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Saturday, July 14, 2012

USA East Prospect Report

The USA East roster was the first American roster I had a chance to evaluate today, and since it was the second game of the day, it also meant that they would be playing in a later game. With two games in one day, I was able to get a great feel on each one of their players. Before I attending, I wrote a preview of each of the players on the blog, but I feel much more comfortable giving more assertive opinions now.

Shane Rector - Not much has changed with him. He was a good guy to bring in off the bench for spurts. He played defense and was fundamentally sound. Didn't force things which was a nice change up compared to the other East point guard. He handled the ball well, found his own shot mid-range and at the hoop, but didn't show much passing the ball. He was able to initiate the offense, but I have nothing to report on the passing end of things. Rector looks like a very solid 4 year point guard in college, though. Whatever team lands him will be happy. He probably deserves to be in ESPN's top 100.

Anthony Barber - 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.

Kuran Iverson is The Answer's cousin, but if you told me someone on this team was, I would have believe it was Barber. Im not saying that as a good or bad thing. Its just that his speed and ball handling is at a high level, he plays selfishly, and something I havent mentioned but is a positive is that he is extremely quick filling passing lanes and stealing the ball cleanly. He would at times lock up his man and showcase his excellent potential on defense. When you play two games a day, you really find out who loves the game. Barber is a guy I have to question. He was on his phone a lot in the stands and when it was time for his team to warm up, he was the last one to join them and had to be told to hurry up and join the team by others.

Barber has the physical traits as a point guard, but not the mentality or smarts. He turned it over too much. His shot was average. He made some threes, missed quite a few, nothing to right home about. There were plenty of worse rotations on the ball from others, but he's not a knock down shooter. Hopefully Barber goes to a school like Louisville who can teach him how to be a point guard because if he gets it down, he has the potentially to be really good. He is a couple of years away though.

Kameron Williams - Kameron Williams' main strength is his elite shooting ability and while I was in attendance today, he went 0-7 from the three point line. Still, I'd be silly to say he can't shoot. He most definitely can and he has a very pretty jumper. He was able to connect on a few long twos. He brought the ball up the court a few times, but sharing the backcourt with guys like Barber, Pinson, and Troy Williams, Kameron's main job was to space the floor. What Kameron did show today was beautiful floater. Williams' is undersized and has a hard time getting all the way to the basket, but if you overplay him, he can put it on the floor and drain a high arching floater right over you at the foul line. Defensively, he had to guard wings, most of them much bigger, and he was overmatched all day. The big thing to remember about Williams is he is a shooter. That is his calling card. He isn't a one and done type player either. But if he can progress as a point guard, perhaps a good idea if he goes to a mid major, he can hang in the NBA down the road.

Theo Pinson - Somehow Pinson only had 2 assists combined in these two games, but he might have been the best playmaker on any of the US teams. I started to notice it early, when he would grab a rebound and bring the ball up himself and make a play. Then with Barber struggling a bit and needing some help handling, Pinson started making plays in the halfcourt as well. It seemed like whenever had got the ball he made a play. He balanced it out well too - finding teammates on kickouts, sneaking passing through traffic for good looks, taking the occasional three, and most importantly doing a great job of getting to the hoop and finishing himself. In the two games he went to the line and total of 20 times - making 16 of them (80%). He was also 3-9 from 3, where a majority of those attempts were off the dribble late in the shotclock. One of them was a clutch shot against Canada late.

Defensively, Pinson was a lockdown guy and was a great rebounder. He played hard. He has excellent length and is a very good athlete. He is a little skinny right now and can use some more size. He was one of the most impressive players of the day and he is a Class of 2014 guy. He was definitely the best player on USA East. Pinson will only be a junior in high school next year so its early, but he is a NBA guy. He was one of the handful of potential one and done guys here.

Troy Williams - Williams is a very intriguing guy. For much of the first game, he was quiet. He was sharing the backcourt with Barber and Pinson, so he might not have figured out how to play off them. Its funny, because I did say in the preview article that he needed to be more consistent. But I thought he was doing a solid job playing a role and not making mistakes. Late in the game he broke through, showing off his athleticism on some monstrous dunks. Williams appears to be a fantastic athlete, very long and an explosive leaper. He moves well and even though he has the size of a SF, I think he has the quickness and length to be a great defender against 2 guards as well. Williams already knows how to be a complimentary wing and should get even better at Oak Hill next year playing next to SinDarius Thornwell. He had 5 steals and a block which does a nice job of illustrated the impact he can have on defense. Williams is a streaky good shooter, making two 3s today, who can elevate and get his shot off over anyone. He is comfortable spotting up in the corner. He is more of a straight line driver, but he can blow by you and finish with authority.

Williams has a very bright future ahead of him. His consistency may be a question, but I think he actually is a very nice potential 2nd or 3rd option on offense. I might be getting ahead of myself, but Williams definitely does have NBA potential and could be realistically a one and done guy. It may be what is on his mind since he has held out his recruitment and is choosing mainly between Kentucky and North Carolina.

Kuran Iverson - Kuran Iverson is very tall and lanky. Watching him out on the perimeter is kind of like watching Durant out there, except for the fact that Iverson is nowhere near Durant's level. Iverson started off the first game being extremely aggressive. He got a few rebounds and looked to push the ball and looked good dribbling in the open court. He was forcing things though, and turning it over way to much. Allen Iverson's cousin doesn't look like him at all, but it got bad for Kuran when he started to try to do The Answer's moves while being a foot taller. Iverson held true to his scouting report, really not helping out his team or making smart decisions. He is still intriguing, although I know the intrigue for guys who have seen him over the years is getting less and less exciting. Iverson has a smooth jumper and one that is tough to block. At his height and with his solid ball handling skills, he can get plenty of shots off. With Durant as one of the best players in the league, the idea of a poor man's version of him is interesting. Iverson has the looks of a complete bust but the skill set is enough to keep the hope alive. We will be able to monitor his progress in college to see if he puts it together. Im not giving up hope this early on a talented kid like Kuran.

BeeJay Anya - The first that caught my eye about Anya was his wingspan. Not how long it was, but by how short he and his wingspan looked compared to reports. He was still long and his chuckiness took away from the long appearance, but he is definitely not 7'8'' long. He was more out of shape than I expect too, but he has been getting his weight down for awhile now and should continue to do so. Defensively, I thought Anya rotated well and did a good job of taking up space. He isn't the elite shot blocker I expected, but his weight is a factor there. For his weight, he is plenty explosive so I can imagine him being a very good shot blocker, perhaps elite, once he gets into better shape. Anya has good hands and was able to pull away a solid amount of rebounders. Right now though, he only rebounds in his area. Again, that can change when he gets in better shape. Offensively, Anya used his body to set picks for others but wasnt involved much. He seems patient in the post and featured a beginners hook shot, but that was the extent of him offensively. He wasn't quick once he got the ball with making decisions or moves.

Anya is going to need more than one year in college. Like Fab Melo, he is going to have to be ran into shape. After that, he could intrigue teams by his length alone to get drafted. But unlike Fab, he isn't a seven footer so he has more work to do. He will need to establish an offensive game. Georgetown would be a great place to learn.

Kyle Washington - Washington didn't stand out at all. He played PF for about 40 minutes, but hardly did anything. He didn't appear to be as skinny and athletic as a described. He had a decent amount of meat on his bones, showed some good handles, and a decent offensive game from the high post. He isn't going to be a great college player right away, but could be solid down the road.

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