Malcolm Lee, 6-4 JR PG Riverside (Calif.) North, was the most impressive prospect we saw yesterday. Lee, who committed to UCLA last fall, has shown steady improvement over the last year. His handle is a little tighter, as is his jumpshot. Lee drilled several deep threes in the two games we saw him play yesterday. Lee's stroke is very compact and quick. He seems to just flick his wrist -- he's got great wrists -- and he's knocking down shots from the NBA three-point line.
Lee is very quick for his size and defenders have a tough task trying to guard him. If you try to take away the jumper, he's got the handle and quickness to get to the rim. He's become very adept at shooting off the dribble. He'll take one hard jab step, then step back for a three. And he gets it off so quick that defenders have a tough time contesting the shot. There's some question as to which position Lee will play in college, as he has the size and scoring ability to play the two. But he's also got all the skills to play the one as well. It'll be a nice problem for Ben Howland to have when Lee shows up on campus in another 18 months or so.
Anthony Marshall had a nice showing Thursday, but he was even better yesterday. He has a very good body and nice instincts. Unlike a lot of younger players, Marshall lets the game come to him. He didn't force any bad shots and made a couple nice passes. Marshall is a very good defender and he plays with excellent energy. He's got an advanced feel for the game and makes surprisingly good decisions for a young player. We especially like how he gets after it on the defensive end. It's a little early to project a level for Marshall, as we don't know if he's going to get any bigger. But he's on track to be one of the better two guards in the west for 2009. Marshall told us that he's hearing from UCLA, Kansas, UNLV, Iowa State, Washington, Notre Dame and Stanford.
Victor Rudd, a 6-6 sophomore small forward from Sylmar (Calif.) High, is a very impressive young prospect. Rudd reminds us a bit of a young Trevor Ariza. He's got a great basketball body and he shows excellent instincts. Rudd is a very explosive athlete with solid overall ball skills. He figures to be a high major prospect.
Tyrese Breshers, 6-6 JR PF Los Angeles (Calif.) Price, has been a player we've been touting for some time and he's really starting to blossom. While he would seem to be a bit undersized at 6-6, he actually plays a lot bigger than that. Different people have different comparisons for him -- a Deon Thompson or Craig Smith type -- but there's no question that he's going to be a very good player. He's got an unusual combination of size, long arms and explosive hops. He's got a big butt that he uses to good effect inside, as well as great feet and hands. He consistently surprises opponents with how quickly he gets up. He's got an excellent touch around the basket and he's just starting to show a little jumpshot out to 15 feet or so.
It's his shot-blocking, though, that really surprises you the first time you watch him. You just wouldn't think that a kid his size, with a big body, would get up so quick and so high. We'll have a story on Breshers later, but he told us that his top five schools right now are UCLA, Iowa St., Washington State, Miami and Washington.
Elijah Johnson, 6-2 JR PG Las Vegas (Nev.) Cheyenne, made a switch this season to the Houston Hoops team. He was with the Las Vegas Prospects last year and, frankly, he showed better with the Prospects. Johnson is a point guard and the Hoops team has him playing off the ball. That's a big mistake, as Johnson is clearly better than any of the guards on the Hoops team. Johnson is a big-time athlete, very explosive and quick. He can get to the rim with ease, but also has the vision and passing ability to make teammates better. He didn't shoot it much yesterday from the perimeter, but we've seen him knock down multiple threes in the past. Johnson has all the tools to be an elite prospect, possibly one of the best guards in the class of 2009. However, he needs to make sure he's in a situation that will show his talents.
We wrote about Patrick McCollum, 6-1 JR PG/SG Tacoma (Wash.) Mt. Tahoma, didn't have one of his better days yesterday. We've been pretty high on McCollum as a prospect, but his shot selection was shaky yesterday. The question on McCollum has been whether or not he'll be able to play the one in college. He's got good ball skills and pretty good vision, but he's really more of a scoring lead guard than true one. In any event, we'll be watching McCollum this spring and summer to track his development.
Michael Snaer, 6-4 SO SG Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde, is one of the top shooting guards in the west for 2009. Snaer has a good frame and nice stroke to the stripe. His shot wasn't falling too often yesterday, but we've seen him shoot it very well in the past. Snaer is a very good student, with a reported 3.6 GPA, and we expect him to draw considerable attention at the high major level.
Brad Tinsley, 6-3 JR SG/PG Oregon City (Ore.) High. Tinsley played point guard for Team Jones (club team started by Freddie Jones) and he did a good job of it. He's got an excellent stroke and he's very good at coming off screens and knocking down shots. The question we have on Tinsley is whether he'll be able to play the one in college. He appears to have a nice understanding of the game and he made several good passes in the one game we saw. But we're not sure about his quickness and ability to defend the one at a high level. Tinsley might struggle athletically at the high major level. Right now, he's being recruited by many mid and high majors. With his size and stroke, it's not surprising that the high majors are intrigued. We want to see him play some more this month before we reach any conclusions on an appropriate level.
Jared Cunningham, 6-3 SO PG/SG San Leandro (Calif.) High. We've seen Cunningham several times in the past and he looks to have improved considerably in the last year. He's grown maybe an inch, while adding weight and strength. His hops have improved and he made several plays over the weekend that showed off some nice athleticism. He's always been a pretty good shooter, but his stroke has shortened up and he's now getting it off quicker. He's got a chance to be an elite prospect in the class of 2009.
Chad Adams, 6-6 SO SF Albuquerque (New Mexico) Highland. This was our first look at Adams and he made quite an impression. He's got the prototype body for a wing, with long arms and very good athleticism. He showed range to the three-point line and a very nice stroke. He's certainly someone we'll watch a great deal more in the future. Off this limited viewing, he appeared to be a high major prospect.
Victor Rudd, 6-6 SO SF Sylmar (Calif.) High. Rudd is a good-looking young prospect. He's got long arms and above average athleticism. His shot is accurate to the three-point range and he's a good finisher in transition. Rudd shows unusually good instincts for a young player with his talent. Most kids with his ability want to jack up shots as quickly as possible, but Rudd made consistently good decisions and played well within a team concept. It's still early, but Rudd had a chance to be an elite prospect someday.
Xavier Thames, 6-1 SO SG Pleasant Grove (Calif.) High. We only saw part of one game, but Thames looked good in that portion of the game. He's got a nice bball body, with some length and good quickness. We've got him listed as a two for now, but he may be able to play some point guard down the road. One to keep an eye on in the future.
Avery Bradley, 6-2 SO SG Tacoma (Wash.) Bellarmine Prep. This was our first look at Bradley and he's an interesting prospect. He's got a nice frame, with good lateral quickness. He didn't shoot it much, but appears to have a decent stroke. We only saw him play one game, so we really don't know what kind of feel he has for the game. But he competed well and looks like he may be a guard to watch in 2009.