West Coast Tourneys, Part 2

The July evaluation period is winding down and it's a tough time to scout the players. The kids are tired and worn out, with some of the top players not participating. However, a couple players from Portland put on a show yesterday in a big win...

The last week of July is typically not good for evaluations and this year is no exception. The players are worn out from the travel and games every day. The play gets pretty ragged and it's a good idea not to take too much from what you see on the court this week. My general rule is that if someone does something good, I give them credit for it. But if a player that I previously liked has a bad showing, then I don't hold it against them. With that in mind, here are my latest thoughts from the Best of Summer tournament and the End of the Trail Classic.

Paul McCoy, 6-0 SR PG Portland (Ore.) Grant. McCoy committed to Pepperdine earlier this year and, so far, he looks like the steal of the class. McCoy's got a very good body – great shoulders, explosive quickness – and he can seemingly get to the rim at will. While I was impressed with him in April, his decision-making seemed to be an issue. This month, though, he's been terrific in that regard. He hasn't forced the action and his shot selection has been solid. Speaking of his shot – he's pretty good out to the stripe. Combine that with his outstanding ability to penetrate and he's a tough kid to guard. He's a football prospect as well (cornerback) and I've heard Arizona State is apparently considering offering him. Just watching him on the court, you can see why he might be an excellent cornerback. But if he sticks with basketball, and ends up at Pepperdine, he's going to cause a lot of headaches for WCC coaches. He's without question a high major player.

Jrue Holiday, 6-3 SR SG/PG North Hollywood (Calif.) Campbell Hall. Holiday was terrific last week in Las Vegas, but he had a bad game yesterday (as did all the Pump N Run players). Holiday's shot wasn't falling and he didn't play his usual stellar defense. It wouldn't be surprising if Holiday is a little worn out – he's played a ton of basketball in the last couple months. Obviously, this one game performance doesn't mean much for one of the top couple prospects in the country. Holiday's play has ranged from very good to spectacular for most of the month.

Larry Drew, 6-0 SR PG Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft. Drew has been up and down in July. He's had some nice moments when his shot was falling and he also has set up his teammates with good passes at times. But his play overall has been erratic. His shot selection and decision-making are not consistent. Sometimes, he seems to be pressing a bit, as he tries to make plays that aren't there. Drew's body type, skill level and athleticism are not that of an elite player. His upside is limited. So he needs to be solid in his approach – good shots, take care of the ball, run an offense, etc. He can be a solid point guard, but understanding his limitations is crucial if he's going to succeed at the UNC level.

Jerime Anderson, 6-2 SR PG Anaheim (Calif.) Canyon. Anderson struggled as well in the game yesterday. He hit a few shots, but his turnovers and defensive lapses contributed to the Pump N Run loss to Team Jones. However, that game was definitely an anomaly for Anderson. He's been excellent this month, as his game has really started to blossom. He's filling out physically and he's now able to finish inside after contact. His shot has been generally solid and he's made mostly good decisions with the ball. While Anderson's body and skill level are obviously improving, the biggest change from a year ago is his confidence level. He knows he's an elite player now and it shows in his body language and his approach to the game. He realizes he's one of the best players in the country and he doesn't let temporary setbacks affect his play.

Elston Turner, 6-4 SR SG Roseville (Calif.) High. It's amazing what a change of scenery can do for a player. In early April, Turner played with a loaded Pump N Run team and he usually only got about ten minutes a game. He was tentative on the court and he never seemed to get in the flow of the game. Now, he's the star of the NorCal Pharoahs team, he gets plenty of time and shots, and he's playing very well. His shot has been on target for the last couple weeks and he's also getting to the rim for easy shots. Turner is in the mold of an Arron Affalo type (at least in terms of the physical things). He's a big, strong guard who is a good, but not great, athlete. He's probably comparable to Afflalo as a shooter at the same age, but he handles the ball much better and he's a superior passer. He moves a little better than Afflalo as well. Of course, he probably won't come close to Afflalo in the intangibles – Afflalo was off the charts as a competitor and that's why he's in the NBA today. But Turner has a lot going for him as a prospect and he figures to eventually be an impact player at Washington.

Garrett Sim, 6-1 SR PG Portland (Ore.) Sunset. Sim, along with McCoy, was a big reason that Team Jones blew out Pump N Run yesterday. Sim's shot was on the money and he knocked down four or five three-pointers. He also had several nifty assists and generally played excellent basketball. Sim is a young-looking kid and he has yet to mature physically. When that happens, I expect his game to go to a whole different level. The one concern I have on him is ability to defend really quick point guards at a high level. That's going to be an area where he'll really have to work on technique and make sure he's completely focused on being the best defender he can be. But he's a very smart player and I'm confident he'll make whatever adjustments he needs to make in order to succeed at the next level.

Klay Thompson, 6-5 SR SG Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita. Thompson has had a terrific month of July. His shot has been on target and he's shown very good overall ball skills. Thompson's size and shot have attracted a lot of attention from coaches. But Thompson isn't just a shooter – he can score in a variety of ways. His game is very smooth and he rarely forces the action. I have had questions in the past about Thompson's toughness and physicality. Those are areas that really don't get addressed in AAU ball. So I'm anxious to see him playing with his high school team this coming season. But he looks to be one of the more improved players in the class.

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