KANSAS TARGETS IN ACTION
Xavier Henry - He may only be a freshman, but the 6-5 lefty WG from Oklahoma City (OK) Putnam City is already well known. The livewire athlete showed why he was named MVP of the state tournament as a freshman as he stuck deep threes, finished in the lane with contact and created his own shots. He’s got a body that would suggest he’s much older than 15, but the reality is that he’s a pup and has plenty of room to grow. Kansas fans will be able to get a first hand look at him next month when he and his Athlete’s First teammates make the trek to Lawrence for the Jayhawk Invitational.
Derrick Rose - The first thing that you notice about Rose is that he looks to have grown an inch or so since December meaning he’s a shade over 6-3. As for his play, it was a mixed bag. He was occasionally phenomenal -- especially on defense where he uses his quickness and hops to terrorize opposing ball handlers and passers -- with slick dishes, hesitation dribbles and a high flying open court jam. On the other hand, he also had a couple of costly turnovers in a one point loss to Cecil Kirk. As he continues to grow more accustomed to putting a team on his shoulders and wanting to make game winning plays, he’ll only become better. He’s arguably a top five prospect in the class of 2007.
Blake Griffin - Talk about a competitor, the 6-8 BF from Community Christian flat gets after it in the low post. He’s got just about any post move that you could imagine, strength, toughness and the touch to step out and bury 15 footers. The most noticeable improvement in his game is how much more spring he has in his step and that bounce allows him to be more of a factor on the boards.
OTHER FRIDAY NOTABLES
Darenzo Hudson - About this time each year, somebody explodes onto the national scene from relative obscurity and throws down a big time performance. The 6-4 WG from North Carolina may be that guy as he went on a silly scoring spree for the Charlotte Royals. Blessed with solid handles, a great frame with long arms and mid-range game to spare, he hit pull-up jumper after pull-up jumper and mixed in some deep threes and towering forays to the hoop for a memorable night. If he backs it up, look for him to be on the radar as a potential top 50 guy in the class of 2007.
Nick Calathes - Put it in the book, this future Gator is approaching the realm of shoe in for the McDonald’s All-American. Standing nearly 6-5, he’s equally confident and effective running the show or scoring from the wing. He makes smart decisions, cans his open looks and seems to get a little better each time out. He went for 33 in his first game and was on another scoring binge at the half of his second game. All without taking very many shots.
Tyreke Evans - The undisputed #1 in the class of 2008 tantalized with his ability during a laugher over Memphis YOMCA. At 6-5, he uses crisp ball handling and passing to set up his own offense. He does tend to fade away and shoots a little behind his head but his game is all about confidence, seizing his opportunities and attacking. His ultimate position may be as a pure wing scorer, but there’s a pretty good chance he plays the point during his college years.
Rotnie Clark - The 5-10 sophomore from Vertigris High in Oklahoma had it cooking from downtown on Friday night. He hit five threes in the first half of his first game and then smoked home another seven during the first half of his second game as his undermanned Team Texas eaked out a victory in their nightcap.