ASU Prospects Desert Duel Report

2010 blue chipper Daniel Bejarano was naturally the most watched Sun Devil prospect in the Desert Duel Memorial tournament held in Gilbert this week. However, the tournament showcased some other players ASU is considering and here are our impressions of those prospects.

Trent Lockett - the 6-5 185 shooting guard who's an ASU commit from the 2009 class tore his meniscus nearly two months ago. Since coming back to the court in early July, he feels that he's "95 percent" back to being his old self. He said that not until the later stages of the Las Vegas Adidas Super 64 tournament last week did he feel that he was playing well this month.

Well, in two games we saw Lockett we saw a player that is probably still feeling the effects of his injury. In a game against Texas Ambassadors Lockett's Net Gain squad won 62-34 and got eight points from the Sun Devil pledge. Lockett was 4-8 from the field in a game where he sat a good portion of the first half on the bench. The guard comes off as a very solid all-around player who makes very good decisions with the basketball and is very active on defense. His play doesn't wow you, nor does his quickness, but quietly he does get the job done.

In the second contest we saw Lockett he scored just five points, and generally couldn't buy a bucket whether it was an outside jumper or a drive to the basket. To his credit he was very aggressive on offense (didn't settle for jumpers or take bad outside shots), but he just couldn't finish his layups. He even missed a handful of free throws. But again he compensated on defense blocking and altering shots, and fighting for loose balls. As always, he did a good job getting his teammates involved.

"I have been a little tentative earlier this month," said Lockett, "but I feel now I'm getting back to what I used to be."

Lockett can naturally feel relaxed compared to the 2009 prospects who are still looking for a college to commit to. Furthermore, he stated that since he committed to ASU schools have backed off in their recruitment. "I have less pressure than other players but I still need to impress my coaches (at ASU)," he said, "and I need to help me teammates so they also go to college for free."

Lockett said that in anticipation to his arrival in Tempe next year, he's trying to play more of a guard role and improve his ball handling skills. "(Net Gain's) Coach doesn't want me to shoot too many 3's," he noted. "That's not my role on the team. I do feel that I can shoot the three and I'm gonna show that in my senior year."

The guard is excited to start his college career next fall and said that Arizona State is "just a great basketball program with great coaches. I do well in academics and I really liked the honors college there. It's gonna be a lot fun playing there."

Devonte Elliott - a 2009 class 6-9 195 power forward prospect whose defense is way ahead of his offense. Nonetheless, he does do a very nice job blocking and rebounding. This despite being a good 30-40 pounds from being as physical as he would need to be at the college level. In his first game of the tournament, a contest viewed by ASU Head Coach Herb Sendek, Elliott's ICAN All-Stars beat Team Arizona 60-43. Elliott scored four points in that game and missed a good portion of the contest due to a cut on his finger as he was going for a block. He did register three blocks and five rebounds, and with a long wing span does a good job contesting shots.

Elliott does run the floor very well, and does have some nice moves in the paint. He sows very nice form on his jump shot. Nonetheless, his lack of physical presence prevents him from being a good finisher when he has to shoot over an opposing big man. He's another player that does a solid job distributing and normally isn't careless with the ball.

He scored 4 pts on 2-5 shooting in a 59-56 OT win over the Carolina Cobras, and against Team Suggs (yes, that Suggs) Warriors Elliot's squad won 79-72 and the power forward tallied 11 points on 4-8 shooting. All in all, not a bad Plan B for a big man but as we mentioned his offensive play and physique have a long way to go.

Givon Crump – probably the most intriguing ASU prospect we saw this week. Crump is a 6-7 205 forward that will spend this coming year at Brewster Academy – one of the top basketball programs among the prep school ranks. He does have some roots in the east coast, but since his family moved to Arizona and he plays on the Arizona Pump ‘N Run squad, ASU and other West Coast schools are getting closer looks at him this summer.

His squad was literally dismantled last week by Coach Mark Carlino (citing inadequate preparation time) and the team was barely pieced together in time for the Desert Duel. So the ragged manner in which the team played rubbed off on Crump who played out of control at times. Having said that, the forward is a gifted player and very close to Bejarano in his quickness and athleticism. Crump has the body to be physical on both ends of the floor and does a very nice job finishing in the paint. His ball handling skills are certainly above average for a player his size and his jump shot has a nice form to it.

In the game we saw him play he had 11 points on 3-9 shooting and was 4-6 from the free throw line. His team lost to a much more disciplined Illinois Wolves squad 62-49. "Arizona State has been coming at me pretty strong," said Crump. "I like the coaches and I think they have a genuine interest in me. It's a great program and I could see myself playing there."

Crump said that he could settle on a school as early as mid-August. The forward stated that Rutgers, Oregon State, Iowa State, DePaul, West Virginia have all offered him, and that UCLA and Cal are other Pac-10 programs showing interest.

Nick Johnson – the 6-3 175 shooting guard received an offer from ASU over a year ago. The 2011 prospect from Gilbert is likely to gain more recruiting steam as time goes by and hopefully the early attention he got from his hometown school will pay off.

When his Arizona Premier Black team took the court against the Carolina Cobras, it was weird to see Johnson on the bench. Turns out that the sophomore still had to yield to players who were seniors, regardless of their talent level. Little too old school of a move if you ask us, since he was one the best players on his team in a 68-57 victory. Yet, Johnson was unfazed by the benching and scored 13 points on 6-12 shooting and he made his last three attempts in the game.

Johnson has probably a more college ready body than a lot of players who are about to start their freshmen year in college. However, he's slower than you would expect him to be. He's a pure shooter that seems more comfortable spotting up than creating his own shot, which again can be attributed to his relative lack of explosiveness. He had a hard time finishing around the basket, and his ball handling skills are not at the level they should be.

Overall, he has a very high ceiling of potential and can certainly refine his game in the next three yards he has left in high school. He's certainly a player that ASU fans should be excited to have if and when he decides to don the maroon and gold.

Devils Digest will keep tabs on these ASU prospects and others in the next several weeks.

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