Among games and tournaments featured on Prospect Watch last week, the PK-80 Tournament took place over the holiday weekend. Here’s a taste.
BAMBA BLOCK pic.twitter.com/VemlLpVqAX— The Student Section (@StudentSecPod) November 25, 2017
Gary Trent Jr. with the CLUTCH bucket for Duke!!— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) November 25, 2017
(via @clippittv) pic.twitter.com/y9fohxLp41
That’s future lottery pick Mo Bamba sending future lottery pick Marvin Bagley III’s shot back east. Then on the very next play, you see future first rounder Gary Trent Jr. going and-one to tie it up and foul Mo Bamba out of the game.
Yo. If you aren’t watching some college ball, you’re doing life wrong.
It was a fun week of holiday tourneys and invitationals all over the map, which saw games like the one above. Bagley got the last laugh in that one with an overtime win and an impressive 34 points and 15 rebounds. Trent Jr. had 17 points and eight rebounds; Bamba earned nine points, 10 rebounds and two blocks.
This week we’re back to a more traditional slate of games, with few lottery vs. lottery head-to-heads, but quality teams that will challenge these young prospects, testing what they’re made of so far.
With a somewhat light schedule for the Mavericks the rest of the week, you might have some extra time to do some scouting of your own.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 29
- Miami @ Minnesota (8:15 CT, ESPN2)
The Miami Hurricanes have cruised early this season, blowing out nearly every team they’ve played. But they also haven’t faced a true test yet. Wednesday night they head north to Minneapolis to face an undefeated Minnesota Golden Gophers squad.
We’re pretty high on sophomore guard Bruce Brown Jr. here at Moneyball. He’s a do-it-all off-ball guard who has the ability to stuff the stat sheet. Brown’s outside shot has been pretty cold in his sophomore campaign, and he’ll have to prove more from the perimeter for a lottery team to take a look at him.
The U also has freshman guard Lonnie Walker IV coming off the bench. He’s not getting a ton of time for the Hurricanes, and though he isn’t talked about much, he’s a prospect that could be a long term fit alongside Dennis Smith Jr.
- Duke @ Indiana (8:30 CT, ESPN)
With Marvin Bagley III exiting the Michigan State game earlier this season after getting poked in the eye, the PK-80 tournament was our first time seeing him up against other quality college talent. And the comeback victories against Texas and Florida should have silenced any doubters of his potential as a number one pick, carrying a young Duke squad looking for leadership alongside Grayson Allen. In the PK-80 tourney, Bagley III averaged 27.3 points, 15 rebounds and a block per game.
Now, Coach K’s merry band of freshmen talent hits the road to play in one of the more iconic college atmosphere’s, at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana. It’s always fun to see how young stars answer the challenge in a tough road environment. Pay close attention to Bagley and shooting guard Gary Trent Jr.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 30
- Michigan State vs Notre Dame
Miles Bridges (who is bouncing back from a mild ankle sprain) and Jaren Jackson Jr. are becoming matchup nightmares on any given night for the Spartans. The inside-out athleticism that Bridges shows on both ends of the floor and the length of freshman Jackson Jr. make for a wild combination of stat-stuffing forwards.
Now they’ll take on a quality Notre Dame squad, led by crafty forward Bonzie Colson. The senior Colson is one of those stereotypical college undersized post players. It will be fun to see how the young Spartans try to shut down such an experienced college player.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1
- Maryland vs Purdue (6:00 CT, Big Ten Network)
It’s no secret that the Mavericks are hurting for legit wings, true small forwards with actual length who can hit an outside shot. Sophomore Terrapins forward Justin Jackson is that mold of player. In his freshman season Jackson shot a staggering 44-percent from three; a number many scouts were unsure would hold up. After testing some draft waters last summer, where some projections saw him in the late first round or early second, Jackson opted to return to Maryland.
His perimeter numbers have not been positive early. But Jackson has improved his rebounding and is proving to be a versatile contributor from the wing position. He’ll have a tough matchup against a Purdue team that just demolished a top -ranked Arizona squad in the Bahamas.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 2
- Arizona @ UNLV (9:00 CT, CBS Sports Network)
Arizona returns to the states from what had to be an eye opening and disappointing holiday tournament in the Bahamas, inexplicably losing three nights in a row. But that doesn’t mean that DeAndre Ayton, so far the top center in next summer’s draft, didn’t have a solid showing. In the three games, the Bahamas native averaged 22 points, 12.3 rebounds and one block in 31 minutes per contest.
This game at UNLV will be an intriguing test for Ayton. First, how does he lead his team after such a disappointing road trip? Second, what does he look like against Brandon McCoy, another major freshman talent at the center position. McCoy, also a former McDonald’s All-American who’s had a solid start to his freshman year, is projected by some as a mid-first rounder next summer.
Prospect Watch will be back next week, with more young talent to scout for next summer!