Representing the University of Kansas on Saturday were Tim Jankovich and Joe Dooley who had a chance to watch several top notch players. In a town filled with performers of all sorts, here are some of the guys that Kansas fans should recognize or grow more familiar with.
Terrence Williams- Nobody has ever doubted whether or not the 6-5 combo guard from Seattle (WA) Rainier Beach has the talent to play for an elite program. However, there have been valid concerns as to whether or not the gifted athlete would ever settle down enough on the court to make the rewards his play can give you worth the risk.
When he chooses to, Williams can get into the lane at will, shoot jumpers and be menace all over the court. He’s got a motor and mouth that never seem to stop and has the ability to win onlookers over with his personality when his head is in the game. He isn’t a true PG, but he is showing enough improvement in his decision making that he may be able to play some minutes at the point in college. He’ll be an interesting kid to watch over the summer because he easily has enough to talent to work his way into the discussion of potential McDonald’s All-Americans. Coaches from all over the country have watched his every step in Vegas and that isn’t likely to change any time soon.
Kevin Rogers- After creating a national buzz with his play at last week’s Boo Williams Invitational, the 6-8 BF didn’t disappoint on Saturday.
The Dallas (TX) South Oak Cliff star’s game is pretty simple when you get right down the nuts and bolts of it, he just outworks his opponents. He gets early position on the blocks and then fights to hold that position and score once his teammates find him. He’s got soft enough touch to hit jump hooks and 8-12 foot jumpers so opponents have to respect him in both the low and high post making him all that much more effective.
Pretty much every major program in the country is after him hot and heavy and Rogers admits that he enjoys the attention and likes UConn during the early stages of his recruitment.
C.J. Miles- As he grows more accustomed to playing with and against teams where every player is talented, Miles looks more and more comfortable. Saturday was no different as the 6-5 WG/WF from Dallas (TX) Skyline came out of the gates smoking for Team Texas.
He hit on a few deep threes, made some athletic finishes way above the rim and dropped off plenty of dimes for his teammates. He still has a tendency to go quiet for extended periods of time but that should change as he continues to feel out his teammates. Once again he has justified most of the spring time hype he has gotten and he grows on you with each viewing.
There are some folks out there who think that Miles may be an early lock for Texas but he says it isn’t so and schools like Kansas, UNC, Georgia Tech, UConn, Arizona and Illinois are hoping he means it.
Marcus Johnson- Johnson has drawn a lot of heat from analysts, fans and coaches who have wondered openly whether or not he may have peaked at an early age. Some of it has been justified, but the 6-6 WF from Los Angeles (CA) Westchester seems to have pushed it all to the side and he let his play do the talking on Saturday.
Like he always does, Johnson finished around the rim with crowd pleasing jams and he ran the court with ease. However, Johnson also did a little something that he hasn’t ever been known for. He made a few jump shots and even created some shots off of the dribble and set up some of his So-Cal All Stars teammates with crafty passes in transition.
Syracuse is the prohibitive favorite at this point but the type of play he demonstrated on Saturday will ensure that others continue to track him.
Mario Chalmers- When Chalmers plays like he did during a 40 point explosion against EBO, he can make a legitimate claim to being the top PG in the class of 2005.
The 6-1 product of Anchorage (AK) Bartlett is a long and lean athlete who can bury three pointers or get into the lane and wreak havoc on defenders. He’s got pesky hands on the defensive end and is quick to take opponents cookies if they don’t handle the ball with care.
As good as he was, there are still some parts about his game that could cause concern. He’s a little streaky, he can get caught up in talking junk and he does have stretches where he forgets that he’s got teammates out there with him. Still, the positives way outweigh any negatives and there is a very good reason coaches follow him wherever he goes. Early word on the street says that North Carolina is the team to beat for his services.
Leo Criswell- Even though his jump shot wasn’t falling as regularly as it was during an impressive Friday night performance, the 6-9 Kansas City (KS) Piper showed flashes on Saturday.
His wing skills were on full display as he handled the ball like a guard and beat defenders off the bounce to find teammates or finish at the rim whenever he decided attack the basket. An even more encouraging sign was an increased effort to get on the glass and impact the game with his rebounding ability.
The key for Criswell has been, and will probably remain whether or not he can sustain his focus and intensity for entire games at a time. It is nice that he can take over games, but he has the talent to be a major factor from start to finish and just needs to put it all together.
Lamar Falley- If the 6-2 Falley gets a good look at the basket and gets his feet set, you can pretty much go ahead and count the basket regardless of where he is shooting from. Yes, he can shoot it that well when he takes good shots and uses screens to find openings.
However, at his size he has to be able to take defenders off of the dribble and create offense and he still hasn’t shown whether or not he can do that on a regular basis. He’s at home here in Las Vegas, but got a little too comfortable with his shot selection at times and forced some bad attempts.
Henry Dugat- A new name for Kansas fans, the 6-0 PG from Dayton (TX) High won’t be a secret around the country for much longer.
He’s quick, he handles, he dishes and he does something that seems to be increasingly rare for point guards, he shoots the ball well from deep. Actually, he scores so well that he can be used in either back court position and is plenty comfortable attacking from the wing.
Size dictates that he play the point on the next level, but he’s a matchup headache on the high school level because of his versatility. Baylor has been putting in work on him for quite some time now and has built an early lead, but they are going to have to fight with some of college basketballs big boys before it is all said and done because Dugat could be a top 50 type guy nationally.