The name (of the series) still sucks, but since this is the second one, we’re stuck with it now. Shoutout to HimmyMindset for the request, and combine that with my interest in Garwey Dual as a prospect, it was just meant to be. I’ve seen a ton of one-and-done hype on him, so I wanted to see what it was all about.
Dual’s defensive versatility is something to behold. He matched up with all five positions constantly in these games. He’s a very switchable defensive piece and made life hell for most guys he checked.
His team switched every action, and that’s in large part due to the fact that Dual can guard so many different positions. In these games, the only time I saw someone get by Dual was when he’d ice a ball screen (force a player to the opposite direction of the ball screen) and the help just wasn’t there. That’s it. Guys weren’t getting past Dual, he's an excellent defensive stopper.
With his team switching everything, I didn’t see him laser in on one specific matchup. This isn’t his fault at all, but I would have loved to see him match up with Gabe Cupps of Centerville all game. Cupps is one of the better scorers in this high school class, and on his team which has two legit players (Cupps and Xavier commit Johnathan Powell, who took over this game in the fourth quarter), I would have loved for Dual to take on that challenge. To be incredibly clear, I don’t think Dual turned down the challenge, just in a tournament setting I think the team stuck to the gameplan that they used against everyone else, I just selfishly wish they didn’t.
I buried the lede here, but man those blocks on the jump shots were absolutely incredible. My goodness, those were insane. Dual would be on the opposite side of the court and it just didn't matter. Dual’s combination of quick hands and incredible length makes him a very tough defender at all five spots. His ability to block and alter shots, or just clean pick-pocket guards will be very well utilized at PC this year.
Dual’s ability to change pace was something I absolutely loved, and haven’t seen talked about nearly enough. I think this is the best part of his offensive game. He’s in full control of this part of his game, being able to completely stop on a dime and then explode on a drive seamlessly.
That play in the video (around 20sec in) where he was going full speed, stopped on a dime, hit that behind-the-back move to split the screen defense, snatched the ball back, pulled up and hit the mid-range jumper was absolutely excellent. That’s by far the best offensive play I’ve seen from him. His ability to control the pace he’s playing at makes Dual and his teammates so much better.
Think these two are pretty self-explanatory. The jumper isn’t all the way there yet, but I love his body control inside. It allows him to make tough finishes look routine.
He has good playmaking vision and can make some pretty tough passes, too, as shown in the video. He’s a very good setup man, can drive and make the right pass.
However, he’s not a point guard. At least not yet. He’s much more of a combo guard. When I say he has point guard skills, I mean that he’s a good ball-handler and a good playmaker, and can defend the one spot very well. He’s not the quickest guard, but his length and pace make up for that. But, he’s not a floor general. He's not the quarterback of the team, he's not that on-court leader, yet. He’s a combo guard. This Centerville game in particular jumped off the page in this respect. It was clear SoCal needed a real PG there, and Dual was being thrust into a role that he just isn’t ready for.
That first highlight showed a lot to me. That guy guarding him probably isn’t playing super high-level ball out of high school. He should not be ripping him. That should be an easy press to break and a 5 on 4 in waiting. Then off the inbound, Dual doesn’t do anything to come get the ball. He’s not helping the inbounder or any of his teammates get open. Instead, he gets stuck and a TO gets forced. This happened a couple of other times too, if he’s going to be the PG he has to come to the ball.
This game was incredibly tough to watch without the shot clock. There were too many possessions where the bigger, more athletic SoCal team wasn’t attacking or getting into their actions. They were just watching the clock tick away, and eventually, Centerville started hitting their jumpers and pulled away.
The second clip ends with the offensive foul, which was the microcosm of this game for Dual. Even though I haven’t watched every game he played in the last year and change, I’m very confident in saying this was Dual’s worst. He’s a much better player than he was in this game. In this matchup, he had four offensive fouls (and was called for an absolute BS touch foul, which took him out of the game for a bit and started Centerville’s run).
This PC team won’t need Dual to be the guy offensively or for him to be a true point guard. He’s an excellent combo guard. He makes everyone out there better. This PC team has veterans and multiple legit scoring options, so they won’t need him to be a dominant lead guard. The role this PC team will need him to play suits his game perfectly. He can be who he is, an elite defender who won’t need the ball a ton to be effective and efficient.
Dual isn’t an excellent shooter and isn’t fully there offensively, yet. I think it will take him a couple of games to adjust to the Big East, in terms of speed and physicality (which is perfectly normal for a freshman), but he will turn it up. The role he can play on this PC team plays to his strengths as a player. A defensive stopper who is effective in the half-court and will really set up his teammates. I haven’t seen him in a game that’s really up-and-down, but I’d be very excited to see that if that’s the style English wants to play this year. Or even in a game against a team that decides to push the pace against this PC squad, Dual could shine.
While a ton of Dual’s one-and-done hype was generated from his summer workouts/camps (which I haven’t seen), I’m going to sell the one-and-done talk. Sam Vecenie is an incredibly sharp guy and his opinion probably carries more weight than mine (and he’s seeing/hearing about things I haven’t), but I think it’s too soon. I think he’s got some developing and growing to do. I think it will take time, but he will grow into that PG role and his jumper/physicality will only improve as he grows into his frame. He’s an incredible talent, and one I think PC fans will love to have for as long as he’s there.