The 2020 Clemson basketball recruiting class is comprised of three 4-star players. P.J. Hall is the cornerstone of the class, and the skilled big man out of Roebuck, South Carolina will be counted on to make an immediate impact in 2020.
I’ve gone through P.J.’s available film on YouTube over the last few days, and I’m impressed with what I’ve seen. Dorman was loaded with talent last season, with Myles Tate (a high 3* PG going to Butler) allowing Hall to escape the fate many high school big men from South Carolina suffer. Hall isn’t a guy with pumped up high school stats because he was the only option on the team and took 30 shots a game from the low block. He has a solid overall floor game, and Dorman used him in a manner that should mirror the way Clemson utilizes him on offense.
First, the Highlight Package
Everyone loves a good highlight reel and P.J. has one. His shooting ability and desire to dunk everything is obvious, but one thing I want you to check out is his hands. He catches everything cleanly. This allows him to explode to the basket in transition or get up a quick outside shot. This is an ability that, in my mind, shows how developed his game is at this point in his career.
Next, an Actual Game
Feel free to watch the entire thing. It gives you a good feel for P.J.’s game against high end competition. I’ve pulled a few individual plays by P.J. out to discuss below.
Post Entry Top of the Key
I love this play because it shows P.J.’s overall skill set. He does two subtle things after slipping the screen and getting the ball at the top of the key:
He doesn’t dribble
Too often in college basketball you see a big man get the ball at the top of the key and bounce it a few times, for no particular reason, before looking to make a play. Hall gets the ball, gets his head up, and looks to make the entry pass right away.
He passes his player open
I pulled a still out to make this easier to explain.
The post player does an excellent job of letting him know where he wants the pass. The easy entry is to the post players left hand, but that also pulls his guy away from the hoop and keeps the defender on his back. Instead, he sees the post player flash his right hand, and delivers the ball to inside, leading his player to the basket for an easy 2.
This is advanced level skill and passing for a 6’9 power forward.
Hitting the Open Man
Hall is posting on this play. He calls for the pass to his outside hand, and collects it in the corner. From there he again does two subtle, fundamental things that allow him to make the pass.
He Doesn’t Dribble
I know I mentioned it in the first clip, but as I mentioned, this is something that drives me insane. Hall collects the pass an immediately gets his head up. He doesn’t use his dribble like a security blanket.
He Passes Away From the Double Team
I’m guessing the other team traps the corner. This usually works in high school ball because players freeze when the double comes and they get stuck. Hall, however, isn’t bothered by the double team. He sees it coming from the top side and delivers his pass on the baseline side, negating the double team completely, for the easy bucket.
For those who don’t enjoy the subtle aspects of basketball. I present this dunk.
Hall is a physically ready to play college basketball. He has an advanced skill set on offense, and can work from the paint or from the perimeter. He’s a consistent spot up shooter from the outside with the mechanics to thrive in the pick and pop. He has excellent hands and is a determined rebounder.
Areas to Improve
It’s all about defense for P.J. Hall. Brad doesn’t play guys that can’t hold their own on the defense, and P.J. wants to play. I saw a couple half-hearted close outs that he needs to clean up. I didn’t see many 4’s attack him off the dribble, but he’ll run into that a good bit on the college level. He’ll need to move his feet better to hold up against athletic stretch 4’s. A match-up like Tevin Mack (who Clemson played at the 4 last year) would give him issues. When guys can’t keep up with their feet, they tend to reach and foul.
On offense, I’m interested to see his handles at the college level. If he’s a pick and roll/pick and pop finisher with a post game, that’s 100% fine with me. If he can expand his game to take guys off the dribble, he has the potential to be an elite college player with NBA upside.
My buddy Casey sees some Kelly Olynyk in his game, and I like that in terms of a big man with a perimeter shot and high skill level. Olynyk isn’t a freak athlete, but his skill level and shooting allows him to play important minutes in the hyper-athletic NBA.
I’m having a hard time coming up with a college comparison. Hall has a throwback game you don’t see much these days, but he also has a mean streak at the rim.
You guys have any player comparisons you like?