FT. WAYNE, Ind - One of the longest days of the year every spring on the AAU circuit is Saturday at the Spiece Fieldhouse. With games going on for 14 consecutive hours, a lot of action takes place under one roof. Even with so much going on, Chasson Randle found a way to stand out from the crowd.
Randle makes big improvements
Coming into the weekend there was some question as to where exactly Chasson Randle fit into the equation with the top guards in the 2011 class. Is a he a point guard, is he a two guard, and is he elite talent. Randle answered those questions in a big way on Saturday, and asserted himself as one of the best in the class.
The definition of a combo guard, Randle is just as good at setting up others as he is in getting his own buckets. For the Illinois Wolves, Randle was on top of his game on Saturday against Spiece Mo-Kan.
Randle used his athleticism, quick first step, and tight handle to get to the rim at will against the Mo-Kan guards. Last year there was no way that Randle would have been able to make those moves, but the improvements have come. Now the consistent jumper is still there, and the athleticism hasn't gone anywhere, but now he has added that extra dimension that makes him very hard to guard.
On Saturday Randle just scored in a variety of ways. He hit deep threes curling off of screens, he finished in traffic after getting into the paint, he scored in transition, and he created his own shot using a wicked crossover dribble. The offensive arsenal was simply quite impressive.
Also Randle showed signs of being a pure point guard. When he was asked to run the show he got the Wolves into their sets, and initiated the offense while at the same time not being a passive player. The improvements he has made in running a team are quite noticeable.
Beyond that Randle is a willing defender and someone who obviously knows how to play the game the right way. Overall it was just an excellent performance for Randle, and showed huge strides from last year at this time.
A dangerous trio
Far and away the team that traveled the furthest to get to the Run 'N Slam is Seattle Rotary. The boys from the Pacific Northwest came with a purpose, and at the 17-and under level they brought a trio of good looking wings.
Everyone knows about Anthony Wroten. The national top 10 player is still working his way back from an injury suffered during football season, but he is looking good. At this point Wroten lacks a little bit of the explosion he had before the injury, but by no means is he hurting in that department. What does look better is his jumper. Always an athletic specimen who is a gifted passer, Wroten is now adding a far more consistent and better looking jump shot to the table. If he can get that down, it will be near impossible to guard him. On Saturday when he was motivated, Wroten was simply too much to contain, and he was the engine driving the Rotary ship.
Joining Wroten as always was Gary Bell. Bell absolutely caught fire from three, and when the Gonzaga commitment gets hot, he is a handful to deal with. A very good athlete with strength, Bell complements his knock down shooting with an ability to get to the rim and finish. Though he played limited minutes, Bell was a scoring machine and was nearly perfect from the field.
The third member of the trio is 2012 guard Anrio Adams. In a class searching for elite level scorers from the perimeter, Adams might be one to really emerge. He is an absolute jet with the ball, and has a stroke that extends out to 25 feet. All day long Adams was just money from three. Adams was able to hit contest shots off the bounce as if they were catch and shoot in rhythm jumpers, and with his athleticism that isn't easy to deal with. He does need to improve his decision making with the ball, but the natural ability really came through in his play.
Other notable performances
Florida Elite has an excellent looking off guard in Michael Frazier. The 6-foot-2 shooter can really fill it up from the outside. His stroke is pure and his release is quick allowing him to get his shot of in a hurry, and he backs it up with good athleticism and a solid frame to add strength. In the game he didn't beat people much off the dribble, but his handle looked good enough to do so when the shot isn't falling.
Spiece Mo-Kan has a good looking prospect down low on their 16-and under squad. Kansas native Willie Cauley is a legit 6-foot-11 with long arms and a nice frame. He is an elite level rebounder who can also impact the game on the defensive end. Right now he has no ability to score with his back to the basket, but the rebounding makes him a threat since he really gets it done at a high level both on the defensive and offensive glass.
Purdue picked up an early commitment from Jay Simpson, and they have to like what they are getting with the big bodied Illinois native. Simpson isn't an overwhelming athlete by any stretch, but he can hit the jumper out to three point range, is creative with his moves on the block, and really handles the ball well for a young big man. He does need to get into better shape, but Simpson is a nice looking prospect for the Boilermakers.
Antonio Drummond is making some nice improvements to his game. The jet quick point man has never looked for his shot in past viewings, but on Saturday he was aggressive looking to score. His jumper was going in, and that made Drummond more of a problem to guard on the perimeter since now defenders are forced to crowd him.
There are a lot of twins in the 2013 class, and one of the sets comes from Ft. Wayne. Brenton Scott and Bryson Scott both are powerfully built guards who can play. Bryson is more of a slasher and ball handler while Brenton does all the dirty work. They need to work from being scorers to point guards as time goes on, but both of them were very solid in a blowout win.
Don't sleep on Nnanna Egwu. The future Illinois post man is making big strides. Always an impressive athlete who could block shots, Egwu showed a better offensive game, and an absolute tenacity to get on the boards. He still needs to work on staying out of foul trouble, but his potential is simply through the roof.
Kansas State pledge Nino Williams certainly doesn't mind a physical brand of basketball. Every time that Williams gets the ball he seems to search out some kind of contact. Sometimes that results in a bad shot, but a lot of the time it means he goes to the foul line. Williams makes an absolute living at the line. Outside of from the charity stripe his shot wasn't falling, and he needs to get better with his ball handling, but he had a solid game for Spiece Mo-Kan in a loss to the Illinois Wolves.
Big man Frank Kaminsky is beginning to get some national love, and with reason. He is absolutely humungous. While he isn't a fluid athlete, Kaminsky can hit the face up jumper and finishes with touch down on the block. His recruiting is just beginning to pick up, and there is no double he will have at least the opportunity to play at the high-major level.
The 2012 class is in desperate need of point guards, and Marcus Paige is now really asserting himself. The Iowa native looks to be well over 6-foot now, and his passing is incredible. He has a unique ability to see the entire court, and then he combines it with the understanding of when to pass and where to pass. Also Paige is a very good shooter who can score off the dribble or off the catch. There is no doubt that Paige is one of the best in the nation at his position.
A big guy making absolutely huge improvements is Adam Woodbury. He is nearly 7-feet tall, and has the ability to finish with either hand around the rim. More of a garbage man last year, Woodbury now can catch the ball on the block and either score off of a post move or kick to an open shooter. He isn't a great athlete, but the skills are really coming around for him.
The state of Indiana has a ridiculous amount of talent in the 2012 class, and one of the best is Jeremy Hollowell. The Lawrence Central star completely took over his team's first playoff game for Eric Gordon. At 6-foot-6 with long arms, Hollowell is comfortable around the rim, and has a dead eye stroke from the outside. Also he rebounds very well, especially on the defensive end, and can handle the ball like a guard. In one stretch he simply put his team on his back and carried them to a close win.
Purdue fans are expecting big things out of Terone Johnson this upcoming season, but don't forget about younger brother Ronnie Johnson. Ronnie is a pure point guard who is at his best getting out and running in transition. He can hit open shots, but Johnson prefers to really set up teammates. He made Hollowell much better on Saturday, and was enormous in getting his team a win.
One of the highlight matchups of the day pitted Anthony Davis of Meanstreets against Mike Shaw. Quite honestly it wasn't much of a battle. Davis controlled the battle from the very beginning and finished unofficially with 14 points and eight rebounds. Shaw could never get into the flow and only scored two points and grabbed a handful of boards. Davis was huge is getting Meanstreets the win, and continued his question to be considered amongst the nation's best.
Playing well for the Mac Irvin Fire in the loss was Mycheal Henry. After losing Wayne Blackshear to an ankle/foot injury, Henry was forced to step up, and he did. Henry hit a three, converted off the dribble, and showed athleticism finishing above the rim. Henry seems to be getting more comfortable with his teammates after starting off April slow.
Indiana Elite 16's advanced behind the big time ability of D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Hanner Perea. With the Illinois Wolves closing in on Indiana Elite, Perea completely changed the game with an emphatic tip slam to give Elite the momentum. From there Smith-Rivera was the closer. The stocky guard hit threes, used his strength to finish through contact, and overall was just a scoring machine in the third quarter to put the game away for Indiana Elite.
Michael Frazier has offers from Florida State, Virginia Tech, Alabama, and Ohio. Also he is hearing from Florida and South Florida.
Willie Cauley noted offers from Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Kansas State. Also he mentioned Wyoming.
For Antonio Drummond the school list is Illinois, Bradley, Wisconsin, Southern Illinois, and DePaul.
Chasson Randle admitted that Illinois, Stanford, and Purdue currently standout in his mind.
Marcus Paige holds offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, Illinois, and Northern Iowa. Also he is hearing from Wisconsin, Kansas, Virginia, and Marquette.
Adam Woodbury has offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Drake, Utah, Nebraska, and Creighton. He also has serious interest from Kansas and Minnesota.
For Anrio Adams he says the whole Pac-10 is interest except for Oregon. Arizona, UCLA, and Washington State drew special mention. Also he says Texas is really coming after him hard.
Ronnie Johnson holds offers from Ohio University and Indiana State. Interest is also coming in from Butler, Purdue, and Michigan.