Sunday at the AAU Nationals

The AAU Nationals continued at Disney with bracket play underway. Though most of KU's targets were bounced from the tournament on Saturday, Phog.net took the opportunity to check out some of the day's best third round action.

New York Gauchos 62 Cincinnati Royals (Black) 66

I said earlier in the week I wanted another look at the 6-1 New York Gauchos point guard Jordan Theodore and the opportunity came on Sunday. The 2008 prospect has the flash, flair, and toughness of a New York area product but also the poise and control – that’s not always a natural combination at such a young age.

The best part about the 6-0 Jersey product in this game was that his team played better with Jordan on the floor. When the Gauchos needed a spark Jordan provided it. I was finally able to see Theodore’s jumper for myself. I watched him shoot threes at the half and saw he looked very comfortable stroking it from that distance. During the second half Jordan calmly sank two big threes for his team. On one possession, he hit the spot up three and then drew a charge on the ensuing inbounds play.

Though the jump shot is pretty, what Jordan does this best is change speeds. He’s lightning quick off the dribble and has a mean crossover. I’ve noticed that most teams play zone against the quicker, more athletic Gauchos and that was again the case today against Cincy. Theodore likes to attack the baseline of a zone and looks to either reverse it or dish off. Though he failed to convert on a couple of those drives on Sunday, he showed some hops by getting the rebound and putting it back for two. Theodore is a very good rebounder for his size and is extremely quick off his feet. He’s a hard-nosed kid who just wants the ball. Along with plenty of other Big East schools, St. John’s is giving this guard a hard look right now.

Kaihrique Irick is a 2008 prospect who’s currently being evaluated by several Big East schools. Though he’s a bit on the thin side at the moment, he’s got venus fly traps for hands and a nice jumper. Irick looks like he’s about 6-8 and has super long arms. Kemba Walker is a 2008 point guard prospect out of Rice High School, cut from the Russell Robinson mode – he’s super tough. You can always tell without looking at a roster which kids come from Rice.

For the opposing Cincinnati Royals, guard Joe Jakobowski can really play. He’s probably going to be a player at the mid-major level but he’s got a solid game and an extremely high basketball IQ.

D1-Greyhounds 85 Old Gold 77

The highly-touted Bill Walker did not play in this one due to a shoulder injury but his teammate O.J. Mayo did not disappoint. This was my first chance to watch O.J. Mayo play a full game and it was easy to identify why he’s the “class” of the class of 2007.

The Chicago-based AAU team Old Gold proved to be pretty pesky in this one but every time they got close Mayo provided the stiff arm. O.J. netted 12 first half points and 13 in the second half for a grand total of 25. You love to watch a player who looks so comfortable in his own skin and that’s Mayo. He’s super smooth and the game seems to come so easily to him. I love the way he competes and runs the show and I find it hard to believe there’s a better player out there in the class of 2007. He has a long future playing hoops at the highest levels.

As most of you who follow recruiting know, O.J. is two years older than most of these guys and it really shows. He looks like a man among boys but give Old Gold credit – they never backed down in this one.

Recent Florida commit Alex Tyus is an extremely talented kid who’s big, incredibly athletic, and a solid finisher in transition. Tyus finished with 22 points and was clearly Mayo’s favorite target in this one. O.J. had a field day finding the big man for easy hoops and probably had at least a handful of assists just to Tyus. Florida fans are going to love this kid and how he plays above the rim.

I don’t know who’s recruiting William Buford but this 2008 prospect has to be drawing some serious attention, he had 16 impressive points in this one.

The crowd for this one looked like a who’s who of coaches – Thad Matta, Tom Izzo, Tubby Smith, Roy Williams, Billy Donovan, and Tim Floyd all watched.

The highlight reel was pretty long for this one but one play stood out above the rest. Late in the game, Mayo split a trap in the backcourt and drove it the length of the court, switched hands in midair and converted one really pretty reverse layup.

Boo Williams Summer League 81 Charlotte Royals 68

Don’t let the final score fool you this was a hard-fought matchup. The Charlotte Royals are a good basketball team, but Boo Williams just had too much firepower in this one. A 17-point halftime deficit was just too much for the Royals to overcome. BWSL just had too many answers in this game.

If you’re team is in the running for Patrick Patterson’s services you’re really rooting to hear your school’s name called. The ’07 forward just does so many things so well. At 6-8 he rebounds in traffic and hits mid-range jumpers with pinpoint accuracy. Did I also mention he’s a terrific shot blocker on the defensive end? Love his game. Patterson had 13 points in this one but the box score will never tell you how much of an impact he has on the game.

Patterson is not the only talent on this team. As usual, Boo Williams’ roster is stacked with prospects. Edward Davis (17 points), a 6-8 forward, is long and packed with potential. Like most 2008 kids, he needs to get stronger but his stock is on the rise.

I remember watching Ben Finney (9 points) play last summer and this kid has really improved every facet of his game. He took the ball strong to the goal and featured pinpoint passing. Finney has turned into a solid guard. Kenny Belton (6-8) is finishes well around the rim and has excellent vision. For Chris Wright there have been steals, three point shots, and deft passing but there have also been airballs and turnovers. It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster at times this week, but there are still plenty of reasons Big East and ACC schools continue to watch his play. Oklahoma commit Chris Early also had 13 points.

For the Royals, 2007 recruit George Valentine (13 points) is probably not quite a top tier Division I player but this kid has one pretty stroke. J.T. Thompson managed 15 points and really has great spring in his jump but he had a hard time guarding the bigger BWSL players in this one. Dorenzo Hudson finished with 17 points in this one and continued his strong play and solid outside shooting.

NOTES:

- Jon Leuer’s Minnesota Magic Elite, James Anderson’s Arkansas Wings, and L.A. Pomlee’s Martin Brothers Select teams were all bounced from bracket play on Saturday. All three players were watched by head coach Bill Self earlier in the week.    

- Word is that KU is down to five they are still actively recruiting from the class of 2007.


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