Somewhere in between a stream of consciousness and senseless rambling, below are thoughts on Michigan’s play so far this season and challenges ahead.
Our preseason previews slotted Michigan at #5 in the Big Ten, just behind #4 Wisconsin. As of today, the Wolverines are #5 in the nation, right where they were in the preseason polls.
The most significant difference between our projection and Michigan’s play has been their freshmen. They’ve been exceptionally good.
As we look at Michigan’s current profile, however, there isn’t a lot of room for meaningful improvement but there are areas of challenge.
Their defense wasn’t going to be great and that’s been the case. Michigan’s defensive eFG% hasn’t been very good (because of defensive 2FG%), but we see maintaining their 31.0% 3FG defense as a challenge going forward. Meanwhile, the Wolverines have been excellent at defensive rebounding and keeping their opponents off the free throw line. These should continue to be strengths, but not at elite levels seen thus far.
On offense, KenPom.com says no one has been as efficient as Michigan. The big factors in their offensive greatness this year are low turnovers and excellent shooting. Will they maintain a turnover rate of less than 15%? Probably not, but they should continue to be strong in this area.
Shooting the ball is a different story. The Wolverines have an eFG% of 57.5% against D-I competition and while a Big Ten team has shot that well over the course of conference play as recently as Ohio State in 2010-11, we don’t see Michigan doing so.
It will be tough to keep their 39.2% 3FG shooting up (40.4% including the season opener vs. Slippery Rock), but they may stay close. Trey Burke and Glenn Robinson at 39% each is about as much as you can ask for. Tim Hardaway’s 37% isn’t elite by any stretch of the word, but it’s good for him.
The biggest question is Nik Stauskas who has made more than 50% of his 3-point attempts this year. We see that figure dropping into the low-40s in Big Ten games and while that’s still an impressive 3FG%, a 7 to 10% drop in your team’s most frequent long-range shooter will drag down the team’s numbers.
Finally, Michigan’s insanely good 2FG% stands out as a risk for those relying on season-to-date statistics too heavily when projecting the rest of the year. Now, if the Wolverines were getting a lot of high-percentage attempts by feeding the post this might be a different story, but it’s been the fantastic 2FGA conversion rates of Robinson (65%), Burke (59%) and Hardaway (54%) that makes us question the staying power of this offense as the nation’s most efficient.
A year ago, both Burke and Hardaway saw their 2FG% decline in conference play.
2011-12 Breakdown of 2-Point Shooting:
One thing we see is that these two players are taking more jumpers as opposed to attempts at the rim this year. The shots have been falling for Burke and Hardaway, but probably at a rate too good to carry for the entire season. In addition, getting to the rim for better shots is going to be tougher in Big Ten games and therefore the split between jumpers and shots at the rim could move “the wrong way”.
These comparisons between season to date figures (per Hoop-Math.com) and the last two games highlight these concerns:
At the Rim
With all of the above said, Michigan has been impressive and is certainly in the Big Ten title conversation. We just think they’ve performed better than they are.
Below we take a quick look at some statistical splits for Indiana’s talented backcourt duo of Jordan Hulls and Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell.
JORDAN HULLS – His 3-point percentage of 52.1% so far this season is tremendous and we could look at his numbers from a million different perspectives and still would come to the same conclusion: he’s an excellent shooter.
Nonetheless, it’s true that (a) his 3FG% dropped significantly in conference play last season and (b) his 3FG% in nonconference games this year is lower than a year ago.
FULL SEASON COMPARISON
YOGI FERRELL – His future is bright, but the freshman has struggled at times this season, especially against better teams. How well he continues to progress is an important factor in Indiana’s Big Ten.
To have 17 assists and no turnovers combined against two teams is impressive, but it would be far more amazing if Ferrell had done it against teams better than Sam Houston St. and Jacksonville.
Ferrell has played 400 minutes this year. Below are statistics split by the top 7 opponents (per overall KenPom.com rating) and the bottom 8 opponents.
Iowa (11-2) is a trendy pick for some and their stock could rise even more with a victory over Indiana today, but they’re still a year away from making significant noise in the conference. Next season the Hawkeyes project to be very good.
What’s been the biggest surprise to date is how good Michigan freshmen Nik Staukas and Glenn Robinson have been. We’re still not quite believers in them being a top 5 (much less the #2) team in the nation, but the Wolverines have been excellent and exciting to watch.
As for the Gophers, we still see them as a tournament team, but still not up at the top of the conference. They’re a dangerous and talented team, but probably more in the 20-25 range rather than the top 10.
A big reason for this view on Minnesota is a concern with their 2-point field goal shooting. We’ll share a lot more of the detail later this week, but a couple of things to consider for now:
Minnesota’s nonconference field-goal shooting for this season and 2011-12 is summarized below. The data includes all games other than the 18 scheduled Big Ten games.
The team data is important, but we also have gone into individual player data. For example, Rodney Williams has improved his nonconference shooting percentages for both shots at the rim (i.e., dunks, tip-ins, layups) and all other 2-point shots, respectively. However, the information depicted in the pie charts below is very important. We’ll explain more later this week. (Current year data from hoop-math.com; prior year data from Late Night Hoops research.)
Quickly catch up on the week’s results and happenings in Big Ten Basketball with Late Night Hoops and their B1G BRIEFS!
Big Ten teams in the AP and Coaches Polls released Monday, December 3:
Indiana (#1 AP/#1 Coaches)
Ohio State (#7/#7)
Michigan State (#19/#17)
Player & Freshman of the Week:
POW: Andre Almeida, Nebraska
The big 6’11” center from Brazil didn’t play last year due to injury, but this week at Wake Forest he helped the Huskers to a win with a 20-point, 11-rebound, 3-block performance. Almeida shot 9/10 from the field.
FOW: Nik Stauskas, Michigan
The young Canadian is the first Big Ten player to capture a second POW or FOW award this season. Staukas scored 22 and 20 points, respectively, in his two games this week. For the season he’s averaging 14.3 points per game and shooting an incredible 75.0% eFG%, including 18/29 (62.1%) from 3-point range.
Big Ten Standings through December 2, 2012
Have our ThoughtsChanged? Comparedto the consensus view, we differed on several teams: Indiana – We believe they’ll lose a few games in February and won’t be No. 1 in the nation. No change in our thinking here. Illinois – We were much higher on the Illini than others. No change in our thinking here. Purdue – We were lower on the Boilermakers than others. No change in our thinking here. Michigan – Numerous projections, including our own, suggested Michigan was receiving too much preseason praise. So far, they’ve shown up the doubters. Some of ours expectations have been in-line: Mitch McGary isn’t making as large of an impact as some expected, but Tim Hardaway is better than many projected. The difference has been in the play of freshmen Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson. What they’ve done thus far isn’t sustainable (right?!), but it’s been impressive. Really, really great job by these kids so far. If you want to crown, crown ’em. We’re not there yet, but no doubt the Wolverines have been excellent so far this season.
Big Ten in the NBA Development League (Through Sunday, December 2)
Daily Results per BigTen.org Tuesday’s Results
#1/1 Indiana def. #14/13 North Carolina, 83-59
Virginia Tech def. Iowa, 95-79
#3/3 Michigan def. #18/18 NC State, 79-72
#21/rv Minnesota def. Florida State (rv/rv), 77-68
Nebraska def. Wake Forest, 79-63
Maryland (-/rv) def. Northwestern, 77-57
Illinois def. Georgia Tech, 75-62
Miami (Fla.) def. #13/14 Michigan State, 67-59
#2/2 Duke def. #4/4 Ohio State, 73-68
Boston College def. Penn State, 73-61
Purdue def. Clemson, 73-61
Virginia def. Wisconsin (rv/rv), 60-54
Indiana def. Coppin State, 87-51
Iowa def. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 88-59
Michigan def. Bradley, 74-66
Michigan State def. Nicholls State, 84-39
Minnesota def. North Florida, 87-59
UIC def. Northwestern, 50-44
Ohio State def. Northern Kentucky, 70-43
Penn State def. Penn, 58-47
Xavier def. Purdue, 63-57
Get caught up quickly on how teams around the Big Ten fared this past week with Late Night Hoops and their B1G BRIEFS!
Big Ten teams in the AP and Coaches Polls released Monday, November 26:
Indiana (#1 AP/#1 Coaches)
Ohio State (#3/#3)
Michigan State (#13/#14)
Also receiving votes: Minnesota (ranked/26thth), Wisconsin (35th/32nd)
Player & Freshman of the Week: POW: Andre Hollins, Minneota.
Hollins had a 41-point masterpiece in Gophers’ win over Memphis at the Battle 4 Atlantis
FOW: Nik Stauskas, Michigan
6’6” Canadian shooter is off to a strong start for Wolverines
Notes from around the Big Ten:
Penn State’s Tim Frazier has a ruptured Achilles and is expected to miss the remainder of the 2012-13 season. The senior shouldn’t have a problem returning next season if he wishes as his circumstances should fall in line with the hardship waiver requirements.
Get caught up quickly on how teams around the Big Ten fared this past week with Late Night Hoops and their B1G BRIEFS!
Big Ten teams in the AP and Coaches Polls released Monday, November 19:
Indiana (#1 AP/#1 Coaches)
Ohio State (#3/#3)
Michigan State (#15/#19)
Also receiving votes: Minnesota (26th/29thth), Wisconsin (27th/ranked)
Illinois (3-0) The Illini won 89-64 at home against St. Francis (NY) before traveling to Honolulu. There, they took on Hawai’I and survived 78-77 in overtime.
D.J. Richardson is shooting 31.0% 3FG (9/29). The rest of the team is connecting at a 45.6% rate (26/57). Tyler Griffey (5/11) has used the 3-pointer to push his average up to 9.7 points per game.
Brandon Paul leads the team in scoring with 19.7 per game, which isn’t a surprise. Not far behind is sophomore guard Tracy Abrams at 16.7 points per game and only 7 turnovers in total this year.
The Illini received a fifth commitment for 2013 when Austin Colbert chose them. Colbert is a long and athletic 6’9” forward from New Jersey.
Indiana (3-0) The Hoosiers beat a solid North Dakota State team 87-61 and destroyed Sam Houston St. 99-45. Both games were at home.
NDSU shot a respectable eFG% of 48.2% against Indiana.
Will Sheehey moved into the starting lineup, replacing senior Christian Watford. Said Watford about coming off the bench, “Just give 100% on both ends of the floor and everything will take care of itself.” Good comments from Watford, but the finite minutes available for a roster filled with talent will continue to be something coach Crean must navigate carefully.
Iowa (4-0) The Hawkeyes played three relatively easy home games and came out unscathed: 73-61 over Central Michigan, 66-36 over Howard and 65-56 over Gardner Webb.
Nine Hawkeyes are averaging more than 13 minutes per game.
Aaron White hasn’t been in a sophomore slump so far. He’s averaging 14.8 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. The 6’8” forward has been to the line 39 times already this year and is grabbing offensive rebounds at a rate of 17%.
Junior Roy Devyn Marble leads Iowa in scoring at 15.5 per game.
Freshman point guard Mike Gesell hasn’t shot well, but is averaging 28.5 minutes and playing solid basketball.
Michigan (3-0) No problem this week for the Wolverines. They played two games at Crisler Center and won both easily: 91-54 over IUPUI and 77-47 over Cleveland St.
The team is shooting an amazing 65.6% eFG thanks to making 34 of 64 3-point attempts (53.1%).
Tim Hardaway, the player we’re keeping an eye on most this year, is averaging 17.3 points per game and shooting 81.5% eFG, including 8/11 3FG (72.7%). Hardaway is also averaging 7.7 rebounds a night.
Trey Burke leads the team in scoring at 18.3 ppg. In addition to Burke and Hardaway, freshmen Glenn Robinson (13.3) and Nick Stauskas (11.0) are also averaging double figure scoring.
Michigan State (2-1) The Spartans earned a 67-64 victory over Kansas in a neutral court game in Georgia and followed that up with an easy home win over Texas Southern, 69-41.
Gary Harris won Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors. He’s leading the Spartan scoring attack with 16.0 ppg this year.
The team is shooting just 25.0% (10/40) from 3-point range this season. Other than Keith Appling (5/9), that percentage is 16.1%.
Minnesota (4-0) The Gophers started off with big leads and cruised to victory over Toledo (82-56) and Tennessee State (72-43) before getting a bit of a test from Richmond before pulling away for a 72-57 win. All of Minnesota’s games have been within the friendly confines of Williams Arena.
Opposing teams have been limited to a 31.5% eFG. Five Gophers are averaging one or more blocks per game and the team has 35 on the year.
As they did last year, Rodney Williams and Austin Hollins have led the way, both averaging 14.5 points per game.
Williams has been excellent and has his usage rate over 21% while maintaining an offensive rating of approximately 127. In addition, he’s been a key to the defensive dominance the Gophers have enjoyed so far this year.
Trevor Mbakwe played a season-high 27 minutes against Richmond and the tentativeness that he appeared to have in the first two games of the season looks to be a thing of the past. He looked like his old self against the Spiders, grabbing 12 boards.
Nebraska (3-0) The Huskers survived Valpo 50-48 and beat Nebraska-Omaha 75-62, both games at home.
Of their top four scorers, three are seniors (Ubel, Talley, Almeida) and one is a junior (Gallegos). Combined, they’ve scored 81.2% of the team’s points this year.
Northwestern (3-0) Three home games this week for the Wildcats and three wins: 79-49 over Texas Southern, 81-68 over Mississippi Valley St. and 80-53 over Fairleigh Dickinson
Reggie Hearn has led the scoring with 15.3 ppg and an eFG% of 84.8%.
Freshman center Alex Olah is averaging 20.3 mpg, 8.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg and 2.0 bpg.
Ohio State (3-0) Ohio State won their home opener, downing Albany 82-60. The Buckeyes then went on the road to Connecticut and won games on back-to-back days over Rhode Island (69-58) and Washington (77-66).
Who will score for this team besides Deshaun Thomas, Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith? How relevant is that question? Thomas is happy to carry more of the scoring load. Through 3 games, he’s averaging 25.5 points and 7.0 rebounds, has turned it over only 4 times and has an eFG% of 60.0%.
Thomas also earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors.
Aaron Craft is averaging 17.0 points and 5.0 assists per game. The junior point guard has an eFG% of 61.7% and has made 50.0% of his 3FGA (7/14). His turnover rate has been high during his first two seasons in Columbus, but has limited his miscues to just 1.0 per game this year.
The Buckeyes received a pledge from 2014 forward Keita Bates-Diop of Illinois. A very nice addition for Ohio State.
Penn State (2-2) The Nittany Lions dropped games to North Carolina State (72-55) and Akron (85-60) and beat Providence (55-52 in overtime). All three games were played in Puerto Rico.
Tim Frazier went out with an injury just several minutes into the Akron game Sunday. The senior guard was holding his left ankle, but was eventually able to hobble off the court. The team will take a closer look at Frazier back in Pennsylvania, but there is a wide range of possible severity here. Any significant missed time for Frazier would be a huge blow to Penn State.
Impact transfer D.J. Newbill is putting up 14.5 points per game.
Purdue (1-3) Purdue beat Hofstra at home 83-54 before traveling to New York and dropping a heart breaker to Villanova (89-81 in overtime) and another to Oregon State 66-58. Coming into the year, we were down on Purdue compared to the consensus media picks (we slotted them as the tenth best team in the Big Ten, ahead of only Penn State and Nebraska) and are not surprised by their start.
Nonetheless, some of the Purdue freshmen have shown they can play and it’ll be interesting to see what Matt Painter can get out of this team.
D.J. Byrd (11.0 ppg) is the only player averaging more than 9 points per game, but his shot has not been falling (8/27 3FG for 29.6%).
As a team, the Boilermakers have shot 25.0% from 3-point range (19/76).
Wisconsin (2-1) Florida throttled the visiting Badgers 74-56 on Wednesday. Wisconsin returned home and did the same to Cornell 73-40.
Jared Berggren leads the team with a scoring average of 16.0 points and has also pulled down 7.0 rebounds per game.
Ben Brust has been very good, averaging 12.7 points and 8.3 rebounds and maintaining a 3-to-1 assist to turnover ratio.
Through Sunday, all Big Ten teams except for Northwestern and Purdue have played one game. Northwestern’s first contest is Tuesday and the Boilermakers played two games over the weekend.
Below are notes on how each team started the year, as well a couple of 2013 Big Ten commitments (to Indiana and Wisconsin, respectively).
Illinois John Groce won his first game as head coach at Illinois, beating Colgate 75-55 in Champaign. The Illini connected on 10/18 3-point attempts in the first half (13/30 for 43.3% for the game) and coasted in the second half.
Brandon Paul led the scoring for Illinois with 20 points. Paul also had 8 reb, 5 ast, 2 stl.
Six players made at least 1 3FG; three players made 3 3FG’s.
Six players had at least 6 rebounds. Illinois out-rebounded Colgate on the offensive boards 19-4.
The Hoosiers strolled to a 97-54 win over Bryant.
Cody Zeller’s double-double (18 pts, 10 reb) was only the sixth of his career.
Freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell looked good: 10 pts, 7 ast, 5 reb in 24 min. He also nabbed Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors.
A guy we especially like as a future star, Jeremy Hollowell, also made his debut: 12 pts, 2 reb, 3 TO in 17 mins
Noah Vonleh of New Hampton School (NH), a top-10 ranked recruit in the class of 2013, committed to the Hoosiers.
Indiana announced it had reached an agreement on a new deal with Tom Crean. The contract is not finalized, but Indiana says it runs through 2020 and the increases the average annual non-performance based compensation resulting from $2.52 million to $3.16 million and that the incremental income will be paid through deferred compensation.
Fran McCaffery’s team made an easy night of it, winning their opener 86-55 at home against Texas-Pan American.
Freshmen Adam Woodbury (10 pts, 3 reb, 3 blk in 14 min) and Mike Gesell (7 pts, 4 ast, 3 reb, 1 TO in 24 min) started.
With Aaron White, Adam Woodbury, Melsahn Basabe and Gabe Olaseni, Iowa is going to block a lot of shots this year.
The Wolverines demolished Slippery Rock 100-62 behind big games from Tim Hardaway Jr. (25 pts, 10 reb, 105% eFG, 5/5 3FG) and Trey Burke (21 pts, 8 ast). Hardaway was named the Big Ten’s Player of the Week.
Freshmen Glenn Robinson III (10 pts, 8 reb), Mitch McGary (9 pts, 9 reb), and Nik Stauskas (7 pts) all had nice showings.
The Spartans tipped off against Connecticut in Germany. Things started off slow for Michigan State, trailing by as much as 16 in the first half. Tom Izzo’s team made it a game in the second half, but came up short and lost 66-62.
Branden Dawson is coming off ACL surgery, but looked explosive. The sophomore scored 15 points, grabbed 10 rebounds (8 offensive) and earned 5 steals.
True freshman Gary Harris wasn’t shy: 11 points on 4/13 shooting (1/7 3FG).
The Gophers manhandled American University 72-36. American’s 26.3% eFG was the lowest against a Minnesota team this century.
Junior wing Austin Hollins led the scoring with 20 points, also adding 5 rebounds and 5 steals.
Minnesota held a 22-8 advantage in turnovers.
Nebraska New head coach Tim Miles was victorious, beating Southern 66-55.
Senior forward Brandon Ubel led the way with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
Dylan Talley, also a senior, scored 17 and junior guard Ray Gallegos added 16.
Nebraska shot an eFG of 54.6%.
The Wildcats begin their season on Tuesday, November 13 at home against Texas Southern.
Ohio State The Buckeyes’ aircraft carrier game against Marquette was canceled Friday night, but they hosted Albany on Sunday and won easily 82-60.
Strong contributions from several players, led by Aaron Craft (20 pts, 7 ast, 5/7 3FG), Deshaun Thomas (19 pts) and Lenzelle Smith Jr. (18 pts, 5 reb, 8/11 FG).
The Buckeyes shot a blistering 67.9% eFG.
The Nittany Lions won their opener 65-58 at home against Saint Francis. The Nits were outshot 54.4% to 39.4% eFG, but got to the line 18 more times than Saint Francis and allowed their opponent just 2 offensive rebounds (7% OR%).
The three double-figure scorers for Penn State were the three players we highlighted in our preseason preview:
Tim Frazier: 39 min, 23 pts, 6 ast, 4 reb, 17/18 FT
Southern Miss transfer D.J. Newbill: 16 pts, 7 reb, 9/10 FT
Minnesota’s Ross Travis: 10 pts, 9 reb (5 off)
Minnesotan Mike Muscala and the Bucknell Bison went on the road and defeated Purdue 70-65 by outscoring the Boilermakers by 13 at the foul line.
The Boilers bounced back Sunday against Hofstra, winning 83-54.
Who will score for Purdue? The question remains… they’ve had 5 double-digit scorers, but no one who scored double-digits in both games.
The Badgers hosted Southeastern Louisiana and jumped out to a 19-0 lead in a game that ended 87-47.
Ben Brust had an impressive game with 14 points and 11 boards while Jarred Berggren added 19 and 8.
Mike Bruesewitz was cleared to play after a leg injury suffered in practice last month. He played only 13 minutes, but poured in 10 points and was a perfect 3/3 from the field (2/2 3FG).
Redshirt freshman George Marshall started at point guard and finished with 5 points, 2 assists and 2 turnovers in 28 minutes.
Senior Ryan Evans, a career 71.1% free throw shooter coming into the game, was 1/8 from the line.
2013 F Nigel Hayes committed to the Badgers over the weekend.
Earlier this month, LateNightHoops.com attended the USA Basketball Men’s Development National Team mini-camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. There, 44 of the country’s top players from the 2015 and 2016 high school classes were on hand to be introduced to USA Basketball and to be evaluated by the staff, who was led by head coach Don Showalter (Iowa City HS/Iowa City, IA). Coach Showalter has led the USA Developmental National Team to four straight gold medals as head coach from 2009-2012.
If you have questions or comments, including inquiries about other players that attended the camp but are not included in this article, please send us a message via our Contact Us page.
TWIN CITIES & SURROUNDING AREA TALENT
Henry Ellenson (Rice Lake, WI)
6’9”, 250 | Rice Lake HS | Class of 2015
October 2012 Notes
You may hear Ellenson called a center by some, but that’s selling him short. Physically he looks the part and he can certainly battle on the blocks, but his skill and athletic ability sets him far apart from other kids his size.
Henry is an excellent shooter with plenty of range well past the three-point line, but has also worked on developing his game on the blocks. Over the next few years he should be able to continue adding to his arsenal of offensive weapons, which is a scary thought for teams trying to defend him.
His strength and quickness are not areas of concern, but there is opportunity for him to be elite if these areas progress nicely over the next few years. In college, there is no reason Ellenson can’t be a 3/4 switchable type who can score at multiple levels and defend multiple positions.
Now, at this point in time you wouldn’t have him dribbling the ball all the way up the court on a 3-on-1 fast break, but there’s not a lot I’d give him a red light on doing.
At a minimum, he’s a very good college prospect. With hard work, I can see Henry winding up as a top 10 player in the 2015 class.
Other potential factors such as good coaches, supportive family and older brothers who also play basketball (the oldest brother, Wally, is a freshman at Minnesota and will be able to share his D1 experience and Henry’s father played college ball for Marquette and Wisconsin) all seem to favor the likelihood of success for Henry Ellenson. He’s legit and the sky is the limit.
Amir Coffey (New Hope, MN)
6’3”, 160 | Hopkins HS | 2016
October 2012 Notes
The first thing that stands out about Amir is his length and how well he uses it. With the ball, he’s able to create passing lanes and make plays that others can’t. On defense, his instincts combined with long arms result in frequent steals and deflections.
He’s a good scorer, but with more consistency and aggressiveness he could become excellent.
Coffey can play off the ball or at point and his ball handling, passing and feel for the game is especially propitious considering he’ll likely wind up standing a solid 6’7”.
I’m very high on the future prospects for Amir and can see him at the college level as a versatile wing and distinguished defender. Similar to Ellenson, Coffey’s family (father Richard played for the Gophers and his older sisters are excellent basketball players) and other factors should help him along the way.
With Amir now being just a freshman at Minnesota high school basketball powerhouse Hopkins and there being a special class of 2014 in Minnesota, it may be a little while before the masses recognize how good Coffey can be. Nonetheless, we here at LNH are sold and look forward to watching his progression over the next several years.
USA Basketball U16 Mini-camp, Selected October 2012 Notes – Public Version
Stone can be as good as he wants to be. The big man controls space inside, but it’s his hands and seemingly delicate touch when shooting that are most impressive. Elite prospect. Likeable demeanor and court presence, he’s going to be a lot of fun to watch. Great voice too – post-playing career as an on-air talent awaits Mr. Stone.
Guys I Want With Me in a Brawl – Horace Spencer (State: PA/Height: 6’8”/Weight: 210/Class: 2015) and Andrew Fleming (TN/6’4”/185/2015).
Spencer had me worried about his safety – unquestionably willing to sacrifice his body to make a big play. It often looks as if his life depends on denying the opposition’s shot. He’s absolutely a full tilt player with good length. Offensively he’ll clean up the glass and put it back, but has a lot of room for improvement with the ball. However, Spencer’s ability to run the floor, block shots and rebound, as well as his borderline-crazy effort earns his game a ton of respect.
Coming off the bench for M33M this summer, we saw Andrew Fleming at several tournaments across the country providing a spark for his team. Sometimes it was relentless defense or a hustle play to save a ball heading out of bounds. Other times it was a deep three or an aggressive drive the bucket where he was able to absorb contact and finish.
Fleming is a good shooter, big time worker and fearless. In Colorado, we saw more of the same – tireless effort from a very competitive kid.
Jaw Dropper – Harry Giles (NC/6’8”/205/2016)
Giles is no longer a slim, wiry young kid. It appears he’ll be able to add a lot of strength by the time he reaches college. Very athletic, runs the floor well and is everywhere on the court. Would think it may be difficult to get him out of ACC country, but schools should sure try. He’s excellent at this point, but I believe he’ll be ridiculously good in a few years. I’m sold.
Who is That?! – Malik Monk (AR/6’3”/170/2016)
Monk was not a guy I was there to see, but his play dictated that I had to watch him. Time and time again he impressed when finishing at the rim, pulling up for jumpers and passing. His athleticism really stood out on certain plays – had several “woah, he just did that?” moments.
Wise Beyond His Years – Josh Langford (AL/6’5”/200/2016)
Strong all-around player who made smart decisions throughout the weekend. I think he projects more as a 2/3, but I really liked what he did when making decisions with the ball in his hand. Will be interesting to see if he continues to hold an edge in court IQ as time goes on, but right now looks like a guy who you’d want as your team captain. Tough, strong and smart kid.
Other Selected quick comments:
Charles Matthews (IL/6’4”170/2015) – Matthews is 6’4” and a long combo guard who looked great scoring off the dribble. Worked with the point guards at USA basketball mini-camp and has the potential to be a dangerous point guard. May wind up as a wing, but if he becomes a good defender and continues developing his lead guard skills, he could be spectacular. Lots of possibilities for Matthews.
Simeon’s “next up” include D.J. Williams (IL/6’7”/186/2015) and Benjamin Coupet (IL/6’6”/180/2016). Both are long wings that can run and score in transition. Two to keep a close on eye.
Ivan Rabb (CA/6’8”/191/2015) is legit. Super active and a ton of fun to watch. It’s also obvious he’s having a lot of fun while on the court. Could wind up in conversation of top 5 in his class.
The camp’s youngest player Seventh Woods (SC/6’1”/168/2016) is unquestionably a superior athlete. Explosive. Has work to do if he’s going to play point in college, but at a minimum he’ll be one of the most athletic players in his class regardless of position. Head-shaking highlight-maker.
Eric Davis (MI/6’3”/161/2015) played a lot of point guard over the weekend, but he’s a combo guard that is always looking to score. His shot wasn’t consistently dropping this weekend, but he showed no fear in taking the ball to the rim against an impressive collection of lengthy wings and big men who were there to challenge him on defense. Quite animated and competitive. Lots of Big Ten interest.
Josh Jackson (MI/6’6”/175/2016) passes the eye test with his length and athleticism. Sunday morning during a four-on-four fastbreak/transition drill he fired up the entire gym with an impressive two-way display. First on offense, he drove the lane and slammed home a contested dunk. Quickly, his team had to turn their attention to defense. Jackson turned on the jets for a sprint down the length of the floor and leaped high off the ground to block a dunk attempt from behind, drawing cheers from all of the players and setting the tone for the session.Not sold on his jumper, but he was effective slashing to the bucket this weekend. Length and quickness allows him to come up with blocks, steals and boards in bunches. Loads of realizable potential; future impact Big Ten player?