Kalen Grimes, a 6-foot-8, 265-pound power forward from Hazelwood Central High School in Florissant, Missouri and Alexander "Sasha" Kaun, a 6-foot-11, 245-pound center from Florida Air Academy went head-to-head Saturday afternoon in Bloomington, Indiana. While neither player was particularly productive on offense, both displayed their skills and showed why they’re considered two of the better players in the class of 2004.
RivalsHoops.com has Grimes ranked as the 13th best player in the class of 2004 and Kaun the 18th best player. Both players received a perfect five stars and will be two of the more heavily recruited players in the class.
The match up between the St. Louis Eagles (Grimes) and Team Florida (Kaun) was supposed to be the game of the afternoon, but that game never materialized. Both players were in foul trouble for most of the game and, because of that, never got into a flow or rhythm.
At this point in time, Grimes is the more polished player on the offensive end of the court. He’s got a soft touch for a big man and has developed a nice hook shot. There were times during the game when Kaun had Grimes positioned right where he wanted him on defense, but Grimes has a nice up and under move that is tough to defend.
Grimes had some success hitting jump shots from 12-15 feet, but he is most effective down low, in the paint area.
Grimes is just as aggressive on defense. He contends every shot in the paint and try’s to grab every possible rebound.
Several weeks ago RivalsHoops.com reported that Kansas was the leader for Grimes, but is that still the case?
“I am more interested in Kansas and I’m being recruited a little bit harder by Kansas now that Coach Self is the head coach,” Grimes said. “I haven’t really decided when I will make a decision about my future. It all depends on how we do during AAU this summer.”
“Kansas is still the leader for my services,” he added. “Once the AAU season is complete and camps are over, I’ll start planning some official visits for the fall. Right now I anticipate taking all five official visits. Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and SLU are the top five schools I’m considering.”
While Kaun might not be as advanced as Grimes at this point, he’s a definite high major player in this class. Kaun is tall, long, athletic and has all the tools to be the next great big man.
Kaun doesn’t score loads of points, but he is a force on both ends of the court. When he gets the ball down low and establishes himself, he automatically is double or triple teamed, which leads to quite a few free-throw opportunities.
His biggest contributions come on defense. Kaun is a force in the paint area and blocks more than his fair share of shots. If he doesn’t get his hands on the ball, he alters a lot of them shots.
Once he refines his game on the offensive end of the court, he will have be total package. He runs the floor extremely well, positions himself in the paint and is constantly calling for the ball.
Kaun is an extremely aggressive player that will only improve his game.
“I just play hard and try not to worry about the referees calling a tight game,” Kaun said. “It doesn’t really matter about the pace of the game or style, I feel my game is suited for any style.
Florida Air Academy head coach Aubin Goporo and Kaun have already unofficially visited Florida. As it stands right now, seven schools remain on Kaun’s list and he’s already thinking about what schools he will officially visit.
“Yes, I will start taking my official visits in the fall,” he said. “I don’t know what schools I will visit yet, but that’s something I will decide this summer. Kansas, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Michigan State, Georgetown and Duke are the final schools that I’m looking at."