By Steve DiMiceli
I've never done a true scouting report but I'll give it a go. I recently purchased two games films of Donovan Jack's from our new friends at Central PA Hoops. One game is $10 and together they cost $15. They arrived this afternoon and I highly recommend ordering copies for yourself. Video quality was awesome and you won't need to wait till the 3rd week of the pro-am to get an idea of his game.
The first game I watched was recorded December 30th against AAAA Harrisburg and the second was the District 3 AAA championship game against Trinity on the 1st of March.
Jack played mostly in the post of both games and only touched the ball outside the three point line a handful of times. He was generally able to gain inside position on defender's by drawing them a few feet away from the hoop, turning and waiting for a lob. He was less effective when physically battling opponents for position. Both teams generally tried to deny the post with single defender but he would draw double and triple help defense. He found open space when his teammates would dribble penetrate. Jack was most comfortable dribbling the ball with his back to the hoop but he was also able to turn and drive. Generally, he did not put the ball on the floor outside the three point arc and did not try to take on defenders one on one on the perimeter. Jack has adequate hands to play either interior position and was able to receive lob, chest and bounce passes fairly cleanly. Jack used a variety of shots including a hook and jump. I did not notice him change hands when laying the ball in. He did not shoot any three pointers, but he squared himself well on his jump shots getting good arc and rotation. He is a very good free throw shooter and he drew a lot of fouls. Jack appears to have strong court vision for a big man. He found open teammates for easy baskets created when he was double and triple teamed. Considering the amount of attention he drew, he did not turned the ball over often. Jack did not seem afraid to shoot, but he didn't force many shots either.
Jack seemed very casual on defense and waited for the play to come to him. Sometimes he waited too long. Generally, he stayed under the basket. In neither game did he have any opponents truly able to battle against him in the post. He used his length to alter shots and he was a very good shot blocker. He does a nice job following the shot and staying with the shooter once he has identified the need to help. However, he is often late in arriving to help and needs to get better anticipating the play. He does not often foul shooters as he does not initiate much physical contact on defense. He did not seem comfortable defending on the perimeter.
Jack is not a pure box out rebounder but he generally does get himself into good position for the board. He had a substantial height advantage over most opponents so he was often able to catch the ball at it's highest point. He was not overly aggressive pursuing rebounds or loose balls at times. He did allow a few rebounds to go off his finger tips but generally he was sure handed and rebounds with two hands. Offensively, he was less effective, but did not hesitate to go right back up with the ball when he did get put backs opportunities.
Jack will play the post for Duquesne. He seems to gravitate inside and his skill set will best translate to him receiving the ball inside the paint. He is not a good enough ball handler facing the basket to play around the perimeter. He will benefit from the additional space in college game as teams will not be able to double and triple team him. Jack is a fairly polished and complete post player offensively and will likely be able to contribute immediately in this department. Defensively he is still raw and will need to add 20 pounds to play the post effectively. He was often out muscled by his high school opponents. Overall, he lacks quickness and aggression when defending that is present at the other end of the floor. His rebounding positioning is strong but his technique will need to improve. Right now he would likely be able to average 3.5 rebounds over 20 minutes in the A-10. He will also need to be more aggressive when pursuing loss balls. By his sophomore year, he should be able to put up 10 points and 5 boards.
Comparing him current players
Jack would immediately become our best scoring threat in the post and his defense would likely be comparable to Mamadou Datt. However, he is not overly aggressive and does not dish out many fouls. Andre Marhold defends the post better than Jack and overall should be a stronger option to start at the beginning of next season.
Jack has the upside to be a similar player to Brian Conklin of St Louis or Chris Braswell of Charlotte with a good chance of reaching that ceiling. At worst, he should be comparable to David Pellom of George Washington. The bad news is that his timeline to get there will take longer than many Duquesne fans hope. Very big get for the Dukes.