Super Showcase Day 4 Wrap Up

Friday the list of big name coaches in Orlando grew and so did the number of players on the court who will make an impact at the big-time level. It was a busy day for KU assistant Joe Dooley who took in a lot of the action.

Super Showcase 17U's drew attention and started drawing some of the glances of the big name schools arriving from Vegas. Guessing the Vegas to Orlando red-eyes have been full for the last couple of days. Here's a report on some of the players KU watched on Friday.

Rakeem Christmas – 6-8 Center - Team Final – 2011
I would just hate to be a big man in what is the guard-oriented game of AAU basketball. It is tough to gauge a guy when he doesn't get a ton of touches. I was for sure impressed with Christmas shot blocking ability and the ability to rebound out of his zone. His long arms allow him to do both of those things efficiently - would love to know the measurement on that wingspan of his. He's not super strong or a power player by any stretch but he appears to have great body control and finesse. He does happen to be the attention of collapsing zone defenses and he does seem to have a good presence in the post. He attempted a couple of turnaround jumpers and turned over the correct shoulder every time away from the D. I did notice he free throw attempts and jumpers in general were a tad flat but he appears to have a good stroke. He doesn't seem quite as sure-handed grabbing rebounds and going up in traffic, but with his length if that starts happening you can really look out. Kansas assistant Joe Dooley took in some of the early action on Friday.

Mike Gilchrist – 6-6 Forward – Team Final – 2011
Gilchrist continues to draw attention from major programs across the country and it is easy to see why. The kid is impressive in effort and skill and does it all out on the floor. His shot is bit awkward and takes some time to get off but he can hurt you from three or he can go inside and mix it up with the big boys. He is tough and can take the hit and still convert. An excellent defensive player who has a nose for the ball and seems to be in the right place at the right time. Certainly he is a competitor and not afraid of a challenge or to challenge anyone who comes down the lane. Could his stock soar higher? It is possible. Duke, Kentucky, KU, IU, Texas, Nova, and Oklahoma State among those watching the games of Team Final on Friday. Team Final survived a couple of close calls on Friday but won both pool games surviving deadly three-point shooting in both.

Adreian Payne – 6-10 Center – All Ohio Red – 2010
KU assistant Joe Dooley stopped by to pay Payne and the talented Ohio Red a visit and at the same time got to see Marcus Paige compete for Martin Bros. The Iowa-based AAU team was way overmatched in the night session Friday and Jared Sullinger and Payne controlled the game. Different year, same All Ohio Red – so talented at every position there really isn't a weak spot. On the same court they won the title last year, they blitzed Martin Bros. Payne began the game with two flushes and connected on a nice high-low pass to Sullinger in this one. He's still thin but out of this world athleticism.

I could spend time talking about Jared Sullinger but honestly, no disrespect to any of the other teams but he is still a man among boys. His legs are thick and his 240-lb frame manages to be strong yet graceful at the same time. He can go up in traffic for the tough putback, he can step out and make the foul line J (especially against a 2-3 zone), or he can glide to the rim, hang, and kiss it off glass. He is an outstanding player.

Marcus Paige and Adam Woodbury – Martin Bros. (2012)
Both played in this one but sparingly. Paige had a real nice baseline drive that he converted and you can see that with the older kids right now he defers and doesn't take control as much. That will come. For Woodbury he scored a couple of hoops inside on the more athletic Ohio Red frontline, mainly because he got that shot off so quickly. He had to in this one or it would've been sent back in the opposite direction. Woodbury was not afraid to mix it up with Payne. The two were locked up in a bit of a physical shoving match at times on the interior.

Brad Beal – 6-3 Shooting Guard – St. Louis Eagles 16's (2011)
You can always tell the bigger names when they come to Orlando. They are the ones who have the ability to fill the offsite gymnasiums. Beal is playing for the 16 year old St. Louis Eagles, but in the silver pool of the 17U Showcase. Coaches from Duke, Illinois, St. Louis, and Missouri watched the early game. KU assistant Joe Dooley attended the night game which was also off site.

You can see the maturation in Beal and how he has grown into a big time player. He's worth every bit of his lofty ranking and just has coaches salivating over his ability to make an impact from the wing. He can handle it and drive it with both hands, and he has three-point range. Would like to see that shot go in with a bit more consistently but it will. Doesn't seem to me he has to take many shots to get his points. He scored 16 in this one rather easily. His drives to the lane and ability to get off the mid range attempt over just about anybody makes him even better. Beal can also find the open man and has great court vision. On the defensive end his long arms give him plenty of shot block attempts and he also gets his hands on the ball during a lot of drives down the lane.

Doron Lamb – 6-4 Shooting Guard – New York Gauchos (2010)
Another player I've seen mature over the last couple of years. Honestly, at first I thought he was good but was never wowed by him. He is absolutely a player. He's got NYC toughness and reminds me a bit of Kemba Walker of Connecticut though I don't know that he has the afterburners that Kemba does. Lamb's Gauchos struggled early in the night game but turned it on in the second half thanks to Lamb's three-point shooting and playmaking. Love the ball in his hands in transition because you know he's going to find the open man. He's big enough to get rebounds and go. He moves the ball crisply and understands how to beat a zone. He can control a game without putting up a ton of points  but he can also get it going and score in bunches. He can use a midrange game to hurt you or he can drive and hang with the best of them. You have to respect his three-point shooting ability and there's no one who's going to take it from him when he's handling the basketball.

NOTES:
- KU head coach Bill Self arrives in Orlando Saturday morning and will likely be spending a few days here checking out these teams as they all advance further in the tournament.

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