Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

By James Blackburn

Game Scouted: Southern Miss @ Georgia

Southern Miss Wins 62-60 in OT

Box Score

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (G, 6’6”, SO)

37 min, 5-21 FG, 3-14 3 pt FG, 4-5 FT, 6 rebounds, 5 assist, 1 TO, 3 steals, 17 TP

Caldwell’s main strength is his ability to shoot and score the basketball. Pope shot 30% from the 3-point line last season, but has bumped that percentage up to 37% through 2 games this year (not including this game). Georgia relies on Pope heavily to score and he has been given the green light to shoot. His 21 shot attempts this game more then doubled any other teammate’s shots.

His shooting form is good, as he has a high, quick release with good elevation and he gets his feet, set and square to the rim. Combine that with solid mechanics, a soft touch, and length and he has the ability to get his shot off against anyone at the college level and should not have a problem getting shot off at next level either. He had a 4-point play to end a long scoring drought by Georgia in the 1st half. Showed the ability to take a dribble when a defender closes out too hard and shoot the pull-up 3. Does a good job of running the floor in transition and getting to his spots around the 3 point line. Knows where the gaps are vs. the zone and finds/exploits them. Good FT shooter- shot around 60% from the charity stripe last year but is shooting close to 80% from there this year so far.

Average rebounder at this point. Does a good job of not standing and crashes the offensive boards. Should continue to develop into good rebounding guard with athleticism. ). I noticed him talking several times on the floor and being a leader, which is interesting to note being only a sophomore. Has a good on-court demeanor.

Highly underrated passer who actually led the Bulldogs in assists today with 5, which is above average for a high scoring shooting guard. He had several nice entry passes to the post against the zone and moved the ball quickly and didn’t hold on to it. Once he put the ball on the floor; he is a threat to score as well as make plays for others if secondary defender helps. Georgia uses Pope to inbound the ball on baseline OB plays. Unselfish- turned down some good shots to give teammate a great shot.

Athletic and long- great frame and size for a 2. Solid on-ball defender- stays active and moves his feet well latterly. Contests shots with a high hand (Much better on-ball defender then help/secondary defender at this point Impressive ability to help out to stop the dribble drive and then quickly close out back to his own man and contest shot or prevent his man from shooting as well. Has quick feet- can slide laterally defensively and has a quick first step.

Needs to improve defense off the ball. Has a tendency to turn his back to the ball when his man cuts through. Needs to improve defensive rebounding- stood and watched several times and did not box out.

Must improve ball handling skills. At this point can’t handle ball good enough to play either guard position at next level. Against full-court pressure applied by Southern Miss, Pope did not look comfortable putting the ball on the floor for more then 2 dribbles. Also, needs to improve finishing ability- missed 2 shots with in 5 ft. in 1st half alone. With his athletic ability he needs to finish those lay-ups with dunks. I thought that he forced several shots from the perimeter, particularly at the end of the game- but overall his shot selection was solid. Even though he shot over 20 times today, he is heavily relied on to score for this Bulldogs team.

Needs to get stronger- lanky 185 right now. Adding an extra 10-15 lbs. of muscle would help him immensely on defense to get around screens and offensively by being able to finish inside.

Coming off a career high 27 points vs. Youngstown State in last game, Pope struggled with his shot this game- but you can tell the shooting ability is there. His missed shots hit the back of rim and were straight. Single handily kept Georgia in game in first half with his 3-point shooting. Watched game on TV, so I couldn’t focus on him when he was on the bench- but every time out that was shown and other times when the cameras showed him communicating with the head coach- he was engaged and focused. Poised player who didn’t seem to get rattled or upset when his shot wasn’t falling or things did not go his way. Had a nice drive and dump down pass to post player, but it got waived off because of a bad offensive foul call. Instead of complaining or showing poor body language, he jogged down to the other end to play defense. Impressive body language.

His shooting skill will definitely translate to the next level as many of his 3’s are well beyond the college arc. With his motor/length/athleticism he should be a good defender at pro level. Good teammate who encourages and directs- I loved the body language of this kid. Is a threat to score and shoot no matter where he is on the floor.

Southern Miss played a zone defense the entire game so I did not get to see him against a man defense. I have a feeling I would of seen more of his slashing and athletic ability and overall scoring ability vs. a man defense (will see man to man defense at next level anyway- but it is nice to know that he can play vs. a zone as well).

Pope is definitely NBA material and if continues to shoot the basketball like he has, against SEC competition, he could find his way into the second round in this years NBA draft. If he does not leave this year and stays at Georgia another year to continue to hone his skills, get stronger, improve handles and team defense, then I see him getting drafted late in the first round in the 2014 draft.

Grant Jerrett
Photo Source: UA News

By James Blackburn

Game Scouted: Texas-El Paso @ Arizona

Arizona Wins 72-51

Box Score

Grant Jerrett (PF, 6’10”, FR)

22 min, 2-4 FG, 2-3 3pt FG, 1-2 FT, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 blk, 1 steal, 1 TO, 7 TP

Is a true PF who can also step out and hit the 3. He didn’t really have his feet set either time- but has a soft touch and can knock down college 3’s when he is left open. Great length and frame. Showed the ability to put the ball on the floor and go buy slower defenders. Excellent rebounder who boxes out and secures the ball- crashes the offensive boards and doesn’t stand and watch. Led the Wildcats in the rebounding category this game with 7.

Did a solid job of hedging out on screens and stopping UTEP’s guards from turning the corner. Blocks and influences shots. Solid overall athlete. Good overall defender- can tell he has been coached well by Sean Miller. Shows energy and a solid motor when he is on the floor.
Good on-court demeanor. Doesn’t complain, works hard and competes. Underrated passer for a big- threw a couple of over the top lob passes to fellow frontcourt teammate Kaleb Tarczewksi.

Needs to improve conditioning overall and this will come as he sees more court time. Needs to work on setting better screens- when screening he is too straight up and small- needs to get lower and set harder/stronger screens. Got blown by on the perimeter when defending around the 3-point line. Defensive technique was good and he even chopped his feet and closed out- but laterally movement is slow and would be a concern for NBA teams as he would be a stretch 4 at the next level. This wouldn’t be a problem on the offensive end as he would be a good pick and pop player, but would struggle guarding PF’s who can put the ball on the floor. Somewhat raw offensively. Would like to see him be more assertive offensively with his skill set.

Reminds of another Arizona product in Channing Frye- has a similar build and both are PF’s with solid length who can step out and hit the 3. Both are more perimeter oriented big men. Would of played more this game but picked up a few fouls in the second half from hedging out on screens- was a split second late hedging out and the Miners PG made him pay for it. Overall he played the P/R well this game- needs to hustle/bust it back to his man quicker then he did this game. At the next level he will be going up against elite level PG on a nightly basis and they will be able to turn the corner and/or hit the roll man quicker. So he will have to learn to hedge quickly and then get back to his original man as quick as possible.
He has great upside and will only continue to get better as he becomes more comfortable with the college game. NBA teams should continue to monitor his game as he will most likely stay in school another year or two. Should develop into a mid first rounder or possibly lottery pick if he stays in school for a couple more years.

Travis McKie
Image courtesy Rant Sports

By James Blackburn

Game Scouted: Wake Forest vs. Radford
Wake Wins 79-67
Box Score

Travis McKie (F, 6’7”, JR)

29 min, 4-8 FG, 0-3 3pt., 3-4 FT, 9 reb, 3 PF, 2 assist, 3 TO, 11 TP

Travis struggled over all from the offensive end this game, but did showcase a few things particularly in the second half that will potentially translate to the professional level. He attacked and went to the rim aggressively the first few times he touched the ball and showed what we already knew, that he could get to the rim in straight line dribble drives. What he did better then last season was the ability to drive in a straight line and kick to the open shooter in the strong side corner, something he did not often do last season because his head was down and he could not see open teammates.

Although he struggled to find his shot tonight, to McKie’s credit, he did a decent job passing the ball to teammates, better then the 2 assist in the box score shows. He had several nice post entry passes and lob passes up court in transition for easy scores for his teammates.

Used his size/strength/athleticism to pace the Deacs in the rebounding category with 9 rebounds tonight. One he secures the rebound, he is not at risk of losing it or having it taken away as he secures it strongly with 2 hands and had several rebounds where he practically ripped the ball off the back board. Rebounding is one of and has been McKie’s greatest strength since arriving at Wake Forest.

Looked comfortable in the mid post with his back to the basket- getting his first two scores in this area 15’ and in. He used his size/strength to his advantage and was able to get a couple of easy scores this way by slashing from this area and facing up and hitting the mid range. Though he did struggle by any consistency shooting from the outside this game, he is a good FT shooter, shooting 3-4 tonight and is a 70% + shooter from the stripe for his career.

Honestly this was not a good showing from McKie, despite what the numbers tell you from the box score. Defensively he really struggled in all facets against a smaller, yet younger and more energetic Radford team. He showed a poor overall effort and principals on the defensive end early on by getting hung up on screens and not fighting or making strong effort to get around screens (especially ones off the ball), jogging back on defense, and showed poor closeout principals on the perimeter (Not closing out under control).Didn’t box out at all this game and allowed his man who was shorter and less athletic to get a several offensive rebounds and run free un-touched to the rim-(Was the first man to be substituted for shortly after- leaving the game after just 5 minutes on the floor). Nearly every board he collected this game was the result of him being by himself and on the defensive end- not because of him boxing out or working extremely hard- also worth noting was he didn’t collect a single offensive board. Didn’t show good technique defending on the perimeter most of the game- stood too tall and didn’t show the capability to slide his feet and stop dribble penetration. Defensive stance is poor- doesn’t move feet well laterally, hands are down by side too much- needs to use wing span to defend- jumps out of control at shooters instead of contesting w/ a high hand and staying on the ground (fouled a 3-point shooter with 13 min. left in 2nd half by jumping to block his shot). Lost track of his man several times in transition.

On the offensive end, McKie struggles didn’t solely rest on missing shots, but in other areas as well. He did not cut hard when he was off the ball to get open- Radford defended him easily off the ball. Ran off an off the ball screen half-heartedly on the second possession of the game- acted like he didn’t want the ball. Looked frustrated most of game on the offensive end of the floor. Didn’t head hunt on screens when running sets. He looks like he is rushing his shot- shooting is in-consistent, especially from 3. His release is low and he pushes the ball to a degree. His mechanics aren’t great, but they are not bad either.

Playing in opening regular season game against a very young Radford that that went 6-26 last season. Travis looked cool, collected, and in chill mode going through warm-ups just before the start of the game. As previously stated he struggled offensively this game and didn’t find the scoring column until 15:30 min. left in the second half.

McKie is attempting to transition from an undersized PF to the SF once again, which is something that NBA scouts are monitoring. His ball handling and shooting is inconsistent and he struggled this game to defend on the perimeter. He plays much better when he embraces the undersized PF role and when he works hard and does the dirty work inside. In my opinion he would be a good D-League option if he decided to leave after this season where he could be a rebounder and athletic F. He would be better served to stay another year and continue to work his perimeter play and show scouts that he can play the SF at the next level. I actually believe that if he could contribute at the pro level (D-League/NBA) if he played the undersized PF position and worked extremely hard in the trenches grabbing rebounds and scoring in the paint, something he showed the last two years at Wake Forest.

One thing worth noting as well is the fact that even though in my opinion, McKie had a poor performace, he still shot 50% from the field, grabbed 9 rebounds, and had a couple of assist in a win. Granted it was against a below average team, but it was the first game of the season. It was his best night or best performance but he grabbed some big rebounds at the end and scored all 11 of his points in the second half to help put a scrappy Radford team away. My point is even on a rough night for McKie he was 1 rebound shy of a double-double. I have seen him put up way bigger numbers against ACC competition in the past. The key is and will continue to see monitor his progression and how much he is improving, if at all.