Grassroots Shootout Player Evaluations

Louisville, Ky. – Indiana Elite sent five teams to Eddie Ford's Grassroots Shootout this weekend in Louisville, and HoosierNation was on hand for the opening night of games. Today, we look at the skills of players such as Austin Etherington (pictured), Michael Avery, Peter Jurkin and Deng Leek, and also look at a huge performance by Spencer Turner…

Louisville, Ky. – Indiana Elite sent five teams to Eddie Ford's Grassroots Shootout this weekend in Louisville, and HoosierNation was on hand for the opening night of games. Today, we look at the skills of players such as Austin Etherington (pictured), Michael Avery, Peter Jurkin and Deng Leek, and also look at a huge performance by Spencer Turner

Spencer Turner, Indiana Elite One 17s – After a quiet two point, two-assist first half, the Bloomington South product exploded in the second half of a 78-65 overtime win Friday night. Turner scored 30 points after halftime, including eight 3-pointers, to lead a short-manned IE squad to the win. As the Kentucky Gators extended the defense on Turner, he stepped out even further and put together a huge performance.

Jonny Marlin, Indiana Elite One 17s – With Matt Carlino not playing and Jalen Packer sitting out, Marlin started at point guard and continued to turn heads. Marlin is very good in transition, someone who sees the floor well and gets the ball to players in position to score. He's also capable of knocking down open 3-pointers if the defense sags off him. He's probably only about 5'10", but there's a lot to like about his game.

Cody Zeller, Indiana Elite One 17s – The Washington (Ind.) H.S. star had a chance to play an even bigger role Friday night since Marshall Plumlee was unable to make the trip, but Zeller was relatively quiet in IE's overtime win. Zeller runs the floor well and put himself to score in transition, but he could be a little bit more assertive on both ends of the floor.

Rontray Chavis, Indiana Elite One 17s – The Princeton (Ind.) H.S. forward kept Indiana Elite in the game in the first half, scoring 13 points and pulling down six rebounds in the opening half as IE led 32-31 at intermission. Turner took over in the second half, but Chavis showed off a well-rounded offensive game. He's a well-built, physical 6'4" forward who will mix it up inside to score. He also knocked down a step-back 3-pointer early on as well. The development of his perimeter game will probably go a long way toward determining how heavily he gets recruited, as he probably isn't big enough to play inside at the next level.

Austin Etherington, Team Indiana Elite 17s – A hot name on IU's recruiting board right now, it's easy to see what people like about the Hamilton Heights sophomore. He's a perimeter shooter who has long arms and a 6'5" frame, which is perfect fit for the third guard in a three-guard system. He also works hard on defense and has a won't-back-down attitude as well. He had a relatively quiet nine-point effort in Team Indiana's opening 75-69 win over the Shining Stars, and didn't attempt a 3-pointer after halftime.

Jeremiah Davis, Team Indiana Elite 17s – After a tough opening half, Davis took over down the stretch to help Team Indiana secure its opening win. Davis is at his best in transition, where he finds gaps in the defense and can slice his way to the rim and finish. He did that to score six straight points in the final couple of minutes in Team Indiana's six-point win. Davis still needs to develop some consistency from behind the 3-point arc, or yield to others such as Darwin Davis and Etherington to be the primary 3-point shooters on the team.

Deng Leek, Team Indiana Elite 17s – The 6'11" Leek does just what his team needs him to do – he runs the floor, he alters a lot of shots on the defensive end, and he finishes with authority when he gets the ball at point blank range either via the pass or from an offensive rebound. While I haven't seen Leek's weight listed anywhere as of late, he has a good sized frame and isn't easily pushed around.

Peter Jurkin, Team Indiana Elite 16s – In a tough, opening night overtime loss Charlotte Court, Jurkin was one of the bright spots for Coach Mark Adams' team with 22 points. Most of those points came on dunks or putbacks, as he used his 7'0" frame to create plenty of problems. Jurkin is slender and will need to fill out, but last night he was a presence on the boards and puts himself in position for tip dunks and plenty of offensive rebounds. As he gets stronger, he'll be an even bigger load for opponents to handle.

Michael Avery, Team Indiana Elite 16s – Fresh off his unofficial visit to IU, the high school freshman headed to Louisville to play with Adams' 15-and-under team that played up to the 16s at the Grassroots Shootout. Avery didn't necessarily do anything to make himself stand head and shoulders above the others on the floor, finishing with eight points. He does have a nice blend of skills – he has range on his jump shot and is a good ball distributor, and he did have one nice spin move (but was unable to finish). Those skills will become even more formidable as he gets older, and presumably adds another couple of inches to his current 6'5" frame. He also works hard on the defensive end, an area of his game that he said afterwards he's focusing on this summer.


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