LAS VEGAS-The madness that is Las Vegas during the July open evaluation period got off to a fast start on Monday. Now with just two major events - The Super 64 and the Fab 48 - to cover, the week has gotten a bit more manageable but there are still lots of players in town. Seizing his opportunity on Thursday was 2011 small forward Wesley Saunders who came up big for the Compton Magic.
Wesley Saunders, SF, Compton Magic- Plain and simple, the 6-foot-5 wing is going to cost somebody their spot in the rankings next time we update the Rivals150 for the class of 2011. A solidly built kid with outstanding body control, he keeps coming at defenses. He gets on the glass, plays defense and gets to the free throw line a ton which is great because he's a super free throw shooter.
Gabe York, SG, Compton Magic- Just like Saunders, York will assuredly land in the updated rankings for the class of 2012. A slender off guard, he's armed with a plethora of scoring tools. He can bury deep jumpers without needing much space, has a beautiful floater and can go finish with dunks if needed. He mentioned that Marquette and USC were recruiting him the hardest while also listing Arizona State, Oregon State, Washington, Miami and others.
Norvel Pelle, C, Compton Magic- Easily one of the most entertaining players of the day, the near 6-foot-10 insider played with great energy. A ridiculously explosive leaper for a guy his size, he totally shut down the lane on the defensive end with his shot blocking. He can run like a wing and just needs strength to be a better finisher. He looked the part of an elite prospect on Thursday.
Quincy Miller, PF, D-One Sports- KC Pump 'N Run went with a pretty physical approach to defending Miller on Thursday. After a little bit of a slow start, the skilled forward answered with toughness and by playing like a man around the paint. He attacked the basket over and over again instead of settling for jumpers like he has at times in the past. Went for 30.
Deuce Bello, SG, D-One Sports- Bello has been working hard to improve his ball handling and it shows. He gets to the rim almost at will and has been concentrating more on making the right play than trying to make the highlight play. He's getting stronger and was good for a nice outing on Thursday. He listed Baylor, Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Duke, Clemson, Wake Forest and Florida State.
Nick Jacobs, PF, J-Smoove Celtics- A powerful interior player, the lefty is growing on college coaches this month. He's got a go-to move in his jump hook, is willing to battle and plays tough in the paint. While not a high flyer, he's deceptively quick and is proving that he belongs as a high major prospect.
LaQuinton Ross, SF, MBA Elite- Noticeably stronger than he was last year, the 6-foot-7 Ross was pretty aggressive on the offensive end. He's a pretty good shooter, always has been, but is mixing in more drives and pull-ups to good results. Had he been on from the free throw line, he'd have gone for a big number.
Andre Hollins, SG, Memphis Magic Elite- The 6-foot-2 shooting guard is an example of a kid who has worked hard on his game and gotten steadily better. Formerly more of a spot up jump shooter, he's really improved off the bounce and has also developed into a pretty explosive finisher around the rim. According to Hollins he will chop his list of Stanford, Harvard, Ole Miss, Auburn, Cincinnati, Penn and Memphis down to five after July is over.
Kaleb Tarczewski, C, New England Playaz- Starting with a pretty jump hook right over the top of noted shot blocker Angelo Chol, the seven footer was automatic on the offensive end. He continues to improve his footwork, always keeps the ball high and plays like a seven footer should in attacking the rim. Strength will come down the road and he's solidifying himself as one of the elite players in the class of 2012.
More notes from Thursday
New Mexico landed themselves a nice player in the Compton Magic's Dominique Dunning. A versatile 6-foot-4 wing, he can make some jumpers, handle the ball a bit and is a solid, utility guy on the perimeter. 2013 big man Forrest Johnson of D-One Sports is going to be one to watch down the road. A product of Scotland County High in North Carolina, the young man is a physically strong and tough 6-foot-8 and he shows good touch. He got knocked pretty good a couple of times and didn't budge so much as an inch. It wasn't vintage Shabazz Muhammad, but he had his moments during a morning game against the New England Playaz. He's noticeably stronger and looking more explosive than ever. As he's done all spring and summer long, D'Angelo Harrison was getting buckets at a rapid clip on Thursday. It seems like the ball is going in every time he shoots and when he does miss, it's usually because the ball has rimmed out. Very rarely does the 6-foot-3 shooting guard put up an old fashioned brick. Rashim Suarez had a nice run for the J-Smoove Celtics. A physical point guard who has gotten his body into good shape, he's right on the mid to high major fence and has a chance to win over coaches this week.
Like he always does, Adonis Thomas used his strength and athleticism to make a lot happen on the glass and in transition. The 6-foot-6 wing has really be under-rated as a passer and sees the floor very well. He listed Memphis, Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, UCLA and Oklahoma and says he'll chop it down to five sometime in the next month or so. During the first half of the Michigan Mustangs loss to Memphis Magic Elite, wing Dwaun Anderson was making a lot happen at the rim. He slashed baseline for dunks, got out in transition for finishes. His athleticism and body control lend themselves to success in an up and down game. During the second half, things got bogged down a bit and he couldn't find his rhythm. Another Mustang who looked good was wing LaDontae Henton. The wiry lefty was hitting from deep and showed off a nice turn and face game in the mid-post. 2012 big man Landen Lucas had his moments but his Northwest Panthers got dribbled pretty good by Urban DFW Elite. Lucas plays strong, has good hands and has a bit of a nasty streak to him when tested.