Scout on the Road

Here are some recent evaluations of emerging elite junior James Harden from Artesia, Taft sophomore point guard Larry Drew, and more...

James Harden, 6-5 JR SG/SF Lakewood (Calif.) Artesia. No player has done more to improve his stock this season than Harden. A very heady lefty with a smooth stroke to 23 feet, Harden plays the game the right way. He's not a spectacular athlete, but he always seems to be just athletic enough to make whatever play needs to be made. He plays with a bit of an edge that is unusual in Southern California. He can finish inside against size and he has a variety of shots in his arsenal. This isn't a great comparison, but he reminds us a bit of Josh Shipp in that he's always around the ball and he gets some garbage points like Shipp does. Harden plays unselfishly and willingly rebounds and defends. He's not going to make a lot of highlight plays, but Harden is a winner and he figures to be much in demand among high major programs. UCLA has been out to watch Harden and is recruiting him.

Gerald McClemore, 6-2 JR SG San Diego (Calif.) Scripps Ranch. McClemore has been a bit under the radar, as he didn't get seen much last summer and he was hurt for much of this season. We like his poise and presence on the court. He makes good decisions and doesn't force the action. He's got a good frame and he's a pretty good athlete. He's a good, not great, shooter and he can shoot it off the bounce. He doesn't make a lot of flashy plays, but he generally makes the right play. We think he should definitely attract a lot of interest at the mid major level and possibly higher by the end of summer.

Larry Drew, 5-10 SO PG Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft. Drew struggled when we saw him earlier in the season, making shaky decisions at times and not doing a good job of getting his teammates the right shots. But in two recent games, Drew played very well, showing off a better feel for the game and doing a great job of running the show. His outside shot has still not come back to where it was last summer, but he can have a big impact on a game merely by making the right decisions. Drew hasn't changed much physically in the last year. We keep assuming he's going to grow, as he doesn't look proportional. With a couple more inches, and continued development in his game, we expect Drew to be a very good point guard at the high major level. Drew continues to be on UCLA's short list of point guards in the 2008 class.

Oscar Bellfield, 6-1 SO SG Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft. Bellfield is a terrific athlete, with explosive leaping ability and excellent quickness. He's usually in constant motion all over the court and he can be a very disruptive force on defense. Bellfield shot the ball very well in the game we saw – knocking down six threes – but he's not always a consistent shooter. He can sometimes struggle with the concept of good shot/bad shot. Bellfield is going to play the two in college and he really needs to improve his ball-handling. At his size, he's got to become a better passer, as well as a more consistent shooter. With improvement in those areas, we think Bellfield will have a very good shot of playing at the mid major level, with a chance to go higher.

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