Grant McCasland picked up his second commitment last Friday in the form of Sophomore Grand Canyon guard Chance McMillian.
McMillian was originally a three-star prospect out of Vallejo, California in the class of 2020 for the Antelopes. His first two years in Phoenix saw him largely playing a developmental role for Grand Canyon, making only three starts at the end of his official freshman year. His numbers over those first two years were largely pedestrian, as he only put up 4.2 and 5.7 points per game respectively.
McMillian’s third year in purple was much better, though, as he took over a starting role after an injury to guard Jovan Blacksher after 12 games. From that point on, McMillian played over 80% of the Antelopes’ minutes and averaged over 13 points per game. The combo guard displayed elite shooting, as he led the nation among qualified shooters at 44.4% from beyond the arc. His ability to hit off-the-dribble shots (21% of his makes were unassisted) and be an elite spot-up threat (in the 93rd percentile as a spot-up shooter per Synergy) make him an all-around threat offensively.
Obviously, McMillian is a great shooter. Even if you don’t trust the numbers (which to be fair did come against a relatively weak schedule), the tape looks extremely promising.
These are two different types of makes. In one, McMillian is able to recognize a late-clock situation, size up his defender, and drill a contested three off of one compact dribble move. In the second clip, McMillian comes off a screen and hits the catch-and-shoot look despite a good recovery from his defender. McMillian has the ability to get into his shot motion extremely quickly, which in turn allows him to run a wide variety of plays off the ball. On-ball, his relatively compact style of dribbling gives him the ability to pull the shot without wasting too much time pulling the ball back. From there, the release is almost textbook, with his upper body being squared well, the release point being high enough to mitigate a height disadvantage, and his mechanics being very consistent from shot to shot. Here’s a closer look at both a spot-up and a pull-up shot.
The only small critique on his shot mechanics is his slight leg swing (usually more noticeable on pull-ups and more common with his right leg), but that’s getting extremely picky. To me, McMillian has the cleanest jumper on tape of any Red Raider since Davide Moretti was in town, which is saying a lot.
McMillian’s playmaking is another source of optimism, with his passing being something that Grand Canyon utilized more down the stretch of the season. In the final ten games, the sophomore averaged 2.8 assists against 2.4 turnovers. That’s not great by any means, but his assist numbers are deflated somewhat by GCU’s slow pace. Additionally, the confidence in the team to let McMillian initiate the offense frequently is a positive sign for how they viewed his facilitating, and in general even with a high turnover rate his decision-making was not reckless from what I saw.
McMillian is able to finish effectively at the rim, where he shot 62.5% this past season. He prefers to go left, but almost always finishes with his right hand regardless of the driving direction.
Defensively, McMillian was able to hold his own as a point-of-attack defender. He won’t blow you away with high steal numbers or highlight-worthy lock-up plays (hence the lack of defensive highlights on his tape), but he gets the job done. There is one major exception to this (which I’ll get into next), but generally speaking, McMillian is solid both on and off the ball. Even if he isn’t forcing havoc, he communicates well and does not put himself in horrible positions often, which was a chronic issue for Texas Tech last year.
Remember how I said there was one major exception to the on and off-ball solid defense? Well, it’s a pretty glaring issue. McMillian struggles mightily to fight through screens, and it puts him behind plays far too often.
There may have been compounding issues in both of these examples (a late reaction on the inbound play, communication issues in the first screen of clip #1), but the reality is McMillian was knocked off-balance enough to significantly harm his efforts on three occasions on these two clips. It’s a problem that shows up pretty much every time I’ve seen his tape in spurts, and in the SHSU game that I watched all the way through, I counted at least ten times where he had some level of a breakdown on-screen coverage. Now, there are ways to mitigate this. For one, building a bit more strength with a Big 12 strength and conditioning regime should help at least limit the egregious examples of him getting pushed off balance. Additionally, having better communicators on the screener would make it easier for McMillian to anticipate the contact. While he was the worst offender from what I saw, it did seem like GCU as a team struggled a little more than a normal team would in fighting through and switching screens, which would indicate a problem in communication that typically stems from the bigs.
From an offensive standpoint, the only concern I really have is just a little skepticism as to how well the shot will translate. It looks so good mechanically, but the reality is we only have about a 20-game sample of McMillian shooting on elevated volume from three, and even then his shot profile (7.7 attempts/100 possessions) was a lot closer to Davide Moretti (7.9 a/100) than Pop Isaacs (13.3 a/100). He only took more than five threes in a game on four occasions. Add in the competition factor, and it’s hard not to wonder if this was a flash in the pan for McMillian. The tape looks really promising, but we won’t know how translatable it is until midway through next season.
I really like what I saw from McMillian on tape. His shot looks every bit as good as the numbers suggest, and there are enough other things that he does well to suggest that he’ll have a place in Tech’s rotation. I don’t think he has the ball-handling skills to play as a primary ball-handler consistently, but he should be able to compliment Pop Isaacs well when they are together in the backcourt. The school and stats do not look too flashy, but there was a lot of interest in McMillian from other high-major schools and there is no reason why he cannot become a great shooter on high volume. I mentioned Davide Moretti earlier and for me, McMillian’s ceiling is being a 40%+ shooter on reasonable volume that can play effectively as an off-ball guard who can handle facilitating duties in small duties. That’s very similar to Moretti’s role on the 2018-19 Final Four team, and if McMillian can come anywhere close to hitting that mark, I’d wager that Grand McCasland would be thrilled with his second acquisition as the Red Raiders’ Head Coach.