Every year it seems that the Bill Hensley Memorial Run ‘n Slam brings together the most talented AAU teams in the midwest and this year was no different. Without an apparel sponsor, Spiece is a great tournament because some of the best Nike, Adidas and Under Armour teams find themselves under one roof. Michigan was well represented in Fort Wayne – by 2013 commitments Mark Donnal and Derrick Walton as well as a number of 2014 and 2015 recruiting targets.
Mark Donnal (2013, PF/C, Indiana Elite South — Commit)
Donnal’s team had a tough game on Friday but Mark played pretty well. The opposing team consistently packed the paint with defenders in order to negate Donnal and make Indy Elite’s guards beat them. It seemed like even when Donnal was open, his teammates did a subpar job of getting him the ball in the right places. However, when Donnal received the ball in a favorable position, he made it count. He made some strong post moves in the midst of double-teams, and he made some nice passes in traffic, as well. His vision continues to improve. Near the end of the game, Dommal moved out to the perimeter and knocked down some impressive 3-pointers. He is clearly a gifted shooter, but it should be something he goes to when his post game isn’t working rather than a first option. Overall, Donnal was impressive and worked hard in the post.
Tyler Wideman (2014, PF/C, Meanstreets)
Wideman is a bit of an enigma. He has a chance to be a real force in the post, but his lack of height makes it difficult for him to be dominant. However, he is gifted at using his wide body to maneuver his way to the basket, and his strength makes him very difficult to contain. He has been working on moving his game outside to the 3-point line, and knocked down some triples during one of the games I took in. He runs the floor well for a player his size, but he needs to improve his decision-making and his passing ability. Double-teaming him in the post is a pretty effective defense for him.
Sean Sellers (2014, Wing, Eric Gordon All-Stars)
Sellers continues to improve on both ends of the floor. His ballhandling has gotten much better this summer and he looks more comfortable on the perimeter than he has in the past. His on-ball defense is still coming along, but his awareness and effectiveness help side have improved. His athleticism is apparent and has aided him in his rebounding. His shot is still extremely accurate. His ability to drive and kick has greatly improved, as he has evolved into a playmaking role on his team.
Jae’Sean Tate (2014, Wing, All-Ohio Red)
Tate was extremely impressive in the games I watched. He is a bit of a tweener now — he plays primarily in the post but he is attempting to move his game to the perimeter because he lacks height. That said, his post play was very strong. The guy just battles. He is good at using his strength to create space for himself in the post and isn’t afraid to go up strong in traffic. His athleticism and ability to finish at the rim is impressive. The growth of his game has given him the ability to shoot and score from midrange and occasionally from outside the 3-point line. When defenses to packed the post in response his inside play, he was able to move outside effectively and do damage. A good example of what makes Tate good: in one of his games I saw, he was absolutely harassed in the post and couldn’t buy a call from the officials. He continued to fight in the post, occasionally moving outside and knocking down a jumper. He played the entire game, which was close, and scored 21. You wouldn’t have thought he had a good game from watching it, but he earned those 21 points and pushed his team to a win against a good team. Tate might need to grow to elevate his game to the next level, right now he’s hearing from Tate is hearing from Michigan, Iowa, Dayton and a number of mid-majors.
Javon Bess (2014, SG, King James Shooting Stars)
For his team, Bess played the role of facilitator. He did a good job of executing the fast break and getting his team running out in the open court. He was often able to start the break himself because of his ability to rebound, and his quickness made him effective in the open court. Bess is a very versatile player. He still needs to work on his jumpshot, which he doesn’t utilize very often. If he had a consistent jumper, he would be a very difficult player to stop. His size and quickness make him a matchup problem for most teams and he knows how to take advantage of it. He isn’t drawing interest from many major schools just yet (mainly just Michigan and Dayton, along with some MAC schools), but he still has room to improve.
Vincent Edwards (2014, Combo Forward, King James Shooting Stars)
Edwards is a basketball prospect first but Purdue has even taken an interest to his ability on the gridiron as well. The versatile forward showed off his complete game on Friday night during a win over the REACH Legends. At 6-foot-6, Edwards was a terror playing on the wing because of his exceptional handle for a big man and his strength. Edwards ran anything from the two through the five for his team, and he occasionally ran the break. He showed off some major athleticism, at one point throwing down a monster baseline slam. He notched 15 points in the game I watched and scored with a vast array of moves, from a back-to-the-basket fadeaway to a nice crossover and finish in traffic. Edwards is a versatile player with the athleticism to be a big-time target.