Nike Global Challenge Scouting Reports: Shooting Guards

Nike Global Challenge Scouting Reports: Shooting Guards
Jul 21, 2015, 07:48 pm
Scouting reports on six of the top shooting guard prospects seen at the 2015 Nike Global Challenge in Chicago, including Malik Monk, Gary Trent, Lonnie Walker, D.J. Harvey, Josh Okogie and Christian Popoola.
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-Point Guard Scouting Reports
Malik Monk, 6-4, PG, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2016 High School Class

The explosive 6' 4” shooting guard earned Global Challenge MVP honors and was far and away the most productive (and exciting) prospect on the floor each and every game. Monk averaged nearly a triple double per 40 minutes pace adjusted – 29.6 points, 9.9 rebounds, 8.2 assists – while shooting 62.2% from two and 46.2% from three (8.8 attempts per 40 pace adjusted).

Monk scored at least 20 points every game while hammering home a handful of highlight dunks, distributing at a high level and making shots both off the dribble and the catch. Monk has long been lauded for his explosive leaping ability and transition play, but what stood out most was his passing instincts and shot making ability. While he doesn't have the most pure stroke, Monk is very capable when he catches in rhythm (12-of-26 from international three at Global Challenge). He's not as good off the bounce, but he isn't pedestrian in 1-2 dribble pull up situations.

Monk also showed solid ball skills, utilizing crossovers, behind the back dribbles and occasional change of speeds to get into the lane and finish at the rim or drop in a floater before the backline defender could step up and help.

As a distributor, Monk pushed the break and found rim runners in transition, hit the roll man in the pick and roll from time to time, and did an excellent job knifing his way into the defense and dropping it off to the big at the rim as the weak side defender rotated.

Monk was extremely productive and impressive offensively, but some of his warts were still apparent at times during his barrage of scoring and playmaking. Monk has a tendency to break off plays, over-dribble, and take low-percentage shots in the lane – even though he made a lot of them during his four games at Nike Global Challenge.

While Monk can really pass, he's also a bit of an assist hunter, only giving it up when he knows he's in line for an assist, rather than constantly moving the ball ahead in transition or making the fundamental swing pass to shift the defense. If Monk is able to keep up his distributing and shot making, while playing unselfishly and staying away from the hero ball plays, he'll be a much more valuable long-term NBA prospect.

Defensively, Monk has the tools to be very good given his elite quickness and solid frame, but he tends to focus on leaking out in transition rather than staying in front of his man. Overall, Monk played about as well as possible during his four games at Global Challenge, while making strides in two areas that are very important for his future development – perimeter shooting and decision making/playmaking.

Gary Trent Jr., 6-4, SG, St. Paul, Minnesota, 2017 High School Class

16-year-old Gary Trent Jr. followed up an impressive FIBA U16 Americas with a solid Nike Global Challenge in which he scored 22 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted on 60% from two and 35% from three. Trent did most of his damage as a spot up shooter, but also knocked down a couple of off the dribble jumpers (mostly uncontested), scored in the post against smaller guards, and filled the lanes as an opportunistic transition scorer.

Sporting a very developed frame (193 pounds), Trent was able to absorb contact around the rim despite being an average athlete from a vertical standpoint. He also showed his basketball IQ by diving into the post immediately after switches and punishing smaller guards on a couple of different occasions.

While not a great playmaker off the bounce at this stage, Trent does a really nice job playing within the confines of his strengths and scoring in efficient ways – not something you always see out of highly-touted players his age. He moves off the ball effectively and doesn't need the rock to have an impact, which bodes well for his role-playing potential as he continues to develop.

With that said, Trent still does have room to improve his ball handling ability and effectiveness as a slasher. He's limited to mostly straight line drives in the half court as he's not all that comfortable changing speeds or directions regularly. The 6' 4” wing also doesn't have great savvy drawing fouls, evident by the fact that he only took four free throws in 129 Global Challenge minutes.

Trent has gotten by so far on being bigger and stronger than most players in his age group, so continuing to develop his ball skills, explosiveness and feel as a finisher will be important as the level of size and athleticism continues elevate.

Trent can also stand to fine-tune his jump shot a little bit. While he sports very solid mechanics, he has a tendency to be somewhat streaky. Shooting will eventually be his ticket at the next level, so turning himself into a knockdown shooter will be very beneficial for the Minnesota native, something he's more than capable of doing.

Defensively, Trent shows sound fundamentals and competitiveness, getting into a stance and using his size to contain penetration against bigger wings. Trent is one of the most polished players in his class and will be a very intriguing prospect as he continues to expand his already fine-tuned skill set.

Lonnie Walker., 6-4, SG, Reading, Pennsylvania, 2017 High School Class

Although he didn't turn in any dominant performances, Lonnie Walker undoubtedly helped himself at the Nike Global Challenge by showcasing his slashing ability, defensive versatility and potential as a future point guard prospect. Physically, Lonnie Walker certainly passes the eye test at 6' 4” with a 6' 9” wingspan and a chiseled frame.

He proved himself as arguably the best perimeter defender in the tournament, guarding multiple positions while constantly making plays off the ball – to the tune of 3.6 steals and 1.6 blocks per 40 minutes pace adjusted.

Walker moves exceptionally well laterally, has the strength to contain most twos and threes his age, and shows tremendous timing contesting and often blocking jump shots off the dribble. Walker made his presence felt on the defensive end, which will earn him minutes immediately wherever he ends up in the collegiate ranks.

On the offensive end, Walker is no slouch either. He's a very capable ball handler who proved comfortable grabbing a rebound and weaving in and out of traffic in the open court. He mixed in several different in and out dribbles and displayed outstanding body control around the rim. Walker shot an outstanding 68.4% inside the arc, in large part thanks to his ability to absorb contact and use either hand around the rim.

While Walker's quickness and slashing ability are certainly a plus, it's his handle and passing instincts that could really help him rise as a prospect. Walker looked very comfortable with the ball in his hands and made a handful of impressive decisions on the move. He can get a little wild at times, but more often than not he played with impressive poise and was able to find both shooters and bigs while on the move.

Walker is able to defend point guards, handle and pass, which at 6' 4” with a strong frame and long arms makes him very intriguing as a point guard project. Walker does have room to grow as a shooter, however. He's capable, especially in mid-range spots, but sports a wide stance and somewhat stiff release – although he did shoot 45/125 [38%] from three in the EYBL and Nike Global Challenge, according to our database.

Although his shot still needs some work, Walker proved himself as a strong two-way guard with potential to develop into a point guard down the road, making him a very interesting prospect to track as he continues to develop.

D.J. Harvey, 6-4, SG, Huntsville, Alabama, 2017 High School Class

Over the course of four games at the Nike Global Challenge DJ Harvey did what he does best – make shots. With excellent rise, smooth mechanics and an ability to make shots both off the catch and the dribble, Harvey shot 40% from three on 15 attempts and drilled a handful of jumpers in the mid-range spots to boot. From a style of play standpoint, Harvey has a little poor man's Jamal Crawford in his game as he thrives on hesitation pull ups (especially in mid-range spots) and catch and shoot threes when he's able to step into it.

Because he relies on elevation to get to his jumper, Harvey isn't as effective standing in the corner and making spot jumpers. It takes him longer to get to his shot when he's at a standstill, which was evident on a couple of his spot up misses. But when the DeMatha High School product is able to step into his shot with rhythm, he's not far from knockdown.

Harvey also does a nice job creating space off the bounce, pulling up quickly off the dribble going right or left, and mixing in occasional step backs. While Harvey is a mid-range assassin and very capable three-point shooter, he's best with the ball in his hands and doesn't have much more to his game aside from his jumper. He can attack a closeout but Harvey isn't at the point yet where he can be consistently relied upon to get all the way to the rim or create a high percentage shot for a teammate. Harvey certainly has room to improve his finishing ability (average body and explosiveness) and distributing while on the move.

The Alabama native also has some work to do on the defensive end, as he doesn't take great pride in stopping his man and plays a bit hunched over at times. He did show some instincts making plays off the ball, but Harvey can still improve his ability to dig in and guard his position. Harvey has a lot of talent as a shot maker and overall scorer. He's far more advanced shooting the ball off the dribble than most players his age.

With that said, improving the other areas of his game that will make him a more well-rounded role player will most definitely help his value moving forward.

Josh Okogie, 6-4, SG, Lagos, 2016 High School Class

It took all but one glance at Nigerian-born shooting guard Josh Okogie to dub him one of the most physically intriguing two-guard prospects at Nike Global Challenge. Standing at least 6' 4” with a strong frame, huge hands and what appeared to be a near 7-foot wingspan, Okogie instantly won the physical profile battle among shooting guards at the tournament. Although not overly tall, Okogie is strong, long, quick and explosive and showed flashes of a fairly impressive skill set.

Okogie lacked consistency throughout the tournament as he battled poor body language and decision making, but he proved comfortable handling the ball, can shoot it a little bit both off the catch and the bounce, and has monster potential on the defensive end.

While very lazy when not engaged, when Okogie is locked in he shows tremendous technique lifting his inside foot to fight over screens. He covers ground quickly as an on-ball defender and can constantly poke the ball away with his length. When focused, Okogie was without a doubt one of the best on ball perimeter defenders at the tournament while showing the ability to fly around off the ball, highlighted by several chase-down blocks in transition.

On the offensive end, Okogie was a bit of a mixed bag. For stretches (especially during his 22-point game versus China) he looked very comfortable with the ball, weaving through traffic in transition, finishing around the rim effectively in the half court, making pull up or spot jumpers (while sporting a low release point) and even finding a big underneath from time to time.

Okogie has outstanding speed in the open court, uses his length and athleticism to finish, and was able to knock down 5-of-13 shots from beyond the arc. When Okogie was going well, he looked like one of the best perimeter players at the tournament, but when he would string together a few bad plays, the wheels fell off.

Okogie had a six-turnover, 2-for-10 game vs USA East that was filled with forced passes, low percentage shots, bad body language and very little natural feel for the game. Over the course of three games Okogie racked up only three assists while committing 12 turnovers. His decision-making and feel for the game need quite a bit of work, as does his motor when things go wrong.

But from a physical tools and skill set standpoint, Okogie has plenty of upside and could end up being a steal for whatever college he attends as long as the head coach is able to reel him in a bit. It's tough to find shooting guards with size, strength, quickness and length who can handle, finish and shoot a little bit. Okogie is a work in progress, but he's without a doubt worth tracking as a sleeper type moving forward.

Christian Popoola ,6-3, SG, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2017 High School Class

One year removed from a 2014 Nike Global Challenge in which he posted a negative 4.5 PER over the course of four games, the 6' 3” scoring guard bounced back to lead his team in scoring to the tune of 27.9 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted on 39% from two and 46.2% from three.

The Lone Peak High School guard and Las Vegas native is a dynamic athlete who gets into the paint at will by using an explosive first step and impressive change of speeds, while staying extremely low to the ground.

Popoola is very left-hand dominant and doesn't have a ton of combo moves in his repertoire, but his speed alone allowed him to get a piece of the paint whenever he wasn't pulling up for threes. While undersized for a two-guard, Popoola does have a fairly wide frame and at least average length (6' 5.5” wingspan) to go along with his tremendous quickness. He got into the lane almost at will, but Popoola struggled to finish (39.4% from two), and looked uncomfortable trying to set up teammates when on the move. He can be a bit selfish in the half court and should be viewed as strictly a scoring two-guard at this stage of his development.

Popoola really made his mark as a perimeter shooter, where he knocked down 6-of-13 triples, most of which came off the dribble. His mechanics change a bit when you move him out of mid-range spots, as his follow through has more of a hitch, but he was able to knock down nearly 50% of his three-point attempts. Popoola doesn't have the most natural shooting mechanics but the fact that he proved capable of making shots off the bounce with range is a good sign moving forward.

Defensively, Popoola was very good on the ball. He showed solid effort pressuring the ball and sliding with his man, and quick hands to force turnovers both on and off the ball. One of the oldest players at the tournament, Popoola did a nice job competing on both ends of the floor, even if it resulted in a handful of out of control possessions. Popoola showed that he can fill it up in a variety of ways, and he should continue his bucket-getting ways as a two-guard wherever he goes to school. But given his size, he would really benefit from greatly improving his feel for the game and decision-making.

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