Howland watched the usual prospects Thursday, and there was one that might have improved his stocked considerably.
Javan Felix, the 5-11 point guard from New Orleans (Louisiana) St. Augustine, played very well in front of Howland. Felix isn't ideal physically, very thick, looking like he's a linebacker without much upside for his body, but he has good quickness, and a very good feel and passing ability to go with a talent to score. He is easily one of the best point guards we've seen at the Invitational, and it wasn't getting lost on the on-looking coaches from around the country who were clearly recognizing his ability. He went through just about two entire games making great decisions, making the smart, easy pass but also threading the needle in the half-court and in transition. It got to the point that the opponents of his New Orleans Elite team put a guy on him to shadow him, to try to deny him the ball, but Felix was still effective. He's a right hander, but he can go left very well, with a good handle, and a strong ability to break down his defender. After Howland left Indianapolis, assistant coach Phil Mathews traveled to one of the out-lying gyms to watch Felix again. It will be interesting to see if UCLA steps up its interest in Felix.
Shabazz Muhammad, the 6-5 wing, Dream Vision, had a phenomenal game, from what we hear (we opted to watch Atlanta Celtics instead. Sorry, can't be in two places at once. Luckily, though we had some people we trust at the Dream Vision game). He played against the former #1 national player, Andre Drummond, and reportedly was phenomenal in taking his effort to the next level leading Dream Vision to the win.
Jordan Adams, the 6-4 shooting guard from the Atlanta Celtics committed to UCLA, had an okay game Thursday, hitting a couple of threes with his quick release and making a couple of successful drives, but then he struggled a bit against the athletes on Indiana Elite (who beat the Celtics, by the way). Here's the thing about Adams: He's only 16 years old, very young for his age, and you'd have to assume he has quite a bit of development left, including the possibility of his body tightening up some.
William Goodwin, the 6-7 power forward on the Celtics, after having a great day Wednesday, struggled Thursday against a well-coached and big Indiana Elite team. Here's the thing about Goodwin, too: He's 16 years old also, and even younger than Adams, not turning 17 until September. It explains a great deal, just his demeanor on the court and such. At one point, on a dead ball, standing next to his opponent, he put his arm around him, and the player was a bit in shock when he realized that it was Shaq. I don't think I've ever seen a 6-7ish, 220-pound athlete get up the court and run like Goodwin can. He literally must be able to run a 4.6 40. He's an exceptional athlete, and even though he might have a bad day here and there and still be maturing, his upside is scary.
Zena Edosomwan, the 6-7 power forward on Double Pump Elite, had a poor outing against one of the best centers in the country, Cameron Ridley, in the morning, and then had a better game against mid-major posts in the afternoon. Howland saw the first game, however, but not the second (Mathews was at the second). Ridley, who is about 6-9 and 245, was just too much for Edosomwan, able to get position, body up and do just about what he wanted against him. Edosomwan, while he's physical to a degree, still could be more physical, especially against someone like Ridley. You'd like to see Edosomwan, who has a great body, try to beat the hell out of someone like that instead of shying away a bit.
Tyrone Wallace, the 6-4 combo guard with Double Pump Elite, seemed to take his game to another speed again in the afternoon Thursday. You can see him starting to gain confidence, just two days into the July Evaluation period, and realizing that he can physically take on just about anyone guarding him. And he's able to do it still looking physically immature without much muscle compared to other guards. Again, in a few years when he realizes his athletic potential and gains muscle, Wallace is going to be a high-level college player.
Robert Upshaw, the 6-11 center with Dream Vision, we were told injured his finger and didn't play much, or didn't play to his capability Wednesday.
Xavier Johnson, the 6-5 wing with Dream Vision, had a couple of better moments, according to sources, but mostly still appeared out-of-sync.
Jordan Tebbutt, the 6-5 power forward with Double Pump Elite, isn't probably someone the Bruins will move on. Tebbutt is a very good prospect – as probably a mid-major power forward, or a combo forward at the least. It's commendable that he's put in the work to try to lean down and make himself a guard/wing, but there's just no denying that he's in his element around the basket. When Double Pump uses him in the block the team actually starts to play fairly well.
UCLA is still trying to stay involved with Ricardo Gathers, the 6-6 prospect who is the #7-ranked power forward in the nation. But from what we hear, the Bruins have little chance.
Howland and Mathews have been watching Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison, the 6-4 twin junior shooting guards from Richmond (Tex.) Travis, who are the #7 and #12 prospects nationally in the 2013 class. Both Harrisons are talented, with very smooth, pretty shooting strokes, great bodies and athleticism.