Thursday, July 26, 2012

Peach Jam Recaps: Boo Williams and Team Final

A Boo Williams vs Team Final matchup allowed me to check out Rondae Jefferson, Austin Colbert, Cat Barber, and Troy Williams again. I also got to see top 100 guards Allerick Freeman, Jaren Sina, and Davon Reed for the first time. I caught Boo Williams later on that day as well, but this was my only look at Team Final.

In this one look, Rondae Jefferson did more than enough to land solidly on my radar. I liked his defense and intensity at the Nike Global Challenge, but getting to see him in a team setting like this was special. He led Team Final to a 66-60 win against Boo, who most would agree has more talent. It was especially tough for Team Final when Cat Barber decided he would shut down Jaren Sina the entire game.

After that, it was up to Jefferson to take over. Sina couldn't get it over the halfcourt line thanks to Cat's defense, so Jefferson took over ball handling duties. While he plays with two top 100 guards in Davon Reed and Jaren Sina, Jefferson appeared to be the best point guard on the team. This rang true the entire event as Jefferson finished the weekend tied for fourth in assists. The only guys he was behind? Tyus Jones, Joel Berry, and Wesley Clark.

Jefferson is an unselfish player who has uses his size to see over the defense to make passes. He is a good driver that combines a solid skillset with a good first step. He can drive and dish as well as make tougher passes to 3rd read guys. His 3-pt shot has a long way to go, but he knows this and chooses to avoid taking long range jumpers. He prefers to catch the ball around the foul line extended area and go to work from there. He is a solid free throw shooter and does a great job getting to the line. He can finish with contact - finishing is a big strength of his.

Fortunately, I was able to see his man to man defense in Alexandria because Team Final didn't dare "d" up Cat Barber with man to man defense. You could still see Jefferson's intensity out there and he managed to get a block and two steals, but it would have been hard to tell just how much he brings it on that end of the court. He is a very well-rounded player. It is great that he gives equal energy on both ends of the hardwood.

The 2-3 zone that they ran stifled Barber and the rest of Boo Williams and other teams took after their strategy. I saw Team United slow down Cat the same way. The Oakland Soliders tried to man up against them for awhile, allowing Boo Williams to hang into the game until halftime, but smartened up and zoned it as they pulled away in the second half.

Barber struggled against the zone, showing my concerns about his ability to operate in a halfcourt offense, but he did show some good things that I didn't see at the Global Challenge. The first was the jumper. Barber was comfortable spotting up for three, which I knew, but I finally saw him hit a three off the dribble. And he was hitting mid-range jumpers off the drive as well. His jumper looked good - good form and nice rotation. Barber ran this team much better than the East squad. You could tell he felt more comfortable taking ownership of this group of players. He gave off much more of a leadership and mature persona. He still doesn't appear to be a top notch leader, but it is far from a negative.

More than that, Barber lled by example with his effort on defense. He completely shut down Jaren Sina. Barber has elite lateral quickness and great length for a point guard. He also plays the passing lanes extremely well. Sina finished the game 1-4 with 4 points, 1 assist, and 4 turnovers. The 4 points came at the beginning of the game...after that Barber decided to put him on lockdown and man was it impressive.

Barber still struggled to make plays, often deferring to Al Freeman, but the energy and maturity in his game I saw is promising for his development given his excellent physical tools. 

Troy Wiilliams continued to be an enigma. Maybe Barber looked much more mature this time because I was comparing him to Troy. Troy gave little effort on defense - even Cat's mom was getting on him from the stands - and when his coach tried to address the situation after a man blew right by Williams, Troy answered back with an excuse. This is common for Williams and his body language tells the same story as his mouth does.

At times, Williams can be impressive on defense. Boo Williams will employ him at the top of a modified 1-3-1 zone and have him create havoc. With his long arms and ability to move laterally, Williams is great at deflecting passes when he tries. He likes to create a disruption so he can get out on the break for an easy basketball.

In transition is where Williams shines the most, as his athleticism is put on full display. He has great speed and excellent leaping ability. He looks like a young Tracy McGrady athletically when he is soaring through the air. Williams also shows quick moves in transition, displaying crossovers that guys at his size shouldn't be able to do. He also likes to do a spin finish like a point guard.

Troy Williams has some nice, quick, moves with the ball in his hands but when he tries to use them in the halfcourt offense you either see a spectacular play or a turnover. Williams struggles to control his body once he gets going and his moves are often too drastic for him to maintain control of himself and the ball. When he does, its a highlight reel at the rim waiting to happen. Williams isn't good at setting up his teammates and his inability to slow his game down is a big factor. Right now he is a huge with a negative assist to turnover ratio and while that is more common in AAU ball, I doubt it will change for Troy in college.

Troy loves to drive, but he also has no problem posting up in the corner and jacking up 3-pt shots. He has a very quick trigger and never hesitates to put one up. He gets great elevation on his jumpers and makes them at a promising rate. With his shooting ability and athletic ability present, it is a recipe for a lottery pick. The only problem is the rest of his game. And while everyone would like to believe that Williams can improve, the scouts that have seen him for years seem to have more doubt. That is why Williams has dropped in the rankings. So while people late to the scene may drool over his potential, high school recruiting analysts may be moer weary to buy into it.

Allerick Freeman has a good body and skillset for a guard. He likes to score, but he makes smart decisions with the ball and does run some point even when Cat Barber is in the game. He is in between positions right now, but if he transform into a full time point guard, he is worth keeping an eye on. He should end up at a high level program.

Jaren Sina is a very good shooter and a smart passer. He appears to be good setting up his shots behind a screen as he can shoot off the bounce. His ball handling moves are slow and doesn't allow him the ability to get much penetration. He has a solid frame for a point guard, although his arms aren't especially long. His athleticism is below the NBA standard. He is heading to Northwestern and should fit their offense well.


  1. Josh your evaluation of Sina is a joke. Couldn't get it pass half court? What were you watching. Please let me know what your background is in basketball? Let us all know here. I can respect an opinion but don't base it on a AAU event. The fact is that Team Final is a very selfish team and Rondae Jefferson is completely out of control with his excessive dribbling which puts every off of their game. Evaluate the kid in a structured setting. There isn't one point guard in the country that has had a high school career thus far that compares to Sina. Did you get to see Barber on Espnu . Again, a sub par performance! 6 points and 6 turnovers and got blown out. Write about that.

  2. By the way you mentioned that Jefferson is a good free throw shooter? really, He shot 0-7 that game. Laughable!

  3. More importantly, if your trying to make a name for yourself you have to be fair in your evaluations. Putting up a BS blog on NBA prospects is a joke! You have no experience in this call and to be honest no clue! Keep attacking the Sina kid because I keep attacking your evaluation. Nice way to be honest. What a clown!

  4. Jefferson shot 9-12 from the FT line that game -

    You either didn't watch the game or are a relative of Jaren Sina. He couldn't get the ball past halfcourt. You don't have to be a great scout to make that observation. He struggled mightily - check his statline. You can't deny he struggled.

    If you think Sina is a NBA player, I would love for you to make a similar blog so I can subscribe to it for the laughs. He just isn't an NBA prospect, not all top 100 players are. Its not a death sentence for the kid. Sheesh.

  5. NBA player? huh? I'm a fan of real basketball players. Skill and Iq. Check Jefferson's stats and correct me if I'm wrong. But If it wasn't that game maybe game before. But thats not the point. Again, what's your expertise? Did you play? Are you a coach? don't make a name for yourself by attacking kids who know how to play. And ride the band wagon of over rated non skilled players. bottom line. Jaren sina is a winner. And knows how to play. When you say struggled. what he took 4 shots. How many turnovers? how many assists? it's not that he struggled it's the way that team plays. If you can't se that then oh well. Last week he led high school elite camp in scoring and assists at hoop group. Played some really impressive high schools. Hit 25 threes in four games. Where they actually played defense. My man I'm not going to argue with you on abilities it's your opinion. But don't judge or evaluate on one game especially with team final. Colbert a top 100 kid is struggling. Davon reed a top 100 kid is struggling. I wonder why. Im not knocking the jeffferson kid. He is talented. But he throws everybody off with his over dribbling and out of control possessions. But you guys need to promote your site and I get that. But don't attack kids especially when you don't see them enough. By the way you never responded on the Barber kid. Had a sub pay nike Peach Jam. Poor performance on espnu. Team from Houston played man and no zone. Well what ever.

  6. I am a fan of real basketball and skills as well, but this isn't the site for that. If I was evaluating strictly for college, I wouldn't be so harsh on Sina. I said he should be a good fit at Northwestern which is true. He is going to be a good college player and point guard in the Big Ten. This is a NBA prospect blog however, and Sina doesn't stack up with Barber and others in terms of potential.

    Is Sina more skilled than Barber now? Yes he is. I am far from a huge Barber fan. If you check out my article after attending the Nike Global Challenge this is what I wrote on him:

    "Barber was their starting point guard and one of the 3 guys I pegged before the game on the East roster as potential big time NBA guys. He has the size at 6'3'' and good length to match. He might have been the quickest guard in the tournament and had nice hands too. Despite all the measurables though, Barber was a real disappointment. He was unable to initial the offense. Each time he dribbled the ball up the court, he would head towards the left side and would get himself trapped. He goes full speed at all times and plays out of control often. He had 6 fouls in the two games and at least a few of them were offensive. Because he kept getting trapped, it was hard to see him a lot in the pick and roll, but he didnt seem especially great there. He was one of the most selfish players on the East squad and wing player Theo Pinson learned early that he would have to take over as playmaker."

    I really got after him even though pretty much every other site raved about him after that weekend. The point with Barber is he has the potential to make the NBA.

    You are right that I dont get to see Sina play enough and I know he performed well up at the Hoop Group camps. I can't evaluate his complete game based on one game and i am not trying to. I made it clear I have only seen him once. And I am not making any assumptions on his game. From one game, I can gather that his athleticism isn't up to par of a future NBA player. And I can also make an observation that he struggled against Barber's defense which is true. If I were to base my entire evaluation off of one game then I would have said Sina couldn't shoot or run point guard either but I know that is not true. The only thing I am saying is he is not a NBA player which is far from outlandish. I gave him credit as a smart player who can shoot. And he has good size. i said he will fit well at a Big Ten school. I called him a Big Ten player. I am hardly calling him a scrub.

    If you are a fan of "real basketball players" then maybe this isnt the blog for you. There are plenty of sites that focus on what a player will do in college. You may find them better suited for you.

    and to answer your question - Sina had 4 turnovers and 1 assist. And the team won with Jefferson as the primary ball handler.