For those who missed Part 1 of our recap of the Charlie Weber tourney, click here.
Kevin Durant’s 6-9 186 lb. frame may not intimidate some of the bangers that he faces on the summer circuit, but once he gets on the floor and starts to do his thing, they all take notice. As one of the rising stars of the 2006 class, the attention the Fort Washington Maryland native is receiving is increasing at a rapid pace. College coaches have already visited his school and Michigan was amongst the programs that made an appearance. What has the nation’s top schools keeping their eyes on this slimly built young man? The answer is he’s tremendously skilled for a kid his size. Though he isn’t strong enough yet to consistently command position on the block, when he does make his way down low it’s easy to see that he has excellent moves with his back to the basket. What’s more impressive, though, is his face up game. He puts the ball on the floor better than one would expect, shoots a beautiful jumper out to 18-feet, runs the floor like a gazelle, and is an exceptionally quick leaper. We heard one coach compare him to former Cincinnati star Demarr Johnson. While I don’t think Durant is quite as skilled on the perimeter, I can see how that comparison has merit. We saw Michigan assistant Chuck Swenson watching the young man very intently. If the how much attention he paid to Durant’s games over the weekend is any indication of the Wolverines’ interest, then he is definitely amongst their top targets in the ‘06 class. At age 15 he already wears a size 20 sneaker, so this young man may not be even be done growing!
Kevin flies to the hole!
GBW correspondent Roscoe Hill liked Kevin’s poise just as much as he did his game. “When you combine height with skill, a player like Kevin Durant is produced,” Hill said. “What I liked most about him was he played within himself. That’s rare for a player his age and it shows maturity beyond his years.”
Kevin converts over two defenders
I spoke to Kevin a few times over the weekend and he gave me a current list of Georgia Tech, Louisville, Michigan, North Carolina, Syracuse, and Maryland. Though it’s still very early in his process, Durant indicated that there are a few things that he’ll really be looking for in a school. “The academics will be #1,” Durant said. “I’ll also pay close attention to the coaching and how they develop their players.” He has only made one unofficial visit thus far in his process, but that will surely change in the not too distant future.
Durant drains the jumper
Tywon Lawson, who is Durant’s teammate on the DC Blue Devils, also looked to be catching the eyes of the gallery of coaches (which included Coach Swenson). The 5-11 PG from Bishop McNamara high in Forestville Maryland, is super quick and has the ball on a string. Attempts to press him were exercises in futility. His ability to drive to the hole with his head up and find the open man was equally impressive. When he wasn’t dishing the rock he was exploding through openings and using his athleticism to jump and finish on his own…even when there was contact. Hill loved the Lawson’s game. “He only stood 5-11, but he was a problem for every defender on the court,” Hill said. “Tywon dribbled through double teams as if the defenders didn't exist. He drove to the hole with no fear against the big guys. If he wasn't dishing it off for an easy lay-up, he would toss up a finger role. This kid was deadly from behind the arc as well. He was definitely my favorite player at the tournament.”
I was also able to speak with Lawson about his recruitment and he indicated an interest primarily in the ACC schools at this point. The Wolverines have a great deal of catching up to do if they want in on this fast rising player. It’s still very early, so the opportunity is certainly still there.
Tywon to the hole for 2!
On a more positive note, there was another PG similar in stature but with the Wolverines near the top of his early list. Scott Reynolds, who balls with the Boo Williams Summer League club, has been lighting up the summer scene so far. His performance at the Boo Williams Invitational a few weeks ago earned him all tournament honors The Insiders.com’s Dave Telep checked in with a report on the last day of that tourney that detailed the young floor leader’s exploits up to that point. “He’s got point guard size but shooting guard game,” Telep wrote. “Friday night he went a perfect 5-for-5 from downtown. Saturday morning he went 3-for-7 behind the arc. The sophomore has a terrific stroke.” The 5-11 dynamo picked up right where he left off when he hit the court at the Weber tourney this past weekend. He had a 30-point performance in which he displayed his deadly accuracy from outside that had the place buzzing. Michigan is one of his early favorites and he’ll be one to watch as the summer progresses.
Continuing with the point guard theme, next on our list was Marques Johnson from R Nelson Snider high school in Ft. Wayne Indiana. We walked into the gym at the tail end of one of his team’s games, but the coaching buzz about that young man is enough to tell just how good he is. Ranked as a 5 star player and one of the top 25 prospects in his class by TheInsidersHoops.com, the 6-5 phenom can score and dish with the top guards in the country as a SOPHOMORE! TheInsidersHoops.com’s Greg Hicks wrote the following about the talented prospect recently: “Johnson is among the best PGs we've seen in the 2006 class. Very solid handle, vision and passing ability, with unusual poise for a young point. Another elite player nationally in the 2006 class.” His early list consists of Louisville, Michigan, Notre Dame, Arizona, Wake Forest and North Carolina. We’ll have much more on him throughout the AAU season.
Finally, we wrap up our look at the 16 and under prospects in action at the Weber tourney with a post player. Unlike fellow Canadian Jevohn Shepherd, London St. Thomas Aquinas’ Devin Brennan-McBride started receiving attention south of the border very early in his high school career. Although only a 10th grader he has already taken unofficial visits to Michigan State and Syracuse. The 6-9 star is considered by some to be the top prospect in his class in all of Ontario. Michigan is definitely interested and GBW will have much more on him in the coming days and weeks.
Check back soon for more photos from our time in DC.