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Scouting With the Mavs: Texas Tech vs TCU

Watching Damion Baugh and Mike Miles of TCU and Jaylon Tyson of Texas Tech

NCAA Basketball: Texas Tech at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Five NBA scouts for four teams were in attendance for Saturday’s Big 12 opener in Fort Worth: Dallas, Golden State, Minnesota, and New Orleans. Teams were in attendance to see three players: Damion Baugh and Mike Miles of TCU, and Jaylon Tyson of Texas Tech.

Jaylon Tyson stole the show in the first half. Tyson’s story is a bit unconventional, committing to Texas Tech out of the North Dallas area, then flipping his commitment to Texas to follow the coach that recruited him, only to have a bad experience leading him to transfer back to Texas Tech. Since this is his first year of college basketball, the best lens is to view him as a redshirt freshman, or just an older freshman.

In the first half Tyson was active on both ends and walked into the halftime tunnel as easily the best player on the court, despite not having as high of a usage as he should have had given how open he often was against the weak side of the zone. At the end of the first half, Tyson had eight points, two rebounds, four assists, and two steals on 50% shooting. He ended the game with almost an identical stat-line, but with four rebounds and zero second half shots.

Tyson was able to keep his dribble alive against pressure, which had somewhat plagued him in the non-conference portion of the season, and that allowed him to get to his spots on the floor with ease, both as a playmaker and a scorer. As a playmaker, he kept his head up even against pressure while keeping his dribble alive, and he executed the simple passes quickly for assists. As a scorer, he forced his way to the rim and was able to create enough space to get quality shots off against what was once tight defense. Unfortunately for Tyson, the second half was silent for him, as he only touched the ball a handful of times. Still, the first half was an impressive flash for him in front of five NBA scouts, making him a name to remember in the long run.

TCU got hot to open the second half, overcoming a double digit halftime deficit. There were some back and forth big runs, but TCU ultimately prevailed, thanks to a big second half from star guards Mike Miles & Damion Baugh.

Miles finished with 23 points, three assists, one steal, and one block on 58% shooting with eight of ten shooting from the free throw line. Baugh finished with 14 points, two rebounds, five assists, and four steals on 46% shooting.

The noticeable growth in Miles’ game this year has been a killer instinct as the closer of the team, putting teams away as the first option, and doing so efficiently. The “Scouting With the Mavs” series has already touched on what makes Mike Miles so great multiple times, but the closer mentality has become apparent since coming back from injury. His ability to play off-ball as needed throughout the game, then becoming the leader and true first option for the offense makes him one of the toughest defensive assignments each night. With a quick first step, a strong pull-back move to hit the three or mid range jumper, and a fearless approach going to the rim, Miles is a three level scorer with the ability to get to the line at ease.

If the fearless mentality continues throughout conference play, Miles will surely get drafted, given that he is the youngest upperclassman in the draft at just 20 years old, and will be 21 just before the start of the 2023 NBA season.

As for Baugh, while scouts want to see his volume in production increase, his ability to create plays on both ends of the floor is undeniable. His steal percentage is among the best in the country, he creates looks for others, and he thrives in quick offense. This is a prototypical role for guards in the G League, which is where he projects to end up, should he forgo his extra year of eligibility after the season.

The weakness that Baugh needs to overcome for the next level is three point shooting. This would unlock his scoring upside and another element of unpredictability for him to use his quick first step to become a more dynamic scorer at the rim. At 6’3, being a combo guard Baugh will need a jump shot that requires defenses to step out and contest in order to stick at the next level.

TCU plays at Baylor Wednesday, which will be an elite matchup against projected lottery pick Keyonte George. That matchup should draw almost double the scouting attendance that Texas Tech drew, with NBA executives likely in the building.