2012 Jordan Brand Classic: Recap
After falling behind early, UCLA commit Shabazz Muhammad was able to bring the West team back and then hold on after a late charge by the East for the 99-95 win. The West built an 18 point second half lead. Muhammad shared MVP honors with the East's top scorer Rodney Purvis (22 pts). Each of the participants received roughly 20 minutes of action to showcase their skills.
Shabazz Muhammad -- 20 pts, 8-14 fg, 0-3 3p, 4-8 ft, 4 reb.
Shabazz took over in this game late showing what makes him our #1 player in the class. He struggled early, shooting from the perimeter, particularly off the pull up. He's able to use his athleticism and strength to overpower and outclass anyone at the high school level. But he'll need to develop better isolation skills moving forward. He got out of control charging into Noel late in the game on one drive. He'll need to further develop his mid range game and learn when to pull up and when to take it to the rim. What separates Shabazz from many similarly talented prospects is his passion, intensity and desire to be great. He has a killer instinct and an extreme will to win. He still has some skills to develop, in particular being able to use the bounce to create shots and get by defenders off the dribble. He has developed a solid pull up J, but must become better at isolating, in order to make them respect his driving ability and free up his shot. Finished with 20 points and had some highlight reel dunks. Drew a "who was that?" from MJ watching from the box above after consecutive thunderous dunks in the second half.
Rasheed Sulaimon -- 13 pts, 4-8 fg, 3-6 3p, 2-2 ft, 7 reb
Put forth a solid effort, although he was outplayed by Purvis in their individual match up. The Duke commit is a solid athlete with a sturdy frame and nice scoring ability. He looks like a four year college player and more of a scorer than a distributor. Ran the point, starting for the West squad but doesn't appear to be a natural at creating baskets for others. Strong defensively. Hit a big 3 pointer late to give the West team some breathing room.
Anthony Bennett -- 7 pts, 3-9 fg, 0-4 3p, 6 reb
Shows a tremendous wingspan and an improved jumpshot. But, Bennett does not look completely healthy. He has been battling injuries all year and his speed and explosiveness do not look where they were last summer. The constant, nagging injuries are becoming a concern with him. Hopefully it's just a phase and not indicative of a long term problem. Showed some ability to create off the dribble, but his position is still up in the air. 3-for-9 and 7 points was a below average showing for him.
Brandon Ashley 2 pts, 1-9 fg, 5 reb
Ashley had a rough showing here as his shots just weren't falling, finishing 1-for-9. He seems to be a classic tweener with the skills of a 4 but lacking the size and strength to play the position at the highest level. He does have a solid wingspan, but at 6'8 and with a body that appears to be unable to add significant weight, Ashley's long term potential appears somewhat limited. If he can develop into a small forward, he'll increase his NBA outlook.
Grant Jarrett 6 pts, 2-7 fg, 2-2 ft, 2 reb
Jarrett has excellent length and good fluidity with solid touch and a high skill level around the basket. He struggled to put many points up and was bothered some by Noel's presence but showed the patience to use multiple pump fakes to get opponents (Noel) off their feet. He's got unusual (duck) feet, and that could cause some concerns for teams. Had one dunk off a transition feed. Appears to have more long term potential than Brandon Ashley, due to his length.
Danuel House 7 pts, 3-5 fg, 2 reb
Wing with good size and athleticism. Shows some decent potential particularly with his outside shooting. Knocked down a three pointer in the second half. Had an efficient game converting 3 of his 5 shots. Like Ledo, missed a wide open dunk attempting a windmill and was quickly yanked from the game.
Archie Goodwin 14 pts, 4-10 fg, 1-2 3p, 5-8 ft,
Goodwin had a strong performance. A standout athlete with the ability to get by defenders off the dribble. Looks very comfortable handling the ball. Showed nice aggressiveness attacking the rim, getting to the line 8 times, converting 5. Had a nice feed to Jarrett for a dunk late in the first half. Led off the second half with a dazzling full court drive and dunk in which he out sprinted the defense and flushed a dunk that very few players in this game could have. Also made a nice no look dish to future UK teammate Poythress on the break. His run/jump athleticism is elite. He needs to work on his outside shooting, as he lacks confidence and consistency and appears to sling the ball instead of having a clean, fluid stroke. Also can get a little wild and lose control of the ball while attacking the basket.
Isaiah Austin 10 pts, 5-12 fg, 0-2 3p, 10 reb
His length, energy and offensive skill level is enough to pique any scout's interest. Had a solid game showing good energy and posting a double double (10 pts, 10 boards). His wingspan and height make him a candidate for the first round after just one year in college. But the negatives to his game are numerous. His lack of physical strength is a major concern. At this point it's not a given that he will ever be able to hold position in the post at the NBA level. He has developed a soft reputation, not always competing at a high level and shying away from contact. While his outside shot has become good, one has to wonder if Jonathan Bender is his ceiling. He's become far too enamored with receiving the ball out on the perimeter and attempting to take his man off the dribble. He's not a wing player and lacks the foot speed to face up and beat opponents off the dribble moving forward. His lack of strength has become a major issue for him and while it's not exposed much at the high school level, the Big 12 awaits. Another important question: Is Baylor a place where he can expect to make a vast improvement in his skills?
Alex Poythress 16 pts, 7-8 fg, 4 reb
The Kentucky commit appears to be one of the top handful of long term prospects in the entire class. He was very impressive with 16 points and had one very impressive baseline drive and dunk early in the game, blowing by Jerami Grant with a lighting quick first step. He's got terrific length and explosiveness and plays with solid energy as well. His body is much more developed than his classmates which looks close to being NBA ready. He scored mainly on dunks but appears to have a solid form to his shot and should improve at UK. After Muhammad, Poythress is the wing from this class that has the most natural talent.
Steven Adams 4 pts, 1-2 fg, 2-4 ft, 9 reb
Was likely a little awestruck by the huge arena, as Adams is only a few months removed from moving thousands of miles from home (New Zealand) and adapting to a new environment and culture. He struggled to get involved offensively but did have one nice post play, establishing deep position and laying the ball in despite contact. Ran the floor well, and showed solid rebounding ability, at times fending off opponents with one arm and snatching rebounds with the other. Had one nice pass on the break, setting up Danuel House for an easy dunk. Everything still appears new to him and it will take some time for him to hit his stride and realize how good he is, and develop a swagger. But the talent is there for him to be a quality starting NBA center someday.
Rodney Purvis 22 pts, 10-13 fg, 0-1 3p, 3 stl, 2 reb
Co-MVP along with Shabazz and the game's high scorer with 22. Knocked down a highly efficient 10-13 fgs. Ripped Shabazz on one possession in the first half and took the ball the length of the court for a lay in. His quickness and ball handling ability allows him to get by opponents at will and virtually anywhere he wants on the floor. Also has a strong frame which gives him great balance and the ability to absorb contact and complete drives. Despite his lack of height, he showed the strength to battle for position and effectively defend a much bigger player in Anthony Bennett. Strong finisher. Has a great understanding of how to utilize his physical strength when attacking the rim. The biggest factor for him will be how well he can develop PG skills. Should be a factor the moment he steps on the court at NC State, increasing their odds of being the team to beat in the ACC.
JP Tokoto 8 pts, 3-5 fg, 0-1 3p, 2-4 ft, 3 stl, 4 reb
Came out with a fast start scoring 6 points in the opening minutes. Showed off his elite level athleticism with some follow up dunks. Freakish length. Still raw offensively and will likely need time before he will get consistent playing time with so many wings at North Carolina (Bullock, Hairston, etc)
Bryce Johnson 0 pts, 0-4 fg, 2 ast, 4 reb
Got called for a travel on his first move, and then missed a few bunnies. Never was able to get comfortable and put up a goose egg. His size and athleticism is intriguing but he appears to be a few years away from realizing his potential. Had a very nice point blank shot block on an Ashley drive late in the game.
Kyle Anderson 14 pts, 7-16 fg, 0-1 3p, 0-4 ft, 2 ast, 9 reb
Slo-mo is a very unique player with a legitimate PG skill set at 6'8. How much of that he will be able to utilize playing primarily off the ball at the NBA level is yet to be seen. UCLA's other recruit had a solid performance displaying a feathery touch from the perimeter. Doesn't get much lift on his shot and instead likes to fade away and utilize a high arch. A below the rim type of player. Threw down a two handed stuff on the break, and while he doesn't wow you with athleticism, he's extremely skilled. Had a nice drive and-1 late with a high arching bank shot over Adams, but was not credited with the basket. Should look to stay in the pocket and not fade away on free throw attempts. A potential first rounder after a few years in Westwood.
Nerlens Noel 4 pts, 2-6 fg, 0-2 ft, 3 blk, 5 reb
Showed off his elite level shot blocking ability, with 3 very impressive early ones, getting full extension on a mid range jump shooter. He's got a 7'4 wingspan and when you combine that with cat like reflexes and natural shot blocking instincts and timing, you have a human shot eraser. Noel should develop into a formidable low post defensive presence at the NBA level due to his shot blocking/changing ability. The concerns with him are that he's incredibly skinny, particularly his legs and his offensive game is so raw. So adding weight will be a priority for him. His offensive game is still extremely raw as evidenced by his 4 points, although he did make one nice drive and sweeping lefty hook shot, against Adams. He doesn't show any real face the basket skills and must develop some offensive moves around the basket. He also blew one dunk and got into foul trouble. The sky is the limit, and with his size and defensive ability he's got as much or more potential than any player in the class, but he's still a long ways from realizing that potential.
Ricardo Ledo 7 pts, 3-12 fg, 1-5 3p, 5 reb
A quality shooter but was not able to show that here. Never seemed to get comfortable shooting and it affected his overall game. Had a miserable performance shooting 3-12 from the floor, 1-5 from deep. Had an embarrassing failed dunk attempt off a failed pass off the backboard to himself towards the end of the first half. His future college (Providence) coach Ed Cooley must have cringed watching that. His shooting touch gives him intrigue but looks to be a few years away from putting it all together.
Kris Dunn 8 pts, 3-12 fg, 1-5 3p, 1-1 ft, 5 stl, 4 reb
Dunn is a top shelf athlete but failed to stand out in this game. Started 0-6 before finally getting a few baskets including a 3 ball in the second half. He's a combo guard that utilizes his above average athletic ability to beat defenders. Willing to go inside and battle for rebounds. He lacks great point guard skills and does his damage attacking the basket off the dribble. Scored his first basket on an easy lay in off a Kaleb feed. Ripped Sulaimon late at mid-court. Still was just 3-12 on the day and failed to impress. An NBA athlete, but needs to become a more disciplined decision maker and develop point guard skills.
Tony Parker 8 pts, 4-15 fg, 0-1 ft, 12 reb
His lack of verticality/speed made it difficult for him to get shots against longer players. Shot just 4-15, getting his shot attempts blocked on a number of occasions. He's got a huge wingspan but lacks conditioning and athleticism. Will need to tone his body considerably. His lack of speed was apparent when he attempted to guard opponents on the perimeter. Probably not athletic enough to make it at the highest level, but losing weight could improve his mobility and athleticism some. Just 6'8 but has a very impressive standing reach and wingspan. A borderline top 50 player in a weak class, based on NBA potential.
Kaleb Tarczewski 14 pts, 6-8 fg, 2-5 ft, 10 reb
Had a very strong showing with 14 pts and 10 boards. Always gives good effort and shows a great attitude. Made one nice move early going right by Austin for an easy lay in. On another play, scored an impressive and-1 in the second half, bulling his way through Austin and converting after contact. Kaleb is ranked by some as a top 5 player in this class, and with his solid skill level, energy and motor it's not hard to see why. From an NBA perspective, he lacks great intrigue due to his lack of fluidity. He could develop into a first rounder after a few years at Arizona but could also end up there for four years and ultimately be a second rounder. He shows the potential to become a pro, but it's unlikely to happen overnight at Arizona.
Jerami Grant 10 pts, 4-6 fg, 0-1 3p 2-2 ft, 1 reb
Played well showing off excellent length and athleticism for the wing position. Had one highlight dunk off of transition. Also had one very nice pull up J from the top of the key. The son of former pro Harvey Grant had a strong showing with 10 points on 4-6 fg.
Say what on Isaiah Austin? Is Baylor a place where he can expect to make vast improvement on his skills? I guess you are saying that because Perry Jones came to Baylor after averaging 12 points and 8 rebounds as a senior in high school as an extremely hyped prospect and went on to average 14 points and 8 rebounds at Baylor. So you are making the lazy connection that Scott Drew is responsible for Perry not averaging 22 points and 14 rebounds?
Quincy Miller was coming off major ACL surgery so hopefully you weren't expecting a huge freshman year from him. I think Austin will do very well at Baylor. But the guy who will have the most college production is likely to be Ricardo Gathers for Baylor. Perry Jones, Quincy Miller and even Isaiah Austin are more in the mold of Terrence Jones (UK), Harrison Barnes (UNC), John Henson (UNC) of players who lack strength or in the case of the Jones kids lack the high motor necessary to be dominant on the college level. I missed where you were questioning whether UK or UNC were places where those players could reach their potential? Perhaps you did.
Good article otherwise.
Shabazz didn't take over. He just started the other team taking long shots and he would leak out for wide open fast break points. He is talented but he has proven he is a black hole
"Noel should develop into a formidable low post defensive presence at the NBA level due to his shot blocking/changing ability. The concerns with him are that he's incredibly skinny...So adding weight will be a priority for him."
i think that would make him a terrific weak side defender as opposed to a legit post defender.