Temple guard Levan “Shizz” Alston is on an absolute tear entering the First Four matchup Tuesday night with Belmont (9:10 p.m. EST, Tru TV). The Owls senior has scored 20 or more points in 8 straight contests, including a 34-point outburst versus Connecticut.
In an absolute must-win for their tournament chances, Alston tallied 21 points and 6 assists in a 67-62 decision over current No. 9 seed UCF.
The son of the former Temple standout Levan Alston, Shizz is a local Philadelphia product who led the American Athletic Conference with 19.7 points per game. He also added 5 assists on average to propel the Owls to March Madness with a 23-9 mark.
His father helped Temple get to a pair of NCAA tournaments in 1995 and 1996. Dad talked to the Philadelphia Tribune about history repeating itself.
“Actually, it was one of my years,” Levan said to Donald Hunt. “We had to win our last nine or 10 or our last 10 out of 12 games to get in. We actually ended up 19-11, but our schedule was so tough that we beat some good teams. We had to wait it out like they did.”
The 6-foot-4 Shizz earned all-AAC honors for his efforts this season. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer that disrespect has fueled his surging play in 2019.
“I wasn’t on the preseason first or second teams so I kind of felt disrespected by that and I wanted to come out and make a statement,” Alston said. “I felt I have done that this year.”
Before he takes on the Belmont Bruins in Dayton tonight, let’s take a look at his NBA Draft prospects.
Shizz Alston NBA Draft Profile
Let’s cut to the chase: he’s not going in either the first or second round in this summer’s draft. Aran Smith of NBA Draft leaves Alston off his list of top-100 prospects.
That doesn’t mean he lacks the potential to find time on a G-League team to work his way onto an NBA roster. He actually compares well to fellow Pennsylvania native Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, a former Michigan Wolverine.
First, here’s Alston’s statistical profile (per Ken Pomeroy):
- Offensive rating of 111.3 (points per 100 possessions)
- 2-point shooting percentage of 47.3
- 3-point percentage of 35.3
- Free throw percentage of 90.7 (10th-best nationally)
Here’s Abdur-Rahkman (2017-18):
- Offensive rating of 118.2
- 2-point percentage of 47.7
- 3-point percentage of 36.6
- Free throw percentage of 75
Basically, Abdur-Rahkman was slightly more efficient. Both posted nearly identically from the floor and Alston is currently one of the best in the country at the charity stripe.
Both stand 6-foot-4 and excel at driving the lane, drawing about 4 fouls a game each. When talking about both players’ defense, they don’t commit a lot of fouls despite racking up a decent number of steals.
Where does that lead for Alston professionally? Rahkman signed a G-League contract last October with the Canton Charge, the affiliate to the Cleveland Cavaliers. According to Virat Gupta of BT Powerhouse, this is a viable path towards the NBA.
According to the league’s website, more than 30 G-League prospects were called up and signed by an NBA team in each of the past seven seasons and 265 players with NBA G League experience were on NBA rosters at the end of the 2017-18 regular season – an all-time high for the league.
Abdur-Rahkman earned more scouting buzz after a pair of 20-point plus efforts in the NCAA Tournament, including a 24-point outing in the Sweet 16 versus Texas A&M.
Alston should follow this model. This means continuing his recent tear against the Bruins and moving onto the Round of 64 against No. 6 seed Maryland. NBA scouts will be eyeing that one, as the Terrapins possess a potential lottery pick in center Bruno Fernando.
In short, the further Temple gets in the tournament, the more Alston can prove himself in high-profile matchups.