KSR Recruiting Exclusive: ORLANDO Nationals

ORLANDO -The days activities showed promise for UK fans as the staff was present and visible in a manner unlike previous years, something I found encouraging. Coaches Calipari and Payne made the most of their presence, watching Trevor Lacy, Johnny O'Bryant, DeJuan Coleman and Andre Drummond.

The days activities showed promise for UK fans as the staff was present and visible in a manner unlike previous years, something I found encouraging. Coaches Calipari and Payne made the most of their presence, taking in several games this morning and afternoon but I did not seem them this evening. In the past that would have been a concern to me for fear they were out drinking or looking for some "strange" but I suspect with these two the break was likely used to formulate a plan of attack for Thursday.

Both were present for games involving Trevor Lacy, Johnny O'Bryant, DeJuan Coleman and Andre Drummond. They did not seem to waste their time or efforts elsewhere. Its obvious this staff uses a player focused approach rather then a "carpet bomb" approach that relies on you being seen everywhere all the time. It's a comforting feeling to see such focus and it's a feeling I've not enjoyed for many years.

We have a good cross section of players today so lets get started. I believe the staff is focused on getting a shooter and at least one big added to the 2011 class. I feel the shooter will be either Trevor Lacy or Austin Rivers, but I think Austin is going to be tough. Still, never count out John Calipari.

Austin was here for the Showcase but is not playing in the AAU Nationals. For those unaware, Lacy and Rivers played for the same AAU team. Rivers departure has thrown more responsibility onto Trevor and he has responded well. For those who have not seen him, he is a well put together player and a very good rebounder for his size. He has a very good handle and excellent range although I think the grind is catching up with him. He is strong and possesses a Jodie Meeks build but with a better handle. Off the court, the kid is a definite keeper. Many times when we see a kid who has attitude type issues it's a problem but little is made when the opposite occurs. Rest assured, you won't find a more respectful person. I really like this kid for many reasons.

As for a big player in the class, the only one here that UK seems to be showing interest in is Johnny O'Bryant. Last year I watched him quite a bit and noted his footwork and quickness along the baseline as strengths. That has not changed. He has bulked up a bit and is quite impressive build wise. He does not guard the perimeter well but at the college level that should not be an issue. I'm not sure if there are any other bigs in the 2011 class that are in Orlando that we are looking at as Miller and Davis are not here. My gut says UK wants two of these three. Personally I'm fine with any combination.

Unlike past years, UK is publicly active with several rising Juniors. Based on the staff being present, I suspect our targets for 2012 will start with DeJuan Coleman and Andre Drummond. These 2 along with Isiah Austin really compose the upper echelon of a loaded big man class coming down the pipe. Coleman is a big body, built much like Daniel Orton or UCLA incoming freshman Josh Smith. He carries the weight well, I guess 300 lbs. That weight could be an issue if he doesn't keep an eye on it. He does move much better than some of the real big bodies and his hands seem inconsistent.

Coleman is a traditional center who plays exclusively down in the blocks. He doesn't range, he doesn't lead the break and he doesn't jack it up for long range. The other thing he does not do is get pushed out of the lane. I've sometimes argued the DDM system does not need this type of post play. I still hold that opinion however I have no doubt Cal can modify it to make it work because DeJuan seeps talent.

Concerning Andre Drummond, I was most impressed with him. The cats are not currently listed by rivals as involved but that should change soon enough. He is long but not lean and is very quick off the floor. A perfect analogy would be a slimmer D. Cousins or a Greg Monroe. He has the same arm length and to be honest, he looked like a man among boys. He does not play at the rim, he plays above it. He gets off the floor very quickly, so much so that anything around the rim is his. His game seemed effortless in a good way. He was just that smooth.

Drummond did not shoot any from the perimeter but then like Coleman, he knows where he should be and plays there. The only negative I could find, and that took some looking, was his stamina. He seemed a bit short and tired easily but its late summer and it's a common thing. Having him along side Coleman in 2012 would be Patterson/Cousin redux situation. That might be a pipe dream but then again when you have Calipari anything is possible.

I did watch some really good players that I don't see UK being involved with but that's the fun of this event to me. Vince Van Nes is a 7 footer who I really liked. He backed up Drummond and it wasn't a step down. Ole Miss got a kid who I suspect is going to be somebody we don't like. Ladarius White is a 2012 player verballed to the Rebs with outstanding range. Also the Duke commit Tyler Adams is teamed with White and O'Bryant. I watched him quite a bit last year and like him but am surprised that Duke is his destination. I did not picture him that high a prospect.

I was hoping to catch some LJ Rose but he isn't here. Instead I saw J-Mycheal Reese. He isn't big, he isn't strong but he can and does score. IMO he is one of the better shooters in the class. Scout has him a top 50 player and I'd agree. I hope to catch some of Justin Anderson and McAdoo tomorrow. Anderson (2012) is a kid I really liked last year, perhaps the most impressive kid in that class at the time. I sense he won't leave the Atlantic seaboard and I know NC is on him as is Duke and VA.

I got more but I'm tired and Thursday's activities are full, so this is all you getting for now because I got to have something later.
KSR thanks Ronald Ball for his scouting report on the Orlando AAU Nationals and the UK coaching connections. Stay tuned for daily observations from Ron through Sunday.

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