Because it is such a massive event, the Kingwood Classic is one of the toughest events on the grassroots circuit to cover. On one hand there is no shortage of talent on hand for coaches and scouts to evaluate, on the other there is a massive shortage of time to put together any meaningful reports.
During our report from Saturday’s action we covered Spencer Hawes, Bryce Webster, Lance Thomas, Brian Carlwell, Chase Budinger, Daniel Deane, Cole Aldrich and Derrick Rose. However, there were several more prospects on hand who have received interest from Kansas at one level or another that Phog.Net was on hand to watch. Also included in this recap will be the names of several 2007 prospects that could end up or are already on the Kansas radar.
MORE KANSAS TARGETS PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE FROM KINGWOOD
Demetrius Jemison - Kansas first evaluated this somewhat undersized but extremely aggressive BF at the Real Deal on the Hill two weekends ago. Standing 6-7, at the most, Jemison is an active inside player who battles for loose balls and looks to dunk everything he can. He’s got a strong frame and loves to mix it up. He’s clearly a high major guy but he’s going to have to do more facing the basket to attract scholarship offers from elite schools. The promising thing is that he made a few 15 foot jumpers and scored off a few impressive drives -- particularly one nice pump fake, crossover dribble and then explosion to the hoop for a jam against the KC Keys -- during the weekend.
Xavier Keeling - After lacing them up with the Alabama Lasers for a few weekends, the 6-6 WF was in town with Southeast Elite and played alongside Jemison. Like he usually does, Keeling used his strength and ability to get to the rim via dribble drives to attack the lane. The one thing he didn’t do is shoot many jumpers and frankly that is what coaches are going to want to see out of him. Keeling once again indicated that he is wide open but if Kansas were to make a serious run with him they would be very tough to beat. Expect the Jayhawks to continue to evaluate the Topeka native this summer.
Derrick Roland - The high school teammate of another Kansas recruit, 6-3 WG Donald Sloan, Roland is a fairly athletic 6-4 WG. He’s received attention from pretty much the entire Big 12 as well as programs like Florida and Georgia Tech. At Kingwood Roland struggled at times because his jumper wasn’t falling. He is a capable ball handler and does a nice job of getting to the rim and he’s actually a pretty good defender as well. The level of Kansas interest in his game is up for debate at this point and it is likely that his teammate is the more realistic target.
Harrison Smith - Sunday morning Smith got a chance to perform on the main floor of the Kingwood’s home site (Westfield High School) and he took full advantage of the center stage opportunity. Hailing from the same high school as Texas PG Danny Gibson, Smith is a well built 6-4 WG who can score inside and out. His bread and butter may very well be pulling up for medium range jumpers after one or two dribbles but he also does a great job of posting up smaller guards. His performance should ensure that programs like Kansas take another look but he’s still got a bit of work to do as a prospect before he starts attracting elite level offers.
Perry Stevenson - The skinny 6-9 BF from Louisiana has reportedly had Kansas in his top four for some time now and he is definitely a prospect worth keeping tabs on. Stevenson runs the court swiftly, blocks shots, rebounds and has arms that seem to extend for days. He likes to use pump fakes before making quick moves past defenders to the hoop. However, unless he gains a significant amount of weight he’s going to need a redshirt year and then probably some seasoning before he can make a meaningful impact. He’s a talent that will end up worth the wait, but coaches will have to decide if they can afford to wait on him.
Andre Stephens - This relatively unknown big man from tiny Heidelberg (MS) HIghwas the recipient of a few visits from the Kansas staff during the season. He’s a long lefty with a good frame who runs the court well and he attacks the offensive glass. Stephens has the body, but developmentally he still has a ways to go. His footwork needs some help and he’s got to adjust to playing against high level competition on a regular basis. Expect him to be recruited on the high major level, but you can also expect that he won’t be leaving the deep south.
Tory Jackson - Jackson is a small PG who is most effective as a scorer. He’s very creative off of the dribble, is a good open court athlete and a very streaky jump shooter. As a playmaker, Jackson still needs to learn how to better set up his teammates and make sure that he is running the offense versus getting his offense. Standing only 5-10, Jackson is quick but not so quick that other PG’s can’t keep him in front of them and at his size he really needs an extra gear if he’s going to separate from other elite PG’s. It looks like Kansas has moved on to other prospects at this point and Jackson is heavy lean to Michigan.
Alex Legion (2007) - A very promising looking WG, the 6-4 Legion already has a pretty diverse game on the offensive end. He’s adept at reading what the defense has left available and generally makes a good decision. He’s a good jump shooter with a great first step on drives to the hoop. What is most impressive is that he kicks it into another gear that most wings don’t have on his second step making it virtually impossible to keep him from getting to the rim. Kansas is already watching closely and will continue to watch along with every major program in the country.
Kyle Singler (2007) - A terrific wing prospect who is comfortable draining deep jumpers, scoring in transition or setting up teammates with his clever passes, the 6-7 Singler wowed at Kingwood. He’s fundamentally sound, has great size and it seems like he gets better each time he takes the court. His recruitment is going to be on the highest level and Kansas has been following him closely since last summer. Expect a Jayhawk coach to make a stop by his high school before the end of April.
Kevin Love (2007) - It’s been a while since there has been a young big man who is as fundamentally sound and as complete as Love is on the offensive end. His footwork is impeccable, he is a dangerous shooter to three point range, and Love is strong and plays as hard as anybody on the court. Scoring is never an issue for him because once he sets up shop in the low post and gets a defender on his hip he isn’t going to lose his position. On the rare occasions that he does miss, he’s got an amazing ability to track down his own rebound. He’s going to be recruited by the elite of the elite and the Kansas staff has already spent a considerable amount of time watching him and they’ll stop by his high school sometime this week.
George Goode (2007) - A local prospect, the 6-7 -- and growing -- combo forward from Raytown (MO) South had himself a very good weekend at Kingwood. He’s a very good shooter all the way out to 22 feet and uses his long arms and great instincts around the basket to block a lot of shots. Because he’s still growing, Goode is still a little stiff and hasn’t fully developed as an athlete but he is getting there. He is an above average passer as well but has a tendency to play the game in spurts. Once he learns to play the game hard 100% of the time he has a chance to be a top 50 player in his class nationally.
Trevor Mbakwe (2007) - Bill Self and Joe Dooley dropped in on Mbakwe’s high school earlier in the week and they were up front and center to watch the 6-7 BF go to work on Saturday. His game is all about power and getting nasty in the low post. He loves to trade elbows, mix it up in the paint and seems to take pleasure in physical play. He doesn’t score much from outside of eight feet but inside of that range you do not want to be between he and the basket once he gathers his feet because you will get dunked on. While his skill level needs improvement, he has come a significant way since this time last year and will only get better. The only concern right now is that he has to control his temper a little better.
Jerryd Bayless (2007) - After displaying little desire to get his teammates involved the week before in Las Vegas, Bayless was a different player in Houston. He still got his own offense thanks to his jumper, advanced ball handling skills and plentiful athleticism, but more importantly he got others involved. He’s still more of a WG than a PG and his strength will always be scoring, but he showed a willingness to help out his teammates and he also used his quick hands and feet to cause trouble on defense. He was watched by coaches from pretty much every major program in the country including Kansas’ Bill Self.
Jamelle Horne (2007) - San Diego doesn’t exactly have a reputation as a hotbed of hoops talent, but this exciting 6-7 WF from Hoover High is already packing the gym with high major coaches. Kansas was in to see him earlier this month and after watching him slash to the basket, stick medium range jumpers and play with passion it is easy to see why the Jayhawks and others like Arizona, UCLA and Washington have made him an early priority. His handle still needs a little bit of work and he should probably rely a little less on his athleticism, but all of the tools to be a wing on the elite high major level are there.