Adidas Derby Classic Recap

Adidas Derby Classic Recap
Apr 19, 2005, 08:53 pm
While it had to compete with the Jordan Classic, the Adidas Derby Classic yielded a very solid group of high school players. Most of the players playing in the game are not NBA prospects at the moment, but they will be in a few years. Two players playing in the game, Brandon Rush and Clarence Holloway, were both considering the NBA draft, so felt it necessary to cover the event to give you guys the most comprehensive draft coverage on the internet. Here are our takes on the players in the game:

Brandon Rush
6'6, 202 lbs; WG/WF; Entering NBA draft
13 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 blocks, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 6 of 10 shooting, 1 of 1 3pt, 0 of 0 FT, 19 minutes

With the Derby Classic being viewed as the fifth best high school all star game by most analysts (behind the McDonald's game, Hoop Summit, Roundball Classic, and Jordan Classic), one would expect that a consensus top 5 player would dominate a game filled with what some would call mostly second tier players. While Rush did not dominate like he expected, he didn't really hurt himself that much either. Coming into the Derby Classic, scouts knew that Rush was extremely athletic, could slash with the best of them, and possessed NBA 3 point range on his shot. They also knew that he was a poor ball handler and sometimes didn't make the world's best decisions. Tonight, Rush lived up to his stereotype. Offensively, Rush struggled handling the ball. Any fan in attendance could tell that Rush wasn't very comfortable bringing the ball up the floor when he had to and would much rather receive the ball on the wing and only have to create off of a few dribbles. I believe Brandon had 2 dunks to go along with a very impressive play in which he went up as if he were going to dunk the ball with his right hand, then switched the ball over to his left hand for a lay-up. He showed NBA range on his lone three point attempt, which he connected on. To make a long story short, Rush needed to show his ability to handle the ball, which he failed miserably in doing.

Defensively, Rush got torched by Louisville recruit Terrance Williams. To his defense, there was not a player in the gym who could guard Williams, but received it more then any other player. Brandon was unable to keep up with Williams' incredibly quick first step. Rush also had a pretty low number of rebounds for a WF (2). Rush has all of the potential in the world to be a solid defender due to his long arms and good quickness. I just don't think anyone has really taught him HOW to play defense yet.

Overall, I would say that Brandon's draft stock will remain the same. He didn't really show us anything that we didn't know, but didn't do anything to hurt his stock THAT much. I personally feel that he should go to school to work out the few holes he has in his game, and then begin considering the NBA, but with the NBA draft being based almost solely on potential nowadays, you can't really blame him for testing the waters.

Terrence Williams
6'6, 207 lbs; WF; Louisville
32 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals, 3 turnovers, 14 of 23 shooting, 2-9 3pt, 2-2 FT, 30 minutes
MVP for the black team

The first thing that stands out to fans is Terrence's amazing physique. He honestly looks like he could be a linebacker for Louisville's college football team. During the slam dunk competition, Williams wowed the crowd with a windmill in which he switched the ball from his right to his left rim, an arm in the rim dunk (a la Vince Carter), an amazing between the legs dunk, and then a between the legs dunk off of a lob. He is a truly marvelous athlete.

As far as the game was concerned, Williams was the best player on the floor. He showed an absolutely amazing first step, the ability to shoot from deep, and the ability to simply outleap any player on the floor. Terrence abused absolutely any player who was guarding him with his great quickness and strength. Defensively, I didn't focus on Terrence too much as I had many other players that I had to focus on. As far as his NBA potential, Terrence must work on his ball handling skills in order to play small forward at the next level. Greg Paulus mentioned to me that he thought Williams reminded him of Corey Maggette. It must be noted that Terrence seemed to be closer to 6'4 then 6'6. Whatever his actual height may be, it is a given that he will be one of the most exciting players in college basketball next year for the Cardinals.

Mario Chalmers
6'2, 165 lbs.; PG; Kansas
21 points, 4 rebounds, 10 assists, 0 blocks, 4 steals, 4 turnovers, 7 of 16 shooting, 2 of 6 3pt, 5-5 FT, 32 minutes

After being considered a shoot first point guard by most, Chalmers did a great job trying to shed that label by handing out 10 assists tonight. Even though Mario posted very impressive assist numbers, it was still evident that he was looking to score first, then get the ball to his teammates. He showed his three point range and did a pretty good job breaking his defender down to get into the lane. Defensively, Paulus gave him a few problems, but then again, who doesn't Paulus give problems to. Mario will definitely have to work on his physique at Kansas, as I already see him being posted by stronger point guards. It is a bit early to talk about the NBA for Chalmers, but I do see him contributing right away next year for the Jayhawks.

Greg Paulus
6'1, 180 lbs; PG; Duke
11 points, 4 rebounds, 10 assists, 0 blocks, 2 steals, 5 turnovers, 4-6 shooting, 3-4 3pt, 0-0 FT 19 minutes
MVP for the Gold team

Greg continued his amazing point guard play in his third and final high school all star game. He started this off by advancing to the finals in both the two on two tournament and the 3 point contest. Paulus ran the pick and roll to perfection with Vernon Goodridge. The duo wound up losing in the finals to Joey Shaw and Chad Millard, as they combined for four quick thee pointers to put the Duke bound recruit's team out. As in the McDonald's game and Hoop Summit, Greg did an amazing job of getting all of his teammates involved, dishing out 10 assists in only 19 minutes of action. What really stood out tonight was Greg's ability to knock down contested three pointers and score when he wanted to. Just like in the two on two competition, he ran the pick and roll absolutely perfectly, doing an excellent job of reading the defense and making the proper decisions. Two things that were a bit different this game were that Greg was actually willing to shoot when open (went 3-4 on three pointers), and he actually had a few turnovers. As far as the turnovers are concerned, the number might be a bit misleading as he was the one credited for the turnover even though his teammates were the ones dropping the passes. Defensively, Greg did a solid, but not spectacular job on Mario Chalmers. He also reiterated to me in our interview many times that he will be attending Duke for four years, therefore fans will have plenty of time to see him before he even thinks of going to the NBA.

Clarence Holloway
7'1, 270 lbs: C; Louisville, Prep School, or NBA
2 points, 5 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 blocks, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 1 of 3 shooting, 0-5 FT, 15 minutes

Coming into the game, I was really excited to have the opportunity to see Clarence play. Here was a 7'1 kid who was considering the NBA draft that not many people really knew about. Coming home from the game, I could not believe that the word NBA have ever been uttered out of his mouth.

Clarence is a big, big kid. The first thing that you notice about him is his mammoth height and size. It has been said that his weight was as high as 300 lbs, but he is down to about 270 pounds at the moment. Size aside, I don't see much in Clarence at all right now. In the two on two tournament, Clarence attempted to use both hands around the basket at every available opportunity, however he did not finish. He had his shot blocked numerous times by 7'2 Jared Carter when the two were matched up against each other. Once the game came around, one could truly see how poor Holloway's conditioning is. He is the epitome of a lumbering big man as he is the last man up and down the floor every single time. Offensively, he fights for position very well down low, but once he gets the ball, he brings it low allowing guards to easily tie him up. The Louisville fans were very excited to have their first chance to see their center of the future, but began sarcastically cheering for him as the game went on. When Clarence finally got his first and only basket of the game at the end of the third quarter, the crowd went nuts. I overheard the fans behind me not even being able to comprehend why Pitino gave him a scholarship. While Holloway does have potential due to his mammoth size, he should not even be thinking of the NBA at the moment, which is what he told me contrary to published reports. In the interview that I conducted with Clarence, he told me that he is either going to Louisville or prep school next year to work on his game. I truly hope he stays true to his word and does not become another high school big man like James Lang who gets lost in the shuffle of the NBA.

J.P. Prince
6'7, 203 lbs.; WG/PG; Arizona
8 points, 8 assists, 2 rebounds, 0 blocks, 3 steals, 3 turnovers, 4 of 7 shooting, 0-2 3pt, 0-1 FT, 20 minutes

J.P. was another player that I was really looking forward to seeing play, and he did not disappoint. He has great size for a point guard, and showed the ability to effectively play it on the next level. The lefty does a great job of handling the ball and running the offense. Prince also throws a very nice post entry pass and uses his height to see over smaller defenders. The one knock on J.P. is his very odd form in his jumpshot, but he will have time to work on that at Arizona. Defensively, Prince does an amazing job of getting out into the passing lanes, either deflecting passes or stealing the ball. While he is not on the same level as Shaun Livingston by any means at the moment, he has the potential to become a very nice prospect after a few years at Arizona due to his great height for the position.

Marcus Williams
6'8, 205 lbs; WF/WG; Arizona
19 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 blocks, 3 steals, 1 turnover, 8 of 13 shooting, 0-2 3pt, 3-6 FT, 18 minutes

While he didn't show us too much at the Roundball, future wildcat had a very good showing at the Derby Classic. He could be described as a jack of all trades, master of none in that he handles, shoots, passes, and defends well, but not at a great level. He showed off a nice really jumper and solid ball handling skills for a small forward. I didn't really pay too much attention to his defense as I had to focus on players who are considering the draft this year. I see him contributing immediately at Arizona, and he should be a prospect with the development he should receive from Lute Olson and his staff.

Jared Carter
7'2, 230 lbs; C; Kentucky
10 points, 4 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 block, 0 steals, 0 turnovers, 5 of 8 shooting, 21 minutes

After being a relatively unknown player, Carter really burst onto the scene this past year yielding offers from schools such as North Carolina and Kentucky. The big man is extremely skinny and long, and must hit the weight room the second he steps foot on campus at Kentucky. In the first half, Carter was pushed around by every single player on the floor and was unable to establish solid post position. When the ball was thrown into him though, he was able to catch just about everything due to his long arms and soft hands. In the second half, he got it going a little bit, showing a nice hook shot and knocking down a few jumpers. Defensively, Carter was a force in that he altered just about every opposing players' shot once they got into the lane. While he is not the world's best athlete, he uses his length perfectly and is able to have his presence felt on the defensive end. Jared is definitely a bit of a project, but UK has done a good job at developing big men such as Jamal Magloire and Nazr Mohammed, so we might be talking about Jared Carter and the NBA draft in three or four years.

Uche Echefu
6'9, 220 lbs; PF; Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke, FSU, Maryland, Michigan, Virginia Tech
5 points, 10 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals, 1 turnover, 2 of 7 shooting, 0-1 3pt, 1-1 FT 23 minutes

This being my first time seeing Echefu play in person, I was immediately impressed with his muscular frame and long arms. He runs the floor extremely well for a PF and hustles every time he steps on the floor. Uche was also constantly cheering all of his teammates on when he was on the bench, showing that he is a great teammate as well. Offensively, Echefu seemed to be pretty raw. His post moves really aren't that fluid, and his jumpshot is very inconsistent. Defensively, he does a great job boxing out and makes whoever he is guarding battle for post positioning. It's a bit early to talk about Uche and the NBA, but with the proper development at the school of his choice, he will definitely be a prospect in a few years.

Ryan Wright
6'9, 225 lbs.; PF; UCLA
9 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 0 turnovers, 4 of 10 shooting, 1-5 FT, 18 minutes

Ryan is similar to Echefu in that he is a long, athletic PF who is still a bit raw offensively. He is a bit more explosive then Uche, in that he dunked EVERYTHING inside of the paint. He showed the ability to knock down the mid range jumper in the 2 on 2 tournament, but didn't really show much of that during the game. Defensively, Wright does a great job boxing out and showed decent lateral quickness when forced to guard smaller players on the perimeter. He showed me that he could be an intriguing prospect if he receives the right development at UCLA. Let's just pray that he doesn't go the Jerome Moiso route though.

Vernon Goodridge
6'9, 215 lbs; PF; Mississippi St.
5 points, 7 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 block, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 2 of 4 shooting, 18 minutes

Goodridge showed the ability to run the pick and roll to perfection when teamed with Greg Paulus in the two on two tournament. At this point, Goodridge is still more of a center, but his size will force him to play power forward on the next level. He has a Ben Wallace type of game in that he is very raw offensively, but changes the game with his rebounding and shot blocking abilities. At one time, he was rumored to be considering the NBA, but all of that talk has died down. If he can develop into a power forward, he has a great chance of being an NBA prospect in a few years.

Shane Clark
6'6, 185 lbs; WF; Maryland
13 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 0 blocks, 1 steal, 4 turnovers, 5 of 12 shooting, 2-2 3pt, 0-2 FT, 24 minutes

Clark put on a defensive show at the Derby Classic. No matter what player he was guarding, Shane put the clamps on them and was able to keep up due to his good lateral quickness and length. Offensively, he crashed the glass very hard and knocked down a few jumpers, even though the mechanics on his shot definitely need to be refined. Clark did a little of everything in the game, but really impressed me with his defense and rebounding abilities. I'm sure he will work on his two biggest weaknesses, his ball handling and the mechanics of his shot once he arrives on campus at Maryland.

Joey Shaw
6'6, 170 lbs; WF/WG; Indiana
17 points, 7 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 block, 2 steals, 0 turnovers, 8 of 13 shooting, 1-4 3pt, 19 minutes

Joey had a really solid game at the Derby. He showed off his impressive midrange game with a flurry of pull up jumpers. His shot mechanics need a lot of work, but he somehow made it to the finals of the three point shot. If I had to give the fan an idea of what his shot looks like, think of an uglier version of Shawn Marion's shot and you get the picture. I didn't really have a chance to focus much on Joey's defense, although I will say that he needs to add a whole lot of muscle to his 170 pound frame or he will be a defensive liability as he will get posted on by every small forward that he has to guard. I'm confident that Shaw will develop under into a very good player at Indiana whom we will be talking about for the draft in a few years.

Jonathan Huffman
6'11, 210 lbs.; PF; Louisville
12 points, 4 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals, 2 turnovers, 5 of 9 shooting, 0-2 3pt, 1-1 FT, 18 minutes

Huffman is a very skilled big man who prefers playing on the perimeter as opposed to playing inside. He really has a nice jumpshot for a player of his size, but I would have really liked to see him mix it up down low. He is pretty athletic, but he doesn't really get the chance to use his athleticism because has is hanging out at the three point line the entire time. He looks definitely be a legitimate 6'11, maybe even 7'0. Hopefully Rick Pitino will be able to convince him that 7 footers aren't supposed to hang out around the three point line the entire game. If Huffman works on his post game and plays down low a little more, he is a definite NBA player with a few years of college under his belt.

Alonzo Gee
6'6, 205 lbs; WF; Alabama
18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 blocks 2 turnovers, 8 of 11 shooting, 2-3 3pt, 23 minutes

Alonzo didn't do anything spectacular in the game, but he just had a knack for putting points on the board within the flow of the offense. He isn't the best ball handler, but Gee is a good slasher who I can definitely see contributing at the next level where he should step in very nicely with the departure of Kennedy Winston to the NBA. While I don't really see him as a prospect at the moment, anything can change over the next four years.

Luke Zeller
6'11, 225 lbs.; PF/C; Notre Dame
6 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 blocks, 4 steals, 0 turnovers, 3 of 8 shooting, 0-3 3pt, 21 minutes

Zeller put together a really nice overall game for the evening. He showed good timing and reaction on the defensive end, resulting in his blocked shots and steals. Offensively, Luke really likes to step out and shoot the jumper, which he does have the ability to make. He didn't really show me too much as post moves tonight though. Zeller is a very skilled big man who doesn't really seem to fit in the all star game setting. While nothing screams NBA to me at the moment about Zeller, you can't hide the fact that he is a humble and skilled seven footer who seems willing to put forth whatever work it will take to get to the next level.

Brandon Costner
6'8, 210 lbs.; PF/WF; North Carolina St.
12 points, 8 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 block, 2 steals, 2 turnovers, 4 of 10 shooting, 1-3 3pt, 3-5 FT, 16 minutes

Costner is another one of those guys who just go out there and produce. He a power forward who likes to step out and knock down the three point shot. Due to his lack of height, he will definitely have to make the transformation to small forward for the NBA, which will probably be hard. Brandon looks somewhat slow and doesn't have the necessary ball handling skills for a WF. Right now, I cannot see him as an NBA prospect unless he works on his athleticism and ball handling over his time at NC St.

Tyler Smith
6'7, 210 lbs; PF/WF; Tennessee
11 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 0 blocks, 0 steals, 1 turnover, 5 of 9 shooting, 0-2 3 pt, 1-1 FT, 16 minutes

The biggest problem that Tyler is going to face is that he is a 6'7 (looked closer to 6'6 to me) PF. He has a great build and looks like he is 25 years old, but must transform his game to that of a small forward if he wants to have any shot of making it on the next level. Smith is very athletic and crafty inside, but his ball handling skills need a ton of work. We'll see if he is able to make the transformation next year at Tennessee.

Ryan Ayers
6'6, 190 lbs.; WF; Notre Dame
5 points, 5 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 blocks, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 18 minutes

Ryan, son of former Philadelphia 76ers and Ohio State University coach Randy Ayers, is definitely one of the top shooters on the high school level, but not much more then that at the moment. Ryan easily won the 3 point contest, as he outscored any other contestant by at least 7 points. I wasn't too impressed with Ryan's ball handling ability or defensive skills. I personally feel that he will be a solid player at Notre Dame, but has a whole lot of work to do before he can even be considered a possible NBA prospect.

Antonio Anderson
6'5, 190 lbs.; PG/WG; Memphis
0 pts, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 0 blocks, 2 steals, 2 turnovers, 0 for 1 shooting, 18 minutes

For some reason, Antonio, who is widely regarded to as a very good scorer, only decided to take one shot in the game. Scoring aside, I was very impressed with his ability to run a team at 6'5. He penetrated with ease and found his teammates for open looks. He will definitely be able to fill in for Darius Washington when needed, or even play along side of him. Don't let this game fool you, the kid can really play and will be a factor next year for Memphis.

Andre McGee
5'10, 185 lbs.; PG; Louisville
10 points, 3 assists, 0 rebounds, 1 steal, 0 blocks, 3 turnovers, 3 for 10 shooting, 1-6 3pt, 3-4 FT, 18 minutes

The diminutive point guard out of California has incredible leaping ability, evidenced by some of the great dunks he threw down for a 5'10 player in the dunk contest. Dunking aside, I'm not really too impressed with Andre as a player. He seems to be a shoot first point guard, and really doesn't do the best job of getting his teammates involved in the game. I see him being a serviceable backup next year, but his lack of height and style of play might wind up putting him in Coach Pitino's doghouse.

Chad Millard
6'8, 217 lbs.; WF; Louisville
2 points, 3 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals, 0 turnovers, 1 of 3 shooting, 0-1 3pt, 0-2 FT, 14 minutes

Like Ryan Ayers, I don't see Chad as much more then just a spot up shooter at the moment. In the two on two contest, he drilled some deep threes with ease. It was evident there that he cannot create his own shot and relies on the abilities of others to create his shots. He threw down some pretty impressive dunks in the dunk contest which might lead you to believe that he is not that bad of an athlete, but once the game came around everyone saw his inability to create or get past his man at all, and his lack of lateral quickness on the defensive end. At the moment, I see Chad being a role player at Louisville. He has a whole lot of work to do on his ball handling and quickness if he expects to be a small forward in the NBA.

Domonic Tilford
6'0, 185 lbs.; PG; Undecided on mid major D-1 schools
15 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 4 turnovers, 3 of 13 shooting, 3-6 3pt, 6-8 FT

Tilford, Kentucky's Mr. Basketball, felt it necessary to come out and shoot the ball at every available opportunity. I overheard some of his teammates sarcastically talking about how he must have had at least 15 assists. Tilford can be a solid college player at the mid major level, but nothing more then that in my opinion.

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