Hatts: Athletes First G Jakolby Long
POSITIVES: JaKolby Long (pictured above) showed the ability to be a plus defender with the way he was able to stay in front of one of the top EYBL players in Bruce Brown. Long moved his feet very well on the defensive end and stay active especially on help defense. As the second half wore on, as well, Long also showed he can score quickly, especially from the outside the arc with a quick release from behind the three-point line. The final positive from Long was at 6-4, 200-pounds he showed he could hold his own down in the post especially against the bigger Brown.
NEGATIVES: While Long excelled on the offensive end shooting the ball, the 6-4,200-pound point guard struggled at times turning the ball over. Long had one bad turnover at midcourt that led to an easy breakaway dunk for Brown but he also struggled trying to force the ball into the paint that also led to a couple of turnovers. With his size and athleticism that Long has, it was also a little disappointing to see he was not more involved in rebounding the basketball. Both of these areas are something he can definitely work on throughout the summer to make himself more of a complete player.
HATT’S TAKE: Long is a very solid player and would fit in perfectly on the defensive end for Larry Brown’s squad. One thing that should be noted was Long was being forced to play the point guard spot because his AAU team Athletes First lost their point guard in the game before. Early on for SMU, Long would provide another good option on the defensive end and someone who can knock down a couple shots a game at the shooting guard spot. The one other good part about Long’s game is the intensity he brought to the floor throughout his games which would also fit perfectly under Larry Brown.
Patrick: Team Final G Tony Carr
POSITIVES: Carr is an offense-oriented point guard capable of putting a team on his back. He did just that in the second half of Team Final’s Saturday morning game against King James Shooting Stars, putting a poor first-half shooting performance behind him and erasing a double-digit deficit to force overtime. He consistently attacked off the dribble using his good ball-handling abilities, drew contact and finished through contact to get and-1 chances. He’s aggressive and is at his best with the ball in his hands working into the lane, and can pull up for a jumper if given a little space. At 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds, Carr has great length for a point guard and even can stay with opposing two-guards. Carr is also an excellent transition player. He hustles down the floor in both transition offense and defense and can quickly accelerate and decelerate. He was called for a foul trying to block a layup in transition, but it was a questionable call since he appeared to get only ball. Lastly, Carr has a good sense of the floor and spacing and is a capable passer.
NEGATIVES: Long-range shooting isn’t Carr’s strength. He is a capable three-point shooter in catch-and-shoot situations when given room, but when he shoots off the dribble or tries to create his own shot, his form deteriorates and he misses badly. He took a couple shots like that in the first half against King James. In his second game, against The Family, Carr shot just 1-for-8 from the floor. He’s just not a consistent or high-volume three-point threat.
PATRICK’S TAKE: Carr is an impact player who can score without a consistent long-range shot. Even when he’s not scoring, he makes his presence felt. Despite the off shooting night against The Family, Carr still grabbed seven rebounds and handed out fives assists. Carr could step in for a high-major program and play right away, probably as a backup so he can take time to refine his scoring approach at the college level.
Billy: BABC G Bruce Brown
POSITIVES: Brown is a sturdy combo guard that can go after rebounds, be a tough defender and a leader on the floor for his team. As his coach Leo Papile told me, “at the next level, guards that can rebound and defend are worth their weight in gold.” Brown is the perfect example of that and is what Larry Brown looks for in his guards. Brown doesn’t have out of this world athleticism, but does manage to be able to blow by defenders at times with his strength and get to the basket. Brown also made plays off the ball well, cutting to the basket for easy layups and directing his teammates into scoring positions.
NEGATIVES: In the two games I watched, Brown did have struggles from the free throw line, but did make a couple late to help seal a win for his team. He’s not going to create too much off the dribble, as his handles still need to develop if he’s to be a point guard at the next level. Most programs are recruiting him as a point guard, but Scout projects him as a shooting guard/wing so that might not be too much of a worry for him after all.
BILLY’S TAKE: For SMU’s system and team personality, Brown is a great fit. Brown wants to do whatever it takes to win and he’s willing to get dirty and play the right way. With his shot falling, there’s not many other guards on SMU’s radar that would be a bigger pickup. Brown’s ability to defend, rebound and score off the catch and shoot would be a great addition to SMU’s backcourt. Getting this experience now as a point guard will only help him at the next level, gaining experience on running the show for a team. Brown reminds me a lot of Sterling Brown on the floor with better handles even. He’s not as tenacious on the boards, but he’s a solid all-around prospect at the guard position.