TOP PERFORMERS ON SATURDAY
Cole Aldrich - During his first game of the day, the 6-10 center was limited by first half foul trouble but made an impact in the second half as his Minnesota Magic Elite team fell just short of a comeback against the Houston Jr. Hardballers. After scoring just three points in the first half, Aldrich came to life in the second scoring 14 points, grabbing eight boards and blocking three shots. He had a few dunks around the hoop, a couple of tips and also scored on particularly sweet move where he backed his man down, gave a shoulder fake to his left and then spun right for an eight foot jumper that swished home.
Shortly before his second game Aldrich looked at the crowded gym and smiled in satisfaction at the awesome crowd. Among the assembled crowd were current Jayhawks C.J. Giles, Moulaye Niang, Rodrick Stewart, Russell Robinson, Darnell Jackson and Jeff Hawkins and they all saw Aldrich open up with a hanging one handed throwdown on a break. In fact, Aldrich treated the crowd to several jams during an 18 point, 10 board and four block effort.
Earlier this week Aldrich said that he is more advanced defensively than on the offensive end and that is evident. He is a patient shot blocker who doesnt bite for fakes and is surprisingly quick off his feet given his size. He runs the court well and has a soft set of hands and is very effective at tipping the ball to himself when he cant secure a rebound on the first touch. Offensively he is still somewhat heavy footed on post moves and needs a second to gather himself after catching the ball and before he can go into his post move. Hes got excellent touch from the free throw line and also hit a few short jumpers. His jump hook is a developing weapon that should serve him well down the road.
Davon Jefferson - Picking up right where he left off the night before, the 6-8 wing started off Saturday with a 39 point explosion against the Kansas City Keys. He scored in transition, in the half court and inside the lane. As usual many of his buckets came on towering jams and he even tossed in a 360 in traffic. However, it is important to note that he showed a significantly improved handle and that he is becoming a very dangerous pull-up jump shooter. Expect his stock to soar during a prep year that will more than likely be spent at South Kent (CT) Prep. Coincidentally, South Kent has produced straight to the league guys Dorrell Wright and Andray Blatche over the last two years. At this point in his development, Jefferson isnt that far behind Wright and oozes potential. Jefferson completed his afternoon by teaming up with 2007 stud Tyrone Shelley to shatter a backboard.
Tyrone Shelley - Sticking with the H-Squad, this 6-6 WF got his on Saturday as well. Like Jefferson he attacks the rim at every opportunity but is a more accomplished ball handler and has a better frame. His jump shot comes and goes but the kids toughness cant be questioned. He finished up Friday night with a left wrist covered in ice and finished up Saturday covered in blood after getting sprayed with backboard shards. As he becomes more consistent from between 15-20 feet the sky is the limit for this talented underclassman.
Brady Morningstar - The 6-3 PG/WG is heading to prep school in hopes of bolstering his recruiting and maturing physically and there is little doubt that it will do him good. However, the kid is already a player and put on a clinic Saturday afternoon. Hes got a pull-up jumper that he can deliver off of slick crossovers or hard two dribble drives that is money in the bank, passes extremely well and is an exciting open court finisher. Morningstar is a basketball players basketball player and delights in making others around him better which makes him a lot of fun to watch in the process. Theres a very good chance he ends up at a high major program before it is all said and done.
Isacc Miles - Against Team Ft. Worth, the 6-2 combo guard had his jump shot rolling from deep as he nailed six threes en route to 28 points. Hes been hard at work in the weight room and has also shed a few extra pounds. As a result, Miles has improved his quickness and overall athleticism making him a much more dangerous player. He seems to enjoy the fact that he is surrounded by athletes that can finish on the KC Rocktown team and smiles more than any kid out there.
OTHER NOTES FROM SATURDAY
George Goode had another big game on Saturday afternoon. Complementing Isacc Miles, the 6-8 WF/BF scored 20 points on an assortment of deep threes and soaring jams. He also pulled up for a couple of tasty finishes off the glass from the 15 foot range. Once he adds some strength he could be a monster .Speaking of potential monsters, 6-4 WG Travis Releford did everything in his power to prevent the KC Pump N Run 16U team from falling to a squad from Nebraska. The freshman from KC (MO) Central buried a few threes, thundered home some dunks on the break and slithered to the rim at will during a nice outing. His jumper was a little off but he made up for it by setting up teammates for some very easy looks .
Another standout for the H-Squad is Los Angeles (CA) Fremont senior guard Danny Williams. The 6-3 WG didnt get in until late Friday evening but made his presence felt on Saturday. He stroked several deep threes, hammered home a few jams and dropped no fewer than three defenders to the floor with his quick crossover . Ryan Harp a 6-4 WG from the class of 2007 had a big day for the Texas Top Prospects. A smooth southpaw with a deadly stroke from deep, Harp looks like a surefire high major recruit on the wing .Cole Aldrich gets all of the headlines, but a very big factor in the success of the Minnesota Magic Elite is the play of quick PG Albert Nolan, Jr. The 6-0 PG from Minneapolis (MN) Patrick Henry is extremely confident for a sophomore and doesnt make very many mistakes with the ball. His development should be fun to watch.