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Showtime Hoops Scouting Report from Las Vegas

Showtime Hoops Scouting Report from Las Vegas

July 29th, 2006

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Las Vegas - The Kentucky Derby of summer basketball showcased three major shoe company tournaments this weekend in Las Vegas. The adidas Super 64, Reebok Big Time, and the Nike Main Event was the place to be for college coaches if you were interested in finding players to earn your place in the 2007 NCAA 64 team Tournament. The weekend featured top prospects Northern California players and some sleepers that had their stock rise this weekend.

Adidas Super 64

Team California opened the weekend against Pump N Run Elite from Southern California. Nathan Garth 6’1” Class of 2008 is a solid shooter from Sacramento who played the point guard position and showed some potential of being a good collegiate player. Although he displayed speed and quickness, it didn’t overshadow the other skills he needs to improve upon prior to graduation in 2008. Garth’s assist to turnover ratio is too high and his ability to play the point guard position would improve if he focused on three assist to every one shot taken. He has an explosive first step dribble entry that draws the defense, but he also commits in the air with no clear vision on where he’s going to pass for an open shooter. Garth must realize a college coach will go crazy if his point guard turns the ball over in crucial times of a game. Garth has many Division 1 schools who are interested in him and my recommendation is to keep eye on him in the next couple of years before submitting their final evaluation for Scholarship approval.

Armon Johnson 6’3” Class of 2007 is a Sharp Shooter from Oakland California who struggled to establish himself this weekend. He’s a combo guard who needs to improve on defense to play at the Division 1 level. Johnson is a unique player that clearly understands good shot selection; he can create his own shot and has the ability to move well without the ball.

The NCAA coaches are scrambling to get their evaluations completed on Johnson, because he can play in the Pac 10. I like Johnson because he plays hard at all times, and is willing to take constructive criticism from Coach Dave Taylor.

Demetrius Walker 6’3” Class 2009 From Fontana, CA played hard all weekend and didn’t get notice for the effort he displayed on both ends of the court. Walker can play man to man defense and has the strength to out muscle players, and is a solid defensive rebounder. Walker plays well with his back to the basket, however needs to improve his ability to shoot the jumper 17-22 feet. Another skill that impressed me about Walker was his pass first mentality that will allow him to play at the collegiate level. My recommendation is that Walker spends time enhancing his skills at point guard position, which will enable him to play the point guard or the wing at the next level. The concern I have about Walker game is an extremely low scoring average of seven points per game. The former number one player in the country is a high major Division 1 prospect. He needs fundamentally sound supporting cast that is focusing on his future development for his collegiate career.

Larry Drew 6’1” Class of 2008 Taft HS is a smooth machine point guard position. Jim Herrick the coach of the Pump N Run elite can relax when Drew has the ball in his hands. This young man knows how to tempo out a game. His dribble entry kick pass sets up the catch and shoot for his teammates perfectly. He doesn’t make players take bad shots on the court by forcing them to create after the catch. Drew can run the two man pick and roll and find various options on the floor. On the defensive side of the ball Drew doesn’t get screened on defense and has the quick feet to stay in front of the ball. Drew’s assist to turn over ratio is low; he’s averaging 8-10 assist and less than two turnovers per game. He’s a High Major Division 1 Prospect that would be a perfect fit for the Pac 10 or the Big 10.

EBO Darrin “Mats” Matsubara is a master at work when it comes to building an elite summer basketball team. EBO played DTA Wisconsin 17’s in a tough battle from start to finish. “Mats” finally landed Matt Simpkins 6’9” class of 2008 from Sacramento, CA and he has arrived on the national scene. Simpkins began to shine at the Adidas Superstar Camp and now showing his game on the national AAU summer circuit. The NCAA coaches see the raw talent potential of a very special player. Simpkins is a High Division 1 major prospect and is drawing interest from Arizona and UConn. The truth is Matt Simpkins is rapidly learning the game and will soon surpass the other big time recruits; because he knows how to battle and gain opponent respect instantly. Simpkins has an outside shot that’s streaky; when he’s on fire he’ll hit five in a row. NCAA coaches want to see his ability to play in the post. One of Simpkins offensive strengths is his jump hook that’s about 80% in the paint. All NCAA coaches know that the regimen of practicing three hours a day, and a solid strength and conditioning program will make Simpkins a very solid collegiate player. He would be a very good fit for Huggins a Kansas State.

Jerryd Bayless 6’1” 2007 Arizona is a tough player on the floor. Bayless is a very quick and strong athlete that will fight until the finish. I decided to scout this young man a second time; and break down the game of a major Division 1 prospect. Bayless pushes the ball in the open court extremely well, gets to the basket, and can shoot the three from everywhere on the floor. He’s a solid defensive player and I believe he’s ready to make a statement in the Pac 10 conference. An area of weakness I notice is Bayless doesn’t attack zone defense very well. I didn’t see Bayless get to the paint and draw a second defender. NCAA coaches sitting next to me agreed he needs to get that done at the major Division 1 level. He’s an uncommitted player that’s very high on everyone’s list.

Sleepers always show up in Vegas year in and year out. DTA Wisconsin 17’s showcased some talent that we need to see out on the West Coast. Dionte Garrett and Bryquis Perine class of 2007 both junior point guards are very good players from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They gave EBO fits all night by applying pressure defense and establishing a transition pace that EBO couldn’t handle. Dionte can penetrate to the basket and draw the defense and has a “tear drop” shot that’s fun to watch. The NCAA coaches including Fresno State in attendance feel both players can play on the west coast at all levels. These two players gave EBO more than they could handle in the first half, as EBO committed 12 turnovers in the first five minutes from the junior guards pressure.

Perine just gets it done in a smooth way, because he can shoot the three point shot, strong dribble entry going baseline and easily finding another sleeper in 6’9 2008 big man Montrell Clark. Clark is a very raw and talented player and rebounds really well on both ends of the floor. He keeps the ball high and will actively pull 14-15 rebounds per game He has a nose for the basketball and played major role in the upset of EBO on Sunday 71-63.

Bay Area Hoosiers are a very solid basketball club that finds a way to win in the big events. Robert Jones 6’6 2007 small forward from San Francisco is a handful because he can play the post, or draw the defender away from the basket. Jones can’t be guarded by one player on offense end of the court; he can post up or shoot the mid-range jumper for an easy 2 points. He doesn’t place a lot of focus on scoring as much as other players, but he displayed mental concentration on how to advance in bracket play. He’s a very good Mid Major Prospect.

Reebok Big Time

Nor Cal Pharaohs Black basketball is the epitome of what all AAU team should represent to the people that attend the games. Elston Turner 6’5 2008, Jr. from Sacramento, CA is making strides become a major division prospect while displaying the work ethic of a determined young man. Turner outworks the defender and makes sure he finishes strong inside when going to the basket, and outside when taking the 17-22 feet jumper. The good movement he has without the basketball clearly shows he has an IQ for the game. Major Division 1 prospect. The Pharaohs coaches are consistently finding players and preparing their game for the collegiate level. I give the credit to coach Bill, JB Barton and program Director Harvey Livingston for their dedication teaching and developing the players.

Oakland Soldiers 1 Proved a lot of people wrong when the showed up with some of the best Bay area players in Las Vegas. Wendell Mckines 6’5 2007 Richmond CA is showing why he belongs on the Major Division 1 prospects list. Wendell showed he can hit the outside shot, and battled inside the paint all night to show the NCAA coaches he can play with the elite players that have been recruited ahead of him. This young man is a special player and reminds me of “Charles Barkley”. He’ll be a true asset to the team that has a need for a rugged defender, strong post threat and power dunker that won’t be denied. I like the positive attitude that Mckines shows on the court; and he continues to develop his shooting range from 15-19 feet.

Drew Gordon 6’9 2008 from San Jose, Ca is on everyone’s list and will really keep six major coaches busy chasing the dream of landing Gordon. He’s tough around the basket and recovers really well to block shots that would have been easy baskets. Gordon can get the job done, but he’ll need to get better at shooting at 12-15 feet. I didn’t get to see he footwork of Gordon in the post, because the Soldiers didn’t run isolation post plays for him to score.

Reeves Nelson 6’6 2009 Modesto, Ca is the one to watch. This young man is extremely young, but plays with heart of a senior. Nelson has good moves around the basket and will probably reach 6’9 prior to graduation. He will need to develop the shooting range of 12-22 feet to offset his lack of quickness. He has a way of getting offensive rebounds in the middle of the paint. My recommendation is to keep an eye on this young man the next couple of years. Major Division 1 Prospect.

Play Hard Play Smart This team displayed a lot of heart in Vegas, and the two coaches Brian Hamilton and Reggie showed a lot of patience by allowing this team to play its run and gun style of basketball. Jay Salamon 6’3 from Sacramento, CA can play with the big Boys. Salamon surprised me with his ability to score with ease by taken the ball to the basket. He’s a tough player the will have to improve on the defense side of the ball to play at the Collegiate level.

Drake Uu 6’5 Rio Americano HS Class of 2008 is the player I came to watch and see if he has the ability to play at the collegiate level. Uu played passive basketball against the Nebraska Bison Red. He didn’t attack the defender or use his 6’5 body showcase his talent. On the defensive side of the ball he played as if he didn’t belong on the floor. Uu has the tools to be a Mid Major prospect and I’ll follow his high school season to see if improves his game.

Nike Main Event

H Squad Southern CA - Rick Isaacs assembles the best talent he can find and puts up the victories. Kareem Nitoto 6’3 Oakland, Ca is a true talented basketball player. This young man starts his game on the defensive side of the ball and will take away the passing lanes from 1st and 2nd options, because he has long arms that allow him to play as if he’s a 6’6 defender. Nitoto has explosive dribble entry and can pass the ball in the paint finding the big men for easy lay ups. Nitoto game is not flashy, but the young man will give you 125% effort on offense and defense. Nitoto needs to open up more on the offensive end of the floor by taking open shot, which would allow coaches to see he can hit the jumper from 17 to 22 feet range. The 3.5 grade point average allows the resume of Nitoto to place him as a Major Division 1 prospect.

P Miller Ballers Southern CA - Master P always puts on a show when you walk into the gym loaded with stars. Percy Romeo Miller Jr. also known as Lil’ Romeo” 5’10 is a point guard that can handle ball like Allen Iverson in the open floor. Romeo is a also very busy young man in the business world, but he finds time to keep his basketball game together, and will let the opposing defender know that he’s serious about playing the game of basketball. I enjoyed watching him play and he can play college ball if he chooses that as a career path.

DeMar Derozan 6’6 Southern, CA is a very good basketball player with an NBA body. He has developed a jump shot that will have him playing at the high Division 1 level, and making a big time impact on the floor. This player can guard three men at one time with his leaping ability of a 40’ inch vertical. Derozan has been improving his game this summer and I’d like to see him run the point guard position to complete the package. This type of player only comes along once a decade and he’ll be remembered for many years.