The next stop on 's McDonald's All American coverage was Indiana University South Bend for Monday's practice session. We were a bit disappointed when we arrived, as there was a mesh screen hanging from the ceiling and extending all the way to the floor, dividing the practices. This forced viewers to choose between watching one practice or another. Never one to settle, I decided to stayed right in front of the mesh screen so I could see a little of both practices. Please note that the nature of the practice meant that I was only able to take detailed notes of the immediate draft prospects and other players who impressed me. We were able to talk to and get the opinions of a few NBA scouts and general managers that were in the building, on the condition of anonymity of course, enabling us to provide you draft fans with a little bit of insight from those responsible for evaluating and making the final call on drafting these players. We spotted representatives from the San Antonio Spurs, Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Philadelphia 76ers, Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, and Miami Heat; while others were certainly in the building. East team:
The East practice was a rather uneventful one. The coaching staff only had the players scrimmage each other for approximately five minutes from what I saw. The squad basically practiced plays for the remainder of practice. The East does have a play in which they throw an alley-oop off of a back screen, so we were able to see the leaping abilities of some of the players. Here are our observations of the players who caught our eye and took notes on:Andrew Bynum
The UCONN signee is a legit 7'0, maybe 7'1. This was evident as he had at least 2-3 inches on Josh McRoberts
(listed at 6'10). For being close to 300 lbs., Andrew is a pretty good athlete. He ran the floor well and actually got up decently high to throw down a few alley oops. He actually blocked one of Louis Williams
' acrobatic lay-up attempts without even jumping, so that should tell you about the length of his arms. One NBA GM had the following to say about Andrew: I really like the big kid. He's only 17 years old and has room to fill out. He's going to be something at UCONN.
Louis played shooting guard in today's practice as Eric Devendorf
and Greg Paulus
took the majority of the ball handling duties. He showed NBA range on his jump shot, but he needs more lift and needs to work on the mechanics of his shot. Williams also threw down a few impressive dunks off of the lob passes. I'm still not really sold on Louis as a point guard, and neither was the NBA scout that I spoke with: Neither of those kids can play point guard [Williams and Ellis].
Gerald had a solid, but not spectacular practice. He did a little but of everything, but nothing extraordinarily well. He knocked down a few threes, had one nice pass that I saw off of a drive, and did a pretty good job on defense. One NBA scout I spoke with had this to say in regards to Green: The kid is a sure fire lottery pick if he declares. He is oozing with potential.Richard Hendrix
Richard pleasantly surprised me today with his athleticism when the East was running the alley-oop play. He was getting up really well and throwing the ball down with authority. Coming into the event, I thought Richard might have had a little baby fat on him, but boy was I wrong. He's 250 lbs. of solid muscle. Hendix did a great job of running the floor in the secondary break. I did not get to see much of his jump shot today, but I should be able to see a little more in tomorrow's shootaround. One NBA GM had this to say about Hendix's physique: He's 250 lbs. and he's really solid. He can really be something else.Josh McRoberts
McRoberts' great play carried over from the Roundball as he was very impressive in practice today. He showed nice range on his shot, ran the floor well, and had a few really nice passes that the majority of 6'11 players can't even dream about making. He stated that he is not even considering the NBA at this point and is fully committed to Duke, which is a bit surprising considering his strong play so far in the McDonald's practices and his performance at the Roundball Classic, especially when you consider some of the players that are considering making the jump. We're definitely looking forward to seeing him at Duke next year, though. It looks like Coach K really got a good one. Daniel Green Jr.
Danny continued to turn the heads of scouts in attendance. Rated by rivals.com as the 89th best player in the class of 2005, many people were surprised when he was selected to both the McDonald's All American Game and the EA Sports Roundball Classic. In our Roundball write-ups, we spoke of how impressive Danny was, especially with his deep shooting ability. He has carried that over this week into the McDonald's game. Danny could definitely step in and provide an immediate impact next year for UNC, especially if Rashad McCants
decides to enter the NBA draft. Here is what one NBA GM had to say about Danny: He's smart, quick, and can really shoot the ball. The kid just makes plays. You can tell that he's been playing basketball his entire life. Green is very underrated right now, but don't expect that to last for long. If he's indeed the 6-6 he is listed at, he'll be an excellent NBA prospect after getting a couple of NCAA seasons under his belt.
The West team did shooting drills in the beginning of practice, but then did a lot of 5 on 5 scrimmaging for the remainder of the practice, giving us a good chance to see how the players actually play in game type situations.Monta Ellis
While Monta was impressive today, I'm still not sold on him as a point guard (and neither are the scouts we talked to apparently). He did a good job handling the ball and knocking down outside shots, but had quite a few turnovers and didn't look to be the best decision maker. Monta has very nice form on his shot, good lift, and good range. He also did a very good job today on the defensive end by playing good man-to-man defense and reading the passing lanes well. Personally, I think that Monta made it clear over the past few days that he is definitely a better NBA prospect then Louis Williams
right now. Let's see how that carries over tomorrow to the game itself.
The Kansas recruit possesses great ball handling skills and amazing passing ability for a player of his size (6'8). Julian showed that he can legitimately play point guard (which he also did most of his junior season of high school), and can really lock down on defense. He's athletic and plays really hard. The only knock, and it's a big one, is that he can't shoot at all. Julian's range extends to about 12 feet. If Julian improves the range of his shot, he is a sure fire first round pick whenever he decides to declare.Tyler Hansbrough
Tyler will become a fan favorite as soon as he steps on the UNC campus due to his great work ethic and explosive leaping ability. While he is not an NBA prospect at this time due to the fact that he is a 6'8 PF, he truly is a pleasure to watch and will be a very good college player. Tyler only showed range out to about 15 feet on his shot and he needs a little work on mechanics, but he did have really nice lift on his shot. Once the East team started scrimmaging, Tyler ran the floor really well, played tough inside, and tried to dunk everything he got inside the paint. Hansbrough showed off his athleticism in one instance on a breakaway when he threw down a nice 360 dunk. North Carolina fans have a lot to look forward to in Mr. Hansbrough.Luke Zeller
The Notre Dame recruit showed really nice range on his shot today. Not just a shooter, Luke will mix it up in the paint with the best of them as well. Zeller looked to be a legit 6'11 and has a solid frame. I didn't really focus on Luke too much other then that due to the fact that it seems as if he is going to stay at Notre Dame for a while and is not really an NBA prospect right now.Martell Webster
Martell put on an absolutely amazing shooting performance today. He has great lift, great mechanics, and NBA range on his shot. He looked to be a legitimate 6'6, maybe 6'7 and has a great body, although it was not the NBA body that some have claimed he has. Martell is a good, but not great athlete. He has a solid handle for a shooting guard, and is a pretty good passer to go along with it. Webster has already stated that he will go to Washington for at least one year, but that might change if he has strong performances in the Hoop Summit, Jordan Classic, and McDonald's game.Bobby Frasor
Bobby impressed me today with his ability to play point guard. At Roundball, I thought of Frasor as more of just a shooter, but he impressed me today with his ability to distribute the ball and penetrate. While he doesn't have blazing speed, he does do a good job of penetrating into the middle. While he is not an NBA prospect at all right now, I thought his solid play today was worth mentioning.Micah Downs
Micah has expressed some interest in entering the NBA draft, so I felt that I needed to observe him a bit. He has a solid handle and nice shot, but he is extremely weak. At 6'8 and 180 lbs., Downs will be an immediate defensive liability against any SF who can post. Micah really needs to go to Kansas for at least two years in my opinion before he considers entering the NBA.Calvin (C.J.) Miles
C.J. was forced to play point guard today for a while, and it was clear that he was not comfortable, nor skilled enough to handle those duties. The lefty wing who will be attending Texas showed a nice shot, adequate handle for a WG, and good athleticism. It must be noted that there have been rumors that C.J. is considering entering the NBA draft. In my opinion, C.J. has no business considering entering the draft as he has too many holes in his game. Hopefully he has the right people advising him on his future decisions.
Today's practice sessions were very tough to cover with only one person due to the fact that there were essentially two different practices going on at the same time. I basically had to run back and forth between the practices, jotting down notes at each one I was watching, and later getting the opinions of the people who are actually paid to do this.
This should serve as an introduction to the game and players tomorrow, not as a final conclusion on their pro prospects. However, I still feel that we are bringing you draft fans the most detailed coverage of the McDonald's practices of anyone on the internet. Tune in tomorrow to ESPN at 7pm for the dunk contest and then the game at 8pm and make your mind up yourself.