Nike Global Challenge Scouting Reports: Point Guards

Nike Global Challenge Scouting Reports: Point Guards
Jul 21, 2015, 02:06 pm
Scouting reports on nine of the top point guard prospects seen at the 2015 Nike Global Challenge in Chicago, including De'Aaron Fox, Troy Brown, Javonte Smart, Alterique Gilbert, Cassius Winston, Matt Coleman, Trae Young, Howard Washington and Jhery Matos.

De'Aaron Fox, 6-4, PG, Katy, Texas, 2016 High School Class


The lighting quick point guard played only 21 minutes in the entire tournament after injuring his wrist in USA West's first game against Dominican Republic – a less than stellar performance for Fox as he scored only seven points (3-of-11 shooting) and dished out two assists. But despite his struggles making jumpers from the perimeter and converting lightly contested shots around the rim, Fox's talent was still very evident.

The 6' 4” floor general showed all the makings of a lead guard, moving the ball ahead in transition, hitting the roll man in stride out of pick and roll, and breaking his man down with his elite quickness and advanced handle to eventually kick out to shooters or lob it up to bigs around the rim.

Fox finished with only two assists, but his vision, timing and unselfishness as a passer proved to be on another level compared to other lead guards at the tournament.

Fox also knocked down a pull up jumper in the lane and, although he struggled to convert, showed a willingness to use both hands around the rim comfortably.

Fox's most glaring weakness, however, reared its ugly head as defenders were able to go under screens or close out short due to the point guard's struggles making shots with range. He sports a fairly mechanical jumper that gets very limited rotation, and appears to be more comfortable shooting off the bounce than off the catch at this stage. For as good of a passer as he is, Fox does have a tendency to force up contested jumpers at times.

Defensively, Fox did a nice job playing at the top of USA West's zone and pressuring the ball to force turnovers, but he also does gamble a bit too often in the half court. Fox's injury and less than stellar game (from a scoring perspective) was a disappointing, but even in 31 minutes of ho-hum play, it's hard not to like Fox's size, elite speed, ball handling ability, court vision, and lateral quickness.

Troy Brown, 6-6, PG, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2017 High School Class


One of the youngest players at the camp, Brown had his ups and downs over the course of his four games with the USA West squad. Some of Brown's biggest weaknesses were on display as a result of the role he was forced to play on his team.

The 15-year-old is at his best playing with the ball in his hands and operating out of pick and roll. He has the size to pass over the top of defenses and shows nice creativity as a distributor, using both sides of the floor effectively. At Global Challenge, however, Brown played almost exclusively off the ball and struggled to make catch and shoot jumpers, took some suspect shots off the dribble and was just average finishing inside the arc in half court situations.

Brown isn't a non-shooter by any means, but his lack of consistency showed during this four-game stint. Brown was excellent getting out in the open court and making plays in transition, but he still has room to grow in terms of his ability to play at different speeds and change directions in the half court.

The 6' 6” point guard is a good, not great athlete, as he oftentimes plays a bit hunched over on both ends of the floor. He also showed a tendency to try and make the homerun play when he did have the ball in his hands, rather than making the simple play.

On the flip side, Brown was very good defensively. He played with outstanding effort on and off the ball and wasn't afraid to crash the glass and mix it up. All things considered, however, Brown is a big-time talent and it says a lot about his physical maturity and skill set to be making plays and guarding his position against players over two years older than him, all while playing out of position. Despite the mediocre showing, Brown should still be considered one of the top point guards in the 2017 Class.

Javonte Smart, 6-4, PG, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 2018 High School Class


One of the youngest players at the Nike Global Challenge, having just turned 16 in early June, Smart wasn't overly aggressive and in turn was one of the least productive players at the tournament filled with plenty of players two years older than him.

The 6' 4” guard posted a 1.6 PER and shot only 2-for-20 from the field, but even with his poor tournament from a production standpoint, the 16-year-old's blend of physical tools (very good frame, 6' 7” wingspan), court vision and potential as a shooter stood out in his 66 total minutes.

Smart shied away from contact in the paint and struggled to get it going from the perimeter, but he was able to show glimpses of the type of player he could very well turn into with one or two more years of experience. Smart is smooth with the ball and very comfortable playing at different speeds, an excellent skill when combined with his above average court vision when on the move. Smart also gets good rotation on his jumper despite his low release point.

Defensively, Smart has a ways to go in terms of awareness, activity and aggression, but as his experience-level and confidence both continue to increase, Smart should develop into one of the most talented point guard prospects in the country with potential on both ends of the floor.

Alterique Gilbert, 5-11, PG, Norcross, Georgia, 2016 High School Class


The undersized, scoring point guard and UConn commit Alterique Gilbert put together a very impressive four-game tournament, eventually ending in a championship victory over USA East. Over the course of the entire Nike Global Challenge Gilbert averaged 27.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 6.3 assists per 40 minutes pace adjusted while posting a 23.2 PER and shooting 59.1% from two and 30.8% from three.

Sporting a strong frame, outstanding quickness and explosive leaping ability for a player his size, Gilbert got into the paint at will while knocking down a handful of tough threes off the bounce. Playing with more of a scorer's mindset at this stage, Gilbert had no problem creating his own shot in the half court by using a bevy of hesitations and combo moves that were tough for defenders to contain when combined with his athletic ability.

Gilbert also did a tremendous job finishing inside the paint despite his less than stellar stature. The Georgia-native showed no fear challenging rim protectors, and even went coast to coast, elevated off one foot and almost hammered one home on a near seven-footer before getting fouled in the championship game.

Gilbert also did a nice job creating space to get to his jumper, utilizing quick crossovers and step backs in isolation or pick and roll situations. Gilbert is more of a shot-maker than a pure shooter at this stage, as he takes a lot of contested jumpers and struggles with his balance at times.

As a point guard and decision maker, Gilbert still has some room to improve. He's a more than capable passer, and he showed that with a handful of pick and roll dimes and transition drop offs, but Gilbert is more often than not driving to score, resulting in low percentage shots in the paint or missed teammates from time to time.

Defensively, Gilbert has the strength and quickness to be a very pesky defender. He's not always overly focused on that end of the floor, however, and will struggle containing, contesting and bothering shots or passes from bigger point guards.

Overall, Gilbert has some room to develop his decision making and pure point guard skills, but he's an elite athlete for his position, can make tough shots on the dribble and could very play a Pierre Jackson type of role at the college level in time.

Cassius Winston, 6-2, PG, Detroit, 2016 High School Class


Behind a 21-point, nine-assist effort in the third place game, Detroit-native Cassius Winston led the Nike Global Challenge in assists per 40 minutes (11.09) and Pure Point Rating (9.42). He showcased excellent vision, creativity and timing as a passer to go along with his ability to play at different speeds. The 6' 2” lead guard can play pick and roll, distribute on the move, and really push tempo in transition.

Winston didn't quite have elite burst as he's playing at a heavier weight than he has in the past (weighed in at 194 at 2015 Nike Skills Academy after weighing 173 the year before) but he's still fairly shifty and was able to get into the lane and use his strength to finish through contact – 59.3% inside the arc. Winston still has room to improve as an outside shooter as he shoots a bit of a push shot with a low release point, but he displays nice touch despite the less than stellar shooting mechanics. There's no doubt that Cassius Winston helped himself with his impressive playmaking and finishing ability in front of a handful of big-time college coaches.

Matt Coleman, 6-2, PG/SG, Norfolk, VA, 2017 High School Class


Over the course of four games Coleman proved his worth as a shifty, attacking combo guard who can really finish in the lane over length. Coleman was the only point guard to finish in the Nike Global Challenge Top 10 in field goal percentage, as he shot 53.8% from the field and a terrific 63.3% from two on 33 attempts.

Coleman's efficiency inside the arc speaks to his ability to finish in the paint despite weighing only 168 pounds, sporting a 6' 4” wingspan and being much more quick and shifty than vertical. Coleman didn't just feast on open lanes and short rim protectors. He does a really nice job using his body around the rim, is able to mix in floaters, and even flashed some of the crafty wrong foot layups and speed finishes you rarely see out of players at the high school level.

Coleman has excellent burst to help him get into the paint, and can stop and start on a dime. The rest of Coleman's offensive game, however, has quite a bit of room for improvement. He's a limited outside shooter, and while he showed some creativity as a distributor, he's much more fixated on scoring the ball at this stage of his development.

On the flip side, Coleman proved to be one of the best perimeter defenders at the camp. He plays with tremendous energy, moves his feet extremely well, and while still very light, has a decent frame that should fill out more in time. Coleman is more of a 6' 2” slashing combo than a pure point guard right now, but with his speed, savvy finishing ability and perimeter defense, the 17-year-old is surely worth tracking as he continues to progress and develop other areas of his game.

Trae Young, 6-1, PG, Norman Oklahoma, 2017 High School Class


With De'Aaron Fox going down with a wrist injury late in USA West's first game of the tournament, 2017 guard Trae Young was called upon to carry a heavy load in the back court. While he struggled with efficiency (27.8 2P% and 25.9 3P%), Young flashed some talent on the offensive end despite his very young frame and limited length.

Young is super smooth with the ball in his hands as he was able to change speeds as well as any other player at the Nike Global Challenge. He has the ball on a string, using a few different combo moves, and froze defenders constantly in pick and roll situations. Young does a very good job getting into the paint with his slippery style of play and deceptively quick first step, but his next step of development will be finding ways to score efficiently in the paint while consistently making his teammates better.

Young did show pretty good timing hitting the roll man once he got deep into the paint. He also does a nice job dropping it off to bigs around the rim, and showed an ability to pass with either hand at times. But Young's overall decision making can use some work, as he likes to play hero ball and force up tough shots early in the shot clock.

As a finisher Young does have solid touch on his floater and doesn't shy away from contact like you would expect given his frame. In fact, he shot 11.25 free throws per 40 minutes, good for seventh best in the tournament. But given his size, stature and average vertical explosiveness, Young will have to pick his spots better and rely more on floaters, speed layups and deception around the rim.

As a perimeter shooter, Young had mixed results. While his touch isn't all that bad, he hoists up deep threes early in the shot clock and sports a very low release point that's tough to get off when pressured. Improving his shot selection and working to raise his release point should improve his three-point shooting percentages.

Defensively, Young shows very good instincts both on and off the ball, but his effort comes and goes. He got back cut a couple of times on the wing and didn't always show a ton of urgency stopping the ball. With all of that said, Young has the talent and vision to put defenders on skates and make plays with the ball, it's just a matter of continuing to think the game the right way, improving his body, and picking his spots as a distributor.

Howard Washington, 6-3, PG, Buffalo, New York, 2016 High School Class


2016 Butler commit Howard Washington wasn't outstanding during his three games at Nike Global Challenge, but the 6' 3” 17-year-old lead guard did make an impression with his smooth game, passing ability and competitiveness on the defensive end. Washington ran the show for the Canadian team, and showed some of his positives and negatives as a pure point guard.

On one hand, Washington is fluid with the ball, can make all the necessary passes (oftentimes using both hands), and plays with really good pace that you don't always see from a 17-year-old.

On the flip side, Washington can get very careless with the ball or dribble too deep into the defense without a plan, which resulted in 6.8 turnovers per 40 minutes pace adjusted.

But despite some struggles, Washington impressed with his ability to run the show at 6' 3” 160 pounds with a 6' 5.5” wingspan. The Buffalo, New York Native still has room to improve as an efficient scorer while adding to his average frame. He's a capable shot maker who can convert floaters in the lane, but he's far from consistent from the perimeter as he's a forward-jumper who misses right and left too often.

On the defensive end, Washington competed, almost always sitting down in a stance and pressuring the ball. Filling out his frame will help him fight over screens and contain stronger guards, but with his competitiveness and solid size and length he has the tools to be a very adequate defender at the NCAA level.

Washington isn't exactly elite in one area but he's capable of running the show, getting into the teeth of the defense and making plays, making an open three, and pressuring the ball on the other end of the floor – all things that should help him turn in a very successful career at Butler.

Jhery Matos, 6-3, PG/SG, Santo Domingo, 2016 High School Class


DraftExpress first saw Matos at the 2014 FIBA U18 Americas in Colorado Springs where he impressed with his explosiveness, defensive potential, and passing instincts, but left much to be desired in the shot selection, perimeter shooting and decision making category.

Over one year later as one of the oldest players at Nike Global Challenge, Matos looked like the same player we first saw in Colorado Springs. There's no questioning his quickness and explosiveness. At 6' 3” with a solid frame that has yet to fill out, Matos can beat his man off the bounce in a straight line or finish above the rim with relative ease.

But Matos really struggled to command the ball consistently, sprayed the ball all over as a shooter, had issues finishing in the paint and didn't do a great job picking his spots both as a shooter and playmaker.

Sporting a fairly low and inconsistent release, Matos shot 2-of-14 from three, and 3-of-8 from the free throw line. While he struggled from the perimeter, he also has a tendency to throw up wild layups or floaters any time he sees a help side defender rotate over, oftentimes not even looking at the rim. Matos is also a very wild ball handler and distributor as he collected only three assists in 97 minutes compared to 11 turnovers.

Matos does show flashes of creativity as a passer when he wants to play that role (we've even seen him distribute fairly well in the past: 7.1 per 40 min pace adjusted at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championships and 9.0 per 40 min pace adjusted at the FIBA U17 Centrobasket) but his basketball IQ and feel simply aren't there at this stage.

Defensively Matos has the tools to be an absolute menace with his quick feet, good size and long arms. His focus comes and goes on that end, however. Overall Matos hasn't made much progress turning his potential into production in the past year, but it will be interesting to see if Matos, who goes to a prep school in Miami, can develop at the college ranks and eventually begin to maximize his potential.

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