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ESPNU 100 superlatives

8/10/2011

Here is a look at several prospects in the ESPNU 100 who have one specific skill or trait that exceeds the rest of their peers, from a coaching standpoint:

Work ethic

Shabazz Muhammad (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman)
At one time he was seen as just an explosive athlete but over the years Muhammad has improved his skill level, most notably his 3-point and midrange shooting. He has made himself a threat from different spots on the floor, while improving his basketball IQ and defensive alertness. The No. 1 prospect's success is directly attributed to his eagerness to improve during practice and give his best effort when training. He has the ability to work hard and sustain his intensity throughout practice and competition. Plus, he exudes a passion for the sport that parallels his drive for excellence.

Competitiveness

Ryan Arcidiacono (Langhorne, Pa./Neshaminy)
Tough and gritty are two words to describe the future Villanova point guard. Each time he steps on the floor, it is easy to see no one wants to win more than him. Every possession -- whether it's a practice, camp setting or all-star game -- is important to him and it shows. What makes him special is he never turns it off during a contest, regardless of the score.

Motor

Mitch McGary (Chesterton, Ind./Brewster Academy)
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It is difficult to find players who bring all-out effort and energy on a consistent basis, but McGary does it better than anyone. Not only does he bring energy to his own game, he gives it to his teammates. His motor never stops as he constantly works the backboard, runs the floor and dives on the floor for loose balls. His enthusiasm even carries over when he's on the bench as he cheers on his teammates and remains vocal. McGary has talent and physical tools, but his motor makes him special and will make him money one day.

Basketball IQ

Kyle Anderson (Fairview, N.J./St. Anthony)
The game comes extremely easy to Anderson, who has always had a willingness to learn the game and absorb all the details from his Hall of Fame coach, Bob Hurley. Then he applies them to beat his opponent. Anderson's IQ for the game and for what the possession calls for is off the charts. He wins championships because he beats his opponent with his skill, size and smarts. It's almost like Anderson can see two to three moves ahead of everyone else.

Coachability

Kaleb Tarczewski (Claremont, N.H./St. Mark's)

The true 7-footer has all the physical tools for the center position and listens to the message, not the tone of his coaches. Tarczewski is receptive to constructive criticism, which allows him to apply the concepts to his game. He has shown great improvement each season and there may not be another big man who has improved more over the last two years. One of the quickest ways to reach your potential is to be completely teachable in your approach. As a result, the big fella is going to have a very good basketball career at the next level.

Toughness and desire

Sam Dekker
(Sheboygan, Wis./Sheboygan Lutheran)

When you have a combination of good traits it helps you become that much more effective in big moments during a contest. Having firsthand experience with the Wisconsin commit, as he was on my team at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in June, he showed some vital traits that Badgers coach Bo Ryan will be pleased to work with. Dekker displayed a strong work ethic at the camp, asking to work out after practice and showing up before the camp started for drills. He displayed incredible toughness during the camp when he had a floating rib but insisted on playing. He said "let's just wrap it up" and not only did he play he rebounded and even took a charge. That's toughness. Plus, his desire to learn the game from whoever is coaching is refreshing and his basketball IQ is quite evident because of it. Dekker is a hard worker who is tough and wants to be a student of the game, which is a nice combination.

Communication

Adam Woodbury (Sioux City, Iowa/East)
Today's players love to text and tweet, while very few like to talk. However, you can't text or tweet on the court, but that's no trouble for Woodbury. When you watch him closely, you notice the effort he puts in talking to his teammates, especially from a defensive standpoint. He possesses defensive leadership by over communicating at times about how to defend a screen or being alert to a cutter. While defending his own man, he maintains his team-defensive concepts and lets his teammates know he is there to help. As a coach you are always looking for communicators, especially ones who are 6-10 and skilled.

Confidence

Gabe York (Orange, Calif./Orange Lutheran)
It is imperative that shooters not concern themselves with what happened on their last shot. The next shot is the most important one for them. York takes and makes 3s while being hounded by defenders of all sizes and as the go-to guy in most games, York is a marked man by opponents. However, the Arizona commit's confidence never falters and he simply just knocks down the next shot.

Consistency

Rasheed Sulaimon (Houston/Strake Jesuit)
Coaches love consistency from their players because they can be depended on both mentally and physically. As a result, Coach K is going to love Sulaimon. He has a very dependable approach to his practice habits and game competition, which has produced extremely consistent results. He has the ability to go for 30 points, dish out a handful of assists, set a screen to free up a teammate and defend all three perimeter positions. And his steady play only enhances his value.

Paul Biancardi, who has been a head coach and assistant on NCAA tournament teams, is the national director of basketball recruiting. He is also one the voters for the McDonald's All-American Game and Gatorade Player of the Year. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.