While Chandler was the MVP, it was the guard play that impressed us the most this past weekend. There were a handful of small, but quick guards in attendance, but also a few strong, tough playmakers that will be in the once scene for years to come.
Michael Chandler, C – There's no question that Chandler was top prospect at the All-Midwest camp. At 6-foot-10, 220-pounds, Chandler imposed his will in the paint on both ends of the floor. Although he still has a ways to go as far as scoring with his back to the basket, he plays hard, runs the floor and most importantly is active. Around the rim, he can use both hands and he showed a more developed right-hook than we saw this summer. In the Top 20 Cream of the Crop game he went for 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Tracy Abrams, PG/SG – Already known in Chicago as the next big thing as far as guards go, Abrams more than lived up to expectations during the event. A polite, enjoyable kid off the court, Abrams turns up the intensity during games and plays an aggressive brand of ball. He uses quick dribbles and hesitation moves to get by defenders. Once at the rim he uses his strong frame and athleticism to finish. His range extends behind the three-point line and he's capable of stepping in and knocking down mid-range jumpers as well.
When motivated to "D" up, the 6-foot-1 guard has no problem guarding the oppositions best player because of his lateral quickness. Despite his size, Abrams will also mix it up inside for rebounds. Chicago's crop of 2011 prospects is a good one, and Abrams appears to be one of, if not the, best guard prospect the Windy City has to offer.
George Marshall, PG – This pass first point man has the look of a future high major guard. Marshall, a product of Chicago (Ill.) Brooks College Prep, is at best when he attacks the rim. A smooth ball handler, Marshall is quick off the bounce and uses crossovers and hesitations moves to keep defenders off balance. The 5-foot-11, 165-pounder has no problem scoring either. Although he didn't hit a ton of threes, he's got good form and appears to have a solid looking stroke from deep. He also has a developed mid-range game too. Marshall went for 13 points in the Top 20 Cream of the Crop.
Stevie Taylor, PG – For the second weekend in a row we laid our eyes on this quick, elusive point guard from Ohio. A joy to watch, Taylor plays hard, looks for and creates for teammates. His shot is consistent from three, but he can also step in and knock down mid-range jumpers or drop in floaters.
P.J. Boutte, PG -- Similar to Taylor, Boutte is just 5-foot-7, but the talented lead man is quick, handles the ball well and has no problems getting into the lane. He rarely over penetrates and is a tough guard that you can trust with the ball. In the Top 20 all-star game, Boutte went for 15 points and seven assists.
Charles Lee, PG – While Taylor and Boutte were already on our radar, Lee made a name for himself by matching up with Taylor and getting the best of him. Just 5-foot-7, Lee uses his toughness and quickness to frustrate the opposition on both ends of the court. Lee has a strong handle, can shoot it from deep and has a nice mid-range jumper.
Ryan Taylor, PF – A 6-foot-5, 200-pound forward, Taylor is a bull on the court. In the paint he uses his strength and athleticism to grab rebounds, intimidate the opposition and score inside. He's also developing more of a face up game. Although he's not consistent yet, he is capable of hitting mid-range jumpers and he likes to attack from the free throw line. Taylor has a knack for snagging offensive rebounds and he roams the paint looking for tip dunk opportunities.
Markus Crider, SF/PF – The transition isn't quite complete, but Crider is in the process of moving his game out the perimeter. At 6-foot-6, 185-pounds, Crider is skilled enough to score inside or step out and attack from the wing. The Springfield (Ohio) Huber Heights standout also proved true from three-point range. He had 10 points and five rebounds in the all-star game.
Brandon Dawson, PF/SF – An Indiana native, Dawson used his athleticism and quick leaping ability to cause havoc in the paint. He was active on the glass throughout the camp and often times pushed the break off defensive rebounds. Much like his AAU teammate, Crider, Dawson, who stands 6-foot-4, projects as a wing, but he's still in the process of making the move. Dawson did manage to drop in a handful of three-pointers and scored off dribble drives, but must continue to develop his handle. In the Cream of the Crop Top 20 game, he scored 16 points and five rebounds.
Travis Trice, PG/SG – Of all the prospects in the camp, this Springfield (Ohio) Huber Heights standout was clearly the best shooter in the gym. Whether it was off the catch or dribble, Trice, a 5-foot-11 guard, seemed to be dropping in jumpers from all over the court. Playing a smart brand of ball, Trice made good decisions with the ball and was crafty when he got in the lane, using a teardrop floater to score over taller defenders.
Remy Roberts-Burner, PG – Attacking the rim seemed to be what Roberts-Burner does the best. Another tough, quick lead man from Illinois, this 6-foot-1 guard from Joliet (Ill.) West got to the rim, finished with both hands and showed off a mid-range jumper. Going forward the lefty will need to become more consistent from long range, but he is certainly a Division I prospect.
James Crockett, SF – While Chandler was the MVP of the camp, Crocket was the MVP of the Cream of the Crop Top 20 game. The 6-foot-3 wing seemed to be hanging from the rims at every opportunity during the two-day event and in the all-star game he went for 26 points, with nine of the buckets coming off dunks. A standout at Crete (Ill.) Crete-Monee, Crockett went hard to the rim every chance he got. We'd like to see him develop a jumper to keep defenders honest, but his aerial arsenal was a delight to watch.
Corey Hilliard, SG – Every time Hilliard received the ball he looked to score. The 6-foot-1 guard out of Kansas City (Mo.) Raytown South, shot the ball well, despite a slight hitch in his shot. He's got a decent handle and is an above average athlete. Although we aren't sure which level, Hilliard will develop into a Division I player.
Brian Greene, PG/SG – On the second day of the Pangos Camp, Green, of Harvey (Ill.) Thornton caught our eye. To go with a strong handle, he's quick and finished around the rim. He filled the stat sheet in the main all-star game going for 12 points, six assists and five rebounds.
Chandler Thomas, SF/PF – Since the summer, Thomas appears to have been working on his wing skills. At last glance, he spent majority of his time on the block, but this weekend he worked it from the perimeter. Thomas, a lefty, is the owner of an improved jumper. While there were a number of impressive plays this weekend, Thomas had the play of the camp when he drove the lane in a half court setting and slammed home a ferocious slam on a handful of defenders.
Devon Hodges, PF – Standing 6-foot-6 and blessed with a pair of long arms, Hodges has the looks of a future Division I power forward. What level will he be? That'll be determined by how he develops over the course of the next few years. At this point he has a long, lean frame and is a guy that likes to face up defenders and shoot jumpers, rather than trying to muscle up and score inside.
Travis Britt, SG – We didn't get a great look at this 6-foot-2 freshman, but we evaluated him enough to know he's a guy to keep an eye on down the road. He's got a good-looking frame, and what appeared to be an impressive stroke from long range.
Malcolm Hill-Bey, PG – Already a known talent in the city of Chicago, Hill-Bey didn't show up until the second day of the event, but he certainly made his presence known. Although he stands just 5-foot-8, he's extremely quick off the bounce and is elusive in the open court. His vision is impressive and the southpaw showed a nice floater in the lane.
Travis Trice claimed offers from Akron, Dayton, Wright State and Cleveland State. Some other schools involved are Purdue, Butler, Ohio State, West Virginia, Xavier, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Clemson and Penn State.
Marcus Crider has taken a visit to Xavier and is set to visit Ohio State this weekend. He has offers from Dayton, Wright State and Akron. Other schools involved are Minnesota, Michigan State and Michigan.
George Marshall has already taken a trip to Northwestern. Illinois and Kentucky are also showing the talented point guard interest.
Michael Chandler has a trio of offers -- Ohio State, Louisville and Cincinnati. Kentucky, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Memphis, Purdue and Indiana are also in the mix.
The All-Midwest camp consisted of a handful of other talented prospects. Fred Van Vleet, a 5-foot-11 point guard, shot the ball well and dished it out to teammates. Leavon Head proved his toughness, as he chipped a tooth during a game. Evanston (Ill.) Township product Garrett Jones shot the ball well during the event. Kevin Rose, of Indianapolis (Ind.) Howe, is a solid athlete and was active all weekend long.