Scouting: King James Shooting Stars Classic

luke-kennard[1]Both John Beilein and Jeff Meyer spent time at the King James Shooting Classic in Akron, Ohio over the weekend and UM Hoops was also in attendance. 2015 stars Luke Kennard and AJ Harris were the highlights of the event but a number of other impressive Michigan targets were in action including 2014 big man Sean O’Mara, Vincent Edwards, Javon Bess and others.

Luke Kennard (2015, Wing, King James)

When a true freshman draws John Beilein, Thad Matta and Bob Huggins to Tallmadge, Ohio on a Friday night, it’s safe to say that he might be something special. Kennard’s game begins with his shooting stroke and when he has that going he becomes tough to stop. He’s not a one dimensional player though, he rebounded well and also made smart plays offensively. He needs to attack the basket more in half court sets but did well in the full court in getting to the bucket. His game is mature enough that it becomes tough to remember that he’s just finishing up his freshman year of basketball. His game, and his recruitment, will continue to expand in the years to come.

AJ Harris (2015, Point Guard, King James)

There’s a lot of flair to Harris’ game but unlike most young flashy guards, he has the substance to back it up. Harris will need to grow a couple inches to take his game to the next level but the lightning quick point guard has all the tools. He’s more than capable of hitting 18-foot jumpers with regularity and can also finish at the basket but where he really excels is distributing the ball. He snapped off a number of great passes and his change of pace is deadly, especially in the full court.

Sean O’Mara (2014, Center, IBA Select)

Michigan has shown a lot of early interest in the 2014 center from Benet Academy outside of Chicago. O’Mara’s team was playing in the less prestigious black division at King James and that led to a number of mismatches but the 6-foot-9 big man made the most of it. O’Mara has a great feel with his back to the basket and doesn’t waste any time catching the ball on the block, making a move and shooting the ball. His size is legitimate and he has a solid frame but he needs to continue to improve athletically. He’s still a bit plodding running the floor and needs to make a bigger impact defensively and rebound above the rim. Bottom line, a lot of the tools, footwork and size are already there, his development over the next year will be interesting to watch.

Vincent Edwards (2014, Forward, King James)

Edwards has the tools – size, length and athleticism – of a high major combo forward but wasn’t that involved in the King James victory that I watched. He hit open 16-foot jumpers and rebounded well, showing good ball skills in the open court. He showed some ball skills but will need to continue to improve in that facet of his game if he’s going to play on the wing at the next level. Read our recruiting update with Edwards from last weekend here.

Javon Bess (2014, Wing, King James)

Bess, who attended Michigan’s College Practice Camp last summer, wasn’t our original focus but was very impressive in a Saturday win over the Franchise Ballers. The question for Bess is what position he’ll play in the future. He has good size and ball skills but isn’t quite a point guard. That being said, there’s no question that he’s wired to get in the lane and plays the game in attack mode. It would be nice to see more of his jumpshot but if he’s able to grow a couple inches, he should make a versatile point forward prospect at the next level.

Justin Bibbs (2014, Guard, King James)

Bibbs has great size and length for a guard and lets the game come to him. He made good decisions with the ball and finished opportunties that presented themselves. He’s a capable jumpshooter but seemed more comfortable from the mid-range than from beyond the arc. If anything, I’d like to see Bibbs be more aggressive in trying to score the ball.

Justin Tillman and Daryl Davis (2014, REACH Legends)

These are two prospects that I hoped to watch but didn’t get more than a glimpse of. Davis is a skinny wing guard that never found his jumper early and then picked up a bad ankle sprain in the game I watched. He’s wiry and needs to fill out but he’s one to watch. Tillman is a 6-foot-7 leaper who has reportedly impressed this summer. I was only able to catch a glimpse of him playing up at the 17U level across courts while he sat out in the REACH 16U game later on Saturday. Both are 2014 instate names to watch this summer and beyond.

Kyle Ahrens (2015, Wing, King James)

He’s not as ballyhooed as his King James teammates, Luke Kennard and AJ Harris, but he played well throughout the weekend – showing off a smooth jumpshot from distance and the ability to finish at the basket, notably with the reverse layup. He’s still young but he could grow into an intriguing wing prospect when all is said and done.

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