Gym Rats Player Analysis

<i>IC</i> correspondent Dan Baker scouts the top players at the Gym Rats Midnight Madness last Saturday in Cherry Hill, NJ. Included are three juniors that the Carolina staff is recruiting: Olu Famutimi, Leon Powe and Trevor Ariza.

Maurice Ager continued his striking play that lit up the hoops world at the Tournament of Champions in May. Although slight of build, he had no problem slashing to the hoop. He also showed his smooth outside touch. Ager's game is very efficient, wasting little, but scoring effectively. With a little more weight, he should have a solid career at Michigan State.

Omar Williams, from across the Delaware River in Philadelphia, is not as well known as some of the other national players, but it didn't seem to bother him. He showed a great handle for someone standing 6-9 and never seemed to run out of new ways to take the ball to the hoop. While he may have had the skinniest legs on the court, he had no fear about mixing it up inside against the wider bodies.

Olu Famutimi showed why the world is watching. His game has progressed geometrically since a year ago. He exploded off his feet and, in his two games here, he did everything - handled the ball, hit 3's, caught alley-oops, took defenders off the dribble, rebounded, smiling the whole way through. As he moves more and more out of his shell, he is guaranteed to terrorize all opponents over the next several years.

Leon Powe, ranked by some as the No. 2 junior in the country, continues to impress. While he didn't exhibit the outside game that he showed at ABCD, Powe dominated inside, grabbing every loose ball and hurting a couple of very innocent rims. He runs the court very well, and is only an improved jumpshot and a few inches shy of being absolutely unstoppable. Those issues will probably prevent an immediate jump to the NBA, but some college program is going to be extremely lucky and happy.

Trevor Ariza is a slender 6-9 forward who, despite his height, appears to be more of a 3 than a 4. He moves fluidly and plays well in transition. His game is a little passive, but does not lack skills. His size, shot and ability to move will make him a highly recruited player over the next year. With a little more intensity and more range, he's a top-20 player.

Matt Walsh, on his way to Florida next year, showed that the "upside" part of his reputation was merited. Walsh has shown that he has a lot of talent, but is prone to bad decisions at times. Such was not the case here. Walsh was everywhere on the court, rebounding, passing, dunking, hitting his odd-looking jumpers, picking up loose balls and scoring in transition.

DeAngelo Alexander can shoot. At 6-5, he will play SG at the next level. The knock on him has been his ballhandling. But, Alexander showed that he could do more than just shoot open jumpers. He showed that he could take the ball to the hole, and did so against some impressive defenders in Leon Powe and Omar Williams. He has a game similar to Daniel Ewing, with a better shot, but not quite as quick. Very smooth.

Dom Mejia is a local product who shot the lights out against some top competition. Probably destined to a mid-major as a 2, he showed that range is not a problem, as he hit five 3's, several from NBA range.

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