Scouting Jeremiah Robinson-Earl


Credit: Greg Carroccio / Villanova Athletics

In the latest edition of 'P.I. Pulse,' Pro Insight's Aneesh Namburi conducts a deep dive analysis on Villanova's sophomore standout, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl:


Jeremiah Robinson-Earl was a decorated athlete even before arriving on Villanova's campus. He has only continued to produce and win games for the Wildcats after success at IMG Academy and with USA basketball. “JRE” is a supremely intelligent player who can quarterback a defense, hit jumpers, score off cuts and post ups, and move the ball within the offense. Below is an in-depth scouting report that covers every aspect of his game and how it translates to the NBA, where his strengths lie in addition to potential areas of improvement.

Measurables

Date of Birth 11/3/2000

Height 6'9"

Weight 230 lbs.

Wingspan 6'9"


Injury History

N/A



Potential Roles/Outcomes

High: Low-level starter/top of rotation big. Gains enough downhill juice to make plays from the short roll and hit cutters from high post extended. Spacer as a PnR screener, able to knock down shots effectively from both mid-range and 3 (specifically above the break). Able to finish around the hoop due to finesse and technique, but upside limited due to length + vertical. Positive team defender who brings up overall scheme. Opportunistic playmaker. Improves lateral mobility to hold against starting-level big wings/4s. Defends at/above the level of screen in PnR. Switchable across the board, but will need some backline help.


Median: Rotation spacing big. Primarily a ball mover within offense. Can make occasional plays off the short roll. Spacer as a PnR screener, able to knock down shots effectively from both mid-range and 3 (specifically above the break). Able to finish around the hoop due to finesse and technique, but upside limited due to length + vertical. Positive team defender who brings up overall defensive scheme, opportunistic playmaker. Plus-defender against non-guard backups. Defends at/above the level of screen in PnR. Possesses the ability to switch one position up or down.


Low: Spot rotation 4-man. Spacer as a PnR screener, more effective in mid-range but low volume efficiency from 3. Cannot make any plays off the dribble due to lack of burst, more of a ball mover. Struggles finishing around of hoop due to lack of length + vertical. Positive team defender who brings up overall defensive scheme, but not a real disruptor. Solid against back up 4’s, underwhelming tools limit him to defending singular position.



Frame/Athleticism

JRE is a subpar athlete by NBA standards, but possesses some redeeming qualities that should be able to keep him on the floor. He is a elite from a strength perspective, and is able to maintain his ground defending post ups. JRE also moves with fluidity across the court, with decent short area quickness and flashes (but inconsistent - stance is almost too wide + low) to slide laterally well against non-bigs. But after that, there aren't a ton of positives. He isn’t a quick-twitch athlete, which forces him to rely on his instincts and timing (which thankfully, are very good). JRE has no almost no vertical explosion, which in combination with his poor wingspan, limits his ability as a primary rim protector.

  • Reported even wingspan + poor vertical, not much vertical explosion and does not get off ground quickly

  • Relies on technical ability finishing at the hoop and timing to contest interior shots defensively (in combination with initial bullet point, takes him out of drop coverage)

  • High-level positional strength + stout base; very difficult to move in the post

  • Excellent short area quickness; flashes of moving well laterally but negative plays look really bad; potential issue could be his defensive stance while sliding, almost too wide + low which could slow him down

  • Hip turns are fluid, but not quick; not a fast-twitch athlete


Offense

JRE will likely provide baseline offensive value from the jump as a floor spacer and ball mover, with the ability to add more to his game dependent on athletic improvements. JRE is an excellent screener in the pick and roll, with the ability to pop out and hit shots from the mid-range, and most likely from deep. Due to his lack of burst and a rarely seen handle, it is unlikely he will develop into a self-creator, specifically getting to the hoop. Primarily a ball mover within the offense, JRE will help keep the offense humming. There is hope that he can eventually work as a short roll playmaker, but that is dependent on receiving defensive attention on the move. He is also a very opportunistic scorer, able to establish positioning near the hoop and create space for lay ups, as well as find open seams and finish on cuts.


Finishing

  • 64/103 within restricted area this season

  • Excellent touch around the hoop; strength allows him to finish through contact

  • Below the rim finisher, relies on bevy of counters/moves to get the ball in the hoop

  • Able to generate space using strength

  • Tough to see an avenue where he generates unassisted rim makes due to lack of burst and pop

  • No issue using either hand on both sides of the hoop

Shooting

  • 0.962 PPP on 106 jump shots in HC (48.1% eFG)

  • More of a mid-range shooter freshman year, taking almost double the amount of 3’s per 100 possessions (1.9 to 3.6) but still reliant on in-between shots

  • While 3PT% doesn’t pop, possesses touch indicators (31/71 from mid-range, around 80% FT shooting over 2 college seasons)

  • Very technical mechanics; repeatable motion

  • Wide base, releases slightly past apex of jump

  • Slower release; big reason why he has to set up jumper w/ jabs + fakes; slightly worrisome that he can’t really attack hard closeouts

Handle

  • Not much tape on handle, rarely seems to take more than 3 dribbles at a time

  • Does not help his inability to get to the hoop in the half court

  • Gets most of his initial space creation (for jumpers) on jabs + pump fakes

  • Never rushed with the ball in his hands

On Ball (Pick-and-Roll, Isolation)

  • Primarily a screener/spacer in the PnR (rolls to the hoop 20.8% of PnR Roll Man possessions)

  • Excellent technique as a screen setter, tendency to slip/pop out for jumper opportunities (staple of Villanova scheme); feel confident in his ability to be more physical in the NBA

  • Not confident in ability to threaten as a scorer on the roll

  • Best utilization: double screen/drag actions where he’s the one popping, work in the main action against a drop big

  • Currently not much of a sample as a playmaker in the short roll; trust his processing + IQ + court vision to become competent down the road

  • Not an isolation threat; lacks burst to take D off the dribble, not a pull-up threat, has not shown wiggle

Off Ball (Catch-and-Shoot, Movement Shooting, Cutting)

  • 0.98 PPP on 100 C&S possessions in HC (49% eFG)

  • 1.226 PPP on 53 spot-up possessions (65% eFG)

  • Will never be known as a big time transition threat, but will take advantage of limited opportunities; 0.897 PPP on 29 transition possessions (47.6% eFG)

  • Low-volume movement shooting, slower release + lack of speed hinders projection

  • Does a great job executing inside seals and duck-ins, utilizes trunk strength

  • Not a massive volume as a cutter, extremely opportunistic/effective; 1.200 PPP on 30 possessions as cutter (57.7% eFG)

Passing/Decision Making

  • High level processor; excellent court vision

  • More of a ball mover within Villanova offense rather than playmaker

  • Will need to eventually generate advantages in order to turn into a playmaker; if this happens, hard not to see him as a positive in this aspect of his game

  • Coming off handoffs, likes to probe perimeter and find cutters

  • Primarily a two-handed passer

  • Very few bad decisions in terms of shot selection; could argue that some of his mid-range shots should be 3’s BUT efficiency is pretty close right now and is clearly more comfortable in that area


Credit: Greg Carroccio / Villanova Athletics

Defense

JRE will be a positive team defender who utilizes his strength, IQ, and communication skills to help direct a second unit on the defensive end. He is limited in the PnR, as his short wingspan and lack of vertical explosion hurts him in drop coverage. JRE moves his feet well enough to be competent in coverages at/above the screen, but he’s almost unnaturally low and in too wide of a stance, which limits his ability to change direction or move with guards. His best median defensive role is likely defending back-up or smaller bigs, as well as primarily spot up wings. Off-ball, JRE brings high value due to his understanding of positioning and his often underrated communication. He is also adept at deflecting entry passes. JRE will almost assuredly be a 1-2 position defender, with the potential to briefly switch (dependent on improvements to lateral quickness).


On Ball (Isolation, Pick and Roll, Post Defense)

  • Needs help defending opposing guards, could survive against bigger wings + bigs; works well against players with slower foot speed

  • Essentially a true PF defender with the ability to switch one position up or down in bench units

  • In a weird middle ground covering PnR: poor in drop due to short arms + lack of vertical, not consistent in ability to play in coverages at/above level of the screen

  • How likely is it that JRE improves lateral quickness enough to confidently throw him into hedges/shows/etc.?

  • Excellent post defender for his size, sturdy lower body + able to dig into ground, hold position

  • Lack of length will hurt him against bigger centers

Off Ball and Team Defense

  • High-level team/off-ball defender; consistent effort; elite communicator

  • Similar to many other Villanova players, will not make any off-ball mistakes; rarely late making help rotations; maximizes length by always having arms extended

  • Average at creating plays on defense; 3.8% stock percentage; centered around IQ + positioning

  • Plays it relatively safe, not really seeking havoc (one exception: excellent getting his hands on post entries)

Other (Rim Protection, Rebounding, Switchability)

  • Definitely not a primary rim protector (see frame/athleticism section); but has the timing + instincts to create plays from weak side; size should prevent players from finishing through him

  • Excellent positional rebounder, consistently performs technical box outs (tough for offensive to get around him); active on the offensive glass

  • Primarily limited to guarding opposing 4’s, could potentially defend slower 3’s or small ball 5’s



Summary

JRE is a tough evaluation because he possesses a wide swath of individual skills, but I’m not confident that any one of those categories will reach a high impact level in the NBA (though it is plausible). When combined with his lackluster physical tools, JRE is unlikely to have a high enough ceiling to warrant a first round pick. However, it’s important not to discount the variety of skills he does possess. JRE's ability to impact the game via his micro skills can often go unnoticed, which boosts my confidence that he will be able to stick as a rotation-level player.


Offensively, JRE spaces the floor with the ability to make shots from the mid-range, and possesses the indicators to consistently extend out to the NBA 3-line, over time. While not a big time roll threat, he will use his craft and strength to finish around the hoop and with a few push shots. His IQ and court processing allows him to make the right reads, but his lack of burst and handle limits his ability to attack off the bounce and force defensive attention after closeouts. Defensively, JRE’s lack of length, vertical explosion, and consistent lateral mobility limit his upside on the ball to mostly backup bigs or true 4’s, but his positioning, communication, and smarts won’t kill him.


The swing skills for JRE's career will be his ability to make plays off the bounce, specifically attacking closeouts or playing out of the short roll, and improving his lateral mobility. The former will force defenses to give more attention to him and allow JRE to utilize (and potentially expand) his playmaking flashes. The latter would provide JRE with the ability to slide against a wider variety of players defensively, increasing a coaching staff's confidence in executing a switching scheme with JRE on the court.


I’d start considering JRE after most if not all of my 'tier 4' candidates (#17-36 on my board as of now) are gone. Whether that’s pick 37 or pick 47, it depends on what other teams do. The reasoning: I’m fairly certain he’ll be limited to a bench role in the NBA outside of rare circumstances. On the flip side, I’m confident that he finds his way into a rotation. For cap strung teams (most likely contenders), signing JRE to a guaranteed deal (similar to what Portland did for Gary Trent Jr. or what Milwaukee did with Sam Merrill) could yield a bang-for-buck, high-floor rotation candidate who at the very least won’t burn you on defense, will hit open shots, and make smart decisions with the ball.



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