Evaluations from Cream Tourney

A 6-10 junior center prospect has improved enough to be a high major prospect, and 6-8 senior Deon Thompson cements his status as one of the best low-post scorers in the west at the recent FullCourt Press Cream of the Crop Challenge...

The Fullcourt Press Cream of the Crop Challenge was only a two-day event, but there were a number of talented players on hand. Here's our take on some of the players who stood out at the event.

Deon Thompson, 6-8 SR C Torrance (Calif.) High. Other than Spencer Hawes, Thompson is the best low-post scorer in the West Coast class of 2006. He's got great feet and hands – he's very nimble for his size and quick off the floor. His feel for the game is exceptional. He's a better passer out of the post than many college players. He'll look opposite to find open shooters and he'll also dump the ball out when he realizes he doesn't have great position. He can score in a variety of ways. He's very good going to either shoulder, but he can also face-up out to about 15 feet. He's got a very soft touch around the basket and he understands how to create space. Rebounding is the one area that he needs to work on. His body is in much better shape than it was a year ago, but he'll likely get even better physically with some work in the weight room. An elite, high major prospect.

Sean Williams, 6-10 JR C Villa Park (Calif.) High. Two years ago, if you had suggested that Williams would be an elite prospect, you would have been laughed out of any gym in Southern California. Williams was going through growing pains that were so bad he could barely run. The highest level that you might have suggested for him would be as a mid major – and that would have seemed like a stretch. Today, Williams has grown into his body and he's running the court very well. He's got a great frame, with very long arms, and he should fill out well. He's clearly getting excellent coaching at Villa Park, because he's got good low-post habits – keeps the ball high and doesn't put it on the floor. His offensive game is still in the rudimentary stages, but he's tough if he gets the ball anywhere near the basket. He's going to be a major force defensively in a couple years. He's a little late on some plays today, but that should improve as he gets more experience (he's only played for a couple years). His improvement in the last year might be the most dramatic that I've seen from a player in the time I've been doing this job. An elite, high major prospect.

Kevin Coble, 6-7 SR SF Phoenix (Ariz.) Scottsdale Christian. Slender forward with a nice stroke. Decent athlete, has some length. Needs to add weight and strength for next level. Likely mid major prospect.

Joe Johnson, 5-9 SR PG Gardena (Calif.) Serra. Quick point guard with good instincts. Loves to drive and kick. Shot is not good, though, and he'll need to improve in that area. Possible low to mid major prospect.

Jordan Cameron, 6-4 SR SG Newbury Park (Calif.) High. Good-looking kid with nice basketball actions. Good body -- has some length and should get stronger as he matures. Good stroke with range to the three-point line. Possible mid major prospect.

Omondi Amoke, 6-5 JR SF Oxnard (Calif.) High. A high major prospect a year ago, Amoke has regressed somewhat as a prospect. He's been hurt off and on for several months now and his body is somewhat questionable for a high major wing. He doesn't have great quickness and appears to have lost some of his explosiveness. He's got pretty good ball skills, but doesn't play with a lot of urgency and didn't make many plays in the games we saw. He's still got time to get his game back in order, but he'll need to make significant improvements if he's going to be an elite prospect.

David Norris, 6-5 SR SG Norco (Calif.) High. A pleasant surprise for us – we'd never seen him before -- Norris is a good-looking wing with length and some athleticism. His shot is just decent at this time, but he's active and has some upside.

Nate Schulte, 6-4 SR PF Las Vegas (Nev.) Palo Verde. Schulte looks like he's slimmed down a bit, as he's leaner and moves a little better than he did the last time we saw him. He's one of the tougher players in the class and previously he loved to bang inside. Now he's trying to play on the wing and he's a bit miscast on the perimeter. He's not a shooter and his ball skills are just adequate. While we understand that he probably wants to play at a high level – and realizes that he needs to play on the wing to do so – we think he's getting away from what he does best. He's very effective around the basket, using his strength and physicality to make plays inside. Ultimately, we see him as a low to possibly mid major four man.

Ben Aird, 6-7 SO C Bountiful (Utah) High. Bulky post with pretty good hands and feet. Will bang inside, effective around the basket. Limited upside physically, but plays hard and will defend.

Taylor Brown, 6-5 SO SF/SG Salt Lake City (Utah) Alta. Good-looking young wing with a very good stroke and range. We only saw him briefly, but he appears to be a wing to watch in the 2008 class.

Malcolm Lee, 6-2 SO PG Riverside (Calif.) North. Good-sized point with some quickness and ball skills. Has some length, could get bigger. Fairly good shooter and potentially a good defender.

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