Now that the high school basketball season has come to a close it is time for the annual All-Star games. The games give scouts one last chance to evaluate seniors before they head off to college or the NBA while giving fans a future glimpse into what to expect down the road from their future players. The games are also a great way to kill the small dead period between high school ball and the AAU circuit.
Topping the checklist of things to do was getting a look at Kansas recruit DeAndre Thomas. Unfortunately, the 6-7 BF from Chicago (IL) Westinghouse had to sit out Monday’s workout due to a sprained ankle. That’s ok because there was still plenty of talent on display and even though they aren’t Kansas recruits, Kansas fans should be pretty familiar with most of these guys.
Josh McRoberts - As the 6-10 McRoberts continues to embrace playing the power forward position he simply continues to get better. He’s athletic, he can shoot, he’s a way above average passer and he’s a determined competitor. Primarily matched up with NBA hopeful Andray Blatche -- who played very well himself -- McRoberts wowed with his rebounding and ability to find open teammates. He threw in a couple of short jumpers and a nice reverse jam in the lane for emphasis. Could NBA speculation be down the road? He’s certainly got enough game.
Korvotney Barber - After breaking a hand, the 6-7 Donnell Harvey clone had to sit out much of last summer’s shoe circuit. The Auburn bound beast picked up right where he left off trying to break backboards and muscling his way inside against bigger players for emphatic rebounds. He’s undersized and doesn’t have much, if any, face up game but he is comfortable in his role as a dunker/rejector who intimidates because of the ferocity he plays the game with.
Danny Green, Jr. - This future Tar Heel is one of the most improved players in the country and it didn’t take long for the author to realize that he’d vastly underrated him in the past. Green shoots with range, has a tremendous feel for the game and is one of the top defensive players in his class. He works hard in any situation and should prove to be a valuable contributor to the UNC attack next year.
Brandon Rush - The Kansas City native is caught up between wanting to make the jump the NBA but more than likely needing to go to college. For him, the Roundball is an extremely important event as it is the only All-Star game he’s scheduled to play in which means this is his last chance to impress NBA scouts other than in individual workouts. As usual he flaunted his ridiculous athleticism and drew oohs and ahhs with his 360 dunks and transition facials. Other than that it was a mixed bag. He struggled with a case of fumbleitis while matched up with Marcus Williams but looked pretty good during shooting and ball handling drills while he concentrated.
Byron Eaton- Oklahoma State is going to rely heavily upon Eaton to come in and provide some ball handling next year and it will be interesting to see how he does. The 5-11 PG is a thick and quick PG who uses his strength and burst to get to the rim at will and he can finish despite a lack of height because of that strength. His jump shot looks to be improved with more arc and better rotation but he still rushes things. Ideally he could be the Cowboys version of Khalid El-Amin but he’s got to continue to learn to stay under control.
Marcus Williams - Had Kansas not secured early commitments from Micah Downs and Julian Wright, Williams was high on their wish list and it is easy to see why. He’s a smooth and fundamentally sound wing ticketed for Arizona who has taken his game to another game athletically. Nobody gave him much of a chance to hang with Rush but he did so fairly easily and even beat the quicker Rush to the rim on a few occasions. An exceptional rebounder from the wing and a dangerous shooter, he’s got a legitimate gripe about not being named a McDonald’s All-American.
Another NBA hopeful expected to be on hand was Jackson (MS) Lanier stud Monta Ellis. The 6-4 WG/PG is a no show and that’s too bad because he’s as exciting a perimeter prospect as there is in the class of 2005….A player that any fan should be looking forward to watching in the college ranks is 6-7 BF Tasmin Mitchell. The Denham Springs (LA) High standout is ticketed for LSU and should give them one of the most talented frontlines in college basketball provided Glen “Big Baby” Davis and Brandon Bass are still around. He’s fundamentally sound, he plays hard and he plays with a lot of passion for the game. On the college level he could be a Wayne Simien type player.
Gerald Green looks more and more like he’s destined to throw his name into the NBA draft. At 6-7 he’s got big time size for a two guard and he’s probably the single most explosive athlete in the class of 2005. His fundamentals leave a little to be desired but more than likely NBA execs will be willing to take a chance on him because of his 24 foot range and dangerous mid range game, when he actually chooses to use his mid range game.