Advance Pro Basketball

Tampa Bay Pro Combine – Top Performers By Position (Alex Brown)

Tampa Bay Pro Combine

Top Performers By Position

Advance Pro Basketball’s Head of Scouting, Alex Brown, attended the Tampa Bay Pro Combine for 3 full days. The following players were his picks for standouts that are likely to have strong careers in professional basketball both overseas and domestically. The TBPC put on an excellent event for such short notice, and they certainly will deserve the attention of the basketball world moving forward.

We extend our thanks to the TBPC for putting on such an excellent event, and wish all participating players a prosperous professional career.

Film Credits – InStat Basket

Photo Credits – Jonathan Murray & Game Film

Guards

1 – Chandler Vaudrin

6’7, 210 – Winthrop

Winthrop’s Chandler Vaudrin was simply dominant, putting up 24 points, 15 assists, and 15 boards in two games. He was able to get into the lane at will, create looks for others, and had a LOT more shake and explosiveness than I expected all while being under control and processing quickly. He played incredible defense as well, locking down opposing ball handlers and communicating very effectively. I quite honestly lost count of the amount of times that all of us scouting the event looked around at each other saying, “Damn, Vaudrin is REALLY good”. At 6’7, he is looking like a guy that will have a chance to earn a two-way deal and should certainly get a summer league deal.

I think his ceiling could land him in a Satoransky-esc role with much better defense & more limited scoring. The shot needs some serious work and did not look smooth in person at all, but when you have 2 elite tools in a 6’7 point guard, you need to give him a shot. I did not speak extensively with Chandler, but I got the impression that he was an approachable, polite, relaxed guy during the brief moments we interacted.

2- Quade Green

6’0, 170 – Washington

What was so interesting about Quade was his defensive aggression, defensive manipulation off power plays, and shooting potential. He had a couple games where he really shot the ball well from deep off the catch, and it looked smooth and natural. He was able to capitalize off of and create advantages for himself and his teammates, and it started in P&R. He was able to jail up, hit wings and rollers, and occupy the big despite his lacking size. All of this plus picking up full-court and putting constant pressure on ball handlers made him on of my favorite players to watch here.

Many in attendance liked him as a player and person, and I would have to agree from what I saw. He was polite and confident off the court, and made fans of those who got to know him. Coming in, I was admittedly not incredibly high on Quade, but he definitely showed why he can be a good pro that should get a G-League shot (maybe exhibit-10), or play at a solid international league depending on what he ends up believing is the best situation for him.

3 – D’Mitrik Trice

5’11 – Wisconsin

Trice was in control, poised, and shooting the lights out for the whole combine. He made 17 3pters in 4 games on 54.8% shooting from deep, and showed that he could get it done as a playmaker as well. He is exactly where you would like him to be for an undersized 25 year old point guard. Despite his size disadvantage, he competes on defense and did a good job fighting through screens. He already has the skillset needed to be a strong overseas lead guard in a mid tier league, or a backup somewhere higher if that is worth the import.

I have seen Trice play quite a bit for the last few years, and he hasn’t seemed to change much but his solid play is likely to translate to an overseas team looking for a competitive guard that can shoot off the dribble and playmake. With Trice, you know exactly what you are getting.

Wings

1 – Mitchell Ballock

6’5, 205 – Creighton

Ballock and Vaudrin were unquestionably the best two players here. Ballock showed just how elite of a shooter he really is in clutch time, and was a vocal leader and uplifting presence throughout the first 2 days. Coming in, scouts obviously knew how strong of a shooter he was, but seeing his quick release in person sold me even further. He was talking, playing tough defense, and being very assertive with asking for touches off the ball (he did not always get them, leading to some slight frustration that didn’t take him out of the game at all). He was calling for the ball, relocating, and you get the sense that if you give him the ball and run some actions for him he will shoot 10 3’s a game with a strong return. He may be too much of a team player limiting his upside, but you get the sense that this is a guy who will at the very least get a two-way & summer league deal that will work his way onto a 15 man roster by the time the season starts.

Furthermore, watching his interactions with staff, media, coaches, and other players, it is quite clear he has a very respectful demeanor and that guys like to play with him. He is a guy you want on your team, and you know what you are going to get out of him.

2 – Terry Taylor

6’6, 230 – Austin Peay

As one of the most productive players at the combine, Taylor shone brightly as a rebounder and physical slasher. His body was perhaps the most impressive of the players in attendance, and looked NBA ready. He was even able to own his space against Hasahn French, who looked like a legitimate football player. He has a nose for the basketball on the glass on both ends, finding ways to rebound out of his area and secure extra possessions. The defensive upside to play against multiple positions is there if he sharpens up on the mental side. His body looked Jae’Sean Tate-esc.

There were some hindrances that showed up that kept him from being my top choice at the wing. He often played with his eyes down, causing him to miss some basic reads. Furthermore, that jumper was looking rather worrying with a strange wrist action and a slower release that kept him from fully capitalizing on his space creation. I am not there yet on him as a shooter (which I expected coming in), but I definitely walked away impressed with the slashing, rebounding, and physical presence. I think Terry deserves a chance at Summer League and should get an exhibit-10 deal in the short run.

Clay Mounce

6’7, 200 – Furham

Mounce had an underrated performance at the TBPC. He shot the ball well in stretches off movement and off the catch, showing shooting versatility worth tapping into on the wing. For a 6’7 wing, he did a great job defending as well with quick feet and some notable bounce. He was a polite guy to speak with as well, and while rather soft-spoken, he brought some energy to the floor when he was hitting shots.

His skillset screams reliable 3&D role player in a mid tier league overseas, and I think that should be the launching point for a solid career for Mounce. While not the flashiest player, he does a lot of little things well on the wing that is valuable in the overseas scene.

Honorable Mention:

Chudier Bile

6’7, 195 – Georgetown

Bile had a great start on defense putting up 5 stocks in a single half with some nice rebounding/shooting, but his impact would disappear completely during long stretches. When he had it going, he looked like he could have been the best wing there. However, he truly did disappear for long stretches.

Forwards

1 – Micah Potter

6’10, 245 – Wisconsin

Entering the combine, I was quite familiar with Potter’s high impact game due to the myriad of Big 10 games I watched this year. I knew that he could shoot and rebound at a high level, and that was certainly there as he showcased his pretty stroke from all over the floor. However, what I was most surprised by was his intensity and passion. He seemed to have a bit of a perfectionist approach to the game, and while that can naturally lead to frustration when it isn’t going well, the energy he has when he is playing with confidence is impressive. I enjoyed watching him battle on defense and the glass, as he plays with a competitive edge that I would like on my team.

He will need to be in a situation that rewards cerebral play with guards that really know how to play if you want to maximize his value, as he did look (understandably) frustrated playing with Jimma at times. Regardless, he was also a cool guy to talk to, and you could tell he takes the game very seriously and has high standards for his play and his teammates. Personally, that is someone I would want on my team. He praised Trice quite a bit when we spoke, especially talking about their P&R/P synergy. When his team’s guard play was strong, Potter really showed why he could be a really nice option for an exhibit-10 deal (with potential to rise into a two-way) or a higher tier international league. He helped his stock here.

2 – Justin Gorham

6’7, 225 – Houston

Gorham was a surprising presence on the perimeter as a legit 6’7 forward. He buried 12 3pters in 4 games on 46% shooting from deep, and looked confident doing it. He rebounded the ball at a very high level as well, and just showed why he was such a solid role player for Houston. He played with an edge as well.

If he can shoot the ball at the level he did during the combine and work on defending without fouling, he could find himself thriving on a G-League chance and/or summer league invite. I like his fit overseas as a more modern 4 that can move the ball and shoot it while playing serviceable defense.

3 – Giorgi Bezhanishvili

6’9, 245 – Illinois

You only think you know what infectious energy is until you’ve seen Giorgi live. I have never seen a player with more energy on the court & bench. He was consistently the loudest guy in the gym, making his presence felt when he was on and off the court. He was one of my absolute favorite guys there to talk with, as he was incredibly outgoing, hilarious, and self-confident. He would be doing magic tricks for kids while he watched the games, talking to us about his country and culture in the hotel lobby, and just brought a positive, uplifting vibe to every situation he was in. He was equally fun to watch communicate on the court, as he was loud, talking trash, and constantly communicating as a truly vocal leader on the defensive end. Even if the stat sheet didn’t show it, the team had a different energy with Giorgi on the floor.

On the court, Giorgi flashed a better looking shot and more confidence from deep. While he didn’t hit much in game, the motion looked much more natural in warm-ups. His playmaking as a hub-4 is still valuable, and if he can get that shot consistent I really like what he gives you there for international teams. He also showed flashes of attacking off the dribble and in transition.

I think Giorgi will have a great career overseas in a mid tier league (especially since he already has the Euro-passport) where he will bring energy and solid defense anywhere he goes. He is a guy who will make everyone better even when he is off the court.

Honorable Mention

Troy Baxter Jr.

6’8, 205 – Morgan State

Baxter had a couple strong games where he was able to showcase his incredible athleticism, but is pretty much (skill-wise) the same player I saw at FGCU a few years ago. While generally considered a high upside guy, the lacking development in the last few years paired with his age of 25 makes him a bit less attractive. He should get an international pro chance for his outlier athleticism, secondary rim protection, and floor stretching.

Centers

1 – Cameron Krutwig

6’9, 250 – Loyola Chicago

All of us scouting the event were very excited to see Cam in person. He did not disappoint, as Krutwig moved surprisingly well and looks to be in better shape than when he left college. His playmaking is just as awesome to watch in person, and his IQ shone brightly anytime he was on the floor. He was able to play a couple more P&R coverages than I was anticipating, and even slid to the rim with a 5’8 guard (Loren Jackson’s replacement). His ability to playmake in the post and off the short roll makes him a fascinating big to pair with a high gravity P&R guard.

I love the NBL as a fit for Krutwig, who is garnering some draft interest at the end of the second round. I believe he should pursue a stash option there and look to join the Next Stars program that has been successful in putting stashed Americans into good positions to advance their career (see Jessup, Mooney). Regardless of how high you value Krutwig, I am confident that he will have a very strong career overseas with the chance to make an NBA team during summer league or on an exhibit-10/two-way.

Asbjørn Midtgaard

7’0, 270 – Grand Canyon

Alex Brown’s Scouting Report (April 2021).

I was quite excited to see the “God’s Bear” live, as he was one of my favorite under-the-radar international targets in the US. Plus, I had released a report on him some time ago and was looking forward to checking up on his progress and meeting him.

What most impressed me about Midtgaard was the progress that he made on his jumper. I noted back in my report how his legs and base were major areas that needed correction if he ever wanted to shoot it, and he made the change since then. He got his legs into his shot now, and even stretched the floor for his team out of pick and pop. He hit a few in the games (4/7 overall) and would make roughly 10/15 in warm-ups. Considering they did not go to him in the post much, it was a welcome sign to see that he is trying to modernize his game a bit here, and I am glad to see that progress.

Otherwise, he played some solid defense getting a few opportunistic steals and blocks while rebounding and giving his usual efficient play. He is still pretty prone to exhaustion due to his size and the effort he has to give to be more mobile, as that remains his largest weakness.

We spoke briefly a couple times, and I thought he was professional, polite, a bit introverted (like myself), and relaxed. He was positive and friendly, and should fit in just fine in any locker room.

Sterling Manley

6’11, 250 – North Carolina

As a last minute addition over an injured player, Sterling Manley was quite a surprise. He has struggled with injury and the UNC logjam at the 5, but showed that he could be a pro. He is quite a physical specimen who could space the floor vertically and score at the dunker spot. He had decent touch mid range to pair with some fluid interior moves. He was not the most mobile defensively, and would be a drop big, but he used his 7’4 wingspan to block and alter shots at the rim leading to the most blocks at the combine. He seemed like a friendly kid as well.

I could see him playing somewhere like Korea or Japan for a launching point to his career that would maximize the value of his archetype, and it would be a great spot to prove that he can stay healthy and impact the game at a high level. Overall, I was impressed and am looking forward to seeing where this kid can play, because he deserves a pro shot.

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