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2009 AAUs: Day 2 Recap

Fri, 07/24/2009 - 12:05am
By Joshua Motenko, Head Scout

Las Vegas, Nevada

The Super 64 tournament got under way with pool play on Wednesday and Thursday and the senior class continued to disappoint media and coaches alike. NBADraft.net was forced to scrap our game plan of sticking to the main gyms in order to mine the 300+ teams and half dozen gyms in the area for legitimate NBA talent.

Texas Assault u15 vs. Southern Kings u15

Isaiah AustinIsaiah AustinThe best NBA prospect of the day, that we saw, came from the Texas Assault team which were all made up of (sophomores) the class of 2012. Isaiah Austin, the 7’0” center out of Arlington Grace Prep Academy is the nephew of former NBA center Isaac ‘Ike’ Austin, and he wears the eye-goggles to match. Austin promises to be a top 5 pick in the NBA draft if he continues to improve continuously. With former great Danny Manning (Kansas assistant), Baylor head coach Scott Drew, and Texas assistant Rodney Terry and others in attendance, Austin showed his immense length, blocking several shots and altering numerous others. His timing is very good, knowing when to leap for a block and when to stay on the ground, even if he does lean in with his arms picking up unnecessary fouls. His wingspan is in the neighborhood of 7’5”, and he can almost dunk on his tippy-toes – and he’s only 15 years old. He could end up 7’2” – 7’4” when he’s finished growing.

Austin also showed a great shooting touch and range out to the three-point line, which for his age and size is quite advanced. He likes to work from the high post or top of the key, and looks for passes into the post and to cutters when his shot isn’t there. Besides long jumpers and shots out of pick and pop situations, Isaiah doesn’t have much of an offensive game, but this is most likely due to his dominance on defense. His back-to-the-basket moves are extremely simple, and a little bit uncoordinated, and he gets pushed around down low due to his long, thin frame. However, he never hesitates to push back and always keeps two hands on the ball when initiating contact - both signs of a true, fundamental big-man at the next level. He is still very raw, but you can see the talent is there, and he has a healthy fire inside of him and the willingness to get his team talking as a defensive leader.

Florida Rams vs. Utah Pump N Run

Isaiah AustinIsaiah Austin The Florida Rams had a couple players worth noting. 6’11” senior Fabricio DeMelo is a giant, strong with wide shoulders and just a big presence on the floor. He doesn't have great fluidity but possesses solid athleticism. He got in foul trouble early, but did show decent post skills in limited time, finishing with 10 pts. He’s on many scout's radar because you simply can’t teach his combination of size and athleticism. DeMelo’s teammate, Damien Leonard - a 6’5” guard - is a rising junior, and saw the floor very well from the perimeter when he wasn’t rising up for his smooth jump shot. If he continues to progress and add the ability to drive into the lane off the dribble, he could be a dangerous player.

J-Smoove’s Altanta Celtics vs. Pump N Run Elite


The Pump N Run Elite team had one player who looked solid in 6’9” James Johnson impressed with excellent post position and some veteran back-to-the-basket moves, and had a monster jam after cutting down the lane and taking off from a step and a half inside the free throw line. He is a little bit clumsy, but with a 7-foot wingspan, and toughness, he makes things challenging for opponents.

On the other side of the ball, (Atlanta hawk) Josh Smith was on the bench after his USA mini-camp practice, to cheer on his boys from ATL. Among them were Jordan McRae, a long skinny 6’6” swingman who thinks too highly of himself, and the more impressive Ryan Harrow, plus a long athlete in Luke Cochran.

Cochran is a big kid with a toned physique, and huge wingspan who is considered a top 50 player in his class. In this game, however, he showed terrible hands – dropping the ball four times in the first ten minutes – and a disinterest in moving to get open in the paint. He is an athletic kid, but for an NBA prospect, he needs to show more skill with the ball in his hands at his age. Too many times he simply tried to bully his way to the hoop and his moor appears to be suspect. Ryan Harrow, however was a gem of a player, and the leading scorer in the game.

Ryan HarrowRyan HarrowThe NC State commit has a very impressive handle on the ball, using the behind the back dribble very quickly similar to former NBA PG Kenny Anderson. His amazing quickness and ballhandling ability make him a real crowd pleaser. His jump shot is feathery soft and surprisingly consistent. His frame is pretty slight, and he does shy away from contact at times in the lane, resulting in missed shots. This, along with his height may limit his NBA potential.

At 6’0” it may be a reach to call this kid a legit NBA prospect, but when taking a closer look, his feet are enormous, suggesting that he will continue to grow into the type of PG that can make it in the league. With his body type, you have to be 6’2” to really thrive in the NBA. Harrow is blessed with solid leaping ability, creativity with floaters and creative shooting angles, and the ability to see the floor and dish the ball out. He still needs work on managing a team, and tempering his shot selection, but this kid is a PG – not a combo guard. He just needs time and coaching. In most years he’d be considered an afterthought, but in this weak senior class he’s a potential McDonald’s All-American.

Double Pump 2012 Elite vs. Team Takeover Canada


Team Takeover blew out Double Pump Elite, mostly due to playing hard and tough defense, both rare sights at AAU tournaments. It also helped that they had the help of super athletic 6’7” rising sophomore Anthony Bennett on their side. Bennett, the Ontario Canada native is certainly a top 10-15 talent in the 2012 class that is shaping up as the top class in Vegas. Anthony has great size and strength, and is very aggressive, attacking the rim with authority. At such a young age, it’s rare to see his ability for the highlight play, and he knows it: he looks specifically for those opportunities. His game is reminiscent of a Josh Smith at the same age. He has fundamental shooting form and the ability to hit his shot from 20 ft, but isn’t consistent at all yet. In this game he was catching alley-oops, blocking shots, and dunking the ball with power. He desperately needs to work on ball handling and his body language, as he took several plays off. However, this shouldn’t be considered a sign of poor attitude, as the talent and willingness to improve is there. He is just one reason to watch out for the Canadians in years to come.
The Hoops Manifesto
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O Canada!

I told you to look out for those Canadians!! Too bad the best ones have to go to high school in the States to find competition.

Jeff Fox
www.hoopsmanifesto.blogspot.com

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