Saturday at the Nike MDC

While much of the recruiting world's attention is focused on the Tournament of Champions this weekend, the folks from Nike are doing their thing in New Orleans. The Nike Memorial Day Classic features a loaded field that included several names Kansas fans are familiar with.

Spencer Hawes - The 6-11 BF/C started off his day by touching up Darrell Arthur and Bryan Davis for 22 points and 11 rebounds and finished it off with an impressive 27 point outing against the Tennessee Travelers. He’s still saying that his list is at eight schools and it looks like it could be next fall before there is any real movement in his recruiting. He’s as skilled as they come in the low post and his ability to face up and drain jumpers makes him that much tougher to guard. Even more impressive is the nasty streak he plays with despite a lack of bulk.

Trevor Mbakwe - Without his Howard Pulley sidekick Bryce Webster, much is expected of the 6-7 BF around the basket on both the offensive and defensive ends. As usual he played hard and used his strength and quickness to go by and through bigger players, but against tough and athletic AAU competition he’s got to develop a few scoring moves. He does do a good job of getting to the line but could improve his free throw shooting.

Darrell Arthur - The easygoing Texan didn’t put up huge numbers on Saturday but he impressed in other areas, most of all his passing. Everybody knows about his quickness and athleticism at 6-9, but Arthur showed some surprising vision in traffic and made some flat out spectacular passes. He’s also showing more perimeter skills and is a more accomplished ball handler than he’s been given credit for. The next step is learning to take over games from beginning to end.

Bryan Davis - Playing alongside Arthur on Team Texas, the 6-9 Davis is often overlooked. On Saturday he did a nice job of running the court, blocking shots, grabbing rebounds and making the most of his offensive opportunities. For a guy who has mostly been considered a garbage man, Davis is actually a pretty good jump shooter from 15 feet and in and does a fantastic job of using the glass .

Kevin Love - You won’t find a big man, perhaps on any level, with better footwork than the rising junior from Oregon. He’s a treat to watch play because he does everything so well and he took Brandan Wright – who played very well himself – to school in an early morning 30 point outburst. He’s improving his quickness around the basket and has a big body that he knows how to use. Add to that the ability to stroke the ball with regularity from three point range and it almost isn’t fair for him to be so skilled at such a young age.

Kyle Singler - Love’s running mate on the Portland Legends, the 6-8 WF is no slouch himself. He is capable of playing either forward position, shoots with accuracy from deep and is a sensational passer with great court awareness. He isn’t the next Larry Bird, but he plays a similar brand of basketball and is a throwback player how combines skills with plentiful athleticism.

Donald Sloan - It wasn’t the best of days for the strong 6-3 WG from Texas. He’s obviously a talented individual but can struggle when the game is of a more structured variety. He used his strength and athleticism to get to the basket for a few impressive finishes but his jumper was off leading to some frustrating misses.

Brandan Wright - Even though Kevin Love got the better of him in an early morning matchup, the 6-9 lefty showed why he is so highly regarded. He’s got impossibly long arms and uses every inch of length to his advantage as he extends over any defender for finishes around the basket. He handled the ball with proficiency and is starting to score off the dribble going right or left. Once he gets a little stronger he’s going to be unstoppable on the high school level. He’s still thinking NBA -- which in today’s environment you can’t blame him for.


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