Prospects at Tourney, Part 2

From this last weekend's Las Vegas Easter Classic, we profile UCLA's top junior targets, Kyle Singler and Kevin Love, and there is a potentially elite sophomore from Washington, Clarence Trent, you'll want to know about...

Here are our thoughts on some of the players we saw on Friday and Saturday at the Las Vegas Easter Classic.

Kyle Singler, 6-8 JR PF Medford (Ore.) South Oregon. Singler put on a show yesterday and demonstrated very clearly why he's one of the top players in the country. He shot the ball deep, posted up strong inside, took people off the dribble and did it all without forcing the action. Singler has a very high basketball IQ and he rarely makes a bad decision. At times, he seemed to be toying with the opposition. He seemingly gets bigger every time we see him and we're now convinced he'll play the four in college. He's got the skill set to play the three but could struggle defending quicker, smaller three men (although he's so smart he could probably figure out how to defend them). But it's quite possible Singler gets a little bigger before college and he's going to be a very difficult matchup for college post players. He can stretch a defense with his deep range, but if you put someone smaller on him, he'll kill you in the post Very skilled players with a truly great feel for the game are rare these days and that's why Singler is one of the very elite prospects in the country. He's a future pro.

Kevin Love, 6-9 JR C Lake Oswego (Calif.) High. Love didn't show up until Friday night, but he made his presence known right away in the first game he played. There aren't many high school kids who can handle Love and he pretty much did whatever he wanted in the games we saw him play this weekend. Love is an underrated passer and he had several nice assists. We were particularly impressed when he twice passed up wide open three-point shots and made the extra pass to an open teammate. Love has great size – he's really wide and takes up space in the paint – as well as a very high skill level. But it's his feel for the game that really sets him apart from other high school big men. He'll be an impact player in college from day one.

Jerryd Bayless, 6-2 JR SG Phoenix (Ariz.) St. Mary's. COMMITTED TO ARIZONA. We felt pretty certain after last summer that Bayless wouldn't play the point in college and we're sure of it after watching him at this tournament. Quite simply, Bayless has a scorer's mentality. And that's a good thing – because he has a chance to be a big-time scorer at the next level. He's got the explosive hops and quickness to get his shot off against just about anyone. He's more a scorer than pure shooter, though, and he's developed a very nice mid-range game. Decision-making and shot selection are two areas where Bayless needs to improve. He has a tendency to force things at times and often gets caught jumping in the air and forcing a bad shot. He also needs to learn that this isn't a game where style trumps substance. He's sometimes more concerned with making a spectacular play than just making the right play. However, he's a gifted athlete and, with coaching, he could develop into an outstanding two guard at Arizona.

Zane Johnson, 6-6 JR SG/SF Phoenix (Ariz.) Thunderbird. Johnson has been one of our favorite players in this class for a couple years now. He's got a solid body, and he's a good athlete, but it's his feel for the game and his stroke that really stand out. He's improved his ability to put the ball on the floor in the last year and he made several nice plays off the dribble in a game yesterday morning. He'll be a high major prospect.

Carlon Brown, 6-3 JR SG Riverside (Calif.) King. Brown was the find of the day for us. He was outstanding in a game against the Arizona Magic, nearly single-handedly leading Belmont Shore to an upset win before the Magic rallied to pull it out. Brown has a strong body – good legs – and the ability to get his own shot. He can make tough shots when he's off balance, but also showed good vision with several nice passes off penetration. He's got a solid feel for the game and he may end up playing a little point guard someday. He's also defended very well and showed excellent toughness and competitiveness. We want to watch him some more, but he looks like he could end up a high major player.

Harper Kamp, 6-7 JR C/PF Mesa (Ariz.) Mountain View. COMMITTED TO CAL. Kamp has a nice feel for the game and he plays with good energy. However, he has very little upside as he's got a thick body with very little lift. He understands how to post up and seal off a defender and he can score around the basket inside of ten feet. His shot beyond that is inconsistent at this point. While he might end up a nice role player for Cal, we don't see him as an impact guy at the high major level.

Isaiah Thomas, 5-7 JR PG Tacoma (Wash.) Curtis. Thomas had a terrific year scoring points up in Washington this season and it's easy to see why. He's got good quickness and a very nice stroke with deep range. However, his lack of height and his smallish frame will make it very difficult for him to play at the high major level. He has a very bad habit of jumping in the air each time he comes down the lane. That might play in high school basketball, but it doesn't play in high level AAU ball against size and it certainly won't play in college. Thomas is a shoot-first point guard and he'll knock down shots all day if you leave him open. If he's to play at the high major level, he really needs to get better at creating for his teammates and making them better. As of now, we project him as a mid major prospect.

Trey Gross, 6-2 JR PG/SG San Jose (Calif.) Edison. We didn't get a long look at him, but we liked what we saw from Gross. He's got good size and length, with a nice stroke to the stripe. He appeared to have a pretty good feel as well, with good vision and passing ability. We'll definitely be taking more looks at him this spring.

Clarence Trent, 6-7 SO PF/SF Gig Harbor (Wash.) High. In a state that has had some great talent come out in recent years, Trent may be the next big thing. He's got the body – strong and long – athleticism (big time hops), and high skill level that leads one to believe he could end up an elite prospect. He's got a solid stroke to the stripe and the ability to finish above the rim in traffic. He's very skilled for a four man and he might end up playing some three. He has the quickness to defend on the perimeter but also the strength to play in the paint. He's got a good frame and big feet (may get bigger). He gets up awfully easy and quickly too. He's got a couple more years to develop, but he has a chance to be an elite, high major prospect.

Ameer Shamsud-din, 6-1 SO PG/SG Portland (Ore.) Benson. Shamsud-din isn't a natural point guard and he's going to need to improve his handle if he's to play the position in college. Where Shamsud-din excels is as a scorer. He's got a knack for scoring from multiple spots on the floor. He made pretty good decisions yesterday and he's got a decent feel for the game. He's a good athlete and should be able to defend pretty well if he puts his mind to it. Like a lot of young players, Shamsud-din doesn't always apply himself at the defensive end and that's something he'll have to work on. With continued development, a potential high major prospect.


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