ORLANDO, Fla. - It is getting very late into the second July evaluation period, and that means that the players are beginning to get worn down. With that there is a lot of mediocre basketball, but Rodney Hood showed no signs of tailing off in his play and came up big on Wednesday.
Hood shows off the skills
MBA Elite is a team that has a chance to go a long way down in Orlando, and the play of wing Rodney Hood will probably determine how far they advance. Hood is a very skilled 6-foot-7 player who is unique and difficult to defend when he has it working.
Hood did have it going on Wednesday for MBA Elite, and he carried them to a win in the second half. After a fairly quite first half, Hood decided to take over, and he did it using his mid-range game.
A super smooth player, Hood is able to get by his defender, and from there he has a unique ability to score in the mid-range. In an era where the mid-range game is a lost art, Hood has a two dribble pull-up jumper that is absolutely pure. He hit several of those jumpers from 15-17 feet in the half, and just proved to be able to get where he wants whenever he wants on the basketball floor.
Along with being able to knock down the mid-range shot, Hood also attacked the rim off the bounce, and used his athleticism and length to score inside. Mostly a perimeter player, Hood has a skill set that most prospects his size don't possess, and when it is all clicking for him he is one of the best in the country.
Complementing Hood was Deville Smith and LaQuinton Ross. Smith is a jet of a point guard who really knows how to break his man down off the bounce. He didn't have his most productive game, but Smith is super quick, got into the lane, and then did a solid job of creating from there. His jumper could still use some work, but Smith did show that unique burst with the ball that not many prospects possess.
When it comes to Ross, he is just so fluid at 6-foot-7. A super skilled prospect, Ross hit a few jumpers from the perimeter and also showed an ability to handle the basketball to help create for himself. Ross isn't an elite prospect because his motor is still lacking, but the skill level with his length and size is very interesting if he does indeed learn to bring it on every possession as he gets older.
Other Notable Performances
Brice Johnson - This is a prospect who just oozes potential. At roughly 6-foot-9 Johnson passes the look test during warm-ups, and then also brings it during the game. Right now he is mostly a shot blocker/rebounder type of big man, but his offensive game is coming. His athleticism was a factor on defense for the Carolina Ravens as he blocked several shots, and then got out on the break and ran the floor for buckets. Adding strength is a key, but he already possesses a unique skill on the defensive end.
Demarcus Harrison - This is a guard who is always in attack mode. Harrison has a big body and is an absolute beast when going to the rim. He finishes well through contact, and isn't afraid to drive to his right or left and finish with either hand. His jumper is a growth area right now, but on Wednesday defenders simply couldn't keep him in front of them.
B.J. Young - While some prospects are wearing down after playing a lot of summer basketball, Young is not one of them. The 6-foot-4 combo guard just continues to get buckets. After the NBA Top 100 camp a criticism of Young was his lack of desire to pass the ball, but with his AAU team he plays much differently and gets others involved. Also Young has a wicked baseline floater that is money, and his right-to-left crossover is very tough to deal with. His shot was a little off from deep, but the 30 points he put on the scoreboard show that he was getting things done.
Kadeem Jack - The class of 2011 power forward just continues to get better each and every time out on the floor. Jack not only scores inside with length and athleticism, but now he is facing the rim and taking his man off the dribble with ease. He was attacking the rim, controlling the glass, and blocking shots on Wednesday for the New York Gauchos. His play on the inside has changed the team in this tournament.
Omar Calhoun - Calhoun is a player who can go hot and cold at times, but he had it working in a morning win. He is 6-foot-4 with good athleticism and a solid feel for the game. Calhoun created off the dribble for himself and also for teammates, and then knocked down shots from the outside. Consistency is the question for Calhoun, but he showed very well for himself on Wednesday.
Donnie Hale - The Purdue pledge is now a member of the 2011 class, and he continues to improve. Sometimes he can look awkward with his moves inside, but the bottom line is he is very effective. Hale was active around the rim rebounding and tipping in shots, and then also showed a very effective 15 foot jump shot. Beyond that Hale scored on hook shots with his back to the basket, and that is something he hasn't shown much of in the past.
Jabarie Hinds - Hinds is one of the better uncommitted point guards in the class, and he showed it. He is very quick, but knows how to harness that quickness and play under control. Hinds scored when he needed to for his Westchester Hawks team, but at the same time more than anything simply got others involved when they needed. It was clear that the opposing team couldn't defend him, but Hinds did what he always does and simply ran the show.
Chris Martin - While Hinds gets most of the attention, Martin is also a very good player in the backcourt. He is much more of a natural scorer, and even though he will be undersized to play off the ball, he can flat out get buckets. Martin did some nice things off the bounce in the mid-range after creating space, and then showed the aptitude to hit from deep as well. While not a prototype shooting guard, he is just a kid who knows how to produce.
Trey Burke - Burke continued his strong summer with a very impressive scoring display. Though he is a point guard, Burke has the natural instinct and ability to score, and when he gets into a rhythm he can be lethal from three. With All-Ohio in the lead, Burke really got it going for himself and others, and was the catalyst in blowing it wide open for them.
Nate Anderson - He doesn't get much attention on the All-Ohio Red 17-and under squad, but Anderson is having a great close to his summer. A pick and pop guy at 6-foot-8, Anderson is knocking down shots at a high level, and did so on Wednesday. He has range out to three point range, and is very comfortable there as long as his feet are set. Rebounding and defense are still concerns, but in a stretch the floor situation, he is able to excel.
Elijah Macon - A highly touted 2012 prospect, Macon is beginning to get it going. The athletic power forward is again playing with a lot of energy and bringing it on both ends of the floor. A big time rebounder, Macon was snatching the ball off the glass and getting it to his guard to push the pace. Also he showed off some above the rim finishes as well.
DaJuan Coleman - If his guards threw him the ball every possession, he might go for 40 each game. Coleman is simply a beast of a human being who continues to get better. Due to the amount of basketball he has played he isn't quite as explosive now as he was earlier in the summer, but he still has unique athleticism for a kid in the neighborhood of 275 pounds, and runs the floor as well as anyone. Beyond that he has a good skill level for a center off the dribble and is solid form the foul line.
Malcolm Gilbert - The physicality of his game is still in question, but Gilbert is definitely developing right now. He is able to score facing the basket from the mid-range, and then his natural size and athleticism allow him to score inside. Gilbert also changed several shots on the defensive end, and that is clearly where he is more advanced at this stage.
Rasheed Sulaimon - On a Houston Hoops team that is absolutely loaded with talented backcourt players, Sulaimon was clearly the best on Wednesday evening. Athletic and aggressive, Sulaimon made plays going to the rim, and then hit shots from deep to show off the kind of prospect that he is. Because his team is so talented in the backcourt it is tough for any one player to put up huge numbers, but Sulaimon did his best, and kept Houston Hoops in the game despite the rest of his teammates not playing at their best.
Omar Calhoun has offers from Villanova, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Florida, Miami, Arizona, Rutgers, Seton Hall, West Virginia, and Virginia. Also he is hearing from North Carolina, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Georgetown, and Maryland.
Rodney Hood has offers from Florida State, Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, Miami, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Georgia, and Louisville. Also he is hearing from Missouri, UTEP, and Florida.
Jabarie Hinds lists offers from Louisville, Oklahoma State, UNLV, Rutgers, Virginia, Wake Forest, Boston College, and Cincinnati. Also Villanova and West Virginia are keeping tabs on him.
Nate Anderson holds offers from James Madison, UNC-Wilmington, and Gardner Webb. Eastern Kentucky, Western Carolina, Toledo, Cornell, Northeastern, Princeton, and Florida International have also been in conta