Brandon McCoy was the 16th-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class.
His one year at UNLV didn’t do well for the perception of him, though. He put together a reasonably impressive statistical profile but didn’t really elevate the level of that team, as the coaching staff struggled to leverage his presence, despite the fact the conference was fairly weak.
The seven-foot center averaged 23.6 points per 40 minutes on 59% true shooting and compiled a 23.8 PER in 33 appearances. But UNLV won just 20 of its 33 games and missed the NCAA Tournament. It had a +13.5 pace-adjusted point differential with him in the lineup but played only the 122nd-toughest schedule in the country.
McCoy got most of his offense in the low post, though he also got a few touches flashing to the foul line to catch the ball in face-up position and roaming around the baseline at the dunker spot. Disappointingly, there was very little in pick-and-roll. In instances where he set high ball-screens, McCoy mostly rolled into post position or floated around the perimeter for a catch-and-shoot jumper.
On the other end, he was an effective rim protector when well positioned and a dominant defensive rebounder but didn’t show much in terms of effort and activity when forced to guard out in the perimeter, which helps explain why someone with his measurements, athleticism and production is likely to be drafted in the second round.
The soon-to-be 20-year logged 949 NCAA minutes, after previously accumulating 117 minutes with the United States National Team at the 2017 U19 FIBA World Cup and 180 minutes at the 2015 adidas Nations and Nike Global Challenge.
McCoy was the go-to option – logging 27.5% usage rate. He didn’t play with a lot of force trying to establish deep position but relied on his large frame to get good enough seals consistently.
UNLV didn’t space the floor very well around him, so opponents often crowded the lane shadowing his post-ups and threw hard doubles at him more often than you’re used to seeing these days. He struggled with these, having not yet developed dexterity using escape dribbles to buy room and pass it out – averaging 3.7 turnovers per 40 minutes.
McCoy flashed some court vision making crosscourt passes with his back to the basket but can’t be considered a reliable shot creator for others at this point – assisting on just 3.5% of UNLV’s scores when he was on the floor.
Against single coverage, he dominated, and not just versus Mountain West competition but doing very well in the game against Arizona too.
McCoy does not have an advanced post game, not showing much in terms of being able to work his man out of position with pivot moves, shot fakes and head fakes. He also does not seem to have the lightest of feet.
But though he isn’t really a bully, McCoy relied for the most part on general size and strength to bump his man back and create space for simple hooks or to go up strong off two feet. He has some good touch on non-dunk finishes, even showing a scoop layup to attempt finishing around length, but nothing all that special – converting his 200 attempts at the rim at a 67.7% clip, with almost a third of them unassisted, while also managing to earn 8.1 foul shots per 40 minutes.
He flashed a quick turnaround lean-in jumper against opponents who held their ground and took a few face-up near-standstill shots, especially on his catches around the foul line. McCoy looked capable is below average away from the rim at this point of his development – shooting just 36.6% on 153 two-point shots away from the rim, with just 15 of his 56 makes unassisted.
He can play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense, roaming around the baseline at the dunker spot and sprinting up the court in transition, and also proved to be coordinated enough to catch, take a dribble for balance and launch a floater with a defender between him and the basket on poor passes.
But McCoy is a poor screener who didn’t draw contact often and not even because he was slipping picks to beat his defender on a race to the rim as he rarely rolled hard to the basket off picks. He either rolled to post-up or looked to set up catch-and-shoot jumpers.
McCoy took a few three-point shots out of the pick-and-pop but didn’t show to be any sort of real asset from the outside yet, not just at the point of attack but even as a spot-up floor-spacer. He gets little elevation and releases the ball out in front but can shoot over contests due to his height. His touch is decent but his trigger is slow.
McCoy shot just three-for-nine from three-point range but did make 41 assisted two-point shots away from the basket, at a pace of 1.7 makes per 40 minutes, which seems decent enough for a pure center. His 72.5% foul shooting on 193 free throws also offers potential.
As a garbage man, he has a seven-foot-two wingspan to rebound outside of his area, is a quick leaper and can go back up to attempt immediate scores without needing to load up – collecting 12.7% of UNLV’s misses when he was on the floor and shooting 64.3% on 66 putback attempts.
McCoy was an effective rim protector when well positioned – averaging 2.5 blocks per 40 minutes. He is a quick leaper off two feet stepping up to the front of the basket, leveraged his nine-foot-two standing reach well to challenge shots and blocked a lot of shots with his left hand, though he sold out for blocks at times.
McCoy flashed some preventive rotations that discouraged opponents from getting all the way to the rim from time-to-time but was an iffy help defender on long rotations for the most part.
He blocked a lot but a physical specimen like him, playing against the level of competition that he did, was expected to be more impressive and elevate the level of his defense, which didn’t really happen, as McCoy averaged 28.5 minutes per game on a team that ranked 174th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency.
When asked to extend pick-and-roll coverage above the foul line, he did poorly. He hunches rather than bends his knees getting down in a stance, isn’t very quick with his reactions out in space, doesn’t prioritize middle and gives up an easy path for the ball handler to decline the pick, rarely makes multiple-effort plays and didn’t use his length getting into passing lanes
McCoy showed only so-so attention to his boxout responsibilities, which didn’t matter against Mountain West competition because of his edge in general size and athleticism – collecting 25.1% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor. That’s something that needs to be improved, though, as that advantage likely won’t be there every night at the next level.
 DOB: 6/11/1998
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