Kingwood, Part Two

Lathen Wallace, James Keefe and Daniel Hackett are included in our latest evaluations from Houston...

Here are some more impressions of prospects that we saw in Houston at the Kingwood Classic. Keep in mind that we didn't get extensive looks at all of these players and we might have very different views after seeing them more in the summer.

James Keefe, 6-8 JR PF Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita. Keefe is another example of why you don't want to do all your scouting in AAU games. Put him in a meaningful game like, say, the CIF championship at the Pond and Keefe will show you why UCLA took a commitment from him prior to his junior year. You'll see everything you want from a prospect – great defender, excellent rebounder, above average athlete, capable scorer, etc. Put him on a loaded club team, where everyone wants to score, and Keefe will be happy to sublimate his game and let others seek the spotlight. His ranking will likely drop among national analysts who don't get to see him in real games, but we still have him among the top two or three players in the west for 2006.

Lathen Wallace, 6-2 JR SG Portland (Ore.) Jefferson. Wallace was outstanding in a game against the loaded SCA team on Saturday night, as he almost single-handedly kept the Portland Panthers in the game. We were very high on Wallace two summers ago, but thought his progress had stalled somewhat last summer. However, he's been terrific this spring, showing an improved ability to get his own shot. He's got a strong, sturdy body with good shoulders. His handle is better than it was a year ago and he's extended his range. He committed to Oregon State earlier this year.

Daniel Hackett, 6-2 SO SG Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco. Hackett came off the bench for SCA and consequently didn't always get a lot of minutes. We like his approach to the game – heady, doesn't force the action – and he's pretty skilled. He'll make shots out to 18-20 feet and he'll surprise unsuspecting defenders when he takes them off the dribble. He handles the ball well and sees the court. However, he's not real quick and his body is a concern. He's clearly worked hard to improve his body, but he's not explosive and lacks fast-twitch muscles. Whether he can overcome some physical limitations, and play any higher than maybe the mid major level, remains to be seen.

Kamyron Brown, 6-3 SO PG Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. If you gave Brown the skill level of Hackett, you'd have quite a player. Brown has a terrific body and he's very quick and explosive. He needs to improve his decision-making, and learn to think more like a point guard, but he has a considerable upside. His shot is just adequate at this time.

Jamelle McMillan, 6-3 SO PG Seattle (Wash.) O'Dea. The son of former NBA player Nate McMillan, Jamelle is a very good prospect in his own right. He's long and rangy, with good quickness. He's a good defender already, but has a chance to be exceptional down the road. His ball skills still have a ways to go, but he knows how to play the game. He made a couple terrific passes to the low-post over the weekend. With continued development, a potential high major prospect.

Kasey Cunningham, 6-6 JR SF/PF Albuquerque (New Mexico) Cibola. Cunningham has a strong body and he's explosive off the floor. The question will be which position he plays in college. He's got a three man's body, but more of a four man's game. He doesn't shoot it well at all, but he can score around the basket. He showed pretty good instincts in the one game we saw. A possible mid, to lower end of the high majors, prospect.

Kevin Coble, 6-7 JR SF Phoenix (Ariz.) Scottsdale Christian. We didn't get a long look at Coble, but he showed a nice stroke in the game we saw. Not a great athlete, but moves pretty well and seemed to understand how to play.

Isaiah Thomas, 5-7 SO PG Mt. Tahoma (Wash.) Curtis. A little lefty with a nice shot, and ability to penetrate, Thomas appears to be a shoot-first point guard. He put up big numbers this year in Washington and made honorable mention all-state. He's pretty quick and adept at finding space in the lane. From our limited viewing, it looks like he needs to improve his ability to find his teammates. The big question for him, in terms of playing in college, will be his size. He could be an intriguing prospect if he grows a few inches in the next couple years.

Kareem Nitoto, 6-1 SO PG San Leandro (Calif.) High. Explosive athlete with a fair outside shot. Handle is a bit loose, and overall ball skills need to be polished, but he shows some promise.

Ernest Williams, 6-3 JR SG Federal Way (Wash.) High. Great-looking lefty with a decent stroke. Very good body and a good athlete. He didn't show much ability to get his own shot, but has a physical upside.

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