The fact of the matter is this, there’s so much talent in the state that one can seemingly walk into any gym at almost any time and catch plenty of prospects. It doesn’t hurt when you’re stopping by tournaments like the Whataburger just outside of Fort Worth and the Dallas ISD Coca-Cola Classic.
THURSDAY NOTABLES IN TEXAS
Willie Warren - Here’s a kid who is known for his ability to put up big numbers, and in a hurry. Thursday his jumper was broke and he couldn’t fix it in time to save him from a rough shooting outing (3-13 FG, 0-6 3 PT) in what was a subpar outing. Still, he flashed some nice things including his heads up dribbling and sharp passing off the move. His shot may have been off, but he’s exercising much better shot selection than a year ago and has a college ready 6-4 frame. According to Warren, Arkansas, Baylor, Cincinnati, Kansas and others are coming on strong.
Nolan Dennis - Only a sophomore, here’s a kid who is about to explode onto the regional and national recruiting scene. He’s 6-5, long, plays hard and has a terrific feel for the game. Also terrific is his lethal crossover from right to left and his willingness to pull up for sweet 15 footers that swish home softly. He’s a good athlete, has range on his shot and he’s about to blow up. While the Richland (TX) High standout needs strength, he’s barely old enough to drive and will fill out down the road.
Cliff Tucker - The conversation about high major wings left on the board in the class of 2007 is a pretty short one, but Tucker belongs in it. A 6-5 utility guy who does a little bit of everything for his El Paso (TX) Chapin team, he was impressive. He’s a reliable shooter off the dribble and flying into the lane for floaters but is only so-so spotting up from outside of 18 feet. He’s deserving of high major attention at this juncture.
Shawn Williams - Highly touted and armed with a sweet jumper that is true to at least 28 feet, the 6-6 sophomore is certainly one to watch. He hunts deep jumpers because well that’s what he does, but his feel for the game isn’t all that bad. A lot of guys with strokes as dangerous as his would turn into shot jackers but he’s not a no-conscience gunner. His ball handling and quickness -- especially laterally -- need improvement but he acquitted himself well and is surely one of the premier shooters in the class of 2009.
J’Mison Morgan - Just perhaps, the 6-10 junior may have gotten a little Captain in him. More talkative than in the past, he asserted himself in the post as a scorer and shot blocker during a fine 21 point, 13 rebound and four block effort. In fairness, the Dallas (TX) South Oak Cliff big man wasn’t exactly facing Shaq. Still, against overmatched opponents he dominated them. Particularly salty was a drop step from the left block to his right shoulder finished with a two handed jam in traffic. Consistency needs to become his friend, but he is a player worth keeping tabs on at the highest level of college basketball.
Quincy Acy - Here’s an intriguing young guy. Currently in the class of 2008, the 6-8 BF from Mesquite (TX) Horn was listed all summer as a 2009 guy. Wherever he ends up, don’t be surprised if he’s cracking national top 100 lists. An absolutely electric athlete with long arms, he just soars over defenders -- even those his size and bigger -- for towering jams in traffic. He runs the floor extremely well, plays hard and mixes in some shot blocking and rebounding for good measure. Urged on by a pretty sizeable and vocal contingent of supporters, he failed to disappoint.
MORE OBSERVATIONS FROM THURSDAY
It looks like Nebraska picked themselves up a nice player in 6-7 BF Alonzo Edwards from Houston (TX) Klein Forest. He’s quick to the iron, plays pretty hard and best of all he’s armed with a sweet looking jumper. He pulls the string regularly from 17 feet and the result is often crisp swishes. People talk about kids having a wet jumper, put Edwards in that category. …Find the Road Show a five foot PG to watch and we’ll be plenty entertained. Little fellas like Arlington (TX) Bowie’s junior Carlton Cannon are what make high school basketball fun. He isn’t a major college prospect and he’s way, way, way, way too generously listed at 5-6 on his team’s roster but he gets after it. … The Ellis-Davis Fieldhouse in South Dallas is really a remarkable venue and has to stand as one of the premier high school facilities in the country. The best part? It’s got a four sided videoboard hanging over center court and the people running the gym make excellent use of it. You get replays and lots of crowd shots. Mix in some of today’s hottest songs with the crowd shots and you get dancing, lots of it. Save for the time an entire gym hit the floor at halftime and busted out a cha-cha slide during a Kansas City (KS) Schlagle high school game a few years ago, the bleacher throwdowns were by far the best shakedowns we’ve seen at a high school game in a while. During these long days, the added entertainment was a nice energy boost. …Speaking of energy, Duncanville (TX) High sophomore big man Roger Franklin’s game is completely predicated on a high level of activity. Undersized at 6-5, and more likely only 6-4, the sophomore is a strong athlete and a high flyer in the paint who explodes out of the crowd for dunks and tough tips. He takes some jumpers, but nobody is going to bother defending him when he’s outside of 12 feet at this point. … Mid majors in need of an offensive minded PG should take a long look at Mesquite (TX) Horn’s James Graham. The sub six footer is a ridiculous leaper who is super quick off the dribble and streaky from deep. Bottom line, Graham puts points on the board in a hurry and is a tough customer. He plays like a slightly smaller version of UNLV guard Wink Adams. …
Colleges in attendance- Baylor, San Diego, Nebraska, UTEP, Jacksonville, Stephen F. Austin.
- Total teams seen- 130
- Total games watched- 77
- Total miles traveled- 7,609
Up next- Academy National Invitational, Houston, TX, today.