The Houston Kingwood Classic is spread out over numerous facilities, so it can sometimes be tough to get a good look at all of the players. With that in mind, here are some thoughts on the players we watched (sometimes briefly) over the last couple days.
Kyle Singler, 6-8 JR PF/SF Medford (Ore.) South Medford. At least for this weekend, Singler has been the most impressive West Coast player we've seen. His added weight and strength has helped him inside, but it's his ball-handling that has really been eye-opening. He's made plays in the open court that you just don't see from 6-8 juniors. He's crossing over guys who are six inches shorter than him, then stopping on a dime to pull up from twenty. The Portland Legends' offense runs through him and he's also made some superb passes. He's going to be able to play the three, or even two, on offense at the next level, but he'll probably be best suited to defending a four. Whatever position he ends up at, Singler is an immediate high impact guy at the college level.
Kevin Love, 6-10 JR C Lake Oswego (Calif.) High. There's not much to say about Kevin Love that hasn't been said many times before. He's a dominant presence inside at this level, at both ends of the court. One thing we noticed the past couple days, though, is how well he is passing the ball and the effect that has on his Southern California All-Star teammates. SCA is a team loaded with offensive talent, but they haven't always done a good job of looking for one another in the past. Love's passing seems to be infectious with these guys and they've been playing awfully well the past two weekends.
Scott Thompson, 6-10 JR C Meridian (Ida.) Mountain View. Thompson has filled out since last summer and he's doing a better job of playing in the paint. He's more comfortable facing up on the perimeter than playing with his back to the basket and he has a nice touch to about twenty feet. Thompson has a good frame, long arms and excellent feet. He's got nice timing as a shot-blocker. He's a definite high major prospect.
Daniel Hackett, 6-4 JR SG Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco. Hackett is a very heady player, who plays the game the right way and looks to make his teammates better. He's not an especially explosive athlete, and he won't be a guy who is creating his own shot at the next level, but he's a glue kind of guy who just cares about winning. Because he's not great at getting his own shot, he needs to become a better spot-up shooter. Right now, he's just decent beyond the stripe. He's a good team defensive player, but could struggle with elite athletes on the wing at the high major level.
Omari Johnson, 6-7 JR SF Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey. A long and lean forward, Johnson has really developed his outside shot. He buried eight threes in one game we saw and five in another. We didn't see him put the ball on the floor much, as all of his shots were off the catch. But he's got a terrific, compact stroke with deep range. We want to see more from Johnson – he didn't do much other than make a ton of threes – but he appears to be a very intriguing prospect in the 2007 class.
Patrick McCollum, 6-1 SO PG/SG Seattle (Wash.) Mt. Tahoma. McCollum has a good body, with solid shoulders and good length. He's got some quickness and he might end up able to defend either guard spot. But McCollum's real value at the next level is as a scorer. He's got an excellent stroke and the ability to shoot off the bounce from deep. He's more of a scoring lead guard than a true point. He's sleeper who we think is going to blow up this summer. A high major prospect.