Spiece Run 'n Slam Evals: The Top '06 Targets

GoBlueWolverine was in Ft. Wayne Indiana this past weekend for the 12th annual Spiece Run-N-Slam basketball tournament. A number of Michigan targets were in action and here we recap (with Photos) the performances of Tory Jackson, Deshawn Sims, Tom Herzog and many many more.

- In the Michigan Hurricanes’ opening game of the tournament, Tory Jackson didn’t take a single shot until midway through second quarter. He was clearly making a concerted effort to set the table for his teammates. For one game, he served them a buffet. He made beautiful deliveries all night … some of which were of the no-look variety. His best dish came on a play in which he drove to the bucket, drew two defenders, and wrapped the ball around to Tom Herzog for the uncontested finish. When the game was over he had 15 points and seven assists. Most of his offensive production over the weekend came courtesy of his deft stroke from behind the arc. In the opening contest he displayed a good balance between driving & dishing and driving & kicking to a teammates. Subsequently, though, he didn't display the same sort of decisiveness when determining when to go for his own offense and when to go to his teammates. He’ll have to work gaining some consistency at achieving that sort of balance … and he’ll get plenty of it playing with explosive wings like Alex Legion and Darquavis Tucker. He is a extremely visible example of a player that is really helped by playing on the summer circuit. Playing with better teammates will allow him to round out a game that already consists of a sweet shot, quickness, big time off-the-dribble ability, and explosion. He could officially visit Michigan on May 21st, but that visit date isn't yet set in stone. Stay tuned.

Tory Jackson with the wrap-around pass to Tom Herzog

- Kurt Huelsman is sometimes overshadowed by the massive star power of O.J. Mayo and Bill Walker, but his contribution is clear. He does all of the dirty work for his team. He plays strong down low and is a very good rebounder. On this squad his role is that of a bigger/more athletic Graham Brown. He even showed a little fire when he took off from almost eight feet out and tried to dunk over an unsuspecting opponent. It didn’t go down, but the point got across. In the Greyhounds second tourney game, he didn't miss … absolutely mashing on a helpless opponent. Unfortunately, we weren’t really able to ascertain much about his offensive ability, as all of the plays go through Walker, Mayo, and Heath White. He should be able to showcase his skills a little bit more later in the summer when he hits the individual camp circuit later in the summer.

- Deshawn Sims started the tournament strong by notching (according to him) almost thirty points in the Family’s opening game (which went to double OT). However, he was limited in the next contest by foul trouble. What was clear in the two early games we observed was his post skills are among were amongst the best there. He is like an artist down low and consistently shook free from his man with drop steps, up-and-unders, or whatever other move were necessary to throw his opponent off balance. That said, we'd be remiss if we did not mention his need to finish more consistently. He missed a few bunnies around the basket after delivering devastating moves to get an open look. His low post game has progressed so much in the past year that there is little question that he will gain the consistency being spoken of here.

- It’s abundantly clear thus far that Tom Herzog has come a long way in a year. He is bigger and more confident. He knows he belongs now and it shows. He consistently beats his man down the floor, has excellent feet, good timing, keeps the ball high on offense, and has good post moves. All of that is hard to find in a 7-footer. At the same time, it’s also clear that he still needs MUCH more strength. Other post players were able to move him off of the block on both ends of the floor. That was case when 6-10 inch, 240-pound Brian Carlwell lowered his shoulder in Herzog’s chest and knocked him back before going up for a slam. That won’t happen once the Flint native adds mass to his frame. If he gets more aggressive on top of that … then he could become very, very good! His assertiveness appears to be picking up somewhat, and a clear sign of that came on Saturday. Tom brought the crowd to its feet when he caught a pass on the right baseline and went up for a power slam over a 6-10 opponent! Even the normally reserved Herzog got a little hyped over that one.

Tom Herzog goes up to block Brian Carlwell's shot

- “Raymar Morgan needs to work on his jumpshot.” That has been the knock on him for the better part of the year. Now that we’ve seen him multiple times at three different venues (Nike Camp, an open gym at Michigan, and here at Spiece), we wonder if there is something we’re missing. He has been outstanding from the perimeter every time we’ve seen him. Maybe we’ve just caught him on good days? Whatever the case may be, he has been very good from behind the arc thus far. We saw him knock down a number of threes yesterday, while at the same time displaying what a versatile athlete he is by taking his man off the dribble and rebounding and battling big men in the post. At 6-7, 210-pounds, this young man has an extremely intriguing skill set.

- James Dews dropped 25 the first time we saw him this weekend, showing the ability to both stroke from deep and drive to the bucket. That said, he came back with a 1/11 shooting performance Saturday morning. Still, his stock is on the rise and his jump-shooting ability earned him recent scholarship offer from West Virginia. He indicated that he still has Michigan interest and we'll have more on him later.

- K’len Morris started out strong in the tournament's first two games, but he (and the Mustangs) ran into a snap when they faced Jason Bohannon and Martin Brothers in the last game of pool play. In the early games he put up numbers for the Mustangs in a variety of ways ... dunks, drives, and even a few three pointers. Subsequently, though, he began to defer a bit too much. Fatigue may have been a factor as he has been training for the four hundered meters in track. A little rest should do him well.

K'len Morris faces Alex Legion

- David Kool may be a no flash/no frills player, but we continue to appreciate how he just gets the job done. He was the Mustangs primary perimeter threat in the match-up with the Hurricanes. He consistently scored on leaners in the lane and one-handed runners. The Grand Rapids star has offers from the MAC, but continues to hunt for his first Big Ten scholarship. He mentioned that the Michigan State Spartans have stayed in contact.

- Grandville's David Thompson opened a lot of eyes this weekend. The 5-10 point guard showed nice explosion going to the rack and a nice touch from beyond the arc. After he kept the Grand Rapids Lighting in the game with the 37 he put up on the D1-greyhounds on opening night, the college coaches in attendance (none of which were Div 1A schools since it was a non-sanctioned event) flocked to his next game. He didn't disappoint either, putting up over twenty more in the scoring column and hitting a number of big shots. He likely played himself into a few offers. Could the MAC come calling?

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