The United States was sensational in international play last week in San Diego for the International Sports Invitational and in France for the Douai World Championships because of the efforts of several Rivals.com five-star prospects. Linzy Davis was at the helm of the US squad in France and came home impressed with the play of guys like Ramar Smith and Kevin Durant.
Davis, a veteran of the AAU circuit and the head coach of Community Christian School in McDonough, Ga., saw his U.S. team claim the tournament championship thanks in part to the play of tournament MVP Tywon Lawson and college stars Malik Hairston and Rudy Gay. Those weren't the only players that helped the U.S. bring home the gold.
"Kevin Durant is more of a George Gervin type of player to me," Davis said when asked if Durant had any Carmelo Anthony to his game. "Obviously, he needs more weight but he's so long at 6-foot-10.
"For us, he shot is from 15 feet and in. When he was shooting in that range, he was excellent. Probably somewhere around 70 to 80 percent. On the three point line, he wasn't as strong as he probably would have liked but you know with these international games over here, it takes a while to get used to. It's six hours ahead and he had to adjust to the jet lag and what not."
Durant is in the middle of a hot recruitment. He's considering Connecticut, North Carolina and Texas. With Gay, a UConn star, and Lawson, a UNC pledge and Durant's close friend, one could expect to hear both players making their respective pitches to the No. 2 ranked player in the class of 2006. Davis said he didn't hear any talk of recruiting though.
"Not at all. It was all basketball," Davis said. "That's all they talked about when I was around them. They wanted to win the World Championships and they didn't talk about anything but doing just that."
Davis was also impressed with the play of Detroit combo guard Ramar Smith.
"He is awesome," Davis said. "All of the guys are special that we brought with us but Ramar really played well. He's a lot like World B. Free. You just can't stop him. He can score in and out. He was just phenomenal."
While in France, Davis filled Rivals.com in on the rest of squad. Here are his quick-hitters on the team:
"Deshawn Sims is very, very strong and has tremendous footwork."
"Spencer Hawes was phenomenal, too. He's a very skilled for a 7-footer. I thought he was just tremendous for us."
Gary Johnson - "This kid was a beast. He's going to great things in his future and he'll do some great things for us next year when we go back."
Alex Stepheson - "I can't definitely see why Arizona, Wake Forest and North Carolina are recruiting this kid. They are right on the money with him. He probably has the greatest upside of all of the big guys that came with us."
Jai Lucas - "Obviously, he's a coach's son so he's got a great feel for the game. I can see why he's a Division I prospect. He's a smart player with great quickness. Jai is a very tough player because he's been playing against men his whole life."