The second leading returning scorer in both the Big East and the NCAA period (after Luke Harangody), Jeremy Hazell will likely attempt to stake his claim as arguably the best scorer in college basketball this year. The 23-year old (24 in March) junior is quite a bit older than most players hell match up with, but has regardless been putting up impressive numbers since the moment he stepped on the floor at Seton Hall. Hazell initially committed to play at Oral Roberts but was forced to attend prep-school after failing to qualify, something Pirates coach Bobby Gonzales probably feels fortunate about considering the way things turned out.
Not particularly big, strong or athletic, Hazells physical attributes definitely leave something to be desired compared with your prototypical shooting guard prospect. He does make up for that though with his terrific scoring instincts, though, being capable of absolutely exploding for a barrage of 3-pointers from time to time.
Hazell is what you would call a volume scorer, as he puts up big numbers while taking a large quantity of shots. Over half of his field goal attempts come from beyond the arc (down from 71% last season), although he does get to the free throw line at a good rate and converts his 2-point attempts fairly efficiently. Hazell rarely turns the ball over but also garners a staggeringly low number of assists, only 5% of his possessions conclude with one, which ranks him dead last amongst all shooting guard prospects in our database last season. To call him a gunner wouldnt be an insult, its an accurate reflection of his style of play.
The majority of Hazells offense comes in catch and shoot situations from beyond the 3-point linehe rarely takes jump-shots from the mid-range area and loses effectiveness when forced to shoot off the dribble, although he can definitely make pull-up jumpers when asked to. His shot-selection leaves a lot to be desired, as hell take two or three badly contested shots each game that most NBA stars wouldnt even think of attempting. He is capable of converting these at times, although not in a way that is really conducive to playing winning basketball.
Creating off the dribble is where Hazell needs to improve this upcoming season. Hes an average ball-handler (particularly with his left hand) and possesses an underwhelming first step, making it difficult for him to get to the basket and finish at times in pure half-court situations when taking his narrow frame and mediocre leaping ability into consideration. Hazell has the scoring instincts and aggressive mentality to overcome these issues at times, but its difficult to see him translating this part of his game as effectively to a higher level of competition considering his physical limitations.
Defensively, Hazell is capable of coming up with some solid possessions from time to time, but he loses his focus easily and gambles far too often in the passing lanes. He actually has very good hands and the length to make things happen, but is far too susceptible to leaving his teams defense exposed by being overly aggressive trying to force turnovers.
All in all, Hazell is a player who will get his fair share of looks from NBA teams when he decides to enter the draft, even if his weaknesses as a prospect are quite clear. Putting up the type of numbers he has in the Big East isnt anything to sneer at, which is why hes not someone you can rule out, despite his advanced age and underwhelming physical attributes.