By Kevin Duffy
RBK U Prospect Evaluations
1. Renardo Sidney 6’10’’ 240 PF Artesia HS (Lakewood, CA) Jr.
Sidney was by far the most polished big man at the camp. He dislayed a dazzling array of post moves and showed he can knock down three-pointers on a consistent basis. At times, Sidney appeared to be content with firing away threes, but as games got closer, he established himself on the low block and used a lethal combination of power and finesse to take over at the end of games.
Character concerns may be an issue with Sidney, as he easily grew frustrated at times and picked up the only technical of the entire camp. Though he scored with ease in almost every game, Sidney’s play could be described as somewhat selfish. He reminds me of Zach Randolph in the sense that he always wants the ball in his hands and will stand on the perimeter and launch unnecessary jumpshots when he should be down on the block. With that being said, Sidney’s overall talent level, size, and athletic ability far outweigh any question marks about his character. He established himself as the best player in camp and the consensus #1 prospect for the class of 2009. Right now, UCLA and USC lead the race to get this likely one-and-done prospect.
2. Terrence Jennings 6’10’’ 225 C Mt. Zion Academy (Durham, NC) Sr.
Jennings was the premier athlete at the center position. He has a huge wingspan and unrivaled leaping ability. Jennings is ridiculously quick off his feet and doesn’t ever get tired of dunking on opponents. He appears to be skinny, but he is a lot stronger than what he looks because his arms are so long. Though most of his points came off of dunks and lay-ups, Jennings showed some range on his jumpshot, as he consistently knocked down the midrange jumpshot, hit a couple of three-pointers, and nailed a 35-footer at the buzzer to win the last game of Sunday night. His game is very similar to Amare Stoudemire. A ton of college coaches were in attendance to watch Jennings, who’s top choices right now are Arizona, UConn, California, Illinois, and Memphis.
3. Brandon Jennings 6’2’’ 170 PG Oak Hill Academy (VA) Sr.
Jennings was the big headliner going into the camp, and he did not disappoint. Because he played alongside Thomas, Jennings was slated at the shooting guard position and did not have many ballhandling or playmaking responsibilities. The presence of Thomas enabled Jennings to put his freakish quickness and athleticism on display as he ran the floor and wowed the crowd with some thunderous dunks.
In the halfcourt, Jennings essentially got the basket whenever he wanted and also showed that he can knock down the three with consistency. He hit from deep off the pick and roll and off of catch-and-shoot situations on numerous occasions.
The only downside to Jennings’ play was that he failed to show any kind of playmaking ability and in turn may have raised some questions about his character and attitude. Jennings shot practically every time he touched the ball, taunted opponents, and showed little to no gamesmanship as he hammered home a dunk and hung on the rim in the waning seconds of a blowout. Calling Jennings cocky would be a serious understatement, but he has the ability to back-up his trash talk. When he arrives in Tucson, Lute Olson probably will force Jennings to tone down his showboating a bit. While the attitude questions may linger, there are few people that doubt his ability at this point.
4. Olek Czyz 6’8’ 240 SF/PF Reno HS (Reno, NV) Sr.
Czyz, from Poland, started raising eyebrows right away in Sunday morning drills with his hustle and intensity. Once the games started, we were able to see that Czyz had a polished all-around game to go with his intense and aggressive style of play. He handles and shoots the ball about as well as a 6’10’’ 17-year old possibly can. Czyz is a very good athlete with incredible hops who constantly attacks the offensive boards and finishes around the basket. He has a very strong base which make him a good defender in the post. Czyz also has the footspeed to stick with guards on the perimeter. Overall, most scouts and coaches (including Coach K) agree that Czyz is an enticing prospect. The lengendary Duke coach arrived just before Czyz’s first game Monday morning and stayed to watch his potential recruit for several games. Though it is merely speculation, Czyz is the kind of player Coach K covets and would be a perfect fit in Durham.
5. Malcolm Lee 6’4’’ 170 PG North HS (Moreno Valley, CA) Sr.
Lee was arguably the best pure scorer at the entire camp, as he showed a Kobe Bryant-like ability to connect from anywhere on the court. He put on a dazzling display of offense in what essentially turned out to be a one-on-one duel with Brandon Jennings, but Lee’s team lost every game. Much of their poor record can be attributed to their lack of size, but a lot of Team Jamal Crawford’s struggles were a result of Lee’s selfish and erratic play. According to one scout, Lee has never met a shot he didn’t like. When Lee wasn’t wasting time dribbling through his legs and going nowhere, he was either hoisting up a wild shot or turning the ball over. At just 170 lbs, Lee proved to be way too skinny to finish in the lane if he decided to dribble that far without shooting. There’s no denying he is a talented prospect, but Ben Howland will have to fine-tune his game in order for Lee to be a successful teammate at the college level.
6. Romero Osby 6’8’’ 230 SF Northeast HS (Toomsuba, MS)
Most 6’8’’ high school players dominate in the post during their high school years and then have to adapt to playing wing when they get to college. Osby is one step ahead of them. The Mississippi native already has advanced perimeter skills for his size and will make an easy transition to college SF when he arrives on campus in 2008. He already has a well-developed midrange game and slashing ability to go with his solid build and athleticism. Osby was on a very talented team at RBK U (Team Rajon Rondo), but still managed to shine without trying to steal the spotlight. He has verbally committed to Mississippi State.
7. Courtney Fortson 6’0’’ 185 PG Jefferson Davis HS (Montgomery, AL)
Fortson is a strong-bodied PG who gets into the lane and finishes with either hand. His jumpshot is a bit streaky, as he would drill 4 threes in one game and be totally off in the next. The one constant is that Fortson always knocked down his free throws, which is a big positive because he spends a lot of time at the charity stripe. Whether his jumpshot is falling or not, Fortson finds ways to score based on his tremendous combination of strength, quickness, and athleticism. He could look to pass a little more when he gets into the lane, but you can’t blame him for shooting in there because most of the time he either makes a lay-up or draws a foul. Fortson is a high-major prospect for the class of 2008, but would fit in very nicely with Southern Illinois because he looks exactly like Jamaal Tatum.
8. Darius Miller 6’7’’ 195 SF Mason County HS (Mason, KY)
Miller has prototypical size and skills to come in and start at SF for a high-major program as soon as he graduates. He has a thick body and can create his own shot off the dribble very well for his size. Though he possesses good athleticism, Miller doesn’t always put it to use when he plays. The one question mark could be his foot speed. Miller didn’t get very good separation on offense and as a result missed a lot of contested shots that he probably wasn’t used to taking. He also struggled to guard smaller and quicker match-ups on the perimeter. Kentucky and Florida are currently his top college choices.
9. J’Mison Morgan 6’11’’ 270 C South Cliff HS (Dallas, TX)
Morgan probably would have been in the top five of this list had he not been hampered by a knee injury that he suffered in the first game. Until he went down in that contest, Morgan was rejecting shots and dominating the glass against Terence Jennings. He exhibited good athleticism and superb strength before he got hurt. After the injury, Morgan was not the same from a shot-blocking standpoint, but he still made an impact on sheer size. His offensive game is a work in progress, but at 6’11’’ 270, you have to love his potential.
10. Isaiah Thomas 5’8’’ 170 PG South Kent Prep (South Kent, CT)
Thomas may not garner the newspaper headlines that his RBK U teammate Brandon Jennings does, but he proved to be the most efficient guard in camp. Thomas was not as flashy as Jennings and he didn’t wow the crowd with the streetball handle of Malcolm Lee, but he ran his team well, finished in the paint, made jumpshots, and made good decisions. Having a true point guard like Thomas can take a team a long way, and Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar is very lucky to have the in-state guard (he is from Washington but goes to high school in Connecticut) as part of his 2008 recruiting class. Thomas never had any wasted motion in his game, as he dribbled to where he needed to go and did exactly what he needed to do. He displayed remarkable control and quickness. Thomas’ biggest weapon is his ability to change gears and his understanding of when he should slow it up and when he turn on the burners. Thomas is short, but he makes up for it with strength, quickness, and smarts. He uses his body very well when he gets into the paint and also employs creative angles to keep the ball away from shot-blockers. Though he shoots a bit of a knuckleball, Thomas is a dangerous long-range shooter and a reliable free throw shooter that can close out games. Overall, Thomas had a very impressive performance at the U.
11. Isaiah Armwood 6’8’’ 185 SF Montrose Christian (Baltimore, MD)
Armwood is regarded as one of the top prospects for the class of 2009, and rightfully so. The smooth shooting 6’8’’ wing let the game come to him, played under control, and knocked down shots when he had the opportunity. Armwood has great length and athleticism, but is still a little frail and would be able to score inside more often if he put on some weight. Expect Armwood to further strengthen Montrose Christian’s reputation for putting out versatile wings (I overheard a scout talking about some kid named Durant). Georgetown, North Carolina, and Ohio State lead the race to land this elite prospect.
12. Elliot Williams 6’4’’ 170 SG St. George HS (Collierville, TN)
Williams was one of the best spot-up shooters in camp. He has a beautiful left-handed stroke and a great bounce to his game. He still needs to add some strength and mid-range skills, but Williams is on the radar of almost every high-major in the country.
13. Olu Ashaolu 6’7’’ 225 SF/PF Christian Life Academy (Brampton, ON)
Ashaolu didn’t jump out when watching the games, but he was solid in all facets of the game and put up numerous 20-point performances. At 6’7’’ 225 lbs, Ashaolu has a very thick build that enables him to score inside. He is a very aggressive offensive player who may not have terrific range, but is fully capable of finishing at the rim or pulling up and hitting a 17-footer. Ashaolu is headed to Rutgers in 2008.
14. John Wall 6’4’’ 185 PG Word of God Christian (Raleigh, NC)
What it do? It’s the iceman, John Wall, got my mouth looking something like a crystal ball. All hip-hop jokes aside, Wall was one of the more impressive underclassmen at the camp. He had to share the ball with Malcolm Lee (a feat in of itself), but still managed to put on a stunning ball handling and scoring exhibition. His game is very similar to Lee in the sense that he dribbles a lot and creates his own shot very well. While Wall took a few less ill-advised shots and didn’t turn the ball over as frequently as his backcourt mate, he didn’t show the same long-range game that Lee did. Most of Wall’s points came off of midrange jumpshots and explosive moves to the basket. With his unique combination of height, athleticism, speed, and handle, Wall could be the top PG prospect in the class of 2009.
15. Renaldo Woolridge 6’8’’ 205 SF Harvard-Westlake HS (Sherman Oaks, CA)
Woolridge, a rangy 6’8’’ who has great length and athleticism, his shot was on fire in camp but he must add consistency. He could end up being a Demetris Nichols type of college player. Arizona State and Pepperdine were leading his recruitment, but after performing well at RBK U, he could draw offers from some elite teams.
16. Kevin Jones 6’8’’ 195 PF Mount Vernon HS (Mount Vernon, NY)
Jones really gets after it on the interior. He has a non-stop motor and is a force as a shot-blocker and rebounder. The latest prospect out of Mount Vernon possesses great length and athleticism, but still needs his body to fill out before he can make the transition to the college game. He showed a decent touch from mid-range but overall his offense could use some fine-tuning. Syracuse, UConn, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, and Memphis are just a handful of the schools interested in Jones.
17. William Buford 6’5’’ 180 SG Toledo Libby (Toledo, OH)
Buford has good size for a shooting guard. He is very rangy and athletic, can slash, and shot well from the perimeter. Buford should be a dynamic scorer at the college level, but could stand to improve in other areas of the game. He has verbally committed to Ohio State
18. Erik Frederick 6’7’’ 200 SF Cornerstone Christian (San Antonio, TX)
Frederick already has NBA-type size for a SF. He can easily overpower most of the wings he faces, but often relies too much on his jumpshot and shoots difficult step-back three pointers. He is a capable shooter when left open, but he doesn’t jump particularly well and has a low-release on his shot. He could have trouble creating offense at the next level. Nonetheless, his size and skill set make him an intriguing prospect.
19. Kenny Boynton 6’2’’ 185 PG/SG Blanche Ely HS (Pompano Beach, FL)
Boynton came in with a reputation as a terrific scorer, but he didn’t play particularly well during his time in Philly. The Pompano Beach native struggled with his jumpshot and seemed to be forcing the action during the entire camp. With that being said, Boynton still put up some fairly good numbers and impressed even when he wasn’t playing his best. A disappointing camp won’t be enough to stop all major conference coaches from salivating at the chance to land this dynamic shooting guard.
20. Clarence Trent 6’8’’ 200 SF Findlay HS (Gig Harbor, WA)
Considering Trent did not score in either of his first two games, it is a stretch to put him on the list of “Top Performers,” but the truth is Trent is too talented to be left off of it. He is a very wide 6’8’’, moves well for his size, and can really shoot from outside. He missed all of his jumpshots on Sunday, but was very dangerous from behind the arc in Monday’s games. He also played aggressive defense and made a few steals to start the fast break. Trent has plenty of ability, but his work ethic may be question mark. During the games in which Jim Calhoun, Skip Prosser, Bob Huggins, and Tom Crean were watching, Trent seemed to give a lot more effort.
Just Missed the Cut:
Elston Turner 6’5’’ 185 SG/SF Roseville HS (Roseville, CA)
Turner showed good slashing ability to compliment his reputable three-point shot. He is a scorer that will play either SG or SF in college and has a body and game very similar to Duke’s DeMarcus Nelson. Turner has committed to play at Washington after he graduates in 2008.
Kevin Dillard 6’0’’ 170 PG Homewood Flossmoor (Homewood, IL)
Dillard displayed great quickness and scoring ability and was one of the best point guards in the entire camp. He hails from the same hometown as former Kansas star Julian Wright and will be heading to Southern Illinois to play his college ball. The Salukis are getting a very talented lead guard, but at times Dillard over dribbles and doesn’t move the ball around quickly. His penchant for committing turnovers is the only thing keeping him out of the Top 20.
Eloy Vargas 6’9’’ 220 PF American Heritage School (Plantation, FL)
Vargas performed very well at the RBK U as he surprised scouts with the ability to shoot the ball consistently from the perimeter. Vargas is known for his length and shot-blocking skills. Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Louisville, and Pitt have all made offers.
20 More to Keep an Eye On:
1. Brandon Knight 6’3’’ 175 SG Coral Springs HS (Coral Springs, FL)
If you didn’t know that Knight was only going to be a sophomore in high school next year, you would probably think he was one of the best prospects in the senior class. Knight has tremendous skills and athleticism for someone his age. He scored off the dribble against everyone in the camp and handled the ball extremely well. Once he gets stronger and is able to finish at the rim (instead of attempting short jumpers and floaters that he sometimes missed), Knight will be an absolutely scary prospect. As it stands right now, he is probably the top guard in the class of 2010.
2. Jordan Henriquez 6’11’’ C Portchester HS (Portchester, NY)
Henriquez still is not done growing and should top out at over 7-feet. He plays with tremendous intensity and passion. Henriquez’s length and shot-blocking ability made Renardo Sindey extremely frustrated when the two squared off. Though his post skills are still far from being ready, Henriquez demonstrated a nice outside shooting touch and knocked in a few three-pointers. If Henriquez can develop his offense and his body in the next year, he could be a top-end prospect come the end of his senior season at Portchester.
3. Michael Snaer 6’5’’ 180 SG Rancho Verde HS (Moreno Valley, CA)
Snaer, an upcoming junior in high school, was the best three-point shooter in the entire camp. He flashed NBA-range as a spot-up shooter and also showed he was a capable ballhandler and above average athlete. Snaer was initially playing with the second unit, but he worked his way into the starting rotation because of his lights-out shooting. USC and Missouri have already offered scholarships.
4. Frank Ben-Eze 6’10’’ PF/C Bishop O’Connell HS (McLean, VA)
Ben-Eze is an absolute physical specimen. He has long arms and a muscular frame similar to Greg Oden. His body is where the Oden comparisons end, however, because Ben-Eze’s game is far from being a finished product. He gives a lot of production on the boards and is a mean shot-blocker, but he is also somewhat of a liability on offense at this point. Ben-Eze has very little back to the basket game and always tries to turn to his right when he catches the ball. He really struggles when he catches the ball on the left block. Given time, however, Ben-Eze has the potential to develop into an NBA center.
5. LeBryan Nash 6’7’’ 210 Dallas Lincoln HS (Cedar Hill, TX)
Nash didn’t dominate the camp, but no one really expected an 8th grader to work wonders against players three years older. That’s right, Nash, a 6’7’’ small forward with good athleticism and a solid build, is not slated to graduate high school until 2011. Because he can physically dominate games against players his age, Nash’s skills are not very well developed, but he certainly has a ton of potential and is worth keeping an eye on.
6. Karron Johnson 6’8’’ 205 SF Mt. Zion Christian Academy (Durham, NC)
Johnson is the high school teammate of Terence Jennings, so he may not be Mt. Zion’s number one option next year, but his ability will not go unnoticed. Johnson is very long and athletic and handles the ball well for a forward his size. While most of his offense is based off of his athleticism right now, Johnson has the raw skill to be an impact college player, he just needs some time to develop.
7. Allan Chaney 6’9’’ 210 PF New London HS (New London, CT0
Chaney managed to get himself noticed despite playing alongside Sidney, Jennings, and Thomas. He was one of the best athletes at the camp and proved it with some thunderous put-back dunks. Chaney was very active on the interior as he blocked shots and went up high to grab rebounds. The most surprising part about his game was his handle and jumpshot. He has the perimeter skills to play a little small forward in college, even though he is projected as big man. His strong showing could garner some offers from big conference teams. Before the camp started, Rhode Island seemed to be Chaney’s most likely destination.
8. Andre Clark 6’10’’ 190 PF North Little Rock HS (North Little Rock, AR)
Clark was one of the longest, most athletic big men at the entire camp. He is rough around the edges but showed some good offensive skills to compliment his athletic ability. He seems to be more of a high-post player on offense right now. He’ll need to work on his low post game but possesses a very high upside. Clark currently has offers from Colorado, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Indiana.
9. Richard Howell 6’7’’ 215 SF/PF Central Gwinnett HS (Lawrenceville, GA)
Howell came in as one of the top prospects for 2009 and he improved his stock. He is a big, physical presence inside and also has the ability to run the floor and finish on the break. Because his team was very big, Howell played SF at times and simply overpowered his defender. As he continues to develop his ball skills, Howell will be an elite high school player over the next two years.
10. Mookie Jones 6’7’’ 180 SF Peekskill HS (Peekskill, NY)
Jones is a very long and active player who performed solid in all areas during the camp. He showed a bit more range on his shot than he was initially thought to have, but then again, defense wasn’t a priority for the players at this camp and Jones will not have a lot of time and space to shoot at the next level. Nonetheless, he currently has scholarship offers from Syracuse, Louisville, and Rutgers.
11. Ari Stewart 6’9’’ 195 SF Wheeler HS (Marietta, GA)
Stewart did not start but made an impact in every game. He, like many others, is a long, lean athlete who slashes and finishes on the break. Stewart still has two more years of high school and by the time he graduates should be one of the premier prospects to enter the college ranks.
12. BJ Monteiro 6’5’’ 185 SG Crosby HS (Waterbury, CT)
Monteiro can score in a variety of ways. He is an underrated athlete who uses creative reverse lay-ups to score inside. While most of his points came off of transistion lay-ups, Monteiro also showed he is capable of taking his man off the dribble from the perimeter. His shot is a little flat, but he will knock it down if left open. Overall, Monteiro doesn’t blow you away when you watch him, but he is always in the right place and he just finds ways to score. He’s a little think an could definitely use a year of prep school (like former Crosby HS PF Damien Saunders, who was considered a fringe D-I prospect until he went prep and signed with Marquette a year later).
13. Jarrett Mann 6’4’’ 180 SG Blair Academy (Townsend, DE)
Mann didn’t put up huge numbers, but he played his role very effectively on one of the better teams in the field (Team Livingston). He showed terrific ability to create his own shot and rise above shorter guards to hit pull-up jumpers. Mann also used his size to his advantage on the defensive end, where he made several spectacular blocks coming off the weakside. Mann has a good bounce to his game and should be an effective scorer for Stanford at the college level.
14. Michael Rosario 6’2’’ 180 SG St. Anthony’s HS (Jersey City, NJ)
Rosario displayed tremendous end to end speed in the first couple of games and then opened up his offense and shot the lights out in the Monday afternoon games. He is a very gifted offensive player who may be a little undersized to play SG in college.
15. Justin Brownlee 6’7’’ 215 SF Covenant Christian HS (Tifton, GA)
Brownlee was one of the few big men in camp that could step out and shoot the ball like a guard. He has the athleticism and body to compete on the interior but also has a very advanced jumpshot. Odds are he’ll be a SF in college, so he’ll need to improve his ballhandling.
16. Brett McClanahan 6’2’’ 185 PG Nitro HS (Nitro, WV)
McClanahan is a very heady player who does not have any wasted motion in his game. He is aware of where his teammates are and plays smart, using head and ballfakes to get his defender to bite. McClanahan is very springy and proved to be a reliable outside shooter. He looks like a mid-major prospect, and he will be a true steal for whoever gets him.
17. Frank Otis 6’6’’ 225 PF McClymonds Senior HS (Oakland, CA)
Otis was the strongest player in the camp and as a result put up some very impressive rebounding numbers. His physical strength and athleticism make him an attractive option for a team that needs someone to step in right away, but his long-term potential will be hurt by the fact that he is only 6’6’’ and doesn’t possess great perimeter skills. Cal is looking like they are closing in on signing this in-state star.
18. CJ Leslie 6’9’’ 185 Holly Springs HS (Holly Springs, NC)
Leslie is a very, very long swingman who’s skills have not quite caught up to his body. Despite being only an upcoming sophomore in high school, he has already verbally committed to NC State.
19. John Henson 6’9’’ 190 SF Round Rock HS (Round Rock, TX)
Henson makes Corey Brewer look like a professional body builder, but once you get past his frail frame, there is a lot of potential. He has a very nice touch from 15 feet and hit a number of difficult fadeaway mid-range jumpshots. His length is out of this world and because of that, he is an effective shot-blocker. Henson is still very uncomfortable on the block, but once he gains some more strength and confidence down low, this 2009 prospect could turn into a nice college player in the future..
20. Terence Joyner 6’2’’ 170 PG Genesis One HS (Los Angeles, CA)
Joyner had the best handle in camp. He crossed over his defender and dashed his way to the basket on numerous occasions. While some of Joyner’s crowd-pleasing moves probably wouldn’t have occurred in a normal half-court game, there is no denying that his shake and bake style will at least be exciting to watch at the next level. Joyner is not just a dribbling machine, either. He will pull-up and hit a three pointer in his defender’s face if his handle and quickness cause his man to give him room.
20b. Kendall Marshall 6’2" 170 PG Bishop O’Connell (Arlington, VA)
Marshall is a smooth lefty point guard who was the youngest ever to start for the Boo Williams AAU team. He has great vision, picks the defense apart and has handled 17u pressure extremely well for someone with the ball in his hands alot this spring. He is being recruited by Duke, UNC, Villanova, Pitt, GTown, UVA.