working on adding more to his perimeter game, too. “Basketball is positionless,” Courtney stated before talking about mismatch opportunities that can arise for Omier. Better ball skills would make it easier for him to take smaller players inside, and a more reliable jump shot would enable him to pull big men out to the perimeter, where he could leverage his speed more effectively. Last season, Omier only took three total triples. “We’ve been working on his shooting,” Courtney remarked, “we’re getting him comfortable in the mid-range and shooting threes.” Without a jump shot, Omier’s translation to the next level is far murkier. It’s unclear what advantage he adds to an NBA line-up as a 6’7” big man if he isn’t going to provide any floor spacing. It’s incumbent upon him to become a shooter if he wants to make it to the next level.
Norchad Omier’s transfer to Miami was one of the most exciting moves of the off-season. At Arkansas State, he dominated the opposition, and historically, dominant players translate well to higher levels of competition. Omier’s game is so quirky, though, that it leaves a few questions. In the ACC, he’ll be matched up against big men like Dereck Lively II, Armando Bacot, P.J. Hall, and Kadin Shedrick. In order for Omier to succeed, he’ll need to add craft to his scoring profile and expand his shooting range. If he does that, he’s undoubtedly going to land on NBA radars. He’s an elite rebounder, a truly switchable defender who creates extra possessions, and, best of all, he hasn’t been playing for that long. It feels as if there is still so much potential in Omier due to his soft interior touch, potent athleticism, and ability to read the game quickly. The work ethic is there, too. Coach Bill Courtney stated, “He has a contagious energy in practice. He brings it every single day. His motor never stops.” I’m bullish on his defense and rebounding panning out in the ACC. If his offensive game expands, his stock could soar to the moon.
Tyler Robertson, 6’6”, Senior, Portland
2021-2022 Stats: 15.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 4.5 APG, 2.5 TOV, 1.3 SPG, 0.3 BPG
2021-2022 Shooting Splits: 40.5/35.6/88.3
Signature Performance: vs. Loyola Marymount (2/12/2022). 31 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 steals. 8-13 FG, 5-5 3FG, 10-10 FT
Tough Test(s) (Games Against Quad-1 Competition):
-vs. BYU. 15 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 turnover, 1 block, 1 steal. 5-11 FG, 2-7 3FG, 3-5 FT.
-vs. Gonzaga (1/29/2022). 17 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 turnovers, 3 steals. 6-14 FG, 3-8 3FG, 2-2 FT.
-vs. Saint Mary’s. 15 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 turnovers, 3 steals. 6-11 FG, 1-2 3FG, 2-2 FT.
-vs. San Francisco (2/5/2022). 19 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 turnovers, 2 steals, 1 block. 6-9 FG, 1-3 3FG, 6-7 FT.
-vs. San Francisco (2/8/2022). 10 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers. 1-5 FG, 8-8 FT.
-vs. Santa Clara (2/26/2022). 16 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 steal. 8-18 FG, 0-2 3FG, 0-1 FT.
Tyler Robertson can absolutely cook with the ball in his hands, and he’s more than comfortable off the ball as well. If he’s snuck up on you as a prospect, it’s because he has had a quiet journey prior to this past season. The Australian-born prospect initially committed to Eastern Washington, where he spent two years before following their coaching staff to Portland. “One of our player’s dad’s coached in Melbourne, and a couple of our Australian players had played for him. Coach Legs [Shantay Legans] got him committed early as a junior. He fit our system. We knew he was going to be good. He had baby fat on him, but he had really good feel,” Assistant Coach Bobby Suarez told me.
Despite transferring up to a bigger conference, this past season was Robertson’s first as a leading man. As Coach Suarez noted, his feel is off the charts. Robertson has an ability to find open teammates. He always has his head up on drives, he can split tight seams with passes, and he has an array of deliveries to get the ball to his teammates quickly. He’s not just a passer, though. He ranked in the 71st percentile on runners per Synergy, so he has a go-to tool on the way to the rim. Where Robertson impressed me the most was as a tough shot-maker. His signature move is a quick stop, then a pull-up into a mini-fadeaway around the elbow, and it’s money. Robertson finished in the 98th percentile on mid-range jumpers, per Synergy. “Basketball is simple sometimes, a ball screen and someone making a play at the end of the shot clock. He’s that guy. Tough threes, bump fades. He’s a guy who takes and makes tough shots. He’s going to give the defense fits. And if the defense helps, he hits the open guy,” Coach Suarez explained.
Robertson does a lot of impressive work without the ball, too. He has a lightning-quick trigger and has hit 36.5% of his threes on 4.6 attempts per game over the last two years. While the percentage doesn’t scream “knock-down shooter,” Robertson doesn’t get the easiest looks and can comfortably hit from NBA distance. He’s also a potent shooter off movement, ranking in Synergy’s 86th percentile on shots off screens and the 94th percentile off handoffs. Tough shots make up a large part of his diet, but when he gets easy ones, they’re automatic. If his shot isn’t there, he can move the ball quickly to the next option. He’s got a strong body, and he’s a willing screener, creating openings for teammates. “His nickname is The Fridge,” Coach Suarez said, adding, “We also call him Fridgy Hendrix, because he would play the guitar after he hit threes.”
When you combine these skills into one package, few players are as well-rounded on offense as Robertson. There isn’t a setting where he’s not comfortable. “He’s a tough guy to cover. Little guards get posted up, and if he gets bigger guys, he puts them in ball screens. He can stretch the floor off the ball. He’s really good at every option. He’s not a one-dimensional player. He does it all,” Suarez told me. It doesn’t end on offense, either. Defensively, his awareness is evident again. He moves well on the perimeter thanks to solid hip fluidity, and his strength helps him when he’s switched onto a big. Robertson maintains his balance on the ball; he consistently suckers players into charge calls when he slides to help. Rebounding is another department where he impacts the game. His timing and ability to box out with authority help him grab extra boards that you typically don’t get from a player at his position.
What Needs Improvement
The elephant in the room with Tyler Robertson is his body and his athleticism. He doesn’t have much vertical pop, and he didn’t register a single made dunk this past season. When a bigger player gets him down low, he can handle the physicality, but he isn’t able to spring up and contest. This lack of lift is also partially responsible for his iffy interior finishing, as he made only 42.1% of his shots around the basket in the halfcourt. Offensively, he doesn’t have a lot of wiggle or burst. He frequently operates with his back to the basket, even on the perimeter, which is something it’s hard to imagine him being allowed to do at the next level. The good news is that Robertson has already put in a lot of work on his body. Coach Suarez commented that “I think his body is where he’s grown the most [over the years],” and that he’s a gym rat who is consistently putting in extra hours. Another item Suarez mentioned was that Robertson has continued to work on his playmaking. “We’d like to see him lead the league in assists, which we think he can do,” Suarez stated.
Robertson didn’t post the most efficient percentages in the world last season, but he stuffed the stat sheet, and the eye test reveals a highly intelligent player who can give defenses headaches in any predicament. It’s also important to consider the context— it was Robertson’s first season as a team’s leading scorer at the college level, and he did it in a better conference than he’d played in previously. With a year of experience under his belt and another year to continue working on his body, I’m excited to see how Robertson’s senior year plays out. He seems like the type of player who could continue to quietly produce at a high level, get an invite to the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, and then make everyone say, “what, who’s this guy?” While his athleticism may not check all of the boxes, we’ve seen constant examples of high-feel, high-skill players managing to catch on in the face of those challenges.
Jadon Jones, 6’5”, Junior, Long Beach State
2021-2022 Stats: 10.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.0 TOV, 1.4 SPG, 0.8 BPG
2021-2022 Shooting Splits: 42.8/37.1/86.1
Signature Performance: vs. Cal-State Northridge. 25 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals. 9-13 FG, 4-6 3FG, 3-3 FT
Tough Test(s) (Games Against Quad-1 Competition):
-vs. UCLA (11/15/21). 0 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block. 0-4 FG, 0-1 3FG.
-vs. Murray State. 3 points, 1 block, 1 turnover. 1-6 FG, 1-6 3FG.
-vs. San Diego State. 6 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, 3 turnovers. 3-9 FG, 0-4 3FG.
-vs. USC. 6 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals. 1-5 FG, 1-4 3FG, 3-3 FT.
-vs. UCLA (1/6/22). 27 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 1 turnover. 7-13 FG, 3-7 3FG, 10-11 FT.
-vs. BYU. 13 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 3 turnovers. 2-9 FG, 1-6 3FG, 8-10 FT.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Long Beach State assistant coach Allen Caveness, who actually coached Jadon Jones as a junior and senior in high school. “I knew he was talented, but I wasn’t sure about his work ethic and attitude,” Coach Caveness started. “His dad and I actually played against each other in the Drew League, so we were sort of rivals. We talked about it. Jadon didn’t have a lot of structure as a player yet. We got into the discipline and the structure, and he loved it. We did weights, study hall, Bible study, and he ended up leading the Bible study. He was a great leader.”
The positive intangibles are evident in Jadon Jones’s game on the floor, where he emerged as one of the best off-ball wing defenders in the country. He’s quick laterally, he knows which gaps to fill, and he does an excellent job of reading passing lanes. He’s clever and creates havoc in an intelligent way, tipping passes and poking the ball loose when players don’t expect it. His vertical burst allows him to help as a weakside rim protector, too. Jones is attentive in with sublime awareness. He finished the year with a 2.8 STL% and 3.4 BLK%. “He has some stuff you can’t teach,” noted Coach Caveness, “His feel, instincts, and anticipation are great. He studies a lot of film and knows players’ tendencies. He combines his God-given gifts with his physical tools and work ethic.”
Offensively, Jones primarily acts as an off-ball deep threat. He has NBA range and can comfortably shoot from well behind the three-point line. For his college career, he has a 39.2% from long range on 4.9 attempts per game. Jones ranked in Synergy’s 92nd percentile on spot-up possessions. His gravity pulls defenders far away from the basket as he can’t be ignored on the perimeter. “We had the leading scorer in the Big West in Joel Murray. If Jadon has a catch, he’s going to knock it down. It allows our guards and bigs more room to operate in ways that you don’t see on the stat sheet,” Coach Caveness remarked. His long arms make his shot difficult to disrupt, and he’s a willing mover who knows how to sneak away from defenders when they are ball-watching. Jones is comfortable getting into his shot off movement. If defenders close out too hard, he has a go-to sidestep move to get himself a cleaner shot. His first step is solid, and when he gets to the rim, he’s a great finisher.
What Needs Improvement
The most obvious improvement area for Jones when you turn on the film is his frame. He’s currently listed at 170 pounds on the team’s website. “He’s slender. In high school, he was incredibly slender,” said Coach Caveness. “The weight room was going to be important for him.” Jones has developed in this area, but if he had been invited to the NBA Combine this past season, he would have been one of the lightest players there. Contact can send him flying, and players can get through his chest when driving to the basket. The other element of Jones’s game I’d like to see take a step forward is his playmaking. Right now, he’s a great off-ball player, but he’ll need to be more than that playing in a smaller conference. His shot isn’t as good off the bounce, he rarely operated in pick-and-rolls, and he seldom goes to his right. Jones has a good first step, but he rarely uses it, instead leaning more into sidesteps and stepbacks as opposed to getting downhill. Only 13 of his halfcourt shots came at the basket this past season. This has been a focus for Jones and the coaching staff. “He’s spent a lot of time in the off-season working on his ball handling. He was much better last season, and we anticipate him taking another jump this season. In our practices, he was bringing the ball up and playing point guard at times. That speaks to his growth,” Coach Caveness explained.
The “3-and-D” archetype is one of the most sought after in basketball, and that’s what Jadon Jones brings to the table. He doesn’t take off the table, either— he’s a low-maintenance player who doesn’t need the ball to thrive, he plays excellent defense, and he rarely makes mental mistakes. While 3-and-D sounds great on paper, modern basketball isn’t that simple. Players have to respond when chased off the line. They need to be able to put the ball on the floor and be a threat when attacking the basket. In order to grab the attention of NBA front offices in the coming years, Jadon Jones needs to add more to his arsenal. The good news is that there won’t be a lack of effort on his end. Coach Caveness ended our conversation by saying, “He’s always sticking around and trying to get better. He’s really passionate. He spends time in the gym when he doesn’t have to because he wants to be great. Those are things you can’t teach.” A recurring topic during our conversation was Jones’ ability as a leader, communicator, and example-setter. If Jadon Jones can continue to develop physically and add more ball skills to his game, he’ll be difficult to ignore.
D’Maurian Williams, 6’5”, Junior, Texas Tech
2021-2022 Stats: 14.5 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.8 TOV, 0.9 SPG, 0.2 BPG
2021-2022 Shooting Splits: 41.0/39.3/80.4
Signature Performance: vs. Western Carolina. 25 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists. 7-15 FG, 6-11 3FG, 5-6 FT.
Tough Test(s) (Games Against Quad-1 Competition):
-vs. Arkansas. 6 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 5 turnovers. 2-9 FG, 2-5 3FG.
vs. Duke. 4 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 turnovers. 2-10 FG, 0-5 3FG.
D’Maurian Williams spent two seasons at Gardner-Webb and is now headed to Texas Tech. It’s easy to see why the Red Raiderss were interested in him, as he can shoot the cover off the ball— he took 6.5 threes per game last season and knocked down 39.3% of them. Even more enticing is how Williams can get to his threes. A capable ballhandler, he’s capable of pulling up from long range. He’s also a master of off-ball screen navigation, an important trait for shooting specialists. Williams does a tremendous job of picking his routes and final shooting spot in a way that both runs his man into contact from a pick-setter and gives him as much distance from the defender as possible once they deal with the screen. He does an excellent job coming off handoffs, too, ranking in Synergy’s 93rd percentile on those possessions. His mix of willingness to move, positional smarts, and shot preparation bares a resemblance to Tevin Brown, one of my favorite prospects from the last draft cycle.
Another area where Williams and Brown are similar is that I trust them both as playmakers. Williams is a reliable, steady decision-maker with the ball. His vision is good, he’s solid attacking a closeout, and he has some wiggle to him. One small area of his ballhandling that stands out is his ability to keep his dribble alive. Williams avoids situations where other players might get stuck in a double team or bad position by continuing to pound the rock and preventing a more aggressive swarming.
Williams isn’t a slouch defensively, either. He has solid quickness, and he knows where to be rotationally. This stood out in transition, where he would get back on defense and be in the right spots to prevent easy buckets. There were consistent occurrences of him causing troubles with his digs and swipes, too. He’s a savvy helper who will keep offenses on their toes if they don’t reckon with his presence off the ball.
What Needs Improvement
I have some concerns stemming from Williams’ performance against better competition, but I’m willing to let it slide as he peaked later on in the season. Still, he looked thin up top next to players like Wendell Moore. He had 0 dunks this past season and finished in Synergy’s 17th percentile on shots around the basket. While he’s a threat from the outside, he doesn’t pose much of a threat driving to the basket. His floater isn’t there yet, either, only making 6 of his 28 attempts on runners last season. He also had issues covering the point of attack, as players could drive through him or bully him inside. As he moves into the Big 12, it’s going to be critical for him to get stronger and bouncier. Lastly, while it’s a nitpicky criticism, I’d like to see him become more of a playmaker with his left hand. He can easily sling out of a live dribble with his right hand, but he’s visibly less comfortable going left and needs more time to get his passes off when headed in that direction.
The issues plaguing D’Maurian Williams may seem frustrating, but I’m keeping an open mind. Texas Tech is a big-time program that will have more resources to offer him than Gardner-Webb, giving me optimism about his ability to grow in terms of physicality and athleticism. They’ve also done an excellent job of identifying transfers who scaled up successfully in the past few seasons. Marcus Santos-Silva, Kevin Obanor, Davion Warren, and Adonis Arms all transferred from smaller schools to Texas Tech and performed admirably; Arms even signed an Exhibit-10 with the Denver Nuggets. Texas Tech has proven that they can get players up to speed in a hurry. Even if it doesn’t all click this year, Williams has more eligibility in the tank. I’m excited to see what he can do in a new environment.
Tucker DeVries, 6’7”, Sophomore, Drake
2021-2022 Stats: 13.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.4 TOV, 1.0 SPG, 0.8 BPG
2021-2022 Shooting Splits: 41.6/33.9/77.5
Signature Performance: vs. Loyola-Chicago (2/19/22). 24 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals. 7-12 FG, 2-4 3FG, 8-11 FT.
Tough Test(s) (Games Against Quad-1 Competition):
-vs. Alabama. 15 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover. 5-14 FG, 3-7 3FG, 2-2 FT.
-vs. North Texas. 5 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 3 blocks. 2-5 FG, 0-1 3FG, 1-1 FT.
-vs. Missouri State (1/2/2022). 4 points, 6 rebounds, 1 block. 2-8 FG, 0-4 3FG.
-vs. Loyola-Chicago (1/30/2022). 13 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals. 5-10 FG, 3-5 3FG.
-vs. Loyola-Chicago (2/19/2022). 24 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals. 7-12 FG, 2-4 3FG, 8-11 FT.
-vs. Loyola-Chicago (3/6/2022). 15 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 turnover, 5 blocks. 4-14 FG, 3-7 3FG, 4-5 FT.
While his 33.9% three-point percentage may not jump off the page, the eye test and deeper numbers tell a different story. Tucker DeVries took 12.4 threes per 100 possessions last season. He’s a willing shooter who can connect from well behind the three-point line, and teams respect his ability. Speaking with Drake Head Coach (and Tucker’s father) Darian DeVries, he noted, “Any time you get guys who can shoot it from as deep as he can, everyone else gets to operate with more space. That 2-3 feet of extra space where guys can’t sit in gaps makes the court so much more open.” DeVries can fly off screens, too, and finished in Synergy’s 88th percentile on those shots. This is what has me buying his shot as much as anything— these are often difficult looks where he doesn’t get a long load time to prepare. DeVries is moving and having to contort his body in an instant to get the shot off unencumbered, regardless of whether or not he has his full balance. He moves without the ball, and defenders know they can’t allow him to get too much space on the perimeter.
DeVries knows the risks defenders have to take because of his range. He does a wonderful job of using defenders’ momentum against them when they close out with too much heat, immediately creating an advantage for the offense. DeVries has a genuinely good handle, not just one that is solid for a player his size. His ability to sling the ball with one hand and score off the dribble makes him dangerous going downhill. He ranked in Synergy’s 77th percentile on jump shots off the dribble and the 89th percentile on shots around the basket. His size, length, and body control make him a hyper-efficient finisher. This means DeVries is truly a three-level scorer. Though he doesn’t have the shake or burst to create efficiently in isolation, DeVries is a legitimate pick-and-roll creator. He tallied over 1 point per possession as a ball handler in those settings— a great mark for any college player, but especially one who is 6’7”. His pull-up ability, passing, and knack for leveraging pace make him a headache. DeVries will use a hostage dribble to keep the defender behind him and force a rim protector to make a difficult decision or toy with hesitation to leave a defender off-balance. Though he’s a right-handed shooter, he’s super comfortable putting it on the floor with his left. “I think the biggest thing [he’s improved on over the years] has been becoming a playmaker with the ball in his hands. Growing up, he was kind of a catch-and-shoot guy. He moved to point guard his junior year of high school and has really taken off,” Coach DeVries told me, “We’ll use him in a lot of ball screens and have him making reads this season. At 6’7”, to be able to see over defenders and make reads is a huge advantage for us.”
DeVries creates an impact on the defensive end. On the ball, his feet are respectable, and he has a long enough body that few players can make him uncomfortable. He truly shines off the ball, though. His positional awareness is glorious, and his awareness never fades. When I asked Coach DeVries what his favorite thing Tucker does on the court is, he told me, “Compete. That’s what I love the most about him. He loves to be out there, and he’s so competitive. Whether it’s practice, a drill, or a game, he wants to win.” Tucker DeVries isn’t a back-door target or someone who will get caught snoozing. He chases players around screens well, works to recover if he gets beat, and gets into passing lanes when offensive players throw lazy passes. His awareness helps add additional rim protection, too, as he can cover for teammates when they get beat off the dribble or sneak up on drivers with tunnel vision. “Off the ball, he has great instincts in terms of understanding when to go help, when to go dig,” Coach DeVries noted. His STL% of 2.0 and BLK% of 3.4 will definitely catch the eyes of NBA evaluators, but the fact that he does it in a composed, sound manner will do even more for him when they dig into his film.
What Needs Improvement
This past season, from a physical standpoint, Tucker DeVries wasn’t someone who you would look at and say, “that’s definitely an NBA player!” He looked a little doughy, his hips could be a bit stiff at the point of attack, and he didn’t boast much explosiveness from a standstill. In speaking with Coach DeVries, he noted that Tucker has been hyper-focused on improving his body this off-season. “The biggest thing we worked on is changing his body. I think he’s completely changed the way he’s moved, the way his body looks. He’s taken a lot of pride in his nutrition. It feels like the way he’s worked out, he’s made huge jumps in a lot of phases of his game. He’s going to have a completely different look than he did a year ago,” Coach DeVries said.
There was one player who kept springing to mind when I did my last Tucker DeVries deep dive: Vince Williams Jr. Though DeVries doesn’t fly off the page as a run-and-jump athlete, he has a mature approach and a well-developed understanding of the game. He feasts on mistakes while limiting his own, he can score at every level, he’s a selfless creator, and his defensive awareness allows him to function as a playmaker on that end, too. Currently, I have a Top 45 grade on DeVries— he’s the most complete prospect I’ve covered in this series. If he comes into this season in better shape and becomes more efficient as a scorer, his versatility on both ends paired with his size will make him impossible for front offices to overlook. With a full off-season and a year of college ball under his belt, I’m anticipating him to do both of those things.
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