Another look at Kingwood

By now you know about all of the talent on display at the Kingwood Classic in Houston. Arizona had a ton of prospect there. Here is what recruiting analyst Eric Bossi had to say about a few of them.

Andy Poling - Another class of 2008 big man, the 6-10 BF/C from Portland doesn't really have all that much help, but there's plenty to like with his game. Playing in front of Williams, the slender big man proved that he can run the floor and that he has the ability to make some really tough catches while on the run. He needs to add some strength, well actually quite a bit, but he's got good touch and a nice arsenal of post moves around the basket. The explosion isn't quite there yet, but he's far from unathletic and it's encouraging that he tries to fight through hacking arms in traffic for dunks.

James Hickson - Yet another post player who is receiving interest from the Heels, Hickson was up and down on Saturday. He's plenty strong and quick in the post and he has some post moves. However, after earning notoriety as a slender athlete the Georgian's body has developed in a way that his legs seem to be getting a little heavy and he doesn't seem to be near as explosive off the floor as in the past. Then again, it could be tired legs from playing plenty last weekend, traveling and then playing three times on Saturday. He's got the tools to be an elite big guy in 2007, but the jury is still out.

Anthony Randolph - It could be argued that this long and lean 6-10 BF drew the biggest crowd of head coaches on Saturday when he and the Dallas Mustangs suited up against the New York Gauchos. With guys like Roy Williams, Lute Olson, Bill Self, Billy Gillespie, Jim Calhoun, Scott Drew, John Calipari and more on hand, Randolph put on a scintillating show. His ability to take defenders off the dribble at his size is beyond impressive and he's got a silky left handed jumper that is true to the three-point line. He's got to add strength to his lean frame and add some more consistency and toughness, but as a prospect there probably aren't 10 better in the class of 2007. His recruitment has officially taken off.

People had heard about the 6-10'ish southpaw from Dallas before and he justifiably had big time interest. Randolph put his dazzling array of skills on full display. He handles the ball far too well for any big man to stay with him for long off of the bounce and he's a deadly shooter -- as long as he doesn't jack bad shots -- out to the three point line.

Kyle Singler - Lined up across the way from OJ Mayo in the most highly anticipated game of the night, Singler never quite got rolling. As usual he was all over the glass, hit some mid-range jumpers and carried his share of the ball handling but neither him – nor anybody else on either team in this game – ever really seemed to get into it. Still, the 6-8 (maybe even 6-9) forward's skill and ability to play either the wing or as a face up four man is quite evident and there are few players his size who can match his exquisite passing skills.

Brandon Jennings - Generally considered the top PG in the class of 2008, the 6-0 blur from Los Angeles didn't do anything to hurt his standing on Friday night. He's always been able to handle in traffic, find seams in zones via crisp passing and push the tempo but he's adding to his already substantial game. His shot now features a very quick release and he gets plenty of elevation off the floor. Perhaps most notable though is that he has grown to a legit six feet tall and has explosive hops. He still lacks strength, but that extra gear to go over defenders in the lane that he used to be without, well he doesn't have that problem anymore and he used those hops to grill the entire SYF team on an inbounds lob.

Trevor Mbakwe - The finishes weren't quite there every time, but the intent to cause harm to the rim and anybody who stood in his way was. An explosive 6-7 BF with long arms and toughness, Mbakwe is in the process of rebuilding a reputation that took a pretty significant hit last summer. He's not ever going to be skill guy, but he's a hard worker around the rim who is a well above average rebounder and he finds ways to get to the foul line. Most importantly, he converts on those trips to the charity stripe and his fluidity from there suggests that he'll eventually develop a dangerous 10 foot jumper. That's really all he needs.

Darrell Arthur - There were whispers all week that Arthur was going to show up with Urban DFW Elite and it came to fruition on Saturday when the 6-9 forward from Dallas showed up and put in work. A pessimist would argue that he's coming off appearances at the McDonald's All-American game and the Roundball Classic and that he's got a year of experience on most of the guys he was playing against and that argument certainly holds water. But, nobody can deny that Shady was arguably the best looking prospect in the event on Saturday.

He spun past defenders for dunks, he ran past bigger and smaller guys to finish in transition, brought the ball up on a few occasions and generally did whatever he wanted. It's always interesting to watch him because his body language almost always suggests that he'd rather be anywhere else, still he dominates when he puts his mind to it. Next weekend that anywhere else he'd rather be is expected to be a visit to LSU. The hot rumor is that Tigers have come from virtually nowhere to leapfrog the pack in the battle for Arthur's services and that they could score a commitment. Then again, when was the last time that something rumored to happen in his recruitment actually went down as predicted. Stay tuned.


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