In Kansas City, Missouri I had the chance to attend the Hall of Fame Classic, which featured the No. 13 Arkansas Razorbacks, No. 14 Illinois Fighting Illini, Cincinnati Bearcats and Kansas State Wildcats. The event was the stage for a handful of potential NBA and next-level prospects, so I would like to share my thoughts on players who caught my eye.
Kofi Cockburn | Illinois | Center
In his season debut, Kofi Cockburn showed immediately that he’s a force to be reckoned with in the post. He had the opposing bigs in foul trouble early and often, and was able to throw down a powerful dunk early, which got the Illinois fans off their feet. Monday night, he posted 18 points, 7 rebounds and a block. He continues to improve his footwork and post moves on the offensive end, but the defensive versatility and mobility questions remain. Cockburn will likely test the NBA Draft waters again in 2022, and he has a chance to be a second-round selection.
Andre Curbelo | Illinois | Guard
After a fairly slow start in the first two games, Andre Curbelo showed again why, when locked in, he can be one of college basketball’s most electric point guards. He showed both mental and physical toughness, as he played through some obvious pain in the first half. He isn’t the biggest or most physically imposing player — which can bring some limitations — but he used his footwork, change-of-speed ability and craftiness to create opportunities for both himself and his teammates. Curbelo needs to cut down on the turnovers and improve as a shooter, but he did hit some smooth pull-up jumpers vs. Cincinnati, and ended with a stat line of 12 points, 5 assists, and 5 turnovers.
Davonte Davis | Arkansas | Guard
Davonte Davis is an athletic combo guard who excels on the defensive end and has shown flashes as both a slasher and shooter. He was averaging 6.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game coming into the contest. He only posted 4 points, 4 rebounds, an assist and a steal Monday, but he made some really nice passes that created good looks for his teammates. The Razorback backcourt is loaded, so it’s difficult for any of the guards to have high-volume nights. Still, Davis’ impact in transition and on the defensive end allow him to flash next-level potential.
Coleman Hawkins | Illinois | Forward
Averaging 14.3 points and 9.3 rebounds entering the contest, Coleman Hawkins displayed tremendous vision and ability as a passer. On the defensive end, he’s disciplined and plays with purpose, using his length to contest shots. Listed at 6-foot-10 and 215 pounds, his ability to play both inside and on the perimeter make him a valuable player, one that has flashed next-level potential. He didn’t fill up the box score Monday night by posting only two points, but he was still impactful.
Jaylin Williams | Arkansas | Forward
Jaylin Williams is a tough, competitive big man who continues to get better with every game. At 6-foot-10 and 240 pounds, he is a physical force who dominates the boards. While he may not do anything in high volume, he does the important things well. He’s a solid interior scorer who is learning to stretch the floor, a great rebounder and a phenomenal passer. Monday night, he only posted 6 points and 8 rebounds in the win, but his impact was felt any time he was on the floor. (Plus, Williams had a solid stat line last week vs. Northern Iowa.)
Jaylin Williams (6-10, 240) does it all again for the Razorbacks. 11 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 blocks and 1 steal for the sophomore. Continues to show great vision/passing, instincts and toughness. pic.twitter.com/Xx58P9rFeC— Derek Murray (@DMurrayHoops) November 18, 2021
JD Notae | Arkansas | Guard
A quick-twitch guard with terrific speed, JD Notae was again the spark that got the Hogs off and running. He averaged 21.7 points in the first three games, and has a quick trigger as a result. Sometimes, the shot selection is questionable, and the misses can be bad, but he’s becoming a tremendous volume scorer.
Jeremiah Davenport | Cincinnati | Guard
With good positional size at 6-foot-6, Jeremiah Davenport has the frame and tough shot-making ability to be a next-level player. He led the Bearcats at 12.5 points per game entering the event, and shot 4-of-8 from deep for a total of 19 points, leading the Bearcats to a big win Monday night.
Stanley Umude | Arkansas | Wing
The South Dakota transfer has played well early this season as part of a busy Razorback backcourt. Stanley Umude has good positional size and strength, allowing him to be effective and score both inside and out. Monday night he was impactful, hitting tough shots and causing multiple turnovers.
Selton Miguel | Kansas State | Guard
After playing with the Angolan Senior National Team, Selton Miguel enters his second season in Manhattan, KS. At 6-foot-4, he is a tough, physical and competitive guard who can impact the game in multiple ways, excelling on the glass and at getting to the rim. With his strong frame, he welcomes contact at the finish point and can be a real impact player on defense. While he’s not a 2022 NBA Draft prospect, he’s one to monitor as a future professional player. He finished with 14 points and 9 rebounds to go along with an assist, block and steal each.