Kingwood: West Coast Part Two

Clint Chapman, Malcolm Lee, Elston Turner, Jr. and Andy Poling are among the players we profile in the second part of our report on the Kingwood Classic...

The Houston Kingwood Classic concluded yesterday afternoon, with the Southern California All-Stars winning the championship. Here are some impressions of a few of the players we saw in Houston.

Clint Chapman, 6-9 JR C Canby (Ore.) High. Chapman is a good example of why you need to be patient with young bigs. Last spring, we saw Chapman warming up with the God Squad team and thought he was interesting. He didn't play much for that team, but we were intrigued. We saw him in December at the Les Schwab tournament and he showed some flashes, but still had a ways to go before you'd be excited about him. This past weekend in Houston, Chapman showed that he's starting to put it together. His body is looking good, he's got very good feet and he has some bounce to him. He made several aggressive plays attacking the rim and going after rebounds. He's not a back-to-the-basket scorer just yet, but the tools are there for a very good player someday. Look for Chapman to end up at the high major level.

Brandon Richardson, 6-0 JR PG/SG Hawthorne (Calif.) High. We've liked Richardson going back to last year, but wondered if he could make the transition to the point. We only saw him play one game in Houston, but he was impressive. His decision-making was excellent and he showed a nice feel for the position. He's got the ability to knock down shots, from mid range as well as deep. If he can play the one, he's a potential high major prospect.

Trevor Morris, 6-7 JR C Meffan (Ida.) Nampa. Morris has some size to him, with pretty good feet and hands. He showed a decent touch to 15 feet in the game we saw and played with good energy. We'll be watching him some more in the future.

Kendall Wallace, 6-2 JR PG/SG Mesa (Ariz.) Mountain View. A heady guard who might play either spot at the next level. Wallace is just a fair athlete, but he makes good decisions and he can knock down shots from the perimeter. Worth a look at the low major level.

Justin Johnson, 6-6 JR SF Phoenix (Ariz.) Brophy. The son of former NBA star Eddie Johnson, Justin showed some flashes of ability in one game this past weekend. He's got a knack for scoring, with something of an old-school game (like his father). He also showed the potential to be a very good defender. We want to watch him some more, as he was in intriguing in Houston.

Elston Turner, Jr., 6-4 SO SG/SF Sacramento (Calif.) Roseville. Turner is a big, strong wing in the mold of an Arron Afflalo type. Like Afflalo, he's not an explosive athlete (although he's a better athlete than Afflalo at the same age), but he has a very high skill level for a young player. He can make plays off the dribble – nice handle – and he has a very good stroke to the stripe. He showed a nice feel for the game in the one viewing we had over the weekend. It's still early, but Turner is in the running to be among the elite wings in the West Coast class of 2008. With continued development, a potential elite, high major prospect.

Andy Poling, 6-10 SO C Portland (Ore.) Westview. Poling looks about the same physically as he did when we last saw him in December. He struggled in the one game we saw on Saturday, as he didn't have the strength to hold his position inside against older players. We've seen Poling do some very impressive things in the past, so we're not going to place too much emphasis on one mediocre performance. However, he does need to add weight and strength if he's too reach the highest level. He's never going to be a spectacular athlete but, if he gets strong enough, he'll eventually be a good low-block scorer at the college level. His ultimate level is going to depend on how his body goes.

Malcolm Lee, 6-3 SO PG Riverside (Calif.) North. Long and rangy, Lee has a good size for a point guard and he might play some two as well. He's a good, not great, athlete and he could end up a very good defender if he puts his mind to it. He's got a solid shot to the stripe, with good quickness and the ability to make plays off the dribble. His handle is adequate at this time. He's got good vision and he can make plays for others, but there's a little too much flash to his game. He needs to tone it down and make the simple play, because there's a lot of wasted motion in his game right now. Lee has the physical attributes, and skill level, to develop into an outstanding player. Where he needs to improve is in his approach to the game. If he can become more of a true point, making good decisions and playing to win (rather than making highlight plays), he has a chance to be a big-time prospect.

Malik Story, 6-4 SO SF Lakewood (Calif.) Artesia. A physically mature sophomore, Story has the ability to knock down shots from deep when he gets his feet set. He's not good on the move – lacks lateral quickness, feet aren't good – and his ball skills need improvement. He struggles when he has to put the ball on the floor or play in transition. He's a strong kid, but has difficulty playing inside due to a lack of lift. He did show an improved mid-range game a couple different times over the weekend. The maturity, and stiffness, in his body is a concern as far as the next level. At this point, we think he projects as a mid-major player unless his ball skills get significantly better.

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