Jayhawk Invitational: Day One

LAWRENCE, KS. – The first night of the Jayhawk Invitational got going with a solid slate of games. No one stood out more than SYF Players big man Mitch McGary. The talented center once again proved to be one of the elite players of the spring.

Mitch McGary, C, SYF Players – His rise up the national charts is absolutely no joke. McGary is completely dominating on the floor. On Friday night he was hitting step back threes, scoring over either shoulder on the block, finishing above the rim, and making good passes out of the post and even in transition. The improvements he has made are stunning, and he continues to be one of the highest risers this spring.

Glenn Robinson, SF, SYF Players – Another solid performance for SYF came from Robinson. He continues to get stronger, and his athleticism and confidence are both on the upswing as well. Robinson makes plays off the dribble and also hits shots from deep. The future Michigan Wolverine was very effective in his play, and shows signs of being able to play multiple positions with his athleticism and versatility.

Shabazz Muhammad, SF, Dream Vision – Muhammad might be the best finisher in the class going to the rim. He scores the ball at will off the bounce and just has that unique ability to finish through contact. His outside jumper wasn't working, but he did a lot of other things to help his team. Muhammad will always play hard and is always in attack mode, and even though his jump shot can be inconsistent his production is always there.

Robert Upshaw, C, Dream Vision – The strides he has made with his game and his body over 12 months are quite impressive. While he doesn't run the floor great, he will show effort changing ends. Right now his biggest strength is that he is an elite level rebounder. Upshaw knows how to carve space down low and then is very long and has excellent hands which allow him to snatch the ball off the glass. His touch is solid to eight feet, and though his footwork needs to be refined he is fairly effective on the post.

Winston Shepard, PF/SF, Dream Vision – On the offensive end Shepard has to be put in certain places to be effective. He is at his best either off the bounce when given time and space or finishing off of an offensive rebound. His ball skills on the perimeter aren't advanced enough to be a full time wing, though defensively he is more than capable of guarding either spot in the frontcourt. Shepard was solid and didn't do anything he wasn't capable of in a big win for Dream Vision.

Sam Dekker, SF, Wisconsin Playground Warriors – Far and away the most effective player for the Playground Warriors was Dekker. The future Wisconsin Badger is a junkyard dog type of forward who is scrappy and does everything he can to help his team. He scores it inside and out, and also is a solid rebounder and is athletic enough and long enough to be a capable defender. He won't wow you with any one skill or one play, but at the end of the day he is extremely productive and has a lot of tools to work with.

J.P. Tokoto, SF, Wisconsin Playground Warriors – Quite honestly it is a game that the future North Carolina Tar Heel would like to forget. He had two very nice dunks, including one on the baseline that was as impressive as it gets, but outside of those moments he didn't get much done. Tokoto couldn't get a shot to fall, didn't look aggressive, and basically was a non-factor for a good portion of the game. There is no questioning that he is an elite level athlete, and at times this spring he has shown improvements on the wing, but he needs to be more consistent with his handle and mid-range jumper.

Perry Ellis, PF, Kansas Pray and Play – With a huge crowd looking on, Ellis had a solid outing. He wasn't as assertive on the boards as he usually is, but still Ellis did do a solid job of producing. Ellis is a good scorer on the inside, and really is tough to stop when he goes left off the bounce. Forcing him right does slow him down quite a bit, but the lefty drive proved to be a problem over and over for defenders. Also Ellis has a feel for how to play and gets others involved, and overall had a very solid showing.

Wesley Gordon, PF, Colorado Hawks – Major props go out to Tad Boyle and his staff for locking down this commitment. Gordon is a long armed and athletic player who is very active on the interior. He can finish over either shoulder, really pursues rebounds, and has excellent hands. Now he is slightly undersized and needs to work on his strength, but Gordon is someone who will definitely be discussed when it comes to national rankings.

Marcus Holt, C, Colorado Hawks – Next to Gordon on the interior is Holt. Holt is a taller, longer, and leaner player who finishes above the rim with dunks and shows a nice touch on the inside. Now he really needs to add strength, and he doesn't yet have a great feel for how to play, but he runs the floor, and blocks shots to go along with his offensive gifts. Prep school is in his future, and an added year of development could do his body and his game a lot of good.

Johnny Woodard, SF, Net Gain Sports – This isn't the most skilled kid on the wing, but he is a high level athlete who is capable of making a three when given time and space to line up and get his shot off. He impressed in the last viewing in Milwaukee, and nothing is changing. Woodard plays very hard and has the athleticism to be a major factor on the defensive end.

Gavin Thurman, PF, KC Pump ‘N Run – A pick and pop power forward, Thurman showed off a very soft shooting touch for a player his size. Now he has a bit too much finesse around the rim, and definitely could stand to be a better rebounder, but he can stretch the floor and is fairly athletic. If he can get stronger and develop more of an attitude he has the touch and the length to really be a nice prospect.

Chris Thomas, SG, Colorado Hawks – Thomas is quite simply one of the elite guards in the country regardless of class. His shot was off on Friday night, but he didn't let that impact the rest of his game. Thomas is an absolute blur with the basketball, and though his first instinct is to score, he showed a great ability to find guys with passes. He can turn it over some, but his way above the rim athleticism combined with his ability to score from all three levels on the floor makes him one of the most difficult players in the country to defend.

Treshawn Bolden, PF, Compton Magic – Bolden is on loan for the weekend, and in his first game he was impressive. He is a physically developed player who is very tenacious down low and likes to rebound the ball. Right now his offensive game is a bit limited, but a good athlete with long arms and strength makes him a very nice looking prospect.

Bronson Koenig, PG, Wisconsin Playground Warriors – Koenig will be splitting his weekend between the 17 and under team and the 16 and under squad. Friday night he was playing with the older group, and could never get comfortable. His shot looks very good, but it wasn't falling, and he wasn't able to beat his man off the dribble at all. Koenig has a nice handle, but wastes a lot of movement with the dribble which prevents him from getting by his defender. His size, handle, and shot make him intriguing, but his production simply wasn't there in the game.

Riley Dearing, SF, Net Gain Sports – Mostly known as a great shooter from deep, Dearing was doing other things on Friday. He played inside-out, tried to take his man off the dribble, and used his length and solid athleticism to make some plays. He needs to be more aggressive looking for his own shot, but Dearing had a solid outing.

Shaqquan Aaron, SG, Dream Vision – Wow is he a prospect. Aaron didn't have it all working in the least, but the length, athleticism, shot making ability, and ball handling put his ceiling extremely high. It looks like he has a lot of room left to grow, so he could develop into more of a frontcourt player, but with his ability to knock in shots that isn't a problem at all. More prospect than producer right now, the upside is great for Aaron

Riley Dearing is hearing from Minnesota, Iowa State, Oklahoma, St. John's, Michigan, Wisconsin, Drake, and Northern Iowa.

Johnny Woodard lists the most interest from Wisconsin Green Bay and Minnesota.

Marcus Holt has interest from Cincinnati, Xavier, San Francisco, and Boston College.

Gene's Page Top Stories