Jimmy Whitt, SG, KC Run GMC — Yesterday, Whitt put himself on the national map; today, he annexed a state. In fact, based on the diaspora of coaches who attended his games over the course of the day, it appears he may have annexed several states. Whitt's free-flowing, yet intelligent offensive style results in high usage and high efficiency, and that style should benefit him in college as well. He turned his production up a notch when his team needed it the most against the SYF Players, a fact not lost on the very interested parties watching him closely.
K.J. Walton, SG, Grassroots Indiana — This was my first look at Walton, and he hardly disappointed. He's a strong wing with a sturdy frame and an aggressive mentality when attacking the rim. He's a good, not great athlete, but he combines his tangible attributes with the instincts and knowledge to move effectively without the ball and steal a few buckets in addition to those he creates for himself. He also buries long three-pointers and seems to be most comfortable when setting up his jumper with the dribble. His elbow does stray a little at times on that shot, but the motion is compact and he projects as a versatile scorer for the next level.
Sean McDermott, SG, Grassroots Indiana — Walton's teammate for G.I., McDermott must be more appreciative than most that he's able to take the court. A slender guard, McDermott missed significant time as a junior due to a severe staph infection that resulted in his losing 20 pounds and getting treated in the emergency room. That development obviously didn't bode well for his 2013-14 campaign, but he looked healthy and confident on Saturday. He's a tremendous three-point shooter who also possesses a few slick dribble moves and some scoring ability from the middle ranges. He doesn't appear to have big-time athleticism but projects as an upper mid-major.
Chance Comanche, C, Earl Watson Elite Black — For skill and long-term potential, Comanche ranks fairly close to the big guys atop the Class of 2015. He has height, length, good hands and a face-up jump shot to 15 feet. He blocks shots, hits free throws and plays within the team concept. All of that is great. What he'll need to do to join them in a reputational sense is to become more aggressive and physical with opponents, because right now his willingness to bang comes and goes. He also is best when he's more stationary, as he loses body control on the move and sometimes flails on his running shot attempts. But he's also a young big man, and they frequently require more time to develop. Given that time, perhaps he'll close the gap further on those ahead of him. He easily justifies the expansive interest he's receiving from esteemed college programs.
Anthony Bonner, SG, YOBO — You only ball once! That's the team and that's how those guys play, and Bonner stood out today for his solid and unafraid all-around play. He hit a couple threes, one nice driving 15-footer from the left baseline and demonsted solid quickness. He may not ascend to the levels of some others who appear in this section, but he possesses solid Division I talent for some level.
Marquese Chriss, PF, Team Superstar — This early Washington commitment should develop into a fine contributor for the Huskies. Chriss boasts long arms and ample athleticism for the Pac-12, and though he has narrow shoulders his frame is solid overall and should enable him to gain sufficient weight for the high-major post. He's quick off the floor for blocks and rebounds and also quick to the ball, indicating active reflexes. He also made a couple of alert passes, smoothly connected on free throws and used his length to tap in some shots with his left hand around the bucket. The downside for him was his inability to finish consistently inside; that's something to track going forward. Still, add it all up and he's a potential top-50 senior for UW.
Terrance Ferguson, WF, MWA Elite — Malik Newman without question is the man for MWA, but Ferguson stole the show on Saturday morning. The skinny wing has drawn both praise and criticism for his three-point shooting, given that he's a dangerous marksman who also has a tendency to fire up too many long bombs. But in his first contest of the day, Ferguson buried multiple threes and played very aggressively on offense. He needs to gain strength, of course, but he's an outstanding leaper off one foot when he's able to generate a head of steam. Ferguson can be a tease at times, but on this occasion he was terrific.
Jayce Johnson, C, Earl Watson Elite Black — Let's be clear: There's nothing spectacular about Johnson. He lacks outstanding athleticism and hasn't score effectively while I've watched here at the Jayhawk. But he has a few things going for him, including the fact that he's huge and young. Those are two primary attributes in the eyes of coaches. Further, he carries a solidly built frame and doesn't shy away from contact and already sits down pretty well in the post. He has some length as well and utilizes his southpaw moves to put shots on the rim. Finishing remains a work in progress and so does defense — he's extremely vulnerable in pick and roll situations — but he has half of his prep career remaining to improve.
Troy Brown, PG, Las Vegas Prospects 15s — I'd love to tell you that Brown was some unknown gem waiting to be mined at an out-of-the-way school, but everyone knows that isn't true. He's generally regarded among the 10 best freshmen in the country, and his performance this afternoon reinforced that his talent should continue to push him upward. Brown is a very tall (6-5) point guard who perhaps should be categorized as a combo, but suffice it to say he can play point and that's what he's being groomed to play. He doesn't yet have an explosive first step or much leap off two feet, but already he's fast in the open floor and is only 14-years-old, so he projects to gain athleticism. Meanwhile, his complement of skills includes top-notch ballhandling and passing, along with a jump shot that's accurate (if not textbook) to 22 feet. He's also instinctive and competitive, and he impressed with his desire to hit the defensive glass. He's a blue-chip freshman who already knows how to win. Enough said.
Ethan Chargois, C, Tulsa Wildcats 15s — There's no way he's the 6-8 they listed him in the program, and he may not be 6-7, either. Regardless, this young post is appropriately aged for his class yet already wields some power. He isn't muscular but does carry bulk, and with time to grow and sculpt he should become a low post bull. In addition, he drilled his free throws with good form, made one very nice pass from the high post and obviously knows how to play. At the minimum, he's one to check in on 12 months from now.
Troy Brown said that UNLV and USC have offered early, with Arizona (which had Damon Stoudemire in attendance today), Oklahoma, Kansas and others also expressing early interest. Both of his parents attended Texas A&M. …
Most of yesterday's head coaching flock migrated to other locales for Saturday's action, but numerous major programs remained represented in one form or another.