TOC: Player Evaluations

Raleigh, NC - Several notable Wolfpack targets were in the triangle this past weekend for the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions and here's a look at how they fared.

Pack Pride Player Evaluations

2005 Signees

Ben McCauley, 6'9 PF/C, Pittsburgh JOTS - McCauley can best be described as a "system" player who will certainly fit what NC State asks out of their post players.

McCauley has improved his athleticism since last summer.
He's not going to impress you with athleticism (although he's improved) or quickness, but he simply gets the job done. He has nice range on his jumper and good ball-handling skills. He can rebound on both ends, and gets all the rebounds he should grab, a major plus. On the defensive end, he looks quickly for outlet passes or to start the fast break with his own dribble. After beginning his high school career as a wing forward, McCauley has grown into the power forward position and as he becomes more comfortable in the post his offensive skills will only improve, and they are solid now.

He should develop into a good college player, especially since his skill set is designed for what NC State does on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.

2006 Targets

Marques Johnson, 6'5 PG, Blessed IJN - Johnson first gained popularity a few years back as one of the elite players in his class at the shooting guard position. Two years later, he's developed into a high-major point guard prospect who is almost a pass-first point. He can break his man down off the dribble and does a terrific job attacking the basket where he finishes with nifty floaters off the glass or crafty passes to his teammates.

Johnson is also a solid ballhandler in the open court, where he looks to push the ball at every opportunity and constantly apply pressure on the defense. I'd like to see him look to score even more, which is surprising given how much some analysts try to say he's not a point guard. Because he has such a great frame, Johnson can also hit the glass on both ends and defend multiple positions.

He still needs to improve his overall quickness to defend ACC-level point guards, but he'll present problems for them on the offensive end as well. He'll remind folks a bit of Georgia Tech point guard Jarrett Jack, another big guard that can physically overpower the smaller, "true" point guards while also having the quickness to create problems in the lane. Johnson is the type of guard NC State's system covets and it's no surprise that he appears to be high on their board.

Reggie Redding drills the jumper

Reggie Redding, 6'4 SG/SF, Philly MJC - Redding's what a Philly prep star is suppose to be, skilled, intelligent, and tough... very tough. He's probably one of the more efficient players you'll find on the high school level, as he consistently puts up numbers in every key category. He's not going to wow you with athleticism, but Redding knows how to play the game and that gives him the edge he needs to excel.

Standing 6-foot-4, 185-pounds, Redding's a solidly built prospect that is capable of playing shooting guard or small forward on the next level. Because he's one of the tallest players on Philly MJC, Redding often spends time on the offensive end posting up bigger defenders and using quick spins and dropsteps on the block to score. He also has the ability to score off the bounce, as evidenced by his sweet basline spin move that resulted in an old-fashioned three-point play on two defenders in a win over the Baltimore Stars.

Redding keeps the game simple and just makes plays. His handle is above-average, and he can finish with either hand at the rim. He's comfortable in any system possible and that's probably why he's such a coveted prospect.

Devan Bawinkel, 6'5 SG/SF, Illinois Wolves - We saw Bawinkel in action just once this weekend, and both his strengths and weaknesses are evident. He's an above-average shooter with deep range on his jumper and he also has a solid handle. However, we didn't see him score much at the rim, off the dribble or in transition, as he seems to like to float around the perimeter looking for seams in the defense. Can he defend shooting guards at the highest of levels? That question he'll have to answer this summer in order to land firm offers from the programs on his list.

Willie Walker does a terrific job of attacking the basket.

Willie Walker, 5'11 PG, Illinois Wolves - Here's a guy that certainly helped his stock at the Tournament of Champions. Listed at 6'0, Walker's closer to 5'10 and his size may scare away some programs, but he can play. He is a good shooter who doesn't force anything and is already comfortable directing traffic. He led a squad with marginal high-major players to the quarterfinals of one of the top AAU tournaments in the country, and did so by doing whatever his team needed him to do. Against the Atlanta Celtics and top point guard prospect Javaris Crittendon, Walker was superb. He was able to get in the lane at will, where he finished with little floaters over bigger defenders or would use his body to create contact and space for soft jumpers. He was also nine-of-nine in the final minutes from the free throw line, sealing the victory for the Wolves.

Mature beyond his years, Walker is one of those guys who makes you notice his talent even when he isn't putting up huge numbers because he's just that smooth. He'll be a player for one lucky high-major program.

Dennis Horner, 6'8 F, South Jersey Select - A 6-foot-8, 190-pound prospect, Horner is Mr. Versatile. He can do a lot of things well and is more athletic than he has been given credit for. He's very comfortable with the ball in his hands on the perimeter, moreso than in the post, and looks to drive off the dribble and finish around the rim.

He did a great job of drawing fouls against the smaller opponents, and looked to have a solid shooting stroke, although his jumper was off for the most part.

Horner plays hard on both ends and finished the game with five blocks, surprising given his slight frame.

He'll need to add weight, but the talent is there and it's obvious why teams like NC State, West Virginia, Seton Hall and Virginia Tech have already offered scholarships.

2007 Targets

Julian Vaughn, 6'8 PF, D.C. Assault - Playing on a team comprised primarily of '07 prospects, Julian Vaughn certainly did more than his share of damage. He's one of the best prospects you'll find in the '07 size because his lack of elite athleticism or size will keep him in the college ranks for a couple of seasons. However, don't be surprised when he's recruited at the highest level and programs like UNC, Duke, and Kentucky come calling.

Vaughn is a well-built, 6'9 prospect that has great coordination for a player as young and big as he is. Standing nearly 240-pounds, Vaughn carries his weight well and can even add a few more pounds without losing any athleticism or quickness. He has deep range on his jumper and can knock down the three-pointer if left open. He's comfortable scoring at the basket and is already a fundamentally sound rebounder and passer. A bright kid, Vaughn plays hard on both ends and wants to get better. The sky's the limit for him, and he'll only improve as he continues to play against great competition.

He already has offers from NC State, Maryland, and Miami, but more are sure to follow.

Corey Fisher will be one of '07's best.

Corey Fisher, 6'0 PG, Long Island Lightning - Fisher has generated plenty of buzz over the past couple of years, and a strong showing last summer earned him even more high praise. Now being hailed as the next Sebastian Telfair because of his New York City roots and flair to play the point guard position, he is already being labeled one of the elite '07 point guards.

This weekend he was unable to lead the Lightning out of pool play, but his talent is evident. A heady player, Fisher has that New York toughness in his game and he plays with A LOT of passion. He's a crafty dribbler and can get his shot off against anyone. Although he didn't make many jumpers, his shot has good form and nice arc, suggesting that he'll be a solid shooter on the next level. He's more quick than fast, and is very good at leading the fast break where he can either score himself or set up his teammates for easy baskets.

Like many of the greats that have come out of New York City, Fisher is a pass-first point guard who prefers to get his teammates the ball. He'll need to step up his consistency to keep being mentioned in the same sentence with guys like Telfair, Kenny Anderson, and Stephon Marbury, but the talent is there.

Brock Young, 5'10 PG, Garner Road - Brock's received plenty of hype around the triangle because he's put up terrific numbers at Broughton High School, but he'll need to continue to improve to attract ACC-level interest. A little on the short side, Young appears to be undersized at this point, but plays much tougher than his size would indicate. He loves to attack the basket and get in the lane, but when playing against bigger opponents he struggles to finish at the rim. He appears to be a scoring point guard at this stage, preferring to look for his own shot as opposed to setting up his teammates. He has a nice crossover that frees him for his jumper whenever he wants it, and looks comfortable shooting the deep ball.

Will he develop into an ACC-type point guard? At this point it's too early to say, but programs like NC State, Wake Forest, and Clemson will certainly keep watching him.

Players we were unable to watch: SG/SF Eric Wallace, G Tyree Graham, PG Zach Rosen


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