INDIANAPOLIS — The Tournament of Champions Classic is a great opportunity for NBA scouts to get their eyes on a handful of NBA draft prospects early in the season, and the two games on Tuesday night did not disappoint. The same four teams—Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, and Michigan State—play each year with the four teams rotating opponents each season.
The first game ended in double overtime, as Michigan State edged out fourth-seeded Kentucky, 86-77. Kentucky forward Oscar Chibuy He made a mistake early in the first overtime, and the Wildcats couldn’t find the rhythm offensively. Michigan State’s Maddy Sissoko caught multiple hits to close out the game without Chipuiy in the lane defensively.
Game two between No. 6 Duke and No. 7 Kansas didn’t kick off until after 10:30 p.m. ET, and the first half was chaotic with several offensive fouls called from both teams. Kansas guards Jalen Wilson and DaJuan Harris Jr. served as fixed backcourt for the Jayhawks, and freshman winger Grady Dick took over in the final two minutes leading to the Jayhawk victory, 69-64.
Many NBA scouts and executives were getting in on the action at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, and even though it was very early in the college basketball season, there was plenty of talent on the floor.
Yahoo Sports breaks down each team’s top NBA draft pick and how they played in the Champions Classic.
Galen Wilson | Kansas | junior
Wilson was one of the best offensive players on the field on Tuesday and displayed many different ways to score, tallying 25 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. It was a tough shooting night for both teams as Wilson was unable to connect on any of his six attempts from 3-point range. What this NBA scout has shown is his improved grip and decision making when he’s in the lane. Wilson made good reads all night, whether it was for a float, turning off the corner from the screens and finding an open man or cutting the ball for a good look. He is stronger with the ball and more confident with his decisions and will definitely be a player to watch this season.
Casson Wallace | Kentucky | student
Wallace was one of the better prospects on the field in both games, and it was what he did defensively that was most impressive. In the first 30 seconds of the game, Wallace was robbed in the backcourt and converted into an easy dunk. During a crucial moment in the second half, he blocked AJ Hoggard’s keeper from rounding the corner and then read the ball to Malik Hall, blocking Hall’s shot. It is everywhere on the field and affects the game in many different ways. Offensively, he plays patiently and will wait for the defense to break down to make an extra pass rather than force a shot around the edge.
“I couldn’t take him out of the game because of what he was doing for the team defensively,” coach John Calipari said after the match. “When you look at what he did and the difference and the impact he had on the game, it was massive.”
Grady Dick | Kansas | student
It was a two-point game with just over two minutes left when Dick decided to take over for the Jayhawks. On three consecutive possessions, Dick scored seven points and kept the win out of reach for Duke. The 6-foot-8 winger moves well off the ball and has a natural ease in his game. At times defensively, he struggled to keep players up front and relied too much on the assist team defense. Dick doesn’t hold back from the big moments when the game is on the line and he wants the ball in his hands in close games or when the shot clock is up. Dick finished with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting.
Oscar Chibuy | Kentucky | big
And playing Chibui for the first time this season, when he entered the game six minutes into the game with a thunderous roar from the Kentucky fans in the ring. The forward was sidelined 6-9 after his knee was scanned four weeks ago and showed no hint of a long-term injury, grabbing 18 rebounds and adding 22 points. Tshiebwe chose to return for his senior year even after getting the NBA draft last season. He is the best player in college basketball and created multiple seconds chances for Kentucky with six offensive boards.
Kyle Filipovsky | Duke | student
Filipowski gave Duke second gear after a mediocre first half performance. He was playing with 3 points on the edge, grabbed six offensive boards and was stepping his 3-point shot confidently off the pick-and-bob. He only went 1-for-6 from Deep Tuesday, but the 7-footer has a great putt with a high launch that can get down any defense. Filipowski is somewhat of a defensive liability as he matches young guards on the wing and gets caught for the backdoor cut and players take his first steps and lead the baseline. Filipowski finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds in the loss.
Malik Hall | Michigan | big
Hall tied the game to send things into overtime with four seconds in regulation after the screen slipped during a play out of bounds. Then he had another dunk to send it into double overtime off a Tyson Walker touchdown pass. The 6-8 striker has worked on his body over the summer and has improved his footwork from dribbling. He does a lot of little things well, but he doesn’t excel in any particular area of his game. He’ll be the sticky guy for Michigan this season, and there’s definitely value to the players four years at the NBA level. Hall brings experience and confidence to his game and doesn’t need much development.
Derek Lively II | Duke | student
Lively II is still coming back from a lower leg injury that left him sidelined for a few weeks. The 7-1 defensively struggled at times while having to go out and guard the perimeter, but snagged plenty of fairway shots with his outstanding shot-blocking mechanics and timing that got off the weak block when the guards went downhill. Lively II had a quiet night, recording 20 minutes and finishing with five rebounds, four points and one block.
Chris Livingston | Kentucky | student
Livingston only played 12 minutes and was relatively quiet with Chipui and Jacob Tobin getting the most minutes in the close game. Livingston is a solid athlete who was one of the most explosive forwards in high school basketball last year, especially when he came off the wing. He’ll need more time to settle into the pace of the college game and will have to be patient as he develops this season at Kentucky.