Jordan Classic Recap

Jordan Classic Recap
Apr 17, 2005, 12:00 am
The Jordan Classic is the 4th, and final, of the “major” high school star games (the first three being the Roundball Classic, the McDonald’s All-American Game, and the Hoop Summit). The Jordan Classic, formerly known as the Capital Classic and played in Washington D.C. instead of Madison Square Garden of NYC fame, has had a quiet, but proud, history. This year’s game featured many top prospects, some of whom may be involved in this year’s NBA Draft.

All heights, weights, and game statistics are those that were officially provided by the Jordan Classic.

Andrew Bynum

7’, 300 pounds; Center; Committed to Connecticut
13 points, 5 rebounds, 0 assists, 2 steals, 0 blocks, 1 turnover, 6 of 9 FG, 1 of 1 3pt, 15 minutes

Jonathan Watters:
Bynum was really, really impressive out there. He had a couple of nice post moves, a put back dunk or two, and even a three pointer. The midrange hook was very impressive, as he has simplified the move to the point where he can get it off very quickly. He scored a lot of points in limited playing time, so it's still not clear what type of shape he is in. He is definitely slimmed down, and will only replace the fat with muscle as he gets older. Give him 2-3 years, and a well-built Bynum is going to be an absolute force. He's got to be a first rounder at the moment, but I would put him through some conditioning drills before I took him in the mid-first.

Disclaimer: I think he is making a relatively smart decision by going to UConn, even though he probably could get the guaranteed money. He can do a lot of work to his body, and has top 5 type of upside. Bynum is a case of a guy who could go first round, but could still have a lot to gain from going to school.

Jonathan Givony:
Once again Bynum didn’t play that much (just as in the McDonalds All-American Game), but showed some extremely intriguing skills for a 7 footer, skills that will probably land him a contract in the NBA whenever he decides to declare. Bynum had 13 points in 15 minutes, and in my mind was the 2nd best player on the floor as far as the draft is concerned, after Andray Blatche. He’s just a massive kid, and he was throwing his weight around big time around the basket with some strong finishes. He even stepped out once and hit a three pointer, and at that point Jim Calhoun must have been on the verge of a stroke. Bynum, for some reason, left the game after that, and didn’t return, although he got lots of face time on TV with his animated cheering off the bench.

Andray Blatche
6’11”, 230 pounds; Power Forward; Declared for NBA Draft (College is undecided)
26 points, 16 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 4 turnovers, 12 of 17 FG, 0 of 0 3pt, 28 minutes
Co-MVP of the Game (along with Tyler Hansbrough)

Jonathan Watters:
A very nice game for Blatche. Statisically, probably the best line of the night. However, most of his points came on putback dunks or layups, so from a scouting standpoint, those numbers are a little bloated. Blatche played mostly in the post tonight, with mixed results. He was a beast on the glass and as a shot intimidator, but showed that he is quite raw in terms of having a back-to-the-basket post game. Blatche just doesn't have the frame to get defenders off balance. Not only is he skinny, but he has a very slim build.

Everybody says he is great on the perimeter though, so maybe he was just trying to prove to the world that he's not afraid to mix it up down low. I wished he would have played a bit more on the outside, as the few times he did attack from the midrange, he looked pretty good. He also showed a nice wrinkle to his game with some pretty solid ballhandling for a 6'11 guy. He was comfortable bringing the ball up the court against some pressure, and navigated the open floor on the break a couple of times, one foray ending in a spectacular dunk. Can't help but think of Amare Stoudemire and Dwight Howard's similar plays in the last two McDonald's games. Blatche was very visible tonight, seemingly involved in every play. He has to have played himself into the late first round at the very least.

Jonathan Givony:
Had exactly the game he needed to have, exactly when he needed to have it. Blatche had his back against the wall and came through in a big way for himself, showing off an extremely intriguing array of versatile skills that make him one of the more interesting PF prospects in this draft. First and foremost were his ball-handling skills. Blatche pulled down a number of rebounds and proceeded to bring the ball up the court by himself, not looking unnatural at all while doing so. One time he took the ball from end to end and finished with a monster jam, a similar move to what Dwight Howard last year and Amare Stoudamire showed the year before at this same exact game. Second were his passing skills. He played pretty unselfishly considering the situation he put himself in, and made a number of great passes in the half-court and outlet passes to ignite the fast-break. He isn’t the most explosive high school player in this draft, but he is certainly smooth enough to get by. He made it a point in this game not to float too much to the perimeter, and did a good job banging inside to come up with rebounds and play very good defense. He was very active and intense for almost the entire game, helping to shed the soft tag that has plagued him so far.

Julian Wright
6’9”, 215 pounds; Forward; Committed to Kansas
4 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, 1 block, 3 turnovers, 2 of 7 FG, 0 of 1 3pt, 17 minutes

Jonathan Watters:
Somewhat of a quiet overall game from Wright, but the flashes were there, and they were spectacular. His long arms just kept showing up all over the place, whether it was altering shots, grabbing rebounds, or picking somebody's pocket. He nabbed Keith Brumbaugh and Tiki Mayben, both of which led to easy baskets. Also for the highlight reel was a beautiful pass to Tyler Hansbrough, and two absolutely stunning open court moves. While everybody talks about Gerald Green as the top athlete in the class, I think Wright has him beat quite handily. The way he covers ground in the open floor leaves you with your mouth open.

Tyler Hansbrough
6’9”. 225 pounds; Power Forward; Committed to North Carolina
24 points, 9 rebounds, 0 assists, 3 steals, 0 blocks, 1 turnover, 9 of 17 FG, 1 of 2 3pt, 22 minutes
Co-MVP of the Game (along with Andray Blatche)

Jonathan Watters:
I don't know how this kid does it, but his knack for picking up points around the basket is downright amazing. Every contested rebound, every lose ball, every putback...Hansbrough is literally everywhere. Amongst another night of spectacular plays, Hansbrough converted on a strange-looking midrange hook, knocked down a three-pointer, and made the game-winning tip in on an offensive rebound tap. Throwing NBA potential out the window, Hansbrough was the best big man out there tonight. It wasn't even close. Tyler is going to be an absolute star at North Carolina, and will play for pay someday, even if that day is a bit further off than some of the prospects he dominated tonight.

Martell Webster
6’7“, 235 pounds; Small Forward; Committed to Washington
22 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 3 steals, 0 blocks, 5 turnovers, 7 of 13 FG, 2 of 4 3pt, 27 minutes

Jonathan Watters:
Something of a rare commodity, Webster is a quite developed high school basketball player. He hits the outside jumpshot very nicely, and has an NBA-ready body. Despite showing little to no in-between game, it's safe to say that he has a knack for getting in the right position to put the ball in the basket. I firmly believe that he doesn't have the upside of some of the others in this HS class, but he is certainly more ready to play than most.

Jonathan Givony:
Once again came out firing, showing off his beautiful stroke and filling up the score sheet as he has in all three all-star games he’s participated in so far. The problem is, that’s really all he brings to the table right now, his shooting. The more you see him, the more you realize that his athletic ability is extremely average. Combine that with his non-existent ball-handling and defensive skills, and you have to wonder who in their right mind would draft such a one dimensional player with a lottery pick, and especially who is putting these thoughts of being a top 10 pick in his mind. I saw a kid named Willie Jenkins last week in Portsmouth that he really reminds me of. Jenkins is a much better all-around player in every aspect of the game, but he’s also 4 years older than him.

Louis Williams
6’3”, 185 pounds; Shooting Guard; Committed to Georgia
20 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 0 blocks, 3 turnovers, 8 of 17 FG, 1 of 7 3pt, 23 minutes

Jonathan Watters:
Started the game off on a tear, attacking the basket and showing some of that aggression that I wanted to see out of him. However, he cooled off as the game went on and didn't have the overall impact on the game that you'd like to see from a guy who wants to be playing in the NBA in six months. His decision making in the open floor was better than his disastrous showing at the Hoop Summit, but still very inconsistent. Williams still looks like he doesn't know whether to pass or shoot in many situations, and didn't get the outside shot going until a big 3 from the corner with under a minute left. Like I've been saying, this kid really needs to go to school for a couple of years.

Jonathan Givony:
Did his normal thing, scoring in bunches off excellent slashing moves to the basket, but once again came up empty in terms of showing off his (non-existent) PG skills. In one sequence he remembered that that’s what he needed to show, and instead of taking the open pull-up jumper that he had in the lane, tried to force the ball inside to a player that just wasn’t there. We’ve seen that a number of times in the three games he’s played so far. I still think he’s a terrific player, but its becoming more and more obvious that he has no business trying to force his way into the NBA, and that he’s getting some very poor advice. His ball-handling skills clearly aren’t up to par with his terrific athletic ability, and as a 6-1 SG he’s going to have to show that there is a lot more to his game next year at Georgia to secure a spot at some point in the 1st round.

Richard Hendrix
6’9”, 225 pounds; Power Forward; Committed to Alabama
9 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers, 3 of 6 FG, 0 of 1 3pt, 26 minutes

Jonathan Watters:
Another somewhat quiet game for Hendrix, but that doesn't mean he didn't show why he's rated as a top 10 member of the class of 2005. Hendrix is a legit 6'9 with quite a bit of bulk, and pushed a lot of these skinny athlete types around. He finishes well around the rim, but hasn't provided the consistent presence around the basket that guys like Hansbrough and McRoberts have. That being said, it's probably pretty meaningless. He's gonna tear up the SEC.

Jonathan Givony
I really like this kid’s game, think he’s going to become an outstanding NBA player down the road, but I’m not sure he has it in him at this point to make the jump this year. Maybe if he was a little bit bigger I would be more inclined to think so, but there are so many 6-8 or 6-9 PF’s in this draft that have similar skills to his, but are much more polished players, that I really think he’d have a hard time being a 1st rounder this year. I love his hands, smarts, passing, and the athletic sparks he shows on both ends of the court, but its going to be another year or two before I am completely sold on him as an NBA player.

Mike Mercer
6’4”, 185 pounds; Point Guard/Shooting Guard; Committed to Georgia

19 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 steals, 0 blocks, 4 turnovers, 8 of 10 FG, 1 of 2 3pt, 24 minutes

Jonathan Watters:
The other PG for the white team also happens to be the "other" highly rated guard committed to play for Georgia this fall. Even if Louis Williams doesn't show up, Mercer might be better in the long run. As a true combo guard, Mercer can run the show, but is very capable of getting to the basket. He has very nice length and a better-than-expected body. At 6'4 or so, he could very well end up being a very nice NBA prospect.

Magnum Rolle
6’9“, 200 pounds; Power Forward/Center; Committed to Louisiana State

7 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 3 of 8 FG, 0 of 0 3pt, 22 minutes

Jonathan Watters:
People have been calling him a serious sleeper all season long, and I can see why. At 6'9”, he is a freak athlete, though his twig-like frame makes Blatche look like a defensive tackle. His long arms and lateral quickness made it tough for opponents all night, and he showed a bit of skill in the mid-range. Could be a guy who can develop into a true combo F. Rolle heads to LSU next year along with Tasmin Mitchell, but could find playing time hard to find, with Bass and Glen Davis potentially still around too.

Calvin “CJ” Miles
6’6”, 207 pounds; Small Forward; Committed to Texas
16 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 0 blocks, 7 of 16 FG, 0 of 6 3pt, 23 minutes

Jonathan Watters:
Miles gets credit for hitting perhaps the biggest shot of the night, hitting a fadeaway jumper from the baseline that kept the black team in the game. Other than that, I wasn't all that impressed. He showed up on the glass and got some easy baskets that way, but I had hoped to see better shooting form. He really threw up some clunkers. Miles has no business thinking about the NBA right now...

Shawne Williams
6’9”, 235 pounds; Small Forward; Committed to Memphis
15 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, 0 blocks, 1 turnover, 6 of 11 FG, 2 of 4 3pt, 19 minutes

Jonatan Watters:
Shot a lot, and didn't show me anything that would indicate him being worthy of a draft pick. Hopefully he does the smart thing once he gets his ass handed to him in workouts, and heads to Memphis.

Jonathan Givony:
It’s time for Williams to put down his first and last month’s rent on that apartment in Memphis for next year, unless it’s the NBDL he is shooting for. Williams might be the player awarded “most unrealistic high schooler to enter the NBA draft” with the way he’s played in the all-star games and practices over the past month. He brings nothing to the table that would give him any consideration as a draft prospect right now, and desperately needs to get the NBA out of his head

John Brockman
6’8”, 245 pounds; Power Forward; Committed to Washington
4 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 0 blocks, 0 turnovers, 2 of 4 FG, 0 of 0 3pt, 13 minutes

Jonathan Watters:
The broken nose clearly slowed Brockman down in this game, as he wasn't nearly as much of a factor as he was in the McD's Game or at the hoop summit.

Keith Brumbaugh
6’8”, 205 pounds; Forward; College is undecided
6 points, 2 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 2 turnovers, 3 of 5 FG, 0 of 2 3pt, 13 minutes

Jonathan Watters:
You can pretty much copy what I said about Williams, only Brumbaugh might have even looked worse. He seemed to be thinking a bit slower than everybody else on the floor, and the only notable thing he did was turn it over a couple times. Hopefully he heads to Florida, though I don't know what their scholarship situation is like at the moment.

Jonathan Givony:
I don't think anyone would have noticed that he was there besides one nice floater in the lane and the hair. He forced some bad shots and appears to be forcing the issue even more when it comes to the draft. Its time to start shopping for some schools because I'm not even sure he would get drafted in a year like this. Living in Florida I've seen enough of him not to be surprised by this.

Micah Downs
6’8”, 192 pounds; Shooting Guard; Committed to Kansas
11 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 0 steals, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 4 of 7 FG, 1 of 3 3pt, 24 minutes

Jonathan Watters:
Didn't get the touches or opportunities to shine that most everybody else did, which is too bad. He seems to have some nice athletic tools, but we will have to wait until he gets to Kansas to find out for sure if he can back up the hype.

Emmanuel “Tiki“ Mayben
6’3”, 175 pounds; Point Guard; Committed to Syracuse
13 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 0 blocks, 7 turnovers, 4 of 8 FG, 1 of 3 3pt, 15 minutes

Jonathan Watters:
Mayben replaced Monta Ellis, who pulled out of the game due to an injury (or to keep his stock from falling any further?), and probably played better than Ellis would have. His first half was spectacular, as he showed off a true PG's game, with all the flair you would expect from a Jason Williams highlight reel. He pushed the ball, made numerous stunning passes, got to the basket a couple of times, and even hit a three-pointer. Maybe came back down to earth a bit in the second half, getting rattled a bit by gray team's pressure and missing two free throws that cost the white team the game, but the game has to be considered an overall smashing success for Mayben. It was thought he would be headed to prep school, but now it looks like he will be in the Orange for 2005. At 6'3, he has the ideal size to play point guard for an NBA team someday...

Jonathan Givony:
Monta Ellis pulled out with a "leg injury". Probably a smart move, since he didn't have enough confidence in himself, or his PG skills, to play well in a game like this. Ellis is a borderline first rounder as it is, and another poor performance like he had in the previous two all-star games would have sealed the deal for him. This is the 2nd all-star game he's pulled his name out of, and I'm sure the organizers of both games have nothing but great things to say about him.

As for Tiki, he filled in very well for Ellis. At first I was confused and thought that that actually WAS Ellis, and I started biting my nails thinking I had clearly missed the boat on his PG skills, because Tiki looked very smooth and natural out there. Once that got cleared up, it was fun to see how well Mayben represented himself at this game. That might just go to show you something about how weak this high school class is, you can stick a kid in that wasn't considered a top 50 prospect (is this true) and he doesn't stick out at all.

Levance Fields
6’1”, 185 pounds; Point Guard; Committed to Pittsburgh
18 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, 0 blocks, 2 turnovers, 7 of 16 FG, 2 of 6 3pt, 25 minutes

Jonathan Watters:
Aggressive, hard-nosed PG that is the perfect understudy/replacement for Carl Krauser. Fields sparked the rally that ended with his team's win, showing the ability to score off the dribble, and more importantly, to be a holy terror on the defensive end. He is going to really annoy a lot of Big East PG's over the next four years. Quite undersized, though...

Devan Downey
5’10”, 170 pounds; Point Guard; Committed to Cincinnati
6 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 0 blocks, 3 turnovers, 2 of 9 FG, 0 of 5 3pt, 19 minutes

Jonathan Watters:
Sort of a poor man's Drew Lavendar, Downey didn't have the impact of Fields overall, but still showed some nice flashes on individual plays. A fake pull out turned into a spin move layup was particularly spectacular. I wonder how he fits into Cincy's scheme given Huggins' love of physical, hard-nosed defense, but he's got to be a step up from Jihad Muhammad's bricklaying.

Lewis Clinch
6’3”, 190 pounds; Shooting Guard; Committed to Georgia Tech
13 points, 0 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 1 turnover, 4 of 7 FG, 2 of 4 3pt, 16 minutes

Jonathan Watters:
Clinch showed a beautiful stroke on a couple of three pointers, and showed some athleticism in the open floor. He could team with Anthony Morrow to become the new Lewis/Elder duo for the Jackets over the next 3 years. Showed a little bit of combo G to his game, which is what he will have to develop if he wants to become a real NBA prospect.

Eric Boateng
6’10“, 240 pounds; Center; Committed to Duke
3 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 3 blocks, 1 of 5 FG, 0 of 0 3pt, 14 minutes

Jonathan Watters:
Looked raw once again, but didn't get to play all that much.

Kevin Rogers
6’7“, 223 pounds; Power Forward; Committed to Baylor
4 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 0 blocks, 0 turnovers, 2 of 6 FG, 0 of 0 3pt, 15 minutes

Jonathan Watters:
A huge recruit for Scott Drew over at Baylor, Rogers looked a bit more like a combo F than I expected, and is very good athlete. Overall a quiet game, however.

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