ORLANDO OR BUST
I’ll make the usual phone calls to fill in the blanks but I won’t get out there and experience a large dose of summer hoops in person for another couple of weeks. I’m grounded here in Orlando patiently waiting for some action on the hardwood. On July 21st, I’ll start to get my summer fix when the AAU Supershowcase(s) and Boys Nationals will be held in Mickey Mouse territory; and to be honest -- I can’t wait.
The 2005 version of the Supershowcase was not highly regarded – quite frankly, it was seen as a very down year for the event and many major schools opted not to make the trip to Disney.
There were plenty of reasons to plant myself in a courtside seat at the Milkhouse for two weeks last summer.
Michael Jordan’s son Jeffrey, who played for the 16U Illinois team, nearly helped his squad pull off a mammoth upset of a loaded Boo Williams (BWSL) team. Nothing fills a gym quicker than having the game’s greatest player and his offspring in the same gymnasium. Rumors circulated involving Vernon Macklin’s recruitment. I marveled at the incredible ability of 6-9 2007 recruit Donte Greene. It was an impressive performance by Jon Scheyer as he led his Illinois Warriors to a title. That kid’s a winner. Herb Pope of the Pittsburgh Jots really began to assert himself while Brandan Wright showcased his smooth game. I found out Nick Calathes (Florida commit) can really light it up, and watched UCONN women’s coach Geno Auriemma coach his son’s AAU team from Connecticut.
Those were just some of the storylines which were more than enough reason for me to attend last summer and to make a return appearance this year.
It’s time for me to an express an opinion on the age restriction rule which prevents most high school seniors from jumping straight to the pro ranks.
The class of 2007 is one talented bunch which is the exact reason I’m waiting for someone to become the first to skip college and prep for the NBA overseas or via the NBDL. Since the rule was announced in my mind it was inevitable. Players just need some time to figure out how it’s going to work. Once one player figures out the blueprint for skipping school, the floodgates will open.
The rule seemed to serve its purpose initially as 2006 studs Brandan Wright, Darrell Arthur, and Greg Oden, to name a few, will all head to college for at least one year. They will be better-prepared for the NBA in the end, but it won’t be enough to stop EVERY talented prep from skipping time on the college hardwood.
I have to say I don’t understand it. If you’re talented enough to play in the NBA right now, why “hide” amidst the obscurity of the NBDL? Who would choose to play for minimal cash, in front of less than a 100 people instead of showcasing their ability in front of a national television audience for a marquee college program?
The international game doesn’t seem like a better alternative to me either. Do we really want to send 17-18 year olds to a foreign country to try to make ends meet playing hoops? My guess is it’s not what anyone had in mind with this new rule but it’s going to happen. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe every highly touted prospect will be making a mass exodus, but a few are going to give it a try.
Rumors have circulated about Chicago area star Derrick Rose who doesn’t seem to like the idea of being recruited in the first place. Will he be the first? His brother Reggie indicated Derrick could sign a shoe deal and prep for the NBA for a year overseas. The Rose camp says the comments were misconstrued. That remains to be seen. I hope someone convinces him this isn’t the path to take.
6-11 Cole Aldrich seems to be a Kansas target in a different way lately. The Minnesota big man, who’s already Kansas bound, has taken some criticism recently. It’s tough to be a dominating force at these camps as a big man in a guard’s world. Trust me, getting the ball inside is not exactly top priority. If you haven’t been to any of these camps, half court sets and interior play are not exactly the norm.
That could start another opinionated column, so I’ll stop there. Back to Cole.
Aldrich is still recovering from a foot injury but his frame continues to develop and so do his skills. KU fans shouldn’t worry about Cole, he’s a hard-worker with a solid head on his shoulders and as long as he stays healthy, he’ll be productive. Be patient folks.
This should be a really interesting year in Kansas recruiting. Bill Self is like the compulsive shopper out of money – but he can still window shop! Of course I’m referring to the fact that the Jayhawks are out of scholarships but because of the possibility of massive departures the KU staff still has a lot of work to do this summer.
Here are some notes on the recent performances of some KU prospects.
Unfortunately, Kansas fans won’t be able to keep track of Kyle Singler much more this summer. The 6-8 small forward told Scout.com that the Peach Jam would be his last event this summer. KU coach Bill Self has spent a lot of time in the stands watching the #4 ranked player in the class of 2007. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Singler’s game he’s extremely smart and he can stroke it from deep at 6-8. There’s a lot to like and he will visit Lawrence.
Point guard Derrick Rose is sometimes called passive, but really he’s incredibly unselfish. He’s a player who likes to pick and choose his spots. He came up big with an eye-opening performance Saturday in the Peach Jam semifinal posting 24 points and seven assists. If you’ve been following Rose, you know his backcourt mate in Augusta has been Eric Gordon, the 6-2 guard is listed as the top shooting guard in the class of 2007. According to those who attended, it’s been quite a fun duo to watch.