Sacha Killeya-Jones Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Sacha Killeya-Jones was the 24th-ranked prospect in the 2016 high school class[1] but was out of the rotation by the conference part of the schedule – averaging just 6.9 minutes per game in 14 appearances as a freshman.
  • As a sophomore, the six-foot-10 athletic big has been a more prominent part of the team due to Jarred Vanderbilt’s absence – averaging 15.6 minutes per game in his 13 appearances so far.
  • Killeya-Jones gets most of his touches on garbage baskets. 42.1% of his shots at the rim have been putback attempts and 71.4% of his scores within close-range have been assisted[2], though he has gotten a few catch-and-shoot looks out of the pick-and-pop here and there.
    • His 13.3% usage rate attests he’s not a high priority within the offense.
  • On the other end, the 19-year-old[3] has shown to be a more versatile contributor. His mobility and agility for someone his size affords his coach flexibility on how to defend the pick-and-roll and his quickness and leaping ability in help defense have translated into effective rim protection.
    • His defensive box plus-minus ranks second on the team[4].
  • He was ranked 81st on ESPN’s top 100 on December, 12th.

DEFENSE

  • Killeya-Jones has pretty light feet for someone with a 222-pound frame and has proven himself able to defend out in space:
    • Though often flat-footed, he’s coordinated enough to show out to the three-point line against a pull-up threat and backpedal to drop-back after the on-ball defender recovers;
    • He can also pick up smaller players on switches and keep pace with them on straight line drives well enough to use his length contesting shots effectively.
  • Killeya-Jones should be an asset to defend shooting big men on spot-ups and the pick-and-pop but his closeouts are only so-so – promising at times but half-assed at others.
  • As the last line of defense, Killeya-Jones has shown nice attention executing the scheme coming off the weak-side to pick up the roll man and stepping up to the front of the basket against dribble drivers turning the corner or attacking downhill, and he’s been active looking to challenge shots.
    • He’s quick elevating off two feet and has a nine-foot-one standing reach[5] to block shots or contest them effectively via verticality – averaging 2.2 blocks per 40 minutes this season[6].
  • Killeya-Jones struggles with the most physical aspects of the game. Despite his frame, he’s yet to show a lot of toughness or inclination to play with some force.
    • He played surprisingly stout post defense against Duop Reath in a couple of instances in the game against Louisiana State but up until that point has always needed to front the post.
    • He is attentive to his boxout responsibilities but isn’t very effective and can get pushed off his spot – collecting just 12.9% of opponents’ misses over his 203 minutes.

OFFENSE

  • Killeya-Jones is a pretty good finisher around the basket, scoring at a 73.7% clip so far this season:
    • Able to play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense;
    • Possessing soft hands to catch the ball on the move and nice touch on non-dunk finishes;
    • Coordinated enough to catch, take a dribble and go up off two feet with pretty good lift.
  • He has a seven-foot-two wingspan[7] to rebound outside his area and a quick second jump fighting for 50-50 balls – collecting 13.9% of Kentucky’s misses when he’s been on the floor this season.
    • He’s not explosive enough gathering and going back up strong in a crowd – finishing his eight putback attempts at a 28.6% clip.
  • Killeya-Jones is not an option to participate in the shot creation process other than screening for the ball.
    • He doesn’t play with enough force trying to set up deep position in the post, always gets pushed away from the rim when he tries backing his man down and hasn’t shown much in terms of working his man out of position with shot fakes, head fakes or spin moves.
    • He is yet to show any ball skills creating off the bounce or facilitating offense for others – six of his seven two-point makes away from the basket were assisted and he’s assisted on just 6.3% of Kentucky’s scores when he’s been in the game.
  • Killeya-Jones has a reasonably fluid release for someone his size on catch-and-shoot jumpers and has even flashed the ability to set his feet quickly popping to a spot in the perimeter after setting a ball-screen. He launches the ball from a high point that could become really tough to contest as he develops more speed in his release and his touch is OK.
    • He’s missed 15 of his 22 mid-range shots and nine of his 18 free throws this season, though.

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] According to hoop-math

[3] DOB: 8/10/1998

[4] According to sports-reference

[5] According to Draft Express

[6] According to sports-reference

[7] According to the measurements at the Kentucky Combine

READ MORE: Wenyen Gabriel | Marvin Bagley, III | Jaren Jackson

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

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