Unfortunately, most of the players at this event appeared to ignore Mr. Johnson's advice. We saw way too many players jacking up terrible shots, playing selfishly, not defending and, for the most part, appearing to be utterly clueless about how to play the game. A word of advice for the kids at this event – listen up the next time an NBA all-star offers his wisdom.
Here's our take on some of the players we noticed at this event.
Zane Johnson, 6-6 SO SF Phoenix (Ariz.) Thunderbird. A great-looking prospect with terrific skills, Johnson was the best prospect we saw at this event. Very good frame/length with good athleticism. Johnson can shoot/handle/pass/rebound well for a 10th grade wing prospect. He showed a very good feel for the game and, unlike some of the older prospects, seemed to understand that it's not just about getting your own shot. With continued development, a likely high major prospect.
Roger Sharp, 6-4 JR SF Sierra Vista (Ariz.) Buena. Sharp has a very good body to go with excellent athleticism. He runs and jumps well, and is effective at slashing off the wing. He showed a fair stroke to about 17 feet and he played unselfishly. We like his upside and could see him playing anywhere from the mid to possibly high major level.
Christian Polk, 6-3 JR SG Glendale (Ariz.) Deer Valley. Polk has a great basketball body – very long and lean – with good quickness. He is capable of defending very well when he puts his mind to it. His shot is not yet consistent – sideways rotation – and he exercises poor shot selection. Polk likes to pull up off the dribble for shots, but he settles for too many outside shots. He has some great physical attributes, but needs to make better decisions, play within a team concept and improve his overall feel if he's going to play any higher than the mid major level.
Lawrence Westbrook, 5-11 JR SG Chandler (Ariz.) High. Westbrook is well-put-together and uses his strength to overpower defenders when he takes them off the dribble. His outside shot has improved – very solid stroke – and he has good range on his jumper. He's fairly quick and has the potential to be a solid defender. He struggles with decision-making and that will be a big question for him at the next level. Ideally, he learns to play point guard, but he's still a long way from being a D1 point guard. He's tough to project at the next level, because he does have talent and a knack for scoring. But it's tough to be a 5-11 shooting guard at the high major level, so we'll hold off on projecting him as a college player until we see whether he can make the transition to point guard.
Mason Maynard, 6-8 JR PF Glendale (Ariz.) Mountain Ridge. Maynard has a decent frame and moves well. He has fairly good feet and hands, to go with a serviceable shot to about 15-17 feet. He should get interest at the mid major level and possibly higher.
David Jackson, 6-8 JR PF Tucson (Ariz.) Rincon. Jackson is slender, with a baby face and decent frame. He's got quick feet and he's a fairly good athlete with some bounce. We liked the way he competed, but he appears to be somewhat raw and needs more experience. There is some upside here – with more bulk/strength he could have a chance at the mid major level.
Kal Bay, 6-1 JR PG Tempe (Ariz.) Marcos De Niza. Bay has a fair body – somewhat mature physically – and average athleticism. He struggles to go by quickness, but he's got good vision and can find teammates when he looks for them. Shot selection is an area he needs to work on – particularly since he's going to be a point guard at the next level. He's a streaky shooter with good range. Decisions/approach need work, but he has some ability and should get plenty of interest at the low to mid major level.
Phil Benson, 6-7 JR C Scottsdale (Ariz.) Horizon. Benson has a solid frame – fairly strong – but not particularly athletic. He will bang inside and shows a decent jump hook. A possible low major prospect.