2009 Las Vegas AAUs: Top Prospects
By Joshua Motenko
While this was surely a down year for scouting prospects in Las Vegas, there was some standout talent nonetheless. Here are the top prospects that we saw over the past week.
The Top 10
1. Perry Jones 6-10 220 SF Seawolves HSSr.
Perry was the most spectacular player in this tournament. His combination of size, skill, and athleticism were simply head and shoulders above anyone else we saw, including other special players like Wroten and Austin. Look for Jones to make a big splash next year in college and be a potential #1 overall pick in 2011.
2. Tony Wroten 6-4 195 PG/SG Seattle Rotary HSJr.
Wroten may not have the size and strength – and therefore the upside – of a Perry Jones, but he has the basketball IQ to make special plays on the court that help his team, not just himself. Considering he is a class behind Jones, he’s got two more years of high school left, he has a bright future ahead of him. Wroten is one of those players that is difficult to compare to current or past NBA players because there simply haven’t been many 6’4” point guards who have his athleticism and passing ability.
3. Isaiah Austin 7-0 205 C Texas Assault HSSo.
Austin’s ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter is almost more intriguing than how freaky and long he is at such a young age. To be a raw big-man project and already have a distinguishable offensive skill that translates to the NBA allows Isaiah’s ceiling to really be unknown. He now has a complete foundation to build upon other skills and focus on improving his body strength. Every basketball player wishes he had this kid’s length, but most of them wouldn’t have worked enough on their game at the age of 15, to be able to stretch the defense and pass the ball from the high post. Watch out for the kid with the goggles!
4. Anthony Bennett 6-7 210 SF Team Takeover HSSo.
Another sophomore in the top 5. Bennett is a beast and is just going to get better. His athleticism is on an elite level already, and although he's not as fluid his leaping ability is on the level with a player such as Andre Iguodala. It’s still very early because he’s so young, but he does have the tools already to be a legit NBA prospect.
5. Tristan Thompson 6-8 220 PF Grassroots Canada HSSr.
He didn’t show much in the game we saw but played better throughout the tournament. He has put on some weight though, and not very "good weight" so there are concerns about his work ethic and attention on his body. Thompson was a real disappointment considering the upside he showed last year. He needs to show that he can put it all together and continue to develop because his talent is considerable.
6. Fabricio DeMelo 7-0 270 C Florida Rams HSSr.
Although he’s still raw and has a ways to go, his body size, mobility and adequate athleticism make him a surefire prospect. His upside isn’t as great as the players in the top five. He doesn’t display star potential but he will be a serviceable big man in the NBA. Still has a ways to go offensively and needs to work on refining his post moves.
7. Tony Mitchell 6-7 215 SF Team Brandon Bass HSSr.
He’s got a lot of potential because of his athleticism and body on the wing. There aren’t many players who can play inside and on the perimeter although he needs to work on his ball handling. His shot looks good but he needs a lot of reps for it to become a real consistent weapon. He has shown excellent improvement just in the past 6 months with both his body and game, so he's a player on a sharp development curve.
8. Joshua Smith 6-9 300 C Seattle Rotary HSSr.
Smith is such a beast on the block that it’s hard not to put him in the top ten. His combination of size, footwork, and soft hands was unparalleled at this tournament. Look for Smith to be a top prospect in the draft, but don’t be surprised if his weight and questionable work ethic limit how good he eventually becomes. A smaller version of Eddy Curry with better character.
9. Roscoe Smith 6-8 184 SF Baltimore Select HSSr.
Smith has prototypical size and athleticism for the small forward position. He attacks the basket with an aggressiveness that most players in high school are lacking. His offensive game seems to be sufficient, even though he didn't always take or wasn't always given the opportunities to shine in the game. He needs to work on his defense and his ball handling, but he's on his way to a nice career.
10. Adonis Thomas 6-5 SF Memphis Magic HSJr.
He needs to work on his offensive game in order to really establish himself as a top prospect, but because of his natural gifts, including toughness, he is intriguing. He certainly doesn’t have the demeanor or the skills right now to be a go-to scorer and it may end up that this won’t be his role at higher levels of play, but he has the potential to fit this role if he works hard, which all indications say he will. Thomas has already gotten international experience playing for Team USA’s under 16 team, so everyone is high on his coachability and likelihood to improve. Despite being a 6-5 small forward, Thomas has a 7-foot wingspan allowing him to play far bigger.
11. Josh Selby 6-3 183 PG Baltimore Select HSSr.
His athleticism and guard skills are superb, especially his hang time. However it’s unclear whether he can a.) play the point (he spent much of the time off the ball. or b.) whether he has an attitude problem (he was clapping for the ball all game long when it wasn’t rotated to him and after his team lost he ignored his coaches and didn’t join his team in the post game meeting). These red flags are not stopping him from being a pro prospect, but how good he can become is simply up to him. He’s got the talent to be a star, for sure.
12. Terrance Jones 6-8 210 SF Portland Stars HSSr.
Jones displays an inside outside game with the ability to face the basket and attack off the dribble. He's got a 7-foot wingspan and plays with good energy. He still needs to add consistency on his shot and round out his perimeter skills, but with excellent length and solid athleticism, he shows NBA potential.
13. Bryce Jones 6-5 185 SG HSSr.
One of the better offensive players we saw here in Vegas. Bryce has one of the better looking jump shots, with a high arc on it, and can handle the ball extremely well for a SG. His body is still quite thin, but his ability to involve teammates and score the basketball is not far behind a guy like Wroten. He doesn’t have the point guard mentality or the leadership of Wroten, but as a scorer, he’s already got a fabulous array of skills.
14. DeAndre Daniels 6-8 190 SF Belmont Shore HSJr.
Daniels showed us that he has the length and skills to be an NBA player. How good he becomes depends on his ability to play the perimeter and his ability to add weight to his incredibly thin frame, especially his upper body. Should we be concerned with his concaved chest as a sign of weakness? Not with his mobility and help out around the basket. He is projected as a SF who can also play in the paint, but he usually wasn’t comfortable taking more than a couple dribbles, so he must focus on that as his no.1 priority in the coming year, along with building strength.
15. Ryan Harrow 6-0 165 PG J-Smooth Celtics HSSr.
Harrow was the one player from this list who didn’t seem to have the ability to dig in and use his body well to get around players. His dribbling skills are so spectacular that he didn’t need to use his shoulders to get around people or play driving angles well. This could hurt his NBA chances, but his creativity at getting his shot off, combined with his handle on the ball are transferable skills, especially combined with his adequate shooting touch and passing ability.
16. Jelan Kendrick 6-6 185 SG Memphis Magic HSSr.
Kendrick seemed to make a big play and then disappear for minutes at a time. He didn’t show that he was a go-to player on offense, even though he’s got good length and athleticism and skills to make plays. He’s had a lot of hype around him and while he seemed to have the most basketball ability right now, and should have been the best player on his team, he didn’t always show that. Compare him to teammate Adonis Thomas, who seemed to not have the same skills yet, but who looked much hungrier and had more of an NBA body.
17. Joe Jackson 5-11 160 PG Memphis Magic HSSr.
Seems like a potential ideal back-up point guard for the NBA. He has really freaky athleticism and can finish around the basket, although his size (5'11) makes taking contact a problem for him. However, he’s so steady when running the team, so fast in the open court, and so good at making the right decisions and getting teammates the ball in the right spot that the only thing holding him back is his size. Led all scorers with 19 in the final helping Memphis win the 2009 adidas Super 64.
Brandon Ashley is a 6’7” rising freshman out of Oakland, CA. He is super long and athletic, and has a great nose for the ball. He even shows flashes of possessing guard skills, which for a big man is quite intriguing. Normally we don’t rank freshman because they are simply too young. However Ashley is a prospect worth noting for the future. At 6’7” he has a size 19 shoe, which is almost unheard of. Doctors project Brandon to be 6’10” - 7’3”.
The Memphis Magic won the adidas Super 64 tournament by a score of 64 - 62 behind 19 points from Joe Jackson. The Magic were the most impressive "team" we saw all week consisting of 3 top 50 level players in PG Joe Johnson and small forwards Adonis Thomas and Jelan Kendrick.
Team Detroit won the Reebok Summer Championships topping John Wall's former team, D One Sports 56-48. Top 50 seniors Troy Zeigler (16 pts) and Ray McCallum (11 pts) led the way.
IT LOOKS LIKE THE 2011 DRAFT WILL BE STRONG. We know every year some players decide to stay a year I wouldnt be surprised if a couple of lottery talented players from the 2010 stay another like blake griffin and harden did in 08.That would make the 2011 draft stronger. Im praying that perry and barnes pan out to be great players that would be nice and it a really help the nba be more competitive and better all around . Not to mention we will have our players who make a name for themsleves during college you know the sleepers. So im looking foward to the season of 2011 more then 2010...cant wait to see these guys play
I view Isiah Austin more as a forward than center longterm, but either way the talent is undeniable.
I think Tristan Thompson is not as good of an NBA prospect as the guys ranked below him in Mitchell and the two Smiths, and possibly even Melo. At this point, I don't see a surefire position and/or skill Thompson can contribute to an NBA team.
Two Canadians on the list - nice job!
Jones looks like quite a coup for Baylor, even if he only hangs around for one year.
I was delighted to read a player get blasted, not because of a dislike but for a wake-up call. This kid has loads of potentially, I’ve heard about the flash and the cockiness. Id hate to run down some of the players from Baltimore that had those same things said about them. But didn’t make it and most people outside Charm City never heard of them. I hope he here’s you and understands “when your that good??” It’s always an eye on you. The earlier you understand that the quicker you become a pro. Attitude made him a "Other".
deandre daniels is very good though i cant understand why ya'll put him on there when he only played one game?..and the comments about him playing on the wing interesting considering in that one game he made a couple of threes and midrange and showed hes better on the wing then the toney mitchell kid. Just another case of the names and past achievements getting more noticed then the player actually showing it
Joshua- thank you for the write-up and professionalism of your comments. It is a contrast to your colleague Ian Powers who has spent the last few days getting into a &$#%#&@! match with Baylor fans on the Rivals recruiting board over how Perry Jones is going to be a bust because he is going to Baylor. It was a hatchet job on Scott Drew and Baylor.
It is refreshing to see good journalism without trying to pump your favorite school and tear down other schools.
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