Three North Carolina teams participated in the 17 and under bracket. I was able to watch Kappa Magic and the Charlotte Royals three times, and the North Carolina Red Storm twice. Here are my thoughts on some of the potential Wake targets I saw this weekend.
Chris Paul 6-0 PG West Forsyth/Kappa Magic - The first thing I noticed about Chris was his on-court demeanor. He is one of the most competitive players I've watched, and he truly fits into the "floor general" category, constantly barking out orders to teammates who seem to respect his commands.
As far as playing ability, Chris is a very unique and talented player. First off, Chris seemed to get at least two or three wide opens looks at 3-pointers per game, and he didn't come close to missing any of them. His effectiveness did decrease significantly when a defender was nearby, and he was much more comfortable catching and shooting as opposed to shooting off the dribble. Very few of Chris' points came inside the three-point line. He didn't look for mid-range jumpers. Taking the ball to the hoop is definitely not a strength right now. When he does penetrate, he is almost always looking to pass, even if there is a path to the basket. Chris is not a physically strong player even at this level, and he'll need to get stronger if he ever wants to consistently score in traffic.
Chris' strength is in his passing. He consistently pushed the ball and looked to get it to open teammates. He did force a few too many passes, at times trying for the spectacular when something less would have been effective.
Defensively, Chris gets his hands on a lot of passes. He is not as effective as an on-the-ball defender, but is quick enough to do an adequate job.
For what it's worth (probably not much), the consensus in the stands this weekend is that State is the school to beat for Chris' services.
Reyshawn Terry 6-7 SF RJ Reynolds/Kappa Magic - By far the biggest disappointment of the weekend. Long and quick, you would think that he would be the ultimate wing player when you look at him. However, his production did not live up to the hype.
Rumors are he was sick this weekend. Even so, it was Rey's style of play that disappointed me. He consistently settled for jumpers that were not falling all weekend, as opposed to using his athleticism to pressure defenders and get to the basket. He showed a couple glimpses of his potential, including an acrobatic follow-up slam in traffic on the opening night, but for the most part he was a non-factor on a very good team. His ball-handling and rebounding were average at best.
Defensively, you would expect this type of athlete to leave his mark with his team's constant pressure defense. He did get his hands on some passes, but often he would disappear on the defensive end.
Despite his poor play this weekend, Rey will be a big-time player at the next level if he gets a boost of aggressiveness to his playing style.
Eddie Green 6-9 PF/C RJ Reynolds/Kappa Magic - Another player whose play does not live up to what is expected by looking at him. Has nice size and is fairly athletic, but is far too passive for his own good. Does not establish himself strongly in the post, and when he did get the ball near the basket he often resorted to a finesse move instead of powering the ball up. More often than not was unsuccessful with his finesse. Also had too many rebounds knocked out of his hands. He'll have to step it up a notch or two to be an ACC-level recruit.
Keith Foster 6-8 PF RJ Reynolds/Kappa Magic - I liked what I saw from Keith. A strong inside player, he consistently converted his chances to score, and was a force on the glass. Fairly quick defender relative to his size, he often was the point man for the full court press. Solid player who understands his roll and does it well.
Brandon Setzer 6-6 C Thomasville (NC)/Kappa Magic - "Big B" probably isn't going to play in the ACC, but he could serve as an example to players like Eddie Green on how to score on the inside. Brandon is a wide body who knows how to free up space when he gets the ball down low, and had a very nice scoring touch. Also surprised me with his hops when challenging shots defensively. If he could gain a couple inches and lose a few pounds, he could be a really nice college player.
Dion Dacons 6-6 F Oak Hill Academy/Charlotte Royals - Dion is the son of former Statesville (NC) High coach Pierre Dacons. Dion spent the past year at Oak Hill Academy and did not get a lot of playing time behind their long list of talented seniors. He impressed me this weekend as a very good all-around player. Dion has a nose for the ball, getting a lot of follow-up baskets and coming away with a lot of loose balls. He is fearless around the basket and was one of the best finishers all weekend. He also showed a very nice touch in warm-ups and the few times he shot a jumper in a game. I would have liked to have seen him be a little more selfish with his shooting.
I question if he really is 6-6, so unless he has a growth spurt he'll probably have to play SF in college. One big question will be if he is quick enough to guard on the perimeter. He'll definitely be a player to keep an eye on, especially this winter when he'll get a chance to shine at Oak Hill.
Anthony King 6-8 PF Durham Southern/NC Red Storm - Has a big-time body but was unimpressive this weekend. Rebounded the ball well, but struggled on offense, not showing a lot of good moves in the post and missing badly with his jumpers. Has a lot of major names recruiting him right now, so I expected him to be a lot better.
Bobby Perry 6-7 SF/PF Durham Hillside/NC Red Storm - The more I saw Bobby this weekend, the better I liked him. A solid all-around player who did a little bit of everything. His team was weak at the PG position, and Bobby ended up handling the ball a lot more than might have been expected. Bobby was also a major rebounder at both ends of the floor. Offensively, Bobby showed a nice shooting touch, but was at his best getting to the basket. He was very effective finishing even with heavy contact. Will need to continue improving his outside shot, as he is not a big 3-point threat right now.
Todd Hendley 6-8 PF Sanford (NC) Lee County/NC Red Storm - A relatively new name to the list of possible Wake prospects. One of the best outside shooting big men all weekend. Can catch and shoot or step back and hit the jumper. Hit three quick 3-pointers the first game I watched, but became less effective as opponents realized he was not a threat to put the ball on the floor when he got it outside. Stays mainly on the perimeter offensively. Must improve his defense - was flat-footed on multiple occasions as opponents went around him to the hoop. Also needs to rebound better. This weekend he seemed to put a lot more effort into the offensive end of things.
Jeremy Ingram 6-2 SG Kinston (NC)/NC Red Storm - A true scorer who can shoot from deep and is also athletic enough to dunk in traffic. Has the size of a PG, but will probably have to play on the wing most of the time in college, as he is only an average ball handler right now. Average defender.
Akini Adkins 6-9 PF Tallahassee (FL) Leon/Tallahassee Wildcats - Super athlete - the kind of player who would fit in well in a pressure defense system. Attacks the glass at both ends. Had trouble handling the ball at times - perhaps a combination of clumsiness and a heavily bandaged right hand. Aggressive defender who should be able to block a lot of shots. The Cameroon native has only been in the US for about three years. Has a ton of potential, he just needs to gain polish on the offensive end. Has had Wake on his list for several months now. Target of a host of schools from the SEC, ACC and elsewhere. Would be a major recruiting land for Skip Prosser.
COMING SOON - Photos from the weekend.