Derby Festival Classic: Practice Notes
While most of the nation’s eyes are on the Jordan Brand Classic this weekend, many of the top 50 high school seniors in America will be participating in the Derby Festival Classic in Louisville, Kentucky. Here are some of the players who stood out on the first day of practice:
Trevon Bluiett SG/SF 6’5 185: Xavier
Chris Mack is getting a pure scorer in Bluiett who was scoring in a variety of ways during the scrimmage portion of practice. Showing off a smooth stroke and great range, Bluiett shot the ball well from the perimeter and also showed the ability to shot fake and get to the basket. Bluiett has a very low release on his shot and his ball handling must improve if he wants to play guard, but with his size and shooting stroke, we are looking at one of the top freshman in the Big East next season.
Quentin Snider PG 6’1 170: Louisville
Snider is a natural point guard who excels in transition making great decisions while leading the break. An outstanding shooter Snider is doing a better of penetrating, drawing the defense and dishing to open shooters. While not a great athlete, Sniders shooting ability and high basketball IQ will make it hard for Rick Pitino to keep him off the court in his freshman season.
Dion Wiley SG 6’4 195: Maryland
Wiley has great size for a guard and showed tremendous elevation on his jump shot. With three of his teammates yet to arrive in Louisville Wiley’s team was forced to scrimmage 3 on 3 and he was virtually unguardable. Needing very little space to get his shot off and also showing a consistent step back Wiley showed why he is one of the top shooters in the class. For a Maryland offense that struggled this season Wiley will be a breath of fresh air as someone who can fill it up from all over the court.
Leron Black F 6’7 215: Illinois
If Leron Black improves his perimeter skills he will have as much NBA potential as any small forward in the class 2014. Black has great size for a small forward but must develop a more consistent outside shot and improve his ball handling in order to be successful at the 3 spot. Black finishes strong at the rim and is also an outstanding passer. With his length and quickness Black could also develop into a lockdown defender.
Isaac Copeland: F 6’8 200: Georgetown:
Copeland is going to give the Hoyas something they lacked this season, a forward who can shoot the ball consistently from the outside. Whether it was off of a pick and pop or a face up 15 ft. shot Copeland was knocking his jumper down today. He isn’t overly athletic and needs some weight on his thin frame but he was hands down the best offensive frontcourt player here today. Copeland also gave UCLA signee Jonah Bolden fits with his on the ball defense utilizing his length and quick hands.
Chinanu Onuaku PF/C 6’10 240: Louisville
Onuaku was a man amongst boys during the scrimmage today as he owned the boards on both sides of the floor. He also possesses the unique skill of throwing full court outlet passes for lay ups, he grabs rebounds with two hands and immediately looks to outlet to the guards for easy baskets. While not an elite athlete Onuaku blocked a number of shots and threw off many more with his contests. As is often in All Star practices the bigs did not receive many post feeds but if Onuaku can develop some consistent post moves he will team nicely with Montrezl Harrell in the post at Louisville.