With 600 teams all descending upon North east Ohio to play in a tournament, organizers of the King James Shooting Stars Classic were forced to add venues outside of the city of Akron to accommodate all of the games. In phase two of our three city trek last weekend we traveled to the birthplace of one Glenn E. Bo Schembechler, Barberton, Ohio, to take in a contest between King of the Court (featuring Delvon Roe, Kenny Frease, and Anthony Crater) and Syracuse Select (featuring Michigan target Ben Cronin).
Michigan headman John Beilein was among the coaches sitting courtside observing the contest, and Cronin acquitted himself fairly well. The 7-0, 235 pound big man was formerly a West Virginia target, and after observing his stroke from the outside it’s easy to see why. He isn’t as athletic or as strong as Frease, but he has range all of the way out to the three-point line and has a few back to the basket moves as well. King of the Court ran a number of big bodies his way and they weren’t shy about trying to be physical with Cronin. To his credit, though, he didn’t back down. Still, the need for added strength was obvious.
Next up on the docket was a trip to Kent, Ohio to catch the Georgia Stars again for another does of Wesley Witherspoon and Tanner Smith. We hoped to also take in the game between Mean Streets (featuring Michigan target Matthew Humphrey and player of interest, Josh Crittle) and the Queen City Prophets (featuring 2010 prospect Jordan Hicks). Time constraints prevented us from sticking around for the clash, but rest assured that we’ll have more on each of them in the not too distant future as we’ll have other opportunities to see them on the circuit.
The reason for the hasty departure was we had to hightail it back to Akron to watch Draymond Green and the Family have his best outing up until that point… and it just happened to occur in front of a bevy of college coaches. After starting out the day in rough fashion with a loss, Green had all of his skills on display Saturday evening. He was particularly effective triggering fast break opportunities after battling for rebounds down low. Because of his unique ball-handling ability, guards don’t have to wait in the backcourt for passes. They are free to sprint the floor, putting the defense in an even more precarious position. On one occasion Green grabbed the defensive board, dribbled the length of the floor, and drew the defense in the paint before flipping a pass over his shoulder to one of his teammates for a lay-up. He finished the contest with 24 points and (unofficially eight rebounds and six assists). The national pundits that weren’t around during the high school season to witness Green’s growth while leading Saginaw to the state title were surprised by his progress.
“When guys make the kind of strides with his game like he’s experienced, history tells us to take notice and insert him into the Top 100 quickly,” wrote ScoutHoops.com’s Dave Telep after the second day of action. “Frankly, he’s not anywhere near the condition they’ll get him in college and he’s still able to get it done. Tough from mid-range and in, Green will also battle at the rim and has The Family deep in the playoffs. “
“There were a lot of questions surrounding Draymond “Day-Day” Green prior to the spring, but he seems to have silence his critics,” added Telep protégé Evan Daniels. “He continued his strong play in Akron, by being a physical force inside and showing a versatile game.”
“I think I’ve been playing alright,” Green said. “I think I can play better, but that’s just how I challenge myself. Overall playing as a team and as an individual, we’ve done well. I feel like I’ve improved a lot since last year. All of the hard work has paid off.”
GoBlueWolverine will have more on Green in the coming days and a number of other 2008 prospects in the coming days. In the meantime, here is a listing of some of the other targets that were in action this weekend that have Michigan interest. We will be profiling all of them in the coming weeks and months.
Derrick Nix (6-8) – Detroit Murray Wright
Deshonte Riley (6-10) – Detroit Country Day
Dion Sims (6-5) – Orchard Lake St. Mary’s
Ben Simon (6-9) – Cadillac
Bill Edwards (6-5) – Middletown HS, (Middletown, OH)
Pe’Shon Howard (6-2) – Lakewood St. Edward (Lakewood, OH)
Jordan Hicks (6-1) - Lakota West (Westchester, OH)
Noah Cottrill (6-2) - Poca HS (Poca, WV)
Jared Sullinger (6-7) – Northland HS (Columbus, OH)
Adrian Payne (6-8) – Jefferson HS (Jefferson, OH)