Friday, July 11, 2008
Top guard prospects thrive in Philly
By Reggie Rankin
PHILADELPHIA -- Quality and quantity made up the landscape at the Reebok All-American Camp at Philadelphia University, a great location for this high-profile event. One-hundred fifty players from coast to coast put their talent on display.
The guard position headlined the camps best players, with 2009 prospects Kenny Boynton (Pompano Beach, Fla./American Heritage), Junior Cadougan (Toronto/Christian Life Center Academy) and Abdul Gaddy (Tacoma, Wash./Bellarmine Prep), 2010 prospect Brandon Knight (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Pine Crest) and 2011 Myck Kabongo (Toronto/St. Benedict's) stealing the show.
Knight and Boynton were in the same backcourt on team Allen Iverson and seemed to draw the cream of the crop of college coaches -- John Calipari, Rick Pitino, Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams just to name a very few. The team name fit these two talented guards because they both are in attack mode at all times on the offensive end of the floor.
|Junior Cadougan was one of the top players at the Reebok event. |
The power forward and center position was well represented as well. Six-foot-9 Renardo Sidney and 6-10 Aaric Murray immediately come to mind; they displayed skill and power and took care of business in the paint.
Kenny Boynton, SG (6-3, 190)
2009, Pompano Beach, Fla./American Heritage
When it comes to scoring guards Boynton has all the tools. First and foremost he plays with a great deal of confidence; you can see in his eyes he is fearless and ready to compete. At 190 pounds he has a great court presence. No doubt he passes the eye test. His scoring mentality is evident every time he touches the ball as he looks to attack his defender. An excellent athlete who plays hard, he's a big-time shooter in every since of the word although his form is not picture perfect.
Boynton has great elevation on his jumper, but on the release his guide hand seems to slightly interfere with his shooting hand; still, it goes in. He can score from anywhere on the floor. In transition he sprints the wing and is a threat to get all the way to the rim and finish through contact if a defender is present or shoot his jumper that could vary from a mid-range pull up in the lane or a deep 3 ball. He can shoot off the catch after receiving a screen or get his own shot by breaking his defender down off the dribble. He is great at creating space with his multiple crossovers and hesitation moves to escape from a defender and can always rely on using his strength with power drives to the basket with the ability to go right and left.
He's an underrated passer and has shown the ability and willingness to hit the open man when the help-side defense is present, but he is charge prone at times because when his mind is made up, he is going to get a shot off whether or not it's changing.
On the defensive end of the floor he works pretty hard. Blessed with quick hands and feet, he can put intense pressure on the ball and can cut off a dribble drive. To improve his game he could be a better rebounder and have an understanding of shot selection at crucial times of the game. Boynton is a big shot taker and maker and a high-major plus talent.
Renardo Sidney, C (6-9, 250)
2009, Los Angeles /Fairfax
Sidney's a super talented and skilled post, a triple-threat big man (pass, dribble and shoot) including range to the arc. Athletic and runs the floor well, and when he posts in the lan,e he is physical and uses his big body to hold off defenders and finish. Also likes to use the quick baseline spin move in the post, especially when setting up on the right box in order to power up with his right hand over his left shoulder.
He can face up and knock down shots over smaller defenders and drive by less mobile bigs. Sidney rebounds both ends but is a better defensive rebounder who does a great job of throwing pinpointed outlet passes either to the side of the floor or to a teammate he'll hit in stride streaking for a layup. Plays behind mostly when defending the post and could work harder at trying to get his man out the lane to buy himself some defending space. Must learn how to gap the catch in the post so the offensive player can't feel him and make a quick move and score around him.
Sidney could improve his offensive rebounding and make it a habit to go to the glass every time because he could increase his scoring by at least a basket per game due to great size and strength. To reach his full potential, he must be diet and conditioning conscious and needs to have a year-round conditioning program to keep his body under control and ready for battle and must learn to play hard on every possession -- when motivated he can dominate the game.
Abdul Gaddy, PG (6-3, 175)
2009, Tacoma, Wash./Bellarmine Prep
Gaddy's a true pass-first point guard who has the ability to score anytime or when his team needs a basket. He is a scoring guard's dream running mate and a post player's best friend.
His long and wiry body is perfect size for a point. Has a great feel for the game that enables him to set up teammates and get them the ball while they are in a position to score. Gaddy's a smooth ball handler who rarely turns it over and plays with his head and eyes up and at all times to take advantage of his excellent court vision. He runs the team to perfection by directing traffic when getting into a set play, executes the high ball screen well and understands his passing angles when he can't get all the way to the rim.
In transition he passes the ball ahead to an open wing or post running the middle or calls his own number and finishes with a slash to the basket or pull-up jumper that could extend to the 3-point line.
Gaddy's long arms really help him on the defensive end by allowing him to apply great ball pressure and is great at timing up dribbles for steals that lead to breakaway layups. In areas that Gaddy could improve in, the first thing that comes to mind is strength. In college physical point guards could knock him off the ball, and he could be a better defensive rebounder which would present more fast-break opportunities where he could go coast to coast. It was a pleasure to watch this under-control, efficient player.
Brandon Knight, PG (6-3, 178)
2010, Coral Springs, Fla./Pine Crest
Knight is one of the few guards who can get the ball to wherever he wants on the floor. He can shoot the pull-up jumper and has -point range. He's also an excellent penetrator who can draw the defense and kick to a shooter or deliver a drop off pass in the lane for a dunk. Knight can score off the high ball screen, but when the help defense is in position he can read the defense and find the open man. Shows good leadership skills and can run the team and take over the game with he turns up his intensity on offense. He's also a good defensive rebounder and likes to go coast to coast.
Knight must get stronger and eliminate turnovers in crunch time when sometimes he will take chances and not value the basketball, but he's a great talent.
Tobias Harris (6-8, 225)
2010, Dix Hills, N.Y./Half Hollow Hills West
Harris is a very productive combo forward who has a great skill set to go with a big body that allows him play inside and out. Harris can pick and pop for a jumper or drive to the basket with either hand. He does a great job of getting fouled either with his drives or by hitting the offensive glass. Has excellent touch around the basket and his skill allows him to face up and shoot over smaller defenders and drive slower bigs. Areas to improve include getting stronger to defend inside and working on defending smaller players on the perimeter when he is playing the small forward position. Any way you look at this talented player, he will be a tough matchup.
Myck Kabongo, PG (6-0, 165)
2011, Toronto/St. Benedict's (N.J.)
Kabongo understands time and score situations well for a young player and is great at making a scoring play after the original play breaks down. He will be great at end of clock situations in college. On defense Kabongo was one of the few players I saw get into a stance. He puts excellent pressure on the ball and has great anticipation on or off the ball. Kabongo is rail thin and must get stronger to deal with physical guards.
La'Quinton Ross, SF (6-9, 198)
2011, Jackson, Miss./Callaway
Ross is thin extra long and athletic. His skill set is off the charts for a player his age. Very smooth, he can make scoring moves off the dribble like a 5-10 guard look easy -- is a threat to score on every catch. He does a great job with the burst out dribble after he rebounds, and if not picked up by a defender will go coast to coast and finish with an acrobatic move or dunk. Runs the lane in transition where he can stop and pop from 3. Nice pull-up jumper and he can start a scoring drive with either hand. Ross is excellent at attacking the baseline and can get all the way to the rim. He has great elevation to go along with length to get shots off over other 6-9 or bigger defenders and crashes the offensive glass from the perimeter and will tip dunk if not boxed out.
Ross must continue to develop his post game so he can take advantage of smaller perimeter players. At times he seems to coast or float around and must learn to play hard at all times. He also needs to work to improve strength and post defense in addition to preparing to defend quick perimeter players. Ross is reminiscent of a right-handed Lamar Odom.
Patrick Young, PF (6-8, 220)
2010, Jacksonville, Fla./Paxon
One of the best basketball bodies in the entire camp, this strong and athletic undersized center gets your attention as soon as he takes the court. He plays extremely hard, rebounds on both ends, blocks shots and finishes above the rim from drop-off passes or running the floor hard in transition. He seals with authority in the lane and his go-to move is the right-hand jump hook over his left shoulder, although he is still a little raw skill-wise. Young works hard to defend in the post. He never lets you forget he is on the floor. He has tremendous upside and continues to learn the game. Keep an eye on this kid.
Michael Snaer, SF (6-5, 195)
2009, Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde
Snaer's a very talented wing who didn't play as well as he would have liked on Tuesday but his talent was still very evident. At 6-5 he already has a college body. Snaer can score in a variety of ways, starting in transition where he is a threat to get to the rim and is strong enough to finish over or around taller players. In the half court Snaer can score off the dribble where he likes to use multiple crossover moves. He can catch and shoot off screens and knock down the spot-up 3 to go along with his nice pull-up jumper.
He has an excellent mid-range game. Snaer could also help at point guard in a pinch because of nice ballhandling skill and ability to penetrate and kick out to an open shooter or deliver a drop off pass inside. He will take a bad shot when trying to do too much and tends to get frustrated and lets that affect his play at times. Snaer could be a better rebounder on both ends where he could take advantage of his size more often. Is a good defender -- especially on the ball -- where he utilizes his long arms and good lateral movement. Definitely a high-major wing player.
Dan Jennings, C (6-8, 240)
2009, Staten Island, N.Y./Oak Hill Academy
This lefty is an undersized center who has a great basketball body -- long and strong. Jennings runs well in transition and is an above-the-rim finisher who benefits from drop off passes from guard penetration. In the post he is physical around the basket where he executes powerful post moves that include the drop step, and he can score with the jump hook with either hand. He does an excellent job sealing his man for position and takes advantage of any angles to the rim. His shooting range extends to about 15 feet.
Although he is only 6-8, he knows he is a center and seems to have accepted it. He's a good rebounder on both ends and has good foot quickness that allows him to be an excellent post defender, but he could struggle against a much taller center. Jennings plays hard and is an active and live body -- a high-major player.
Aaric Murray, C (6-10, 260)
2009, Philadelphia/Glen Mills
Murray's a true center with a wide body who is physical and not afraid mix it up inside. His shooting range is to about 15 feet. He can put it on the floor one or two dribbles and gets to the rim. In the low post he favors the right-handed jump hook over his left shoulder. He's a good rebounder especially on the offensive end where a tip dunk putback could be a result of a missed or forgotten box out. He's a good shotblocker with excellent timing, and he works hard to defend the post by denying the entry pass. Murray looks like he has lost weight and changed his body to become more mobile. A year-round conditioning program should be on his agenda in order to stay in shape and help avoid injuries. No question he is a high major post player.
Reebok camp notes
• Point guard Junior Cadougan (6'0, 190) from Toronto, Ontario, (Committed Marquette) is as good as advertised. He was terrific at getting to the rim off high ball screens and finishing through contact. Also, he showed the ability to read the defense by making the right decision whether that is shooting the jumper if his defender goes under the screen or finding the open man when his penetration is cut off. Cadougan is excellent at being the coach on the floor as he directs his teammates constantly. He is faster with the ball than without and escapes defenders in transition for layups. Has a good midrange game but must be a more consistent 3-point shooter -- although he is accurate enough to always keep the defense honest. He needs to improve his conditioning -- he looked a little heavy. Cadougan has battled a foot injury that noticeably slowed him from being as explosive with the ball during Tuesday's games. That being said, he was still very impressive.
• Six-fot-7 senior Johnny Richardson (Missouri City, Texas/ Hightower) showed a high basketball IQ that was impressive. Richardson is strong and athletic, and his ability to make the guard coming off the screen completely stop his penetration was executed better than most college players. . He is an excellent passer out of the post, sprints the floor with regularity, can rebound on the defensive end, can start the fast break and has excellent timing when blocking shots. This kid does all the little things to help his team that will not be recorded in the score book.
• 2010 prospect C.J. Leslie (Holly Springs, N.C./ Word of God, committed to NC State) is a long, wiry athlete with impressive wingspan. Leslie got off to a slow start on Tuesday but played better as the game progressed. He is an active rebound on both ends and attacks off the dribble in transition. He displayed impressive versatility from the power forward position; he is capable of starting a fast break and attacking off the dribble. He also showed nice touch from the free-throw line.
• Lenzelle Smith (Zion, Ill./ Zion Benton) -- a 6-4, 205-pound scoring guard has a big wide body from the 2010 class -- plays hard and has a scoring mentality. Smith is a lefty who runs the lane hard in transition and can shoot the 3 off the catch or dribble. He likes to drive the ball left and shoot the pull-up if he can't get all the way to the rim. He will look to post smaller guards to take advantage of his size and is a willing and good passer out of the post when there is not a scoring option. Smith could also play the small forward postion because he is a good offensive rebounder.
• Shawn Kemp Jr. (Marietta, Ga./ Cherokee), son of former NBA high flyer Shawn Kemp, can run the floor, score off offensive rebounds and is a good shot-blocker.
• Maurice Creek (Temple Hills,Md./ South Kent, committed to Indiana), a 6-5, 190 guard, is a terrific talent. Creek has a strong body and is a good athlete. He runs the wing in transition and he can score with his midrange jumper or pull up from beyond the arc. In addition to his midrange game, he can attack the rim off the dribble. He likes to score going to his left and can make hanging shots in the lane over outstretched hands. He could get time at the small forward position because of his great size.
• In the championship game Team Pump Omni held off a late run by team Answer XII to win the Reebok All- American Camp Championship 70-66. Pump Omni were led by big Renardo Sidney with 19 points and 13 rebounds.
Reggie Rankin was an assistant coach at seven schools for 13 seasons, most recently at Dayton. He played at Ohio University from 1986-1990 and was an all-MAC first teamer his senior season.