AAU Nationals: Day Two

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – We're winding down our coverage of the summer but not before Patrick Connaughton can fly onto our radar.

Patrick Connaughton, SF/SG, Middlesex Magic: His first quarter against The Hoops was one of the best we've seen this summer and then he ran out of gas. Middlesex was out talented and out athleted and Connaughton was out of bullets. He wound up shooting 5-for-17 to go with 11 rebounds. People aren't evaluating him any longer. Most of the mid-majors trailing him are waving the white flag while the big boys push all in. Connaughton may be leaning to hoops over baseball and if he does, he'll be a commodity. He's got toughness – physical and mental – to go with good athleticism, the ability to guard and his creating game. So confident is he now that he can drop a hook, hit a runner or get a guy a shot going to the rim. His emergence is what makes the summer grind worth it.

P.J. Hairston, SG, CP3: The second half of a heated game against Fla. Elite was all Hairston. The jumper was dropping big time and the show was strong. Bishop Daniels rescued CP3 in the first half with his scoring from the bench and Hairston finished them off in the second. When he's got it going like this, it's easy on the eyes and you admire the release, range and rapid fire scoring ability.

Kareem Canty/Derrick Gordon, LI Lightning: MBA Hoops has more talent, the Lightning have the will to win. When we last saw Canty in May he was causing havoc at the T.O.C. On Thursday, it was behind the line offense and length of the floor defense. This kid defines mental toughness and we love his approach. You win with guys like this. Ditto for Gordon. He got buckets against MBA and is getting stronger going to the rim. LaQuinton Ross scored early for MBA, but the Lightning weren't going to lose.

TaShawn Thomas, PF/C, Hoops: He had a matchup with Patrick Ackerman, a center who is considerably taller. Thomas used the right approach and attacked with his quickness and length in the post. He looks like a mid-major stud that keeps progressing and may wind up with offers a smidge higher. Ackerman is a mid-major big. Not a great athlete but a guy who can take care of his area. As his body has filled out, he went from being a potential pick and pop player to more of a paint guy, which is fine. He had 11 and nine rebounds in the loss.

Karim York, PF, ATX: The quest to find big men centered around him on Thursday. York isn't a traditional power forward, he's the guy with perimeter in his game and work to be done in the weight room. He's got the skills to take outside and down the road he'll be a hybrid guy. He's receiving interest from a ton of mids and some looks from the big boys who are grasping for targets.

Briante Weber, PG, BWSL II: This guy is wiry and fast. Forget about his offense – he can get to the cup – what really stands out is his defensive approach. Weber hawks the ball and comes up with an extraordinary amount of strips and thefts. He's going to VCU.

Rasheed Sulaimon, SG, Hoops: It's late in the period and energy levels are dragging. Sulaimon didn't receive the memo. Thursday night he was smoking hot. In the second half of his last game, Sulaimon offered a peek into his world. An adept sniper, he doesn't need space to get his shot off and can stroke it on the move. What we really liked was that he didn't settle and let you know he can get to the rim.

Michael Frazier, SG, Fla. Elite: The length of the summer finally caught up with him. Frazier is cast in the role of primary scorer for his squad and his legs are toast. Now, despite that, there's a lesson learned. When his jumper stopped falling, Frazier went into attack mode. Going forward, that's the area of his game that he can improve on but it was a great sign to watch him adjust to the fatigue and figure out other ways to get it done.

Greg Louis of Florida Elite is not the same Greg Lewis of Baltimore Elite. That question came up more than once this week. Louis is going to be a mid-major option and we'd like to see him crash the glass a little harder. … Garner Road has a pair of rising seniors who should earn DI looks Shaquille Dance and Charles Byrd were listed in the book as 2013, but they are 2011. Teammate Stacy Caroway is playing his way into offers as we speak from the small forward position. …

It's amazing what confidence can do for bigs. One head coach pointed out Ackerman's rise in confidence and we know its happened with TaShawn Taylor. The coach's point about Ackerman was on point: playing alongside Connaughton, who doesn't lack swagger, opened up Ackerman's personality and he's tougher for being part of the tandem. …

Conn. Select rising senior wing Rohan Brown has Yale, Lafayette and St. Peter's. … Tyquan Goard said Cleveland State, Delaware and VCU were on him the hardest with Charlotte, West Virginia, Marshall and Washington looking at him. … Karim York has Boise State, Texas State, UTEP, Texas Tech, SMU and UMKC on his list. … Stacy Caroway owns offers from Old Dominion, EKU and Western Carolina. Ole Miss looked at him. …

Kareem Canty owns offers from Houston, Siena and Marshall. Massachusetts, Iowa State and Rutgers are looking. … Rasheed Sulaimon owns offers from A&M, Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Georgia Tech and Memphis. … TaShawn Thomas has California, Memphis looking and an offer from Houston. …

We didn't go to the game but offsite for Jonathan Holmes were assistants from Texas A&M, Nebraska and Clemson plus head coaches Matt Painter, Bruce Weber and Scott Drew. …


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