Once again the bleachers of the OKUN Fieldhouse in Shawnee were packed with fans anxious to get a look at several elite level recruits of local interest. There were plenty of coaches interested to see what happened and the stars didn't disappoint on Thursday.
KEVIN ROGERS- KU LEADS
On Thursday morning, Kevin Rogers knew that he didn't play up to his capabilities. The 6-8 BF from Dallas (TX) South Oak Cliff spent a lot of time on Team Texas coach Wes Grandstaff's bench and the pine time was deserved.
Afterwards, the approachable big man promised that he would be back with a better game in the evening and he came through in flying colors as he helped his mates whip up on the SYF Players. On an assortment of tips, short hooks, mid range jumpers and lob jams Rogers ended up with a fine 17 point and seven rebound effort during an 84-69 victory.
According to Rogers, the long spring and summer club circuit has made him weary.
"I've been tired probably since Nike camp, I mean dead tired and I am glad it's about to be over," Rogers told Phog.net. "I feel that I am playing pretty good, I could be playing a little bit better but I am doing things to help my team in the long run so I am feeling pretty good."
Considering that he has been performing under the watchful eyes of coaches from schools like Arizona, Baylor, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Kansas, North Carolina, and Texas, you couldn't blame Rogers if he spent some time scanning the stands.
"I just try to focus on playing the games, I don't too much look into the crowds but Coach Wes (Grandstaff) lets me know who is watching."
After a long summer of hoops, a leader has emerged from the pack.
"Right now I would say that Kansas is the leader," said Rogers. "Mostly it is their transition game and how they get up and down the court and feed the big man the ball."
Since he hasn't taken any visits yet, Rogers is looking to set up some visits in hopes of getting those out of the way. He'd like to decide on a school before his high school season starts and said that he would sit down with his high school coach within the next week or so to start setting up visits.
Once again, Rogers reiterated that he is very interested in attending college with his Team Texas teammate, 6-5 WG C.J. Miles.
"I think it will happen, 99% it will happen and something drastic has to happen for it (package deal) not to happen."
Finally, Rogers said that he is surprised by the attention he and his teammates have received while in town. According to him he has been approached by fans from various schools nearly everywhere he goes and he loves the attention from the fans and media outlets.
"I really enjoy the media, I kind of like attention so it really isn't a problem to me. If anybody wants to talk to me I'll talk to them. I'd start to worry if nobody wanted to talk."
KANSAS TARGETS PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE ON THURSDAY
Tyler Hansbrough- After a sub par, by his lofty standards, outing on Wednesday night the big fellow was back to his usual aggressive self on Thursday. He started out his day by thoroughly intimidating a young and frankly scared KC Pump N' Run 16 U team as he drop stepped, elbowed and dunked his way to a 35 point and 11 rebound effort. During the morning game he stepped out and hit a few 12 foot jumpers and also scored on a sweet eight foot turnaround. In his nightcap against Georgia Elite, it was much of the same and according to one coach in attendance, it may have been his finest performance of the summer.
Julian Wright- You better believe that Bruce Weber, Lute Olson and Dave Leitao were watching their prized prospect very closely. The 6-8 WF didn't disappoint as he spent much of his time playing the point and was a long and athletic presence on both ends of the court. His jump shot is funky to say the least, but he seems to make them when he is on the move. Most importantly he is a winner and a good teammate whose attitude has more of a positive impact on the game than his extraordinary athleticism. He's been loud and quiet at the same time, and looks primed for a big outing on Friday.
C.J. Miles- After a nice evening on Wednesday, Miles strung together a couple of nice efforts while going for 12 and 16 points. The numbers weren't eye popping, but of anybody who was paying attention the 6-5 WG put on an impressive show. He scored off of high arching and quick rotating jumpers, athletic drives to the cup and turnaround jumpers from mid range. He is a clever ball handler and threw some slick passes. Miles also admitted that he knows defenders have figured out that he is more likely to pass than score off of drives so he is really working on his mid range game. Everything came within the flow and he looked every bit the part of a future pro.
Kevin Rogers- Because he came out without much effort and didn't seem to want to be there, Rogers earned his spot on the bench in his morning outing. On Thursday night he was a changed player and the 6-8 BF got some things done. Like many young big men, the quick lefty's game comes and goes with his rebounding. He focused on hitting the glass and staying around the cup to find easy hoops and as a result, he was able to step out and hit some unmolested mid range jump shots.
Darrell Arthur- You simply won't find many big men blessed with Arthur's package of quickness, coordination, size and skill. That is unless you are taking a close look at kids who the NBA is going to keep close track of. He may be a couple of years away, but the 6-8 (maybe 6-9) Texan is a bundle of talent who can play with the best of him. He is a patient shot blocker, runs the court, has super footwork and the quickness and height with which he gets off the floor for his second jump (one of the more underrated ways to truly judge a kid's athleticism) has to be seen to be believed.
Bryan Davis- On a Team Texas squad loaded with size, Davis a 6-8 BF from the class of 2006 can get overlooked. He has a good frame that can carry a lot more muscle, decent quickness and good instincts. However, he relies on athleticism and size too much and takes himself out of a lot of plays by setting up too far away from the basket. No doubt he is a high major prospect, but he is far from a finished or polished product.
SOME OTHER PLAYERS MAKING NOISE
Marcus Walker- One of K.C.'s finest, the 6-0 PG put on an impressive scoring display as he led the K.C. Keys back from way behind against Canada's Phaze 1. He proved why the offers he has from Missouri, Iowa and Arkansas are deserved as he dribbled right by anybody who tried to stop him. He is a true jet up and down the court who loves to come to jump stops before exploding the basket -- where he always seems to find a way to score -- launching his trademark floater or dropping off a little change for one of his teammates. He oozes personality and the little guy was a lot of fun to watch. Area fans will be glad to know that Walker will return to Kansas City (MO) O'Hara instead of attending Durham (NC) Mt. Zion.
Jahmil Tucker- A California native who is biding his time in Gary (IN) at Westside High, the 6-8 Tucker has always been intriguing. He runs the court well, has some skills but rarely if ever seems to make an impact on the game. Thursday night he got into some passing lanes, hit a few short jumpers and threw down the dunk of the evening on Team Texas' Darrell Arthur in transition. With his size and skills, coaches will keep an eye on the 2006 prospect who could be moving back home.
Jamont Gordon- With only a half to put together a body of work, the 6-3 power guard was all about getting to the rack. He explodes into the lane and attacks the rim like his life depends upon it. His mechanics on his jumper are improving and with a full year at famed Oak Hill Academy he has the chance to develop into a pretty special player.