Super Showcase: Pool Wrap

Being inside an air-conditioned gym was a good option on Wednesday in steamy Orlando. Some of the games best coaches started to filter in from Las Vegas to Disney's Wide World of Sports for the 17U Super Showcase including KU head coach Bill Self.

The early portion of Wednesday featured the conclusion of Pool play at the 17U Super Showcase at Walt Disney World’s Milkhouse.

It was an active day for Phog.net as we attempted to get a look at all KU prospects in attendance. Unfortunately, most KU targets were playing at the same time and all in the Gold Division. Gym-hopping was a popular activity on this day. 

St. Louis Eagles vs. Georgia Stars

With the remainder of his staff in Las Vegas, KU head coach Bill Self handled the Orlando duties on Wednesday and made his first stop to see 6-6 wing Scott Suggs.

In fact, there were a cast of coaches in house for this one including Illinois, Florida, Virginia, and Wisconsin who were all represented.

It wasn’t exactly the best game for Phog.net to judge the talented shooting guard from Missouri. This game was about as boring as it gets thanks in part to the stall tactics of the Georgia Stars who held the ball on numerous occasions. Dean Smith would’ve been proud of this one, but most coaches and fans were shaking their heads. One assistant coach even blurted out, “I mean this is summer ball!”

It’s really bad when you have to use the halftime warmup session to see if a guy has a nice stroke on his jumper.

When they were actually playing basketball in this one, Suggs showed he does have potential. He’s got long arms and a pretty nice stroke and at 6-6 appears to be the perfect size for a versatile wing. However, it did seem to me that he’s a bit timid. Suggs appears to be a well-rounded, down-to-earth kid, but he certainly lacks aggression on the court. He never seemed to mix it up much in this one or have any notion of taking the ball strong to the hole. 

As for 7-0 John Brandenburg, another player on the Kansas radar from the class of 2008, he was also relatively ineffective when we were there. His hands could use some work and as a result he’s not a strong finisher. You can tell he’s been working on honing that jump hook. If he ever works on his hands and gets that move down he’ll be tough to contend with in the low block. He’s definitely a work in progress but has terrific size and athletic ability, and hey, you just can’t teach seven-feet.

As for the Georgia Stars, Al-Farouq Aminu is going to be a tremendous asset for Skip Prosser at Wake Forest. Also the highlight of this game went to Ralph Sampson, yes that’s right, son of THE Ralph Sampson. Sampson is 6-11 and one nasty follow up dunk in this Stars victory.

Howard Pulley Panthers – Black vs. South Carolina Ravens

We didn’t get to watch this game for long but wow were we impressed. Self watched the 2009 target for three quarters of this one and had to come away equally awed.

6-6 Rodney Williams (2009) is blessed with incredible skills and athletic ability. To go along with his size, handle, and sweet stroke, he also has impeccable court vision. He received a long pass in transition and smartly made a touch pass to a teammate for an easy layup. On another possession he received a pass at the top of the key and immediately fired a no look to the block for another easy layup.  

We only had to wait three minutes for our first highlight in this one from Rodney as he emphatically slammed home a rebound on the offensive end. The New Hope, Minnesota prospect is so quick off his feet he had already completed his dunk before most guys could even take off.

For a youngster, Williams is always in control and is definitely a player to keep an eye on. Expect KU to try and get more involved in Rodney’s recruitment.  

His Howard Pulley Panthers teammate Jordan Taylor was lauded for his play by many in attendance. The Wisconsin commit is a solid, fundamental player who will fit in well in Bo Ryan’s offensive scheme.

Louisiana Select (2008 Greg Monroe) vs. Albany City Rocks

This one was a complete mismatch. But it did provide a good look at the versatility of 6-9 power forward Greg Monroe. The lack of competition didn’t deter coaches from Kansas, Duke, LSU, Louisville, Florida, Georgetown, and Georgia Tech from taking a peek.

Look, if you’re a coach watching Greg Monroe, you’re way past the evaluation stage. You just want to make your presence known and hope it helps in the recruitment of this stud.

We saw the entire arsenal from Monroe in this one. It started with terrific post position on the first possession that ended in an easy shot from point blank range. Next possession was a routine dunk after a catch and gather inside. Monroe also showed his passing ability in the open floor as he found his teammate for an easy layup. For a guy that big, he’s got a slick handle and also made a wonderful pass in traffic for a dunk.

All of this in the first three minutes of the game and then Monroe steps out and shows that at 6-9, he also has range as he cans a three and runs back smiling. The Louisiana Select star scored 9 of his team’s first 22 points. Greg could take a rest in this one as he and his teammates cruised to a victory over the Albany City Rocks. Monroe finished with 17 points while 6-8 Storm Warren also dominated inside with 19 points.

Westchester Hawks vs. The Family

We only caught a snippet of this game and it was probably one 2009 center DaShonte Riley would like to forget. His Michigan-based AAU team was handled by a feisty Westchester Hawks team.

Riley has terrific size but had a hard time gathering and finishing in this one. He struggled inside against a physical Hawks team and finished with zero points and one foul.

We did enjoy watching Mookie Jones play. The Peekskill, New York forward put on a show in this one notching 16 points. Jones reminds me a bit of Shawn Marion with his build and the way he plays. His game certainly has the attention of a ton of Big East schools, and he sure did have people buzzing after this contest.

Another note for Kansas fans.

Athletes First won the 16U Super Showcase in Orlando on Tuesday by defeating the Birmingham Storm 74-66.

KU target Xavier Henry scored 21 points in the final game, 13 of them came in the 2nd quarter. Daniel Orton had 6 points and 4 fouls.

They beat a talented Birmingham team led by Demarcus Cousins (19 points, 5 fouls), and Shaunessy Smith (15 points, 5 fouls).

It was initially thought Athletes First would compete in the upcoming Nationals here in Orlando but that will not be the case.


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