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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic

The Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic was a small event in Connecticut that didn't come with a lot of fanfare. It featured some solid teams though in Rhode Island, Washington, and Seton Hall and allowed us to get our first look at a top 5 program - the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Buckeyes won the event without much of a scare, beating Washington 77-66 in the championship.

Some notes:

- Deshaun Thomas was the story in the championship, scoring 15 points on 7-8 shooting in the first 9 minutes of the game. Thomas scored in every way imaginable - off the pick and pop, in the post, off putbacks, and spotting up in the corner. His offensive acumen looks much like a stretch forward and his position on defense is undefined. Thomas has played tougher this season, battling inside and digging in more defensively. Still, he's a big time tweener who is a black hole on offense. Thomas takes shots that nobody else should take - plenty of long contested 2-pt shots - yet he is never phased by a hand in his face. It makes him an interesting prospect to debate. He is somewhat of last year's Carmelo Anthony to the college game, although his impact at the NBA will be nowhere near the Cuse star. I think Thomas is a late first to early second rounder at this point.

- I profiled Aaron Craft over the summer and I must say, he's shown more offensively than I expected. Craft was getting to the basket with consistency against Washington and finishing with either hand. Craft has always been one of the hardest working players so this shouldnt come as a surprise, but it does boost his stock some. He still needs to work on shooting off the dribble and creating more plays for teammates.

- Shannon Scott was impressive despite scoring just 4 points while racking up 4 fouls. For one, he should have had 6 points but was unable to shoot his FTs late in the game due to a hard fall. Scott looked like he would be ready to next game, though. Shannon Scott ran the point position even with Craft in, and looks to be the better playmaker. He had no trouble getting into the lane and made showed nice vision in setting his teammates up. He only had 1 assists, but had at least two "hockey assists" that Craft ended up getting credit for (Craft finished with 4 assists). Scott also looked good in man to man defense and showed nice end to end speed off steals. He got lost a few times on defense though, and needs to become more vocal next year when he takes over for Craft. Scott will need to play another year to gain experience starting, but he has potential to be a first round pick.

- In both games I watched they mentioned Ohio State observers claiming Sam Thompson is in the Evan Turner mold so I know I heard them right. I like Thompson, arguing for him starting over Ross before the season started, but thats some high praise. I get it somewhat - Thompson has the potential to be a super role player with rebounds, defense, and assists. Still, Turner was much more of a creative and better ball handler. One thing Thompson has that Turner didn't was excellent explosiveness. Thompson needs to work on getting to the rim and gathering himself so he can show the world his crazy hops.

- Washington's Abdul Gaddy is finally starting to look more like the All-American he was billed as. Rob Dauster wrote about him last night after his good game against Seton Hall and he continued his inspired play tonight. Gaddy scored 15 points on 4-6 scoring. It was an impressive performance against Craft's superb defense and Gaddy showed a lot of saavy off the dribble to make it happen. If he keeps it up, he could have a fighting chance at getting drafted. Washington guards have built a good reputation as of late.

- Aziz N'Diaye is hard to move off the block and is a legit seven feet. I've kept tabs on him the last few years and have witnessed marginal improvement. At 24 though, Im afraid the best it will get him is an invitation to Portmouth. N'Diaye runs the court well, rebounds, and maintains position well but still has no post game and below average understanding of defense. Not to mention, he can't put the ball in the basket.

- CJ Wilcox was Washington's high point man, but didn't make himself a huge presence in the game. He is what he is - an excellent shooter with a good frame. That could be enough to get him in the late first round to early second range. He had a nice find for an assist in the game and looked good coming off screens. He's actually scoring less per minute so far then he did with playing with Ross and Wroten last year. He's a guy who does well playing with good playmakers, but isn't going to be a playmaker himself. There are room for guys like that in the NBA.

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