Held in historic Hinkle Fieldhouse on the campus of Butler University, the Challenge of Champions has emerged as one of the Road Show’s favorite winter stops.
Among the talent on display were a handful of high major signees and a sophomore considered by some to be the top prospect in the class of 2010.
CHALLENGE OF CHAMPIONS NOTABLES
Stephan Van Treese - Now that he’s a junior, it’s time for Van Treese to step up and show a little more and that’s exactly what he did. Playing more physically in the post than you’d expect given his relatively slender 6-8 body, Van Treese dominated action on both ends of the floor. He dunked, made short jumpers, and showed incredible patience for a young big guy in an impressive 22 point and 17 rebound outing. According to Van Treese Kansas is among the 13 schools that he’s currently considering.
DeShaun Thomas - Understandably, a sophomore in high school is going to be up and down from day to day. But, when you are considered by many to be the premier prospect in your class nationally like Thomas is, you are going to get judged by a different standard. Best described as a soft verbal to Ohio State, the 6-7 (and maybe only 6-6) lefty certainly has a nice frame and a set of long arms. He rebounds well, can play physical and is certainly talented. However, he’s listed as a guard and he’s not ready to play on the perimeter full time because of deficient ball handling and so-so jump shooting. Thanks to several meaningless hoops after the game had already been decided Thomas finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds in a blowout loss.
Dominique Ferguson - DeShaun Thomas may put up better numbers, but the 6-9 Ferguson just may be the best class of 2010 prospect -- especially if you are looking long term -- in the state of Indiana. A long and smooth athlete with a 7-5 wingspan, the lefty is blessed with superior ball skills facing the hoop where he’s comfortable handling the ball, shooting to 17 feet and feeding teammates from the high post. The only thing holding him back right now is consistency and a lack of strength but his body has started to fill out and the consistency probably isn’t very far behind.
Angel Garcia - With his future head coach John Calipari sitting courtside, the 6-10 Memphis commitment didn’t have the best of outings. His team took an L to a team playing without their best player and Garcia looked thoroughly disinterested for stretches. He does move well for a big guy, but at times he’s entirely too interested in roaming the perimeter instead of using his size and skill in the low post. He ended up with 11 points and eight rebounds.
MORE NOTES FROM INDY
Another sophomore to watch out of the state of Indiana is Jordan Manuel a long and bouncy 6-6 forward at Indianapolis (IN) T.C. Howe. Armed with a pretty looking jumper and good range, Manuel was a few rimmed out shots away from a big afternoon. While the jumper didn’t fall, he went to work on the glass where he racked up 13 rebounds. … Picking up the scoring slack for Howe was IUPUI signee Larry Stone. The 5-8 PG isn’t big in size, but he’s got the heart of a lion, superior quickness and a nasty little floater. …Most high school teams are lucky to have one 6-7 player and they are ecstatic if they have two. Then there’s Indianapolis (IN) Lawrence North. The alma mater of Greg Oden features a mind boggling nine players listed at 6-7 or taller on their roster. Even more incredible is that all but one will be back next season. … Making a nice first impression was Lafayette (IN) Jeff sophomore Jesse Berry. The 6-1 combo guard is quick, knows how to score off the dribble and has a pretty jumper with range to the three point line. … Best wishes to Walter Offutt as he looks to recover from his second torn ACL. The 6-3 senior guard and top 100 prospect recently signed with Ohio State and will miss his entire senior season. … It’s always interesting to watch college coaches in action at an event. Some work coaches, some lurk outside of locker rooms looking to get a “bump” or face time with a recruit and then there are some who pop open their laptop and spend a good portion of the afternoon watching college games on ESPN 360. ...
- Total teams seen- 66.
- Total games watched- 40.
- Total miles traveled- 5,458.
Up Next- Tournament of Champions, Huntington Beach, CA, on Monday.