New York, NY – No. 10 Texas topped Iowa while California defeated No. 23 Syracuse in the opening round of the 2K Classic on Thursday evening. We take a look at how some of the top prospects from the event performed.
Jabari Bird, Cal: The sophomore showed why he was a former McDonald’s All-American selection. Bird scored 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting but really made an impression in his 4-of-5 display from three-point range. Two of those makes were from NBA range while he also added a pair of mid-range jumpers. He has plenty of size and athleticism for the shooting guard position at 6-foot-6, but can boost his stock by adding a dribble-drive game. Bird has the physical tools to attack the rim, so his progression as an overall scorer will be something to watch.
Jonathan Holmes, Texas: Holmes was the breakout performer on Thursday with a team-high 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting. The 6-foot-8 senior connected on 3-of-5 three-pointers and added another five rebounds in a win over Iowa. He sparked the second half comeback, coming out of the locker room with a dunk, three-pointer, and a lay-up in transition where he also drew a foul. Holmes scored 17 points in the second half and showed potential as an NBA prospect. He has shot a blistering 15-of-21 from the field this year and an even more impressive 7-of-10 display from behind the arc. As a good athlete that can also defend, Holmes is making a case for an NBA draft selection.
David Kravish, Cal: Kravish was the key against Syracuse’s 2-3 zone. He essentially ran the offense out of the high post and finished with 12 points, nine rebounds, five assists, and three blocks. Kravish shot 5-of-9 from the field and made his only three-point attempt. He’s a savvy offensive player and shoots it well at 6-foot-10. Kravish is just 240 pounds, but uses his length to his advantage on both ends of the floor.
Jordan Mathews, Cal: Mathews had a slow start, with just one point in the first half, but finished with a game-high 22 points on 6-of-12 shooting. He’s a quality scorer that also corralled four rebounds, but his NBA upside is limited due to his 6-foot-3 frame. Still, his production is encouraging and after averaging 19.3 points per contest through three games, Mathews has made a name for himself.
Chris McCullough, Syracuse: The freshman has one of the highest ceilings you’ll find. At 6-foot-9, McCullough has a massive wingspan and can even stretch the floor with his jump shot. He scored 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting to go with seven rebounds and five blocks against Cal. His physical tools are outstanding and he shows promise as a freshman. He knocked down his only three-point attempt on Thursday. McCullough is an athletic freak and can eventually blossom into a first round pick, but he’ll need to show consistency at the collegiate level.
Isaiah Taylor, Texas: Taylor is a fearless point guard that attacked the rim at will. He could create his own offense by crossing over a defender and finishing against bigger opponents. The sophomore had 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting and showed the handle and quickness for the next level. Taylor can improve his shooting, as he was 0-of-2 from three-point range and shot just 26.3% from deep as a freshman, but shows the ability to beat defenders off the bounce. He can also sharpen his overall point guard skills since he had two turnovers and no assists. Taylor sometimes struggled against pressure and got caught in the air on passes. He hurt his left wrist in the win, but his status is uncertain for Friday. As a tough and aggressive competitor, Taylor will be one to follow.
Myles Turner, Texas: A highly touted freshman prospect, Turner had a good showing off the bench. He scored five points on 2-of-3 shooting and knocked down his only three-point attempt. Turner isn’t a great athlete, as he struggles to run the floor, but he’s extremely skilled at 6-foot-11. It was his first game of the season where he did not score in double-figures, but Turner will push for a lottery selection due to his offensive versatility for a near 7-footer.
Aaron White, Iowa: White made the most of the spotlight with 23 points and eight rebounds on Wednesday. He’s a skilled 6-foot-9 senior that could stretch the floor. He connected on his only three-point attempt and was 4-of-7 from the field. White also drew plenty of contact inside with 16 free throw attempts on the evening. He flashed his athleticism with an alley-oop finish and could find a role as a stretch four. The concern comes on the defensive end, as he lacks great strength or length.
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