Friday, April 5, 2013

Oak Hill vs Montverde Academy Scouting Notes

Sindarius Thornwell (#39 ESPN, #43 Scout, #29 Rivals) - At this point, you know what you are getting from Thornwell. Thornwell is a strong shooting guard who plays with a lot of energy, has some explosiveness at the rim, and can finish through contact. His go to shot is a mid-range pull up following a couple of hard dribbles and its a shot he can make, but he's far from consistent. Thornwell is also very good on the boards and can play strong defense as well. Heading to South Carolina next year, you can expect him to be able to score with relative ease, but he will need to work on his efficiency. With all his long pull-up jumpers, he has a lot of poor shooting nights. Thornwell needs to not settle for those shots as much, get to the rim, and also expand his range so he is a reliable shooter from deep.

Troy Williams (#42 ESPN, #38 Scout, #66 Rivals) - Troy Williams reminds me of the wing version of CJ Leslie in the sense the he looks like a star, makes some highlight reel plays, but is also highly inconsistent and lacks fundamentals. Williams is a terror running in transition and can finish way above the rim. He also can run to the corner and hit shots from behind the arc. The halfcourt game is where he really struggles though and its why he disappears at times. He struggles to make plays for himself as he lacks both the ball handling and strength needed. Williams relies on a shaky behind the back dribble that results in turnovers more times than not and is often out of control. Defensively, Williams has all the tools but needs to play smarter and dial in more consistently. Williams is a guy that jumps out at you upon first glance, but the more games you see him play, the more your expectations become tempered. He will have to work hard for a role at Indiana next year.

Nate Britt (#93 ESPN, #76 Scout)- Britt has slowly slipped down recruiting rankings and against Kasey Hill, he had a chance to win back some doubters. He finished with 16 points on 12 shots, but also had 6 turnovers to only 2 assists. Britt seems to lack the explosion to dominate the way he used to before he transferred to Oak Hill and has become more of a jump shooter. He won't be a threat to take away the starting point guard job from Marcus Paige next year.

Dakari Johnson (#11 ESPN, #13 Scout, #18 Rivals)- I hadn't seen Dakari play as much as a lot of the big time recruits in the NHSI and my expectations weren't very high considering he had a late night the day before at the McDonald's All-American game. But he ended up exceeding my expectations and turned in a 17 point, 13 rebound, and 7 block performance on only 12 shots. Dakari is a back to the basket guy who worked consistently to get good position and his teammates rewarded him with entry passes. He showed nice patience in kicking the ball out to establish deeper position, looking very much like a experienced big man. Johnson seems to know his area of expertise and works to get within 10 feet of the basket. He has good touch on a standstill jumper from about 10 feet and is able to score close to the rim with either hand. His conditioning level was impressive as was his defensive ability. He isn't a Nerlens Noel type shot blocker, but he is a better post defender thanks to his strength and is certainly a good athlete. Look for Dakari Johnson to give Willie Cauley-Stein a battle for the starting center spot. If Coach Cal chooses the better player, expect Johnson to start.

Kasey Hill (#9 ESPN, #9 ESPN, #8 Rivals)- Hill wasn't 100% and also plagued by a tough travel schedule from the Mickey D's game, butr he dished out 10 assists in the win over Oak Hill. Hill also went 2-10 from the field and turned it over 7 times. It wasn't his best game, but he showed great burst in the open court and was creative in finding ways to distribute the ball. If you ran with Hill in transition, he was going to get it to you. He made a nice spinning dish and his quickness was on display. Late in the game he began cramping up, but fought through it to close out the victory. He gutted out this win and kept the team together, which is what you have to do when you aren't playing your best.

Ben Simmons (#5 ESPN Class of 2015)- Simmons is only a sophomore, but is already a legitimate prospect and could even wind up as a "one and done" player. He has great size at 6'9 and the ability to play both outside and inside. The Aussie came to the states midseason to join Montverde and has found ways to contribute to wins without being "the guy". In fact, Simmons comes off the bench behind WVU commit Devin Williams. Simmons earned himself extra minutes over Williams on Thursday with tough play at the rim and unselfish play on offense. He was great moving the ball on offense, showing passing skills from the high post and the perimeter. Simmons also rebounded the ball tough and contested and finished plays above the rim. He was a force in transition and the best/most versatile defender on the court. Selfishly I would have liked to see him show off his offensive game more, but its not his role on his current team. He scored 16 points on just 7 shots in 24 minutes of play - you couldn't have asked for a more positive performance. It will be interesting if Simmons progresses more towards the SF or PF role in the next few years. Either way he will be a very good prospect and has a great future ahead of him.

Devin Williams (#37 ESPN, #57 Scout, #91 Rivals) - Williams lost out on playing time to Simmons, but saw big minutes late in the fourth quarter and was a big part of forcing this game into overtime. He is a strong rebounder and active defender who gets most of his offense on putbacks. He projects to be a power forward, although he isn't a post player or jump shooter really. His ticket on offense is his toughness and hustle. He will probably fill a role at WVU similar to the one John Flowers played late in his career, although there is always room for him to improve his game. Nevertheless, Williams should be a solid 4-yr contributor at the college level.

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