After six days of watching players at the FullCourt Press All West Camp and Summer Shootout, here are our impressions on some of the players who participated.
Marcus Slaughter, 6-8 SR PF Riverside (Calif.) J.W. North. Slaughter played extremely well over the last week and you can expect to see his recruitment take off as a result. In the last couple days, his games drew more and more coaches each time he played. He's slender, but not skinny, with a solid frame that should be able to add more weight. He moves very well, with quick feet and great agility. He was all over the court in the games we saw -- stepping out to shoot jumpers, blocking shots in the lane and seemingly going after every available rebound. He is drawing heavy interest at the high end of the mid-majors and we expect some high majors to get involved as well.
Dorell Wright, 6-6 SR SF Lawndale (Calif.) Leuzinger. One of the best athletes in the west, with a very live body, Wright also drew lots of attention from coaches this past week. His academic situation is very questionable, which may limit his recruitment. But he's a high major athlete, with good skills and a natural feel for the game. He hasn't played much high level AAU ball and his high school team was low profile, so not many coaches have seen him play prior to this month. Wright also plays baseball and it's uncertain whether that will affect his recruitment. With coaching, and perhaps a redshirt year, Wright could turn into a player at the mid to high major level.
Larry Cunningham, 6-2 SR SG/PG Downey (Calif.) High. Another relatively unknown great athlete, with a terrific bball body. Cunningham is very explosive to the hole and he possesses solid ball-handling skills. His outside shot is just ok, but it's quite possible he could be converted into a point guard. With his athleticism, and size, he could be very intriguing at that spot. Expect him to generate significant mid-major interest in the next couple weeks.
Marcus Dove, 6-7 SR SF Long Beach (Calif.) Milliken. Dove is a player with enormous upside who can be frustrating, at times, to watch. He's very long, an excellent athlete, and he can really handle and pass the ball. His outside shot needs a lot of work, but he's so versatile that he manages to get a lot done anyway. However, he doesn't always play hard and that is troubling to some coaches. With a more consistent effort and focus, Dove could have a much wider range of college choices.
Fred Washington, 6-4 SR SF Torrance (Calif.) Bishop Montgomery. The best player (by a wide margin) on the Sports Express team, Washington showed everything but a jumpshot the past couple days. We've seen it getting better, so we're not too concerned, but after talking to college coaches we get the impression that's their big concern with Washington. He doesn't really have a true position, but he plays big and we aren't worried about his ability to play the three. Great competitor, very versatile and a quality kid. We love him at the high end of the mid majors and think some high majors should take a look as well.
Sam Betty, 6-6 SR SF Stockdale (Calif.) High. Betty also plays quarterback in football, but he told us that he's very serious about basketball and he's looking to go to the highest level he can in either sport. Great hops, good body and an improving jump shot. If he gets the shot down consistently, you might see a plethora of mid-majors get involved.
Nick Stiggers, 6-7 SR PF Van Nuys (Calif.) Montclair Prep. Stiggers appears to have added 20 pounds in the last six months and it hasn't helped his game. He's very skilled with the ball, and shoots it as well as any post player in the class, but the added weight hurts him. He's not particularly explosive when he's in the best of shape and he's struggling now to get much done inside. If he gets in better shape, and starts playing hard consistently, his stock could improve.
Sean Phaler, 6-9 SR PF Villa Park (Calif.) High. Phaler suffered an ankle injury a few weeks ago and doesn't look like he's completely recovered. He did show off a little hook shot a couple times this week, something we hadn't seen from him before. It's important that he develop some kind of inside game, because his spot-up perimeter game isn't going to be enough at the next level. We saw him get locked up a few times in the last couple days, as defenders closed out on him and he wasn't able to put it on the floor and go by them. Right now, the coaches we've spoken with like him at the mid-major plus level, but they're not sold on him at the high major level.
Brent "Whitey" Smith, 6-8 SR PF Brea (Calif.) Brea-Olinda. Smith is not well known yet, but we like him as a sleeper post prospect. Very good hands and feet, good size, with a frame that could definitely get stronger. Shoots it pretty well out to seventeen feet or so. He played well in the limited minutes we saw him (he had to attend some practices with his high school team).
More in our next report...