Before the second half of the July recruiting period starts, a look back at last week's Peach Jam, the biggest event of the first half of the period.
The folks at Nike Peach Jam have been kind enough to actually have box scores for their tournament. It's a nice move - makes the AAU Tournament look like legitimate ball, makes it easy to refer to performances at the Peach Jam, and allows nerds and shirkers to take a good long look at the performances of their favorite prospects, getting a sense of what their skills might be.
Caveats obviously apply. Playing the fast, loose, and sometimes unstructured style of Amateur Athletic Union ball is not necessarily a translatable indicator of college success. Defense can be lax, tendencies can be figured out, competition is less stiff than in college, and some players just happen to be summer league warriors who are unable to remain awesome when yelled at by a coach.
But sometimes, if a dude can shoot, and is willing to pass, he's a playmaker, pure and simple. And if a guy keeps sending shots into the 2nd row, maybe he's just good at blocking shots. Just like summer league games, these evaluations are meant to give hints at player potential - they're probably not projectable, but they show where players have skills to bring to the college game.
So I took a look at some prospects of interest to schools like St. John's, DePaul, Rutgers and other schools - notes after the jump.
The players I reviewed, by position (arbitrarily chosen by this blog), are in the table below.
|NJ PLAYAZ||NJ PLAYAZ||NJ PLAYAZ|
|Myles Mack||Kyle Anderson||Desmond Hubert|
|Vaughn Gray||Derrick Randall|
|ALBANY CITY ROCKS||ALBANY CITY ROCKS|
|Tyler Harris||Daouda Soumaoro|
|Deonte Houston||Jarelle Reischel||Joey De La Rosa|
|Jose Rodriguez||Sidiki Johnson|
|NY GAUCHOS||NY GAUCHOS|
|Derrick Wilson||Angel Nunez|
|OAKLAND SOLDIERS||OAKLAND SOLDIERS|
|Josiah Turner||Kyle Wiltjer|
|Nick Johnson||Ashley Brandon|
|Jabari Brown||Norvel Pelle|
|MAC IRVIN FIRE||MAC IRVIN FIRE||MAC IRVIN FIRE|
|Macari Brooks||Sam Thompson||Mike Shaw|
|Phil Greene||Anthony Davis|
The Oakland Soldiers and New Jersey Playaz were putting up bunches of points with their talented guards. The 2011 recruit prospects on the Oakland team had similarly solid performances - passed a little, rebounded both ends a little, didn't consistently score from outside but made up for it inside. Jabari Brown took a lot of shots; he's a 5 star/ top 25 guard, so that makes sense. Josiah Turner got to the free throw line the most out of these three (and he hit his free throws at a 74% clip). From the videos, he has a nice handle as well.
Personally, I'm partial to Nick Johnson because I want to see him in a Red Storm uniform; he was the most prolific passer of the three, as well as the most efficient scorer of the trio (49% eFG - the 3-point shooting was iffy for the backcourt). He is considered a combo guard; he's got a lot of game. Is he a first-option, alpha dog kind of player? Possibly not, but scouting reports indicate he has that all-around game that includes defense. And dunks that include follow-up salutes and get mentioned in Dime Magazine.
The Playaz... I am impressed. Myles Davis really shot well at the Peach Jam tournament (44% on threes). Meanwhile, Myles Mack - another player I would love to see playing for St. John's - was an incredible high-usage guy, dishing out assists like a playmaker while still taking shots. He can get his shot off, and converted on 69% of his attempts inside the arc. He's 5-foot-10 and 150 pounds.
Meanwhile, Deonte Houston of the NY Metrohawks was great at getting to the free throw line and passing; his shot wasn't falling, though. Omar Calhoun was effective outside the arc (37%), but a little underwhelming inside (43%). Calhoun rebounded and got to the line. He also took a bunch of shots for a Gauchos team that seemed to only have one other option, New Rochelle's PJ Torres. I hadn't heard much about him, but this guy is not shy about putting up shots. Unfortunately at 6'3, he put up most of them inside the arc - that's not sexy for the college recruiters on the upper levels of college ball. He did pass and rebound decently. Macari Brooks had little impact, which seems surprising; his name pops up on recruiting sites and I would have expected more (edit: he was hurt in the first game).
Let's talk about Chicago's Phil Greene, who played for Meanstreets. He's been to West Virginia's camp. He has offers from DePaul and apparently St. John's. He's supposed to be thin, about 6'2, and holy big shoulders he can shoot that rock! Connecting on almost 55% of his shots from beyond the arc (though that 43% inside needs to improve, as does his anemic free throw rate) and he passes the ball? Very intriguing, Phillip Greene, very intriguing. And for your enjoyment, a highlight video.
First there's 2012 recruit Kyle Anderson. He's a tall guard, and some comment on a possible lack of foot speed. Whatever he was doing, he was doing right. He passed like a point guard (one of the best assist percentages in the tournament), shot solidly, owned the defensive glass, and blocked some shots for good measure.
Wayne Blackshear and Sam Thompson had decent results from the Peach Jam; neither shot incredibly well from the field (or the free throw line - 50% and 35%, respectively), but they are coveted prospects. Meanwhile, DePaul commit Jamie Crockett is an interesting player at 6'3"; he rebounds like an excellent athlete, and he shot the ball well (or dunked it, and dunked it, and dunked it, from reports at Peach Jam). But he will need to pass and shoot from the outside to be a real impact player in the Big East. Then again, Oliver Purnell's system at Clemson certainly put a guard or two with a questionable outside shot to good use.
Perhaps Angel Nunez just plays better within the scope of a structured high school environment. The only thing he did really well was rebound the ball. Tyler Harris, still working to get out of Tobias' shadow, has some skills - he can do a little bit of everything on the court, but having seen less of him (either live, or on TV, or in boxscores), he needs to do a little MORE of everything to really start impressing. New Jersey guard and German U-16 national player Jarelle Reischel seems to profile as a glue guy - reluctant to shoot, effective when he does, a decent rebounder on the offensive end, and hands out some assists.
You know how the recruiting services have been saying Chicago's Anthony Davis is good? He's good. That was an excellent performance (though 1 for 8 shooting from the 3... well, he's 6'10, so he can still be working on that). He nailed his free throws. Blocked shots. Grabbed rebounds. Tallied assists. Shot a lot. Gunnin' for that #1 spot.
And then there was everybody else, but some impressive performances in "everybody else" as well. On the NJ Playaz, Desmond Hubert and Derrick Randall didn't shoot a lot, but they made their presence known on the boards (more Randall than Hubert) and in shot blocking (more Hubert than Randall). Derrick Randall has to hit his free throws and convert on his inside opportunities better. Kyle Wiltjer is a baller, but you knew that. He cleaned up on the defensive glass too. Not sure if Norvel Pelle was hurt or benched, because he barely played; I would have loved to have seen his skills in action, since Steve Lavin was working on getting him to come east for college.
And also on the Soldiers, 2012 recruit Brandon Ashley was fantastic. Played more minutes than Wiltjer, blocked shots like a boss, grabbed rebounds, and got to the line (though he could have shot more). Brandon Ashley looks like a guy with elite skills, worthy of his advance ranking. An older video of him here.
I didn't know Mike Shaw had perimeter skills like that. he shot 5 of 10 from beyond the arc, and very well inside of it (65%); good all around game, with assists and rebounds as well. Malcolm Gilbert of Albany City Rocks held to his reputation as a shot blocker; didn't convert his shots from the field, though (35%).
I don't know if Daouda Saumaro is talented enough to play in the Big East (though St. John's was looking at him at one point), but he did rebound well. Former Rice center Joey De La Rosa scored on the interior and used his 6'11" height to deflect shots and grab rebounds; he's been at a few schools trying to increase his recruiting profile, and seems to be coming along nicely.