The 3rd annual Basketball Elite Southeast Summer Showcase is coming, June 2, 2013. This is one of the premier individual showcases on the East coast, and last year we were at full capacity – I love the success rate we’ve had at finding players who will play at the college level, but it’s a lot of planning and preparation in order to make it happen. We have to coordinate our coaches (several have won state basketball titles), and the overall schedule to make sure that players get a full day of solid instruction and play. Our goal for the showcase is the same every year:
“Walk out of the gym a better player.”
Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to see some of the best basketball coaches, players and world class instructors on the planet. I love the fact that our staff is able to bring those same drills, experience and knowledge to players at all levels.
The results have been phenomenal. We’ve had a huge percentage of alumni who have gone on to play in college – just yesterday, TyQuan Bitting, an alumni from last summer, committed to play for Charleston Southern. On Saturday, our reigning dunk champion Craig Hinton competed on CBS for the National High School Dunk championship. Craig’s committed to VMI, by the way.
This year, I wanted to expand on the overall experience for players and parents who attend – so we’ll be adding new content and information before the event even happens. Registration for the event is not yet available – it will be soon – but if you want the free info we’ll be giving out beforehand, be sure to sign up on the events email list at this link.
It’s also the best way to keep up with what’s going on with registration.
So stay tuned, and sign up for the mailing list, because if the event sells out, the people on the list will be the first who have the opportunity to get a spot.
This time of year many colleges are looking for players who are still available in the senior class that can play at the college level; At the same time, some players who can play at the Division I level are looking to see if they’ll need to find a Junior College for a year or so to get their classes ready for college. Here’s a current list of some unsigned players and JuCo prospects.
Quinton Ray (PG, 6′, 2013) Middle Creek HS (NC) – True PG who reads the defense extremely well and exploits its weakness. He always finds the open man and loves to run to the floor. He’s very explosive on offense and defense. Incredibly high motor.
Charis Fitzgerald (PG/SG, 6’2″, 2013) West Gadsden HS (FL) – Athletic point guard with a deadly first step and an ability to score from inside or out. Plays above the rim – good change of speed and is effective in the half court or in the transition. Multi positional but will play primarily the PG spot at the college level.
TyQuan Bitting (C, 6’8″, 2013) Mt. Tabor HS (NC) – Long shot blocker who can run the floor. Loads of potential. Improving by leaps and bounds and has become an offensive factor, still has upside. Good hands.
Raekwon Harney (PG, 5’10″, 2013) Winston-Salem Prep (NC) – Elite ballhandler with a ball-on-a-string control who can penetrate the defense and break a press on his own.
The following players may be available for JuCo or Postgrad, depending on their situation:
At showcase events, it’s not easy to make a full assessment of a player. The Phenom 150, organized by Rick Lewis of the Phenom Hoop Report, is one of the best organized individual showcase events in the country. Here are some of our notes from the Spring event.
Most notable players
Ricky Council (SG, 6’4″, 2014). Dynamic guard who can make a lot of good things happen in transition, Council has great court awareness and uses spacing to create mismatches on the break. Can score from outside or in the paint, plays hard and full speed. Agile. Quick hands. Has offers from Gardner-Webb and Radford.
Curtis Jones (SG, 6’3″, 2016) Surprise player of the camp. Best freshman of the camp. Excellent athlete who tremendous bounce. Has a low release on shot. High ceiling as player. Attacks the basket well. Already has several D1 schools in VA interested. High motor, explosive. Elite speed end-to-end.
Luke Maye (PF, 6’7″, 2015) Maye suffered a bruised knee in the previous day’s Carolina Challenge and wasn’t able to go for long at this event. In his few minutes he showed exactly why people are keeping an eye on him; he can score from anywhere with his shot – not just a deep range but mid range as well; and he’s not shy about using it. Can’t really complain about a great shooting big man who likes to get buckets. Also very strong already.
Greg Williams (PG, 6’4″, 2016) Solid prospect w/ length. Plays under control and can handle the ball. Has great size for a point guard but looks like he could become a wing with more size. Already has athleticism needed to be a college prospect.
Gabe Devoe (PG, 6’4″, 2014) Great size and a dynamic, stong guard, Devoe continues to show why he’s a player with Division I offers and a rising profile. Aggressive in transition, he also is effective in the half court and looks to score or find the right teammate with the pass. Always looking to attack and is a solid athlete. Plays solid defense and takes it seriously. Can defend smaller guards and shut them down.
Ashton Brown (SG, 6’3″, 2014) Great body control, crafty and slick, he finds ways to get off clean shots or pass to others for a better look. Great looking deep shot.
Zach Bruns (CG, 6’1″, 2013) Bruns is a pure deep shooter who will get buckets from the perimeter; can pull up on the move, in transition, or in the half court and his shot is always bottom-of-the-net pure. Showed and ability to find breaking players with the deep look ahead pass. More scoring guard than point at this point, but active, aware and high basketball IQ.
Daryl Myers (PG, 5’8″, 2016) Myers is a highlight-reel ballhandler who plays with a flash that is uncommon; coached in this event by NC State point guard Tyler Lewis, who was a flashy point guard in his own right, Myers is crafty and is a wizard with no-look passes. His size is what colleges are no doubt paying attention to, but he’s a lot of fun to watch and has a swagger to his game that frankly reminds of Brandon Jennings.
Taylor Hatfield & Austin Hatfield (G, 6′, 2014) – We always try to scout the Hatfields independently, but the positives in their games are consistent with both guys; Fundamentally sound, they are more combo guards than pure points. Both are excellent deep shooters and passers. Austin tends to play more PG, while Taylor often plays from the SG or SF spot effectively. Both players looked like they have improved and are used to playing against high level competition; both have learned to score inside against bigger players with acrobatic finishes.
Zane Waterman (PF, 6’7″, 2014) Waterman is a player who has improved across the board over the past year – tracking higher across all scouting reports, he’s arrived as a solid post prospect with a great first step from the four and a bit of a nasty streak; in other words, he can beat big men off of the dribble and likes to dunk on you. Strong and bangs in the paint, he has a high motor and plays hard.
Tyler Creammer (C, 6’10″, 2015) Creammer is a testament to how fast a post player can rise with hard work. The first thing about Creammer’s game is that he works hard on the court, every play, from the first tip to the final buzzer. Considering that Creammer had played six games in two days, including three at the Dave Telep Carolina Challenge, the fact that he never slowed down shows how much he wants to compete. Creammer is a back-to-the-basket pure post player who fights in the paint and will be a force as he continues to add muscle and refine his offensive post moves.
Cory Hanes (SF, 6’5″, 2015) Hanes is a very strong small forward who plays above the rim and likes to get out and run in transition. He’s completed the transition from an undersized post player to a true wing and Division I colleges should definitely be looking at him.
Colton Bishop (PG, 6’2″, 2014) Forsyth Country Day (NC) Lock-down defender who is a smooth and crafty/ scorer. Being a scoring PG who is unselfish and makes the other players better by giving them open shots. Excellent 3-point shooter. Holds Division I offers and gym rat mentality has produced results.
Larry Curry III (PG, 6’3″, 2014) – strong PG with good speed and athleticism. Showed an improved ability to hit the 3 today as well.
Will Tibbs (SF, 6’5″, 2014) Has good length and has become a solid wing with a good looking deep shot. Great form and high release.
Austin Collins (G, 6’2″, 2014) Solid all around guard with good awareness and good vision, knows how to find teammates and also knows where he is supposed to be on the floor.
Hakeem Coney (PG, 6’2″, 2014) True point guard with solid physique- already has the build of a college guard. Directs the offense- throws excellent wrap around passes. Leader on the floor. Tough nosed defender. Solid scorer. Competes on both ends. Low release on his jumper and he tends to reach a little too much.
Benjamin Bennett (SF, 6’4″, 2015) Solid athlete who has a lot of the basic tools needed, still a little raw offensively. Has good elevation on jump shot and needs to work on overall consistency, but overall one to keep an eye on. Runs floor really well and looks to get involved.
Ibrahima Diallo (C, 6’10″, 2014) Much stronger showing from the big man this time around, finishing inside consistently and really showing his mobility. Legitimate big man that colleges should be checking out.
Jaron Withers (G, 6’3″, 2014) Attacks the basket hard every time. Very aggressive lefty who is a big time athlete.
Chris Freeman (SG, 6’3″ 2016) Fluid player who can shoot from deep, passes very well and makes an impact in a lot of ways. Has a good handle at the off guard spot and good size/length. High release on his jump shot and can hit the 3 consistently.
Nathan Williams Jr (PF/C, 6’8″, 2015) – Good length- solid offensive rebounder- needs to improve defensive rebounding. Shot needs to get better- no rotation. Has good second bounce and definitely a player who colleges should be monitoring.
JuWuan Wright (SF, 6’4″, 2015) Good length- stood out on several plays and showed good activity. Good athlete.
DeSean Murray (G, 6’3″, 2014) Solid athleticism
Stephen Misenheimer (SG/SF, 6’4″, 2016) A player w/ length who has a nice shooting stroke.
Jeffrey McIlwain (C, 6’8″, 2015) Strong shouldered big who should be able to continue to become a serious post presence. Good rebounder with good hands.
Brandon Gulley (C, 6’7″, 2015) Has good size and plays back-to-the-basket, decent hands and rebounding timing – needs to be more aggressive and polish post game.
Johnathon Pickler (PG, 5’10″, 2015) Can hit the deep shot, knows where to be on the floor, finds teammates consistently with wrap around passes. Release is consistent but low.
Tristan Reese (PG, 5’11″, 2016) Fluid, good change of speed, has grown two inches since last seen and runs the offense eyes-ahead.
James Chavis (SF, 6’5″, 2013) Very good offensive rebounder. High motor- always cleaning up plays.
James Scott (PF, 6’6″, 2014) Finishes well inside.
Kwinton Hinton (SG/SF, 6’5″, 2015 ) Good explosiveness – gets in on a lot of plays on both ends.
Vaughn Johnson (CG, 6′, 2015) Good scorer, deep shooter, can hit mid range.
Ashley Williams (SF, 2014, 6’5″) long player w/ solid athleticism.
Hunter Seacat (PF/C, 6’8″, 2015) Good hands, size, most effective in halfcourt at this time. Needs to increase explosiveness and be more aggressive finishing over other post players. Can get shot off against other bigs but still working on finishing.
Camryn Fort (SG/SF, 6’4″, 2014) Good athlete, can get above the rim, showed a lot of different things worth taking notice of.
RJ Hunt (G, 6′, 2015) Good looking deep shot, consistent, high release.
Douglas Elks (SG, 6′, 2017) Although a middle schooler, showed ability to get to the bucket and good slashing ability against high school players.
Eris Winder is a 2013 guard with great court vision – and is still on the board for 2013.
By James Kerti
This time of year, much of the recruiting discussion understandably shifts toward the destinations of the top unsigned prospects. Let’s take a break from that conversation.
Here are a few west coast players I’ve evaluated who aren’t being heavily recruited, but who can absolutely contribute at the Division I level.
PG 6-0 Eris Winder, Palo Verde HS, Las Vegas, NV: Crafty point guard with good fakes and change of speed/direction. Great court vision. Gets into the lane and can finish in a few ways. Pull-up game from the foul line in is a nice weapon. Potential mid- to high- major sleeper.
PG 6-0 Iseah Rodgers, Birmingham HS, Van Nuys, CA: Efficient point who can dish or finish inside. Averaged 14 and 6 this year. Capable outside shooter. Needs to be more consistent but has big scoring outbursts at times. Scrappy defender. Division I prospect.
CG 6-2 Elijah Smith, Foothill HS, Henderson, NV: Tough on-ball defender with athleticism and a good feel for the game. Strong rebounding guard with nice touch in the basket area. Son of UNLV great Robert Smith. Nice Division I prospect.
PF 6-6 Jamal Aytes, JSerra HS, San Juan Capistrano, CA: Wide body with good hands and feet. Not super bouncy but gets the most out of his body. Can hit the midrange jumper with consistency. Can play at the high-major level.
CG 6-4 Rashad Muhammad, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas, NV: Versatile scoring guard who can shoot from outside or score off cuts to the basket. Can drive and score as well, especially from the wing or high ball screen. Shabazz’s younger brother can play at a high level.
Mt. Tabor and Dudley HS square off in the Western Regional 4-A playoffs.
By Marcus Shockley
Scouting notes from the North Carolina High School basketball 4-A regional matchups, March 7, 2013:
Mt. Tabor HS
Nate Long (SF, 6’5″, 2013) Long has become a very explosive player – his ability to elevate on the move has improved vastly over the past year. Because he plays with such a talented roster, and he really didn’t hit his stride until his senior season, he’s probably one of the more overlooked players in the state. Good length, athletic and active in the passing lanes, he’s got a full speed explosive ability that has become a consistent trademark of his games. In this game he had two dunks, one of which was a breakaway windmill slam. Has been getting more college interest as the season is progressing. Scored 14 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists. I am upgrading my rating for Long to a LM Division I prospect, although now he’d be a rock solid Division II or NAIA-Division I player.
Matt Madigan (G, 6’3″, 2013) Madigan’s best weapons are size, ability to play on or off the ball, a deep shot and elite quickness. His signature move is a spin around the defender to create an open shot or find a teammate. Handles most of the PG duties and does not turn the ball over. Has become a major engine for Tabor as they continue their run in the playoffs. Tracking as a Division I LM/MM. Committed to Brown.
Ty’Quan Bitting (C, 6’8″, 2013) Bitting has continued to improve throughout the last two seasons where he has become a solid post presence. His best assets are shot blocking – had 5 in this game, which is not unusual – and length around the basket. Will need to continue to get stronger in order to handle the physical post play in college, but has shown an increasing nimbleness with his back-to-the-basket game. Primarily a half court center, but he does front and seal. Wants the ball and will post players up. With more strength, he’ll be able to use his hook shot very effectively. Bitting’s scoring is limited to post play, and he’s an undersized center at the collegiate level. However his shotblocking and overall potential are what I like about his game. Tracking as a Division I LM with multiple offers.
Lepreece Lynch (SG, 6’4″, 2013) Lynch is a prolific scorer, with a quick release. He can put up points in a hurry, has good size for the shooting guard spot and has a knack for being in the right place at the right time to grab a loose ball and score before the defense can react. His offensive footwork is naturally better than most players, and it gives him a half step on the defender. He can be streaky from deep but overall, he’s a bucket machine. Scored 17 points and dished 3 assists in this game. Issues with Lynch are his build – he will need to add much more strength for the college game, and his overall defense. However, his defense has improved since last season. He does need to close out much quicker on shooters. That being said, the focus of his defense in this game was to help in stopping Dudley’s star Sam Hunt – Lynch was a major factor in trapping and limiting Hunt to only 3 points. I have been tracking Lynch as a Division I shooting guard at the LM level since last season and I think he’d be a bit of a steal at the Division II/NAIA-Division I level. He’s also a vocal leader, pumping up his teammates and being a solid team player. Holds several Division I and Division II offers.
Deion Robinson (PF, 6’4″, 2013) All you need to know about Deion Robinson is that he’s rock-solid consistent all the time, and has been for the four years he’s been at Mt. Tabor. He’s an undersized PF but now his mid range shot from the elbow is also falling, giving him more options when playing bigger defenders. He is strong and has great hands, and he has a knack for just making the smart, safe play. Committed to Northwestern Ohio.
Sam Hunt (G, 6’1″, 2013) The focus of the entire Mt. Tabor defense coming into the game was on slowing down Hunt – Tabor Head Coach Andy Muse thought if they could hold Hunt to 15 it would be a solid defensive effort. Their plan was effective – Hunt went 1-15 in this game and only finished with 3 points after dealing with the multiple traps and defensive focus of Tabor. However, this game is not a reflection on how dynamic a player Hunt is – fluid and strong, I’ve seen Hunt score against nationally ranked teams, both at the high school level and last summer playing in the EYBL with his CP3 All-Stars AAU team. I’ve tracked Hunt as a LM/MM player throughout his career at Dudley. Committed to Jacksonville.
Devan Gregory (SG, 6’4″, 2013) With the defensive focus on Hunt, Gregory took advantage and showed an ability to consistently knock down the 3, leading all scorers in the game with 21 points, including 4-7 from the perimeter. Gregory has good size and is a true guard, and can shoot. Biggest issue for Gregory is his release speed; it needs to be much faster. When the defender closed on him on the perimeter, his shooting percentage dropped to 0%, and that’s because he needs to be able to get the shot up before the defender closes. That being said, his size, overall agility and shooting touch make him a player colleges should be tracking.
Chris Wray of Shelby snags a rebound in his team’s 84-46 win over Smoky Mountain
By Marcus Shockley
Scouting notes from the North Carolina High School basketball 2-A regional matchups, March 5, 2013:
Chris Wray (SF, 6’6″, 2013) – Lengthy small forward who can handle and slash from the wing and has good size at 6’6″. A couple of times, beat his man off of the dribble from the perimeter in a halfcourt set and handled the ball extensively in the second half. Should be able to play some SG at the college level. Wray had a solid overall game, with 13 points and 12 rebounds, but also registered 6 blocks and grabbed 2 steals. He also had multiple deflections which caused havok as Smoky Mountain attempted to push the ball in transition. Agile and slender, he will need to add quite a bit of bulk but a solid player. Committed to St. Mary’s.
Gave Devoe (CG, 6’3″, 2014) – Strong combo guard who is a solid passer and vocal leader on the floor. Squares up well on his shot and can finish with contact. Solid ballhandler and passer, and should be considered a true combo guard. Physically strong; good in transition and moves well without the ball in the halfcourt. Can use either hand with the dribble but has slightly less control with his left hand. Offered by several Division I programs, including UNCG, who offered after this game.
Donte Falls (SF, 6’5″, 2013) – active athlete with a soft touch and high release. Struggled with consistency in the first half but really became productive in the second half – led all scorers with 20 pts for the game and grabbed 8 rebounds. Falls is a great free throw shooter, athletic and long. Squares up well on his shot and is poised. Definitely a college prospect with gaining interest from several schools.
Notes: Shelby HC Aubrey Hollified says that all three players have been big all season, and when one of them isn’t having a good game, the other two have been able to step up. Shelby won this game 84-46 and will face Cuthbertson in the Regional finals on Saturday, March 9
Smoky Mountain HS
Jayce Wolf (PG, 5’9″, 2016) Wolf is undersized but very quick. He has a very good hesitation dribble and a solid handle. Had 6 assists to 3 TO’s in this game. Size is an issue at this point, but has an ability to get off a floater in the lane over bigger defenders.
Shelton Mitchell (PG, 6’3″, 2014) Dynamic guard with an elite handle in traffic and ability to beat multiple defenders off of the dribble. Size, poise and length makes him a matchup problem for smaller guards. Was consistent from outside in this game – shot 2 of 3 from deep- but made his living at the line in a game where opponent stalled for most of the second half. Shot 12-16 from the line. There’s a lot to like about Mitchell and his game; he has a high basketball IQ and awareness; an ability to score and run the point; poise. The biggest knock on Mitchell’s game continues to be his shot form, which is a slingshot style – this will be an issue against bigger guards with length at the college level. However, Mitchell is a high major player without question. Committed to Wake Forest.
Lucious McMillon (SF, 6’5″, 2013) Solid athlete with bounce and good quickness. Moves well without the ball and has the athleticism to potentially play at the college level. Definitely looks like he could play and defend the 3 spot. Division II colleges should take a look.
Isaiah Cureton (SF, 6’4″, 2013) Another solid athlete who has a good build and can play the wing. Free throw shot form looks good and stuck with his man against a very disciplined motion attack from Trinity HS. Division II colleges should be looking.
Jarrod Rogers (PG, 5’10″, 2014) Slender, but true point guard with really good quickness and passing. Very poised and can hit the deep shot. Commits on defense. Right now tracking as a Division III prospect, but with more strength could rise.
Daniel Newcomer (SG, 6’0″, 2014) Scoring guard with tenacious defense and solid ability to score. Undersized and slight of build, but still showed an ability to beat his man and score against the solid athletes of Cuthbertson. I am tracking Newcomer as a Division III prospect at this time.
Wake Forest commmit Shelton Mitchell of Cuthbertson addresses the media following his team’s 46-30 defeat of Trinity HS.
Came out and really impacted the game on the defensive end, which I did not expect. Defended well overall this game, as he was active in the passing lanes, took some charges as the help defender, moved his feet, and even blocked a jump shot. Did a decent job of staying in front of C.J. Harris for Wake and contesting shots (C.J. was not 100% tonight and looked hampered with the goggles he has been wearing after an eye injury sustained against NC State). Most of Curry’s defensive contributions did not show up in the box score tonight, but he held C.J. to 4-12 shooting from the field and was active. Did not take any plays off on that end of the floor tonight.
Offensively, he was looking for his shot early on. He showed the ability to create his own shot by pulling up on the perimeter and had several drives to the basket as well, that he finished with lay-ups. Quick first step, better then I had thought coming in. Tremendous overall shooter, who is shooting better then 40 % from the field and from three, and is a plus 80% FT shooter for his career. Has a great release, rotation, follow through, he squares up nicely and is on balance and he can get it off against good defense with a quick release and by shooting the ball in rhythm. He showed he could hit shots from catch and shoot situations, coming off screens, off the dribble, and with feet set. When he misses, he follows his shot, and his misses are usually straight and off the back of the rim. Not just a 3 point shooter- hit several Rip Hamilton like mid range pull-ups from pin-down screens. Although he didn’t hit his first 3 until 2:45 remaining in the game after missing his previous 5 attempts from deep, he had the confidence to hit a huge 3 to put his team ahead at a critical part of the game.
Wouldn’t classify him as a playmaker, but he did show nice touch on an alley-oop pass to Plumlee when help came on a drive to the basket. Solid frame- looks bigger in the arms then the last year- is stronger.
Although it was not a big problem for Curry in this game, the fact that he is an under-the-rim type player with average athleticism at best, is going to hurt his ability to finish inside at the next level, similarly to what Duke alum Austin Rivers is experiencing now. He needs to improve his ball handling skills overall, is not capable at this point to advance the ball with pressure defense. Although he is a decent passer, he is not is not a PG and is not a playmaker, needs to develop in both of these areas. Questions then arise about what position he will play and defend at the next level.
Defensively he is content to switch all off the ball screens, which leads to him having to guard a bigger player- not going to work at next level. He did a decent job of staying in front of C.J. Harris this game, but C.J. was clearly not 100 % and I question his ability to defend NBA caliber PG’s.
Struggled shooting the three ball this game-missing his first 5 attempts from beyond the arc, but is a good shooter who Wake had to respect the entire game.
Curry struggled with his 3-point shot this game, but he played very well overall in my opinion, and was able to show off other parts of his game besides shooting because the Wake defenders ran him off the line. Played well despite suffering an ankle injury a couple weeks back against NC State. Curry did a solid job on the defensive end and his mistakes were minimal. Is having a career best year at Duke, averaging 16 ppg, which is second on team in scoring, and has helped Duke to 18-2 record. I believe he would be a solid pick for a team late in the second round. He will have trouble defending quicker PG’s and bigger SG’s but at worst he could be a knock down set shooter, and nearly every team could use one of those.
Although Curry is an undersized shooting guard with average speed and athleticism, all legit NBA concerns, he does bring consistent perimeter shooting, he comes from a good program, and he is going to work hard to improve every year, just like his brother did. He is a player you don’t have to worry about, as he is a high character guy, comes from a great family, and had a solid, consistent career for Duke for the past couple of years, after shining at Liberty as a freshman.
James Blackburn is the Director of Scouting for Basketball Elite and shares his reports with several NBA teams. You can follow James on Twitter right this second.
Despite playing just a little over half of the minutes he averages, Leslie made the most with his time on the floor and scored several key baskets for State. On the offensive side of the ball, Leslie was virtually unguardable in one-on-one situations. He is a big time above-the-rim athlete with good quickness and explosiveness for a PF. He uses his quick first step to drive around most defenders his size where he can score around the rim. He showed an array of mid-post moves using jab steps, spin moves, fakes, and sweeping through, to get by his defender and to the rim where he was able to score at a good rate because of his athleticism. At his best offensively in isolation situations in the mid-post and short corner areas where he can face the basket and has room and time to create offense for himself. Wake had to send the double team after scoring with single defender several times. Also showed a nice high half-hook late in the second half. Went 3-6 from FT line this game, made his first two. He does a nice job of using his legs on the line and shot has good arc.
Defensively, he has the tools to be good defender. Played last 10 minutes of game with 4 fouls without picking up 5th and even had a blocked shot in that stretch. Has potential to be good shot blocker at next level with his length and athleticism. Solid rebounder, especially on the defensive end, where he is averaging over 5 rebounds a game on that end of the floor.
Defensively is where Leslie struggles the most. This is not because of lack of speed, quickness, or size, but is mostly due to lack of effort (low motor), strength, and positioning. On the games opening defensive series he didn’t close out on an open perimeter shot and let Moto have a wide open 18’ shot. Doesn’t seem to exert any more energy then he has to. Low motor on both ends. Not effective with out the ball in this game tonight. Poor screener. Needs to get lower in his defensive stance- got beat off the dribble several times this game partly because he was not low enough or didn’t stay in good defensive stance. He tends to fall for too many fakes and gets thrown off balance too easily. This contributed to his foul troubles tonight. He picked up his 4th foul with 17 minutes to go in the second half, after picking up his first 2 half way through the first half. He also tends to get into foul trouble because he is too often out of position and tries to recover late and go for the block or highlight defensive play. Was called for two goal tending violations in the second half- both were obvious and were not smart decisions on his part.
Offensively, he was excellent in the mid post area, but struggled to secure deep post position mainly because of poor lower body strength. He was getting pushed and bumped off line too easily in the paint and needs to get stronger. Ball handling needs to improve also, handle is too loose. Had a couple of TO’s early in the game and showed visible frustration.
Did not attempt any shots outside of 10 feet this game, besides FT’s. Is shooting 55% from the field so far for the season, which is mainly because most of those shots are coming in the paint. Has only attempted 4 three-pointers on the season and has made 1. He is shooting under 30% from beyond the arc for his career with just under 50 total attempts. He needs to improve his range and his outside shooting consistency. FT shooting needs to improve a bit as well. To his credit he is shooting 64% for the year , which is almost 5 percentage points better then last year. He missed 2 FT’s this game with under 30 seconds to with a chance to go up 1. His elbow sticks out to a degree which leads to inconsistent misses on both sides of the rim.
His motor needs to be higher. Body language was poor during most of game. Argued with officials on several calls and showed visible frustration at several points. Looked like he was coasting and going through motions at several points.
One of the worst games I have seen Leslie play, but he still managed to score in double figures and grab 5 rebounds in under 20 minutes of playing because of foul trouble. He did impress however with his performance in last 4 minutes of game…playing with 4 fouls during which he had several big baskets and rebounds.
When Leslie plays hard and with determination, he is one of top draft prospects in country. He has the tools, solid upside, and the offensive arsenal to contribute at next level as a PF. His athleticism, quickness for his position, and ability to face the basket in the mid-post will translate to the next level, and is part of the reason he is considered to be a first round pick in several mock drafts. It will be interesting to see if his motor and effort improve as the team enters conference play.
James Blackburn is the Director of Scouting for Basketball Elite and shares his reports with several NBA teams. You can follow James on Twitter right this second.
It’s an interesting phenomenon that has emerged ever since players starting entering the NBA draft right out of high school, which has now become the parade of ‘one-and-done’ players into the pros, that players who are projected as NBA superstars start playing games at the college level, their draft status often drops. Last season in AAU it was quite common to hear that Shabazz Muhammad was one of the best players on the planet even though he was still in high school, but now halfway through his freshman season, he’s considered to be ‘flawed and inexperienced’.
James Michael McAdoo of UNC has seen similar changes to his draft status, after a season where he’s struggled to establish himself as a consistent first option for his team. Nerlens Noel was incredibly hyped during the recruiting process before he committed to Kentucky, now still considered a lottery pick but not the lock that many had claimed.
As I open this month’s ESPN ‘Next’ magazine, in which they attempt to project who the next big stars will be in several sports, they have decided against selecting another high school phenom and went with Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, who was a one-and-done college player for Duke, but is now in his second season in the pros. However, in the comments of the article, people pile in to tell ESPN that they have it wrong, and that the ‘next’ phenom is Andrew Wiggins, the star player for Huntington Prep in the class of 2013. One reader says ‘just watch a mixtape of Andrew Wiggins and he’ll blow your mind’.
I’m not saying Wiggins won’t be a pro and he’s a very talented high school player. But let’s wait on the accolades until he’s proven he can at least compete against collegiate talent.
This is part of the problem. I’m not sure if it’s the SportsCenter Top 10 influence, but people get fooled by highlights. They see a sixth grader scoring like crazy in a video and they immediately project the kid into the next Michael Jordan.
Is the 2013 NBA draft weak on talent? Not really, but what scouts are really saying is that it’s weak on potential superstars. Players like Cody Zeller and Otto Porter are considered NBA talent, but not “franchise” players. One issue I have with that is that those players hardly ever come along, no matter how much talent is supposedly in the draft. Another issue is that it seems like projecting superstardom is something scouts and fans love to do, but rarely get correct. As I write this, the 2014 mock NBA draft from NBADraft.net has the top 6 projected picks currently in high school. That’s become commonplace, but it’s also become commonplace that by the time those players are eligible for the draft, most of them will not be ranked that high.
Travis struggled over all from the offensive end this game, but did showcase a few things particularly in the second half that will potentially translate to the professional level. He attacked and went to the rim aggressively the first few times he touched the ball and showed what we already knew, that he could get to the rim in straight line dribble drives. What he did better then last season was the ability to drive in a straight line and kick to the open shooter in the strong side corner, something he did not often do last season because his head was down and he could not see open teammates.
Although he struggled to find his shot tonight, to McKie’s credit, he did a decent job passing the ball to teammates, better then the 2 assist in the box score shows. He had several nice post entry passes and lob passes up court in transition for easy scores for his teammates.
Used his size/strength/athleticism to pace the Deacs in the rebounding category with 9 rebounds tonight. One he secures the rebound, he is not at risk of losing it or having it taken away as he secures it strongly with 2 hands and had several rebounds where he practically ripped the ball off the back board. Rebounding is one of and has been McKie’s greatest strength since arriving at Wake Forest.
Looked comfortable in the mid post with his back to the basket- getting his first two scores in this area 15’ and in. He used his size/strength to his advantage and was able to get a couple of easy scores this way by slashing from this area and facing up and hitting the mid range. Though he did struggle by any consistency shooting from the outside this game, he is a good FT shooter, shooting 3-4 tonight and is a 70% + shooter from the stripe for his career.
Honestly this was not a good showing from McKie, despite what the numbers tell you from the box score. Defensively he really struggled in all facets against a smaller, yet younger and more energetic Radford team. He showed a poor overall effort and principals on the defensive end early on by getting hung up on screens and not fighting or making strong effort to get around screens (especially ones off the ball), jogging back on defense, and showed poor closeout principals on the perimeter (Not closing out under control).Didn’t box out at all this game and allowed his man who was shorter and less athletic to get a several offensive rebounds and run free un-touched to the rim-(Was the first man to be substituted for shortly after- leaving the game after just 5 minutes on the floor). Nearly every board he collected this game was the result of him being by himself and on the defensive end- not because of him boxing out or working extremely hard- also worth noting was he didn’t collect a single offensive board. Didn’t show good technique defending on the perimeter most of the game- stood too tall and didn’t show the capability to slide his feet and stop dribble penetration. Defensive stance is poor- doesn’t move feet well laterally, hands are down by side too much- needs to use wing span to defend- jumps out of control at shooters instead of contesting w/ a high hand and staying on the ground (fouled a 3-point shooter with 13 min. left in 2nd half by jumping to block his shot). Lost track of his man several times in transition.
On the offensive end, McKie struggles didn’t solely rest on missing shots, but in other areas as well. He did not cut hard when he was off the ball to get open- Radford defended him easily off the ball. Ran off an off the ball screen half-heartedly on the second possession of the game- acted like he didn’t want the ball. Looked frustrated most of game on the offensive end of the floor. Didn’t head hunt on screens when running sets. He looks like he is rushing his shot- shooting is in-consistent, especially from 3. His release is low and he pushes the ball to a degree. His mechanics aren’t great, but they are not bad either.
Playing in opening regular season game against a very young Radford that that went 6-26 last season. Travis looked cool, collected, and in chill mode going through warm-ups just before the start of the game. As previously stated he struggled offensively this game and didn’t find the scoring column until 15:30 min. left in the second half.
McKie is attempting to transition from an undersized PF to the SF once again, which is something that NBA scouts are monitoring. His ball handling and shooting is inconsistent and he struggled this game to defend on the perimeter. He plays much better when he embraces the undersized PF role and when he works hard and does the dirty work inside. In my opinion he would be a good D-League option if he decided to leave after this season where he could be a rebounder and athletic F. He would be better served to stay another year and continue to work his perimeter play and show scouts that he can play the SF at the next level. I actually believe that if he could contribute at the pro level (D-League/NBA) if he played the undersized PF position and worked extremely hard in the trenches grabbing rebounds and scoring in the paint, something he showed the last two years at Wake Forest.
One thing worth noting as well is the fact that even though in my opinion, McKie had a poor performace, he still shot 50% from the field, grabbed 9 rebounds, and had a couple of assist in a win. Granted it was against a below average team, but it was the first game of the season. It was his best night or best performance but he grabbed some big rebounds at the end and scored all 11 of his points in the second half to help put a scrappy Radford team away. My point is even on a rough night for McKie he was 1 rebound shy of a double-double. I have seen him put up way bigger numbers against ACC competition in the past. The key is and will continue to see monitor his progression and how much he is improving, if at all.