Assistants Travis Steele and Mike Pegues were both in attendance at the tournament checking out players, and there were plenty of Xavier targets, old and new, playing on Friday night. Guys that many subscribers will be familiar with, such as Andre Walker, Chinanu Onauku, Jordan Green, Trey Grundy, were all in action, as were several new names that are being introduced for the first time in this article.
There were a few other targets that Xavier's staff watched that I didn't get to evaluate yet, and should see on Saturday, including A.J. Turner (6-7, wing | Dorian's Pride) and Justin Bibbs (6-5, wing | Ohio Basketball Club), two of Xavier's top wing targets that the staff is evaluating right now for 2014.
It's rare to be able to evaluate so many targets on the opening night of an event, so here are notes on all of the Xavier targets that the staff, as well as MusketeerReport, had a chance to watch on Friday night:
James Demery (6-5, Wing) - Team Charlotte - Demery was an eye-catcher to start the night, and fortunately for Xavier fans he's a guy you can definitely add to the list of targets in the 2014 class. Demery is a very talented scorer that can get it done at all three levels. He has a polished jump-shot that's effective off the catch and the dribble from beyond the arc, but he's also very good at creating his own shot in the mid-range or at the rim where he uses his athleticism and strength to finish. He had two great dunks against BMores Finest Friday night - an and-one slam in transition, and an alley-oop off a nifty inbounds play. With his strength, athleticism and aggression, he's also a solid defender that can put some pressure on the ball. He looks to be exactly what Xavier is looking for in the 2014 class - he's a big wing that could play the two or the three, and he's a takeover player on the offensive end.
Chinanu Onauku (6-10, Center) - DC Assault - Out of the two DC Assault big man Xavier targets, Onauku was the more impressive on Friday night. Long and strong, Onauku's big frame combined with his length and athleticism gives him the ability to be a game-changer in the paint. He's not a guy who's going to be a go-to scorer in the post, but he can be very productive on the defensive end and on the glass. Explosiveness, power and above average hands characterize his game around the basket. He shows good natural instints when blocking shots and rebounding, and plays with a pretty good motor.
Andre Walker (6-9, Center) - DC Assault - It's easy to see the potential in Walker. He's an athletic big man with legit size to play the center position. He too can make plays on the defensive end with his length and ability to get off the floor. However, on Friday night, he just wasn't all that productive. To be effective as a shot-blocking, rebounding big man, you have to provide energy and play with a high motor. Walker, and for that matter many of his teammates, just didn't have it on Friday night. It will be good to get another viewing of the big fella on Saturday.
Jordan Green (6-5, Wing) - Louisville Magic - Green had a big first half in the Magic's win over DC Assault, helping them get out to a halftime lead with nine points and a few nice hustle plays. Though he hasn't quite become dominant in any facet of the game, he still does a lot of things well. We handles the ball and rebounds well for a wing, and he can defend multiple positions. When he's aggressive attacking on the offensive end, and especially in transition, he has some impressive scoring moments. I'd still like to see Green really take over a game offensively and prove that he has the skill-set and game to develop into a consistent scorer on the wing.
Trey Grundy (6-6, Forward) - Louisville Magic - Grundy played as well as I've seen him play in over a year. While he's always had impressive physical traits, his productivity and skill level didn't seem to develop much last year, after breaking out on the AAU scene as a freshman. Friday night Grundy showed that he's put in some serious work on his offensive skill-set, and nailed some tough jump-shots. He showed some upside as an isolation scorer; operating out of the short corner, he spun baseline and scored above the rim against his defender, and then later fake the baseline spin, went the other way and canned a fade-away 15-footer. With his tenacity, athleticism and strength that always makes him a threat to throw down the big dunk off of a dribble or two, if combined with the type of skill he showed tonight with his jumper and improved game off the bounce he could end up being a high-major player after all. He is an undersized four though, and will have to prove that he can consistently score and play hard.
Devin Robinson (6-7, Wing) - Richmond Squires - Robinson is another impressive new name that is definitely on Xavier's radar. Long and thin, Roinson is a very intriguing prospect because at his height he has a smooth game and great touch on his jumpshot. His team got up big pretty early in this one against Team Nashville, and as a result he probably wasn't as engaged as he typically plays. He settled a little bit too much for floating on the perimeter, and he could have been a lot more aggressive on the glass. He's got an offensive skill-set and some natural athleticism and ability that can't be taught. His upside is through the roof as an offensive player. He still needs to get stronger, and could definitely work on the rest of his overall game, but it will be interesting to see how hard he plays and how aggressive he is in a closer game.
Derrick Jones (6-6, Wing/Forward) - We R 1 - A 6-foot-6 wiry and thin athlete, Jones was really impressive while playing up against 17U competition. He may be in between positions right now but his upside is tremendous. He's a slashing forward that you'd probably characterize as a combo currently, but as opposed to having insufficient tools to play either position, as is often the case when a player has that label slapped on him, he actually has some great traits of both a four and a three. He got loose in the second half against a New York squad, showing off a jump-shot, the ability to score off the bounce and some rim-rattling dunks. He's can really get off the ground, and he dunks with power. He also showed some ability on the defensive end with a few impressive blocks, and he looks like a plus rebounder from his performance. He has the look of a young big man who may still be growing, which is why I say he may be in between positions. If he grows another few inches, he could be a serious match-up problem at the four on offense and big time presence in the paint on defense. Xavier, along with Syracuse, Villanova, Rutgers and St. Joe's are the schools showing the most interest early on in his recruitment according to the youngster.