SportsMen's Basketball

Fresh on the Farm: evaluating Stanford’s incoming men’s basketball players

June 13, 2022, 5:52 p.m.

While we’re in the thick of the college basketball off-season, Stanford men’s basketball has finalized its roster for next season. Here’s an evaluation of Stanford’s incoming recruits and transfers, along with a discussion of how they will fit into the team’s play style. So, without further ado, let’s get started. 

Michael Jones

Michael Jones is a graduate transfer from Davidson College. Jones’ best attribute is his ability to shoot from distance. In fact, this past season, Jones displayed efficiency rarely seen at the collegiate level, shooting 46% from the field, 42% from behind the arc and 84% from the line while averaging 11 points per game. Jones registered these numbers on a Davidson team that competed as a ten seed in the NCAA Tournament, indicating that his stats contributed to the team’s success. 

Jones’ shooting will impact Stanford’s offense in a myriad of ways. In Stanford’s ball-screen motion offense, Jones could have the chance to score off dribble hand-offs in the mid-range and 3-point areas and off back screens on the weak side. Also, he should get catch-and-shoot opportunities from filling empty space on the wing and moving off pindown screens. 

Additionally, Stanford tends to lift its forwards to the free throw line, which creates plenty of room around the rim. This will allow Jones to execute back-door cuts if defenses play him tightly to guard his perimeter shooting. Moreover, Jones will have plenty of opportunities in transition and on the fast break to spot-up from distance. 

At the end of games, Jones will be a valuable asset, as Stanford needs a reliable free throw shooter to close out close contests.

Ryan Agarwal

Ryan Agarwal is a 6-foot-7 wing from Coppell, Texas. A 3-star recruit according to 247 Sports, Agarwal committed to Stanford back in March of 2021.

Similar to Jones, the best aspect of Agarwal’s game coming out of high school is his shooting. But unlike Jones, Agarwal lacks collegiate experience. In addition, Agarwal seems a bit more adept at creating his own shot off the dribble than Jones. This means Agarwal may be more proficient on dribble handoffs or coming off of ball screens in Stanford’s motion offense.

Still, Agarwal possesses a wiry frame, which could prevent him from being able to finish well around the rim, perform strong back-cuts and create for himself at the college level. Right now, it seems Agarwal will be best at hitting shots off spot-ups and pin-downs.

Jaylen Thompson

Jaylen Thompson is a 6-foot-8 wing from Alameda, California. A 4-star according to 247 Sports, Thompson committed to the Cardinal in September of 2021. 

Thompson likely has the greatest ceiling out of all the incoming players due to his athletic ability and long wingspan, which is over seven feet. Like Jones and Agarwal, Thompson possesses an elite touch from three. In addition, Thompson’s athleticism and wingspan will make him an important piece of the defense for Stanford going forward, as the roster lacks long, athletic and versatile defenders. Thompson also has the best on-ball skills out of all the newcomers, as he is comfortable creating for himself through a variety of one-dribble pull ups and step backs. Thompson is proficient at battling on the boards and securing rebounds.

But similar to Agarwal, Thompson may need to add a bit of weight and strength to reach his full potential.

Conclusion

Overall, it seems head coach Jerod Haase has put an emphasis on outside shooting, as all three newcomers are very adept at shooting from distance. While it seems Jones will be able to contribute from day one because of his high-level contribution on an NCAA tournament team, it remains to be seen how quickly the freshman will adjust to the bump in competition. 

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