Scouting: King James Classic (2011 Prospects)

I spent my time in Akron focusing on the class of 2011 kids. We could only stick around until Saturday night but we still managed to scout plenty of kids. The Family was the most impressive 17U team that featured Michigan prospects as they made a run to the 17U Gold finals before losing to a strong Ohio Basketball Club squad. Dylan will have scouting reports on some 2012 kids coming later this week as well as plenty of video but to begin with here are my thoughts on the rising seniors.

Carlton Brundidge, G, 6-2, 2011Video of Carlton’s 44 point game
Carlton went off and there’s no other way to put it.  He played well in the first few games I saw but the last one was by far the most impressive.  He scored 44 points and they came in just about every way possible.  I’ve seen Carlton play a few times but never as well as he did in the nightcap on Saturday, so here’s what I learned:

It’s almost impossible to stay in front of him. Almost meaning if you have some really skilled ballhawks with great hands (i.e. Huron in the State semis) you can not only stay in front of him but also get some steals.  However, for the vast majority of high school players, the only way to stay in front of him is to foul him, which is what they did.  Brundidge lived at the line in just about every game that I saw.

He can shoot. A lot of people have questioned Brundidge’s shooting ability but he shot it well all weekend.  He was lights-out in his 44 point performance and hit a total of 8 threes in his last two games combined on Saturday night. Once he’s hitting his shots he becomes that much harder to stop. Defenders have to respect his jumper which allows him to blow by them. He is also really good at using a pump fake to free himself and once he gets in the lane he’s a great finisher.

One other interesting note: he did all of this with a bandage around his shooting hand. Imagine what he could have done with full mobility in his hand. (Ed: One thing I will add is that I loved Carlton’s toughness. He takes hard falls and fouls but he never backs down from contact. -Dylan)

More on Amir Williams, Trey McDonald, Percy Gibson, Markus Crider, John Manning, and Darren Washington after the jump.

Amir Williams, C, 6-9, 2011
Unfortunately Amir couldn’t make it the first day after getting in late from a visit to Duke but he was there in force on the second day.  Scouting Amir at an AAU tournament is different than scouting him in high school game because his role in the offense is so different.  Even with Ray McCallum at Detroit Country Day, he was a focal point and the priority was getting him the ball in the paint.  In AAU ball, and especially with the abundance of talented guards on The Family, he was mostly there to protect the basket, be ready for a quick dump from a driving guard, and clean up any misses around the rim.  And of course, he did those things very well.  We’ve said it before, and we have video to prove it: Amir Williams is a big-time player.  He’s got great length, a nose for the ball, and great anticipation when defending the post.  He didn’t show off his post moves much, but he didn’t really need to or get the chance.

Trey McDonald, PF, 6-9, 2011
I only caught one of Trey’s games over the weekend and he was playing against Quincy Miller, unquestionably a top-5 player nationally.  Right now, he’s a mid-major player who could definitely play his way into a high-major player.  He certainly has a high-major body, just not the skills–yet.  Like we said before, he’s not that quick in the post, but he’s a good rebounder and a decent defender.  He’s really working hard on the midrange jumper, but unfortunately it wasn’t falling for him in the game we watched.  I will say this: if he can make that a go-to weapon, he will have a chance to play for a lot of schools.  He won’t need to be real quick in the post if he can score with a consistent midrange jumpshot.  Plus, that can open up his post game anyway.  Trey is certainly a player to keep an eye on.  If he develops some post moves and a jumper, he’ll be very valuable.

Percy Gibson, PF, 6-8, 2011
I was impressed with Percy after the Motown Showdown, and I’m even more impressed with him now.  One thing I didn’t mention last weekend that really stood out to me this weekend was his ability to finish.  His touch around the basket was really exceptional–most high school big men (see: Trey McDonald) haven’t developed that soft touch yet and you’ll see them blow gimmes every once in a while.  I can’t remember one time the entire weekend I saw Gibson blow an easy one.  If he had the opportunity to make a layup, even a tough one in traffic, he made it.  Overall, he really stood out as one of the best post players in the tourney.  Better yet, he was going up against John Manning, a Michigan target and 3-star player according to Scout, and clearly outplayed him (we’ve got more on Manning later). He got a few more touches than the last time I watched him, and he took advantage.  He knows how to use his length to create space to shoot and showed off an impressive baby hook a few times.  He doesn’t need the ball to make a difference, though–his rebounding was great.  He was strong with the ball when he caught it and made more than a few highly contested inside shots.  Basically, what you have in Gibson: a tough, skilled, long, quick post player with soft touch inside who can rebound.  Oh, and he can definitely get a lot better.  He looked like he was trying to incorporate a jumper into his game, and if he hits the weights he’ll be unstoppable.

Truthfully, he was the only bright spot in a rough weekend for Team Detroit.  They played some really good competition, but too many players just didn’t show up.  Michigan State commit Brandan Kearney has had better weekends, he was irrelevant in both games I watched versus Team Takeover and the West Virgina Wildcats.

Markus Crider, W, 6-6, 2011
Crider had a rough weekend from what we saw (this is based on pool play).  He plays on a loaded team, with Zach Price, who’s going to Louisville, and Jakarr Sampson, who played extremely well and has high major interest across the midwest, but he really didn’t do much. He didn’t really hurt his team, he just appeared to be a non-factor in the games that I watched.  He does have a great body — 6-6, solid but with plenty of room to fill out, long arms and spring-loaded legs — but other than that he didn’t show much of anything.  His newly-created Twitter account indicates that his left knee was causing him some problems, which would explain part of it.  Overall, disappointing only because we were expecting to get some good stuff from him.

John Manning, C, 6-11, 2011
I saw Manning play once this weekend and he didn’t show much in that game but it’s clear he can play. His team is stacked and like many big men on teams full of good guards he didn’t get much of a chance to showcase his inside moves.  As I mentioned above, Gibson worked on him a little bit, but I attributed that more to Percy feeling it than John playing poorly.  Manning has a body that’s ready to play D-I basketball.  He’s big and strong, but runs the court reasonably well and moves in the post easily.  The word is that Manning can really shoot it but he didn’t really show it from what I saw.  He did a good job rebounding, but needs to learn how to use his size to clear out space.  He looked like a classic big man, and if he can shoot than he’ll be a real weapon.

Darren Washington, PF, 6-9, 2011
Washington was exciting to see since he didn’t really have much of a high school season because he transferred to Gabriel Richard from Detroit Southeastern.  He’s tall, not as big as Amir and not as long, but clearly skilled and very talented.  He’s got soft hands and he rebounds well.  He’s working on a jumpshot–it looks kind of weird, he holds it way out in front of his face kind of the way Sheed does–and if he adds that to his arsenal he’ll be tough to stop.  Wish they could have dumped it inside to him more so we could see what his moves were like. Washington is a guy to watch and he recently grabbed an offer from Eastern Michigan.

Notes: LaDontae Henton (injury), Patrick Lucas-Perry (leg injury) and Dwaun Anderson all couldn’t make it to the tournament for the Mustangs.

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