eBoss Road Show: Local Big Men Emerging

Before heading off to Chicago this weekend to catch the likes of Sherron Collins, Alex Tyus and several others at the loaded Martin Luther King Dream Classic the Road Show took time to catch some KC area action. Friday night the Road Show was on hand as talented sophomore Steve Moore went to work for Independence (MO) Truman against Kansas City (MO) Park Hill South.

The 6-8 lefty didn’t disappoint in a blowout win with a Big 12 assistant coach in the building. But, Steve Moore wasn’t the only sophomore big man who impressed during the week as Blue Valley West’s 6-8 Robert Lewandowski and Saint Thomas Aquinas’ Clinton Mann both strutted their stuff during a Tuesday night matchup.

MOORE EMERGING AS A HIGH MAJOR PROSPECT

During his freshman season at Independence (MO) Truman, Steve Moore didn’t get much playing time on the varsity. What a difference a year makes because now the 6-8 BF rarely comes off the court because he is far too valuable to head coach Billy Guinnee and his teammates. Friday night, Kansas dispatched assistant coach Joe Dooley to get a first look at the sophomore who got the city talking recently with an all-tournament performance at the Bank Midwest Holiday Classic at William Jewell.

For his part Moore responded well scoring 16 points, grabbing 12 boards and blocking at least six shots in a 65-44 victory. A finished product he isn’t, but is obvious that the long armed youngster is a legitimate high major prospect with a great feel for the game and a motor that doesn’t stop. He runs the court very well and plays with a pretty good deal of intensity for such a young player.

Often times young big men are well behind the curve fundamentally but that isn’t the case with Moore. He uses his body to establish position in the post, gives a big target to his guards and makes decisive moves to the basket. He likes to spin off of defenders for short jump hooks, uses the glass and has a terrific set of hands. Those hands also serve him well on defense where he is constantly deflecting balls, blocking shots and running down loose balls.

Perhaps the best thing about Moore is that he has so much room to expand his game. You also have to like the fact that he’s a good enough free throw shooter that his coach already sends him to the line to take technical foul shots.

After his performance Moore -- who was decked out in a Kansas hat and t-shirt -- told the Road Show that he is just starting to hear from schools. Outside of Kansas, he’s only heard from Creighton, who was recently out to watch him play, and Utah. While he’s still green to the recruiting process, it is a safe bet that Moore is going to see those schools, and many more, out to watch him play in the near future.

LEWANDOWSKI AND MANN ARE NO SLOUCHES

Although the game between Blue Valley West and St. Thomas Aquinas was a slow paced and one sided 40-27 affair in favor of West, two big sophomores stood out. For West it was Robert Lewandowski a long and slender 6-8 face up four man, while 6-6 Clinton Mann impressed for Aquinas.

Coached by Donnie Campbell, Lewandowski shows some of the same traits that another former Campbell player, Matt Frieje, had at the same age. He runs the court extremely well, is skilled facing the basket and plays with great patience. While he isn’t the focal point of his offense just yet, Lewandowski finds his way onto the offensive glass, finishes around the hoop and makes some jumpers facing the basket. He can be pushed around some by stronger players but he isn’t adverse to contact and he’s already developed into a pretty effective shot blocker. It’s still very early in his development, but it is pretty clear that he’s going to get watched very closely by Division One basketball programs on the mid to perhaps even high major level if he continues to develop over the next few seasons.

On the other side was Mann who is probably the most aggressive of the talented young big men. He attacks the basket, looks to dunk when possible and is already comfortable driving right or left to the hoop from between the free throw and three point lines. The younger brother of a division one player -- brother Nathan is a sophomore guard at William and Mary -- he’s well aware of what it takes to get to the next level and is a D1 prospect in his own right.

Another sophomore to watch from the game is Aquinas’ 6-8 forward Keith McCullough. Although he struggled in a scoreless performance, McCullough has already proven himself as a player and has one of the sweetest shooting touches of any big man in the city.

MORE NOTES

Something would be wrong it the Road Show didn’t make note of one the city’s premier scores, Truman senior guard Edriss Floyd. The 6-2 combo guard was his usual self pulling up for pretty jumpers and picking opposing guards pockets for easy transition baskets. Also one of the premier smack talkers in the city, Floyd had to sit out the third quarter as a result of his participation in some jawing that resulted in a second quarter double technical between he and Park Hill South’s R.J. Lawson. Technical foul aside, it was another fine outing for the senior who is contemplating heading off to a prep school next season in order to bolster his academic credentials and increase his exposure.

  • Total teams seen - 130
  • Total games watched - 79
  • Total miles traveled - 9,533

Up next- Martin Luther King Dream Classic, Chicago (IL), January 14-16.


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