LAS VEGAS- There's never been a shortage of high school talent each July in Vegas, this year Justin Phelps organized the first All-American Juco Showcase at Liberty High School. With many of the country's top junior college recruits in attendance we decided to spend a day checking out the action. Thanks to the efforts of Karron Johnson and others, the experience proved to be very worthwhile.
All-American Juco Showcase notables
Karron Johnson, SF, Midland College- There was little question as to who the top talent in the gym was. After putting up monster numbers as a freshman at Moberly (Mo.) JC, he's moving to Texas where he's assuredly going to put up huge numbers again. Strong as an ox, super athletic and blessed with incredibly strong hands he can horse guys on the interior or step out and bury the jumper. A bit of a basketball nomad, the Richmond (Va.) native has clear NBA ability. According to Johnson his plan for now is to head to Oklahoma State next year but West Virginia and a run at the NBA Draft are possibilities as well.
Robert Goff, PF, Hutchinson CC- Likely the top big man prospect in the junior college ranks, the Indianapolis native has really made strides under head coach Steve Eck. Explosive off the floor, he rises above the crowd for backboard shaking dunks, runs the floor and contests shots around the rim. Love the way he finishes with either hand. Among those involved or looking to be are Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, South Florida, Alabama and Oregon.
Stuart Sullivan, SG, TBD- A Kansas native who attended Red Oak (Okla.) High during his senior year, the rangy 6-foot-7 two guard is in search of a junior college for his sophomore year. A skinny kid with outstanding size for the position, he can flat out stroke the ball from anywhere on the floor. His range is deep, his trigger is quick and many in attendance yelled out "layup" when he let a buzzer beating 32 footer fly and it swished through the net to win the event's top 20 All-Star game.
God's Gift Achiuwa, PF, Erie College- Recently profiled on yahoo sports, Achiuwa is a powerfully built 6-foot-8 insider who plays very hard. He's most comfortable operating around the rim, runs the floor and can step out to make some medium range jumpers though he has to be careful not to float out there too much. A spot on a high major roster is assuredly in his future.
Jonathan Mills, PF, Eastern Utah- He's not blessed with ideal size for a power forward, but the maybe 6-foot-6 insider is a flat out brawler in the low post. He plays with great energy, is relentless on the glass and goes straight at a defenders chest. A productive guy, he's getting tracked closely by high end mid to lower level high major programs.
James Blasczyk, C, Lee College- A true seven footer who redshirted and then spent his freshman year at Texas A&M, he's a stone cold lock to end up back at the high major level. While he's not a super athletic, he's good enough in that regard and his motor runs strong. He made smart basketball plays and he doesn't mind playing a bit physical. He stripped the net with several 17 foot jumpers and could be a nice piece in the right setting.
Doug Andersojn, SF, Mott Junior College- There are ridiculous leapers and then there's the 6-foot-5 Anderson who is in a category athletically that maybe .000000001 percent of the world's population can claim to be in. A mind blowing dunker, opponents can't afford to turn their head for a second or they will get smashed on. A transition player who can defend and make some mid-range jumpers, he's a bubble high major guy for a place that likes to run and press.
Justin Edwards, SF/PF, Hillsborough JC- Much more heavily tattooed than he was when we last saw him playing as a high school player for Team Breakdown, the 6-foot-7 forward earned his into the Top 20 All-Star game. He's a strong kid with some skill facing the hoop and he sneaks up on defenders with his athleticism.
More notes from the Juco Showcase
DeShawn Stephens of Santa Monica CC is going to be an interesting guy for college coaches to follow. A lean and mobile 6-foot-7 four/three combo forward, he's got excellent athleticism, great body control and is quick off the floor. After spending his freshman year at Idaho, 6-foot-7 power forward Corey Stern will play his sophomore season at Howard (Texas) College. A sturdy kid who has good athleticism, he can also step out and bury some jumpers. He runs the floor, hits the glass and should be able to earn a scholarship at another school on at least the level of Idaho if not a bit higher. The college coaching turnout for the Showcase was pretty strong. For the All-Star game, guys like Virginia's Tony Bennett, Xavier's Chris Mack, Houston's James Dickey, Oregon's Dana Altman and several other head coaches showed up along with assistants from at least 75 schools while we watched. .