The Peach Jam: Day 1

[Premium Article] NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – In this installment from the Peach Jam, we give you a scout's look at the day's action and fill you in on the latest commitment and leaning gossip.<P> [There are several players mentioned in this article that MSU is looking at.-Gene]

Nebraska, Louisville Get Commitments

It didn't take long for assistant coach Scott Spinelli to get comfortable at Nebraska. He had a big hand in the Huskers landing Joe McCray, a shooter who played at ABCD last week. … Speaking of commitments, the Louisville Cardinals accepted one from Lorenzo Wade. With Francisco Garcia possibly pondering an early exit to the NBA and the team needing some insurance in case they don't land Sebastian Telfair, Wade was the answer. The smooth perimeter player could possibly double as a point in the pinch.

Is He Really Committed?

"I'm still open," Shawne Williams told us on the phone today. Apparently, despite a report in the local newspaper which pretty much sounded like a commitment, Williams hasn't quite yet picked the Memphis Tigers. "They're in good shape. They're in my top five." Said five includes Memphis, Kansas, Kentucky, Cincinnati and Tennessee. Now, we don't think KU or UK is recruiting him hard so they're unlikely. Cincy and UT are chasing him but this story caught us off guard. We'll try and track more on this as the week goes by. And make no mistake, the Tigers are in the hunt.

Scout's Seat

We praised Andre Allen for his effort last week at Nike for showing maturity and poise in running his camp team. Today, he got wild again and jacked some shots. He needs to know the college coaches want to see him play under control. … The Rice Owls did well for themselves with the commitment of PG Rodney Foster. He's smart, athletic and plays at different speeds. …

With Ndudi Ebi gone, the Houston Hoops are vulnerable inside and unless they get some super hero perimeter efforts, they'll be hard pressed to get out of their pool. … Riverside power forward Arturo Dubois is a mid-major type who brings it every time out. …

Clent Stewart was smoking perimeter shots today. What was impressive was how he was hitting them from different areas on the floor. … We think Isaiah Swann is at his best when he's being athletic and playing the SG. However, today to his credit, he handled the PG duties well for his team. Regardless, he butters his bread as a two-guard. …

Al Jefferson is not below dropping his off arm and clearing his way to the hoop. He also takes some "pro" liberties with his first step in his spin move. He's a big time player and guys like him always have some tricks of the trade down pat. … Jefferson didn't yield many buckets today but he gave one up to Paulius Packevicius and it was sweet. The Lithuanian head faked him at the free throw line, took a dribble and canned a pull-up jumper.

Robert Clark attacked the rim today with great success for the Jackson Tigers. He's always been considered a good scorer but he's an above average defender as well. … Elite point guards should consider themselves on alert: A.J. Price is on the move up. … Robert Vaden didn't settle for his jumper this evening and looked very comfortable going to the hole and finishing. …

News & Notes

Marquie Cooke is not traveling with the Boo Williams squad this weekend. … Corey Brewer of the Tennessee Travelers was set to play in the event with Boo Williams since the Travelers weren't invited. However, Nike has a rule which prevents players from participating in events with teams other than the one they occupy a roster spot for. …

Josh Pastner of Arizona was the first assistant coach we spotted in the gym today. … Tim Buckley, the head coach at Ball State, was in the gym early for the Illinois Warriors and forward Cyrus Tate. … Junior big man Richard Hendrix likes Alabama, Tennessee, Duke, North Carolina and Oklahoma at this juncture but he's pretty open to suggestions. …

Frank Holmes of Memphis lists Mississippi, Mississippi State, Penn State, Houston and Tennessee. Each was in attendance today. … Word on the street is that Roy Bright could be down to Connecticut, Charlotte and DePaul. … Early in the day, Jim Calhoun and Bill Self watched A.J. Price. St. John's had assistant Mike Jarvis there. … We heard that Florida and UConn jumped in on power forward Charles Thomas after his great Nike Camp. Thomas himself mentioned Oklahoma, Florida State, Kentucky, UConn and LSU. We think Mississippi is still there as well. …

In the gym, presumably watching Brian Johnson was Notre Dame's Mike Brey, North Carolina's Joe Holladay, Florida's Billy Donovan and Louisville assistants Kevin Willard and Vince Taylor. This was the morning session. … Jeff Capel watched Jerome Habel today. VCU was the first school to offer him. … D.J. White's broken finger will keep him out of action all week long. …

Watching Richard Hendrix today was a host of head coaches that included Rick Stansbury, Buzz Peterson and Mark Gottfried.Tulsa was shadowing Athletes First guard Clent Stewart all day long. He's an important Golden Hurricane recruit. … Melvin Watkins of Texas A&M watched Kenneth White today. He's already committed. …

Dayshaun Wright is expected to miss the remainder of the tournament after Al Jefferson stepped on his ankle. … Maarty Leunen's list includes Oregon, Oregon State, Gonzaga and Cal. He's waiting to see if Kansas or Arizona make a move (we don't think either will). Jay John of Oregon State, John Cooper of Oregon, a Gonzaga assistant and a full boat of coaches including Ben Braun and Joe Pasternak were there from Cal. UCLA's Ben Howland sat baseline and he had to be there for Leunen as well. …

At another event today, the Charlie Weber, we hear Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser and Villanova's Jay Wright were shadowing junior center Eric Boateng. … File this away: 2006 center Greg Oden wants to be a dentist. He's got great hands! …

Josh McRoberts didn't have a very good game in the evening session, but the junior can draw a helluva crowd. Mike Krzyzewski, Mike Davis, Roy Williams and Bill Self were among the head coaches who popped in to see him. … Iowa's Steve Alford watched Alex Thompson this evening. …

2004 Player Checklist

A.J. Price, PG, Riverside: The transformation from shooting guard to point man is nearly complete. Now, the Amityville guard is looking to see just how far he can rise up our PG list and he's got some guy with bigger reps in his sights. We saw him play one game today and though he didn't have off-the-charts numbers, he controlled the game from start to finish.

Al Jefferson vs. Lamarcus Aldridge: Jefferson hit him up for 26 points. Aldridge countered with 13 and 8 but Big Al's team rolled them for the win. Jefferson's power on the blocks couldn't be matched and he either scored or got himself to the line. They each blocked the other's shot at some point, but scoring came easier for Al.

Maarty Leunen, PF, Oregon: Credit a guy for sticking with what he's good at and accepting who he is. Leunen is a guy who can rebound. He's not built for it and to a degree is defying the odds with his body in rebounding the way he does. However, each time out he's putting up rebounding numbers and that's his niche. For his efforts, he'll sign a high-major scholarship.

Artavious Fisher, SG-PG, Albany: Here's a guy who made a ridiculous number (60%?) of his 3s in high school. Tonight, he hit for 20 points and 17 in the second half as Albany defeated a loaded Indiana Red squad even without its star Dayshaun Wright who went down with an injury. This dude was tough as nails and his hot hand was the difference. He's a sub-six-footer who probably is a two guard now and will have to convert to point man at the mid-major level.

Jerome Habel, PF, DC Blue Devils: In the morning session he was good for 21 and 12 against the Alabama Lasers. He had a subpar Nike Camp by his standards but typically is left-handed rebounding and shot blocking fool. One mid-major coach who loves him actually muttered "damn it" to himself after a big time hoop from Habel.

Brian Johnson, PF, DC Blue Devils: We aren't writing about him because he had some terrific game. We're talking about him because of his approach. He was quite passive in our spring viewings of him. That's not the case now. The Blue Devils bring a lot of guys and playing time is limited, but Johnson is active, energetic and getting things done when he's in there.

Frank Holmes, PF, Memphis: The Houston Hoops lack an interior presence. This was good news for Holmes. He lit up the Hoops and went to work. In our mind, he was the key to the win. With no one inside to slow him down, Holmes wrecked the place.

Daniel Gibson, PG, Houston: It wasn't a very good morning for Gibson. He went 4-for-15 from the field and just 2-for-9 from downtown. He also had 5 first half turnovers. If the Hoops are going to get anything done in Augusta he's got to step up his play and take charge.

2005 Checklist

Richard Hendrix, PF, Alabama: What's not to like about him? He gets better every year and he plays so hard. The baseline spin move for a dunk was his best of the day. Hendrix isn't a quick leaper or a particularly explosive player, but he's skilled, has great size and a good physique and he understands how to play inside. Add in a mid-range jumper (which he's got) and he can play anywhere.

2006 Checklist

Greg Oden, C, Indiana Red: Without getting too far ahead of ourselves, there's a realistic possibility that this guy is the No. 1 selection in the 2006 NBA Draft. Yes, he's that good. In his first game of the day he had 28 points on 14-of-15 shooting. He had 12 boards, 2 assists and 2 blocks. In the nightcap, though his team lost, he was super again. It's hard to think of a better young big man prospect in the last five years.

Derrick Caracter, PF, Riverside: When a 6-9 rising sophomore drops two deep baseline jumpers, you have to take notice. When a kid his size already knows how to pass out of double teams and trusts himself to put the ball on the floor to evade trouble, he's special.


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