IndyBall Player Evaluations - Part II

Indianapolis - The IndyBall.com event attracted a host of the state's top in-state players. Today, we look at 10 more players at the event, including Marshall Plumlee (pictured), Justin Gant, Austin Etherington, Cody Zeller, Jeremiah Davis and more...

Dee Davis, Indiana Elite Team Indiana 16s – There are some who would argue that Davis is the best in-state point guard in the 2011 class, but he spends more time playing off the ball when he and Jeremiah Davis are on the court together. While some knock Davis because of his height (probably about 5'9"), he's a great on-the-ball defender who has quick hands and even quicker feet. His 3-point shot needs to improve, but he did knock down a couple during a 17-point, four-rebound performance in an 81-50 IE win Saturday evening. He was 4-of-10 from behind the 3-point arc in the three halves I saw Davis play Saturday.

Jeremiah Davis, Indiana Elite Team Indiana 16s – The highly-regarded point guard from Muncie has a flair for the dramatic – no-look passes are a staple of his game, and he's always looking for the highlight reel play either for himself or a teammate. That can lead to a few extra turnovers, and he can dominate the ball at times. But he's clearly a gifted ball handler and distributor. He was only 1-of-5 from 3-point range during an eight-point, four-rebound, two-assist effort in the game I saw Saturday, so his perimeter shooting will be a point of emphasis this summer as he looks to establish himself as one of the best players in 2011.

Austin Etherington, Indiana Elite Team Indiana 16s – A 6'6" wing from Hamilton Heights H.S., Etherington put on a very good showing, scoring 25 in one of Team Indiana's early wins Saturday. He's a very good shooter who shot 45 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore, helping him average nearly 16 points and seven rebounds. Etherington is a relatively new name to a lot of people because he missed most of his freshman season and part of his sophomore year after having microfracture surgery, but he returned for the final 15 games of this season to lead Hamilton Heights. He's already drawn IU Coach Tom Crean out to see him work out, and there's a lot Crean likes about his abilities. Butler is another program that is already all over Etherington.

Justin Gant, Indiana Elite Team Indiana 16s – This Terre Haute South sophomore reminds me a lot of current Butler standout Matt Howard. He combines a nice mid-range jump shot with a willingness to mix it up inside. He's very active on the boards and picks up a lot of easy baskets because of it. He's aided by the presence of seven-footers Deng Leek and Cheir Ajou on Mark Adams' team, because it allows him to inside and out while one of those two mans the middle.

Jonny Marlin, Indiana Elite Orange 16s – This 5'10", 140-pound point guard probably reminds a lot of people of Jordan Hulls at a younger age because of his size, and he probably gets overlooked for that reason. But he played a critical role in Orange's come-from-behind win in the game I saw Saturday night. He gets the ball up and down the floor in a hurry and can get the defense on its heels. He's also a good spot up shooter from behind the 3-point arc.

Jalen Packer, Indiana Elite Orange 16s – This 6'3" Princeton (Ind.) H.S. point guard needs to become more consistent and confident from 3-point range, but he's extremely good at getting into the lane and finishing or dropping the ball off to his teammates. He also has great size for the position, so expect to see his recruiting stock continue to rise all summer. He scored 16 points in the game I watched, with nearly all of his production coming courtesy of his ability to penetrate and either get to the rim or knock down the mid-range jump shot.

Marshall Plumlee, Indiana Elite Orange 16s – The third of the Plumlees is still a work in progress – he is working to become a better finisher around the basket and some added strength will help him do that. But it's easy to see why Indiana and others have already offered the 6'11" sophomore. First off, he's legitimately on his way to being a 7-footer after a recent growth spurt. Secondly, he's a high-energy player who plays with plenty of intensity on both ends of the floor. He figures to improve a great deal during the next two seasons and be an elite recruit. He had six points, three rebounds and five blocks in a 69-58 win for IE Orange Saturday evening.

Spencer Turner, Indiana Elite Orange 16s – Turner shook off a 1-of-7 start from 3-point range Saturday night to go 3-of-4 on 3s in the second half and lead Orange to its 69-58 win. The Bloomington South sophomore finished with 21 points in the game, going 7-of-16 from the field and 5-of-11 from 3-point range. His ability to knock down perimeter shots is clearly his greatest strength, but he also showed patience when his shot wasn't falling and yielded to others.

Cody Zeller, Indiana Elite Orange 16s – Zeller is another player who has clearly hit a growth spurt – he was 6'5" after his freshman season and is now up over 6'8" following a very good sophomore season at Washington (Ind.) H.S. Cody has some similarities to older brother Tyler in his ability to run the floor extremely well, and he has a very nice mid-range jump shot. He had six points (3-4 FGs), five rebounds and one block in the game I watched, and he could stand to be a little more aggressive offensively. But he clearly has the tools to be a very good high-major D-I player.

Vinny Zollo, Indiana Elite Team Indiana 16s – It's unclear whether or not Zollo will ultimately decide to stick with his early commitment to Kentucky now that there's been a coaching change, but there's no questioning Zollo's productivity. While others stand out because of their style, Zollo does because of his substance. He had 19 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in the game I saw Saturday, going 7-of-10 from the field and pulling down five offensive rebounds. He's tenacious on the boards and also has range that extends out to the 3-point line.


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