2007 Jordan Classic Player Evaluations
By Aran Smith
The 2007 Jordan Brand All American Classic took place on Saturday April 21st at Madison Square Garden in NYC. The following is an evaluation of the prospects in the game.
Derrick Rose -- 28 min, 12 pts, 5-8 fg, 2-2 ft, 10 reb, 5 ast, 2 stl -- Rose's quickness and blow by speed is on another level. He seems to be able to get by even strong defenders and into the lane at will. A consummate point guard, his unselfishness is refreshing as he appears to be the type of player that relishes the assist more than scoring. Rose combines Jason Kidd's quickness pushing the ball up the floor, Gary Payton's size and defense, and Stevie Francis' leaping ability. His shooting form is overly criticised as his form is not as bad as some make it out to be. His steal late in the game showed his cat like quickness and body control, grabbing the ball out of mid air and sending it down to teammate Jeff Robinson. Did not disapoint and remains the top prospect in the class.
Corey Fisher -- 28 min, 12 pts, 4-14 fg, 0-4 3p, 4-6 ft, 10 ast, 3 reb -- Fisher has reformed his body in the past year dropping a good 10-15 lbs and elevated himself into the top handful of PGs in the class. He won co-MVP of the game along with Donte Greene. He was the local crowd favorite and drew numerous ooohs and ahhhs. His crossover on Jeffrey Jordan left him checking his shoelaces. Fisher will benefit playing at Villanova under Jay Wright who has developed three recent guards into NBA players (Foye, Lowry, and Allen Ray)
Jai Lucas -- 12 min, 9 pts, 2-3 fg, 5-8 ft, 4 ast -- Lucas had a very solid performance showing solid speed and decision making. He set up teammates for baskets on a number of occasions and found shots in the flow of the offense as well. He lacks great size and athletic tools, but is a heady player who has shown the ability to step up his play in the all star games. He hit a lefty runner early in the game, as well as some outside shots later on. He's only 5-9 and lacks tremendous athletic ability, but he should make an excellent college point guard, with a chance to play pro ball somewhere, maybe Europe.
Eric Gordon -- 25 min, 16 pts, 5-10 fg, 1-4 3p, 3 reb -- Scored on a number of aggressive drives to the basket finishing with 16 points. His leg strength is unmatched among guards. Gordon mentioned he intends to play point guard at Indiana, a position he played early in his high school career. He ripped the ball from Jerryd Bayless as the two squared off one on one early in the game. He had a strong performance scoring in a variety of ways, including his Barkley-esque drives to the basket.
Austin Freeman -- 17 min, 16 pts, 7-16 fg, 1-3 3p, 3 reb -- Freeman lacks optimum size at around 6-4 1/2 but he's a physically imposing athlete who overpowers opponents on this level. His mid range game is very advanced as he shows a highly developed offensive game. Hit a three point runner from a few feet inside the half court line to end the first half. He's a step below the elite guys, but a talented prospect. Similar to Kevin Love, his immense width makes him appear shorter than he really is. Along with Chris Wright, Freeman will be an instant impact freshman at G'town.
Kyle Singler -- 30 min, 16 pts, 6-12 fg, 3-3 ft, 6 reb, 3 stls -- Did not have a great performance but hit some shots including a floater over Koufos, a 3 and had one impressive drive late going by Koufos for a lay in. His defensive performance on Koufos early also should not be overlooked. With his career path and position, it's hard not to think of the former Dukie and Oregon All American Mike Dunleavy. But Singler has a mean streak that Dunleavy never had. Singler's agility continues to improve, and his feel for the game separates him from virtually everyone in this class. Despite being a future Dukie, it's hard not to like Singler when you speak with him, he's a class act. The Dukie-you-love-to-hate mantle which JJ Redick passed on will have to be shared by Paulus and fellow recruit Taylor King, as besides being at Duke and a great player, there's not much to dislike about this guy. But I'm sure the rest of the ACC will manage.
Chris Wright (Dayton) -- 19 min, 10 pts, 5-7 fg, 0-2 ft, 10 reb, 2 ast -- Put on your stunner shades for this guy, he was the most electrifying athlete in practices and followed that up with a number of viscous dunks in the game. How the big boys at programs such as Texas let him slip away to local Dayton is a mystery. Wright's outside shooting ability was showing promise in practice as he hit a few three pointers to compliment his absolutely jaw dropping floor display. "Flyght Wright" is going to make it fright night for Dayton opponents in the near future. He is the most underrated player in the class with immense potential.
Blake Griffin -- 13 min, 8 pts, 4-8 fg, 8 reb -- Very developed physically, Griffin gets a lot of garbage baskets due to his rebounding ability, strength and hustle. He should make a big splash at Oklahoma providing a great deal of athleticism and toughness inside. Really enjoys physical play, and has some face the basket skills as well. But he's a tweener for the NBA as he's just 6-8 and lacks the foot speed to really capitalize on any face the basket ability.
Gary Johnson -- 13 min 11 pts, 4-6 fg, 3-6 ft, 2 stl -- A huge recruit for Rick Barnes as he's a great college level power forward prospect who will almost surely be around for four years. He picked up the game late and has come on strong in the past few years. Lacks the size to play in the NBA but should make a perfect power forward in European ball. Plays with a high level of intensity and converted on a few rim rattling dunks in the game.
Jeff Robinson -- 15 min, 17 pts, 7-10 fg, 3-5 3p, 2 ast, 3 blk -- Finished off the game with an exciting windmill dunk. Has shown vast improvement on his outside shot, which continued as he hit 3-5 from distance. He's perfect in Memphis' high octane system with his high flying open floor style. His skill level on the perimeter still needs a lot of work. He lacks great vision, ball handling and shooting off the dribble. His feel for the game is not there yet, but he does enough things well that he should be able to contribute with his energy and athleticism right away.
Jerryd Bayless -- 27 min, 17 pts, 5-8 fg, 7-10 ft, 3 ast, 4 reb -- Came into the game and right away made his presence felt knocking down an outside J. Bayless is a scoring machine with an arsenal of offensive skills. He has tremendous leaping ability and an explosive first step to get by defenders. Bayless gets tremendous lift on his jump shot allowing him to get shots off against bigger defenders. He finished the game as the second leading scorer at 17 points.
Nick Calathes -- 15 min, 9 pts, 4-9 fg, 4 reb, 4 ast, 5 to -- His high school and future Gator teammate Parsons was more productive in the game, but Calathes has more long term potential. Calethes got a little out of control with his passing, but showed solid play making ability. He blew by the crowd of defenders on one transition play and got to the rim showing that even though he lacks separation blow by speed, he can still get to the basket. He's not on the level with the other point guards in this game athletically and lacks the foot speed and quickness, but his 6-5 size, shooting ability and craftiness give him NBA potential.
Donte Greene -- 17 min, 20 pts, 7-12 fg, 2-4 3p, 4-7 ft, 3 reb, 2 ast -- Greene's Royal squad lost the game, but he had the biggest scoring output and could have scored more had he not been benched in the closing minutes. He probably deserved to win MVP on his own, but ended up sharing it with local product Corey Fisher. Greene still needs to tone his body and add upper body strength, but his huge potential is obvious. He won the dunk contest on Friday, and followed that up with a game high 20 points. Had back to back dunks toward the end of the first half, and drained a number of three pointers in the second.
Jeffrey Jordan -- 23 min, 9 pts, 4-6 fg, 2 reb -- Showed excellent athleticism in practice and in the game. He'll look to sign with a mid-major where he can get playing time, as opposed to riding the bench at a bigger hoops school. He's a 6-foot lefty 2-guard, which the last time I checked there was one of in the NBA, and this Jordan just isn't that type of talent. The athleticism is not so far from his famous fathers, as he is very explosive but unfortunately his size apparently came from Juanita's side of the family. Proved those who criticized his selection wrong as he showed he could hang with the elite players. Had a solid performance taking the ball up strong on a few occasions. Shows some of the same drive and determination that made his Airness Dad the G.O.A.T. Unless he grows 6 inches in the next year or two, it's safe to say he won't be playing in the NBA.
Kosta Koufos -- 25 min, 14 pts, 6-12 fg, 2-4 ft, 8 reb, 1 lk, 1 stl -- Koufos was one of the most impressive players in the practices leading up to the game. He struggled in the first half, but came on in the second half with some impressive shots and dunks. He's a consummate gym rat, as he stays after shooting jumpers when the other players are finished. His drive to improve and work hard will take him a long ways. He still must add strength to his frame, but at 7-feet he has tremendous potential. With strong hands and excellent length, his skill set for an 18 year old is very advanced. He's got a Duncan-like smoothness to his offensive game with the ability to use the glass and face up and hit 12-18 footers with great consistency, as well as the ability to handle the basketball. At one point during the practice on Thursday, Koufos grabbed the rebound on one end, dribbled the ball coast to coast and finished with a dunk. He'll have some big shoes to fill at Ohio State, but look for Koufos to be one of the best bigmen in the country, regardless of class.
Kalin Lucas -- 16 min, 5 pts, 1-7 fg, 3-4 ft, 3 ast -- Didn't make a huge impact on the game, but showed great speed and aggressiveness in practice and in limited minutes in the game. He's quicker than Corey Fisher, but lacks Fisher's steetball handle and offensive skills. Lacks great size, but plays hard and shows solid PG ability.
Chandler Parsons -- 16 min, 11 pts, 5-7 fg, 4 ast -- Parsons has NBA potential if he continues to develop athletically. He showed a solid feel for the game hitting a number of 3s and converting on one ally oop dunk. He has a long wing span and a polished game offensively. He lacks tremendous foot speed and leaping ability, but gives solid effort and continues to improve. Along with Calathes, Parsons should have a solid impact right away at Florida, and has a chance to develop into a NBA small forward prospect in 3-4 years at Florida.
Patrick Patterson -- 21 min 12 pts, 5-7 fg, 2-4 ft, 12 reb, 3 blk -- You wouldn't know this was an all star game by the way Patterson and Blake Griffin were brawling for position inside. Patterson showed that he is one of the top 4-men in the class as he dominated Griffin and Gary Johnson inside. He blocked both players shots and scored on a number of jams. Patterson runs the floor especially well, and shows great length and leaping ability.
Durrell Summers -- 19 min, 8 pts, 4-7 fg, 0-2 ft, 2 reb -- Didn't show much in the game. He's a solid wing prospect with excellent length but needs to add strength and intensity. On a few occasions, his inability to finish at the rim was apparent due to his body strength. Had one highlight dunk on the break, but overall had a quiet game. He's got the size and ability to become a pro but will need to work hard at Michigan State to get there.
Chris Wright (Georgetown) -- 21 min, 14 pts, 7-17 fg, 9 ast, 3 reb -- The DL Hughley look alike was very impressive matching up with Derrick Rose and playing well. He finished with 14p and 9a but stumbled down the stretch as Rose got the best of him late in the game. Jimmy Dykes made the bold prediction that Wright will end up the top point guard from this class when all is said and done. He may have the best college career, as it's unlikely players such as Rose, Mayo or Gordon will stick around for more than 1-2 years, however Wright may not either. Don't look for him to overtake Rose, but he definitely can be very good. He showed tremendous floor vision with a number of terrific feeds to teammates for baskets, one to Parsons threading the needle and hitting him in stride as he cut to the basket, and another to Greene. His combination of strength, toughness, point guard ability and athleticism reminds me of Jameer Nelson, only Wright is a bit bigger has a chance to be better.
* OJ Mayo forfeited his ability to play in the game after playing in the Roundball Classic. (the NCAA has a rule which states players can only play in 2 All Star games) - International Competitions such as the Hoop Summit do not count against this.
* DeAndre Jordan was a no show for unspecified reasons.