Nothing sly about Stone's dominance

Based purely on this weekend's showings at the Jayhawk Invitational, Stone appears improved and primed to compete with his elite peers for the No. 1 spot in the 2015 class.

Diamond Stone was a monster this weekend at the Jayhawk Invitational or, given that he inflicted damage in Kansas, might be more aptly the termed the Raging Tornado of the Midwest.

According to Under Armour's Association website, Stone averaged 28 points per game in his first two contests (the only games for which stats were available), shooting 18-27 from the field for a strong 67 percent mark. He added 13 rebounds per game in those two contests along with six blocks, and he shot a solid 74 percent from the foul line.

But stats don't tell the story, especially when digested in such a limited quantity. Stone has become quicker, leaner, more mobile and muscular. His improved speed has made him a greater factor in the transition game, and he already possessed the size, length and skill level to be an imposing force on both ends.

His enhanced athleticism has enabled Stone to extract more production from his skills. The soft, polished jump hooks he hit before now are even more difficult to defend, because he gets into his shot more quickly. He also has improved laterally, making him at least passable as a pick and roll defender.

His leap appears to remain about the same. It won't harm him much in college, but a safe wager offers itself that NBA scouts will ding him for a lack of straight-up leaping ability when they watch him in person next postseason.

Still, as we say here a lot, there's no such thing as the perfect player. And while Ivan Rabb's play continues to impress everyone, and Malik Newman (who also was in Kansas this weekend) may present the most effective scoring arsenal, Stone certainly has made progress. And for a guy ranked No. 3 in his class, that's obviously a strong statement.


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