USA Basketball U18 Tryouts Report June 6, 2012 Recent Louisville commit Montrezl Harrell has shined consistently through the first two days of practices, showing a terrific combination of length, athleticism and intensity which has allowed him to be a consistent force attacking the rim with ferocity, often finsihing in highlight reel fashion. Seemingly wanting the ball just a little more than some of the other big men prospects here, he's made his presence felt on the offensive glass every time he's stepped on the floor, and has also done a good job contesting shots inside the paint on the defensive end as well.
Nowhere near a finished product on either end of the floor, Harrell clearly lacks much in the ways of experience and polish, but has shown intriguing flashes in a number of key areas. His mid-range jumper has potential, while he's also been able to beat opposing big men off the bounce in small doses, sometimes utilizing nifty shot-fakes. With that said, he'll need to improve his fundamentals on defense before he's able to earn the full trust of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, and also would be well served to improve his off-hand and overall ability to score with his back to the basket.
Still, it's difficult not to feel like Harrell is a significantly better prospect than he was billed as coming into this event, and it will be very interesting to follow his progress this upcoming season.
We spoke with Harrell after the first day of tryouts and got his thoughts on his future and what it means for him to wear a USA jersey:
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One of the most physically mature players we saw this weekend, Montrezl Harrell (#99 ESPN, #68 Scout, #86 Rivals) had a very strong showing in his two games here, and appears as if he could have an instant impact in Blacksburg next year.
Standing 6'8 with excellent length, an outstanding frame, and a very high level of strength, Montrezl Harrell is a very good athlete who plays a game well suited to his physical traits, being a bruiser around the basket and constantly looking to power up for strong finishes at the rim.
Harrell is still coming along from a skills perspective, but where he excels most at this stage is using his high motor and great frame to consistently carve out space around the basket, getting open for finishes in a variety of ways. He's an especially potent threat on cuts and alley-oops in the halfcourt, elevating well off the floor and showing no problems finishing through contact. Harrell made a number of enthusiastic dunks over the course of the weekend made some timely plays for his team as well, being a key cog in what they did on offense.
In terms of his more refined skills, Harrell is limited both in the post and on the perimeter, but has some tools to work with. He has the makings of a nice power game in the post with a strong drop-step and nice ability to explode off it for dunks, but the rest of his game is pretty lacking after that. He tried some hook shots with little success, and really lacks much in terms of a finesse game at this point, being raw overall.
Harrell doesn't show much more in terms of perimeter skills, not showing much evidence of a mid-range game, while adding a spot-up jumper to his repertoire to become a floor spacing and pick-and-pop threat should definitely be among his long-term priorities.
Harrell's biggest question mark at this stage, however, is how committed he'll be on the other end of the court, as he was largely a mixed bag on the defensive end here. While Harrell does a good job using his tools on the glass, boxing out and pursuing well, he is fairly inattentive with both his man-to-man and team defense, often not putting in the effort to move laterally in isolation or step up in the lane for help-side blocks. For the type of player he is with the tools he has, showing improvements here will likely be critical to his long-term success in college and beyond. [Read Full Article]