Highland, Ind. The Baylor Youth Tournament wasn't on the radar of many at the start of the AAU spring, but it attracted some top teams and a lot of high level coaches. On day one of the tournament there were some key matchups, and no one had a better start than 2012 forward Wanaah Bail.
Bail leads the way for Franchize
It was an impressive spring for Wanaah Bail, and now an even more impressive start to his summer. Bail was good at the Adidas Invitational to start the July evaluation period, and again on Friday he led the way for his Franchize All-Starz against the Spiece Indy Heat.
Indy Heat has some talented players, but none of them were a match for Bail. The highlight play of the game for Bail came when he tracked down DeJuan Marrero on the break as Marrero went up for a huge tomahawk dunk. Instead of throwing it down, Marrero was met by Bail way above the rim, and the two went crashing to the floor, but the block was clean, and the bucket was prevented.
That play put Bail's athleticism on display, but he did far more than that. He was both flashy and effective. Bail hit a few perimeter jumpers, even one from three point range, scored going to the rim off the dribble, and converted around the rim with his length and athleticism.
The book on Bail has been that he doesn't play hard all the time, but he was showing a big motor on Friday night. With him playing hard, all of his natural ability came out, and his Franchize team was able to come away with the win.
While Bail was the biggest reason for the win, D'Angelo Harrison also did his part. The kid can simply score the basketball. He is a knock down shooter from deep, and a good athlete to boot. His body language needs work on the floor, but still he is simply someone who can get a bucket whenever it is called upon for him to do so. He lit it up from deep, and Indy Heat really struggled to guard him.
Other Notable Performances
A.J. Hammons - After missing his first game of the day, Hammons responded with a high-level performance in the second game. Hammons is an absolutely enormous human being who runs the floor well, has excellent hands, and is a high-level shot blocker. Going against the high powered Illinois Wolves frontline, Hammons was clearly the best big man on the floor and controlled the paint with his ability to alter and block shots. Also Hammons showed an ability to score over either shoulder using a spin move or a hook shot. The offensive game is still a work in progress, but the 2012 big man is one of the absolute best on the defensive end of the floor, and he showed it on Friday.
Austin Burgett - The 2012 power forward shot the ball very well. He has awkward form on his shot, but it was going in at a high rate. Beyond knocking in close to five threes, he also showed an ability to beat people off the dribble going right, and is getting better with his rebounding, though that is still a long way away from being up to snuff. He must continue to get stronger to be a factor at the highest level, but it was a solid day scoring wise.
Nic Moore - He is short, 5-foot-8 on his best day, but there are very few tougher competitors than Moore. Along with his toughness and drive, Moore is also a big time shooter if given space. He hit a whole host of threes, and was the scoring star for Indy Heat all night. Now Moore definitely does need to improve on getting his teammates better, as right now he looks to set up his own shot instead of getting others quality looks.
Julius Brown - Brown continued his strong summer with another solid performance. The ultra quick guard is taking good care of the basketball, and is showing the ability to score off the dribble or get others involved. He does need to be more consistent in all aspects of his game, but the physical tools are in place for Brown. A bigger commitment on the defensive end would be nice, but right now he has the look of an undervalued floor general.
Jamari Traylor - There just aren't many uncommitted players in the 2011 class with Traylor's combination of size, strength, and athleticism. He is still very raw on the floor, but he does play hard and finds a way to contribute. Developing any kind of go to post move will be important as right now he is a rebounder/dunker, but he does both of those things at a high level, and was difficult to contain at times.
Ross Travis - Travis continues to make plays with his live body, strength, and skills off the dribble. His shot wasn't falling, but he found a way to make an impact in other ways. He attacked of the dribble, rebounded like crazy, and also did a good job on the defensive end. It wasn't his best game because he just didn't score like he is capable, but still Travis is someone to keep in mind who could blow up with a strong summer performance.
Jordan Smith - Quite honestly Smith put on one of the best shooting displays of the summer for 43 Hoops. The class of 2011 guard doesn't do a whole heck of a lot besides shoot the ball, but he does that one skill at an extraordinarily high level. Possessing a quick release, Smith can get his shot off needing very little time and space, and once the ball leaves his hand it usually ends up going through the net. He definitely needs to improve his defense and ball handling, but his one skill is what will make him a college basketball player.
David Sobolewski - This is a kid that simply defines the term "winner". Sobolewski is as tough as they come, and also is an excellent shooter to boot. Beyond that he competes on every possession and finds a way to get into the lane and make plays. Not the most physically gifted player, Sobolewski is simply productive and important to everything that the Illinois Wolves do. Without him there is no way the Wolves would have been as impressive on the evening. On top of it all, he is a big time student to go along with being excellent on the basketball floor.
Kendrick Nunn - Some other 2013 prospects from the city of Chicago get more press, but Nunn is really making a name for himself with his play. Standing a legitimate 6-foot-2, and maybe even taller than that, Nunn scores off the dribble and also makes shots both from the mid-range and beyond the three point line. Also he is a good athlete with long arms who thrives on having the ball in his hands during the key moments. Having yet to play a game of his sophomore season, Nunn lives for the moment and acts like a star when needed, and his effort down the stretch helped Meanstreets nearly complete an epic comeback against the Eric Gordon All-Stars.
Alex Foster - The potential is really there for Foster. He has long arms, a great frame, solid athleticism, and a decent touch out to the mid-range. While he is capable of doing all of those things, he doesn't always do them. Playing with a sense of urgency and intensity is going to be the challenge for Foster going forward. Physically he should be dominating more than he is right now, but at the same time it is impossible to ignore the player that he could become, and if he ever does become that player it will be fun to watch.
Devin Davis - Effort and energy made up Davis' game on Friday. The combo forward can handle the ball in space, and that allows his athleticism and strength to be on display going to the rim. His didn't show much of a perimeter game, and did battle foul trouble, but still with the game coming down the stretch Davis found a way to make plays and was important in his team's nail biting win.
Basil Smotherman - It was a tough game for the highly touted Smotherman. With coaches tracking his every move, Smotherman simply couldn't get his shot working, and never was in the flow of the game. However he did put his tools on display when he went above the rim for a rebound, pushed the ball up the floor, handled past two defenders and finished with an acrobatic lay in. That kind of intensity is what Smotherman has to bring to the table consistently because his talent level is very high.
Julius Brown has offers from Wisconsin-Green Bay, Tennessee State, and Loyola-Chicago. Also he is hearing from Nebraska, Western Michigan, Ohio, and Miami-Ohio.
Jamari Traylor mentioned strong interest from Bradley, Indiana State, Colorado, Arizona, Minnesota, West Virginia, Washington State, and UTEP.
Devin Davis now holds offers from Xavier, Purdue, Indiana, and Illinois. Also he is being recruited by Ohio State, Tennessee, Michigan, and Cincinnati.
Zak Irvin is missing for Eric Gordon due to a concussion, but he noted he now has offers from Indiana and Illinois with interest coming from Baylor, Michigan, Michigan State, Vanderbilt, and Butler.
Minnesota and Butler are tracking every move that Ross Travis makes.
Purdue, Indiana, Ohio State, Butler, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, and Xavier were all at the 15-and under game between Meanstreets and Eric Gordon All-Stars.