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Scouting With the Mavs: Iowa State at TCU

Mike Miles and Damion Baugh draw a crowd

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Texas Christian Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

The first scouting trip of 2023 brought a different experience to Fort Worth than any game of the 2022 portion of the season. As TCU hosted Iowa State, three NBA scouts were in attendance to see Mike Miles and Damion Baugh in a Big 12 thriller.

The first half was entirely quiet for Mike Miles due to foul trouble on nearly back-to-back plays. Miles sat as many minutes as he played (10), and when he did play, he was facing constant pressure from the stingy Iowa State defense. There were only two notable plays that I saw from him, with almost no fault of his own: a nice spot-up three & a great pass out of a double team near half-court a la Luka Doncic, but did not result in an assist. In the first half, Miles recorded just three points on one of three shooting and one rebound.

Miles played the entirety of the second half, and got going with 15 points, one rebound, one assist, and one block on four of six shooting, and shooting five of nine from the field overall for the game.

The other player that stood out from a scouting perspective was once again Damion Baugh. While he struggled with turnovers, including two rather weak push-off calls for offensive fouls, he was still the most impactful Horned Frog on the court. He was scoring from all three levels, distributing, and defending at a high level. He emerged as the alpha due to the absence of Mike Miles in the first half, and controlled the offense. As I have stated before, Baugh has an easy path to the G League, and should follow the trajectory of fellow former Horned Frog RJ Nembhard of earning a two-way contract at a minimum.

Baugh fits the mold of a glue piece combo guard, but will have to prove shooting consistency, at a minimum in spotting up. He also needs to dramatically improve his off the dribble scoring to take advantage of hard closeouts, but a big step will come for him offensively when he improves his catch & shoot efficiency.

This game unexpectedly came down to the wire following a nine point Iowa State lead with just over four minutes left. Iowa State’s stingy defense gave TCU many problems all game, making TCU do what they are weakest at: three point shooting. Mike Miles found a way to overcome it, taking advantage of being the most pressured spot-up shooter by drawing two separate shooting fouls on threes in the final five minutes.

Iowa State is a good barometer for how good a prospect’s offense is, because of how stingy their defense is and how many turnovers they force. Miles and Baugh passed the test in front of three NBA scouts, which should be promising for their draft stock.