GBOA North Player Evaluations

The GBOA North event at the University of Illinois-Chicago this weekend gave a great chance for hoop fans to experience an AAU event with a more fan-friendly atmosphere and limited teams. Here is a look at future Blue Demon Cully Payne and some of the players that stood out in the event...

Scott Wood – Wing – SYF Players - 2009 – Wood was the most consistent player in the field as he lit up opponents from the outside. The North Carolina State commit averaged 17.5 points per game and had one game where he dropped seven three pointers en route to 26 points. He also showed an ability to help ease the load on the primary ball handler as well as scoring on some runners off the bounce. Offensively the more moves he can utilize the deadlier his three point range becomes.

DeShawn Clay – G – SYF Players – 2009 - Clay had a fantastic weekend scoring from all over the court. The 6'3 guard can heat up quickly and helped Wood with the majority of the scoring for the SYF Players. He does a great job scoring in a variety of ways off the dribble including a nice mid-range pull-up that he has used the last two weekends. He still needs to make some better decisions with the ball, but his big-time scoring ability will get him a lot of interest.

Jon Nwannunu – F – SYF Players – 2009 -The live-bodied big man runs the floor well, attacks the basket, and has a developing mid-range jumper with some touch. He will have to improve his consistency and rebound better in traffic but he's a big man to watch for in the summer.

Nik Garcia – Wing – Rising Stars Gold – 2009 - Garcia was one of the hottest shooters in the country coming into play this weekend but cooled down a bit as his shoot wasn't falling on a consistent basis. He needs to learn how to score when his outside shot isn't falling, which has a lot to do with his willingness to attack the basket. Garcia is athletic enough to attack the basket, but he would rather float on the perimeter. The Chicago Sun-Times also confirmed with Garcia that he is transferring out of Niles West High School and will attend another high school next year.

Cully Payne – PG – Rising Stars Gold – 2009 - Cully did a great job running an offense and setting up his teammates with good looks. The DePaul commit does a good job driving by defenders and finding shooters on the perimeter that move to open space. I would have liked to see him try to finish more, but the times Cully took it upon himself to score he would finish at the rim with an improving vertical leap. Cully even had a couple dunks in the lay-up line, something I have never seen him accomplish.

Marcus Jordan – G – Rising Stars Gold – 2009 - Marcus continues to do a great job getting to the rim, but he needs to compliment the dribble drive with a consistent jump shot. He has a fantastic college-ready body that he uses to draw contact and finish, but every time Marcus takes a jumper he is always fading or moving to the left or right when he should be jumping up and down in one place. It's also a positive sign that Marcus has improved his ball-handling and passing as he appears to making himself into an interesting combo-guard.

Jereme Richmond – F – Rising Stars Gold – 2010 - Richmond was the best player at this event in terms of talent but there were times the talent was not on display. In one game I saw Richmond was a terror rebounding the ball and on the defensive end, but very passive on the offensive end. In the second game I saw after an opponent angered Jereme, he took it upon himself to take the ball to the basket and score or draw a foul every time the Rising Stars had the ball. It was the kind of dominance that people want to see out of the Illinois commit, but he needs to be willing to do so without waiting for an opponent to trash talk him. Still it was a positive weekend for Jereme as his game continues to grow.

Courtney Bell – F – Rising Stars Gold – 2009 - The sixth man for the Rising Stars Gold, Bell is an electric athlete who often has no problems getting to the rim and finishing over bigger and stronger players. Like Marcus Jordan, the jumper needs to improve, but with Cortney's athleticism he'll gain some attention.

Jack Cooley – C – Rising Stars Gold – 2009 -The Notre Dame commit continues to improve on both ends of the floor but can't seem to have one complete great game. He is a great athlete for a big man (he threw down some nice dunks for a big man in the dunk contest) and runs the floor well, but Cooley needs to improve holding onto the ball and developing a few more go-to post moves. Too many times when Cooley has the ball he will have it knocked free, as he needs to raise the ball higher than smaller defenders. I was very impressed with Cooley's willingness to bang down low with bigger players. He still needs to put on some muscle, but he is not afraid of contact and that's a good sign.

Steve Goins – C – Free Mason – 2008 - The unsigned senior showed up to GBOA a new man after shedding weight and looking a lot better running the floor. Getting in better physical condition appeared to help Goins game as he could play for better for longer periods of time. He still needs to improve his hook shot, and moves around the basket but it's a very positive sign that Steve is putting in the necessary work to maximize his potential.

Marcus Jackson – F – Spiece Rising Stars – 2009 - Perhaps the best athlete at the event, Jackson used his outstanding length and athleticism to burn opponents off the dribble and get great lift on his jumper. He also got to some balls that I thought were impossible to attain as he swatted them with ease into the third and fourth row of the bleachers.

Jeronne Maymon – F – Illinois Bobcats – 2009 - Maymon has a great feel around the rim as he finishes with both hands equally well. In fact it's hard to tell Maymon is actually a lefty until you see him shoot a jumper because his willingness to use his right hand when attacking the basket. Maymon is also a terrific ball handler for his size and showed off some good court vision on the fast break.

Michael Haynes – F – Illinois Bobcats – 2009 - Haynes continues to assault rims and take every opponent he can to the basket as he finishes with power moves on most defenders. The perimeter skills still need a lot of work, but Haynes rebounding and inside play make him an interesting prospect.

Aaron Nelson – F Illinois Bobcats – 2009 - The big man and younger brother of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi big man Jawan Nelson, Aaron continues to use his soft touch to finish around the rim. Nelson also has nice ball handling for a big man and has an outside shot that shows a little bit of promise. He still needs to grow more in order to be a more effective big man, but he has some polished moves and a soft enough touch to contribute at the mid-major level.

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