Bball Elite Camp (Day 1) – Sam's Blog

Some familiar faces stood out on day one like Detroit Southeastern standout Brandan Kearney, Devin Oliver, and Walter Pitchford. At the same time, there were a host new young names that stepped up quickly made it known that they were among the top players in attendance. For more, check inside.

Brandan Kearney – Detroit Southeastern, G/F 2011

"BK" put in work.  Kearney has a tremendous basketball IQ and a great feel for the game.  What he has lacked at times in the past is aggression… a balance between when to go after his own offense and when to defer.  He drained threes, he penetrated and dished, and he went toe-to-toe with Tim Hardaway Jr. and acquitted himself extremely well.  His court awareness and vision was on vivid display with a number of no look passes and pinpoint deliveries in transition.  His game has definitely grown.

Sam Ryan - The Woodlands (TX) College Park, C 2010

This 6-10 230-pounder is the most intimidating big man in attendance.  He doesn't get enough touches in games to show the post game he flashed in drills.  What he did do was get physical with anyone in the vicinity and alter and/or block a number of shots.  Looks to be more of a classic post player but we haven't seen enough yet to know if that is totally the case.  We'll check out his perimeter skills on day two.

Austin Angel - Rockford (IL) Boylan, G 2012

When we noticed this youngster at the Spiece Run N Slam All Star Classic, we knew immediately that he had Michigan recruit written all over him.  Ironically, he soon became a prospect of interests and showed why again last night.  He is a deft shooter that can catch and shoot off of screens and puts it on the floor better than you'd expect.  At one point he nailed three consecutive buckets on a pull-up a three and a drive.  He has not filled out physically, but is wiry strong and is a consummate effort guy... and that goes for both ends of the floor.  We heard one observer refer to him as Sarunas Marciulionis, and after watching him again we can't help but think that that's fair representation of Angel's game (on a much lower level).  On the flip side, when it comes to taking his game to another level… he is a little too unselfish at times, doesn't get his shot off as quickly as he'll need too against better competition, and absolutely MUST get stronger.  Still, he is definitely one to watch.

Ray Lee – Dearborn Heights Robichaud, G 2012

A smooth lead guard that, like Kearney, has a great feel for the game.  And he's only a sophomore! Lee is not quite as long as Brandan, but he is quicker and is very adept at getting into the lane and getting buckets.  We didn't see him shoot a very many jumpshots on day one, but it wasn't necessary.  He drove the lane at will and consistently found the open man.  Clearly one of the top player's in Michigan's 2012 class.

Walter Pitchford – Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central, PF/C 2010

This skilled youngster is one of the best big players in attendance.  He IS the best at running the floor, has some bounce to him, and has a decent enough handle to be a threat putting it on the floor.  His ability to get to the bucket kicks up a notch when his perimeter shot is falling.  That said, he is not consistent from the outside.  He nailed a few threes on the night, but he is not what you'd classify as a shooter.  He is an active defender that is willing to sacrifice his body for the cause, but can also be a foul machine.  Still, he has an intriguing combination of skills.

Devin Oliver – Kalamazoo Central, G/F 2010

Devin was a jack-of-all trades Thursday.  When on the ball he triggered the offense well and was very god and finding teammates in transition.  In the halfcourt he attacked the basket and finished at the rim a number of times despite contact to his strength and ability to convert a few contortionist shots.  What he didn't do was convert from the perimeter.  He is a streaky shooter and it just wasn't falling last night.  We observed Beilein watching the Kalamazoo product a number of times and if he were to ultimately bring Oliver to Ann Arbor, objective #1 would surely be to teach him to go straight up and down on his shot.  Every jumper for Oliver is a fade away, and that sometimes leads to his being erratic.

D.J. Balentine –Kokomo (IN), PG 2012

This youngster is a consummate point guard exhibiting court vision unsurpassed by any prospect in attendance.  At 6-0 and about 170-pounds, Balentine's game looks similar to that of former Texas standout D.J. Augustine (minus the explosive quickness).  This kid is a head turner because of his head for the game and his ability to stroke it from three.  He is just scratching the surface of how good he can be, but it's not a stretch to say that he is definitely one of the best point guard's present.  LOVE his game!

Glenn Baral – St. Mary's College High School, G 2012

Baral is among the more highly regarded youngsters in attendance.  We'd already hear a lot about heard a lot about this precious youngster.  Scouts told us his game was really advanced, that he had inside out ability, and could score in bunches.  Physically he looks more than ready to contend with any other guard in attendance, but we didn't see him break loose and show scoring ability on day one that we heard so much about.  Chalk it up to jet lag thanks to the long trip from California.  We'll be watching closely on day two. 

Sean Sheldon - Traverse City St. Francis, F 2012

Sheldon impressed us with his willingness to bang with youngsters much bigger than him. Looks about 6-8, 200, but plays bigger than that. He used hustle to offset he size disadvantage and showed better than expected post moves.  With more weight and muscle, look out.

Matt Kamieniecki – Clarkston, F 2010

It was a typical lunch-pail effort for Kamieniecki on day one.  Nothing too flashy, but he was always around loose balls, played tenacious D and picked up a few garbage points. 

Corey Petros - Utica Eisenhower, C 2010

The Utica Eisenhower big man was effective in the paint thanks to an assortment of hooks that he converted at high percentage when given the opportunity.   Another player that we'll be looking for more from on day two in terms of flashing inside/out ability.

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