National Prep Showcase, Day Two

National Prep Showcase, Day Two
Nov 18, 2007, 01:13 pm
A recap of the most intriguing college prospects seen at day two of the national prep showcase in Lowell, Massachusetts, including players such as Tyreke Evans, Devin Ebanks, DeAndre Liggins, Clarence Trent, and others.

Devin Ebanks, 6’9, Small Forward, Senior, St. Thomas More, Committed to Indiana

25 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 turnover, 1 steal, 1 block, 9-15 FG, 1-4 3PT, 6-10 FT

Rodger Bohn

Ebanks continued to affirm his status as one of the elite players in attendance with his team’s win over Lee Academy, throwing together an outstanding all-around performance. He was downright dominant in stretches Saturday afternoon, using the talents that make him a consensus top 20 player in the recruiting rankings.

The 6’9 lanky wing provided about as much as you can ask. He shoots the ball well with range, can put the ball on the floor against slower opponents, and will now even take defenders down to the post. It proves to be an absolute nightmare when the New York native gets the ball with a head of steam, given his size and remarkable body control when attacking the rim. He maneuvers his way to the basket the way some guards are able to, not the way that one would generally expect out of a player the size of collegiate power forwards. For the second day in a row, Devin surprised many with his ability to consistently find the open man and make everyone around him better. This serves as a testament to his basketball IQ, evidenced by the fact that he did not take a single bad shot almost all weekend long. On the defensive end, Ebanks was just as good. He showed the ability to stay in front of much smaller wings with his lateral quickness, but was able to make his shot blocking presence felt around the rim at the same time.

Given Ebanks’ stat line, it is hard to believe that he could have done more out on the floor, but he actually could have. He consistently disappears for stretches throughout games, leaving many to forget that he is even on the floor due to him not being around the ball. Also, he could have utilized his height a little better on the offensive end. To Devin’s defense, his guards were not exactly the highest caliber recruits, and were more concerned with putting points on the board than they were getting their star player the ball.

The Indiana recruit finished his time in Boston as arguably the top performer here thus far, putting up monstrous numbers and leading his team to two victories. Fans should expect Ebanks to be an impact player from the day he steps foot on campus not only due to his refined skill set, but also due to the graduation of D.J. White and the likely early departure of Eric Gordon to the NBA.

Kim English, 6’6, Shooting guard, Senior, Notre Dame Prep, Committed to Missouri
30 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 turnover, 2 steals, 12-25 FG, 4-9 3PT, 2-4 FT

Rodger Bohn

The Notre Dame Prep scoring machine continued his dominance Saturday, almost single handedly keeping his team within reach of a loaded Hargrave Military Academy squad. He showed the ability to score in a variety of ways, be it via his beautiful jumpshot, or his fearless forays to the rim. Kimmie as he’s called here shot the ball well from beyond the three point arc, showing off a jumper with a high release point that he can make both off of the dribble and from a standstill. He exhibited very nice athleticism when taking the ball to the rim, owning a nice first step and explosive leaping ability. English played nice defense as well, locking down whatever offensive player he was forced to guard, when he decided to exert effort on that end of the floor.

Although English was excellent this weekend, there certainly are some holes in his game. His ball handling skills are fairly limited, with him just putting his head down to the ground and going full speed with reckless abandon when going to the rim. Creating his own shot is certainly the biggest weakness that he possesses at the moment, and he could also improve upon his ability to find open teammates.

Missouri seems to have gotten a steal in Kim English, a player who proved this weekend that he is able to compete with most of his more heralded counterparts. He will have the opportunity to come in and make his presence felt right away as a freshman, given his ability to put points on the board and the fact that the Tigers are currently in a rebuilding process.

Dee Bost, 6-1, Point Guard, Post-Grad, Hargrave Military Academy, Committed to Mississippi State
28 Points, 5 Rebounds, 0 Assists, 2 Turnovers, 0 Steals, 8-15 FG, 4-9 3P, 8-10 FT

Jonathan Givony

A scoring combo guard committed to Mississippi State, Dee Bost showed off his credentials here as a big-time scoring threat. Very athletic, and skilled as both a perimeter shooter and slasher, Bost should develop into a very nice change of pace guard in the SEC over the next few years. He’s a good ball-handler with either hand, has an excellent first step, and does a really good job finishing around the basket, sometimes with a dunk if he’s open enough.

He’s much more comfortable playing on the ball rather than off it, and his production noticeably dropped when he was played at the 2-guard spot next to shoot-first combo guard and Marshall commit Daier Pitts (who put up great numbers this weekend but did not play winning basketball). Once he was allowed to run the show with the ball in his hands, he flourished once again, creating shots first and foremost for himself and in the process also for others. He likes to dance around while pounding the ball, trying to get too flashy and in the process being somewhat turnover prone. Bost is a streak shooter who can really heat up from time to time, although his mechanics are still not consistent at this point in time. He’ll need to develop his playmaking skills at the next level if he’s going to achieve his full potential in the SEC, but he has the makings of a nice college player.

Terrence Jennings, 6’10, Center, Senior, Notre Dame Prep, Committed to Louisville
3 Points, 5 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 0 Turnovers, 1 Block,1-4 FG, 1-1 FT in 11 minutes

Jonathan Givony

This was a sub-par outing for Jennings after a fairly impressive showing yesterday, struggling through foul trouble for most of the game and never really getting into a rhythm when he was on the floor against the highly touted post duo of Rosco Davis and Chris Braswell. He again showed poor awareness on the defensive end, particularly on the perimeter, but also in the post, where he has a tendency to bite on pump-fakes and generally looks very lost in everything besides his shot-blocking ability. As a rebounder, Jennings relies too much on his natural gifts (size, length, freakish athleticism) and does not box out all that well, leading to quite a few offensive rebounds for the opposition. Offensively, he wasn’t involved at all today.

Jennings is obviously a huge talent, and this game didn’t do anything to discourage that notion, but he does have his work cut out for him over the next few years if he’s to get anywhere close to achieving his full potential. He needs a lot of coaching on his fundamentals especially, but there’s a lot to work with here.

Chris Braswell, 6’8, Power Forward, Senior, Hargrave Military Academy, Committed to Georgetown
24 Points,13 Rebounds, 1 assists, 1 turnovers, 1 Block, 2 steals, 8-17 FG, 8-13 FT

Jonathan Givony

Although this probably wasn’t the best game he ever played today, Chris Braswell again did a nice job showing off fairly versatile skill set for a post player. Braswell got most of his points in the paint, where he showed his ability to go out and create his own offense thanks to his combination of quickness and solid footwork. He doesn’t have a problem making a living in the post, and did a great job getting his hands on a ton of balls around his area to nab his team quite a few extra possessions. He has outstanding hands and very nice touch around the hoop, and at one point even stepped out and drained a 17-foot jump-shot, further adding intrigue to his already impressive profile. Braswell played a lot harder almost the entire way through today, running the floor better, communicating with his teammates, calling out screens, and trying to take some charges even. You still get the impression from observing his body language that he’s a bit on the lazy side and probably not the smartest player in the world, but the coaching staff at Georgetown should be able to get quite a bit out of him at the collegiate level if he’s willing to be coached.

Roscoe Davis, 6’11, Center, Senior, Hargrave Military Academy, Committed to West Virginia
8 Points,2 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 turnover, 3 blocks, 4-9 FG,0-1 3PT,0-0 FT

Rodger Bohn

After a somewhat disappointing performance in day one, Davis responded nicely in Hargrave’s second game at the National Prep Showcase. It was not coincidental that he was much more productive today due to the fact that he exerted more effort and was much more active on both ends of the floor. The West Virginia commit showed flashes of a developing game in the low post, converting on a few athletic moves when he touched the ball in the pivot. He did a nice job of making his presence felt on the defensive end as well, altering everything that came into the key. Displaying nice timing and above average leaping ability, Roscoe showed flashes of having the potential of becoming a solid post defender at the collegiate level.

Despite all of the positive things that we saw today out of Davis, he is far from a finished product and has quite a ways to go before he is anywhere near reaching his maximum potential. He is your typical Bob Huggins big man; High risk, high reward. Any way you look at it though, there are few players here in Lowell that have the combination of size and potential that the DC native possesses.

DeAndre Liggins, 6’6, Point Guard/Shooting Guard/Small Forward, Senior, Findlay Prep, Committed to Kentucky
10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 turnover, 3 steals, 3-8 FG, 0-2 3PT, 4-4 FT

Rodger Bohn

Liggins came into the event as one of the more highly touted prospects, and he failed to disappoint in Findlay Prep’s game versus South Kent. Despite what some might view as a relatively marginal statistical output, the impact that he had on the game digs much deeper than the box score can tell you.

The Chicago native made his presence felt immediately with his ability to control the tempo of the game and distribute the ball. He did an outstanding job of initiating the offense and making everyone happy, without forcing the issue for himself. Throughout the game, Liggins handled the playmaking duties for him team, and looked quite comfortable doing so. He consistently made the right reads on who to hit coming off of screens, knew when certain players needed touches, and properly identified when and when not to look to create for himself. The basketball IQ that he displays is uncommon for a player his age, much less many of the selfish converted shooting guards that we see playing point guard on the prep school scene.

While not exactly an offensive juggernaut, DeAndre did make the most of the few times that he did look to score for himself. He displayed great body control and poise when attacking the basket, creating shots very nicely off the dribble. Possessing quickness adequate enough to get to the rim, Liggins consistently was able to get to the rim when he chose to. The only major downside to his offensive performance on the day was his inability to hit an outside jumper, as both of the three pointers he attempted were blocked by much smaller defenders. This seems to be a part of his game that he really needs to work on.

Liggins made the most of his long frame on both ends of the floor, rebounding the ball well while also playing lockdown defense. He had no problem moving laterally when guarding quicker players, using his nice wingspan to create deflections. Billy Gillespie and Co. will be awfully happy with the versatility that Liggins will bring to the floor , enabling the UK staff to place him on virtually any opposing perimeter player.

The biggest question mark about Liggins game is certainly his ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter. The form on his jumper is reminiscent to that of Jazz shooting guard Ronnie Brewer, in that his elbow is out to the side, providing mixed results. Besides this, the other glaring weakness we observed was his average leaping ability. Not a terrible leaper, Liggins is certainly not a player whom you will see shooting down the lane and dunking on opposing big men. This is not anywhere near as much of a pressing issue as the mechanics in his jumpshot, however.

Throughout the first two days here in Boston, DeAndre is certainly in the upper echelon of prospects that we observed. His versatility, basketball IQ, and toughness are enough to make him one of the few players in the country that can legitimately play three positions on the floor at any given time. Kentucky will have a perfect fit for their system, receiving a guard who can handle the ball, makes smart decisions, and can guard a multitude of positions.

Clarence Trent, 6’8, Power Forward, Junior, Findlay Prep, Uncommitted
22 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 turnovers, 2 steals, 9-16 FG, 0-1 3PT, 4-7 FT

Rodger Bohn

Trent solidified himself as the most productive athletes that the tournament had to offer, maximizing his explosiveness to its fullest capabilities. Only a junior, he was a downright animal inside versus a South Kent team that had a slew of high major big men. He won the crowd over with his energetic and wild style of play, clearly becoming a fan favorite of many of the college coaches in attendance.

At 6’7ish and 230 pounds, Trent has the body of a prototypical power forward for the collegiate game. His upper body has room for further growth and he has a lower body strong enough to let him establish whenever he wants in the low post. Athletically, there are few players in the country that are on his level. Owning remarkably quick and explosive leaping ability, Trent is able to explode off for the ground to go up for tip-ins or to corral rebounds at the blink of an eye. It was not an uncommon occurrence to see him miss one of his own shots, only to follow it up with a tip-in or tip dunk. He easily had to have had at least five dunks on the day, with all coming in a very explosive fashion. The energy and non-stop motor brought to the floor by Clarence was simply unmatched by any player here in Boston.

Despite the great statline and inspired play that Trent had, he showed very little in terms of refined basketball skills out on the floor. He looked uncomfortable at times when he received the ball in the pivot, going to a raw looking right handed jump hook every time he received the ball on the blocks. In terms of offensive skills facing the basket, none were shown on Saturday, as Trent completely played 15 feet and in.

Being a 2009 prospect, Trent has plenty of time to develop his skill set before he steps foot on a college campus. The coaching staff at Findlay Prep appears to do an outstanding job in terms of motivating their players, so there is definitely a chance that we see a more polished Trent by the time the AAU season rolls around. Even without even average skills in the post, Clarence has established himself as one of the truly elite power forwards in the class of 2009. While he may not have as much NBA potential as a Terrence Jennings or Roscoe Davis due to his tweener size, Trent has definitely shown the potential to be every bit as productive of a college player by the time the fall of 09 hits.

Deividas Dulkys, 6’4, Shooting Guard, Senior, Findlay Prep, Committed to Florida State
13 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 steals,5-12 FG, 3-10 3PT, 0-0 FT

Jonathan Givony

A valuable cog on this extremely talented and unselfish Findlay Prep squad, Lithuanian sharpshooting guard and Florida State commit Deividas Dulkys left a very favorable impression from his first outing in the National Prep Showcase. A prototypical Lithuanian wing player, Dulkys has a good body, solid athleticism , excellent toughness, and an average feel for the game. He really gets after it on the defensive end in particular, getting extremely low in his defensive stance and taking a great deal of pride in shutting down his man.

Offensively, Dulkys just cannot be left alone on the perimeter, as he possesses a picture perfect stroke from behind the arc,, complete with the ability to create instantaneous separation from his defender either off the dribble or coming off a screen. Dulkys is an extremely fundamentally sound player as we saw on one possession in particular, catching a ball that was tossed way above his head, but still managing to set his feet while coming down with the ball and go straight back up to swish the 3-pointer with a textbook release. Dulkys also put the ball on the floor occasionally, with limited success, showing a solid first-step, but ball-handling skills that do not enable him to do much more than take advantage of an off-balanced defense with one or two quick dribbles. He seems to realize this, though, and instead did a really nice job moving the ball around and finding the open man, racking up a few assists in the process.

Adding the ability to create his own shot—like his countryman [former Seton Hall Pirate] Rimantas Kaukenas (who he somewhat resembles) would make him an extremely dangerous offensive player. In the meantime, Florida State is getting a really nice addition to their team in 2008, the kind that they actually really lacked this past season.

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