National Prep Showcase--Day Three

National Prep Showcase--Day Three
Nov 20, 2006, 02:41 am
Coverage of the third day of the National Prep Tip-Off in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Coverage includes recaps of Troy Gillenwater, Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Mamadou Diarra, Kene Obi, Jin Soo Kim and others.

Troy Gillenwater
6'7, Junior, PF, Stoneridge Prep


Rodger Bohn

Gillenwater continued his fantastic play Sunday night, finishing with 25 points on 9-14 shooting. Like fellow 2008 stud Delvon Roe, Gillenwater is an undersized but extremely productive power forward who just seems to get it done every time he steps out on the court. The Boston native stepped out to the perimeter a few times tonight, hitting outside jumpers on a regular basis, even knocking one down from three point territory. He was an absolute monster on the glass all weekend long, even though his numbers may not necessarily reflect it. We must keep in mind that Troy was playing with three seven footers on his team, yet he still managed to lead his Stoneridge squad in rebounds over the three day event.

Of course Gillenwater doesn't have immediate “one and done” potential like some of the other top prep players have due to his lack of size and freakish athleticism, but that is one thing that colleges absolutely eat up. They know that they're getting a guy who will most likely be there for four years, and is going to be incredibly productive throughout the duration of his college career. Honestly though, it is scary how well he has already adjusted to being an undersized power forward constantly facing athletic 6'10 big men on the prep level, so his transition in college should not be that difficult. I guess his ability to consistently gain experience of playing against top level players is one (of the few) benefits that prep school basketball has to offer players today, and will help him greatly once he lands in the NCAA.

Matthew Bryan-Amaning
6-9, Power Forward, Senior, South Kent (Committed to Washington)


Jonathan Givony

Today we got a more impressive performance statically from Bryan-Amaning, but in terms of actual performance, his second go-around at the National Prep Showcase had us wondering a bit about where his skill level is actually at. He ran the floor extremely well and rebounded with purpose when his head was actually in the game—to the tune of 23 points and 7 rebounds—but the style of play here and the way he got his points had you thinking that he still has quite a bit of work ahead of him to translate his upside into production at the Division I level.

Bryan-Amaning used his athleticism on countless opportunities to get in front of the defense in transition and throw down some impressive finishes, but when asked to produce when the half-court, his weaknesses were really exposed. His ball-handling skills for one still need plenty of work, and his outside shot is both ugly and inconsistent. His body, length and athleticism leads you to believe that he's got a huge upside to develop, but his feel for the game—or rather lack thereof—makes him more of a down the road prospect than an elite one at this point, from what we saw at least. South Kent cruised to an easy win over a extremely weak opponent and Bryan-Amaning seemed to be enjoying himself out there.

Mamadou Diarra
7-0, Center, Post-Graduate, Stoneridge Prep (Undecided)


Jonathan Givony

Diarra showed off the two sides of his game tonight perfectly in Stoneridge's surprising overtime loss to Maine Central Institute, coming up completely flat in the first half with just 2 points and zero rebounds, but coming alive in the second half and overtime and finishing with 18 points, 9 rebounds and 7 blocks.

On one hand Diarra will struggle to catch easy passes in the post and finish over players 5-6 inches shorter than him due to his non-existent post moves. But just when you're ready to write him off, he'll come up with a huge block on one end and then run the floor and spot up for an NBA range 3-pointer, swishing it effortlessly as if it were nothing for him. The fact that he hit two of these 3-pointers and looked absolutely terrific doing so in terms of his mechanics and confidence leads you to believe that it isn't just a flash in the pan.

Diarra's biggest problem is the fact that he has terrible hands for a 7-footer. He bobbled at least a dozen post entry passes and rebounds tonight, and generally got outhustled and scored on by players who had no business doing so. He's extremely raw and lacks a great sense for where he is on the floor at any given moment, but it's nearly impossible to ignore the fantastic tools he brings to the floor. Diarra is a legit 7 footer with an NBA body, something that will certainly make him a hot commodity on the recruiting scene as long as he remains uncommitted. USC, Arizona, Tennessee, Baylor, Fresno State and UConn are all vying for his signing.

Angelo Johnson
5'11, Junior, PG, Stoneridge Prep


Rodger Bohn

Johnson was not quite as impressive Sunday night as he was in the two previous days, as his mega-talented Stoneridge Prep team was upset by MCI in the finale of the National Prep Tip-Off. He showed very little in terms of leadership skills, and ability to run a team. Granted, the Minnesota native was coming off of a leg injury sustained Friday night, but Stoneridge was desperate for someone to step up and take control of things late in the game, and Angelo was nowhere to be found.

On the bright side, the junior continued to show that he has the ability to break down just about anybody off of the dribble, and finish in the lane despite his small stature. He used his body incredibly well in the paint, allowing him to finish over much taller and more athletic defenders all weekend long.

The biggest question that college coaches will ask themselves is “Can this guy run my team?” To be honest with you, I cannot tell you how well Johnson will be able to run a team at the high major collegiate level, considering that he can't even run a team at the prep school level. It is clear however that he can score on just about anyone in the country, from absolutely anywhere on the court. It must be noted that Johnson was an original member of the class of 2006 at Minneapolis Henry HS, and has since reclassified two years below to the class of 2008, making him yet another casualty in the prep school reclassification game.

Kene Obi
7-1, Center, Senior, South Kent (Uncommitted)

Jonathan Givony


Kene Obi is a name who has drawn some hype already over the past few years, despite the fact that he's basically making his first strides just now in the game of basketball. Chad Ford of ESPN Insider raved about his upside three years ago already at the Africa 100 camp already, but Obi has struggled to find a home for himself until he landed at South Kent just recently. He only played about 8 minutes in two games this weekend, and once he stepped on the floor, it was immediately evident why…

Obi is about as raw a big man as you'll find. Whether its getting rejected by the rim on a dunk attempt, not recognizing the 3 seconds in the paint rule or tripping all over himself in the layup line or while going after a rebound, everything looks completely new to him. He's got phenomenal size and an incredible wingspan, but his body is extremely unproportioned, with a fantastic upper body compared with two of the skinniest legs you'll find around. Until he finds his coordination and gains quite a bit of experience in actual game-time situations, Obi will remain a project of the highest order.

Jin Soo Kim
6'9, Sophomore, SF, South Kent


Rodger Bohn

Jin Soo was certainly one of the players we were looking forward to see most here in Worcester, but unfortunately he only played sparingly in South Kent's two wins over the weekend. He played only in brief spurts, never really seeming to get in rhythm out there on the court. The Korea native did not have the confidence that he displayed last year as a freshman in California, which might have to do with the fact that he's playing on a team stacked with no less then 12 division one college players, and he is the youngest on the team.

In his limited playing time, Kim showed that he truly is a small forward at a legit 6-foot-9. He showed flashes of potential, especially when he knocked down two three pointers (one from a stand still, one off the dribble) in the last two minutes of South Kent's win over Massanutten Military Academy. He has a sweet stroke from beyond the arc, but showed little else in his sparse playing time this weekend. The sophomore wing seemed to struggle on the wing against smaller, quicker players making one wonder how he is going to be able to defend at the collegiate level. He was also incredibly passive, literally forcing South Kent coach Ralph Chillious to yell at him to shoot the ball, in which he missed badly.

It was clear to all in attendance that Kim was a very talented player, but just didn't seem to have the confidence and/or fit in the with prep school style of play. It seemed like he would fit in much better at a school where he would be able to be the focal point of the offense (like he was in California last year), which would allow him to gain confidence in his game so fans could truly see how talented the young Korean actually is. Either way, we were still looking at a 6'9 small forward, with high major potential written all over him.

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