Jayme Hollingsworth’s scouting report on Longwood

Jayme Hollingsworth’s scouting report on Longwood


In my opinion, Longwood does not look like a #16 seed. They got hot at the end of the season, winning their final four games and beating the conference champion twice. They have good guard play, athletic forwards, and a 7’0″ center.

I studied Longwood’s last two conference tournament games vs. High Point and UNC-Asheville. They pulled the upset in both games as the #5 seed in the Big South Conference.

But first!

the daily #231 | 3/22/2024 | Archives

Lancers head coach Griff Aldrich is familiar with UH and has previous connections with Houston. He was once an AAU coach in Houston and founded the HIS Hoops Program in the Third Ward, where he coached guys such as current NBA player DeAndre Jordan!

Head of the Snake

Walyn Napper is probably their best player. If you ask any coach who has played them, they would likely say he is their “head of the snake.” He makes them go on offense and is a pesky defender. He is a three-level scorer but prefers to get downhill, driving in the paint and looking to score or distribute to the open shooter. But he is not my “head of the snake for this particular game.”

But for me, the “head of the snake” is forward Michael Christmas. The 6’6″ forward reminds me a lot of Tre King III from Iowa State. He is a long, athletic, strong forward who can play inside vs a smaller defender and can shoot the three-pointer at a high rate if a bigger defender doesn’t follow him beyond the arc.

Longwood Offense

Longwood has several guys who could lead them in scoring vs. the Coogs. Their point guard, Napper, is always trying to get in the paint to make a play. Jonathan Massie, Emanuel Richards, and DA Houston are all quick-slashing guards who want to score in the paint or shoot the open three-pointer.

Their starting forwards remind me a bit of a duo from Iowa State. Jesper Granlund is similar to Milan Momcilovic and Michael Christmas is similar to Tre King III. Neither are at that level, but they have similar games.

Longwood’s big men are 7-footer Szymon Zapala and 6’8″ Xavier transfer Elijah Tucker. Zapala is a solid rebounder and shot-blocker. He has pretty good post moves and is capable in the pick-and-roll game. Tucker is a bit more nimble and can score outside of the paint. He is right-handed but excels using his left hand in the post.

As a team, they are outstanding in getting to the rim and drawing fouls. Napper sets the tone for them, and their offense runs through him. They crash the boards hard and have several capable scorers off the bench. Longwood is:

  • #23 nationally in free throw attempts per game with 23.2; However, they only shoot 68% from the line;
  • 28th in bench points per game with 27.0;
  • 40th in offensive rebounds per game with 13.7;

They run a nice set play, sending Zapala for a ghost screen, then he slips to the basket. If they run it, Jamal will “jump steal” the pass:

Longwood Defense

The Lancers’ head coach is a Houston native and says he’s watched a ton of Coach Sampson-coached teams. Looking at my notes below, you may see some principles similar to those of UH defense. They rebound on both ends and force turnovers at a high level. Hmm..sounds familiar. I think the Cougar offense and athleticism will be too much for Longwood. Houston will be able to get the ball in the paint and distribute it to open shooters at a high level.

  • Primarily play half-court, man-to-man defense;
  • Likely to “blitz” ball screens;
  • Likely to double-team the post;
  • They play major help-side defense. Look for the UH guards to drive and kick for open outside shooters;
  • May try some 2-1-2 half-court zone defense;
  • 4th nationally in rebound margin, out-rebounding opponents by 9;
  • #37 in rebounds per game, 39.0;
  • 50th in turnovers forced per game (13.8);



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Jayme Hollingsworth
Jayme Hollingsworth
Jayme is GoCoogs.com's new basketball scouting editor. He was born and raised in Alabama but now lives in Houston. He's a former video coordinator/scouting coordinator at UAB and a former high school basketball coach. He's the husband to Mallory and pug dad to Charlee.

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