A few weeks ago, Oscar posted some of my observations on Willie Jackson and Frankie Hughes here. A couple days ago, I wrote up another post on Reed Nikko. In the same vein, here are eleven hundred or so words on fellow Mizzou signee, Jordan Geist, based on these three games I found on YouTube:
The tricky thing about scouting Geist based on the games freely available on YouTube is that (especially in the games against Hill College and Odessa College) Geist didn’t play particularly well. As we all now know, Geist was named second-team NJCAA All-American; averaged over 15 points a game, shooting over 45% from the floor. Geist is a much, much better player than he showed in these three games where he only shot 34% from the floor (including a combined 4-18 against Hill and Odessa). What we can judge; though, is Jordan’s offensive style and, of course, his defense.
Jordan Geist isn’t quite as big as advertised. While he is listed at 6’3", the typical caveats about heights on basketball rosters are fully relevant here. In one of the games I watched, Geist was matched up against an opposing guard who was listed at 6’4", and Geist gave up at least three inches. If I had to guess, Geist is much closer to 6’1" than he is 6’3". There has been some talk of Geist playing as a 2 alongside Terrence Phillips, but that would leave Mizzou awfully small on the perimeter as neither Geist nor Phillips have much height or length.
The best recent Mizzou hoops comparison I can think of for Jordan Geist’s offensive game might be Tremaine Isabell. The two guards are very different stylistically (Geist is less athletic and plays with much less swag than TI, but he shoots about 10% better from the floor), but the way they get their points is similar. Jordan is very aggressive going to the basket both in transition and in the half court. Much like TI, Geist showed a nice ability to battle through contact, hang in the air, and either finish at the rim or draw a foul. There is some reason to question if Jordan will be able to score against bigger and more athletic players at the next level, as Geist isn’t necessarily an explosive athlete (and the fact that Missouri had 11.2% of their shots blocked last season, 321st in the nation). Geist is more acrobatic than he is athletic, but I believe his ability to score at (though perhaps below) the rim will translate to the SEC.
Geist is a cromulent shooter. As I said above, Geist struggled from the field in two of the games I watched (2-8 from three combined), and in the third game (this was a tournament, so these three games came in only four days) he hunted his shot a little bit in effort to shoot his way out of his slump. His release looks fine, and his numbers are certainly decent (35% on the year), but occasionally poor shot selection could lead to some streakiness from behind the arc. Early in the season, Geist had a four game stretch where he shot a blistering 16-26 from three (61.5%). In his next six games, Geist shot only 2-16 (12.5%). I wasn’t able to find any footage of his hot streak, so I’m not able to pinpoint exactly what was different about his shot, but streakiness is kind of a theme with Geist, and I’ll have more on that later.
Geist didn’t play much as the primary ball handler in the three games I watched. Still, I think point guard is his best position at the next level. Jordan is a good enough ball handler to get the ball up the floor and get us into our offense, and he has a nice ability to get to the rack in the event that the shot clock is winding down. Geist did, occasionally, get himself into trouble while driving into the lane. There were a few possessions where Geist drove too deep into the lane and had no outlet other than a tough, forced shot. The aggression he showed is good, but, as KJ Walton learned this past year, he will need to do a better job of picking his spots to attack.
Jordan Geist has the tools to be a good defender. While he isn’t very tall or long, Geist showed plenty of lateral quickness to stay in front of his man. Geist showed quick hands with five steals in these three games; right around his season average of nearly 1.5 pere game. There were a couple of times that he got caught up defending ball screens, but it looked like more of a communication issue than any athletic short-coming. I think Geist will be at his best defensively defending the opposing point guard; when matched up against a taller wing, he was a bit over-powered.
Geist is coming off an incredibly streaky season. His final numbers look pretty decent, but how he got there was pure Jekyll and Hyde. In a six-game stretch in November and December, Geist averaged over 19 points a game on 55% shooting. His next game? 2 points on 1-8 from the field. Next four games: nearly 21 ppg. Then he didn’t score for two straight games. In the five games preceding the three I watched, Geist averaged an even 29 points per game, culminating in a season-high of 43. In the four games after that 43 point performance, Geist scored only 36 points total on 39% shooting. There is clearly plenty of firepower in his game, but if Geist was consistently a 20 ppg scorer, he likely would have landed at a program better than Missouri.
Geist has plenty to offer as a scorer and backup to Terrence Phillips at the point. I think his lack of size limits his ability to defend on the wing, but we all know how Kim Anderson likes to play with two lead guards. Jordan has enough skill handling the ball that he should be fine as either the second lead guard, or backing up Phillips for the 10-12 minutes a game he is not on the floor. The key to Geist’s development will be in his consistency. Missouri should have enough options on the wing next year that they can absorb some cold spells, but for Geist to have the greatest impact on the Tiger team that struggled with streakiness as a whole, he will need to find some more consistency to his game. Geist plays hard and he is scrappy; his scoring outbursts and energy (and mullet) will be a welcome addition to the team in 2016-2017. Only time will tell if he can shake some of the consistency struggles and become a reliable scorer at Mizzou, but either way he should be a nice addition to the sophomore class.
Note: I have been unable to find any footage of Mitchell Smith. I sent his coach an email asking for game tape. If he responds, I plan to put something together on him as well.