2021 Colangelo Classic: Early Session Takeaways

Here are Damon Allred’s thoughts and notes from the Colangelo Classic held in Phoenix, Arizona in December 2020.

#5 Gonzaga (9-2) beats #25 Texas Tech (8-2) 69-55

Potential first-round pick for the Zags, Andrew Nembhard, was impressive in guiding his team to a win, making pivotal plays at each stage of the game. I like him as a first-rounder due in large part to his feel for the game as a true point guard. He’s never rattled despite traps and pressure. Nembhard stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and one block on 6-16 from the floor and 4-8 from deep.

I came into the game with Chet Holmgren at #2 on my board but have removed him from my top 5 after the game gave me a closer look at what he can provide offensively, which is to say: not much. He’s still a generational rim protection prospect, and some may value that highly enough to take a swing. Holmgren finished with 5 points on 1-4 shooting and 2 assists with 11 rebounds and 2 blocks.

In the absence of fringe first-round prospect Terrence Shannon Jr. Texas Tech needed Kevin McCullar to step up in a big way, and he did so, especially early, with 8 points and 6 rebounds in the first half and finishing with 14 and 10. McCullar is used as a bigger initiator most of the time, and it was effective until Gonzaga started throwing traps and heavier defenses his way in the second half. I like his fit on an NBA team that lacks distribution but already has scoring, like Boston.

#10 USC (12-0) beats Georgia Tech (5-5) 67-53

Key newcomer for the Trojans, Boogie Ellis, had exactly the kind of game his former program, Memphis, has been missing so much from the guard position. His confidence and aggression at his size creates nightmares for opposing guards on both ends. Ellis finished with 16 points on 7-14 shooting with 7 rebounds and 2 assists to round out a complete outing. I currently have him as a first round prospect.

It was a rough start for USC’s Isaiah Mobley, but he came alive in the second half, finishing with 11 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and one block. A second round prospect for me at this stage, he reminds me of a modern JaVale McGee with a better open space game and a more credible three-point jumper.

Early in the game, Georgia Tech’s Michael DeVoe was single-handedly outplaying USC. At one stoppage, Tech led 12-8 and DeVoe had 8 of those 12, matching the Trojans to that point. Down the stretch, he was the only reason Tech stood a chance. He finished with 25 points on 9-22 shooting and only had one teammate score more than 5.

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