Rose City Showcase - Player Analysis

Drawing teams from across the country, Portland's Rose City Showcase is the premier AAU event in the Pacific Northwest. Here are a few of the players who were on display, with first-hand analysis of their play.

PG Brandon Jennings - 6-1, Oak Hill Academy, VA (Oakland Soldiers): While Jrue Holiday might garner most of the recruiting spotlight out West, Jennings might end up being the bigger impact player in the Pac-10. The recent Arizona commit is blazing quick, and peerless at his size attacking the basket. Woe to the defender who guards him, Jennings constantly left defenders in a heap as his ankle-breaking crossovers propelled him unmolested to the rim, despite some of the top posts in the country patrolling the key. With his Oakland Soldiers totally outsized and outmanned, Jennings' unrelenting pressure somehow managed to keep all five defenders constantly occupied with his whereabouts, creating opportunities for his teammates. A truly Elite player.

SG Jrue Holiday - 6-3, Campbell Hall, CA (Pump-n-Run): What can be said about Jrue Holiday that hasn't been said already? Holiday is at his best attacking the hoop, leaving defenders in a heap of jaw-dropping confusion. Holiday juked and jived his way through traffic, displaying an uncanny ability in finding the hoop, seemingly oblivious to the constant battering by bigger opponents trying to thwart his attack. His effortless delivery from long range burned defenders trying to gain an advantage by giving him space. His defensive efforts never relented, but his unyielding focus could be his biggest asset. Holiday was at his best when the games got close. With a steely look of determination that said, ‘get out of my way,' he became a human wrecking ball, letting nothing deter him from his purpose. Washington fans have seen that look before, from a player named Brandon Roy.

PG Jerime Anderson - 6-1, Canyon HS, CA (Pump-n-Run): The biggest head-scratcher of the tournament was Anderson, who struggled to say the least, getting thoroughly schooled by unknown Rotary point guard Reggie Moore. Maybe his lofty rankings have created unfair expectations, but the No. 3 point guard in the 2008 class looked overwhelmed at times and struggled pushing the tempo. One weekend is hardly enough time to make a fair assessment of a player's talents, and he clearly possesses a keen basketball IQ and feel for the flow of the game, but he also appeared slow and limited athletically while struggling with his jump shot. Lastly, his inability to find smooth 7-foot post Jeff Whithey - despite him being almost constantly open - points to Anderson needing some serious seasoning before he is ready to make his presence felt with the UCLA Bruins.

PF Luke Babbitt - 6-8, Galena HS, NV (Indiana Elite): Babbitt is a multi-tooled talent, still finding his place on the court. Physically bigger and stronger than most opponents, Babbitt lacks the explosive legs of some of the other high-profile forwards in the tournament, but made up for it with phenomenally soft hands and long-range ability that few players at this level are capable of defending. Where his game got muddy came during his many attempts at running the point, which seemed to be the primary focus of his play. Though his handles are exceptional for his size, his lack of quickness, high dribble and inability to penetrate with his left hand limited his effectiveness out on the perimeter, often resulting in forced three-point attempts or turnovers. A very nice young post player overall, though.

PF Emmanuel Negedu - 6-7, Brewster Academy, NH (Indiana Elite): Arizona got a good one when Negedu committed to the Wildcats in April. Though totally raw and unpolished, Negedu threw down dunk after rim-rattling dunk, using his massive, sculpted body and explosive legs to flush put-backs that would have shattered lesser rims. Somewhere, Shawn Kemp is smiling.

SF Lance Stephenson - 6-5, Abraham Lincoln HS, NY (Atlanta Celtics): An undeniable talent for 2009, Stevenson blew up during the All-Star game Friday night before folding up shop for the weekend. The only thing that stood out about the outstanding 2009 forward beyond that was the prima-dona attitude he carried on the court while constantly whining and complaining to the refs.

PF Matt Simpkins - 6-9, Capital Christian, CA (Oakland Soldiers): The 2008 post is another raw but dynamite athlete who uses his strong body to make his presence felt, particularly on the defensive end. Simpkins also threw down several powerful dunks, and though he didn't display any dependable back to the basket moves, his motor rarely stopped when battling for rebounds and loose balls. Simpkins looks to be headed to Cal.
Local Players:

PG Peyton Siva - 5-11, Franklin HS, Seattle (Seattle Rotary): There's quick, and than there's 'Siva quick'. With apologies to the fleet-footed Brandon Jennings, there might not be any player on the West coast with Siva's blend of quickness and leaping ability. Though Siva struggled to get going against Pump-n-Run, his fearless assault never failed to draw gasps from spectators. Unfortunately for Siva, Pump's center Jeff Whithey wasn't impressed, negating much of the 5-foot-11 Siva's vaunted explosiveness. Still, one of top point guard prospects in the country for 2009.

SG Mark McLaughlin - 6-4, Inglemoor HS, Kenmore (Seattle Rotary): McLaughlin struggled against Pump-n-Run, never really getting comfortable and further demonstrating why the Bothell native is such a tough player to place. For all of his offensive prowess, defensively he is still a huge question mark, and his body is physically immature for a kid his age. While he continues to see heavy interest from high majors across the West Coast, many seem to have taken a wait-and-see attitude as they continue to monitor his development.

PG Reggie Moore - 6-1, Rainier Beach HS, Seattle (Seattle Rotary): Moore's stock is on the rise, and with good reason. His 25-point outburst against Pump-n-Run's elite perimeter players put his multi-faceted skills on display. Demonstrating above-average quickness and a solid range from outside, Moore's poise and composure - despite drawing constant attention from Jrue Holiday and Jerime Anderson - kept Rotary in the ball game until the waning minutes of the second half, when Pump-n-Run pulled away. If he continues his improvement, especially in a relatively-weak 2008 class of point guards, Moore may very well find his way onto a high-major roster. He currently has an offer from Santa Clara.

C/F Joshua Smith - 6-6.5, Kentwood HS, Kent (Seattle Rotary): Smith is getting stronger. The squishy 6-foot-9 freshman from Kent is slowly shedding his "baby" weight, while adding strength, and the results are apparent under the hoop as he is better able to hold his own against older, more physically mature opponents. Smith's tantalizing blend of size and skill, coupled with his young age, make him one of the more intriguing prospects on the West Coast - but he needs to improve his all-around level of intensity to become a legit elite prospect. He continues to see attention from high-majors across the country with Georgetown being the most-recent program to show significant interest.

SG Michael Ladd - 6-4, Rainier Beach HS, Seattle (Friends of Hoop): In the absence of star player Isaiah Thomas (currently playing at a camp in Europe) Friends of Hoop 2008 wing Michael Ladd put up three very solid performances against higher-profile foes. Ladd has a well-rounded game, devoid of any glaring flaws, and though he lacks the explosive athleticism that would likely propel him into a high-major program, he is still an excellent athlete and his versatile game is drawing increased notice at the mid-major level. Top Stories