Orlando's Best (2007)

Summer hoops has officially begun to wind down but Phog.net leaves you with the names and performances to remember from the 2006  Orlando Super Showcase and AAU Nationals.

Orlando didn’t feature many of the players making headlines this summer. Names like Kyle Singler, Kevin Love, Eric Gordon, and Derrick Rose were nowhere to be found at Disney during the Super Showcase or AAU Nationals. But there were plenty of players who left a lasting impression on Phog.net’s Kristi Chartrand.

The Class of the Class of 2007

There are just too many games to get to see everyone play, but this list is based on the players I did get to evaluate.

O.J. Mayo – 6-4 – Point Guard – D-1 Greyhounds

There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the top point guard from the class of 2007. He’s smooth, quick, and a dead-eye shooter. When O.J. plays – people watch. It’s that simple. The senior-to-be filled the gym like no other during the Nationals. Mayo is a step above his challengers and he and his teammates formed the most talented team this tournament had to offer. But for most of the week the Greyhounds played just well enough to squeak out wins against lesser opponents. The championship game provided a much different scenario. The Greyhounds led a talented Boo Williams squad by just one at the half, and then turned on the afterburners. The Greyhounds led by nearly 20 with five minutes left and finished off BWSL, 73-49. O.J. put a cherry on top of his Orlando stint with 22 points and MVP honors. You’ll be hearing plenty more about this phenom in the future.

Bill Walker – 6-5 – Small Forward – D-1 Greyhounds

Though Walker failed to take the court in one game I attended, it didn’t take long to see how good this kid is. He’s a physical specimen and superior athlete. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen this kid dunk. If Mayo and Walker ever ended up at the same school – WOW! What a tremendous combo that would be. Mayo and Walker are so talented but what I love is how competitive they are. Neither of them seems to rest on sheer ability – they just love the challenge of competing. Walker finished the championship game with 28 points and several spectacular dunks.

Patrick Patterson – 6-8 – Power Forward – Boo Williams Summer League

Patterson captured the attention of plenty of coaches in attendance. He’s got the body and the game to be a big-time impact player at the college level. Patterson is passionate about his rebounding and in a day and age where everything seems to be a dunk or a three point shot, this 6-8 power forward has a mid-range game. I love his attitude and his ability to play within himself. I didn’t see him make many back-to-the-basket moves but he does so many other things well it certainly doesn’t hurt his prospects. On the defensive end, he showed solid shot-blocking ability and had several key blocks in the semifinals. Patterson capped off a solid tournament with 13 points against the D-1 Greyhounds. It will be interesting to see how his recruitment pans out. He’s going to make one program extremely happy but for now he still lists about nine schools vying for his services.

Nick Calathes – 6-6 – Shooting Guard – Nike Team Florida

I love to watch a talented kid who just knows how to play and that describes Calathes to a “t”. Billy Donovan’s cup runneth over! Wait until the talented 6-6 guard hits Gainesville because this kid has serious game. Calathes is a wizard with the rock in his hand and is an automatic double-double with scoring ability and pinpoint passing. His perimeter shot seems to be getting more accurate and when he gets hot, he REALLY gets hot. He’s unselfish yet ultra competitive – the type of player you love to have on your team. Calathes is a coach’s dream with an extremely high basketball IQ but he can really fill it up. One day we may be talking about him as an All-SEC selection. 

Mac Koshwal – 6-8 – Center – Chicago Jaguars

It was a tough call for this last spot. Koshwal is listed as a center but doesn’t necessarily play like one. He’s really got point forward skills and impressed me in the two games I saw. Other than Mayo and Walker, Koshwal produced the most wows from the stands here in Orlando. Koshwal is originally from Sudan and showed deft ball handling and passing ability when we saw him. This is a big man who rebounded the ball, went behind his back in traffic, and found the open man for a dunk in transition – that’s in one possession. He’s not your average 6-8 player and there’s a really good reason DePaul’s Jerry Wainwright is following his every move. Koshwal is also strong and does have an accurate jumper. He certainly filled the stat sheet in both games we saw registering points, rebounds, blocks, steals, and assists. Oh and by the way, in one game he tried to dunk over a player at least three different times. He’s fearless and active and I’m interested to see if his recruitment heats up.

Honorable Mention

Alex Tyus – 6-8 – Power Forward – D-1 Greyhounds – A solid athlete who will bolster Florida’s roster in 2007-2008. He’s a strong finisher and the beneficiary of some nice passes from O.J. Mayo. He possesses strength, skill, and some very long arms. He still manages to score in an AAU world where the interior is not always the first option. Clearly he understands if he runs the floor he will be rewarded.

James Anderson – 6-6 – Small Forward – Arkansas Wings - Many schools are eagerly anticipating a pared down list of schools from Anderson and that should happen in August. He’s a nice athlete and is a solid decision-maker in transition. He’s got a quick first step and is stronger than he appears. I was impressed with how many times he drove it, took the hit, and converted the hoop. He does a lot of things well, I just wish he’d do it more. His assertiveness and shooting are the only things I have questions about.

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