O.J. Mayo and Corey Stokes Vs. Nick Calathes and Kosta Koufos
While these games were merely meant to allow players to get loose and get a grasp for playing with others who may not have necessarily been familiar with each other from the AAU circuit (playing for different sneaker companies), games quickly became awfully competitive, specifically the matchup that pegged Nick Calathes and Kosta Koufos versus O.J. Mayo and Corey Stokes. Obviously the duo of Mayo and Stokes was at a huge size disadvantage, standing 65 respectively and having to go up against the 65 Calathes and 71 Koufos. The size mismatches on both sides did not stop these four for playing with a fire that you would more likely see in an NCAA practice, however.
From the beginning, it was clear that these four players were going noticeably harder than any other players in the 2 on 2 drills. Whether it was the fact that they were excited for the opportunity to play versus players they may not have played against or we were just seeing these players exert their fullest competitive instincts was unbeknownst, but these four clearly had it out for each other. Quickly words were exchanged between Mayo and the squad of Koufos and Calathes, primarily due to questionable foul calls on both sides. The two teams continued to go back and forth for two games, with Koufos and Calathes emerging as narrow victors in both games. At the conclusion of each game, Mayo showed his displeasure in losing by slamming the ball on the floor and looking visibly upset in defeat.
In the games, Mayo showed his competitive drive by going hard on each and every play. This seemed to pick up the intensity of the game on both sides, as Koufos and Calathes then began going much harder. Mayo shot the lights out of the ball, hitting numerous NBA three pointers and beautiful fade-away jump shots out of the post. His partner Stokes, one of the deadliest shooters in the class of 2007, converted countless tough jump shots over the 71 Koufos, leaving many fans nodding their heads in the quick release three pointers and turnaround jumpers that he was hitting over the Greek giant.
The victorious team of Calathes and Koufos ran the pick and roll remarkably well, with Calathes making all of the right reads each time he came off of a screen. He was able to use his deceptive quickness and hesitation moves to get to the rim on Mayo, utilizing shot fakes to ensure he was able to get the ball up over the more athletic Huntington star. His teammate Koufos used his size advantage to its fullest potential, posting on Stokes at every available opportunity and scoring via his soft touch around the rim. While these were just two on two games and nothing to get overly excited about, it was awfully pleasing to see these players go so hard this early in the week.
Individual Player Breakdowns
O.J. Mayo, 65, 210 lbs, PG/SG, Signed with USC
Kosta Koufos, 71, 240 lbs, PF/C, Signed with Ohio State
Nick Calathes, 65, 190 lbs, PG, Signed with Florida
Donte Greene, 69, 210 lbs, SF/PF, Signed with Syracuse
J.J. Hickson, 69, 240 lbs., PF, Signed with North Carolina State
The West team did not have as much competitive action going on, even though they did do a bit of five on five scrimmaging. Coach Taylor had more of a laid back atmosphere in his practice, looking to put in some basic offensive sets and out of bounds plays for his squad. The West team will start the terrific lineup of Derrick Rose, Eric Gordon, Kyle Singler, Michael Beasley, and Kevin Love. Here is a look at some of the more interesting names from the West unit:
Michael Beasley, 69, 240 lbs, PF, Signed with Kansas State
Derrick Rose, 63, 185 lbs., PG, Signed with Memphis
Kevin Love, 610, 255 lbs, PF/C, Signed with UCLA
Kyle Singler, 68, 210 lbs, SF, Signed with Duke
Eric Gordon, 64, 212 lbs., PG/SG, Signed with Indiana
Jerryd Bayless, 63, 200 lbs, PG/SG, Signed with Arizona
Cole Aldrich, 611, 250 lbs., C, Signed with Kansas
Kosta Koufos Interview
DraftExpress: Glenoak had a bit of an early departure in the state tournament this year, losing in the final four after many had picked you to win the state championship. You had an outstanding year however finishing second for Mr. Basketball in Ohio. How do you think your season went individually?
Koufos: I thought I played pretty well. Obviously I felt like I could have played better. My goal this year was to try to make everyone around me better, which I feel like I did a pretty good job with. We took Glenoak to their first final four appearance in school history. I felt pretty comfortable with my season personally, and couldnt be more happy with the rest of my team.
DraftExpress: Given Ohio States final four run, there is a incredible likelihood that Greg Oden declares for the NBA Draft and the strong possibility of Mike Conley Jr. declaring for the draft, you could possibly have a much larger role next year at Ohio State. Say Greg is gone .what do you see your role being next year at Ohio State?
Koufos: I mean, Greg Oden and Mike Conley are great players, and Coach Matta was really fortunate to recruit such great players. Ive just gotta do my best and whatever position he wants me to play, I just have to work on and hopefully we can win another national championship.
DraftExpress: Tell me a bit about the role that Coach Matta has specifically told you that youre going to play as a Buckeye. Are you going to be more of a pick and pop guy, or more of a traditional low post center?
Koufos: More of an in and out guy. If I see mismatches that are going to utilize me that way. If I have a smaller guy on me, Im going to take him down low and vice versa. Im just going to try to cause mismatch problems in the college game.
DraftExpress: So Ohio State will probably run some high low schemes with you in the high post and Othello Hunter down low?
Koufos: I dont know. Were going to be running the four out, one in most likely. Its a great offense and Coach Matta is a great coach, so Im really looking forward to seeing what the college game is like.
DraftExpress: Tell me about your plans for the summer?
Koufos: Well, Im playing in the McDonalds Game and then the Jordan Classic. Then Im going to do training with a couple of pro players like LeBron. Then Im going to Greece to play with the 20 and under national team, and hopefully work my way up to the senior team.
DraftExpress: Now are you going to be with Greece for the U-21 World Championships as well?
Koufos: Coach Yannakis came over and saw me play. The head coach of the Greek National Team came over and saw me play. You cant jump. Im an 18 year old right now and you cant jump all the way up to 21 and over. Youve gotta be able to prove yourself, so I think Ive got a pretty good chance of making it.
DraftExpress: So then this summer you will be playing with the Greek Under 18 National Team?
Koufos: Yes sir.
DraftExpress: Have you had the chance to meet any of your prospective teammates on the Greek National Team?
Koufos: No sir. I just read up on them, on the players on the Greek national team. Im just going to go over there and try to make as many friends as possible.
DraftExpress: Now once youre done with your time in Greece, are you going to head down to Ohio State early to try to get in the last session of summer school and begin training down there?
Koufos: Well in June Ill probably go to Ohio State just to get a feel for it first and then Ill go to Greece. Ill probably be back in late in late August or so, and Ill just go down there and start training.
Jerryd Bayless Interview
DraftExpress: Youre a guy whose played both the point and shooting guard positions throughout your high school career. What position are you going to play next year at Arizona?
Bayless: Coach Olson said that Im going to be playing a little bit of both. Just whatever the team needs out of me. If the team needs a little more of a scorer, theyll put me at the two. If they need me to get the ball around, theyll put me at the one. He definitely said though that hes going to be playing me at both.
DraftExpress: Do you have any preference personally as to what position youll play?
Bayless: Not really. Im comfortable with both. It just depends on the situation and what I want to run at the time.
DraftExpress: Now you committed early to Arizona, de-committed to Arizona, before eventually deciding to sign with them. Can you tell me a little about what was going on in your mind around that time?
Bayless: I just wasnt comfortable at that time. I was comfortable at first and then the more I thought it over, I became uncomfortable and told them that I wanted to rethink it over. They supported me with that and stayed with me, which is why I decided to recommit to Arizona.
DraftExpress: What would you personally say that the strengths of your game are?
Bayless: My ability to score and my athleticism are probably my biggest strengths.
DraftExpress: Now what aspects of your game do you think you really need to improve on, before you can make it to the next level?
Bayless: Definitely my rebounding. Thats the biggest thing that I want to improve on. I think Ive improved on my point guard skills a lot within the last year or so, so the main thing that I want to improve on for the next level is definitely my rebounding.
DraftExpress: Can you tell me what its like being a guy who has consistently scored 30 plus points per game throughout your high school career to have to come off the bench in this game? You have Derrick Rose, Eric Gordon, Kyle Singler, Michael Beasley, and Kevin Love starting is it going to be kind of tough for you coming off the bench?
Bayless: Im just going to go out there and play. I might not start I probably wont start. I mean, its the McDonalds All American Game. Im just going to go out there and play my game and hopefully everything goes well.