Top NBA Prospects in the AAC, Part 1: Montrezl Harrell Scouting Video October 21, 2013
Mike Schmitz is the video analyst for DraftExpress. Follow him on twitter and subscribe to the DraftExpress YouTube page. He will be breaking down the NBA draft in digital format all year long for us. [Read Full Article] USA Basketball U19 World Championship Training Camp Report, Part Two June 19, 2013 A complete unknown at these same tryouts last year, Montrezl Harrell rode a strong showing here in Colorado Springs into a very solid freshman season, getting better and better as the year went on and creating significant expectations leading into his sophomore year.
Harrell showed that he's ready to live up to those expectations with another very good week in Colorado Springs, having improved his frame and diversified his game a bit from when we last saw him.
Harrell's primary intrigue continues to revolve heavily around his superb physical attributes. Standing 6-10 in shoes with a body that continues to fill out, he arms seemingly run down to his knees. He's one of the most athletic big men you'll find too, running the floor exceptionally well, competing non-stop for offensive rebounds, and just attacking the rim relentlessly every moment he was on the court. A terrific target for lobs, Harrell is a fantastic finisher around the basket, having very reliable hands and the ability to make plays in traffic.
Not very advanced with his back to the basket, Harrell would rather face up and attack his man off the dribble rather than trying to back opponents down in the post, as he doesn't possess great footwork or any real go-to move. His first step is a very dangerous weapon, though, particularly as he improves his ball-handling skills, and he's complimenting that more and more lately with the threat of his jump-shot. Harrell made a number of very nice looking jumpers in the mid-range, and even knocked down a corner 3-pointer at one point, something that may hint at good things to come in the future from him.
Defensively, Harrell's energy-level was outstanding, which combined with his length, quickness and explosiveness makes him quite a force on this end of the floor when dialed in. He made a couple of nice deflections and blocks, and showed good potential hedging screens versus the pick and roll, even if he's not as good of a defensive rebounder as you might hope, partially due to his just-average awareness and fundamentals.
Harrell looks ready to step into the big shoes left by outgoing Louisville center Gorgui Dieng next season, and should be a major part of anything this USA squad is able to accomplish at the U19 World Championship in Prague. He's someone NBA teams will be tracking closely both this summer and over the course of his sophomore year. [Read Full Article] 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]