Saturday at Boo Williams

After a solid if not unspectacular first evening at the Boo Williams Invitational, Saturday brought the end of pool play and the first round of playoff action. Once again, several Kansas prospects were among the day's top performers. In fact Team Texas, Friends of Hoop Seattle and the Illinois Warriors each featured a trio of prospects who have been linked with the Jayhawks.

SATURDAY KANSAS TARGETS

Kevin Rogers- Last summer, Rogers a 6-8 BF from Dallas (TX) South Oak Cliff showed some promise in the paint but tended to play soft. A year has gone by and the big lefty’s approach to the game has changed as he has turned into an active post presence who is willing to do Team Texas’ dirty work.

He isn’t especially springy around the basket, but Rogers has great timing and has mastered the art of getting weak side position on errant jump shots. If he catches you slipping he can finish with a dunk, but he also scores with half hooks, up and under moves or soft jumpers from 12 feet and in. According to Rogers -- a national honor society member -- Kansas along with Arizona , Florida and Georgia Tech have all offered while Louisville, Illinois and UNC have also expressed interest.

Terrell Harris- The only knock on Harris so far this weekend is that he is a lot closer to 6-3 than his listed 6-5. That’s ok though, because the lithe WG from Dallas (TX) South Garland has showed enough ball handling ability and court awareness that he could likely be considered a combo guard on the next level.

He’s the energy guy for Team Texas and uses his top shelf quickness to shake defenders in half court sets and get to the hole. He’s an exciting finisher on the fast break and seems to hang in the air for as long as he needs to in order to finish. Doesn’t hunt for his jump shot as often as he should, but his stroke looks pure and he is enough of a threat to keep defenders honest. He needs to gamble less on defense and add strength, but Harris is a much improved player who should see his stock soar. Kansas, UNC, Texas, Georgia Tech, Arizona, Oklahoma and several others who have expressed interest are very likely to take a closer look.

C.J. Miles- Much like Friday night, the 6-6 Miles was a solid and steady performer. The Dallas (TX) Skyline wing is happy doing whatever Team Texas needs him to do. If they need him to score, he can put 14 or 15 points on the board in a flurry of drives and jump shots, or he can sit back and create for teammates and play defense.

He’s a hard worker who has admirable resiliency on the glass for such a slender kid. He does look like he is still adjusting to the level of play and can disappear for stretches at a time, but for the most part he has showed why there was so much hype about him coming from the Lone Star State.

Micah Downs- Earlier this week Downs picked up an offer from his self proclaimed favorite Kansas, and the 6-7 WF from Bothell (WA) High has proved that he is more than worthy of his offer. He’s quick and athletic to the cup off of either foot and plays a very balanced game for Friends of Hoop Seattle.

He is a true scrapper who won’t back down from any challenge despite his very slender build. He’s got a quick trigger on his jump shot and loves to get defenders out of their shoes with pump fakes and step through moves before finishing one or two dribble pull up jumpers from 15 feet. Based on what he has shown in Hampton, there really aren’t any holes in his game to speak of.

Jon Brockman- Each and every team in the country should try and get a guy like Brockman. The burly 6-7 BF from Snohomish (WA) High has earned his reputation as a guy who is willing to outwork and out hustle his opponents, but he deserves more credit for the other things he does.

When he is on the court, Friends of Hoop can count on him grabbing pretty much every rebound in sight and he is a double-double waiting to happen. He’s very quick off his feet and loves to dunk on opponents. He could be a top 50 guy in the class of 2005 and just needs to shore up his game facing the hoop from 12 feet. UCLA is doing some serious work with him but Washington, Arizona, Kansas and others are justifiably interested.

Mitch Johnson- The third Friends of Hoop player drawing interest from the Kansas staff, Johnson probably isn’t quite ready for an elite level program. However, the 6-0 PG from Seattle (WA) O’Dea will probably find himself a home somewhere on the high major level.

He is a tough kid who sees the court very well and has a gift for advancing the ball without wasting dribbles. He’s a streak shooter with a bit of a push type jumper and would be best used in a more deliberate type setting on the college level. Washington, Washington State, Oregon State, Notre Dame and others should continue to track him.

Julian Wright- Wright and his Illinois Warriors teammates have continued to do what they do every year, and that is advance deep into a high profile tournament. A 6-7 WF from Homewood (IL) Flossmoor, Wright helped the Warriors advance to Sunday morning’s semifinals against Howard Pulley.

However, it wasn’t Wright’s night during the quarterfinals against the New York Gauchos as he fouled out without scoring a point. There isn’t any need for concern with Wright though, because he is a player and everybody has an off night from time to time.

Josh Tabb- His backcourt partner with the Illinois Warriors Jamar Smith has already committed to Illinois, but Tabb an athletic lefty may be the better prospect. He’s a 6-4 WG from Century (IL) High and plays a game that features lots of high risk maneuvers with occasional high rewards.

He’s at his best attacking the rim -- especially from the baseline -- and his game still features a lot of playground, but Tabb is clearly a talented scorer. He’s a high major, but how much he is willing to discipline himself on the offensive end will play a key role in determining what level he gets recruited at.

Jon Scheyer (2006)- A much ballyhooed WG from Glenbrook (IL) North, the 6-4 Scheyer is a very talented and versatile guard. Even though he is only a sophomore, he also provides a calming and steadying influence for the Illinois Warriors.

Solid in each aspect of the game, his ability to drain deep jump shot after deep jump shot makes him a dangerous distributor when defenders hug up on him. He certainly needs to add strength and needs to adjust to playing on the 17U level, but Scheyer has a bright future ahead of him and should be an elite high major type recruit.

Tyler Hansbrough- There is no doubting the 6-9 BF from Poplar Bluff (MO) High’s status as a top five talent in the class of 2005 for now. However, Hansbrough appeared uncharacteristically sluggish on Saturday for a struggling St. Louis Eagles squad.

Of course, the triple teams and packed zones he saw on a consistent basis and the lack of a creative PG to get him the ball might have had something to do with it. He’s added some bulk in the last year and plays with a wild look in his eyes that is most commonly seen in prison cafeterias.

Jamont Gordon- A thick and muscular wing guard who entered the spring with an awful lot of hype, the 6-4 Nashville (TN) Glencliff is out of position trying to run the point for the Tennessee Travelers.

There is plenty to like about his game -- particularly his spot up three point shooting and terrific offensive rebounding ability -- but he doesn’t posses the ball handling ability or decision making to play PG for more than brief stretches. He excels in transition and will go toe to toe with anybody for a loose ball. He’s a high major prospect, but top 10 in the country type hype was very premature.

OTHER NEWS AND NOTES

In what had to be considered a major upset, the Albany City Rocks took out tourney favorites and hosts Boo Williams with an overtime victory in pool play. Not only did the City Rocks have to fight off a very talented home team, they also fought off some home cooking from the refs. Fortunately for Boo, a three way tie for first place in their pool worked out in their favor and they advanced to the playoffs and find themselves in Sunday’s semis. In the Semis Boo will tangle with the Georgia Stars who are led by gunner extraordinaire 6-2 WG Louis Williams. The other semifinal will feature Julian Wright’s Illinois Warriors and Minneapolis based Howard Pulley.

Alex Tyus an extremely promising looking 6-7 WF from the class of 2006 went down with what appeared to be a serious knee injury Saturday afternoon. Hopefully, the injury isn’t as bad as it looked and Tyus will be back with the St. Louis Eagles soon.

The New York Gauchos have to be one of the most enjoyable teams to watch in the country. They play aggressively on both ends of the court and 6-2 combo guard Jessie Sapp from Ft. Washington (MD) National Christian Academy is a rising star in the class of 2005. As an added bonus, the Gauchos break their own world record for usage of the word “son” when calling out to each other whenever they take the court.

Team Florida’s Keith Brumbaugh is a very talented 6-8 lefty WF and there was a time when he was clearly a top five prospect in the class of 2005. However, the Deland (FL) High star can’t just sit back on his reputation any longer and needs to start bringing it with more focus and involvement of his teammates. An occasional dive onto the floor for a loose ball or pass wouldn’t hurt his diminishing reputation either. Harsh words to be sure, but Brumbaugh has a lot to offer as a player and could be a star if he is willing to go to work in the paint and play within a team concept.

Anthony Bynum is a gigantic 6-11 and 260 pound center from Plainsboro (NJ) St. Joseph’s is certainly a work in progress, but some day he is going to make a high major very happy. He’s got strong hands and a few nice post moves and rebounds with a passion at times. He’ll need to improve his conditioning, but he’s fun to watch play and has a big time ceiling.

Total number of teams watched in two days, 29.


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