April 22, 2007

Kingwood: Day two

HOUSTON -- The following is news, notes and analysis from Saturday's daylong action at the Kingwood Classic in Houston.

Loaded

One of the more anticipated games of the day was the T-Mac All-Stars against the King of the Court. Among the numerous head coaches in attendance were Roy Williams, Rick Barnes, Bill Self, Tom Izzo, new Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon, Jeff Capel and Kevin Stallings. The game, however, didn't live up to the hype.

Although Delvon Roe and Kenny Frease played well it was not enough against the loaded T-Mac All-Stars.

Anthony Jones led the T-Mac attack with 15 points to go along with five rebounds. Jones, a long and slender small forward who said he would likely commit to Texas at the end of the summer, says he would love to follow in the footsteps of Kevin Durant. Jones has a long way to go to reach Durant's status but there is no denying the huge strides he has made with his game since last summer. With a build eerily similar to Durant, Jones has become a more aggressive and assertive player on both ends of the court and may just be knocking on the door of five-star status.

Potential five-star prospect J'Covan Brown had a quiet game as he deferred often to sophomore guard Jamal Fenton, who was the second-leading scorer in the city of Houston during this year's high school season. Brown, however, did still score 11 points.

Top-100 prospects for the Class of 2008 -- Phillip McDonald, Will Brown and Steve Tchiengang -- all contributed with near double-figure points.

For King of the Court, who lost by seven, Roe had 21 points and Freeze finished with nine and five rebounds.

The Matchup

Greg Monroe, the Rivals.com No. 1 prospect in the 2007 class, and Al-Farouq Aminu, the No. 3 prospect in the 2007 class, faced off Saturday afternoon and contrary to recent such matchups, this one lived up the hype. Both players seemed to embrace playing against each other and in fact went out of their way to defend one another.

Monroe finished with 16 points while Amiinu scored 19 for the Georgia Stars.

Atlanta Celtics vs. Southern Cal All-Stars. The Atlanta Celtics immediately knocked the SoCal All-Stars back on their heels as it raced out to 22-3 lead. In the first half, Howard Thompkins was dominant. The skilled power forward pulled down 11 boards while not missing a shot from the field as he scored 17 first-half points. Derrick Favors a potential top five prospect in 2009, chipped in four points, four rebounds, a couple blocks and an assist. Smooth-shooting Noel Johnson, another top 2009 prospect for the Celtics, added seven points.

The only SoCal player to match the talent of the Celtics was point guard Brandon Jennings. He scored 13 points on 4-for-10 shooting from the field.

A speedy ballhandler with a scoring mentality, Jennings failed to record an assist or grab a rebound in the first half. For Jennings to be considered an elite prospect, he is going to have to take his game to a level where he makes the players around him better.

Behind the scoring of Jennings, SoCal cut the margin to eleven, 41-30, at intermission.

Prospect evaluations.

Willie Warren - The power guard did a nice job running the point for Team Texas against Martin Brothers Select. Whether it was finding sharpshooting Rotnei Clarke in transition or penetrating the lane and dumping it off to his big men, Warren did a good job of not letting his talent get the best of him by dominating the ball too much. Warren also knocked down his share of 3-pointers and shots in the lane.

Terrence Jennings - The athletic 6-foot-10 power forward quite impressive against Martin Brothers in his morning game. While also playing about the rim, Jennings showed of a variety of post moves - including several jump hooks - and also knocked down 17-footer. Jennings may still be a little raw but the comparisons to Amare Stoudimire are not off base. Jennings excels at running the court and he's a force above the rim, on both ends of the court.

Matt Gatens - A physically strong player on the wing, Gatens is a solid player who doesn't necessarily excel at one aspect of the game but causes weaker opponents problems with his ability to post up and hit the boards.

Christian Watford - A smooth 6-foot-6 2009 wing player, Wofford is a natural scorer. Against Inland Empire, he scored both of the catch and the dribble.

Malcolm Lee - The UCLA commit played a heady game from his point guard position and did most of his scoring damage from behind the arc.

Grant Gibbs - Martin Brothers Select's 6-foot-4 point guard is awful similar to Maryland point guard Eric Hayes. He has a sweet handle and does an excellent job finding the open man in transition while also being able to keep the defense honest with his ability to connect on shots from the perimeter.

School lists

Elliot Williams still has his top five school lists of Virginia, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Memphis and Clemson but according to Williams and his coach Ernie Kuyper, Duke, North Carolina and Texas are all on the verge of offering. In fact, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was intently watching Williams' M33M Ballers game on Saturday as was Florida coach Billy Donovan. Don't be surprised if the two-time defending national champion Gators try to get in the mix as well.

"My original top five is still ahead of these new schools because they have been recruiting me the longest," Williams said. "But if these new schools offer, then I'll closely consider them."

Williams' teammate, 2009 prospect Christian Watford, gave Rivals.com a top-four school list of Alabama (offer), Ole Miss (offer), Florida and UConn. Wofford added that Florida, Marquette, Alabama and Auburn have come to see him workout this spring.

Nolan Dennis, a 2009 prospect, listed Georgetown, Villanova, UConn, Texas A&M (offer), Baylor (offer), Texas (offer), Marquette (offer), Oklahoma State (offer) and Texas-Arlington (offer).

J'Mison Morgan said Kansas (offer), Kentucky (offer), Baylor (offer), UNLV (offer) and Georgetown (offer) are among his favorites at this time.

D.J. Seeley, who was impressive in his afternoon game from M33M Ballers, has always received an offer from California and has received strong interest from Oregon.

Erik Williams, a 2009 prospect, is interested in Texas A&M (offer), Alabama (offer), Baylor, Kansas and Georgetown. Recently, Alabama, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State all came to watch the talented Williams in workouts.

Andrew Steele, the younger brother of current Alabama point guard Ron Steele, is currently listing a top four of Alabama (offer), North Carolina, Tennessee (offer) and Georgia Tech.

Jamychal Green, a teammate of Steele's on the Alabama Challenge, said his current list of schools are Georgia Tech, Florida, Virginia, Alabama, Marquette, Ole Miss. All schools have offered Green at this point.

Will Brown said he was wide-open despite recent reports that claimed he had committed to UTEP. He listed UTEP (offer), Baylor (offer), Florida, Clemson, Iowa State (offer), Nebraska (offer), Illinois (offer), Texas and Vanderbilt are recruiting him the hardest.

Kenny Kadji said Saturday that Florida was currently his leader and also mentioned Memphis (offer), UConn (offer), USC (offer) and Kansas State (offer). .

Miscellaneous notes

Thad Matta, Roy Williams and Rick Barnes each watched Sean Williams, one the top prospects in the 2009 class, of Texas Select during the afternoon. …

If there is a better shooter in the prep ranks than Rotnei Clarke, we'd like to know who it is.



 

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