ORLANDO, Fla. - The 16-and under Super Showcase came to a close with nationals starting at that level on Sunday. Then the 17-and under Showcase began to narrow the field during bracket play. While there wasn't one signature performance, many solid performers stepped up including Montrezl Harrell.
(Carolina) Elite Frontcourt
One of the better matchups at the 16-and under level on Sunday actually didn't even happen in the Super Showcase finals, it was a pool play game for nationals. The game pitted Carolina Elite against the New York Gauchos, and the boys from the Tar Heel State proved to be on top of their games.
Carolina Elite is just flat out getting it done right now behind the duo of Montrezl Harrell and Aaron Roundtree. Harrell is the physical freak of nature who gets it done with strength and athleticism while Roundtree is the skilled and wiry small forward who is making big strides in his game.
On Sunday the Gauchos frontcourt featuring the very talented Mike Tobey down low simply couldn't handle them. Harrell especially got things going. He was too strong for Tobey on the block, and would go right at him, and then elevate using his athleticism. Once he started doing that, it gave Carolina Elite control of the boards down low, and the feeling that if they ever needed a bucket he could get one.
After that Harrell started showing off his developing game from the mid-range and out. He hit one three pointer, and followed it up with an impressive drive from the elbow where he used a spin move to score. Those moments still aren't the norm with Harrell who prefers to bang down low, but the flashes are there for the future.
Roundtree just seems to be coming into his own as a player. His jumper off the dribble wasn't working during the game, but everything else was. He is a very adept passer who really sees the floor well. Even though his passing is of the flashy variety, it is also effective and he doesn't really turn it over.
Right now Roundtree is most comfortable handling the basketball up top, but he is going to struggle against major ball pressure due to the fact that he is tall and doesn't quite have the super tight handle. Still when he gets a little bit of space to be a playmaker it is tough to do anything with him since he is so long and shows such good feel for the game.
Behind Roundtree and Harrell Carolina Elite rolled, though the Gauchos did get a solid offensive performance from Tobey in their own right. Tobey needs to add strength which was obvious on defense, but on offense he always holds the ball high, has a knack for getting offensive rebounds, and possesses a good touch out to 15 feet. Developing his body will be key, but for a young big man the tools are there.
Other Notable Performances
Khem Birch - Expressions 2011 had an absolute runaway win, and Birch was a huge reason wh. The athletic power forward was hanging off the rim with dunk after dunk, and then would mix it up with a blocked shot to start the break on the other end. His skill game wasn't on display, but that was because it didn't have to be as Expressions had complete control of the game from the opening tip. His body, athleticism, and length make him one of the premier prospects in the 2012 class.
Ricardo Ledo - The biggest reason why Expression kept on racking up a big lead was Ledo. He could not be stopped with the ball in his hands. If he wanted to get to the rim off the dribble he did. If he wanted to make a perimeter jumper off of a nice dribble to create space, he did. In essence there was simply nothing that could be done to stop him. His athleticism his top level and so is his skills, and against inferior competition it just isn't fair.
Shane Larkin - Usually someone who looks to score on his own first, Larkin was focused on getting others involved. He would come off ball screens with the thought of getting in the lane and dishing as opposed to scoring. Still Larkin did score when needed using his perimeter jumper, but it was the floor vision and passing that stood out in the game on Sunday morning.
Robert Brown - Brown is a high level athlete who can also shoot it from the perimeter. Right now if he attacks off the bounce it is only going one way, and he his needs work which limits him at times, but when in traffic he can explode over defenders and finish, and then he of course has some major catch and shoot abilities as well.
Sinderius Thornwell - The 2013 standout didn't get too many minutes on the 17-and under level for the United Celtics, but when he was in the game he was effective. Thornwell plays with great energy at all times, and really rebounds for a small forward. Also he can score off the dribble and is a good athlete. Physically he wasn't overmatched against older players, and playing in a big game he more than held his own.
Tre Brown - One of the surprise performers on Sunday was Brown. The Ohio shooting guard looks like he has grown a few inches since the high school season, and now is taking his game to a new level. At roughly 6-foot-5 he runs the point for his Friends for Life AAU team, and is just as capable going all the way to the rim and dunking as he is of hitting pull up shots in the lane. He needs to work some more on his shot from three, but the athleticism and body have his stock really on the rise.
Anton Grady - With a solid crowd of coaches looking on, Grady was solid. The face up power forward hit shots out to 15 feet, and also finished with dunks off of pick and roll situations. His motor wasn't always turned on which was disappointing, but if he plays hard all the time he is going to be a major factor.
Isaiah Miles - The Baltimore area power forward was very instrumental in his team's run to the 16-and under Showcase title. Miles is 6-foot-8 with long arms and athleticism to spare. He did all of his damage around the rim, and there was simply nothing All-Ohio could do about it. Miles was too much physically for All-Ohio, and simply controlled the glass leading to several buckets. Also Miles displayed an ability to score with either hand in close.
Matt Costello - It was a rough start for Costello, who had a whole host of coaches looking on. The power forward wasn't finishing well inside and never got free on the perimeter, but as the game went on Costello continued to get better. He began scoring through contact and corralling rebounds. Costello didn't really get free from three to shoot it, but he contributed in other ways and showed why his stock is really going up.
Remy Abell - As a guy on the high-major fence, Abell is going to get a lot of looks in July, and on Sunday night it was a struggle for him. Abell couldn't get much going with his perimeter jumper, and Team Pride did a good job of closing down driving lines limiting his production. He did make a few nice athletic plays, but overall it was a tough night for him.
Shane Larkin has offers from Alabama, Colorado, Florida State, South Florida, Central Florida, George Mason, DePaul, and Northeastern. Also he is hearing from UCLA, USC, Boston College, Wake Forest, and Kansas State.
Tre Brown has offers from Duquesne and Robert Morris. Also he is getting looks from Kent State, Akron, Wyoming, and Oregon State.
For Aaron Roundtree he recently got offered by Colorado. Also he is hearing from NC State, VCU, Virginia, and several of the mid-major schools in North Carolina.
The offer list for Matt Costello is really growing. He now has Michigan State, Michigan, Butler, USC, Indiana, and Oakland as offers. Also Ohio State, Purdue, and Cleveland State are showing a lot of interest.