2004 Player Checklist
A.J. Price, PG, Riverside: The transformation from shooting guard to point man is nearly complete. Now, the Amityville guard is looking to see just how far he can rise up our PG list and he's got some guy with bigger reps in his sights. We saw him play one game today and though he didn't have off-the-charts numbers, he controlled the game from start to finish.
Al Jefferson vs. Lamarcus Aldridge: Jefferson hit him up for 26 points. Aldridge countered with 13 and 8 but Big Al's team rolled them for the win. Jefferson's power on the blocks couldn't be matched and he either scored or got himself to the line. They each blocked the other's shot at some point, but scoring came easier for Al.
Maarty Leunen, PF, Oregon: Credit a guy for sticking with what he's good at and accepting who he is. Leunen is a guy who can rebound. He's not built for it and to a degree is defying the odds with his body in rebounding the way he does. However, each time out he's putting up rebounding numbers and that's his niche. For his efforts, he'll sign a high-major scholarship.
Artavious Fisher, SG-PG, Albany: Here's a guy who made a ridiculous number (60%?) of his 3s in high school. Tonight, he hit for 20 points and 17 in the second half as Albany defeated a loaded Indiana Red squad even without its star Dayshaun Wright who went down with an injury. This dude was tough as nails and his hot hand was the difference. He's a sub-six-footer who probably is a two guard now and will have to convert to point man at the mid-major level.
Jerome Habel, PF, DC Blue Devils: In the morning session he was good for 21 and 12 against the Alabama Lasers. He had a subpar Nike Camp by his standards but typically is left-handed rebounding and shot blocking fool. One mid-major coach who loves him actually muttered "damn it" to himself after a big time hoop from Habel.
Brian Johnson, PF, DC Blue Devils: We aren't writing about him because he had some terrific game. We're talking about him because of his approach. He was quite passive in our spring viewings of him. That's not the case now. The Blue Devils bring a lot of guys and playing time is limited, but Johnson is active, energetic and getting things done when he's in there.
Frank Holmes, PF, Memphis: The Houston Hoops lack an interior presence. This was good news for Holmes. He lit up the Hoops and went to work. In our mind, he was the key to the win. With no one inside to slow him down, Holmes wrecked the place.
Daniel Gibson, PG, Houston: It wasn't a very good morning for Gibson. He went 4-for-15 from the field and just 2-for-9 from downtown. He also had 5 first half turnovers. If the Hoops are going to get anything done in Augusta he's got to step up his play and take charge.
Richard Hendrix, PF, Alabama: What's not to like about him? He gets better every year and he plays so hard. The baseline spin move for a dunk was his best of the day. Hendrix isn't a quick leaper or a particularly explosive player, but he's skilled, has great size and a good physique and he understands how to play inside. Add in a mid-range jumper (which he's got) and he can play anywhere.
Greg Oden, C, Indiana Red: Without getting too far ahead of ourselves, there's a realistic possibility that this guy is the No. 1 selection in the 2006 NBA Draft. Yes, he's that good. In his first game of the day he had 28 points on 14-of-15 shooting. He had 12 boards, 2 assists and 2 blocks. In the nightcap, though his team lost, he was super again. It's hard to think of a better young big man prospect in the last five years.
Derrick Caracter, PF, Riverside: When a 6-9 rising sophomore drops two deep baseline jumpers, you have to take notice. When a kid his size already knows how to pass out of double teams and trusts himself to put the ball on the floor to evade trouble, he's special.