Wrapping Up Kingwood

Over the weekend, we covered several players at the Houston Kingwood Classic who were receiving interest from Kansas. However, the loaded event also featured numerous other players worthy of mention for their exploits. Here's a rundown on some guys that hoops fans will want to continue to keep an eye on.

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Jerryd Bayless - Most notable is the strength that the 6-2 scoring machine has added since this time last year. Already blessed with solid handles, incredible leaping ability, range and a fearless attitude, the added strength has enabled Bayless to take his game to another level. He’s a threat to go for 40 each time he takes the court and should be a lot of fun to watch at Arizona.

Derrick Favors - He’s just a baby, but the class of 2009 stud plays like a much older player. He’s got a beautiful spin move to either shoulder, runs the floor, has some touch in the lane and competes pretty hard for somebody so young. As he grows and adds weight he could develop into a total monster.

Cade Davis - While Blake Griffin was getting most of the props – and deservedly so – for his outstanding play in Houston, Davis isn’t shabby either. The 6-5 wing has a pretty jumper, passes well and has enough bounce to finish in traffic or on the break. He’s one of those guys that the upper level mid-majors will be looking to secure and he may get higher looks than that.

Patrick Patterson - A beast around the basket, don’t be fooled into thinking that Patterson is just another athlete who looks good in the run and gun AAU setting. The explosive 6-8 BF from West Virginia has a nice face up game from 15 feet and in and likes to shoot jump hooks off the glass and has an emerging weapon in his turnaround jumper on the baseline. He’s a total monster on the glass as well.

Gani Lawal - Paul Hewitt and the Georgia Tech faithful have to be tickled that Lawal is already locked up. He still lacks complete consistency, but the 6-8 forward is getting there. He’s a tremendous run and jump athlete who can shoot medium range jumpers, has a plethora of fakes and spins around the hoop and he gets on the glass. He’s gotten stronger over the last year and is shedding the “finesse” label.

Kodi Augustus - His AAU coach John Eurey of the Houston Superstars spent plenty of time campaigning on behalf of his 6-8 star, in reality he didn’t need to. At his size he’s an above average catch and shoot guy with athleticism, and quickness around the hoop. He’s got to upgrade his ball handling, but his decision to use a year at prep school next season to mature and tighten up his game looks like it is going to be a good one.

Trevor Mbakwe - Last summer Mbakwe’s stock took a pretty big hit when he didn’t perform up the level he’s capable of. There haven’t been many complaints so far this spring and his stock is definitely back on the rise. Most importantly the strong and explosive 6-7 forward has played aggressive and kept his motor running on both ends. He still struggles with foul trouble at times, but he’s a man in the paint who competes for rebounds and it won’t be a surprise if he smashes a backboard in the near future.

Lance Stephenson - Already anointed as the next big thing in New York City hoops, the 6-5 freshman from Lincoln High had his moments. He’s got a terrific body, handles the ball pretty well, can make some deep shots and he gets on the glass. Most impressive is how hard he plays on both ends of the court. The NYC hype can create quite a bit of pressure and it will be interesting to see just how hot it gets for the young star and how he responds.

Malcolm White - If you want to see a guy who smashes on people with astonishing frequency, go watch this super bouncy interior player. He’s 6-7, maybe 6-8, but uses his long arms and quickness off the floor to rack up dunk after dunk. Some have hailed him as the next Tyrus Thomas and while that might be going a little far, he’s certainly similar as an athlete.

Greg Monroe - Monroe emerged last summer as one of the potentially elite players in the class of 2008, and that status hasn’t changed. At almost 6-9, he runs the floor, has a nice skill package around the hoop and he can run the floor. He’s not a drop your jaw to the floor athlete, but he’s a big kid who understands how to use his body to his advantage and he makes excellent decisions. All that means he’s got a pretty bright future ahead of him.

Laron Dendy - Since making an early commitment to Clemson, it seems that people have forgotten about this 6-9 forward from South Carolina. Well, people should pay a little bit more attention because he’s filled out his frame, become much more aggressive and has greatly improved his skill level. He can make some jump hooks and short face up jumpers but the most noticeable improvement is he’s finishing with both hands and playing with a measure of consistency.

Darrington Hobson - If this one time Wyoming commitment ever gets his effort level and consistency to a point where they match his ability, look out. He’s an effortless and fluid athlete in the open court or off the dribble and can make jumpers with ease. He can just as easily go unnoticed for long stretches of time but when he’s on, he’s extremely good.

Brandon Jennings - At this point, the slender southpaw is the best PG in the class of 2008. Actually, it isn’t even close. He’s added some inches since last summer, is a complete wizard with the ball in his hands and when you least expect it he’ll come flying through the lane for an alley-oop jam. Chris Paul has proven to be a pretty good player, Jennings is on track to develop into a similar talent.

Scott Martin - With his performance at the Kingwood, the 6-8 lefty from Valparaiso (IN) High has assured that he’ll be recruited at a pretty high level. What isn’t there to like about his game. He shoots with range, puts the ball on the floor, passes, hits the glass and has good athleticism. His defense does need some work, but at this point he may be surpassing his more highly touted high school and summer teammate Robbie Hummel, and Hummel is terrific in his own right.

Donte Green - No matter what school you cheer for, this is a kid that you will want to watch. He plays extremely hard, gets on the glass and runs the floor for thunderous dunks. But, he’s more than just an athlete and has added a nice jumper, improved his handles and turned into one of the best passing big men in the country. Syracuse was very smart to secure a very early commitment from this Baltimore stud.

J’Covan Brown - While it is true that the 6-2 gunner from Beaumont needs to work on his composure a little, his game is exciting. He’s got unlimited range on his jumper, is crafty with the ball and backs down from nobody. He’s a potentially elite prospect from the Lone Star state in the class of 2008.


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