Washington prospects at Rose City Showcase

PORTLAND, Ore. – It was fitting that Pacific Northwest athletes took center stage at Grant High School this weekend at the annual Rose City showcase - the Northwest's premier AAU basketball event. Here's some thoughts on some of the top players at the event.

Shawn Kemp Jr.

The big bodied, 2009 post prospect is a solid average athlete though he doesn't possess his father's explosive legs. Kemp didn't assert himself offensively Friday night against a much smaller Friends of Hoop front line, though he did make his presense felt on the glass. At this point, Kemp is all potential. He does possess a solid stroke from the free throw stripe.

Abdul Gaddy

It's hard to find a hole in the Bellarmine Prep point guard's game. His already brilliant stroke from outside continues to improve, as does his ankle-breaking crossover and handle. While his court vision and feel for the game have never been in question, his defense seems to have caught up to the rest of his abilities. He contained Rotary's freshmen sensation, Tony Wroten Jr. Gaddy will need to temper his tendency to push off with his left forearm; he's seemingly always pushing off, but it isn't hard to see why he has emerged as one of the elite players in the country.

Avery Bradley

Bradley's game continues to evolve as his range improves. Already among the finest defenders in the country, Bradley's game defies his short stature. He consistently out-hustles and out-muscles bigger players around the basket. His fantastic spring is no fluke, and while his jumper may not have improved quite as much as his breakout spring suggested, there's no doubt his game has come a long way over the past year.

Peyton Siva

Were Siva a little less flamboyant and charismatic, all of his flashy showboating might come off a bit contrived, but he's so disarmingly over the top with it you can't help but love him. His vertical leap is off the charts as is his athleticism; but when he's cold he makes Siberia seem like a tropical vacation. Allow him to heat up and no amount of defense can contain him. He's occasionally careless, sometimes making painfully illogical court decisions, but he's a momentum-changer, a gamer and a truly unique personality. He still isn't a point guard, and every passing day that he fails to make the transition, it becomes less likely to ever happen, but he's going to end up a special player. The question is; what kind of player will that be?

Josh Smith

Josh has grown, again. Checking in at nearly 6-foot-10 with his weight undetermined, Smith is improving at a breakneck pace. As his body matures, Smith becomes more and more explosive every day. The latest part of game to emerge is his shot-blocking skill, which has improved enormously since the end of his high school season. Smith plows through defenders like a bulldozer through rose bushes, normally punctuated by thunderous, rim-rattling dunks. You might think he suffers from an anger disorder the way he attacks the basket, but Josh is truly as pleasant and humble a player as you will find. If he continues to improve at his present rate, there's a good chance the state of Washington could have the top prospects in the country in back-to-back years (Smith 2010, Wroten Jr. 2011)

Mike Moser

Moser is a guard in a forward's body; or at least he'd like to be, even if his jumpshot says otherwise. Defying a true position, Moser checks in at a long 6-foot-7. Though the Oregon prospect spent much of his time hovering around the perimeter looking for opportunities rather than working the post, his skill around the basket suggests his time might be better spent down low. Despite his slight build, Moser is force in the post, encouraging contact. Defensively, he's a tremendous shot-blocker and has a chance to be very special down the road due to his length. On offense, his unorthodox release on his shot makes his shooting future a marginal one without significant adjustments. Otherwise, Moser has about every other quality you like to see in a small forward.

Tony Wroten Jr.

Wroten's game has matured quickly as he learns to defend elite prep players. With Josh Smith anchoring the post and Peyton Siva on the wing, Wroten has taken the role of distributor for Rotary's star-studded squad, forcing him to improve his decision-making. Overall, he's taken to the move quite well, though at times he still tries to force the action, finding himself trapped as he penetrates the lane. All in all, Wroten - arguably the nation's top 2011 prospect - is progressing quite well as his game expands. He's also matured emotionally, rarely displaying visible signs of frustration, something he's been criticized for in the past.
Other local prospects of note

Aaron Dotson

Dotson has struggled with ankle injuries and consistency over the past two seasons, but there was no doubting his potential in FOH's thrilling opening win against Atlanta's Worldwide Renegades. Dotson is an excellent athlete and above-average passer with good feel, though his range is merely average. The rising junior was at his best attacking the basket or using his exceptional leaping ability to pepper the Renegades with short-to-midrange jumpers.

Aaron Bright

The Issaquah product lacks stature but he makes up for it with excellent speed, outstanding court vision and deadly three-point range. Bright's basketball IQ is phenomenal, and though he possesses average athleticism, his impact on his teammates makes him hard to ignore. Bright's biggest problem is his lack of height/athletic ability, which is shame because the rest of his game is special.

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