ORLANDO - The AAU Super Showcase was going on at the 16-and under and 15-and under levels on Thursday. With the older kids not set to take the floor until Saturday, some of the underclassmen had a chance to shine, and it was Julius Randle who matched every bit of the hype.
Randle steals the show
The 2013 class hasn't had much of a chance to separate themselves on the national stage at the elite level, but Julius Randle is sure doing his best. The 6-foot-9 power forward is capable of being a big time producer on the floor right now, and the scary thing is that his best basketball is still ahead of him.
The Texas Titans know their own scouting report, that is for sure. There is no doubt on that team who the best player is, and the Titans get him the ball nearly every trip down the floor. On Thursday Randle showed off the complete skill set that makes him such a special prospect.
For a big player, Randle is surprisingly comfortable and effective on the perimeter. Because he is so big, Randle is often guarded by an opposing team's center, and quite honestly that isn't fair to the young man drawing the assignment. Randle absolutely abused his defenders on Thursday by going to the rim off the dribble. What is so impressive about his ability to go off the bounce is that he is equally adept at doing it going to his natural left side or to the right. Quite simply the defender can't cheat because if he does, he will get burned. Also Randle showed the ability to change directions off the bounce which is very rare for a young big man.
While Randle is excellent at getting buckets for himself, what might separate him is his ability to see the floor and pass. He not only is good passing once he gets into the lane off the dribble, but also when his back is to the bucket he is excellent at knowing where the double is coming from, and once that happens it is either a layup or an easy three depending on how the defense goes about it. Randle's passing ability has him drawing comparisons to NBA All-Star Chris Weber at a similar stage.
Randle clearly is the star of the show and the one who draws the most attention, but Mathew Jones also can really play for the Titans. Jones is a 6-foot-4 shooter from the outside who is also athletic and active off the wing. While Jones isn't unreal going off the bounce, he can really make shots from deep, and knows how to play off of a big man like Randle. On top of that he is a maximum effort player who goes hard and is capable of finishing above the rim at any point in time.
Two wins on Thursday have the Titans in the 15-and under final four on Friday.
Other impressive performances
Rodney Purvis - Quite honestly when Purvis plays down at the 15-and under level it isn't fair. He is simply that good. After being one of the best guards at the King City Classic earlier in the month, Purvis didn't let up on his own age group. Knowing that he could score at will, Purvis went to the rim when he so desired, but more than anything he did what he could to get his teammates involved. When Purvis would beat his man off the dribble he would find an open teammate for a bucket using his floor vision. On top of that Purvis of course finished through contact off the bounce and overall could do pretty much anything that he wanted to do.
Tyrek Coger - The big man in the middle for CP3 was impressive. Coger has slimmed down since the high school season, and it showing in his production. While he isn't a great athlete, Coger runs the floor well and puts himself in good position to score down low. Also unlike many young big kids Coger isn't afraid to be physical and that allows him to get buckets and rebounds at an impressive rate. He does need to grow him as he gets older, but right now he is simply a lot to handle on the block at the 15-and under level.
Greg McClinton - McClinton doesn't get the press that Coger or Purvis get, but he is a fine prospect in his own right. An impressive run and jump athlete, McClinton was getting things done for CP3. He rebounded very well on the offensive end, blocked shots on defense, and was just a problem with his long arms and bounce off the floor. As his body continues to mature he will become more and more of a factor, and his skills are just now catching up to his athleticism.
Mike Tobey - The New York Gauchos big man has transferred to the Hotchkiss School and is now a member of the 2013 class. Young for the 2012 class, Tobey is hoping the added year will help him develop his body. At 6-foot-10 right now, Tobey simply needs to get stronger. He has a good touch out to 15 feet and also rebounds very well inside. Most impressive is that Tobey has impressive hands and never seems to drop or bobble a pass. All the tools are there for Tobey, and he is really beginning to show what he can do.
Amadou Sidibe - Sidibe is an undersized power forward in the 2012 class that was very productive for the Gauchos. He has long arms and a lot of athleticism, and that allows him to be effective around the rim. Sidibe finished well off of rebounds, and overall brought an energy that led the Gauchos to an impressive win after a tough start.
Brian Bernardi - This shooter deluxe didn't quite have it working like normal, but the 2012 marksman still got hot in the second half when needed. Bernardi has range well beyond the three point line and at one time hit three in a row. He was short on a few, but that isn't normal. Bernardi has a quick release and a solid idea of how to play, but his ability to really shoot makes him intriguing. On top of just shooting Bernardi showed a desire to rebound the basketball and even scored off the drive once. That probably won't be his game in college, but he is showing some diversity if teams don't defend him honestly.
Aquille Carr - He is short, real short, but he is a big problem for defenders. Against Garner Road the 2013 floor general flat out dominated the game. Carr had a cool 32 points, and most of it came off drives where he got to the lane and finished through contact. Also Carr is a solid outside shooter who made shots, but it is his first step quickness and savvy once beating his man that made him special. Now he does need to do a better job of getting others involved at times, but when you are going as good as he was, it is tough to blame him for looking to score first and not distribute.
Isaiah Hicks - It wasn't his best day, but boy is Hicks an excellent looking prospect. He is 6-foot-8 with long arms and just glides down the floor. Also Hicks did a good job of rebounding the ball against Team Melo, and just overall was a factor when in the game. Offensively he is still raw, but that will be coming as he gets stronger and more familiar with the game.
Deontae Hawkins - The face-up power forward had it working for All-Ohio Red. A good athlete Hawkins finished above the rim, grabbed rebounds out of his area, and ran the floor very well. Also he made shots both inside and out, and overall was very productive. He needs to add major strength to his 6-foot-7 frame, but Hawkins has the tools to be an excellent player and all the flashes were on display in a big win.
Jalen Robinson - A West Virginia commitment, Robinson had one of his better games of the summer on Thursday. He scored with his back to the bucket, rebounded inside and out of his area, and also showed off a little mid-range jumper. He has to continue to be aggressive and physical once inside, but Robinson has the foot work on the block to be a tough scorer if he learns to play with that high motor all the time.
Mark Minch - Not a great shooter, Minch is a kid who flat out knows how to get buckets. He is crafty off the bounce and knows how to get to the rim, and then once inside he is a good athlete who can finish. Because of his size and position shooting off the catch is major growth area, but he can get buckets, and there is a lot to be said for that.
Louisville, Wake Forest, and NC State did their best to stalk Rodney Purvis all day long.
Julius Randle has offers from Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Ohio State, and Baylor. The Longhorns, Tigers, and Jayhawks were sure to be in attendance for his games.
Aquille Carr listed offers from Virginia Tech, South Carolina, South Florida, Texas Tech, Delaware, Texas A&M, Texas Corpus Christi, and UNC-Wilmington.
Big man Mike Tobey says that Virginia is on him the hardest. Also he is hearing from Vermont and Rider.
Deontae Hawkins has a long list of schools that is still growing including Ohio University, Dayton, Xavier, Oakland, Detroit, Ohio State, Ball State, Iowa, Kent State, Akron, and Toledo.