Clint's Notebook: 2005 G/F Micah Downs

Word trickled in yesterday that the Duke coaching staff is planning to attend an open gym to evaluate 2005 G/F Micah Downs from Bothell High School in Washington. Downs recently traveled to Hampton, Va. to compete in the Boo Williams Nike Invitational and TDD recruiting analyst Clint Jackson had several different opportunities to evaluate the slender junior in action.

Take a quick glance at the 17-year old rising junior and he really doesn't pass the look test. The slender Down's Friends-of-Hoop jersey hanging off of his frail chest, the lanky physique, shy body language and the big feet that look like they would slow him down.

Then -- he receives the ball. The head pops up, the eyes refocus and Downs seems to personify confidence.

He overlooks the defense. He holds the ball high above his head. And trust me -- the 6-8 frame at the top of the key gives him an excellent view of the surroundings. Then, he puts the ball on the floor. Most observers would cringe seeing a kid that size try to dribble against smaller, athletic defenders. Especially the ones that play for the Georgia Stars.

But Downs is different. He's got a gift of handle. He brings back memories of Florida guard Matt Walsh or even former Duke forward Mike Dunleavy. He's got a smoothness to him. His ball skills are very impressive.

And he can shoot.

The lanky ace drains three pointers, pull-up jumpers off the bounce and hanging floaters in the lane. His long arms outreach the defense that guards him closely. He is a match-up nightmare for smaller guards, less versatile forwards and lumbering post players.

Having him on the floor is an automatic offensive advantage.

On the defensive end, we liked how well Downs moved his feet and arms. They sometimes used him in the front of the zone to stymie the smaller guards with his length. And then they used him in the back of the zone to help on the boards and block shots. He's certainly versatile enough to use just about anywhere you need him on the floor.

Micah Downs is a terrific college prospect.

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