Scouting: Motown Showdown

I was at Oakland University this weekend to catch some early regional AAU ball during the Michigan Mustangs’ Motown Throwdown. There were a number of Michigan recruiting targets in action at the event and I pulled together a scouting report on several of them, including Gary Harris, Patrick Lucas-Perry, Dwaun Anderson, Tommie McCune, Trey McDonald, Ray Lee, Javontae Hawkins, and Matt Costello among others.

Gary Harris, W, 6-3, 2012

Whenever I talk about Harris, I have to remind myself not to drift into hyperbole, but it’s hard sometimes. He’s really, really good. He was the best player in the tournament in my opinion. One of the major reasons for that was his consistency. He didn’t just play well for a half before the other team figured him out. He didn’t just whup on all the bad teams. He carried a U16 D-3 Heat team that was playing up to a 17U championship. He had some help, but he was clearly the best player on the court in every game he played. The thing is, every team knew this, keyed on him, and still couldn’t stop him.

What I saw from Harris:

  • Next-level quickness. He was always the fastest player on the court. And it wasnt just “make a move and blow by you” quick–it was “grab a rebound and literally outrun every defender to the basket on the other end of the court for a dunk” quick.
  • Great hands. When he wanted to play defense, he could strip like no other. At the AAU level, defense is often, um, not really emphasized, but when Harris put his mind to it, he could steal the ball from anyone.
  • Smooth jumper. Like, really smooth.  Harris can flat-out shoot, from anywhere on the court.

Some cons for Harris? I guess he wasn’t always vigilant on defense, but neither was anyone else, and his coach didn’t seem to mind. There were times when he chewed out his teammates, but at some point that’s called for. I also didn’t see him pass that much, he was pretty much always looking to score. But when you can do that at will, wouldn’t you? There just aren’t a lot of holes in his game.

Overall, a really complete player that a lot of people are going after right now. Really, really impressed by his game. The latest reports are that Harris will get a Michigan offer, which should come on June 15th.

Patrick Lucas-Perry, PG, 5-10, 2011

LLP’s little bro had a heck of a tournament. While he’s tiny, he was the player who made the Mustangs go. Don’t compare him to LLP, because they’re not very similar. PLP is a pure point guard — his handle was impeccable, his crossover was nasty and when he got in the paint his first thought was dishing the ball to an open big man.  If that wasn’t an option, he had no problem finishing on his own. His toughness was really impressive on both ends of the court. He was arguably the best defensive player in the tournament. His passing was great—he made the hardest passes look routine and he added a bit of flair to the easy ones. The only thing that disappointed me was his shooting. He shot okay in the first game, but after that went pretty cold.

Dwaun Anderson, W, 6-4, 2011

I was especially pumped to see Anderson because he’s from all the way up in Sutton’s Bay, which meant AAU was probably going to be my only chance. He didn’t disappoint. In the first two games I watched, it looked like he and PLP had a pact that they would try as many alley-oops as possible. It was extremely entertaining—the guy can fly. Maybe the most athletic player there next to Gary Harris. But the thing that stood out to me was his body control. Any idiot can drive recklessly to the basket and throw up a layup or draw contact. In AAU, what separates the men from the boys is the ability to go to the basket in control every time–being able to anticipate contact and plan for it, as well as being able to protect the ball from getting stripped in the lane. Anderson had that ability. The only thing I was wary about was that he didn’t create his own shot a whole lot, just kind of ate up all the great feeds from PLP. However, given his scoring output in high school, I doubt it’s a weakness.

Trey McDonald, PF, 6-9, 2011

Trey had an up and down weekend. He’s got a big body, decent (but not great) athleticism, and decent hands. He is clearly working on developing a fadeaway jumpshot into his post arsenal, but it wasn’t falling in the games I saw. His post moves seemed a little sluggish. He did play solid defense, especially in the last game I saw. He rebounded well, but not spectacularly. He is going to need to keep working on a midrange jumper if he’s a legitimate high-major prospect, because it’s not enough just to be 6-9.

Tommie McCune, F, 6-7, 2011

McCune is a pretty intriguing player. When Justin Moss started at center in his place in the first Pride game I watched, it got me wondering, but he proved that he’s a legitimate talent. I saw him play at Saginaw High, but this was a different player. In high school ball, McCune stayed in the post and worked hard under the basket. He ran the floor well and finished breaks. In the AAU games I saw yesterday, McCune had a guard’s mentality, something his coaches seemed to foster. At 6-7, McCune is a load to handle anyway, but put him ion the perimeter and not a lot of guards can defend him. As a post player, he’s got good moves that need to be polished, and rebounds well despite his slight frame. As a guard, he needs a lot of work on his handle, but it can be done. He leads the break well and has good vision. What’s cool is that whether he’s focusing on post play or guard play, he rebounds just as well. Great rebounder, stronger than he looks. If he develops his guard skills, he could be really interesting to watch.

Ray Lee, G, 6-2, 2012

I don’t know how much I can say about Lee. He didn’t really stand out at all, never looked like he was really in the games. His shot was kind of funky and didn’t go in very often. He has a great body — really long arms, thin but very quick. His handle was good, but at times he got sloppy. It looked like he has all the physical tools, just needs to get in the game mentally. AAU is tough because there are just so many games and it’s hard for players to play their best every time out, so to say he needs to mentally get in the game isn’t to say he’s a headcase, just that he didn’t seem to be too invested in the games I watched. As a PG, his vision didn’t stand out to me.

Dan Chilcote, F, 6-8, 2011

Chilcote also wasn’t very impactful. He’s kind of a tweener — he’s alarmingly thin, which hurts him in the post, and not terribly athletic. He didn’t shoot that much, but he looked like he had a pretty good shot. He didn’t do a lot of one-on-one stuff, most of his points came off putbacks and assists.

Percy Gibson, PF, 6-8, 2011

Gibson has a big body, and he knows how to throw it around and clear out space. He has soft hands, and knows how to seal a defender and establish position in the post. His moves are rough, but he makes up for it at this level with his ability to move people out of the way. He rebounds very well and plays good defense. I caught less of him than the Pride and Mustang guys, but what I saw was pretty impressive. I think he could have done better if he didn’t have so many shooters on his team. He didn’t go one-on-one in the post that much, but found his points in other ways.

A.J. Mathew, G, 6-2, 2011

Ann Arbor’s own performed pretty well for Team Detroit this weekend. I’ve watched A.J. at Huron, actually covered a game of his for, so I know his game better than most. He’s quick and he’s a great defender — unquestionably the strength of his game. For Huron, he’s the point guard who makes the team go. For Team Detroit, he played a different role. He’s a good shooter, and he showed that this weekend. Shots can be sparse for players who haven’t fully established themselves on teams, but A.J. shot the ball well when he had the opportunity and showed off impressive handle. He’s good at creating just enough space for a semi-open midrange shot. He’s a good passer, but not a great one. He’s careful with the ball and he doesn’t turn it over. A very solid player, but I’m not sure how much better he’s going to get.

Javontae Hawkins, W, 6-5, 2012

Unfortunately, I only caught one game from Javontae and it was very early in the weekend. Most of the youngsters were at Stoney Creek, when I spent most of my time at OU. Hawkins is certainly built to play, with a thin frame and extremely long arms. He’s athletic, but didn’t drive to the basket much. He focused more on his outside shot, which was smooth, if a bit inconsistent. He didn’t work very hard to create his own offense, just kind of relied on his PG to find him when he was open on the perimeter. He was alert on defense and made a few plays on that end, which was a plus, but his ballhandling wasn’t great. I wasn’t blown away, but I wasn’t disappointed either.

Matt Costello, PF, 6-9, 2012

Now here’s someone to get excited about. Costello is tall, long, tough and coordinated. A lot of times with young big guys, you get the sense that they’re still growing into their bodies, but he looked perfectly at home. You looked at him and expected him to dominate the glass, and he did. He kept the ball high in the post, which takes some guys years to learn. When didn’t receive entry passes, he went and got them. He was quick on his feet for someone his size, losing his defenders in the post and staying in front of whoever he was guarding. He was double-teamed often, and needs to work on passing out f those. Mostly he would try to just go up and would get fouled, but he needs to work on passing. He had a nice soft touch around the basket.

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