Prior to the Spiece Run N Slam tournament, Spiece Indy Heat’s Daequan Cook was having a sensational summer campaign, highlighted by a MVP type performance at the Kingwood Classic in Houston. It would be hard for most players to get noticed when they play on the same team as a future NBA lottery pick like 6-11 sophomore phenom Greg Oden. However, Daequan has been able generate a very serious buzz himself. His outburst in Houston prompted theinsiders.com’s National Recruiting Editor Dave Telep to write: “He’s the highest level high-major prospect in our book. Had they won, he might have been the MVP of the whole deal. His offense is big time and he’s such a versatile player.”
I watched the Dayton Dunbar product play in the Heat’s opening tournament contest and the young man showed the versatility that Telep spoke of. He displayed a nice inside out game (minus a missed dunk attempt) that helped blow the game open. His jumper has been questioned, but his mechanics looked perfect, as he knocked down three 3-pointers on the game. He plays with a smoothness similar to that of Dion Harris, but at 6-5 190 pounds, he is a bit bigger than the former Redford star. Though Daequan did struggle with consistency during the tournament, his talent is obvious. The Wolverines are definitely interested in this young man and when I asked him what the top schools on his list were, Michigan was the first team out of his mouth (as it seemingly has been all summer). Even though he has an early list, it was obvious from his comments that giving serious thought to everything he’s looking for in a school isn’t something he has really concentrated on yet.
What schools are on your list at this point?
How do you think the tournament went for you?
“I started out bad on the first day, but we seem to always start out slow as a team. After we got over that hump we did better as a team and I did better too.”
How did your high school season go?
“It went real good. We won the district finals and we went to the semi-finals and lost to Dayton Chaminade Julienne. I averaged about 25 points 8 rebounds and 5 assists.”
What position are you looking to play in college?
“I’m looking to play a little guard and forward.”
Are you and Aaron Pogue talking about going to the same place?
“Yeah, that’s true. We’d like to be able to go to the same school.”
Have you thought about the factors that will go into your decision or when you might make your choice?
“Not yet probably this summer some time. Me and my mom are going to sit down and talk about it.”
Did you grow up liking any particular school?
Marques Johnson of Fort Wayne Snider high school and the Blessed IJN AAU program was another Michigan target that we looked in on. Watching him this past weekend, it was very obvious that he’s a pass first shoot second point guard eerily reminiscent of current Michigan commitment Jerret Smith. At 6-5, Johnson is a terrific ball handler and has a nice jumper, but in pool play he just wasn’t aggressive enough on offense. In a match-up with the Michigan Hurricanes White squad, he netted only 8 points while dishing 7 assists. Still, it was only one tournament and his performances elsewhere, including a high school season in which he averaged 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists, prove that he has the talent that college coaches covet. Marques listed UCLA, Arizona, Louisville, North Carolina, Notre Dame, and Indiana as the schools on top of his list at this point.
While we went into the game really looking to observe Johnson’s game, there was another kid that really stuck out. The Hurricanes’ 5-11 guard, Tory Jackson, was simply fantastic! He led Saginaw (MI) Buena Vista to the Class C state title this year (as a sophomore) and led the Hurricanes White team on a rampage Saturday. Playing up with the seniors-to-be team, he propelled his squad to victory over Blessed IJN with a fade-away 3-pointer from the elbow over the outstretched arm of a defender with 3 seconds left. He had 31 points on the game and was darn near unstoppable. In the Hurricanes’ next contest, he gave the crowd an encore by nailing another game winning 3 with only seconds remaining. In that game he was 3 for 3 from beyond the arc on his way to 23 points. The kid has a deadly jumper and a mean crossover. He will definitely rank amongst the top players in the in-state class of 06.
Jackson compares quite favorably to the other PG’s on the early 2006 checklist (DJ Augustine, Scott Williams, Tywon Lawson, and TaJuan Porter) and is certainly one for Wolverine fans to keep an eye on. I spoke with Tory Saturday evening and he mentioned that he grew up a Michigan fan because of the Fab Five. We’ll have more on him later.
We finished up our tourney coverage by watching Michigan Mustangs guard David Kool, who had a very strong weekend. Playing with the juniors-to-be Mustang squad, we watched him reel off 36 points in his opening tournament game on Sunday. That came after he notched 19, 15, and 32 points in the three previous games in pool play. Many may not appreciate what he brings to the table because he’s far more substance than flash. But putting it very simply…the young man gets the job done! He was money from beyond the arc over the weekend and was very strong going to the hole. David is a tough, hard-nosed player that will do whatever it takes on both ends of the floor to help his team win.
GBW will continue to follow all of these players throughout the summer.