Elite prospects were all over St. Louis this past weekend as national and Illinois prospects competed in the Show Me State. Here is my scouting report on the prospects that stood out.
Class of 2012
DeJuan Marrero, 6'-5", small forward (Bowman Academy, Indiana – Spiece 17U)
Marrero played big for his undermanned Spiece Indy Heat club, which only brought six players to the tournament. It was a good scouting opportunity as Marrero was forced to play on the interior consistently throughout the weekend. He once again displayed his relentless motor, bringing energy and toughness to his ball club.
The forward rebounded at an extremely high rate all weekend. He does this despite his height by fighting hard on the boards using his length and quickness. Marrero fights tooth and nail for every rebound on both ends of the floor. He will be able to rebound at the next level from the forward position.
"Rico" showed off several other positive traits throughout the weekend, including a higher level of athleticism, improving skill set and a great basketball mind. One of his standout plays was when he grabbed a board and took the ball end-to-end using great ball handling skills. He also showed off his passing ability with several nice passes.
Marrero still remains the only prospect to be offered by Illinois in the class of 2012. Illini coaches like what he brings from a toughness and intangibles standpoint. He would certainly bring the program something it has been lacking over the last several years.
Fred Van Vleet, 5'-10", point guard (Rockford Auburn High School – Pryme Tyme 17U)
The Rockford junior is a small, compact guard who has the ability to score. He has good rotation on his shot, especially from mid-range. Van Vleet most likely will be a fit for a mid-major program.
Jerron Wilbut, 6'-2", shooting guard (Downers Grove South High School – Illinois Wolves 17U)
Wilbut is a smooth two-guard who can really put the ball in the hoop. He scores from a variety of places on the court but excels shooting from the perimeter.
His shot mechanics are pure, and he also showed nice ball handling skills last weekend. He's a nice fit for a mid-major looking for a pure shooter that can develop into a go-to scorer as his career progresses.
Aaron Simpson, 6'-0", point guard (North Chicago High School – Team NLP 17U)
Simpson is an undersized point guard who has a score-first mentality. He is at his best with the ball in his hands and getting to the hoop. His quickness and ball handling ability allow him to get to the rim where he draws contact to get to the line.
He is an average shooter who at times can fall in love with his jumper and shoot his team out of a game. If he sticks with attacking off the bounce he can be real good.
In transition, he pushes the ball extremely well. He is going to have to learn to play the point guard spot at the next level.
Keith Carter, 6'-0", point guard (Proviso East High School – Team NLP 17U)
Carter is a powerful point guard who likes to score from mid-range and getting to the hoop. He is a scoring point, although he does show in spurts the ability to be a playmaker for others with his passing. I liked the way he contributed on the boards from the guard spot and his quick hands on defense.