Coverage includes recaps of Michael Beasley, Justin Burrell, Eric Wallace, Mamadou Diarra, Boubacar Sylla, Troy Gillenwater, Angelo Johnson and others.
6-10, Power Forward, Senior, Notre Dame Prep (Committed to Kansas State)
Up until the 10 minute point in the 2nd half, Beasley did not snap out of his funk, partially due to the fact that he was not in the game for the most part. His extended stay on the bench lit a bit of a fire underneath him it seemed, and we saw a completely different player enter the game and change its complexion completely with 9 minutes to go. Beasley started off by attacking the offensive glass with reckless abandon and using his terrific quickness to finish creatively around the paint. His fantastic leaping ability and the sheer quickness in which hes able to elevate off the floor were on full display, and this coupled with his excellent body and strength allowed him to sway the tide of the game in his teams favor.
Beasley ended up finishing the game with a somewhat underwhelming 11 points (2-6 FG, 7-10 FT) and 7 rebounds in just 22 minutes. He did a nice job getting in the passing lanes with 3 steals, and did a better job finding open teammates and playing unselfishly than his 2 assists would indicate. He did not force the issue and generally showed a good attitude within the team concept, talking to his teammates on defense and pumping them up with the game stopped.
The thing he didnt show was his perimeter game. All of his offense came either right at the hoop or from the free throw line, and the lone jumper he took looked good but did not fall. Theres no doubting his talent from what we saw today, but hell have to show more tomorrow to justify his lofty ranking in some of the recruiting services.
Stoneridge Trio of Seven Footers
Mamadou Diarra, Ibrahima Thomas, and Boubacar Sylla
Stoneridge Prep offered a trio of French speaking big men at the National Prep Tip Off in 70 Mamadou Diarra, 70 Ibrahima Thomas, and 71 Boubacar Sylla. All three of the big men were plagued throughout the evening with foul trouble, limited their time on the floor. However, it was quite astounding to see a high school team with three legitimate high major seven footers who not only had intriguing upside, but actually had somewhat developed skill sets.
6-8, Power Forward, Post Graduate, Bridgton Academy (Committed to St. Johns)
Burrell was energized and extremely active on the defensive end in particular, moving his feet superbly to stay in front of smaller players, using his length and quickness to bother bigger players into contested shots, drawing charges and rebounding the ball with purpose. Offensively he showed some nice signs of a post game, establishing position in the paint, running the floor like a mad man, taking contact and displaying nice touch around to finish smoothly, even off the glass at times. He finished the night with 22 points. When faced with a double team he was extremely patient seeing over the top of the defense and delivering some beautiful passes on his way to 3 assists.
From what we saw tonight, it looks like St. Johns may have gotten a huge steal in Burrell. Wed like to see him one more time before we decide for sure, though.
510, PG, Junior, Stoneridge Prep
As the game started, we initially viewed Johnson as a bit out of control, as he took many heavily contested shots. However, the diminutive guard was able to make contested shot after contested shot, making us realize that these were not forces; These contested floaters in the lane were the strength of his game.
The Stoneridge junior showed the ability to score on absolutely any defender Notre Dame put on him whenever he wanted. It did not matter if it was from the three point line, from the mid range jumper, or from his soft floater in the lane, Angelo would find a way to score. He displayed amazing quickness off of the dribble and creativity once he got in the lane, evidenced by the fact that he constantly got shots up in the paint over athletic marvel Michael Beaseley. The Minnesota native also did an excellent job finding teammates for open jump shots, which unfortunately they were not able to convert.
On the down side, Johnson did finish the game with 8 turnovers. This was partially due to the fact that he was credited with turnovers when his big men did not catch the ball, which must be kept in mind when analyzing this amazing, courageous performance. Angelos mobility was limited severely in the second half by what appeared to be a mild ankle sprain, but he still nearly single handedly carried his team back to victory.
On the day, the scoring guard finished with 25 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 8 turnovers. He shot 10-15 from the field and 2-4 from the three point line. While he put up these numbers in defeat, Johnson did establish to college coaches, recruiting analysts, and basketball fans alike that he was clearly the top point guard here in Worcester on day one, and will make some high major college program very lucky once 2008 rolls around.
6-6, Small Forward, Senior, Hargrave Military Academy (Committed to Ohio State)
In terms of pure athleticism, it wouldnt be a stretch to say that hes one of the top players here. Wallace has all the explosiveness youd like to see from a small forward, and best of all, he makes great use of it in every opportunity he has. On top of that, he has a great body that looks fairly ready for Big 10 competition almost right off the bat. He put it all together nicely today in a very a well rounded, super active effortplaying outstanding defense, coming up with a couple of very impressive rebounds out of his area, and finishing nicely around the basket when the opportunity presented itself. When asked to switch on the perimeter onto a smaller player off a pick and roll, he showed his excellent footwork and mentality by staying in front of his man fairly easily and forcing them into some difficult shots.
Offensively, Wallace did most of his damage in transition, coming off cuts and on the offensive glass, although he certainly wasnt a focal point in his teams offense. Hes an unselfish player who doesnt quite fit into the me against the world style of play we found here for the most part, and seemed to have no problem at all making excellent passes to open teammates. Hes generally an extremely smart player who shows a terrific demeanor on the floor.
In terms of weaknesses, Wallace still has a ways to go before he can be considered a fulltime wing at a big time program like Ohio State. His ball-handling is extremely poor, being too upright, dribbling the ball very high, and starting right down at it as he takes it down the floor. His jump-shot looks good, with solid form and especially nice arc, but it was anything but consistent today from mid-range or the free throw line.
All in all Wallace is anything but a finished product, but his physical tools combined with his intelligence and attitude leads you to believe that hell develop nicely under Thad Matta at Ohio State.
67, PF, Junior, Stoneridge Prep
What makes the Stoneridge bruiser tough to project in the future is his lack of height, and perimeter game at the moment. He doesnt appear to have that high of an upside as a power forward, making one wonder if he will ever be able to develop the necessary athleticism and/or perimeter skills to step out on the wing. Even if Troy does not develop in these areas, we are surely looking at a player who will be very productive on the collegiate level, and will make one high major division one coach incredibly happy if he were to commit to them.