All of Bob Huggins' staff were in the gym at Morgantown High School for various stretches of the evening to show their interest in players participating in the Shootout. By NCAA rules, the coaches could not talk with the players, but they did "fly the flag" as colleges do by being visible throughout the evening.
Following is a quick rundown on three of the prospects in action, and some thoughts on their play.
Macon, a sophomore forward who committed to West Virginia in June, is a long player who certainly has room to fill out over the final two years of his high school career. He is not undersized by any means, but still has the frame, especially through the shoulders, to add a good deal of size and strength.
On the floor, Macon has quick feet and nice moves in the post, he displayed a right-handed jump hook, turned to the basket well to square up, and showed a soft touch on mid-range shots. In game action, Morgantown high school, the opponent for Macon's Marion-Franklin team, played a collapsing 2-3 zone for alomst the entire game, and limited his touches. Macon said afterward that he was seeing more of those types of defenses, and is working on ways to counter those tactics.
Macon finished with six points, and to his credit did not try to force anything offensively when he was double teamed. He did have several times when he posted up nicely and didn't get the ball, but he also needs to work on being more physical and demanding the ball more effectively by creating more space. Defensively, he has long arms and leaps well, but was a bit late a couple of times in closing out on outside shooters. Being just a sophomore however, he has plenty of time to work on those items, and he admits that they are on the laundry list of things he wants to improve.
Macon is very well-spoken, considers questions before answering, and remains firmly committed to WVU.
Henry, who sports a number of offers, including one from West Virginia, shows great athleticism and good versatility on the floor. He played anywhere from the point to the paint for South Charleston, often bringing the ball upcourt, starting plays, then heading inside to post up. He has quick moves and a lightning fast shot release off the bounce, and is a quick jumper who can get an advantage on foes by beating them with a first move.
Like most high schoolers, Henry will need to work on consistency of effort on defense. On the ball, his quick reaction skills make him a threat as a shot blocker, as he often got well above the rim on swat attempts. He plays with an edge and a bit of attitude, which is is certainly one of the factors that brought him attention by the Mountaineers.
In support of the fact that recruiting stretches deeply into high schools, we present Shamsid-Deen, a 5-9 freshman point guard who is an early candidate as one of the top points in his class. That's the Class of 2013.
Shamsid-Deen, facing a tough, big, physical opponent in Arlington Country Day, didn't back down. Although weighing in at about 160 pounds (and that's generous), Shamsid-Deen handled the ball well against trapping pressure, often escaping two players at a time with a variety of spin moves and well-timed passes. To his credit, he didn't try to dribble around or through defenders in the press, but rather used the bounce to get to a better spot from which to throw a good pass.
Shamsid-Deen picks the ball up cleanly off the dribble and delivers accurate passes to players where they can catch them (an underappreciated skill). He also drives the ball when he has the opportunity, and hit a stop-and-pop 12-footer early in the game, pulling up to score before he reached the big back line of the ACD defense. Later, he arched a nice rainbow three-pointer when the defense backed off him.
Foul trouble, caused by a pair of cheesy back-to-back calls in the second quarter, limited his playing time, but it's clear that there's a lot to like about the quick point who shows decision-making skills far beyond his years.