On Saturday evening an excited crowd filled the gym at Ft. Myers (FL) Bishop Verot anticipating a Louis Williams explosion. The assembled throng which included several important NBA types got to witness an explosion of sorts, but it was much more of a self destructive one as the 6-2 Williams -- considered by many to be the top prospect in the class of 2005 -- completely fell apart during a forgettable outing.
However, Seattle (WA) Prep junior Spencer Hawes picked up the slack by turning in a remarkable performance of his own.
SATURDAY’S NOTABLE PERFORMANCES
Louis Williams - You never want to take a high school senior and throw him under the bus. Luckily the 6-2 WG from Snellville (FL) South Gwinnett took care of the dirty work himself in what had to have been one of his worst outings, ever. Nobody is immune to an occasional poor outing, but Williams picked a bad time to go 7-23 from the field (including 3-11 on threes) and turn the ball over eight times.
With Williams, it is always a high risk high reward situation so turnovers and rough nights from the field are going to come along with the territory. However, it was the way in which he handled the off night -- constantly crying to officials, not bothering to play defense and making some horrific decisions -- that should be a cause for concern. It isn’t exactly a secret that he’s very interested in making himself available for the NBA Draft next spring and this performance will be burned into the NBA types memories for a while to come.
Still, it is very important to note that Williams still brings a lot of good traits to the table. He’s truly a world class level athlete, is capable of anticipating on defense, makes surprisingly good passes at times and can be a dangerous shooter to well beyond the three point line when he takes good shots. Perhaps his most remarkable trait is the ability to shake off a bad game and come back with a monster effort the next time he takes the court. Georgia coach Dennis Felton and Bulldogs fans are crossing their fingers that he makes it to Athens.
Spencer Hawes - Every prospect needs a true breakout performance to solidify their status on the national scene. It isn’t as if the 6-10 BF wasn’t highly regarded coming into the City of Palms, and he deserves to be, but on Saturday night Hawes delivered with a monster evening.
Looking a little stronger than he did at the end of the summer, Hawes scored in every imaginable way during a sparkling 32 point effort. He used either hand to make soft finishes on the interior, stroked confident and true 17 foot jumpers, finished with contact, ran the court and did some very good work on the boards as well. The kid was pretty much in a zone all night long and you have to appreciate the way he goes about his business. He’s still got to add a little more quickness and could be more of a shot-blocking presence on the defensive end, but Hawes is pretty close to being a complete package.
Daniel Bryant - Odds are that Bryant, a slender 5-8 PG, never plays on the division one level. However, against Louis Williams and company the diminutive Bryant stole the show. He knocked down big shot after big shot for West Palm Beach (FL) Palm Beach Lakes and scored on several daring drives into the paint in a fun to watch 24 point performance.
Marcus Landry - It is pretty easy to like the way Landry, a 6-7 BF, plays and his Milwaukee (WI) Vincent teammates seem to feed off of his no nonsense and consistent approach. Offensively he hit a couple of nice foul line jumpers and showed off a little more bounce in his legs than ever before and looks to be adding some weight and muscle through maturity.
The biggest thing he did was rebound the basketball at an amazing clip, especially on the offensive end. When you go and get double-digit boards on the offensive end good things are going to happen and he’s a primary reason for Vincent’s #16 ranking nationally.
Spencer Hawes wasn’t the only Seattle (WA) Prep player who looked fantastic on Saturday, Martell Webster put on a show as well. The 6-6 WG is in tip-top shape, sports an improved handle and still has a sweet jump shot. He had 19 points and could score at will but was smart enough to recognize the kind of night Hawes was having and got him the ball. Of course Webster is another kid who could be thinking NBA and he didn’t hurt himself.
It was a rough evening all around for the South Gwinnett backcourt as 6-3 PG Mike Mercer suffered through a woeful performance. 5-20 from the field isn’t going to get it done, and even worse than the side-spinning, slow rotating wrecking balls that he was throwing up was his shot selection. He is a top shelf athlete himself and does his best work going to the rim and creating and should focus on that part of his game.
A perfect example of how a kid can take a lot of shots, missing most of them, and still have a good game is Palm Beach Lakes 6-3 WG Corey Claitt. Claitt was only 9-26 from the field, but he took shots within the flow of the offense and gave a big time effort on the defensive end as well. He never forced anything and made hustle plays and would be a great late addition for a mid major program.
Another guy drawing a little bit of interest from NBA types is 6-11 BF/WF Ricky Sanchez. The Puerto Rican import couldn’t have impressed them too much in an ugly eight point game. Again bad games happen, but Sanchez showed absolutely no heart or effort and refused to get anywhere near a rebound. A few balls did eventually bounce his direction, but the best way to describe him on Saturday is to say he was listless….
- Total games seen- 70
- Total teams seen- 47
- Total miles traveled- 4,262