Rose City Showcase - The Checklist

PORTLAND, Ore. - Dawgman.com's Aaron Beach was on hand to watch the Rose City Showcase this past weekend, namely the Friday Nights Main Event at Lewis and Clark College. Here's the lowdown on the players he saw, broken down by year.

2010 Checklist:
Josh Smith - There isn't much left to say about the big-bodied post from Kentwood High School in Washington. He's an explosive space eater, immovable down low, and he rarely strays from the left block. Those expecting maturation in his game though, are going to be disappointed. His conditioning is an increasing concern as it appears to be worsening, and he still has no face-up game to speak of. But what Josh can do, he does better than anyone: Bulldozing opposing players and finishing strong at the rim. For that reason alone he remains the most coveted prospect on the West Coast for 2010, even if his star is losing some of its luster. Smith is being recruited by just about every major program in the country, and is thought to be favoring UCLA and Washington.

John Gage – It's hard not to like the 6-foot-10 forward prospect from Vashon Island, also in Washington. Gage has become a highly sought-after prize from the tiny island community because of his sensational range and high skill level, long frame and a fierce desire to improve. It doesn't hurt that his game has considerable similarities to former Pac-10 player of the year Ryan Anderson either. Gage is a lights-out shooter from deep, can put the ball on the floor and hit from mid-range consistently. What he doesn't do is finish at the rim. He isn't strong enough and has openly acknowledged that he'll likely redshirt his freshman season to improve his strength. Gage is playing a year ahead (he should be a 2011 prospect but skipped a grade) so he still has significant physical maturing to do before he hits college. Gage has narrowed his decision to Washington, Stanford and California, but doesn't have a leader.

Terrence Jones – The Portland native has emerged as one of the better forward propspects in the country for 2010. Jones is an excellent athlete, but an also a shining example of the 'even though you can doesn't mean you should' school of hoops. If his performances in the Showcase are any indication, he thinks he's a guard. He isn't. He's probably not a wing either, and appears best suited to the role of power forward. The 6-foot-8 senior-to-be loves to get out on the break and has the wheels to do it. His handle, on the other hand, doesn't appear up to the task. He's inconsistent dribbling the ball outside the key and is easily stripped, and his slow-release jumper is suited for life behind the 3-point arc, where he spends much of his time. It's hard to get a read on Jones: He's got a lot of tools but is putting them to use in the wrong places. If he spent as much time focusing on his post moves as he does his behind the back dribble, he has a chance to be special. But for that to happen he's got to come to grips with what he is; a forward crashing the boards who can step out and hit the occasional 3-pointer or thread a tight pass. If he does that, he's got a bright future. As a point forward perimeter player? Not so much. When I spoke to Jones, he rattled off a list of suitors that included most of the Pac-10 as well as Kentucky and North Carolina, among others.

Aaron Bright – The Friends of Hoop star is finally starting to earn the attention of coaches across the country, including a recent offer from Johnny Dawkins of Stanford. The diminutive Bellevue, Wash. point guard is lightning-quick, drawing defenders by flashing into the lane fearlessly, and kicking to open shooters on the perimeter. Bright is also an excellent 3-point shooter, and despite lacking length, is an energetic defender. Aside from the Stanford, Bright also holds offers from Harvard, San Diego and and USF, and is being recruited by Virginia, Gonzaga and Washington State.

Stephen Madison – The 6-foot-5 sharpshooter from Prairie High School in the greater-Vancouver, Wash. area, is an unknown in most recruiting circles, but that anonymity may soon be coming to an end. Madison is a versatile scorer and deadly from outside, while also possessing surprising playmaking skills and court vision. He is also an excellent athlete, and though slightly built, attacked the rim with confidence. Madison will be attending the Washington State elite camp next week and has also drawn interest from Colorado State.

Cole Dickerson – The biggest knock on the 6-foot-7 Federal Way, Wash. star has been his tendency to avoid contact in the paint, but that doesn't seem to be a problem any longer. Dickerson was comfortable attacking the hoop despite I-5 Elites' imposing front court, beating Elite star Terrence Jones off the dribble for acrobatic buckets on multiple occasions. He's slow laterally and a bit of a 3-4 tweener, but his range extends well beyond the 3-point line. It isn't hard to imagine him finding a high major home, even if his game is better suited to the mid-major level. Dickerson is getting interest from several Big Sky programs and is starting to gain notice from the Pac-10.

Joe Harris – Harris is a skilled wing prospect from Eastern Washington - Chelan, to be exact. He's got a svelte frame, good length and a versatile game that allows him to play multiple positions. Though only an average athlete, Harris is quick laterally and does a good job creating separation, which in turn opens up his excellent outside game. Harris has offers from Washington State and San Diego, and is visiting Virginia.
2011 Checklist:
Tony Wroten – The 6-5 point guard from Seattle is maturing. His on-court demeanor and effort level has improved markedly and he has tempered (slightly) his flashy play, but the most noteworthy improvement has come on the defensive end. Long his Achilles' heel, Wroten has improved his overall effort on the defensive end immensely. He gambles far too often and reaches too much, but he's beginning to use his body and feet more effectively and appears to have learned the value of focusing on the defensive end. In his case, steals provide Wroten an opportunity for highlight reel dunks at the other end. The mechanics on his jump shot are a work in progress, as is his free throw stroke, and his offense is almost entirely predicated on attacking the basket. A pull-up mid-range jumper would do wonders keeping defenders honest. On an encouraging note, Wroten seems to have fully embraced his future as a point guard: His playmaking and passing skills are off the charts, and with his muscular frame, it's easy to forget that he just completed his sophomore season. Recruiting wise, Wroten's top-5 is constantly in flux, but Washington is the team to beat for his services.

Gary Bell – The Kent, Wash. native is playing off ball for Seattle Rotary, deferring to the two superstars, Josh Smith and Tony Wroten. It's easy to forget that Bell is just a sophomore: He's confident and poised, making the most of his limited scoring opportunities - though occasionally he forces bad shots. Bell has exceptional range, good vision and passing skills, and is an energetic, instinctive defender despite having an average wingspan. Standing a hair over six feet tall, Bell is on the smallish side for a two guard, but in the glimpses we've seen spelling Wroten at the point, as well as his high school play at Kentridge, Bell's future seems set as a one. Playing with the star-laden Rotary squad makes it tough to adequately evaluate his long-term prospects. At first glance Bell doesn't scream superstar, but he's a player with a lot of layers and a very complete game. Bell is currently favoring Washington and California, and holds offers from both.

Brett Kingma – The Mill Creek (Wash.) Jackson guard is a volume shooter prone to torrid hot streaks some nights and arctic-cold performances on others; Friday night was the latter. The slightly built sharpshooter is still recovering from a broken arm that kept him out of most of his sophomore campaign and he's still not 100 percent, making him even harder to evaluate at this point in the recovery process. His passing skills have improved since last summer and at his size, point guard may be his only long-term option. The biggest concern is how he develops (or doesn't) physically. Kingma has offers from Gonzaga, Portland, Portland State and Eastern Washington, and is receiving interest from several Pac-10 schools including Washington and Washington State.
2012 Checklist:
Jordan Tebbutt – The 6-foot-5 wing with a man's body is one of the worst kept secrets on the West Coast. The Tualatin, Ore.-based Tebbutt is reputed to be a conditioning rat and the tender age of 15, is literally a man among boys in the Elite 16's division. He's an outrageous athlete and possesses solid 3-point range to boot. Tebbutt is definitely a player to keep an eye on, and is already hearing from UCLA, ASU, WSU, Stanford and Gonzaga.

Anrio Adams – The next big thing from Seattle's Franklin High School is a flashy showman-combo guard, with exceptional range and excellent athleticism. He's overly flamboyant, and it gets him in trouble in terms of turnovers, but there's no denying the talent.

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