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Monday, July 23, 2012

Peach Jam Player Recaps: Mokan Elite and Houston Hoops

The second game of the event I saw was Mokan Elite vs Houston Hoops. Clayton Custer got my attention off the bat by leading the scoring barrage for Mokan. I came to see Semi Ojeleye take on Justise Winslow, but got wrapped up in Custer.

Custer is a nice little player, but I was really surprised when I looked him up to see him ranked amongst the top 60 recruits for 2014 and garnering interest from the likes of Kansas. I was watching him thinking he could be a nice scoop for a mid-major, not a big time school. Regardless, Custer shot the ball really well and played with great intensity. He has a high basketball IQ and encouraged his fellow teammates. Right now he doesnt have the ability to get all the way to the hoop and struggles to create for others, but he can shoot off the catch and bounce. He also has a quick release which allows him to get his shot off without it being blocked. Custer looks like your average kid. He is just barely 6 feet tall, counting his hair, and skinny. He isn't a great athlete, neither fast or explosive, and ESPN accurately dubbed him a "top of the key point guard" meaning he mainly just brings the ball up and initiates offense. He isn't making plays. His defense is also a sign of concern at the next level but he has quick hands, gives good energy, and has excellent instincts. He knows when to double players in the post and is great at stripping the ball. He stays low defensively. Custer is definitely not a NBA guy, but he is a fun player to watch. I am surprised that he is ranked as high as he is, as I think he is more of a mid-major guy, but I imagine some teams see him as a nice bench guy. Coaches should love him. He got more out of his perceived talent and physical tools than anyone else at the EYBL finals.

Semi Ojeleye struggled from the field shooting 2-9 in the first game I saw him in. In the other game I saw him play, against the Wings, he had a more efficient day. In both matchups, Ojeleye had no problem getting to the line. Ojeleye has a college ready body, perfect size for a SF and good mass. When he gets the ball, he squares up his defender and looks to attack. He uses a jab step and operates from triple threat mode, although he is best when driving. Driving to the hoop, Ojeleye has a solid first step, but he is especially good at drawing contact. He uses that strong frame to help him finish inside. He is a good athlete, but not an elite athlete on the level of some other small forwards there. He plays under control and plays within his team's game plan. He is obviously a well-coached player and its obvious to see why Coach K is after him. He looks like a Duke player. He is a good all-around player and gets after it on defense. I think in college he is capable of playing a variety of roles, from lead man to a super role player. He will be a core member of whatever high major he chooses, should he go that route, and definitely has the ability to play in the NBA in the future with hard work and production. Ojeleye is a winner.

You have to understand that Mokan appeared to be overmatched in many games, but they found ways to win. They went 4-1 in pool play and advanced to the semi finals. All of their players played great team basketball and they had good role players. Semi is their star, but Custer runs their offense, Austin Ruder shoots the lights out, and Laurawls Nairn relishes his role as the sparkplug off the bench. Rodney Perry was the most impressive coach in North Augusta in my mind and you could tell he has college coaching experience.

Justise Winslow might have been the most impressive player I saw that wasn't at the Global Challenge. He has a very high ceiling. He has some Dwyane Wade in his game. He already has a grown man's body and he is only heading into his junior season in high school. Winslow is listed as a small forward, but can and does run the point a lot. He has a tight handle and is a top notch driver. He has a nice crossover to combine with an explosive first step. Add to that that he has the ability to finish explosively at the rim and a body build for contact and you have a recipe for a superstar. Winslow doesn't only have the physical attributes of a superstar, he plays like one. He plays with great effort, putting his body on the line, showing great hustle. In the fourth quarter of a game against Theo Pinson's CP3 all-stars, he stepped up and locked him down while leading his team offensive as well. He completely took over the game on both ends of the court. He blocks shots very well for a wing too. His jumper is a little flat, but I do like the elevation he gets when shooting. He can get hot from the field, but his jumper looks to be his biggest weakness right now. The sky is the limit for Winslow.

I saw Justin Jackson at the Global Challenge and I finally saw him hit his first three pointer in the third game of his I watched. I made sure to check out his stroke this time in warm ups though, due to prior experience. You see, Jackson is labeled as a great shooter, but that isn't all he is. He doesn't stay posted up in the corner strictly looking for 3s and he definitely doesn't settle for the jumper. The lanky Jackson instead likes to use his 3-pter as a threat. His shot is always in the back of defenders minds and Jackson knows this and has mastered the shot fake. He loves to show the ball and then drive into the lane. His touch from outside carries over inside where he likes to finish with a rainbow floater. Jackson is still very skinny and struggles to finish with contact so his floater is a good option. His mid-range game is advanced. His driving ability is good enough to get to the basket, but he is not a one on one type of player. Jackson is a very smart and unselfish player. He rebounded the ball more here than in Alexandria and made hustle plays.

Brian Bridgewater is another nice player who has a strong frame and a good stroke from 3. His frame and leaping ability has turned him into a top wide receiver football prospect, but should he stick with hoops, he as schools from big conferences as willing suitors as well.

Keith Frazier is an elite prospect who I didn't focus on as much as I need to in order to give an in-depth scouting report. He looks the part and was on fire from 3 at times. He has a great stroke and ideal size for a shooting guard. Frazier may have been the star of Houston, but Winslow was beginning to take over the alpha dog role and by Saturday, it seemed like the team was his.

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