While it may have been wet and cold outside in Hampton (VA), the only things raining Friday night at the Boo Williams Invitational were jump shots. Normally the first night of an AAU event is marred by sloppy play but the action was surprisingly tight and very entertaining.
The tournament is populated with Nike’s top teams and there was no shortage of standout performances as things kicked off. On display were several potential Kansas recruiting targets, a few guys that Jayhawk fans will see playing for opponents down the road, some young guys to watch and plenty of other stars.
KANSAS TARGETS ON FRIDAY NIGHT
Jeremiah Rivers - Rivers and all of his teammates on Team Florida looked a bit methodical Friday Night as the Albany City Rocks put them away. Playing with a bad hip flexor the 6-3 PG is just that, a PG. He is able to get his own offense and does a great job of hitting from mid-range. He plays like you would expect the son of an NBA coach to play. Admitted his effort level wasn’t where it needed to be all night and is looking to set up a visit to Kansas in May or June. He’s got some Deron Williams in his game.
Darrell Arthur - After watching Josh Chichester -- a very promising 6-8 BF playing or All-Ohio – blow by him along the baseline on the first play of the game, Slim Shady went to work. He runs the floor with grace, is light on his feet, can rebound and score but isn’t always super motivated. He doesn’t loaf, he just hasn’t learned to dominate each possession yet but certainly has the ability to. Hit a ton of free throws, hit some mid range jumpers and blocked some shot. On the other hand he also took a few ill-advised threes and lost his man. Incredible athlete who is a highlight waiting to happen. He’s the star of Team Texas.
Bryan Davis - Starting alongside Arthur for Team Texas, the 6-8 BF is a workmanlike big man who does some dirty work and can score a little. Never seemed to get in the flow of the game though and didn’t do too much more than rebound. He did have a nice move where he faced a guy up, drove left and went around another defender with a scooping layup…..didn’t know he could do that. Mentioned Texas A&M, Texas, UNC and Kansas in that order and also has an offer from UConn. The early word with Davis is that distance from home is going to be an important factor in his school choice.
Bryce Webster - Webster is in about as good of shape as he’s been in and ran the court well. He finished a few strong jams, got the line a couple of times but was saddled by foul trouble. Because of the fouls his action was very limited on Friday night. The quickness of the Houston Hoops big men was a problem for him at times but he plays good positional defense. Will take the ACT Saturday morning along with several of his Howard Pulley teammates.
Spencer Hawes - Although he and his mostly younger teammates on Friends of Hoop lost in a double overtime heartbreaker to the Georgia Stars the 6-11 BF was dazzling. His footwork very advanced and he’s added a quick spin move he can go in either direction with to score with his right or left hand. Still on the slender side but he’s a scrapper around the basket and isn’t afraid to swing an elbow or two. Hit a couple of long baseline jumpers and had a couple of late blocks.
Keith Clark - The 6-8 Clark played like he is on a mission to prove he can play the three. He’s got a decent stroke, decent quickness and pretty good strength. Took a ton of jumpers, tried to drive from the wing and spent a lot of time talking to himself or one reason or another. If he can focus on being a skilled BF he could be very dangerous and he just isn’t a WF at this point.
OTHER GUYS PUTTING IN WORK
The Houston Hoops are loaded with talent. So loaded in fact that 5-10 Arizona bound PG Nic Wise may only be the fifth or sixth best player on the team. Keep an eye out for sophomore big men Isaiah Rusher and Gary Johnson. Rusher is 6-9, runs the court, rebounds and plays serious defense while showing promise offensively. The 6-8 Johnson is an electrifying athlete who may have a little Shawn Marion in him. Both have a chance to be highly regarded guys in 2007. Throw in guys like future Oklahoma Sooner, 6-8 WF Damion James, 6-8 BF Darris Santee, 6-6 Texas A&M commitment Jarrod Johnson, Wise and two more 2007 guys in 5-10 PG Jai Lucas and 6-6 WF Mike Singletary you are talking about a pretty serious squad.
DeShawn Sims a 6-7 WF from Detroit (MI) Pershing is a good one. Nice scoring package and able to play inside out. Ramar Smith is the headliner for The Family but Sims may have passed him up. Another player on The Family who is going to generate some high major interest is 6-4 WG Leon Freeman. Long, bouncy and shoots it very well from deep….Maryland did very well by landing an early commitment from Landon Milbourne. The 6-7 lefty WF was in attack mode for the Georgia Stars. He handles much better than expected and can get his own offense…
Illinois Warriors PG Sherron Collins is an extremely powerful and athletic 5-10 PG who is armed with a lethal crossover. Collins buckles defenders knees at will, is a very good passer, and can shoot it a little. Probably the most exciting PG in the class of 2006 and deserves to be considered as a guard who is every bit as good as guys like DJ Augustin, Mike Conley, Jr., and Tywon Lawson.
Future Baylor Bear DeMond Carter looks like a fine shooting guard prospect, the problem is that the trigger happy Carter is only 5-10. He’s a very dangerous three point shooter but he also spends a lot of time cherry-picking for easy buckets and makes some questionable passes…
Last Fall Farnold Degand signed with Iowa State but the 6-3 combo guard is going to make a pit stop at a prep school next year. For now he’s still committed and has the potential to be a solid player at Iowa State. Handles pretty well, decent shooter and makes plays around the basket. He actually plays kind of like current Cyclone Tasheed Carr….Degand’s teammate on BABC is 6-2 WG Anthony Gurley. A rising senior from Newtonville (MA) Newton North, Gurley is an above average shooter from deep and has a nice mid-range game. He’s going to get some serious looks from high majors and looks like somebody who could really build a rep this summer.
E’twaun Moore of the SYF Players is a very nice looking 2007 prospect. The 6-4 combo guard is athletic, gets to the rim and sees his teammates. Still needs to get stronger but he is a definite guy high majors should get familiar with this guy quickly.
Mark Lyons a 6-0 PG from Schenectady (NY) High is an extremely entertaining class of 2007 PG. He is a creative ball handler and maybe gets a little too flashy at times but he can make jumpers and gets to the rim with ease.
The real star for Lyons’ Albany City Rocks is 6-4 WG/WF Paul Harris. Harris is a very alert passer in the break, rebounds, leads and most of all is one of the toughest dudes walking the planet….
Team Texas guard Donald Sloan has gotten a little taller and has a very nice offensive package. He’s a 6-3 WG that has too often played out of control but he’s getting it together now. Good shooter and works the baseline pretty well.
Isaiah Dahlman never really got into the flow of the game but he still showed a world of potential. The 6-7 WG/WF elevates for jumpers and has a quick release….