Easter Classic Evaluations, Part II.
The Las Vegas Easter Classic wasn't especially deep in terms of college prospects, but there were some guys with a chance. Here's our take on some of the notable players in attendance. Joseph Darger, 6-6 SO SF Riverton (Utah) High. One of the most impressive players in the tournament and a likely top five (West Coast) prospect in his class, Darger is fun to watch. Good frame and strength, with fairly long arms. Shoots it extremely well with a sweet release. Great feel for the game - passes and handles well. In a stance on defense and moves his feet well. A definite high major prospect. Jake Beitinger, 6-7 JR PF Port Orchard (Wash.) South Kitsap. Beitinger had an up-and-down tournament. We saw one game where he got very little done and then another the next day where he was very impressive. He's got good feet and hands, but is not especially explosive off the floor. Nice face-up shooter out to about seventeen feet. His defense and rebounding both need work. He has the size to be physical, but doesn't always play with aggressiveness. Beitinger has a chance to play at the high major level, but he'll need to show more consistency this summer. Ty Morrison, 6-6 JR PF Phoenix (Ariz.) Trevor Browne. Morrison has added considerable size/muscle since we last saw him in July. His upper body is now huge - although his legs are still skinny - and, as a result, he probably ends up playing the four at the next level. He's gotten stiffer and lacks the lateral quickness, and agility, to guard small forwards on the perimeter. He does play hard and he's effective when he's playing inside. Good rebounder in traffic and defender in the paint. His outside shot is decent, but the stroke is long. He's a tougher cover for a four man outside than he would be against a small forward. We like him as a power forward at the mid major level, where he would probably be a difficult match-up. Chase Buddinger, 6-5 FR SF/SG Carlsbad (Calif.) La Costa Canyon. A good athlete, with a solid frame, Buddinger can really shoot it. Deep range, with a very nice stroke. We weren't sure about his athleticism, until he came down in transition and attacked the basket with a two-handed dunk in some traffic. He handles it ok, but needs to work on shooting off the dribble. It's still early, but he has a chance to end up a high major player. Steffan Johnson, 6-0 SO PG Kent (Wash.) Kent Meridian. A very slender frame, but quick and skilled. Pretty good stroke, sees the court well - nice feel. Possible mid major prospect. Schuyler McKay, 6-3 JR SG Los Angeles (Calif.) Price. Slender, but wiry strong and a terrific athlete. The ultimate slasher, he doesn't yet have a consistent jump shot. However, he's very good at getting in the lane and converting chances inside. A great defender and competitor. Likely mid major prospect. Lawrence Hill, 6-7 SO PF Glendale (Ariz.) Deer Valley. Hill has grown a bit since we last saw him and has removed any doubt about his position - he'll play the four in college. Long arms, moves pretty well and can step outside to knock down shots. His shot is a bit long, though, and he'll fare better against four men outside. He's improved his inside game since the summer - blocking shots and rebounding well. Needs to play with a bit more urgency/intensity, but a potential mid to high major prospect. Gabe Freeman, 6-5 JR SF/SG Phoenix (Ariz.) McClintock. Freeman has a great bball body - long and lean and bouncy. A potential big-time defender. Stroke is not yet consistent, and handle is a bit shaky, but a very big upside. Potential mid major prospect.
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