2008 Las Vegas AAUs: Day 2

Wed, 07/23/2008 - 8:06pm

By Nick Prevenas

Day 1 of Sin City’s AAU extravaganza opened with a bang. Some of the America’s best high school talent -- from John Wall to Kenny Boynton to everyone in between -- took to the floor with fire and intensity. The level of play exceeded expectations, setting the stage for what could possibly develop into a special week of basketball.

Was Day 2 able to match the standard set by the opening games? In a word, no.

Nobody expected Wednesday’s games to equal what we saw on Tuesday, but the drop-off was jarring. We hoped to catch a glimpse into the future, with many of the top-rated rising juniors on our agenda. However, only Tristan Thomas exceeded our expectations. Top 2009 forward Derrick Favors submitted a fine effort -- particularly on the defensive end -- but he didn’t blow anyone away. Nearly everyone else saw their stock drop after an uninspired batch of games.

The good news? Most of the players we saw have more than enough time to turn things around. At this stage in their developments, it’s almost as vital to see how these players react to adversity than it is to see them dominate every time they set foot on the hardwood.

DeShaun Thomas

[img_assist|nid=1576|title=DeShaun Thomas|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=300|height=407] What does the class of 2010 have to offer? Brandon Knight shook off a rough first half to impress Tuesday’s crowds. Jeremy Tyler -- more on him a little later -- struggled mightily.

What would DeShaun Thomas have to offer?

In the first half, practically nothing. The 6-foot-7 wing from Ft. Wayne, Indiana missed 11 of his first 12 field-goal attempts, even having his shot blocked on three separate occasions. When he had the opportunity to dunk, the southpaw instead tried to finger-roll -- one of which drilled the front of the rim. Where was the explosion? The tenacity?

Thomas finished the first half with six quick points, including a pair of opportunistic hoops created from his hustle. He carried that momentum into the second half. Even though he didn’t set the world on fire, he did finish with 16 points and seven boards, leading his Spiece Indy Heat squad to a 73-62 win over City Rocks.

Teammate Robert Goff opened some eyes with a solid 10-point, eight-rebound, two-block effort. With Thomas struggling so badly in the opening half, Goff’s hustle and explosiveness kept his club in the ballgame.

Thomas went 7-21 from the floor and missed all four of his tries beyond the arc. He appears to have a decent feel for the game, but his athleticism and explosiveness were lacking. Like former Spiece Indy Heat stars Greg Oden, Mike Conley and Daequan Cook, Thomas has already pledged his allegiance to the Ohio State Buckeyes.

He projects as a talented high-major prospect, ranked in every top-10 list for rising juniors. But in order to separate himself from the pack, he must improve his athleticism.

By Borko Popic

Jeremy Tyler

[img_assist|nid=1574|title=Jeremy Tyler|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=300|height=322] Big man Jeremy Tyler took the court today at the Main Event, and the large amount of hype that has received may be impossible to live up to as the 6’9 rising junior is more style than substance. Tyler was much bigger and stronger than his opposition, but failed to show much upside even against 2nd tier defenders.

He knows how to use his body, as he seals well to get some high-low looks, but once the ball is passed to him, that’s when all the trouble starts. He possesses very poor hands and unless the ball is passed directly to his hands, don’t expect him to be able to receive it. Another major issue with him is that once he does make a catch, his poor balance and weak footwork limit his ability to make any sort of moves towards the basket.

Even with all of that said, he is still very young and has some physical features that will undoubtedly give him many opportunities, unfortunately most worrisome of all is his primadonna type attitude that is not backed up by much game. He was tagged with a few cheap fouls because he wanted to retaliate after every missed call on offense and as a result was eventually tagged with a technical foul in a very crucial part of the game. He finished with 13 points and 7 rebounds in an overall disappointing performance.

Tristan Thompson

[img_assist|nid=1575|title=Tristan Thompson|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=300|height=441] Tyler may receive all the attention, but the player who may be atop the upcoming junior class is another big man, the 6’8 Canadian (via St. Benedict’s Prep) Tristan Thompson. The baby faced assassin impressed with his surprisingly developed game as well as his incredibly high ceiling. He has great length, and even though he is listed as only 210 lbs. he is wiry strong.

A smooth lefty with great mobility, there is nothing awkward about his movements or his game, which is something rare for a young player his size. His touch in the lane is feathery soft and even though he prefers to turn to his right shoulder and finish left handed, his right hand is still very solid.

He shows nice form on his jump shot and he proved his range by stepping out the three and knocking down a long range jumpshot. With his mobility and explosiveness he may eventually be capable of playing both the 3 and 4 positions, but at this point his perimeter game is very raw. He doesn’t have much skill off the dribble and doesn’t really look to shoot from outside the lane, but there is no doubt that in a few years that could all change. After all let’s not forget we are talking about a player that still has 2 years of high school ball.

Tristan’s complete stat line was unavailable but we know that he finished with 15 points in a blowout victory.

By Aran Smith

Derrick Favors

[img_assist|nid=1573|title=Derrick Favors|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=300|height=354]At 3:40, after a chance encounter with Michael Beasley at In-N-Out Burger, the main attraction at adidas Super 64, Derrick Favors, took center stage at Rancho high school.

Favors' Atlanta Celtics faced the Pump and Run All Stars, a match up of last year's final in which the Celtics surprised a team consisting of UCLA bound duo Jrue Holiday and Jerime Anderson plus North Carolina bound Larry Drew.

Today the Pump and Run Elite got their revenge behind UCLA bound junior point guard Kendall Williams and bigman Vander Joakim topping the Celtics 76-68. Joakim who is committed to Nebraska, opened some eyes with his excellent play against Favors, making things tough on him with his size and defensive presence. He had a few crowd pleasing blocks, and knocked down a three pointer to tie the game plus the free throws to take the lead.

Favors had a solid game, struggling some to create offense but was his usual dominant self defensively with 8 blocked shots. Regardless of his great length and elite level athleticism and fluidity, there are concerns about his position for the highest level as he's not quite 6'9, although his 7'2 wingspan allows him to play bigger.

Celtics point guard Trae Golden excelled attacking the basket, but apparently forget that he's playing alongside possibly the top talent in the entire senior class. He failed to get Favors the ball nearly as much as he should have.

Celtics 6'7 senior wing Noel Johnson displayed his versatility bringing the ball up for stretches in the second half. Playing alongside Favors and Golden, Johnson didn't get many scoring opportunities, but found other ways to contribute.

In the end, the Celtics appeared to run out of gas as Pump and Run pulled away with Miles Simon coaching them.

Williams led all scorers with 20 points, breaking loose for 3 dunks on the break and scoring in a variety of ways using his quickness to get into the paint. The Bruins appear to have landed another top guard as this junior has an advanced game with solid leadership skills.

Next it was over to watch the mostly African born French Hoops squad who feature a number of interesting college prospects. The team struggled mightily losing 58-47.

Senegal bigman Youssoupha Mbao looked completely lost offensively. He's got tremendous length, but over the past 3 years has struggled to add weight. His body is very frail and for any inside opponent with strength he is easily pushed out of position and away from the basket. Aside from being a high level shot blocker due to his length, he doesn't show a great deal of potential.

Bandja Sy, who like Mbao plays for Gran Canaria is a 6'8 combo forward with tremendous length and solid athleticism. He too is extremely raw, getting picked when attempting to handle the ball on a few occasions.

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It seems like the overall talent in the tournament is down this year from previous years. A lot of the big name players are struggling.

Is Tony Wroten out there from the class of 2011? Who are your sleepers that are making a name for themselves?

Alton D. Clark
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talent is definitely down

talent is definitely down but some top talents nonetheless. wroten looked very impressive today!

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Teammates Malik Hairston and Maarty Luenen unexpectedly heard their names called but Taylor didn’t.
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Siirler Hikayeler Fikralar Programlar Guzel Sozler Resimler freetemplates Taylor was arguably Oregon’s best player last season, but his 6-foot-4 frame makes him a undersized at the next level. Nonetheless, his scoring ability, length and athleticism give him a chance to make in in the league.

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