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adidas Nations: Top 2012 High School Prospects
by: Jonathan Givony - President
September 7, 2011
Scouting reports on some of the top 2012 high school prospects at the adidas Nations in Los Angeles, including Kris Dunn, Cameron Ridley, Gabe York, Shaq Goodwin, Sam Dekker, Amile Jefferson and Winston Shepard.

Kris Dunn, 6-3, Point Guard, New London, 2012
Committed to Providence




Jonathan Givony

One of the more physically gifted players in the 2012 class, Kris Dunn (#26 Scout, #10 Rivals, #29 ESPN) is a long and extremely athletic point guard with a good frame and great size for his position.

He excels in transition and beating opponents off the dribble at this level, showing a quick first step and nice ball-handling skills, and looking fairly unselfish finding the open man in drive and dish situations. Dunn's perimeter shooting skills and decision making ability are still catching up with his physical tools, as he can be a bit wild or turnover prone at times and doesn't have very much range on his jumper at the moment. Defensively, he has terrific upside with his size, length and quickness, something that will surely be harnessed by the coaching staff at Providence once he arrives on campus.

Players in Dunn's mold—think Iman Shumpert—are highly coveted by NBA teams, and he'll likely be tracked closely by scouts early in his college career.

Cameron Ridley, 6-10, Center, Bush High School, 2012
Committed to Texas


Jonathan Givony

An old school, no-frills type big man that any college coach would love adding to their frontcourt rotation, it's not difficult to see on first glance what the recruiting services like about Cameron Ridley (#6 Scout, #21 Rivals, #8 ESPN). Standing a legit 6-10, with extremely long arms, big hands and an NBA caliber frame, Ridley is a true load inside the paint, and doesn't have any misconceptions about the type of player he is.

Not terribly quick or explosive, Ridley is comfortable making a living inside the paint, where his big frame, soft hands, nice touch, strong fundamentals and solid toughness allow him to make a significant impact at this level.

Ridley isn't the most skilled or technical player at this stage, but he's capable of scoring in a couple of different ways, be it with some basic post moves, a 15-foot mid-range shot, or a turnaround jumper he gets off with a very high release point. He grabs offensive rebounds with terrific timing, positioning and soft hands, not being afraid to put a body on an opponent and move him around with superior strength. Despite his lack of overwhelming athleticism, Ridley is able to get the job done inside the paint due to his basic skill-set, energy level and sheer length, which makes him a pretty rare commodity at the collegiate level.

Defensively, Ridley uses his body well inside the paint and shows nice timing as a shot-blocker, something that may not necessarily translate to higher level competition due to his below the rim style of play. When forced to step outside the paint, he struggles badly, as his lack of lateral quickness makes it very difficult for him to move his feet adequately, which makes it hard to see him playing any other position except center in the long-term.

In the short-term, it's easy to see why Ridley is such a sought after collegiate prospect. However, he's going to have to prove that his average athleticism will not hinder him from making an impact at the NBA level, something we'll reassess after he suits up at Texas.

Gabe York, 6-1, PG/SG, Orange Lutheran, 2012
Committed to Arizona




Jonathan Givony

A player who made a very strong impression from what we saw at the adidas Nations, Gabe York (#42 Scout, #31 Rivals, #36 ESPN) is the type of Stephen Curry-esqe combo guard that has become very popular in professional basketball as of late.

A bit undersized at around 6-1, and without great length, York doesn't look like much on first glance, but is a surprisingly good athlete. Quick, explosive and extremely fluid, York can score from anywhere on the floor and has a very natural feel for operating on the court.

First and foremost a tremendous shooter, York elevates high off the ground on his jumper and shows an incredibly quick release, which nullifies his lack of size to a certain degree. Able to come off screens, make shots with his feet set or put the ball on the deck and pull up in the mid-range area, York is always on balance with his jumper and displays tremendous body control for a player his age.

Also capable of creating for himself or others off the bounce, York finishes craftily with both hands around the rim, sometimes with a floater, but in many cases will just go up and hammer home a dunk jumping off one leg. While clearly a scorer, York displays good enough court vision to lead you to believe that he'll be able to play the point down the road, as he's an excellent ball-handler and not a selfish player in the least bit--making smart, simple passes with regularity.

Defensively is where York will need to improve the most to earn immediate playing time from Sean Miller at Arizona, particularly if asked to play off the ball and guard players who are much bigger than him. His lack of size and length is a hindrance, but he also lacks some aggressiveness in this area, struggling to fight through screens and not always putting the best effort in like many players his age.

Shaq Goodwin, 6-8, PF/C, Southwest Dekalb, 2012
Uncommitted


Jonathan Givony

A long, strong, athletic big man with good hands and a developing skill-set, it's easy to see what both the football and basketball recruiting services like about Shaq Goodwin (#24 Scout, #26 Rivals, #19 ESPN). Although possibly a bit undersized at 6-8, he has the frame, wingspan and motor coaches love to have in their frontcourt rotation, and he has no qualms at all about what he is at this stage.

Goodwin gets most of his production running the floor (ferociously) in transition, crashing the offensive glass and finishing whatever his teammates are able to create for him around the rim with powerful dunks. His post game shows potential but is still a work in progress, and he doesn't attempt to do much of anything outside the paint.

Defensively, Goodwin gets by mostly with his physical tools at this point, and is able to be quite a presence on the glass when he's fully dialed in. His lack of experience and average feel for the game will reveal itself from time to time, but considering his age, that's not a surprise.

Scouts will likely be watching closely how the rest of Goodwin's game comes along in the next few years, as his physical tools are a commodity you don't find every day. Right now he's talking about playing both football (he's also a highly touted wide receiver prospect) and basketball in college, but it's difficult to see how that would be possible considering the demands of both sports.

Sam Dekker, 6-7, Small Forward, Sheboygan Lutheran, 2012
Committed to Wisconsin


Jonathan Givony

A smart and versatile combo forward with good size, length and mobility, Sam Dekker (#35 Scout, #18 Rivals, #26 ESPN) is the type of player any college coach would love to have in their rotation. Capable of scoring elegantly in transition or with catch and shoot jumpers in the half-court, Dekker is a mature player with good timing and a nice feel for the game. He moves off the ball well, is a solid passer and puts a good effort in defensively, even if his lateral quickness might hamper him against certain matchups he faces at the three spot. Dekker is a bit stuck in between positions and might see some time as a face-up 4 early on in Bo Ryan's offense, which won't be an issue considering his toughness and activity level. His skill-level is good for his age but will he'll need to continue to refine his ball-skills as the competition stiffens, as well as work on his body.

Amile Jefferson, 6-7, SF/PF, Friends Central, 2012
Uncommitted


Jonathan Givony

A very highly regarded prospect according to the recruiting services, Amile Jefferson's (#20 Scout, #36 Rivals, #24 ESPN) reputation stems mostly from his excellent potential at this point, rather than his current production.

A long, rangy forward somewhat stuck between positions at this point, Jefferson is a very good athlete who works hard on the court and is able to make his presence felt thanks to his excellent physical tools.

Not an overly skilled player, Jefferson finds ways to score in transition and on the offensive glass, where his length and explosiveness shine through. In the half-court, he's limited mostly to straight line drives with his right hand, struggling to change directions with the ball or use his off hand. His jump shot has a long ways to go in particular, both with his feet set and off the dribble, as he does not elevate very smoothly off the ground for pull-ups.

Defensively, Jefferson puts a very good effort in and is capable of making his presence felt on the glass, in the passing lanes and as a shot-blocker thanks to good timing and the energy-level he displays. He has the versatility to guard multiple positions, which will help him as he inevitably make the transition to playing on the perimeter more—something he'll almost certainly have to do considering his size and lanky frame.

Those around him say very good things about his work ethic and character, which is obviously a major plus at his age.

Winston Shepard, 6-8, SF/PF, Findlay Prep, 2012
Uncommitted


Jonathan Givony

Combo forward Winston Shepard (#43 Scout, #40 Rivals, #68 ESPN) was somewhat up and down throughout the course of the adidas Nations, but there was no mistaking his merits as a prospect.

A small forward with excellent size, length and athleticism, Shepard was arguably the most versatile defender seen in LA, being the one responsible for locking down the opposing team's most dangerous scoring threat every time he stepped on the floor. He did a terrific job hounding opponents around screens and denying the ball, showing excellent lateral quickness and intensity, to go along with the size and wingspan to lock down positions 1-4 depending on what was asked of him.

Offensively, Shepard is still a work in progress, as he was most effective in transition, where his explosiveness really shines through. His shot-creating ability shows potential, mostly thanks to his long strides and terrific first step –his ball-handling skills are still mostly a work in progress. Shepard has the ability to knock down the occasional spot-up three, but his perimeter shooting looks to be pretty inconsistent from what we saw.

Shepard's effort level and focus wavered at times, as did his body language, which wasn't always the best around his teammates. When he was fully dialed in and playing up to his strengths, Shepard looked every bit the part of an NBA prospect, but that wasn't always the case. Thankfully he still has plenty of time to figure things out.

Feedback for this article may be sent to jonathan@draftexpress.com
 
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Boost Mobile Elite 24: Scouting Reports (Part One)
by: Matt Kamalsky - Director of Operations
September 6, 2011
This year's Boost Mobile Elite 24 brought together a strong mix of talent from the 2012 and 2013 high school classes. While we've covered a number of the players who made the trip to Venice Beach in detail in the spring, there were a handful of prospects that we hadn't evaluated who stood out over the course of the week.

Rasheed Sulaimon, 6'3, Shooting Guard, Class of 2012
Committed to Duke


Matt Kamalsky



One of the more impressive guards we saw at the Boost Mobile Elite 24 was Duke commit Rasheed Sulaimon (#10 Scout, #12 ESPN, #32 Rivals), a hard working late-bloomer who continues to get better.

Listed at 6'3 (but likely closer to 6-4 or 6-5) with long arms that allow him to play bigger than his height, Sulaimon is an extremely smooth athlete. He needs to continue adding weight to his frame, but can play above the rim in transition, has a terrific first step, and displays good lateral quickness on the defensive end.

Few guards at the high school level display his combination of scoring versatility and agressiveness. Able to make plays in the mid-range area or draw contact at the basket with a full head of steam, Sulaimon can score with a floater in the paint, a silky smooth pull-up jumper, and an increasingly consistent catch-and-shoot jump shot that he knocks down with range. He draws fouls at a high rate and is absolutely tenacious in transition, often finishing plays above the rim and through contact. He needs to continue improving the consistency of his jumper and polish up his advanced ball-handling skills, but Sulaimon has improved his scoring arsenal considerably in recent years, and doesn't take no for an answer in his quest for getting buckets.

On top of his ability to score the ball, Sulaimon is a heady passer. He's a competitive, but unselfish player who isn't afraid to give the ball up intelligently when his teammate has a better look. He does drive into trouble from time to time, but was one of the more mature players we watched over the course of the week in Los Angeles, something that bodes well for his transition to the college level.

On the defensive end, Sulaimon's length, toughness and competitiveness make him a capable stopper. He has the potential to defend both guard positions at the next level, and with increased strength, could be a real asset on that end of the floor.

Sulaimon has always been known for his demeanor on the floor and his intelligence off it. At the Boost Mobile Elite 24, it appeared to us that his skill set has really begun to catch up with his physical tools and intangibles. If his body continues to fill out, he's going to a prospect to keep tabs on already as a freshman at Duke.

Rodney Purvis, 6'4, Guard, Class of 2012
Undecided




Matt Kamalsky

Rodney Purvis (#15 Scout, #16 ESPN, #6 Rivals) didn't have a dominant week at the Boost Mobile Elite 24 event, but the former Louisville commit had a telling performance against the NBA guards he scrimmaged against and confirmed much of what we learned watching him on the AAU circuit.

The 6'4 Purvis, much like Justin Anderson, is one of the most physically mature players at his position in high school basketball. He has a well-developed frame, looking more like a collegiate upperclassman than one just starting his senior year of high school. On top of his physical strength, Purvis is an impressive athlete, displaying terrific straight-line speed and leaping ability –two things he used over the course of the scrimmages and practices we watched to make a number of impressive plays at the rim.

At this point, it is Purvis's combination of size and athleticism, along with his aggressive mentality, that define his game. He's a very solid slasher who is difficult for high school guards to defend off the dribble with his combination of strength and quickness. He shows good ball-handling ability when he's breaking his man down one-on-one, and good body control when he gets to the rim, but forces some looks at the rim that he doesn't finish at times.

Capable of getting to the rim consistently, Purvis seems to go through stretches where he's too eager to settle for pull-up jump shots. He's a decent shooter at this point, but he needs to improve the consistency of his catch and shoot jumper, develop his decision-making, and learn to play at different speeds to become a more efficient offensive player.

Though Purvis is more of a ball-dominant scoring guard in the mold of Rodney Stuckey at the moment, he does show the ability to make plays for his teammates as well, particularly in drive and dish situations. It wouldn't be surprising to see Purvis spend significant time at the point guard position in the future, but he'll need to develop his court vision to maximize his talents as a passer.

On the defensive end, Purvis has the makings of a quality stopper. He handled the NBA guards he was asked to match up with during the late-night Boost Mobile Elite 24 scrimmage far better than many of his peers, showing how his physical maturity, lateral quickness, and aggressiveness can work to his advantage when he's dialed in.

One of the most highly regarded guards in this class, Purvis's decision to re-open his recruitment has him garnering attention from most of the top programs in the country. Though he has some things to work on, his physical attributes make him an intriguing long-term prospect.

Robert Carter, 6'8, Power Forward, Class of 2012
Undecided


Matt Kamalsky

One of the most skilled big men at the Boost Mobile Elite 24, Robert Carter (#18 Scout, #21 ESPN, #28 Rivals) is a wide bodied power forward who can score both inside and out.

Standing 6'8, Carter has good size for the four spot, but his frame still has room for improvement. He's carrying around some excess weight which limits his speed and leaping ability, but should have plenty of time to improve his physique in the coming years.

Carter may not be a terribly explosive athlete, but he's one of the more instinctive scorers in the 2012 class, in the mold of Trey Thompkins. He flashes the ability to step out of the perimeter and knock down mid-range jumpers, but appears equally as comfortable using his strong frame around the rim, where he displays smooth footwork and impressive body control. On a few notable occasions, Carter even flashed a knack for using ball-fakes to put the ball on the floor and create his own shot from the midrange, which is something you don't see every day from big men his age.

At the basket, Carter has terrific hands and uses a combination of touch, footwork, and strength to score. He was one of the more polished one-on-one interior players at the Boost Mobile Elite 24, but struggled at times when asked to finish in traffic around the more athletic big men he was matched up with.

Defensively, Carter displays terrific timing and, but his lack of great quickness and leaping ability limits the impact he makes against more athletic competition around the rim. Carter's strength helps him hold position on the block, but his current build won't help him step out and defend the perimeter.

While the Georgia native is not going to wow anyone with his athleticism at the next level, he has a unique skill set for a player his age. With improved conditioning, Carter should be an impact player in college who will surely draws looks from NBA scouts by the time his collegiate days are over.

Marcus Paige, 6'0, Point Guard, Class of 2012
Committed to North Carolina




Matt Kamalsky

One of the few committed players in attendance at the 2011 Boost Mobile Elite 24, Marcus Paige (#29 Scout, #28 ESPN, #41 Rivals) showed a smooth, well-rounded offensive game and a tremendous basketball IQ that didn't account for many highlights, but offered an impressive glimpse of things to come for the young point guard.

From a physical standpoint, Paige doesn't stand out among the other guards in this class at first glance. Showing an underdeveloped frame at this stage, the Iowa native had a difficult time dealing with the size and strength of the NBA players he matched up with during the late night scrimmage.

What Paige does have, is a degree of sneakiness to his athleticism that complements the rest of his game. The UNC commit may not rise up often to dunk on opponents on his forays through the paint, but he has a quick first step, sets up his drives well with fakes, knows when to push the ball in transition, and has the ability to change gears to create separation. He is very crafty with the ball in his hands on the offensive end, showing the ability to create for himself and others off the bounce. A traditional point guard who shows good vision and decision-making, Paige has the demeanor and skill set to become a fine distributor.

On top of his passing ability, Paige is also a competent scorer. He has a smooth left-handed jump shot that he can knock down with range off the catch and off of one or two dribbles from the midrange. A fundamentally sound offensive player, he doesn't force the issue very often, balancing his scoring and passing responsibilities and understanding that his lack of strength is a limiting factor when he tries to finish at the rim.

On the defensive end, Paige does a good job getting in the passing lanes and forcing turnovers. He isn't the biggest or longest player around, but shows consistent intensity and made himself surprisingly pesky matching up with his peers. He'll need to gain weight to consistently defend stronger guards at the next level, but there's no question that he has the basketball IQ and mentality needed to defend within a team concept.

One of the more polished guards we saw at the Boost Mobile Elite 24, Paige's physical profile will be an x-factor for his prospects long-term. He has the skill set, intangibles, and intelligence to flourish as the leader of UNC's fast break, but his ability to match-up physically with point guards at the NCAA level is something to keep an eye on.

Justin Anderson, 6'5, Small Forward, Class of 2012
Committed to Virginia


Matt Kamalsky

A player we've had an eye on since his freshman year at Montrose Christian, senior wing Justin Anderson (#60 Scout, #61 ESPN, #35 Rivals) made the most of the time he spent in Los Angeles, scoring 23 points en route to co-MVP honors and a win. A former Maryland commit who decommitted and then opted for Virginia last May, Anderson's current skill set is tailored perfectly to atmospheres like this one.

Often breaking down into a dunk contest as so many All-Star games typically do, the Boost Mobile Elite 24 offered little evidence to combat perceptions that Anderson is the most complete athlete in the 2012 class. Built like an NFL linebacker with an unusually strong upper-body for a player at this level, Anderson is an impressive athlete who has terrific speed and excellent leaping ability.

At this stage in his career, Anderson is able to make a considerable impact in transition and on the offensive glass thanks to those tools and a solid motor. Showing a solid first step and using his strength to his advantage, Anderson is a highlight waiting to happen every time he turns the corner. Right now, though, he's more adept at finishing the plays his teammates create for him. He gets a bit out of control at times when he's attacking the rim, but the positives of his assertiveness often outweigh the negatives in the high school game.

To tap his potential moving forward, Anderson will need to hone his perimeter shooting and ability to create his own shot. The addition of a reliable spot-up jumper to his arsenal would help him immensely as he prepares to make the jump to the ACC.

As we've noted on more than one occasion in the past, Anderson has incredible potential defensively. When he's dialed in, he has the quickness and strength to defend multiple positions and the ability to pull down rebounds at a high rate for a small forward. If he develops the right mentality, Anderson has the toughness to be an impact defender.

Heading into his final prep season, Anderson has seen his national ranking drop in recent years, as recruiting analysts have not seen the type of improvement skill-wise they may have hoped from him, but he may have the most college-ready body in high school hoops, which can't be taken for granted. Considering how he performed at the Boost Mobile Elite 24 game and scrimmages, the book on Anderson's long term potential looks far from being complete.

Feedback for this article may be sent to matt.kamalsky@draftexpress.com
 
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HoopHall Classic Scouting Reports (Part Five): 2012 Prospects & Beyond
by: Jonathan Givony - President, Joseph Treutlein - Director of Scouting/Analytics
January 30, 2011
We complete our complete our coverage of the prestigious HoopHall Classic by looking at the remaining prospects seen from the 2012, 2013 and 2014 classes, including Damien Wilson, Omar Calhoun, Evan Nolte, Nigel Williams-Goss and Kevin Zabo.

-HoopHall Classic Scouting Reports (Part Four): 2012 Elite Prospects Shabazz Muhammad, DaJuan Coleman, Kaleb Tarczewski, Kyle Anderson, Savon Goodman, Winston Shepard
-HoopHall Classic Scouting Reports: Elite Prospects (Part Three) Nick Johnson, Mikael Hopkins, Julian Royal, Amir Garrett, Myles Mack, Pat Connaughton
-HoopHall Classic Scouting Reports: Elite Prospects (Part Two) [Tony Wroten, Shannon Scott, Dai-Jon Parker, Michael Carter-Williams, Deuce Bello, Rakeem Christmas, LaQuinton Ross]

-HoopHall Classic Scouting Reports: Elite Prospects (Part One) [Michael Gilchrist, Anthony Davis, LeBryan Nash, Myck Kabongo, Wayne Blackshear, Ben McLemore]

Damien Wilson, 6-4, SG/SF, Oak Hill Academy, 2012
Uncommitted


Joseph Treutlein

A long swingman with outstanding physical tools, Damien Wilson is a dynamic athlete with a raw skill set and a lot of long-term upside. Possessing superb explosiveness and reactiveness, Wilson is capable of doing some intriguing things off the bounce despite still being at an early stage of development.

As far as his own offense goes, Wilson is very limited, not having a very reliable outside shot and lacking much in terms of advanced moves off the dribble. What he does have is incredible straight-line speed with the ball and the ability to effortlessly elevate around the rim, making him very dangerous in transition and on simple straight-line drives to the basket.

His first step is nothing short of outstanding and he's actually capable of going both left and right, capable of doing damage both in transition and in the half court. Things get dicey when he has to change direction, but if left unimpeded to the basket he finds himself at the rim in no time at all, showing no problems getting by anyone at this level.

Defensively, he does a good job using his length and speed crashing the passing lanes as a help defender, though his overall effort is just adequate, with him being nowhere near his potential on this side of the ball.

Looking forward, Wilson is still clearly very raw and will need to refine both his ball-handling and shooting to develop into an NBA prospect, but his physical tools are outstanding, making him an intriguing player to watch for the long term.

Omar Calhoun, 6-3, Shooting Guard, Christ the King, 2012
Uncommitted


Joseph Treutlein

A pure scorer with great offensive instincts, Omar Calhoun is a very talented player with an outstanding perimeter shot. Standing 6-3 with very good length and a solid frame, Calhoun already has a decent skill set as a high school junior, along with a good approach to the game.

On the offensive end, Calhoun's game heavily revolves around his jumper, which has effortless three-point range and outstanding mechanics. He can get his shot off in a variety of ways, capable of draining a smooth jumper coming around screens, pulling up, stepping back, and with a hand in his face. He gets a lot of his shots within the flow of the offense, not being one to over-dribble or create many shots off advanced moves, as his ball-handling is just adequate.

He doesn't show much in terms of attacking the basket in the halfcourt, relying strongly on his perimeter game, but he does show nice passing skills for an off-guard, dishing out a lot of simple assists in the flow of the offense and also doing a good job in pick-and-rolls.

Defensively, Calhoun is very attentive and plays solid, fundamental man-to-man defense, but he's somewhat non-descript on this end of the floor, going through the motions and doing his duties adequately, but not impacting the game nearly as much as he could if he exerted more energy helping off the ball with his physical tools.

Looking forward, Calhoun has a nice set of skills and solid physical tools, and he should be able to score effectively at any level of college ball. His long-term potential will likely depend on how hw diversifies his scoring game, or if he makes an unlikely transition to the point guard position.

Evan Nolte, 6-7, Small Forward, Milton, 2012
Uncommitted


Joseph Treutlein

A wing player with good size, great length, and solid athleticism, Evan Nolte is an extremely high basketball IQ player with deep three-point range. Playing a smart style of basketball with a very high effort level, Nolte does a lot of little things on both ends of the floor, making impact plays without having the ball in his hands.

On the offensive end, Nolte is an excellent floor spacer and passer, playing well in the flow of his team's offense. He shows great passing ability both in transition and the halfcourt, capable of making crosscourt passes and dishing out excellent outlets to start breaks.

As a scorer, Nolte shows good mechanics from three-point range and recruiting services are very high on his shooting ability. He missed his two attempts in the game we saw, but it's clear in watching him the ability is there. In terms of attacking the basket, Nolte looks somewhat limited to straight-line drives and cuts off the ball, with his advanced ball-handling still being underdeveloped.

On the defensive end, Nolte plays all over the floor, doing an excellent job using his length and positioning to cut off passing and driving lanes, getting his hands on lots of passes, and breaking up a ton of plays. While he is solid in man-to-man defense as well, he really shines most in team defense, showing great understanding and positioning overall.

Looking forward, Nolte is a smart and hard-working player with a great complementary skill set on the offensive end, which gives him all the makings of a very good college player. His long term potential will depend on how he develops his shot creating ability, but he still has plenty of time to do so.

Nigel Williams-Goss, 6-3, Shooting Guard, Findlay Prep, 2013
Committed to UNLV


Jonathan Givony

One of the youngest players at this event and one of the more unique stories you'll find in high school basketball, Nigel Williams-Goss is a high school sophomore who starts for arguably the most talented team in America.

Standing around 6-3, but possibly still growing considering his youth, Williams-Goss is an average athlete with a strong frame who probably still hasn't reached his full physical potential at this early stage of his development.

Sharing Findlay's backcourt with top point guard prospect Myck Kabongo, Williams-Goss acts as the full-time playmaker when Kabongo goes to the bench. He shows nice passing ability and an excellent basketball IQ, playing with confidence and maturity that we didn't see players 2-3 years older than him at this tournament, even being the one assigned to shoot his team's free throws after technical fouls.

Williams-Goss shows nice versatility, as he's capable of making shots, scoring inside, and even posting up his opponent when the situation calls for it. He's a committed defender who crashes the glass extremely well and puts great effort in both on and off the ball. The experience he's gaining playing at this level is invaluable, as he's matching up with some of the best high school players in America both in practice and in games before he even turns 16 years old.

On the downside, Williams-Goss appears to be just an average athlete at this stage, not looking overly quick or explosive, and showing a frame that is unlikely to develop much further. As other players begin to catch up to him physically, it will be important for him to continue to round out his game, which is why playing at this level is probably a very smart move long-term, rather than just dominating his age group with his sheer strength and smarts.

Its difficult to project the say with any certainty what type of upside Williams-Goss possesses at this stage, but it's a pretty safe bet to say we'll be evaluating his progress at some point in the future.

Kevin Zabo, 6-2, Point Guard, St. Mark's, 2014
Uncommitted


Joseph Treutlein

A freshman playing a key role on one of the best high school teams in the country, Kevin Zabo is obviously very advanced for his age both in terms of his body and his approach to the game. Having great length and a very good frame for someone so young, Zabo already has close to ideal physical attributes for the point guard position, a scary thought when you consider what he may look like in three years.

On the offensive end, Zabo starts at point guard for an extremely demanding coach, though he probably makes as few mistakes as any other player on the team. Playing a facilitating, game managing role as opposed to dominating the ball and breaking down the defense, Zabo brings the ball up the court and quickly gets his team into their offense, not wasting much time and spending a good chunk of his minutes moving off the ball.

As a passer, Zabo reads the defense well and shows solid court vision, making a lot of simple, smart reads but never doing anything extravagant.

As a scorer, Zabo is equally restrained, spending a lot of his time behind the arc where he is an excellent spot-up shooter, knocking down 5-for-8 from three in the game we saw, including one contested pull-up jumper. He appears to have the speed to take his man off the dribble but usually opts for quick drive-and-kicks rather than taking the ball all the way to the basket, preferring to defer to much of the other talent on his team.

Defensively, he shows good fundamentals, effort level, and awareness, doing a good job in both on and off ball defense and looking very mature for his young age.

Looking forward, it's obviously still very early in his development, but the way Zabo is able to effortlessly contribute against this level of competition given is age is remarkably impressive, even if it's in a very role-defined manner. Expanding his game to include more shot creation for himself and others down the road is obviously something he'll need to do, but he has more than enough time to do so.

Feedback for this article may be sent to jonathan@draftexpress.com joe@draftexpress.com
 
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HoopHall Classic Scouting Reports (Part Four): 2012 Elite Prospects
by: Jonathan Givony - President, Joseph Treutlein - Director of Scouting/Analytics
January 25, 2011
After evaluating a number of top 2011 prospects, we move on to review the top 2012 prospects seen at the prestigious HoopHall Classic in Springfield, Mass, including Shabazz Muhammad, DaJuan Coleman, Kaleb Tarczewski, Kyle Anderson, Savon Goodman and Winston Shepard.

-HoopHall Classic Scouting Reports: Elite Prospects (Part Three) Nick Johnson, Mikael Hopkins, Julian Royal, Amir Garrett, Myles Mack and Pat Connaughton.
-HoopHall Classic Scouting Reports: Elite Prospects (Part Two) [Tony Wroten, Shannon Scott, Dai-Jon Parker, Michael Carter-Williams, Deuce Bello, Rakeem Christmas, LaQuinton Ross]

-HoopHall Classic Scouting Reports: Elite Prospects (Part One) [Michael Gilchrist, Anthony Davis, LeBryan Nash, Myck Kabongo, Wayne Blackshear and Ben McLemore]

Shabazz Muhammad, 6-5, SG/SF, Bishop Gorman, 2012
Uncommitted


Joseph Treutlein

One of the best pure scorers in his class, Shabazz Muhammad (#3 Scout, #3 Rivals, #2 ESPN) has an outstanding knack for putting the ball in the basket, capable of doing so from anywhere on the floor. Standing 6-5 with good length and a thick frame, Muhammad is a much more athletic player than you'd expect from first glance, looking especially strong with his ability to elevate around the rim.

On the offensive end, Muhammad can score in a variety of ways, and has no problem putting up shots with a hand in his face, not being phased much by whatever defenders throw at him. He is equally capable of hitting a pull-up contested three as he is going to the basket for all sorts of runners, floaters, and reverse lay-ups, and also has a fairly advanced post game for a player his age.

Attacking off the dribble, Muhammad actually has a pretty simple but well controlled handle, getting by with his first step, long strides, and subtle moves more so than impressive advanced ball-handling. He does a great job moving without the ball to get open, receiving the ball in all areas of the court, even posting up at times.

Beyond his scoring, Muhammad doesn't consistently contribute much on the offensive end, not that surprising given how much of his team's offense he has to produce (he attempted 22 of their 56 field-goal attempts in this game). This can pose problems when his shot isn't falling, and shoring up his passing game should be a priority down the road.

Defensively, Muhammad actually puts in a high amount of effort, chasing his man well around the floor and being pretty active in man-to-man defense. He appears to have all the physical tools needed to defend the wing positions, especially with his length, and it's a good sign he already has a high effort level at this age even with his scoring prowess.

Looking forward, Muhammad's physical tools and outstanding scoring instincts make him a very intriguing prospect for the long-term. How he adjusts to a less burdensome role at the next level will be key, and finding more ways to contribute offensively should be among his priorities.

DaJuan Coleman, 6-9, Center, Jamesville-DeWitt
Uncommitted


Jonathan Givony

One of the most impressive post players seen at this event, DaJuan Coleman (#6 Scout, #8 Rivals, #3 ESPN) did a very nice job of showcasing himself in his natural setting playing for his high school team.

Currently standing somewhere around 6-9, with a very nice wingspan and a massive frame that he's yet to fully tone into optimal conditioning, Coleman is a player with rare physical attributes that are highly coveted at every level of basketball. Not incredibly explosive, Coleman is regardless a mobile player with nimble feet and the ability to get up and down the floor with purprose. Maximizing his athleticism will be a key factor in reaching his full potential as a prospect, though, and should be something he's already addressing at this stage of his development.

Offensively, Coleman is a clear-cut target in the paint for his teammates to pass the ball to, as he is able to establish deep post position and has very soft hands to catch pretty much anything that is thrown his way. He has some pretty nice footwork inside for a player his age, as he's a fairly skilled player with a nice feel for the game, being able to finish both with power above the rim, and with finesse. He has no problem operating through contact, drawing quite a few fouls in the process, but can also spin to his left shoulder and knock down a soft jump-hook or fade-away jumper.

Coleman can handle the ball a bit and shows range out to about 15 feet, although he shouldn't fall in love with his part of his game, as what makes him so attractive as a prospect is his ability to score with his back to the basket. He went through a small stage in the game we saw where he wanted to showcase his perimeter skills, which was interesting, but probably not where his focus should be at the moment.

Also a dominant rebounder at this level, Coleman shows the ability to go out of his area, often in impressive fashion, as he has long arms and huge hands and also plays with a very nice activity level for a player his age. On a few occasions he took things a step further by cleaning the glass and then throwing a terrific outlet pass to a teammate streaking in transition. Continuing to find a way to play with a chip on his shoulder will make him a very interesting long-term prospect, and if he can rebound at a high level against stronger levels of competition, he'll be in very good shape moving forward.

Defensively, it wasn't easy to get a very good read on Coleman, as he didn't match up with the type of team who could challenge him on the interior. He did hedge the pick and roll very nicely, something you don't often see players in his mold do, and was pretty active and talkative with his teammates, looking very emotionally invested in the result of this game.

All in all, Coleman is clearly a very intriguing player who's development we'll surely be monitoring over the next few years. While he may not possess the same unlimited upside of some of the other big men in his class, he also looks like more of a sure thing to actually pan out.

Kaleb Tarczewski, 7-0, Center, St. Mark's, 2012
Uncommitted


Joseph Treutlein

Playing against an extremely undersized and overmatched opponent, Kaleb Tarczewski (#9 Scout, #13 Rivals, #24 ESPN) had a very disappointing game in his team's 69-63 loss to Life Center Academy, with him failing to assert himself offensively, converting on just 4-of-12 field goal attempts in the game.

In a contrast to what we witnessed the last time we saw Tarczewski play, here he played very soft on the offensive end, refusing to back down opponents, having trouble securing rebounds, and often getting out-muscled and outhustled by players 4-8 inches smaller than him.

In the post, Tarczewski struggled with multiple entry passes, wasn't able to convert on any of his finesse moves, and simply refused to dunk the ball despite being in position multiple times. He got most of his 11 points getting to the free-throw line or getting putbacks of his own misses, doing very little to contribute for his team from a scoring standpoint.

To his credit, one thing he did look great doing on the offensive end was passing, showing a nice feel for the game to go along with the vision and passing ability to find players open on the other side of the court, something that could be of great use to him at the next level.

On the defensive end, Tarczewski blocked an impressive nine shots, looking outstanding on some plays, showing the anticipation, timing, and mobility to swat shots in the lane coming from the other side of the court.

It's not out of the ordinary for 16-year-old seven footers to have games like this, and Tarczewski is much farther along from a skills and feel standpoint than most comparable players his age, but the tentativeness on the offensive end is still somewhat concerning. We'll continue to track his progress over the coming years, as he's clearly a very promising prospect.

Kyle Anderson, 6-8, PG/SG/SF, St. Anthony, 2012
Uncommitted


Joseph Treutlein

One of the most peculiar players in his class, Kyle Anderson (#21 Scout, #5 Rivals, #18 ESPN) is a highly skilled player with good length and a slight build, while also being very below average from an athletic standpoint. Capable of playing 3-4 positions at this level and next, Anderson's style and combination of skills is very unique.

On the offensive end, Anderson brings the ball up the court often and serves as one of his offense's primary initiators, playing very well in a facilitator role, managing the offense and moving the ball around the floor. He shows exceptional vision with the ball and is capable of making some very difficult passes on and off the move, while he also does a good job with simple, fundamental entry passes.

In terms of his own scoring, Anderson has nice touch around the basket and a crafty handle getting there, capable of finishing on a variety of floaters, runners, lay-ups, and hook shots in the lane. He will occasionally pull off a slow and methodical crossover that takes his defender off guard, but breaks his man down using subtle moves more often than not.

Not possessing a great first step or vertical leap, it's somewhat questionable how Anderson's dribble-drive game will translate to the next level, especially seeing how there are even times at this level when he is unable to get a step on his man.

As for perimeter shooting, Anderson has solid mechanics that are a bit on the slow side with a slight hitch, but he appears more than capable of knocking down spot-up shots with developing three-point range. He didn't have much success knocking down jumpers here, but the foundation appears to be there.

Defensively, Anderson plays smart, fundamentally sound defense, making good use of his length to compensate for his below average lateral quickness. What position he's ideally suited to defend at the next level is questionable, and maximizing his physical tools needs to be a priority.

It's tough to accurately project Anderson as a prospect simply because there have been so few players like him before, and that's a large reason why recruiting services are all over the map on him. His skill set, feel, for the game and high basketball IQ are all attractive qualities, but how he adjusts to higher levels of competition given his athletic limitations is yet to be seen.

Savon Goodman, 6-6, Power Forward, Academy of the New Church, 2012
Committed to Villanova


Joseph Treutlein

An explosive and powerful athlete with a great frame, Savon Goodman (#24 Scout, #32 Rivals, #22 ESPN) certainly passes the eye test, while appearing to have the motor and intangibles to go along with it.

A gritty played who uses his length and athleticism to make a lot of plays, Goodman is still coming along in the skills department, but makes an impact on offense by making hard cuts to the basket, getting out in transition, and attacking the offensive glass. Most of the 16 points he scored in the game here came in those ways.

Possessing a strong first step, Goodman is somewhat of a threat taking his man off the dribble, but his handle is very unpolished at the moment and he struggles when having to veer away from straight-line drives. He does show good ability to adjust in the air around the basket, however, showing nice creative and body control to take advantage of his athletic gifts when finishing.

As far as perimeter shooting goes, Goodman has somewhat awkward shooting mechanics and isn't a reliable threat with his jumper from any range, with that clearly being the thing he needs to work on most.

On the defensive end, Goodman is very aggressive both on and off the ball, using his length to make a lot of plays and showing pretty good team awareness as well. He boxes out hard on the glass and pulls in a lot of boards both in and out of his area.

Looking forward, Goodman's going to need to shore up his perimeter shooting to develop into a noteworthy long-term prospect, as right now he's strictly a severely undersized power forward, but the attributes he brings to the table from a physical and intangible standpoint are both very attractive, especially at his age. Still a junior, he has plenty of time to work on those skills, and appears to have the work ethic to do so.

Winston Shepard, 6-8, SF/PF, Findlay Prep, 2012
Uncommitted


Jonathan Givony

A physically gifted combo forward with long arms and excellent athleticism, Winston Shepard (#62 Scout, #32 Rivals, Unranked ESPN) is a very interesting 2012 prospect who is being recruited by many of the top basketball programs in the NCAA. Underdeveloped physically at the moment with a somewhat narrow frame, Shepard played two games at the HoopHall Classic with a big bandage on his hand, but that didn't stop him from making an impact in almost every moment he was on the floor.

Shepard's biggest virtues at the moment lie on the defensive end, where he can guard multiple positions and is extremely active. He puts good pressure on the ball, getting down in a low stance and doing a nice job crashing the glass.

Offensively, he's most effective in transition and finishing around the rim, as he's not a great shot-creator in the half-court and appears to possess poor mechanics and limited range on his jump-shot at the moment. Shepard nevertheless makes an impact with the sheer energy and athleticism he brings to the table, as he's active on the offensive glass and is always diving to the rim looking for a way to get the ball in a position to score. He's also an unselfish player with an above average feel for the game, contributing nicely to his team's ball-movement and showing good passing ability for a player his age.

Moving forward, Shepard is going to need to round out his skill-set and continue to add polish to his offensive game, but he's off to a nice start and clearly has major upside to grow into down the road.

Feedback for this article may be sent to jonathan@draftexpress.com joe@draftexpress.com
 
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HoopHall Classic Scouting Reports: Elite Prospects (Part Three)
by: Jonathan Givony - President, Joseph Treutlein - Director of Scouting/Analytics
January 23, 2011
We continue to review the top prospects seen at the prestigious HoopHall Classic in Springfield, Mass, including Nick Johnson, Mikael Hopkins, Julian Royal, Amir Garrett, Myles Mack and Pat Connaughton.

-HoopHall Classic Scouting Reports: Elite Prospects (Part Two)[Tony Wroten, Shannon Scott, Dai-Jon Parker, Michael Carter-Williams, Deuce Bello, Rakeem Christmas, LaQuinton Ross]
-HoopHall Classic Scouting Reports: Elite Prospects (Part One) [Michael Gilchrist, Anthony Davis, LeBryan Nash, Myck Kabongo, Wayne Blackshear and Ben McLemore]

Nick Johnson, 6-3, Shooting Guard, Findlay Prep, 2011
Committed to Arizona


Jonathan Givony

One of the most polished players seen at this event, Nick Johnson (#33 Scout, #40 Rivals, #23 ESPN) looked like the rare high school senior who could step into a college team's rotation immediately and not look out of place.

Undersized for a shooting guard at just 6-3, Johnson compensates with a strong frame and excellent athleticism, showing nice quickness and the ability to play above the rim in highlight reel fashion.

Offensively, Johnson is a fairly complete player, starting with his excellent shooting ability. He gets very nice elevation on his jump-shot, being capable of making shots both off the dribble and with his feet set. He's a very smart, savvy player who operates unselfishly on the court and is just as effective in transition as he is in the half-court, moving off the ball crisply and looking very willing to make the extra pass. Johnson still has room to improve on his shot-creating skills and ability to the pick and roll, but considering the work ethic he shows, that appears likely down the road.

Defensively, Johnson lacks great size or length, but makes up for any shortcomings he might have with the toughness he brings to the table. Often asked to guard players 3-4 inches taller than him seeing minutes at the small forward position for his high school team, Johnson held his ground admirably against the incredibly strong and athletic LeBryan Nash both inside the paint and on the perimeter, He showing a feistiness to his game that Arizona head coach Sean Miller will surely enjoy.

Johnson is virtually guaranteed to have an excellent career at the college level, but at 6-3, will have to continue to improve his playmaking ability and overall offensive polish to emerge as a NBA prospect.

Mikael Hopkins, 6-8, Power Forward, DeMatha Catholic, 2011
Committed to Georgetown


Jonathan Givony

This wasn't the best place to evaluate Georgetown commit Mikael Hopkins (#52 Scout, #79 Rivals, #41 ESPN), as his team was absolutely demolished by Bob Hurley's St. Anthony's squad, seemingly right out of the gate.

Showing long arms, a nice frame but just average athleticism, Hopkins has adequate physical tools for the power forward position.

Offensively, he looks most comfortable playing in the high post, showing the ability to knock down mid-range jumpers and make smooth entry passes. The manner in which he operates looks similar to the way he'll be utilized as at Georgetown, and he indeed shows many of the characteristics we've come to expect from big men in that system.

The most concerning aspect surrounding Hopkins at the moment is the very nonchalant demeanor he shows on the court. He didn't show any type of assertiveness or emotion in the game we saw, allowing himself to get pushed around mercilessly in the paint on defense, and looking especially passive attacking the glass. He doesn't seem to have very much of a post-up game offensively, and does not appear to be a very high level athlete from what we can tell.

Players with Hopkins' size and skill-level are tough to come by, and considering his age, he still has plenty of time to improve on his weaknesses.

Julian Royal, 6-8, SF/PF, Milton, 2011
Committed to Georgia Tech


Joseph Treutlein

A player who's still finding his identity on the offensive end, Julian Royal (#58 Scout, #90 Rivals, #67 ESPN) has the potential to be effective as a strong, bruising power forward in the NCAA, but seems intent on a transition to the small forward position, something he doesn't appear to have the requisite skill level for yet.

Offensively, Royal spends a good deal of time playing on the perimeter, where he attempts a lot of spot-up shots from three-point range and tries to take his man off the dribble going in both directions. Unfortunately, he doesn't have much consistent success in any of these areas, showing somewhat of a foundation of skill in all areas, but not being polished enough to pull any of it off effectively.

On the other hand, Royal is a pretty strong force in the lane either operating with his back-to-the-basket or attacking the rim on cuts and offensive rebounds, having a very strong frame, soft hands, solid touch, and a decent array of simple but effective moves.

Defensively and in general, Royal doesn't show the most consistent motor, simply going through the motions at times, but he's capable of making impact plays on both ends and on the glass when he's throwing his body around.

Looking forward, Royal brings some nice skills to the table and has a strong body for the power forward position in the pros, but whether he embraces that role will have a large impact on his success. If he is intent on transition to the small forward, he still has a long ways to go, but there is a possibility he succeeds in doing so.

Amir Garrett, 6-6, Small Forward, Findlay Prep, 2011
Committed to St. John's


Jonathan Givony

One of the most physically gifted wing players seen at this event, it's not difficult to tell what recruiting analysts like about Amir Garrett (#76 Scout, #51 Rivals, #63 ESPN) on first glance.

Left-handed, with an outstanding frame, long arms and excellent athleticism, Garrett has all the tools college coaches want to see from a wing prospect, even if he doesn't really have the skill-level or feel for the game to really take advantage of that at this stage.

Garrett is a fairly limited player offensively, showing average ball-handling skills and a jump-shot that seems to vary on every attempt. Strictly a straight-line dribbler, Garrett can only operate at one speed at the moment and has a tendency to shoot the ball on the way down. Once in a while he'll release a nice looking shot, showing he has potential in this area, but he lacks any type of real consistency at the moment with his offensive game.

Defensively, Garrett has strong potential, with his long arms and nice body, coupled with his excellent lateral quickness. When dialed in, he can be quite a handful for opposing players in man to man situations. His feel for the game is just average at the moment, though, and he tends to float on occasion too, looking a bit hot and cold in his effort level depending on the momentum of the game.

These are not rare qualities in such a young player, especially one who is still learning the game like Garrett, so we'll have to check back in a few years and see how he's coming along.

Myles Mack, 5-10, Point Guard, St. Anthony, 2011
Committed to Rutgers


Joseph Treutlein

An undersized point guard for Bob Hurley's Saint Anthony squad, Myles Mack (#83 Scout, #119 Rivals, #85 ESPN) was perhaps the best pure shooter of anyone we saw at the Hoophall Classic, hitting a ridiculous 6-for-7 from three-point range and 11-for-14 overall on the way to 28 points in his team's win.

Boasting smooth and quick textbook shooting mechanics, Mack has extreme confidence in his shot and is capable of scoring both spotting up and pulling up. His range extends beyond the college three-point line and he has no problem shooting the ball on the move, exhibiting excellent balance on pull ups.

Attacking off the dribble, Mack has a solid step and pretty good quickness, showing a nice second gear in transition as well. He didn't do much with his dribble-drive in the game we saw, and didn't need to the way his shot was falling, but he appears to be able to penetrate decently well.

As for point guard skills, Mack appears to be more of a game manager than break down the defense shot creator, getting most of his assists through flow of the offense passes or simple drive-and-kicks, spending a good deal of his time off the ball.

Defensively, Mack plays the high-energy, focused style of team defense that's always expected from Hurley's players, keeping his hands up at all times off the ball, playing good prevent defense to keep his man from receiving passes, and making some solid steals by showing good anticipation. His size may pose some problems against more physical opponents at the next level, but the toughness is certainly there.

Looking forward, Mack will likely have to transition to playing more of a true point guard role in college, as he currently splits ball-handling duties with point forward teammate Kyle Anderson, allowing him to spend a lot of time off the ball. Whether he can still consistently get his shot off so easily against bigger, more athletic opponents in the NCAA will be very important for his success.

Pat Connaughton, 6-5, SG/SF, St. John's Prep, 2011
Committed to Notre Dame


Joseph Treutlein

Showing the highest motor of perhaps anyone we saw this weekend, Pat Connaughton (#87 Scout, Unranked Rivals, #100 ESPN) is a gritty player who finds ways to get involved in a ton of plays on both ends of the court, bringing a non-stop hustle to the game to go along with an intriguing foundation of skills.

Built with a very strong frame and excellent length for his size, Connaughton is a tough player with deceptive athleticism, being more powerful than quick and needing some momentum to make use of his explosiveness.

On the offensive end, Connaughton plays somewhat of a pseudo-point guard role despite being his team's biggest player at 6-5. Bringing the ball up the floor and initiating and creating a lot of his team's offense, Connaughton has a solid, right-hand dominant handle, not showing much in terms of advanced moves but having good craftiness with the ball. He isn't one to consistently break his man down in isolation and appears better suited for playing as more of a slasher off the ball, something he has very little opportunity to do in his team's situation.

As a shooter, Connaughton has decent mechanics but a very flat trajectory, and hit just 2-for-13 from three-point range in his game here, though recruiting services suggest he's normally a much better shooter than that. The fact that he had to take so many shots off the dribble, with a hand in his faced, or even double teamed certainly didn't help matters either.

As a passer, Connaughton shows outstanding vision and decision-making, always keeping his head up and doing a good job in helping to spread the ball around the floor, and he should be a good passer from the wing at the college level.

Defensively is where Connaughton really shines, playing with an extremely high motor and excellent fundamentals while having a great nose for getting in the action. He uses his length to make a ton of plays off the ball, crashing passing lanes, attacking the glass, and even blocking some shots, showing no fear in getting involved in any play. On the ball he has great hands and a very good stance, playing tough isolation defense and doing a good job in prevent, keeping the ball away from his man.

Looking forward, Connaughton's size and lack of great athletic tools limit his long-term potential, and his erratic outside shooting will pose a problem if it persists, but his intangibles, motor, and basketball IQ could make him a very valuable rotation player in college.

Feedback for this article may be sent to jonathan@draftexpress.com joe@draftexpress.com
 
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HoopHall Classic Scouting Reports: Elite Prospects (Part Two)
by: Jonathan Givony - President, Joseph Treutlein - Director of Scouting/Analytics
January 22, 2011
We continue to review the top prospects seen at the prestigious HoopHall Classic in Springfield, Mass, including Tony Wroten, Shannon Scott, Dai-Jon Parker, Michael Carter-Williams, Deuce Bello, Rakeem Christmas and LaQuinton Ross.

HoopHall Classic Scouting Reports: Elite Prospects (Part One) (Michael Gilchrist, Anthony Davis, LeBryan Nash, Myck Kabongo, Wayne Blackshear and Ben McLemore)


Tony Wroten, 6-5, Shooting Guard, Seattle Garfield, 2011
Committed to Washington


Joseph Treutlein

A player we've profiled extensively since he was just 15 years old, Tony Wroten (#28 Scout, #30 Rivals, #24 ESPN) appears to be back in top physical condition after a torn ACL he suffered 15 months ago, putting his full array of skills on display in his team's loss to Wayne Blackshear's Morgan Park High School.

Finishing with a peculiar stat line of just nine field goal attempts compared to a ridiculous 21 free throw attempts, Wroten played a very aggressive game. He showed great creativity and fearlessness attacking the rim, but also tried to do a bit too much with his isolation offense at times, a concern that has popped up multiple times in his high school and AAU career.

Looking at his ability to attack the basket, Wroten appears to be in the best physical shape we've seen, looking quicker off the dribble and being capable of scoring in a variety of ways in the lane. He shows excellent body control in executing his moves, while his right hand has improved over time in both finishing and handling, though more so for the former.

In terms of perimeter shooting, Wroten didn't show much, missing on his three 3-point attempts on the game and spending almost all of his time attacking the rim rather than trying to score from outside. His mechanics still appear somewhat inconsistent and while he is certainly capable of making shots from outside, it's clear this is the area he could stand to improve the most going forward.

While Wroten's play here was definitely oriented towards creating his own offense from isolation situations, the flashes of playmaking for teammates he showed were impressive. Wroten's court vision is nothing short of outstanding both in the half-court and in transition, and he has excellent instincts and ability passing on the move.

While he frequently brings the ball up the court for his team, he doesn't have much feel for running his team's half-court offense as a pure point guard, looking much more comfortable making passes on the move as opposed to running plays or letting things develop.

Defensively, Wroten showed good awareness in team defense and outstanding anticipation making plays in the passing lanes, making use of his great length frequently to break up plays and pick off passes. He isn't always the most disciplined in his stance in isolation and his body language can get questionable when things don't go his way, but when he's keyed in he is great on this end, and appears to have all the physical tools to defend shooting guards at any level.

Wroten's overall mentality still appears to be somewhat questionable, as he still gives off the feeling that he's more interesting in playing the game for himself than he is for helping his team win games. How well Wroten will be able to function without the ball in his hands and how he'll respond to adversity when things don't go his way in the future are still serious question marks. These concerns have led recruiting analysts to drop him dramatically in their rankings, to the point that it's no longer a sure thing that he'll be invited to the most prestigious post-season all-star games. It's quite clear that the huge amount of attention Wroten received from an incredibly early stage did not do him any favors in his development, something we were concerned about when we first wrote about him two and a half years ago.

Looking forward, Wroten has all the tools and ability to make an instant impact at the college level, and could put himself into draft discussions the second he steps on the court. How he will adjust to playing high level competition more frequently, if he can balance his scoring and passing, and if he can improve his perimeter shooting will be the most important things for him in college, as will staying humble in his approach on and off the court.

Shannon Scott, 6-2, Point Guard, Milton, 2011
Committed to Ohio State


Joseph Treutlein

One of the most impressive players we saw this weekend, especially relative to his modest class rankings, Shannon Scott (#38 Scout, #65 Rivals, #43 ESPN) is an extremely mature floor general with a great feel for the game.

Standing 6-2 with very good length and a solid frame, Scott has all the athleticism and physical tools he needs, especially given his crafty, aggressive style of play. He has a very calm court demeanor, rarely changing his expression, never complaining to officials, and bringing a very business-like approach to running his team's offense.

As a point guard, Scott didn't show much in terms of shot creation for others here, being forced into more of a scoring role on this team where the passing is pretty evenly distributed across the roster. His point guard instincts are one of his biggest strengths according to recruiting analysts and based on the little we've previously seen of him in AAU, but here he showed the ability to adjust his game based on his team's needs, looking extremely comfortable in a different role.

Looking nearly unstoppable attacking the basket at this event, Scott can take his man equally well going left and right, has no problems switching hands with the ball in the lane, can finish with both power and finesse, and shows excellent creativity in the lane. He scored on a variety of lay-ups, finger rolls, reverses, and by getting to the free-throw line, hitting on 7-of-11 from the field and 8-of-9 from the line. His instincts scoring the ball are outstanding, and he rarely forced his attempts despite attacking so frequently.

Scott also mixed in some mid-range jumpers, looking comfortable pulling up from 15-18 feet while showing solid form both from the line and the field. He didn't attempt any three-point shots and improving his range and reliability from the perimeter are probably the biggest things he can work on as a player going forward.

Defensively, he shows good hands and ability in both isolation and team defense, though his effort level fell off as the game went on, with him coasting through plays and even giving up at times later in the game. His team won the game against one of the top-ranked teams in the country largely behind his offensive efforts, so it's tough to criticize him too much for conserving energy on defense, but this will be something to watch more closely at the next level.

Looking forward, Scott appears to be clearly underrated by the recruiting services based on what we've seen from him in both AAU and at the high school level, and should be an instant impact player for Ohio State next season. His ability to excel both as a floor general and scorer combined with his physical tools makes him a very intriguing prospect long term, especially if his perimeter shooting can catch up with the rest of his game.

Dai-Jon Parker, 6-2, PG/SG, Milton High School, 2011
Committed to Vanderbilt


Jonathan Givony

The main catalyst (along with fellow backcourt mate Shannon Scott) behind his team's upset victory over #1 ranked Oak Hill , this was needless to say an excellent weekend for highly touted guard Dai-Jon Parker (#36 Scout, #57 Rivals, #47 ESPN).

Undersized for a shooting guard—the position most recruiting services project him at the moment-- but showing solid height for a point, Parker has a strong frame, good length and solid athleticism.

Offensively, Parker shows a pretty complete game for a player his age, as he's capable of contributing to his team in a variety of different ways. He has a nice first step and solid ball-handling skills, able to create his own shot smoothly and finish around the paint with a floater or even the occasional dunk. He has solid court vision and a good basketball IQ, having no qualms about passing the ball ahead unselfishly in transition and making some very intelligent drive and dish plays. Also an effective outside shooter, Parker has nice mechanics on his jumper, getting good elevation off the floor, and is adept at making shots with both his feet set and off the dribble, even if he is prone to streakiness depending on the momentum of the game.

Criticized at times for being somewhat deferential, Parker lacks a degree of aggressiveness, not always taking the ball strong enough to the basket, instead relying on his mid-range game rather than drawing contact in the paint.

Defensively, Parker has nice physical tools, strong fundamentals and plays with good energy, something that will help him see plenty of minutes at Vanderbilt early on his career. He played excellent man to man defense in the game we saw, and did a good job off the ball as well.

Mostly playing as a shooting guard on the AAU circuit and with his high school team, we'll have to wait and see if he can operate effectively as a point guard at the college level—something that will dictate his long-term potential. While he may not have a great deal of experience at the position, he shows the potential to make the conversion with his ball-handling ability, court vision and feel for the game.

All things considered, Parker looks a little bit underrated based on what we've seen, and could emerge as a very interesting prospect down the road for Vanderbilt. Guards with his combination of athleticism, versatility and smarts just aren't that easy to come by, especially if they can play on and off the ball and on both ends of the floor.

Michael Carter-Williams, 6-5, Shooting Guard, St. Andrew's, 2011
Committed to Syracuse


Joseph Treutlein

A highly-ranked guard with tremendous scoring abilities and instincts, Michael Carter-Williams (#30 Scout, #16 Rivals, #32 ESPN) is in a unique situation on his high school team, which requires him to shoulder a massive burden of shot creation responsibilities.

In his game here against powerhouse Findlay Prep, Carter-Williams looked outstanding creating his shot off the dribble, scoring equally effectively at the basket and from behind the three-point arc.

Possessing a somewhat awkward but very controlled handle, Carter-Williams has no problem getting wherever he wants on the floor while being capable of scoring from anywhere also. He is extremely smooth pulling up into his shot with range to well behind the three-point arc. From behind the arc, he can maintain balance and hit shots with a hand in his face frequently, showing a ton of prowess even with the ridiculous defensive attention teams pay him.

Attacking the basket, he relies mostly on craftiness and subtle changes of speed and direction as opposed to ankle-breaking crossovers or complex advanced moves. His ability to finish well on finesse floaters and runners or take the ball hard into contact make him very dangerous attacking the rim, not showing the limitations you'd expect with his skinny frame, though that could change in college.

Interestingly, Carter-Williams is trying to develop his point guard skills in hopes of spending some time at the position once he gets to Syracuse. He shows pretty good instincts and vision in this regard, recognizing double teams well and relying mostly on simple drive-and-kicks or pick-and-roll passes to find open teammates. It's still obviously early, but this willingness to expand his game is encouraging.

Defensively, Carter-Williams shows a lot of ability on and off the ball when he puts in the effort, but that effort is intermittent at the moment, possibly due to the ridiculous burden he maintains offensively.

Looking forward, Carter-Williams is an interesting prospect that will have to make a major role adjustment when he gets to college next year, something he appears willing to do. How he adjusts to the more physical level of competition given his skinny frame will be key.

Deuce Bello, 6-4, Shooting Guard, Westchester Country Day School, 2011
Committed to Baylor


Jonathan Givony

Arguably the most athletic player in all of high school basketball, Deuce Bello (#41 Scout, #43 Rivals, #34 ESPN) is a player who has steadily risen up the recruiting rankings over the past year.

Undersized for a wing player at 6-4, with an average frame and a long wingspan, Bello can elevate around the basket like few players can at any level of basketball. He is incredibly quick from end to end and has tremendous potential on both ends of the floor, even if he's still very far from being a complete player at this point in time.

Offensively, Bello is still a somewhat limited player in the half-court, although he's clearly made strides with his skill-level recently. Showing a very quick crossover and the ability to beat opponents with ease with his lightning quick first step, Bello is a highlight reel waiting to happen in the open floor. He will need to work on his advanced ball-handling skills to become the deadly half-court shot-creator his physical tools indicate he can down the road, though, as he struggles to operate as efficiently once the game slows down.

As a shooter, Bello sports a very slow and unattractive looking flat-footed release, being much more proficient shooting the ball off the dribble as opposed to with his feet set. He has limited range at this point in time, but is not afraid to take tough looks nevertheless, showing poor shot-selection and overall decision making at times.

Defensively, Bello has the ability to be an absolute force if he put his mind to it, something that clearly hasn't happened at this stage. He puts little to no effort in on this end of the floor, jogging back half-heartedly, not putting any work in off the ball, showing poor fundamentals, and refusing to box out his opponent on the glass.

His competitiveness leaves quite a bit to be desired, something that raises question marks about his ability his reach his full potential in the long-term. Bello's teams have always underachieved badly relative to their talent-level, and looking at the body language he displays, the lack of effort he puts in, and the often selfish manner in which he operates at times, it's not difficult to pinpoint why.

A player who could still go many different ways with his development, Bello is a couple of minor mentality adjustments away from being considered one of the most talented prospects in his class. It's quite possible that maturity is all he's lacking right now. We'll surely be revisiting his progress in the future.

Rakeem Christmas, 6-9, PF/C, Academy of the New Church, 2011
Committed to Syracuse


Jonathan Givony

There isn't much new to report about Rakeem Christmas (#16 Scout, #12 Rivals, #11 ESPN) following the very poor performance (3 points, 5 rebounds, 25 minutes) he put in at the HoopHall Classic, a game in which his squad blew a 16-point fourth quarter lead and lost to a very average team.

The 6-9 Christmas has clearly added weight and looks even more the part of a top prospect from a physical standpoint, with his excellent frame, super long arms and terrific athleticism. He's a quick jumper who runs the floor extremely well and can play well above the rim.

Beyond that, though, he clearly has a ways to go, as he has a very low skill-level offensively and has never really tried to exert himself in the half dozen or so times we've seen him play. His hands are somewhat questionable, his footwork in the post is poor, and his fundamentals on defense leave a lot to be desired. People who have watched him extensively report that these types of performances are not out of the norm for him, especially on this current high school team he plays for.

With that all that said, it's not difficult to see where the excitement about Christmas stems from, as players with his tools are very rare, and it usually takes big men longer to develop. His effort level, feel and polish will have to improve if he wants to get major playing time immediately at Syracuse, though, as he's going to play for a team that is returning a pretty solid frontcourt.

LaQuinton Ross, 6-7, SG/SF, Life Center Academy, 2011
Committed to Ohio State


Jonathan Givony

A year and a half after our last scouting report update, LaQuinton Ross' (#60 Scout, #53 Rivals, #64 ESPN) strengths and weaknesses are looking abundantly clear.

His frame is filling out nicely since we last saw him, as he's sporting a pretty developed upper body and now stands around 6-8. More smooth than he is explosive, Ross can create his own shot with ease, showing very nice ball-handling skills for a player his size. He mostly uses his dribble to find space to get off a beautiful looking jumper, which he can hit both off the dribble or with his feet set.

Ross buried a barrage of shots in the first half, scoring 21 points in 16 minutes. Some of them were extremely tough looks which, in Ross' unique way—expressionless and effortless--he converted with incredible ease. His shooting ability at his size alone makes him a very intriguing prospect, but he can do more than that, especially when he applies himself.

As a slasher, Ross can get to different spots on the floor, showing nice ball-handling skills and the ability to create shots for teammates. He's more likely to pass the ball off or pull-up for a jumper than make a strong move all the way to the basket, though, as he's overly unselfish (or passive) to a fault at times, and is lacking a degree of explosiveness and aggressiveness as well.

Defensively, Ross hasn't made very much progress since we last saw him, as he still shows extremely poor fundamentals and puts little to no effort in on this end of the floor. His arms are always at his sides and he never bends his knees, having no qualms about allowing his man to catch the ball wherever it is on the floor that he desires. Ross will need to make some huge strides with his off the ball defense if he's to see any playing time at all at Ohio State under Thad Matta. He'll also have to start boxing out his man and get back quicker on defense.

What's interesting is that Ross actually has very nice instincts on this end of the floor, as he anticipates well in the passing lanes and has terrific timing coming up with blocks. He just needs to improve his fundamentals and play with much more intensity, which may be easier said than done.

Ross is the type of player whose career could still go in many different directions, as its clear that he is incredibly far ahead of the curve in many areas, but is also well behind in many others. Going to play for a coach like Thad Matta at Ohio State might be the best decision he ever made, but there are many recruiting analysts that question whether he'll actually last there.

It might be just a matter of time and maturity until the light-bulb comes on for Ross, but judging by the way he's dropped in the recruiting rankings—from once being considered the #1 prospect in his class to now finding himself well out of the top-50—and the fact that he's a year or two older than his peers, he has many more doubters than believers at this point.

Feedback for this article may be sent to jonathan@draftexpress.com joe@draftexpress.com
 
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HoopHall Classic Scouting Reports: Elite Prospects (Part One)
by: Jonathan Givony - President, Joseph Treutlein - Director of Scouting/Analytics
January 19, 2011
A review of the top prospects seen at the prestigious HoopHall Classic in Springfield, Mass, including Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Anthony Davis, LeBryan Nash, Myck Kabongo, Wayne Blackshear and Ben McLemore.

Michael Gilchrist, 6-7, Small Forward, St. Patrick's, 2011
Committed to Kentucky


Jonathan Givony



Clearly the most impressive prospect seen at this event, small forward Michael Gilchrist (#4 Scout, #3 Rivals, #3 ESPN) looked like the type of player who could step onto a college campus and contribute immediately, despite being only 17 year old.

With a noticeably improved frame, possibly an added inch of height, and the same terrific competitiveness we've written about repeatedly over the past two years, Gilchrist made an unbelievable impact on the game he played and pretty much single-handedly took down a very good Bishop Gorman squad.

Gilchrist's defense remains his defining trait, and looks to be approaching a level where he could get minutes against pretty much any type of opponent. The added strength he's put on has allowed him to play with even more aggressiveness, and when combined with his terrific wingspan and basketball IQ, makes him an absolute terror both on and off the ball.

He starts playing defense as soon as the opposing squad inbounds the ball, getting up in his matchup's chest, attempting to deny him the entry pass, while also maintaining the presence of mind to be ready to help out his teammates if needed. He's phenomenal on the ball, active and intense, yet fundamentally sound, smothering with his length, and extremely physical.

He's just as good off the ball, though, with his anticipation skills in the passing lanes, and ability to rotate as a help-side defender. Showing big, strong hands, and the willingness to make his presence felt on the glass, Gilchrist is an excellent rebounder who will go well out of his area for extra possessions.

Constantly talking, directing, leading by example--whether on the court or standing up cheering from the bench—Gilchrist looks like exactly the type of player you'd want to have on your team.

Offensively, Gilchrist was extremely aggressive, making a couple of shots both with his feet set and off the dribble from the perimeter, and doing a good job posting up his man. His advanced ball-handling skills remain improvable and his shooting mechanics are still not ideal, but his ability to bring the ball up the court, beat his man off the dribble and find the open man with pinpoint accuracy allows him to play multiple positions on the floor. He's always looking to set up his teammates, but has no problem asserting himself and taking a big shot himself if the situation calls for it.

One of the most mature players we've ever seen at this level, Gilchrist is a player that NBA teams will likely fall in love with as soon as he lands in college. Physical attributes, defensive ability, scoring instincts, intangibles—he's a rare player who brings a complete package of skills to the table despite being only 17-years old. Whether he develops the offensive polish needed to emerge as a go-to option at the highest level remains to be seen, but no coach will ever complain about the effort he brings.

Anthony Davis, 6-10, Power Forward, Perspectives Charter School, 2011
Committed to Kentucky


Jonathan Givony

It's almost completely unheard of in this day and age for a player to go from total obscurity to being considered by some to be the #1 prospect in high school basketball. That's exactly what Anthony Davis (#1 Scout, #6 Rivals, #2 ESPN) has done over the past six months. Growing seven inches in just one year, Davis went from being a skinny, anonymous combo guard from Chicago to one of the most versatile big men in America.

Because of his late emergence in the basketball world, he's one of the few top prospects who we haven't had a chance to evaluate until his senior year.

The first thing that stands out about Davis is his frame, which is very narrow at the moment but should be able to fill out nicely in time. Although extremely fluid, it's tough to say just how athletic he is at this stage, since he's clearly still figuring out his new dimensions and might not reach his full potential in this area for another few years. Right now he seems to be more smooth than explosive.

The next thing you notice is the role he plays on his (admittedly mediocre) high school team—often operating as their primary ball-handler and distributor. Davis is clearly a very unique player, as he really does have the skill-set of a guard, with his excellent ball-handling skills and very nice shooting touch, both from the perimeter and inside the paint. He can create his own shot with ease, changing directions with the ball and making some impressive shots off the dribble, and looks like a very good passer, especially in drive and dish situations. He shows good instincts as both a shot-blocker and rebounder, and is not afraid to dive on the floor for a loose ball.

Davis is still very much a work in progress at the same time, much more-so than your average top recruit. He turns the ball over frequently, will air-ball the occasional jumper, doesn't appear to have much of a post-game, shows average decision making skills, and lacks quite a bit in the ways of strength and fundamentals defensively.

Many names come to mind when watching him play: John Henson, Anthony Randolph, Jonathan Bender, Brandan Wright, Tim Thomas, Perry Jones—the list goes on and on.

Like many of the players mentioned, figuring out what his role will be at the college (and eventually the pro) level on both ends of the floor is not a cut and dry proposition, and the fact that he's playing on such a bad team doesn't help very much. Oversized guards sound great in theory, but their success rate can be somewhat hit or miss at times.

Davis is someone that scouts will want to watch closely in the practices and scrimmages leading up to the McDonald's All-American, Jordan Brand Classic and Nike Hoop Summit games. How he's able to perform alongside and against top-level competition should teach us quite a bit more about the type of prospect he is. At this stage, it feels very early to be drawing too many long-term conclusions. We'll just have to be patient and see how things play out.

LeBryan Nash, 6-7, SF/PF, Lincoln High School, 2011
Committed to Oklahoma State


Joseph Treutlein

The most physically impressive prospect of all those in attendance this weekend and possibly the player with the most long-term upside, LeBryan Nash (#5 Scout, #4 Rivals, #12 ESPN) is a truly elite athlete, possessing absolutely ideal physical tools for an NBA small forward. Looking like a man amongst boys at this level (helped in part by the fact that he's already 19 years old), Nash has a large, chiseled frame with explosiveness and raw power on par with the NBA's best athletes.

Looking at Nash's offensive game, he already has a variety of tools at his disposal, which he makes use of in his highly aggressive, attack-oriented style. Doing most of his damage on face-up drives or back-to-the-basket situations from the mid-post and baseline, Nash has an extremely quick first step and can effortlessly elevate around the rim while having absolutely zero fear of contact. He gets to the line at a high rate and can finish strong over anyone at this level.

As far as his finesse game goes, Nash has a passable handle in the half-court, mixing in advanced moves at times and being strong with his right and adequate with his left. His perimeter jumper is streaky, having somewhat of a flat trajectory but being capable of hitting spot threes and some tough, contested shots from the mid-range as well. He shot a very impressive 10-for-10 from the free throw line in the game we saw, though struggled from the field overall at 6-for-19.

While Nash is capable of finishing against anyone at this level by making use of his excellent first step and leaping ability, he still could use a little bit of polish with his skills, something that shows up most noticeably in transition. His handle tends to fall off a bit when playing at higher speeds, and he can lose control of the ball pushing up the court. He also can get into modes where he tries to do too much, having some tunnel vision going to the rim, not recognizing double teams or seeing open teammates. To his credit, he actually shows excellent court vision and passing ability when making the conscious effort to find his teammates, dishing out a few nice assists on the game (but also finishing with an alarming eight turnovers).

The biggest thing holding back Nash at this stage would have to be his attitude, something that was prominently on display in the game here, as his body language was awful and his effort level on the defensive end was erratic and even non-existent at times. He seems to start out every quarter looking focused and putting in the effort on defense, but as soon as things start to go wrong with his game, his shoulders start slumping, he stops making rotations, he gives up on isolations, and the complaining to referees begins.

When Nash is trying on defense, he's capable of playing great isolation defense and can even do a very nice job as a weak-side shot blocker in the lane with his ridiculous vertical leap, but these instances were few and far between in his team's loss to Findlay.

Looking forward, maturity is clearly the thing Nash needs to work on the most, something he himself has actually acknowledged before. All of the physical attributes and skills are there, and he's capable of being a truly special player if he can put it altogether consistently. He will definitely be one of the most interesting players to watch in college next year, and is very likely to be a one-and-done prospect given his advanced body, age and skill set.

Myck Kabongo, 6-1, Point Guard, Findlay Prep, 2011
Committed to Texas


Joseph Treutlein

A player we've already profiled extensively over the course of his high school career, Myck Kabongo (#11 Scout, #24 Rivals, #10 ESPN) did about what you'd expect him to in his two games this weekend, intelligently managing his team's offense with his pure point guard prowess and leading Findlay to two impressive wins.

Playing a deferential scoring role with the depth of talent on his team, Kabongo has an extremely advanced feel for the game given his age, doing a great job reading what the defense gives him and showing great decision-making with the ball. He has an outstanding knack for finding open guys on the floor in position to score, and can make the full array of passes, be it transition, pick-and-roll, drive-and-kick, or simple passes around the perimeter.

Kabongo excelled most here with his drive-and-kick game, both penetrating all the way to the rim or making quick one-dribble moves toward the basket, doing a good job recognizing when the defense collapsed on him.

As far as Kabongo's own offense goes, he did a good job knocking down the few spot-up threes he took here, still having somewhat of a flat form but usually getting solid results when not pulling up. He didn't show much in terms of creating his own offense off the dribble, be it mid-range game or going to the rim, but has all the quickness to get past his man when he needs to. Definitely more passer than scorer at this stage, how good Kabongo be as a point producer is likely something we won't fully see until his team consistently needs him to do so at the college level.

Defensively, Kabongo also impresses, playing a cerebral, team-oriented style, showing good awareness and focus, constantly moving around off the ball, and being a very well-rounded, effective player.

Looking forward, Kabongo is an NCAA-ready player who should make an instant impact at Texas next season, where his unselfish brand of playmaking should be a welcome addition to a Longhorns team that's had so little consistency at the position the past few years. Continuing to improve his perimeter scoring and filling out his frame should be among his priorities, but his future looks extremely bright.

Wayne Blackshear, 6-5, SG/SF, Morgan Park, 2011
Committed to Louisville


Jonathan Givony

One of the top seniors playing at this event, Wayne Blackshear (#12 Scout, #32 Rivals, #18 ESPN) did not disappoint, coming back admirably from multiple injuries to lead his team to victory over a highly touted Garfield high school team.

A physically impressive wing player standing 6-5 with long arms and an absolutely chiseled frame, Blackshear is a very good athlete who also shows a nice skill-set and seemingly superb intangibles.

Offensively, Blackshear is not the most polished player you'll find, but is still able to put points on the board efficiently with his ability to score in transition and polished jump-shot.

In the open court, Blackshear is effective thanks to his terrific combination of strength and explosiveness, looking more than capable of overpowering defenders on his way to the rim and finishing impressively once there.

In the half-court, he has a very nice jump-shot that he's capable of converting both with his feet set and off the dribble. He's not a great shot-creator at this point, looking somewhat limited with his advanced ball-handling skills, but is a very unselfish player who is both willing and able to find the open man.

Defensively is where Blackshear will likely be able to make his mark the fastest at the college level. He not only has great tools to work with his excellent frame and lateral quickness, but is also a highly competitive player who shows no qualms whatsoever about sticking his nose into get the job done.

Even when battling a very painful knee injury he suffered early in the game we took in, Blackshear was still looking to slide into the paint and attempt to draw an offensive foul, something you rarely see from such a highly touted prospect at this level. He does good work for all these same reasons on the glass on both ends of the floor, picking up his team plenty of extra possessions along the way.

Blackshear is exactly the type of player college coaches dream of adding to their roster, as he's not just a winner but is extremely talented on top of that. There's little doubt that he'll come into Louisville and be able to contribute right away, even if he needs to continue to mature, gain experience, and improve his feel for the game and all-around polish, like all young players do.

Ben McLemore, 6-5, SG/SF, Oak Hill Academy, 2011
Uncommitted


Jonathan Givony

Somewhat underwhelming in the game we saw relative to his lofty recruiting rankings, Ben McLemore (#34 Scout, #17 Rivals, #39 ESPN) got lost in the shuffle a bit playing on a very deep and talented Oak Hill squad.

6-4 or 6-5, with very long arms, a strong frame and excellent athletic ability, it's not hard to tell what the recruiting services see in McLemore from a physical standpoint alone.

He also shows a very pretty shooting stroke, a strong first step, the ability to finish impressively in transition, and some very nice tools on the defensive end.

Beyond that, McLemore is very much a work in progress, as he seems to lack both the aggressiveness and ball-handling ability to make use of his impressive athleticism, and doesn't possess a great feel for the game at this stage of his career. His points come mostly in transition, from spot-up jumpers on the wing, and finishing any plays his teammates can create for him at the rim.

McLemore is a relatively inexperienced player relative to many of his peers, as he didn't play high-level AAU basketball until last spring, and only transferred to a major basketball school such as Oak Hill a few months ago. Based on the small glimpses he showed, and the accolades he's drawn, he's surely a player who is worth being patient with.

Feedback for this article may be sent to jonathan@draftexpress.com joe@draftexpress.com
 
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2010 National Prep Showcase: Best of the Rest
by: Jonathan Givony - President, Joseph Treutlein - Director of Scouting/Analytics
November 28, 2010
We continue our evaluation of the prospects seen at the National Prep Showcase in New Haven with a look at the rest of the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 recruits we were able to hone in on.

-National Prep Showcase Elite 2011 Prospects
-National Prep Showcase Elite 2012 Prospects


Nerlens Noel, 6-10, PF/C, Tilton School, 2013
Undecided


Jonathan Givony

One of the youngest players in attendance at the National Prep Showcase, Nerlens Noel (#3 ESPN) is already drawing accolades in recruiting circles as being one of the top prospects in his high school class. Noel was originally a member of the 2012 high school recruiting class, but elected to reclassify reportedly due to a knee injury

A legit 6-10, if not taller with his old-school flat-top, Noel has ideal physical tools for his position, with terrific size and length and a frame that should slowly fill out in time. He has an excellent upper body, but skinny legs that will need some work down the road. Already an outstanding athlete, Noel is an active, explosive big man who is quick off his feet and runs the floor extremely well.

Not a terribly skilled player at this juncture, Noel gets almost all of his offense with sheer hustle and desire. He has limited post moves, ball-handling skills and shooting range, but is able to make a significant impact on the game with his soft hands, ability to run the floor, explosiveness around the basket and activity on the offensive glass, not having any qualms at all about the type of player he is at this stage. He's a selfless teammate who moves the ball around the court intelligently and looks to have excellent intangibles, which is a great sign at this age.

Noel's best attribute right now has to revolve around his terrific shot-blocking instincts, as he has excellent timing to go along with his size, length and athleticism. He doesn't just rely on his physical tools to get the job done, as you regularly see him talking with his teammates on defense and already possesses a pretty good understanding of how to rotate on the perimeter and recover effectively. He puts a lot of pride into his work on this end of the floor, putting a huge effort into helping his team get stops, and pumping his chest after a big play, which really sets the tone for his teammates. It's not that often that you see a player this young so interested in playing defense, so it will be interesting to see how this continues down the road.

As exciting a prospect as Noel is right now, we must remember that he's still at a very early stage in his development, and still has a long ways to go on the offensive end in particular. If he continues to fill out his frame, improves his polish and plays with the same type of intensity he showed in New Haven, he's going to have an outstanding career.

Stefan Jankovic,6-9, Small Forward, 2012, Kiski
Undecided


Jonathan Givony

One of the more unique prospects seen this weekend, Stefan Jankovic (Unranked Scout, Unranked Rivals, Unranked ESPN) isn't a very well-known or highly regarded player in the US right now, but will surely be drawing heavy interest from high major schools shortly.

Jankovic stands out due to his rare combination of size, skills and smarts at the small forward position, standing 6-9, with terrific ball-handling ability. He is a fluid athlete with good mobility and the ability to play above the rim, and does an excellent job creating his own shot from the perimeter with either hand and getting to the basket with a nice first step and a terrific crossover. He'll regularly grab a rebound and handle the ball himself coast to coast, showing a little Hedo Turkoglu-type flair in the process.

Very fundamentally sound, Jankovic can pass off the bounce or take the ball all the way to the rim and finish impressively himself, even if he would be well served continuing to add strength to maximize his athletic potential. His broad shoulders and well -roportioned frame lead you to believe that he should be able to do so in time, but he must improve his toughness, as he shows little to no interest in taking advantage of his size inside and tends to struggle in traffic against more physically developed players.

As a shooter, Jankovic is somewhat streaky at this point, but should be able to develop considerably in this area as he has good mechanics and nice touch, and already shows the ability to make shots off the dribble. He looked more comfortable in his slashing ability than in his shooting here in New Haven, to the point that he may have passed up some good looks to instead over-dribble into traffic, which is something to keep track of down the line.

Defensively is where Jankovic might have to improve the most to show that he can play on the perimeter full time at the highest levels. His lateral quickness is just average guarding small forwards, and his effort level can look problematic at times. He has a tendency to shy away from contact at times, leading some to question his passion and toughness.

Born in Serbia, but having spent most of his life in Canada, Jankovic has the choice of playing for either country at the international level, and has yet to make that decision at this point in time. If he continues to play as well as he did in New Haven, both countries are going to be very interested in his services.

Robert Brown , 6-4, Shooting Guard, 2011, Hargrave Military Academy
Committed to Virginia Tech


Jonathan Givony

Despite sharing the ball with two more highly touted wing prospects on Hargrave Military Academy, Robert Brown (Unranked Scout, #105 Rivals, #84 ESPN) had no issues whatsoever proving his mettle as a big-time scorer at the high school level, pouring in 45 points in 59 minutes of action at the National Prep Showcase.

Brown shows average tools for his position, standing 6-4 with a skinny frame that he's clearly worked on but must continue to fill out over the next few years. He's a good, but not great athlete on top of that, mainly relying on his aggressive nature and solid skill-set to get the job done at this level.

Brown is a solid shooter with his feet set, also showing the ability to make shots off the dribble on occasion. He is an average shot-creator at the moment, showing improvable ball-handling skills and not being incredibly strong or explosive to compensate for that at this time. He makes up for that with good scoring instincts and an aggressive mentality, always looking hungry to put the ball in the basket. He struggles to finish through contact at times, but is not afraid to drive the ball right into the teeth of the defense to draw a foul or get his team a timely basket, and can also make the extra pass to an open teammate.

Defensively, Brown is a serious, competitive player with a solid wingspan and good toughness. He crashes the glass hard and likes to play the passing lanes, but can be a little bit overeager at times to make plays and is not immune to getting beat off the dribble by quicker or stronger matchups.

Brown had a strong showing at this tournament, even if he may not have the same upside as some of the other wing players seen here. If he continues to develop his frame and is able to round out his skill-set over the next few years, he'll likely be a productive contributor for Seth Greenberg in the ACC.

Marquis Rankin, 6-1, Point Guard, Hargrave Military Academy, 2011
Virginia Tech


Joseph Treutlein

A very quick and reactive point guard with a small frame and below average length, Marquis Rankin (#84 Scout, Unranked Rivals, #96 ESPN) is a dangerous player in the half-court both for his own scoring and playmaking ability.

Offensively, Rankin does the majority of his damage attacking the basket, taking advantage of his rangy first step and ability to finish with either hand in the lane. Despite his small stature, he has no problem throwing his body around and drawing contact, getting to the line very frequently and having no fear going into the teeth of the defense. He does a good job getting separation when he needs to by making reactive, rangy moves such as spins and crossovers, changing speeds and directions quickly to get past his man.

As a shooter, Rankin didn't show much here this weekend aside from a few spot-up shots, but appears to have good form and does a decent job from the free-throw line while also showing flashes of three-point range. Further developing this area will be key to his long-term success.

As a playmaker, Rankin does a solid job managing his team's offense, making mostly simple passes in the flow of the offense to get his assists, but also mixing in drive and dishes as well. He definitely looks to score more than pass when in the lane, but seems to have found a pretty good balance given his skill set.

Defensively, Rankin shows a good stance but is prone to being beat at times, as he's often physically overmatched and doesn't seem to put in as much effort on this end of the floor.

Despite the fact that his upside is limited somewhat by his average physical tools, Rankin appears to have the makings of a good college point guard and should be a steady contributor for Virginia Tech from day one. Further developing his playmaking and outside shooting skills will be critical to his long-term success, along with improving his defense.

Naadir Tharpe, 6-0, Point Guard, Brewster Academy, 2011
Committed to Kansas


Joseph Treutlein

Naadir Tharpe (#94 Scout, #91 Rivals, #73 ESPN) didn't have the greatest weekend here, not getting into the same rhythm as the last time we saw him, struggling to consistently manage his team's offense at times and having some troubles on the defensive end.

Offensively, Tharpe once again displayed his abilities as a distributor, namely showing off excellent abilities with his post entry passes while also making simple assists by finding open shooters in the halfcourt or passing ahead in transition. He showed off good ball-handling and vision throughout the week, though had some problems with turnovers and keeping his team's offense flowing smoothly at times.

As for his own offense, Tharpe did a good job finishing in the lane by displaying good body control and hitting lay-ups and floaters, though didn't have the same success with his perimeter jumper, something that appears to be streaky.

Defensively, Tharpe had major problems in the second game where he let his man blow past him a handful of times, looking overmatched physically and not showing the greatest lateral foot speed.

Tharpe may not be of the same quality of prospects that fans in Lawrence are typically used to seeing in a Kansas uniform, but he has all the makings of a solid college player. He's an unselfish point guard with a good feel for the game, and should develop into a solid rotation player for Bill Self, especially later on in his career.

Myles Davis, 6-3, PG/SG, Notre Dame Prep, 2012
Undecided


Joseph Treutlein

A thickly built shooting guard forced to run the point with his school's unbalanced roster, Myles Davis (Unranked Scout, Rivals, ESPN) is a gritty player who plays hard on both ends of the floor. From an athletic standpoint, Davis quickness and explosiveness are both underwhelming, though he makes up for it in part with toughness and hustle.

On the offensive end, Davis' game heavily revolves around his jump shot, which he can hit spotting up or pulling up off the dribble and already has NBA three-point range. Davis hit a variety of threes in his two games here, many of which were pulling up with a hand in his face, and he does a very good job keeping his balance in those situations.

In terms of attacking the basket, Davis wasn't able to do much in a half-court setting, not having the athleticism to consistently turn the corner or elevate over opposition in the lane, though he did a good job not forcing the issue with his own shots and instead making some solid but unspectacular drive and dishes. He doesn't show the passing instincts or have the feel to run a team's offense as a full-time point guard, but it's clear he's not a selfish player and is trying to make the transition.

Defensively, Davis has an aggressive stance with good fundamentals, and he does a good job of really pestering the opposition without losing control. He did an especially good job defensively in his second game, where he drew an impressive three charges coming both on and off the ball.

Looking forward, Davis already projects as a deadly outside shooter and tough defender at the college level, though concerns about his position and athleticism may be tough to overcome projecting to the next level.

Wayne Selden, 6-4, Shooting Guard, Tilton School, 2014
Undecided


Jonathan Givony

One of the youngest players in attendance at the National Prep Showcase, you would have never guessed that Wayne Selden is just a freshman in high school based on the way he carried himself at this event. Standing around 6-3, with a nice frame, good length and solid athleticism, Selden looked like he fit in comfortably from a physical standpoint with players who were as much as four years older than him.

Selden's biggest contribution in his lone outing in New Haven had to revolve around his perimeter shooting ability, knocking down an impressive six 3-pointers in the lone game we saw. He has somewhat of a slow and flat-footed release, but was deadly with his feet set, knocking down shots from well beyond the arc at times, and doing so confidently at that.

Selden also showed some shot-creating ability, driving the ball both left and right with a nice first step and even finishing around the rim emphatically when given the opportunity to do so. He appears to have solid court vision as well, making some very heady, creative passes to teammates that demonstrated a pretty advanced feel for a game.

Selden certainly isn't a bashful freshman, he talks quite a bit with his teammates, directing traffic confidently and showing far more maturity than you would expect from your average freshman. His lack of experience showed on a couple of occasions in the form of some bad decisions, but all in all it was tough not to be impressed with he handled himself on the court.

While it's certainly way too early to be drawing any long-term conclusions about a player this young, Selden looks like a guy to keep an eye on for the future based on his performance at this tournament, particularly if he continues to grow and develop his skill-set.

Shaquille Thomas, 6-8, Small Forward, Alif Muhammad NIA, 2011
Committed to Cincinnati


Joseph Treutlein

The nephew of former NBA player Tim Thomas, Shaq Thomas (#97 Scout, #132 Rivals, #93 ESPN) is a smooth and long athlete with a solid developing skill set, though still appears a ways away from putting it together.

Thomas does most of his damage offensively operating from the mid-range area where he shows a comfortable handle and good instincts in finding open space, mixing in crossovers and turnaround jumpers to get open. He shows the ability to hit a lot of tough, contested shots in the 10-15 foot range, though his shot selection definitely leaves something to be desired, and his deep range is not consistent.

While Thomas will occasionally have an impressive athletic dunk on an open cut to the basket, he is not a physically assertive player, preferring to operate with finesse and not seeking out contact with his slight frame. Defensively, things are worse, where Thomas is frequently lackadaisical in his efforts, letting his man beat him in isolation or not boxing out for rebounds, playing nowhere near his potential.

Looking forward, Thomas has some intriguing physical tools and flashes of potent skills, but his approach to the game is holding him back from reaching his potential, though he still has plenty of time to get things together.

Anthony Joseph Perez Cortesia, 6-9, Small Forward, Lee Academy, 2012
Undecided


Jonathan Givony

Although not particularly productive in the two games we saw him play here, Anthony Joseph Perez-Cortesia (Unranked Scout, Rivals, ESPN) (or Anthony Perez-Cortesia or Anthony Cortesia) is still worthy of a mention due to the intriguing skill-set he shows.

A legit 6-8 or 6-9 small forward with nice athleticism, Cortesia is a solid ball-handler with good range on his jumper. He can create his own shot with a nice first step and excellent footwork, and is very effective in transition, showing outstanding fluidity and dexterity for a player his size. When left open on the perimeter, Cortesia has pretty shooting mechanics and the ability to make jumpers with range well past the 3-point line.

Cortesia still seems to be getting his feet wet when it comes to the level of competition he's seeing here in the US, as he only recently arrived from his native country of Venezuela. His toughness, fundamentals and intensity level aren't where they need to be at the moment, as he lacks the strength to finish effectively around the basket and is almost a non-factor defensively and on the glass. He refuses to use his size and athleticism in the paint in post-up situations, and didn't show any interest at all in crashing the glass on either end of the floor. Offensively, he's a bit passive and doesn't seem to know how to use his tools effectively just yet.

Cortesia is rumored to be leaning to committing to Frank Martin at Kansas State, and that might be the best thing possible for him considering the things he needs to work on and the discipline that is demanded of players at that program. Once his effort level and toughness starts to catch up with his talent, Cortesia could be a very interesting prospect.

Elijah Carter, 6-2, Point Guard, Brewster Academy, 2011
Undecided


Joseph Treutlein

An athletic combo guard with very good length and a solid build, Elijah Carter (Unranked Scout, #109 Rivals, Unranked ESPN) is a dynamic weapon on the offensive end with a decent set of developing skills.

In terms of scoring the ball, Carter is at his best going to the basket, where he finishes well with good body control, creativity, and touch. He finished on a variety of floaters, lay-ups, and finger-rolls this week, adjusting in the lane to help-side defenders when necessary. He isn't the greatest ball-handler, but he takes advantage of holes in the defense in the half-court and transition.

Carter's perimeter jumper is inconsistent at this stage, though he shows the ability to hit spotting up and pulling up, showing little hesitation to throw up shots when he's open. His shot selection can use some work, as could his somewhat sloppy shooting form.

As a point guard, Carter is still very much a score first player, while he doesn't appear to yet have the mentality to run a team full time. He occasionally makes some nice passes on drive-and-dishes or in transition, but is looking for his own offense in most situations.

Defensively, despite showing good ability at times, Carter takes plays off too frequently and is prone to getting beat off the dribble due to not moving his feet, though to his credit he will try and stay in plays even after he's beat.

Looking forward, Carter will need to work on being a more balanced floor general should he make the transition to the point guard transition, and should work on being more consistent with his perimeter shooting and defense regardless of what position he ends up playing. If he's able to do so, he has all the makings of a very good college player.

Durand Johnson, 6-6, SG/SF, Brewster Academy, 2011
Committed to Pittsburgh


Joseph Treutlein

A long and athletic wing who plays strong two-way basketball, Durand Johnson (Unranked Scout, #115 Rivals, Unranked ESPN) had a good weekend here and is an interesting prospect over the long term.

On the offensive end, Johnson is a dynamic scorer who can put the ball in the basket in a variety of ways, being dangerous both from the perimeter and attacking the basket. Johnson struggled with his outside shot in the games here, not hitting from three-point range this weekend, but he showed good form and has a reputation as a good shooter, something that is easy to see.

In terms of attacking the basket, Johnson shows good body control and creativity along with the ability to change hands with the ball and finish with both hands at the rim, while he also has no problems drawing contact, getting to the free-throw line frequently this weekend,

Defensively, Johnson has a very aggressive stance with good fundamentals, and does a great job using his length to bother the opposition, getting into his man well both on and off the ball.

Looking forward, Johnson has good physical tools for either wing position while having a nice set of skills and the mentality to consistently play hard on both ends of the floor. His game could still use more polish in all areas and developing better consistency on his outside shots and more strength for his frame would both help, but he already is on track to be a very good college player, and something more down the line isn't out of the question.

Feedback for this article may be sent to jonathan@draftexpress.com joe@draftexpress.com
 
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2010 National Prep Showcase: Elite 2012 Prospects
by: Jonathan Givony - President, Joseph Treutlein - Director of Scouting/Analytics
November 24, 2010
We continue our evaluation of the top prospects seen at the National Prep Showcase in New Haven with a look at the elite 2012 high school players in attendance, including Andre Drummond, Alex Murphy, Ricky Ledo, Kaleb Tarczewski and Hanner Perea.

Andre Drummond, 6-10, Center, St. Thomas More, 2012
Undecided


Joseph Treutlein

Likely the player with the highest ceiling of anyone seen this weekend, Andre Drummond (#1 Scout, #1 Rivals, #1 ESPN) has elite NBA tools from a physical standpoint, possessing ideal size, length, bulk, mobility, coordination, and explosiveness for the center position, while also showing occasional flashes of skills to go along with it. This was an up and down two games for Drummond, as he showed moments of brilliance dispersed between long periods of complacency, something that is frustrating to see from a player capable of so much.

From what we saw a year ago, Drummond has made strides in a few areas, the first of which is with his surprisingly deft passing ability, something uncharacteristic for a player his age with his physical profile. Drummond takes full advantage of his size in surveying the floor, showing excellent court vision from the low post, high post, and perimeter, frequently looking to pass to others before looking for his own shot. He had five assists between the two games here and a handful more nice passes, making bounce passes and chest passers to open cutters and shooters alike.

While Drummond's passing ability is very unique and intriguing from a long-term perspective, it heavily plays into a major problem with his game: his lack of assertiveness in using his physical tools. Rarely will Drummond use his body to establish strong post position or call for the ball on the block, being much more content to run out to the perimeter and serve as a passing cog in his team's offense. When he does get the ball, he usually opts for weak finesse moves like turnaround jumpers and hook shots, neither of which he converts consistently.

In the second half of his second game here, a close game his team lost in overtime, Drummond finally woke up and started getting physical, making it obvious how dominant he's capable of being when he puts his lower body into his opponent and calls for the ball, as no one at this level is able to stop him in such instances. Drummond's ridiculous lower and upper body strength combined with his size and explosiveness allow him to seal his man low and dunk over them with ease when he wants to, and the scary thing is he should be able to continue to do similar things against most college and many NBA opponents should he try to. The problem is he seems much more inclined to be a Vlade Divac-style passer/perimeter player than a Shaquille O'Neal-style low post bruiser.

Defensively, one thing that became immediately apparent in watching Drummond play is how his awareness and positioning have improved in the past season, as he brings a good (albeit somewhat fleeting) level of attentiveness on this end of the floor. While he is prone to losing focus when plays draw on too long, he does a good job manning the paint and rotating to the help-side, while also showing flashes of elite level pick-and-roll defense, as his combination of size, mobility, and excellent hands make him a terror hedging and shutting down passing lanes, as he broke up and picked off a few pick-and-roll passes here.

On the down side, he still can be out of control when closing out on the perimeter, while he likewise is prone to biting for pump fakes patrolling the lane. As a shot blocker, he is active contesting shots all over the lane, while showing good discipline in not roaming too far from the basket, often forcing the opposition to take high difficulty runners and floaters over his out-stretched hands.

As a man-to-man post defender is where Drummond shows the most cause for concern on the defensive end, showing poor fundamentals and understanding of leverage, not getting great positioning and not asserting himself the way he's capable of. His physical tools here are obviously superb, and he has the potential to be an elite post defender in the NBA, though he has a very long ways to go.

Rebounding is another area where Drummond isn't playing up to his potential, as he often isn't assertive in tracking down caroms, trying to pull in or tip balls with one hand rather than reaching up with both to secure, something he's very capable of doing consistently with his size, length, and hands.

Looking forward, the sky is the limit for Drummond, and while it's easy to be harsh on him for not taking advantage of the things he's capable of, it's important to remember that he's still just 17 years old and he already is capable of doing many things at a very high level. While his demeanor hasn't improved much in the past year, he has shown a learning curve from a skills perspective, and there's still plenty of time for him to grow. With him already flashing abilities to excel in the passing game and in pick-and-roll defense, Drummond has the potential to be an extremely unique player down the road, as those things are rare from players with his physical profile, especially if he can complement those abilities with the dominating post game so many people are waiting for him to develop.

Alex Murphy, 6-8, Small Forward, St. Mark's, 2012
Undecided


Joseph Treutlein

A legitimate swingman with great size and solid athleticism for his position, Alex Murphy (#9 Scout, #11 Rivals, #6 ESPN) is pretty well developed for his age, having a versatile skill set and very good feel for the game.

On the offensive end, Murphy's game relies around his crafty ball-handling and shot creating abilities, doing most of his damage slashing to the basket where he can finish with either hand. Murphy has a very high degree of coordination, changing directions and speeds very well with the ball while being capable of dribbling confidently with either hand. At the basket he shows great body control and can finish in a variety of ways, be it lay-ups, runners, or floaters, while he's also tough enough to draw contact and get to the line when necessary.

While Murphy's overall level of athleticism is good, he isn't at an elite level in terms of raw explosiveness or power, something that hinders his ability to finish in certain situations, having to rely heavily on skill and finesse in traffic. His strength in general could also improve some, though he has plenty of time to do that.

Murphy didn't show much in terms of an outside shot in the one game he played this weekend, while also hitting just 4-of-8 from the free-throw line. His shooting form looks decent enough and is reported to be a good shooter according to high school scouting services, though perhaps it just wasn't on display in this game.

Murphy also contributes in areas other than scoring, as he has a good feel for the game and is willing to do the little things, showing good court vision and instincts in the passing game and the willingness to crash the glass and take advantage of his size on the boards, something he displayed here by pulling in an impressive 17 rebounds.

Defensively, Murphy has great fundamentals, showing a good stance and making good use of his solid length, showing ability both on the perimeter and in the post. His effort level can fall off a bit at times here, though for the most part stays on focus, as his highly demanding coach at this level, David Lubick, is quick to sit him on the bench if he isn't giving it his all.

Looking forward, Murphy has all the makings of an outstanding college player, and there's good reason he's ranked as highly as he is by the high school scouting services. Filling out his frame and further developing his perimeter game both need to be among his priorities, and will be critical for him in reaching his long-term, next level potential.

Ricard Ledo, 6-4, PG/SG, 2012, South Kent
Undecided


Jonathan Givony

One of the most naturally talented players at this event regardless of class, Ricky/Ricardo Ledo (#10 Scout, #7 Rivals, #13 ESPN) showed off both the good and the bad of his game at the National Prep Showcase. A 6-4 combo guard with terrific quickness and overall fluidity, everything seems to come easy for Ledo out on the basketball floor.

Ledo operated as his team's primary ball-handler in New Haven, seeing time at both guard positions. He can create his own shot smoothly and with great creativity, showing terrific timing on his drives and being able to change speeds and directions effortlessly. He can finish in a variety of ways around the basket, often using a pretty floater from tough angles. Very difficult to keep out of the lane when focused and motivated, he's clearly an advanced scorer and all-around shot-creator.

Not a terribly explosive leaper once he actually gets into the paint, Ledo blew a number of good looks around the rim due to his lack of strength and tendency to finish softly in traffic. He's such a talented shot-maker that he often tries to get cute and make things more difficult on himself around the rim than he should, rather than just going up strong for the easy finish.

Listed right now as a shooting guard by most recruiting services, Ledo shows combo guard and potentially even point guard potential with his excellent court vision and the creative way in which he approaches the game. Unselfish and highly instinctive, he made some terrific drive and dish plays that hinted at great things that could be in store for him as his knowledge of the game improves with added maturity and experience.

As a shooter, Ledo is somewhat of a mixed bag at this point. He showed the ability to make shots from well beyond the 3-point line, even off the dribble, but has inconsistent mechanics and tends to overestimate himself, settling for some very difficult contested pull-up jumpers at times. Generally speaking, Ledo's decision making skills are still lagging far behind his actual talent level, which is not a surprise considering his age.

Defensively, Ledo has all the tools needed to develop into a lock-down type if he puts his mind to it, as he has quick feet, long arms and excellent instincts. This resulted in some spectacular steals and blocks on occasion. His effort level just isn't there consistently at the moment yet, and he often loses his focus, particularly off the ball.

The most concerning thing about Ledo might be his body language. When things aren't going his way he seems to hang his head, give up on plays, complain, or just disappear for long stretches. He obviously has some maturing to do still. This is something to keep an eye on for the future.

All in all, Ledo is clearly a superb talent who will be in the discussion as one of the top guards in his class if he continues to develop on and off the court. He's already bounced around a decent amount before even starting his junior year of high school, so that's something to keep an eye on for the future.


Kaleb Tarczewski, 7-0, Center, 2012, St. Marks
Undecided


Jonathan Givony

A legit 7-footer with athleticism and an excellent frame, it doesn't take very long to figure out why Kaleb Tarczewski (#12 Scout, #13 Rivals, #24 ESPN) is considered such a highly touted prospect. He provides his team with a major presence inside the paint on both ends of the floor, and looks to be a hard working player on top of that.

Offensively, Tarczewski is fairly raw as you would expect from a 16-year old 7-footer, but can already make his impact felt in a couple of ways. He has excellent hands first and foremost and does a good job of catching the ball high and finishing plays above the rim, showing excellent potential as a pick and roll finisher.

Tarczewski seems to have been very well coached early on in his career, as his fundamentals appear to be quite strong. Although not terribly fluid at this stage, he has some budding footwork inside the post and some signs of a jump-hook and turn-around jumper, two moves that should serve him well and he continues to improve his offensive polish. At this level he can also make an impact with his sheer size, strength and athleticism, running the floor and crashing the offensive glass, things he did well in the lone game we saw.

Defensively, Tarczewski is a huge presence with his terrific physical tools, and seems to have some solid instincts to work with as well. He boxes out opponents, can block shots, hedges the pick and roll impressively, and seems to want to compete on each and every possession, which is a great sign at this early stage. Foul trouble will likely be an issue early on in his career, but his basketball IQ appears to be above average, which will surely help him down the road.

While it's certainly way too early to be jumping to any long-term conclusions, there are a lot of things to like about Tarczewski's potential at this preliminary stage. He'll surely have his choice of attending any college in America (Kansas is rumored to be in the lead), and as long as he continues to develop, we'll certainly be revisiting his progress in the future.

Hanner Perea, 6-7, Power Forward, 2012, La Lumiere
Committed to Indiana


Jonathan Givony

Just a few months after evaluating him for the first time at the adidas National Experience in Chicago, there really isn't very much new info to add to Hanner Perea's (#21 Scout, #10 Rivals, #42 ESPN) scouting report.

Perea is still the same freakishly athletic forward with a great body and arms down to his knees. His skill level and fundamentals remain poor, though, as he struggled make his presence felt in both games we saw and really didn't produce like you would expect from such a highly touted prospect at this level of competition.

Offensively, Perea is very limited, as if he doesn't get the ball in the immediate vicinity of the basket, he has major problems scoring. He lacks the post moves to take advantage of his strength around the paint, possesses little in the ways of a jump-shot, and is only really able to put the ball on the floor in a straight line when attacking the basket from the perimeter.

Perea's feel for the game is clearly underdeveloped at the moment, and he'll need to learn how to use his athleticism to impact games better than he can right now. He got lost in many of his team's half-court sets and struggled to do much of anything outside of transition plays. Defensively, he wasn't as much of a factor as he should have been, biting on pump-fakes, getting into foul trouble, and not rebounding quite as well as you might hope. While Perea's long-term potential remains very high due to his excellent physical tools, he'll have to work very hard over the next few years to avoid the dreaded “just an athlete” label.

Feedback for this article may be sent to jonathan@draftexpress.com joe@draftexpress.com
 
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adidas Nations Experience: Top 2012 High School Prospects
by: Jonathan Givony - President
September 12, 2010
Kyle Anderson, 6-8, Shooting Guard/Small Forward, 2012

Kyle Anderson is a big, smooth guard who towers over his opponents at 6-foot-8 and is an extremely mature young prospect with an advanced feel for the game. He is a very good ball-handler for his size – he even saw minutes at point guard for the 2012 team – and shows excellent passing skills, finding teammates off the dribble and looking highly unselfish in the process. He plays a slow, deliberate style that you rarely see from a player this young. He usually makes the extra pass and looks fundamentally sound.

Anderson is not a particularly athletic guy. He lacks a great first step and doesn't have overwhelming explosiveness. He looked somewhat limited trying to defend the perimeter as well with his poor lateral quickness. His nickname is “Slow-Mo,” after all, and he earned that for a reason.

He's more of a facilitator than a big-time scorer, although he does seem to have solid shooting mechanics from the perimeter. He also has a tendency to dominate the ball a little too much and dribble excessively before getting his team into their offense. In the paint, he has trouble scoring around length at times due to his below-the-rim style of play.

The high school recruiting services don't seem all that enamored with Anderson based on where they're ranking him right now. It's clear he doesn't have the same upside as some of the other guard prospects at this event. Still, rarely do you find a player this young with such an advanced feel for the game. That should carry Anderson pretty far if he continues to round out his skill level over the next few years.


Shabazz Muhammad, 6-5, Shooting Guard, 2012

Shabazz Muhammad is one of the most intriguing long-term prospects seen at this event. It's pretty clear from watching him here that he has an excellent future ahead of him.

A pure scorer would be the best way to describe Muhammad's game. He's as aggressive and confident an offensive player as you'll find in the high school ranks. Muhammad shows a quick first step and a knack for creating his own shot and getting to the basket. He doesn't need much daylight to get his shot off and can put the ball in the rim in a variety of different ways. Left-handed, he's particularly fond of using the glass in transition. As explosive as he is around the basket, it's Muhammad's craftiness scoring in the paint that makes him stand out so much.

Floaters with either hand, smooth lefty pull-ups, crafty scoop shots, post moves, turnaround jumpers or just putting himself in the right place at the right time for an offensive rebound, Muhammad finds a way to fill up the score sheet and looks determined to do so every time he steps out on the floor. He's very business-like in the way he goes about things. He's always around the ball, and he's never afraid to step up and take responsibility when the situation calls for it.

Muhammad's aggressiveness in putting up points could rub people the wrong way at times, as he doesn't appear particularly apologetic about the way he produces on the offensive end. He tends to dribble aimlessly and force the issue at times and displays questionable shot selection. He still needs to improve his decision making and his passing ability and cut down on turnovers.


Winston Shepard, 6-8, SF/PF, 2012

Winston Shepard is a long, athletic combo forward who is extremely aggressive on the offensive end. He passes the eye test on first glance and definitely has many of the budding characteristics you look for in an intriguing long-term prospect. He's outstanding in transition with terrific explosiveness and a knack for getting to the basket thanks to a quick first step. Shepard is still working on his offensive polish, but he looks to be on his way to emerging as a legit small forward. His perimeter shooting skills need work, as do his ball-handling and passing skills, but his talent level and aggressiveness allow him to make things happen on both ends of the floor. He's a highly competitive guy capable of making plays all over the court thanks to his terrific physical profile. This gives him excellent potential on the defensive end as well.


Amile Jefferson, 6-7, SF/PF, 2012

Amile Jefferson is one of the most highly regarded members of the 2012 high school class. He showed some intriguing characteristics in Chicago. A long, skinny 6-foot-7 forward who is clearly stuck in between positions right now, Jefferson is a good athlete who does a little bit of everything and definitely seems to have the intangibles you look for in a young developing prospect. He is fairly smart and unselfish offensively. He's also very competitive and puts a good effort in on the defensive end. He struggles to make shots from the perimeter, showing very poor mechanics; but he manages to produce offensively thanks to his ability to get to the rim with a quick first step and big, long strides. He has an affinity for mixing things up in the post. Jefferson's game is a bit on the awkward side at the moment — nothing that he does looks particularly smooth — but he's effective at this level. He grows on you the more you watch him.

Edited by Patrick Crawley, Sports Editor, Neon Tommy.

Feedback for this article may be sent to jonathan@draftexpress.com
 
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