The Great Lakes Summer Classic was well-organized, just poorly-timed. My timing was also poor, as I got there the day after everyone played really well, apparently. Team Pride and Team Detroit, the two biggest draws at the event, were coming off trips to Louisville and Chicago, respectively, and both appeared pretty gassed. A number of notable 2013 kids played up with Team Detroit’s 16U, including Monte Morris, Denzel Watts, and Leo Edwards, and they were some of the most impressive prospects on this day. I got to watch some big names and some up-and-comers, so the trip was definitely worthwhile.
Javontae Hawkins (2012, G, Team Detroit) – I saw Javontae play briefly very early on in the spring for Team Pride, and I was impressed. Today, for Team Detroit, he was decent, but not great. To be fair, by all accounts he was astounding yesterday, scoring 29 points in one game and playing very well throughout the day. I think I got him right as he (and many others) were running out of energy. The AAU circuit is a grind; I’m tired, and I’m not even playing any games. While he didn’t have great games, you can tell he’s a cut above the rest. His jumper wasn’t on today but I know from watching him at Elite Camp that he can fill it from deep. He can finish at the rim really well and knows how to use his tremendous length and athleticism. His defense was on point and he never let up, even when he was missing shots. He also rebounded well. On offense, he seems to need the ball in his hands in order to be effective. He had a few nice drive-and-dish’s but other than that he looked to score. Very good player, great prospect, still has work to do.
Monte Morris (2013, G, Team Detroit) – Only a rising sophomore, Morris is a legit point guard prospect. He’s very small, but extremely quick with insane handle. And despite his small stature, he can finish at the rim against bigger players. He has great hands on defense and never lets his man go by him. His shot looked nice, but it’s hard to judge a shot after watching just one day. He’s very elusive in the paint but not afraid to draw contact. Great scorer already, can work on passing. Overall, the hype around him is justified, in my opinion.
Denzel Watts (2013, G, Team Detroit) – Watts is similar to Morris, but much bigger and probably not quite as refined. I haven’t seen enough of either of them to say one is better than the other, but they do play different styles. Watts reminded me a little bit of a shorter but much more athletic Denzel Valentine, the way he uses pump-fakes and space-making moves to create his own shot. He works well with contact and knows how to draw it. He didn’t shoot great, but his shot looks smooth. He and Morris work great together on defense, harassing opposing guards to no end. Watts is also a prospect to keep an eye on. Something tells me we won;t have a choice, to be honest.
Leo Edwards (2013, F, Team Detroit) – Edwards is an intriguing prospect for many reasons but one of the main reasons is that he’s 6-8 at the age of 14. He’s slim but athletic and once he grows into his body he’ll have a good build. He still has a lot of work to do, but showed a ton of promise. He doesn’t have much in the way of post moves, but he went after every rebounds and played pretty good defense in the post against some stronger players. I would have liked to see him call for the ball more and assert himself in the post but he seemed content to get putbacks off of misses by Morris and Watts. He’s so young you can’t really fault him for not asserting himself, especially since he’s playing with a bunch of 16-year-olds. Very exciting prospect.
News and Notes
- I spoke with Javontae Hawkins after his game and he said that among the schools who have offered him a scholarship (Central Michigan, Dayton, Iowa, U of D, Minnesota, Oakland, South Florida), Michigan is his No. 1. This is definitely good news, and we’ll see if it holds up as more schools enter the fray.
- Michigan hasn’t contacted Monte Morris, but Purdue, Michigan State, Georgetown, U of D, Ohio and Dayton have. Something tells me, with Coach Meyer watching intently on the sidelines all day, he won’t have to wait long.
- Michigan has already contacted Denzel Watts, along with Michigan State, Central Michigan, USC, Minnesota and Purdue. Watts also received a letter from USA Basketball and will be visiting USC and Purdue this summer.
- Leo Edwards has received hand-written letters from the Michigan coaching staff and has also been contacted by Michigan State, Cleveland State and U of D.