BALL: Orlando Showcase, Day 1, Part 1

KSR's Ronald "Doc" Ball is in Orlando and files this report: Today was the first day of my annual trek to Orlando to catch some high school AAU action. Typically I'm a bit slow to get started but this year is a bit different as I hit the ground running. My initial thoughts based on the team list from the event, I thought the talent would be down. I'm glad I was wrong.

Today was the first day of my annual trek to Orlando to catch some high school AAU action. Typically I'm a bit slow to get started but this year is a bit different as I hit the ground running. My initial thoughts based on the team list from the event, I thought the talent would be down. I'm glad I was wrong.

The Calipari era and his recruiting method have forced me to retool how I go about about watching these events. In the past I felt I had to figure out who might enter UK's radar. That is no longer a concern which makes the task at hand much easier for me. Now I've gone a bit more towards looking at some younger players, the class of 2014 and beyond. But lets start with the known targets of 2013.

Julius Randle is physically a beast. He is a man among boys and I've not seen any player in the class that can match him in pure strength. He does tend to drift out of the paint and drive to the basket rather than use his strength to post up. He does possess a very nice fade away with a good touch out to about 15 feet. In his game tonight he was not challenged so did not put up big number and he came out early due to what appeared to be an elbow injury. I will try to catch more of him tomorrow but he is a player I have seen several times over the last 12 months.

Aaron Harrison is another player I watched several times last year and then again this year. I'm sure many watched his game on ESPN but here is my opinion. Last year he was very good, this year he is better. I absolutely love his cross over which is by far the best I've seen for a SG in any class. His skill range allows him to play the point as well. Of course with his twin brother Andrew manning that, there isn't any need. But having this tandem is a dream back court. Aaron is a slightly better shooter in my opinion but he also has more opportunity. There is a limit to his range and that is mid court, but once he crosses it then its likely to go in. He is well put together as far as frame goes.

Andrew Harrison, most have him ranked ahead of his brother. Not sure why. To me they are equally dominant and are really interchangeable. Andrew has more the PG mentality and looks for the assist more than his brother but that is what a PG should do. He can certainly get off the floor well and always is looking down the court. I think one advantage Andrew has is his defensive intensity. He really gets after the ball, hawks his man and isn't afraid to go to the floor. I can not over emphasis the importance of this pair.

Troy Williams is a player I like quite a bit. He was a very hot name and then fell off a bit. I'd still love to have him. He brings great length and an aggressive attitude toward the rim. He did display a bit more range than I had seen in the past. He is one of the better athletes in the class. He does not yet have PF size or SF range. He isn't a slim or skinny kid, just not big and bulky. His strength is that lean strength and he is crafty at getting to the rim rather than taking a bull rush approach. I do expect him to bulk up a bit just like every other kid does when they get to college hence see him more along the PF role on the college level.

Some others in the class that are not UK targets that caught my eye were Damien Jones and Matt Jones. These two teammates of Randle are very good players, In fact Damien outplayed Randle in tonight's game, or at least in my opinion. He isn't the physical presence of Julius but seemed to play more to his strengths by working hard around the rim. As for the Duke commit (Matt Jones), from what I've seen he is possibly the best shooter in the class. He is an outstanding spot up shooter.

Derrick Griffin who has committed to TX A&M had a huge game for Houston Defenders. He is a high flier with a special level of explosiveness that is fun to watch. In many ways he stole the show tonight with his ability to get off the floor. He clearly loves to throw it down and he had plenty of opportunities tonight.

Anthony Barber is a PG that many UL fans are hoping signs with them. He has great quickness but had some trouble handling the physical nature of a bigger guard (Andrew Harrison). He is a bit slight of frame but has a good handle for the game.

This concludes part 1 of Ronald "Doc" Ball's Day one in Orlando. Part 2 will focus on younger talent, those stars of day-after-tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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