Sun Devils Eye Talented West Coast Wings

Over the course of the last several weeks, DevilsDigest has traveled to Las Vegas for the Adidas Big Time and Los Angeles for the Best of Summer Tournament. This has allowed first-hand evaluations of the majority of high school recruits being considered for the three available scholarships at Arizona State. In this report, we look at the wings being considered by the ASU staff in the 2004 class, along with a few early names to keep in mind for 2005.

One of the biggest revelations in Las Vegas last week was the play of Arizona State primary target Lee Cummard, a 6-6 SG/SF out of Mesa high school. Cummard's Arizona Cagers White squad was not a member of the open division in pool play and as such, was forced to play away from the event's main gymnasiums at Green Valley and Durango high schools. The team also failed to make it into the open draw after finishing second in their pool out of four teams and instead played in the ‘A' Tournament.

As a result of this, fewer coaches and analysts saw the Cagers, but for Arizona State, that's probably for the best. If Cummard had been playing in the open portion of the event, scholarship offers would have likely come pouring in from a plethora of national programs. As it was, coaches from Arizona, UCLA, Oregon, Utah, BYU and Arizona State among others were in attendance for multiple games. scout and analyst Greg Hicks was in the building for at least three of Cummard's performances in Las Vegas, and when asked about Cummard's stock while at the event, he simply replied by pointing a thumb skyward and saying, "It's going up. Way up." Sure enough, soon after the event, Hicks made it known that he now personally had Cummard ranked number one on the West Coast at the shooting guard position.

In speaking with Cummard and sources close to the young East Valley sensation, it appears that Arizona State is a strong leader for his services. One source went, as far as to say, "it's basically a done deal." Cummard maintains that he'd still like to take trips, but expect Arizona State to attempt to close hard on him in the next several weeks. It appears that the only school that may prove to be a legitimate alternative for Cummard is BYU, due in large part to his religious beliefs. But even the Cougars should be considered a long shot.

Cummard refuses to play on Sundays and is determined to go on an LDS mission directly out of high school. This is crucial because a National Letter of Intent is binding for a player who leaves on a mission directly out of high school, but null and void if a player attends school for a year prior to departing. Should ASU sign Cummard, he likely wouldn't suit up in a Sun Devil uniform until 2006, but one source close to the program has indicated he "could start right away" upon his return. A commitment from Cummard would also allow ASU to sign four players this year instead of three.

Here is some analysis on the play of Cummard and other ASU prospect at the recent all-important events.

2004 Class

Lee Cummard- An extremely intelligent, crafty and energetic player, Cummard is fantastic at anticipating plays on both ends, defends with vigor and has a full cache of offensive moves seemingly at his fingertips. While he's basically a skinny guy, he's not afraid to throw his body around and challenge the opponent at both ends of the floor. He also has a bit of a nasty streak, which presents itself in a positive manner on the court, and his jump shot is pure and consistent. Athletically Cummard is sneaky quick with quite a bit of bounce off the floor. In two years with some natural physical development, he should be able to step in and immediately contribute at the high major level.

Tim Pierce- It's only been a couple months since Pierce's father passed away, and the fact that he even played this summer is really quite something in and of itself. Pierce's team, Oakland Slam and Jam, never really got on track and had a tendency to play quite sloppy at both events. As a result, it was relatively difficult to get a strong impression of what Pierce is or is not capable of. Standing at least 6-6 and over 200 pounds, he's certainly big enough and athletic enough to play on the wing at the high major level, but he seemed to have a tendency to make a lot of mental mistakes and play without much focus or desire. Certainly this is understandable, but again, it made for a very difficult evaluation. At the ABCD camp earlier this summer he made the All-Star game and reportedly played relatively well at times. He certainly has quite a bit of upside, but he could probably use a lot more instruction as it relates to understanding time and situation in games and playing within a team concept.

Richard Roby- A former AAU teammate of Tron Smith on Inland 1, Roby is the primary wingman, so-to-speak, of elite 2005 point guard Andre McGee. Roby, the half brother of New Jere4sey Nets' Kenyon Martin is around 6-5 or 6-6 and well built with a terrific frame. He reminds a little bit of a less athletic version of Latrell Sprewell, with his smooth, gliding court presence and easy jump shot. He also has the same darting penetration moves of Spree, with the tendency to bring the ball way up over the hands of defenders on his two-step trip to the rack. Roby is being recruiting by Arizona State, but is said to favor Colorado at this juncture. He was actually sporting a University of Colorado T-shirt in warm-up drills prior to a game on Tuesday at Loyola Marymount.

Josh Shipp- Much like his brother Joe, Josh is an extremely well put-together athlete. At 6-6, he may actually be a bit taller and possess a better basketball body than the former Cal standout, but athletically I'm not quite sure if he's as quick, especially on his first step with the ball in his hands. Shipp might have a difficult time creating his own shot at the Pac-10 level and staying with quicker on defense wings may prove to be a difficult task as well. Still, he knows how to play the game and has a nice accurate touch from long range. He's being recruited by a number of Pac-10 schools including Washington, Stanford, UCLA and Arizona State, and other high majors nationally. The Huskies have been in the lead for quite some time and that could well be where he winds up, particularly if the school parts ways with current verbal commitment Todd Follmer, a player that would be a project at best in the Pac-10.

Ty Morrison- Recently you may have read about Morrison's desire to commit to ASU, but in the same interview with he also alluded to academic difficulties that he felt he could overcome. From speaking with Morrison, a local star at Trevor Browne high school, and other sources close to the situation it appears to us that such a view may be overly optimistic at this point. It is likely that Morrison will be forced to go to prep school for a year, or even attend junior college and get a two-year degree before moving up to the high major ranks. Morrison is a combo-forward more than a wing, very strong and athletic and most dangerous at this point in close to the basket. He is a tremendous linear athlete with explosive hops and a nice first step going to the rim. If he'll have troubles at the next level it will be on the perimeter defensively and perhaps with his ball skills. Morrison didn't play in the last several weeks with a reported stress fracture in his foot to blame, but he'll be a player to keep in mind in the future.

Curtis Allen-The main problem with Allen is that he's a little short, at 6-3 to play the small forward position at the Pac-10 level and he's also extremely similar to Sun Devil newcomer Steve Moore, right down to the left handed jump shot and nice athleticism. Allen can really stroke it from downtown and his play of late has been more consistent. However, he still needs to develop his skill level, particularly his mid-range game. The Sun Devil staff reportedly likes Moore, but wants a more versatile wing that can play small forward.

2005 Class

Lawrence Hill- We've featured "The Law" on DevilsDigest in the past and his performance this summer only solidified his standing as the best player in Arizona in the 2005 class. Hill is extremely versatile, about 6-7, and lanky. He's a great defender, rebounder and scorer who can shoot the ball from deep, but possesses more of a set shot that requires a little time to get off. Going to the basket Hill can use either hand with easy and his body control is what sets him apart; he uses it to shield himself from opponents and also does a great job of drawing contact. Hill steps into passing lanes, understands the angles of the game and can handle the ball in pressure situations. It's likely he'll be a top 100 prospect in the class nationally and right now Stanford and Arizona are recruiting him, both of which are his primary college choices.

Harvey Hale- A former Rio Grande high school teammate of ASU's Serge Angounou, Hale is widely considered to be the best guard prospect in New Mexico in the 2005 class. He played this summer on the Texas Blue Chips 1 team, and was in fact the only sophomore to garner starter minutes. Still, Hale struggled quite a bit in the last few weeks. His shot was off and his ball-handling skills appeared in need of further development, especially off the drive. He had a ton of turnovers where he just couldn't hold onto the basketball on his move. At about 6-3 Hale is well put together, but his arms are somewhat short and he doesn't appear to be a particularly dynamic athlete. Still, he reportedly did well in various camps and dominated the competition in high school as a mere sophomore, so we're not too concerned at this point. He does have two more years to develop.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories