Diamond Stone- C, Dominican (WI) (2015)
Scoring: Stone is a talented big man with very good hands, footwork, and touch on the block. He is able to carve out deep position in the post because of his pure size and strength. Stone is consistent with jump hooks over either shoulder and he's able to throw in counters and drop step dunks. He can also make jump shots from mid-range out to the three-point line. With his comfort level on the block and ability to shoot, Stone is the best pure post scorer in his class.
Ball Skills: Stone is a very skilled big man with excellent passing skills. At 6-foot-10, he is especially dangerous in the high post and can find openings in the defense for easy baskets. Stone also jump-starts fast breaks with quick and accurate outlet passes. He will need to work on his energy and conditioning to help him maintain position on the post and finish through contact better. However, his unselfishness and passing skills make him a go-to guy in the post.
Defense: Stone is a very good rebounder and defender in the post. He does a great job of carving out his area in the paint and controlling it. Stone is also a good shot blocker and rim protector. He isn't the most athletic big man, but he uses his strength and basketball IQ to be an effective defender. Stone still needs to show more dedication on the defensive end and keep his motor running for entire games. Still, Stone is probably the most complete big in the Class of 2015.
Side Note: Stone is a member of the Young Legends in AAU. After losing 23 pounds, he averaged 17 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks a game as a sophomore. Stone was also selected for the U16 National Team that participated in the FIBA Americas Championship in June. This past weekend, he took an unofficial visit to SMU and attended the UConn game.
Offers: SMU, Arizona, Cal Poly, Connecticut, DePaul, Florida, Georgetown, Illinois, Indiana, LSU, Marquette, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, San Jose State, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Tulsa, UCLA, USC, and Wisconsin.
Measureables: 6-10, 240
Ranking: A five-star in the Class of 2015 and the No. 1 rated center.
Willie Atwood- PF, Connors State C.C. (OK)
Scoring: Atwood is a bruising power forward who has shown the ability to score inside and outside the paint. He is especially good at drawing fouls and finishing through contact under the basket. This season, Atwood scored 49 points in a game by going 33 for 37 from the free throw line. Atwood is a very aggressive and hard-nosed player, but he can also knock down midrange jumpers and score from the perimeter. That versatility makes him an incredibly tough guy to guard.
Ball Skills: Atwood has gone from a 175-pound guard in high school to a 217-pound combo forward at Connors. While putting on all that weight, he has still maintained his ball skills and passing ability for the most part. Atwood is also a very good teammate who sets good screens and plays with great energy on both ends. He needs to continue to work on his post game and transition to playing inside, but Atwood has a lot of potential with better coaching at the next level.
Defense: Atwood is developing into a really good rebounder and defender at his position. He is so strong that he can compete for every board and does a good job of keeping his opponents off the block. Atwood is also versatile enough to guard multiple positions and play opponents passing lanes. Atwood is still a below-average shot blocker, but he has come a long way since high school and there's no reason to think his defense won't continue to improve.
Side Note: Atwood played his first three years of high school basketball at Memphis Melrose and then finished up at West Memphis. He was a member of the Memphis Bearcats in AAU. He is averaging 21.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game this season at Connors.
Offers: Auburn, Central Arkansas, Murray State, Southeast Missouri State, and Wichita State.
Measureables: 6-8, 215
Ranking: A junior college transfer for the Class of 2014 (Originally Class of 2012)
Avery Johnson Jr.- PG, Plano West
Scoring: Johnson is a small, quick guard who has found a way to utilize his size to his advantage. He has the speed and ball handling skills to breakdown defenders and get into the paint with ease. Johnson can always find openings in the defense and create offense for his team. He finishes well through contact and uses a really nice floater to score over big men. Johnson can also knock down midrange jumpers and is developing into a more consistent three-point shooter.
Playmaking Ability: Johnson is an extremely smart point guard who plays the game the right way. He is skilled and tough, but also very unselfish. Johnson understands how to run an offense and does a good job of spreading the ball around to all of his teammates. He still needs to continue to keep his turnovers down and make good decisions with the ball. However, Johnson already has a lot of the essential traits to be a good all-around point guard at the next level.
Defense: Johnson has a lot of work to do on the defensive end. He does a good job of pressuring the ball and causing turnovers, but needs to develop into a better one-on-one defender. Johnson is at a disadvantage because of his size and gets beat by bigger opponents too often. He needs to get stronger and learn how to keep players out of the paint. Although he plays with good energy and always competes, Johnson isn't a very good rebounder or shot blocker either.
Side Note: Johnson transferred former John Cooper in Houston where he averaged 17 points and four assists per game. He is the son of former NBA player and coach Avery Johnson. Johnson has taken multiple visits to SMU with teammate and four-star D.J. Hogg. They are both members of the Texas Titans in AAU.
Measureables: 5-11, 180
Ranking: Unranked in the Class of 2014.
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