Spiece Run N Slam 06 Evals - Part Two

GoBlueWolverine traveled from Columbus to Fort Wayne to take in the 13th annual Spiece Run N' Slam basketball tournament. In part one of our recap we take a look at the performances of Kelvin Grady, Kosta Koufos, Josh Southern, and more.

For those that missed part one of GoBlueWolverine's Spiece evaluations, click here.

Kelvin Grady's jumper has definitely become more consistent. The 5-10 floor general is now a reliable player from beyond the arc. His marksmanship and the determination of Darquavis Tucker were the only constants in a few lopsided losses we saw the Hurricanes suffer through on the second day of play. On the downside, during those contests the future Michigan PG seemed to be pressing a little, often over-dribbling and penetrating too deeply. He has become more adept and getting his shot off among the trees, but not to the point where he can make a living doing it. Grady was much better in the contests after that two-game

Kelvin Grady
slide. He was definitely much better on the last day of play. He displayed more poise and did a better job of getting the ball to his teammates in positions where they could do something with it. In the semifinal contest we had him down for eight assists on array of beautiful passes. He was great finding the open man on the break and created shot opportunities with his penetration. It was the type "let the game come to you" effort that we've come to expect from him.

Sticking with improved jumpers, Cedar Springs guard Austin Thornton has made even more progress Grady. The 6-5 190-lb. combo plays the one for his high school team, but plays off the ball for the Michigan Mustangs. In his role with Norm Oden's squad, we saw him effortlessly go 3/4 behind the arc in a win over the A.F.E. Wizards. His improved stoke was also evident in an earlier contest. Range was the biggest deficiency in his game heading into the year. If he continues to show that he can be consistent shooter from three-point land, he'll be a much more intriguing prospect.

GBW was on hand when Redford and Jackson clashed back in January.
Another Mustang player that turned a few heads this weekend was Frankenmuth (MI) PG Brad Redford. GoBlueWolverine traveled to Frankenmuth earlier this year to see for ourselves what the fuss was about when Redford took on Tory Jackson. In the contest, the six-foot sharpshooter had a few problems with Jackson's quickness, but he matched the future Irish guard in almost every other category including points. Redford's outstanding range caught the attention of a number of analysts down in Ft. Wayne, including that of Scout.com National recruiting director Dave Telep. In his Spiece: Day 1 Rundown, Telep wrote

Brad Redford, PG, Mich. Mustangs – There are some excellent shooters in the Class of 2008 and this guy is one of them. He busted a trio of 3s in the contest we saw and that was in the first half alone. When inserted into the lineup he was a calming influence as the extra passes were made and his simply drilled it from deep. Size and speed will eventually determine his level but this young man is a good player with a terrific stroke.

Staying with the Mustangs, Josh Southern was often just too strong for whomever he faced in the post. His back-to-the-basket game continues to come around. He loves to back his man in and go over his left shoulder, but he'll need to diversify his game to become a consistent scoring threat. He could develop into an effective offensive player in the ilk of a Terrence Dials if he continues to work at broadening his arsenal of post moves. For now, though, the staples of his game continue to be defense and rebounding. The 6-9 240-pounder moves his feet very well for a youngster his size, and we've already mentioned how strong he is. That's why it should come as no surprise he's a beast on the boards. The Wolverines have stayed after the Saginaw big man, and he and his family have warmed up to the Maize and Blue a little more. A return visit to Ann Arbor this summer is very likely.

Another big man with plans of making it to Michigan's campus this summer is King James center Kosta Koufos. The Canton Glen Oak star may not be in tip top condition after returning from his foot injury this past season, but the grace and athleticism that made him a top 25 player in the class of 2007 is still very evident. He often beats his man down the floor for easy baskets and he even showed us a little versatility by facing the cup and putting the ball on the floor. On one memorable occasion he grabbed a defensive board, dribbled up to half court, beat his man with a crossover, dribbled to the top of the key, then elevated for a jump pass to a slashing teammate for an easy lay-up. When his conditioning comes around Koufos could make another move up the charts. Ohio State and Maryland are the schools most believe are at the top of his list, but the young man himself insists that the Wolverines are a player in his recruitment and that he's definitely interested. More on him later.

Koufos' weekend in Ft Wayne was cut short in the Gold Division semifinals Sunday when they ran into a Spiece Indy Heat team minus Mike Conley and Greg Oden. One of the reasons (aside from an unfavorable whistle) was the play of Heat lead guard Jeff Teague. The youngster was mighty impressive in the two games we witnessed. We didn't stick around for the title game (in which he scored 17 points to lead his team to the crown), but it's not surprising that he was named the tourney's MVP. The 6-1, 170-pounder has excellent quickness, can create off the dribble, and seemingly gets to the rack at will. He also had quick hands on defense. That was very obvious when the Heat harassed the Hurricane guards in a blowout victory Saturday morning. Teague's stock is on the rise and the high majors WILL start calling (if they haven't already). To take a look at Teague in action, click here.

Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for more Spiece coverage including interviews, Basketball Thoughts from Andre Barthwell, Interviews and video in the days to come.

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