Orlando Showcase: Ron Ball

ORLANDO - Ron Ball, aka KSR's "Doc," makes his annual pilgrimmage to the Orlando Showcase. This year may be better than ever, and yesterday was a "great day" for games and players. Ron will be providing stories for Kentucky Sports Report from Orlando to get the latest on Kentucky recruiting targets.

Great day one in Orlando for the showcase. Lots of talent and several key players UK is interested in so we might as well get started. Game one today featured T.J. Warren. This kid certainly passes the look test. He is much stronger than I expected. His frame reminded me a lot of Trevor Lacey (for those who have seen Trevor--like the Darrells). I was a bit concerned with the defensive effort however he does move well on the offensive end of the floor. This morning he did not show much of an outside game despite that being listed as a strength. An area of improvement is clearly intensity, especially on the defense end. Still there is plenty of potential in this player.

Alex Poythress is a player I really enjoyed today. He rose dramatically on my "want" list and I have to put him as the number one SF recruit that is here in Orlando. His frame and mannerisms are very similar to D'Andre Liggins. He has that sleek but strong build and has the quickest first step to basket of any player here. He is a perfect fit for the dribble drive with an emphasis on the drive. He gets to the rim of a massive first step and showed off some nice spin moves. His second game today wasn't as strong with him only chipping in maybe a dozen points. I missed the early part of the game but believe he has some foul issue and that resulted in a less than stellar showing however that did not change my opinion one bit.

Teamed with Poythress was Tony Parker. I felt sorry for him in the second game as he couldn't buy a hoop. Had good looks, good shots but they just would not fall. One thing about Parker, he won't be pushed around. He is a big kid who is an interior player. He doesn't hang around the perimeter and want to be a 6'8' guard. Archie Goodwin started the week strong with a 23 point performance. I watched him plenty last year and came away impressed. He gave me no reason to change that opinion. Few players his size get to the rim as well as he does. He is another player that would fit the system well.

I was able to catch a couple games involving Robert Carter Jr. He is a powerful player who has a linebacker frame. Is very smooth around the rim and worked hard on the glass, but I'm hoping to see something more out of him tomorrow.

Mitch McGary stock has really been rising and for good reason. He exudes energy and passion. Using terms like hustle and intensity don't do him justice. Some other centers are more hyped but hype doesn't win you games. This player will. He shoots the gaps on defense and runs every play on both ends. Its not unusual to see him pull a defensive board or block a shot, throw an outlet and still be the first player down the floor on offense. He has the passion that we all saw in Josh last year. He is just fun to watch. I was poised to see Devonta Pollard but he received a blow to the face early in his game and saw no more action.

I was very impressed with Jarnell Stokes. I've seen him before but he seems a bit bigger. This is one player I like to see in blue but I think getting him out of Memphis will be tough. No inside info there, just a hunch.

In summary, the players I was most impressed with today and would love to see in Lexington are McGary, Stokes, Poythress and Goodwin. You want another #1 recruiting class, that would be it.

As for Juniors today, I caught games by Randle, Noel, and the Harrison twins. I'm not as sold on Nerlens as most. No doubt he is a defensive game changer but he seems to be bothered by contact when he is on the offensive end of the floor. Defensively he gets off the floor very quickly and has stellar timing but he really needs some bulk. Randle more than impressed me. He is another big body who plays a power game. He uses his bulk well. As for the Harrison twins, this pair will make some school happy. They have some developing to do but they make a nice tandem.

Tomorrow is an early morning for me. Going to try to catch some of Kobe Eubanks who is a 2014 kid that UK is likely following.

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