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Nike Global Challenge: Top Prospects

Thu, 08/14/2008 - 1:00am


We'd like to first thank our friends at OregonLive.com for sharing their video and photos with us. Please check out the link at bottom for more coverage and footage from the tournament.

2009

John Wall 6-4 182 PG Word of God (Raleigh, NC)


 
 


John Wall
Patrick Greenfield / OregonLive.com
 
Wall had the opportunity to solidify himself as the top prospect in his class, but he did not play up to his ability and he also showed some glaring weaknesses in his game. Athletically, there is no doubt that he has more than enough tools, but fundamentally he is lacking in some aspects of his game. He thrives in an up tempo, freewheeling game where he is able to go one-on-one and either finish at the hoop or dish to an open teammate. His deficiencies are most evident in the half court, when the game slows down and he is forced to make decisions. People back off of him and dare him to shoot, which cuts down but his passing and driving angles. He faced a lot of zone on the weekend and at times he completely disappeared…if he’s not getting in the lane, his effectiveness is minimized. His shooting touch from the outside has been brought up previously, but also a bit worrisome is his touch around the hoop; if he is not dunking the ball, he has problems finishing layups and teardrops over defenders. Finally, on the defensive end, he needs to change his mentality and fully commit to shutting down his defender, because he is more than capable of doing it. Even with all of these things said, the physical and athletic package that Wall boasts is extraordinary and there is no reason to think that he cannot fix some things and become the player he is capable of being. Video footage

John Henson 6-10 185 PF Round Rock (Round Rock, TX) *UNC

At this point he is still a very raw player, but one that shows a ton of potential. He is extremely long, but to go with that he has incredible agility and good athleticism. He showed his ability to block shots throughout the tournament and even more impressive were some of the rebounds that he snatched at the top of the square. As a scorer he is able to do a bit of everything, including hit the outside shot, shoot a mini-hook from the post and even put the ball on the floor and attack. Yet, he still lacks a “go to” aspect to his offensive arsenal and is more of a tweener simply as a result of that. He needs to expand and refine his game, add some more moves with his back to the basket, fine tune his mid-range shot and work on his handle, but he shows all the signs of becoming a very good player.

Avery Bradley 6-3 180 SG Bellarmine Prep (Tacoma, WA)

From the tournament alone, he showed that he is the most gifted scorer of the bunch. His outside shot is a thing of beauty, as he is able to elevate over any defender and shoot a smooth high release shot at an incredible percentage. He has nice quickness and effective moves off the dribble that allow him to get into the lane where he can either throw it down in traffic or finish with a silky smooth mid-range pullup. He is very deceiving as an athlete because he gets off the ground so fast and he can get up very high, leaving the unexpecting defenders at his mercy. Defensively, he also shows a lot of good things as he is willing to put in the work to stop his man almost every time out. As a prospect for the NBA, because of his size, Bradley will always have to hear the questions about his true position. While he is definitely not a PG, it doesn’t really mean all that much…he is a “player” and he gets the job done every time he steps out. Bradley also had the dunk of the tournament which set off a mini-melee 10 seconds later after the player he dunked on took exception.

DeMarcus Cousins 6-10 250 PF Erwin (Birmingham, AL) *UAB

 
 


DeMarcus Cousins
Patrick Greenfield / OregonLive.com
 
He showed some very promising things along the way, but at the same time there are some major concerns. He is extremely long and strong, and he is not shy about throwing people around. His touch in the lane is surprisingly soft, many times he will make shots that have no business going in, but when he does it consistently, it is easy to realize that it’s part of his game. The worrisome aspects are the fact that he is very limited athletically and he seems to have a very poor motor. He gets winded fast and at times is unconcerned about playing both ends of the floor, instead just lingering around the half court line waiting for the action to come his way. At this point he relies on his body to get him buckets, but he has not showed many actual moves with his back to the basket. Where he impressed was with his ability to shoot from long range and even handling the ball in the open court with confidence. Even with his shortcomings, he is still a very intriguing prospect because there aren’t many players with his size and wingspan out there.

Jordan Hamilton 6-7 208 SG Dorsey (Los Angeles, CA)

Hamilton had a very strong tournament showing the vast amount of talents that he possesses. He played pretty much every position between 1&4, and he was a factor at all of them. He has a great body and knows how to use it to create space both offensively and when going for rebounds. Once he gets a rebound, he is very good at pushing the tempo in transition and either getting to the hoop or finding teammates with an uncanny passing ability. His shot is a bit awkward as he releases it off of his shoulder, but his stroke is very smooth and one cannot argue with the results. At this point, he is able to effectively play 4 positions, but eventually he will become a 2 or 3, and the one concern is the fact that his lateral footspeed isn’t the greatest, so he may have some trouble guarding on the wing at the next level, but he has many other tools which should allow him to make up for it.

Milton Jennings 6-9 200 PF Pinewood (Summerville, SC) *Clemson

He is one of the biggest mysteries that was on display this week. He has the body, the athleticism and even flashes of brilliant skills that make you think he is definitely one of the top prospects. Then he will go out and make some very questionable plays, or he will simply disappear leaving you think that he just doesn’t have it. He can take people off the dribble, shoot it from deep, play with his back to the basket, all at a very nice 6’9. Unfortunately, these all come very few and far between. At this point he is all potential and his game is far behind his physical set…He is definitely a guy to keep an eye on, as he can possibly become the next best thing, or the next big bust.

Abdul Gaddy 6-3 180 PG Bellarmine Prep (Tacoma, WA)

Seeing Gaddy play a number of times over the last few weeks, it becomes clear the player that he is and the player that he isn’t. Even though he was named the Co-MVP, he was far less impressive than his fellow running mate Bradley. At his point Gaddy is a guy that needs a system around him in order to thrive…He needs to have a set, where he comes off the screen and roll game and finds his different options. That is a bright spot, but only for the college level… But if you look at his ability to break people down off the dribble and get into the lane and create for himself or his teammates, that, he doesn’t have. He lacks the quickness and explosiveness that many other guys at his position have and long term, it will be a big issue for him. His jump shot is fundamental, but the release is a bit on the slow side the results are on the inconsistent side. He is a player that could definitely use all the time he has in college to refine his game and maybe then he will have some opportunities for the next level. Gaddy and Bradley footage

 
 


Royce White
Patrick Greenfield / OregonLive.com
 
Royce White 6-7 210 SF Hopkins (Hopkins, MN) *Minnesota

He is more of a 4/3 right now, but he has the size, the strength and enough game where he can eventually slide over to the wing permanently. He can comfortably step out beyond the arc and either stroke the long jumper, or take his defender to the hoop with a variety of moves. He has a very nice and effective hop step when he gets into the lane and with his size it becomes that much more difficult to defend. At this point he excels as a utility sort of guy, where he can just pick his spots, but to become that elite player, he will need to take a bigger part and take more responsibility upon himself.

Daniel Orton 6-10 260 PF Bishop Mcguinness Oklahoma City, OK)

An overall major disappointment, his three game averages were 5.6 points and 5.3 rebounds, for a guy who did not have all that much competition sizewise in the post, it was a definite let down. In all fairness he does have a big knee-brace and it seems like his mobility is affected, but he just did not show a promising skillset.

Tommy Mason-Griffin 5-10 180 PG Madison (Houston, TX) *Oklahoma

He had a very good week and showed some nice things playing the lead guard position. He is very good off the dribble, where he has a variety of moves to create separation or to get by people. His vision and decision making are both solid and even his outside shot is effective where his defender has to close the gap on him, which allows for good penetration lanes. He is undersized at 5-10 and doesn’t have blazing speed or quickness, but he does have enough strength and savvy where can still be effective.


2010


 
 


Harrison Barnes
Patrick Greenfield / OregonLive.com
 
Harrison Barnes 6-6 195 SF Ames Senior (Ames, IA)

Barnes may have done enough this week to play himself into the very top of a somewhat shallow ’10 class. He is an extremely smooth player who has a natural feel for the game allowing him to be in the right place at the right time on a majority of possessions. At 6’6 and sporting a very nice wingspan, he has more than enough size to be a legitimate 2 guard and his athleticism easily puts him over the top. He is still young, and as a result he makes some questionable decisions and his ball handling also gets a little sloppy under pressure or when he tries to push it in transition. But these are all parts of the growing process and once all the pieces come together, Barnes could be a special talent.

Roscoe Smith 6-7 180 SF Walbrook (Baltimore, MD)

He pretty much has all the physical tools that go into making a superstar wing player. He is about 6’7, very long, athletic, agile, smooth, he can handle it, he has a smooth shot that he is more than capable of converting consistently. But the question remains, can he put all of these things together and can he perform on a consistent basis? As was evident in this tournament, he sometimes not only takes possessions off, but entire games. For a young player, that may not be the biggest problem, but until he does become a more focused player, he will only be considered a prospect and not an actual talent.

Reggie Bullock 6-5 180 SG Kinston (Kinston, NC) *North Carolina

Bullock is in a similar place that Smith is in, he has a more defined body but he is a bit shorter and hasn’t shown the same explosiveness. His game is pretty versatile as he can attack off the dribble, shoot the jumper or finish at the rim. He is still raw and makes some major mistakes, but as a young prospect he shows a lot of potential and if he keeps working he could become a player to watch for a long time.

Jeremy Tyler 6-9 235 PF Senior (San Diego, CA)

He had an up and down tournament, but had his best game in the last outing. For a player his size, he moves very well, is extremely agile and most importantly has good hands. He has focused his game solely on the low post, which may not be the best idea as he is a bit undersized for a PF at about 6’8. The main issue with Tyler still remains his temper, just when it looked like he toned it down, he reminded us of his old self by flaring up and getting a technical foul.

DeShaun Thomas 6-7 210 SF (Fort Wayne, IN) *Ohio State

Thomas played well all tournament long, he was aggressive and assertive from the beginning and didn’t let up until the end. His game is most effective when he can catch it in the midrange area, face up, and then take his defender to the hoop. He is not the most athletic player, but he has good strength and knows how to use his body to shield the ball. As a prospect he is somewhat limited because he does not have many perimeter skills; his shot is only decent, his ability to take people off the dribble is also not great. He is essentially a 6’5 PF, who is not a great athlete, but he is still young and has some time to make changes to his game.


Internationals

Nikola Markovic

The versatile Markovic showed a lot of nice things in the three games that he played. He is a 3/4 as he is able to consistently hit outside shots from beyond the arc, he can also handle the ball in the open court, take his defender to the hoop and he also plays with some physicality on the block. He looks like a good European in the making, but to make himself a real prospect for the NBA he will have to eventually make the transition to the wing permanently and the fact is he is not all that quick or explosive, it will be very difficult for him. Overall, he is a very smart and skilled player who should have a long career wherever he ends up.

Alwayne Bigby

The Canadian wing player was among the most consistent players at the tournament. Over three games he posted averages of 16.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.3 steals in just 23.4 minutes per game (Team Canada had a very deep and talented squad). Bigby is an athletic and strong 2/3 who can do a bit of everything, he is more than capable of hitting from long range and he is also very aggressive taking the ball to the hoop. He has a nicely developed body and he knows how to use it, either by bodying defenders to create space off the dribble, or by shielding the ball when he is finishing at the rim. Improving his handles and continuing to gain more consistency on his jumpshot will be key aspects that will help make him a more complete player.

Mindaugas Kuzminskas

The Lithuanian is a very crafty player and a difficult matchup because of his size and ability to score from the perimeter. He is not the quickest guy, but he has nice handles and utilizes an array of jabs, pump-fakes and hesitation moves to get his defender out of position and off balance. He can also hit from deep as he has a very smooth and reliable jumpshot. He is somewhat of a stereotypical European player, as he prefers the finesse game and shies away from contact, and he is also not very interested in playing on the defensive end. Altogether, he is a very good player who will have a nice future, but it probably will not be in the NBA.

Corey Joseph

The young point guard was very impressive, not only showing some nice skills but also poise and maturity. He has a great feel for the game and as a result he makes great decisions; whether finding open teammates or scoring the ball himself. He is about 6’2, so he has good size for the position, he can shoot from the outside and he is more than capable to getting the ball to the right spots. He doesn’t have blazing speed or quickness, but his understanding of the game and crafty moves still allow him to get the job done. Definitely a player to keep an eye on in the future.



All photos/videos courtesy: Patrick Greenfield / OregonLive.com
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I may...

have a better J than Ricky Rubio so Gaddy still has a chance

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