July 8, 2008

Lebron James Skills Academy: Day two

AKRON, Ohio- The story at the Lebron James Skills Academy is the inspired play of the big men, and no one was better on day two than DeMarcus Cousins.

DeMarcus Cousins (UAB commitment)- Much has been made about the freakish length of John Henson, who measures 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-4.5 wing span. But that doesn't match Cousins, who comes in at 6-foot-11 with a 7-foot-6 wing span at 269-pounds. Always regarded as the best passing big man in the class, Cousins was dominant on the boards and scored the ball in a variety of ways. There is not much a defender can do once Cousins gets an edge on him when attacking the basket on the dribble. He had some sensational finishes around the rim, and played with focus on the defensive end. The simple story is that he is making a case for being considered the top big man in the class.

John Henson (North Carolina commitment)- After drawing rave reviews for his play on day one, Henson had a strong day two as well. Despite his thin frame at 183-pounds, Henson is playing with a physical edge to his game. He is breaking out of position to block shots and is seeking the ball off the glass. His offensive game is full of potential and has been his calling card, but his effort on the other side of the ball was impressive on day two.

Alex Oriakhi (Connecticut commitment)- At 6-foot-9, 224-pounds and a wing span of 7-foot-4, Oriakhi is an impressive bundle of muscle and energy. He dominated the middle in a game against Keith Gallon and DeShawn Painter, blocking jump hook attempts, snagging every rebound in site and then scoring the ball on post moves and a midrange jumpers. Oriakhi just continues to improve day to day.

Milton Jennings (Clemson)- At the NBA Players Association Camp, Jennings spent a lot of time floating on the perimeter, but here he is spending more time grinding it out around the basket. He has a feel for rebounding the basketball, and will rebound it at even a higher rate if he improves his strength. Combine stronger interior play with his lethal outside shooting touch and you have the makings of a high level player. The key is to continue to improve his physical and mental strength.

Wally Judge (Kansas State commitment)- Judge is coming off a terrific NBA Players Association Camp, and he played well here on day two. He played with strength around the basket and finished shots through contact.

Dante Taylor (uncommitted)- Taylor stepped up his game in a match up against Cousins. He got a couple buckets out running Cousins down the floor and was terrific rebounding the basketball. Taylor hit some midrange shots, scored with his back to the basket and was the beneficiary of a number of dump off passes from teammate John Wall.

John Wall (uncommitted)- Wall doesn't have much competition at the point guard position, but he competed at a high level nonetheless on day two. In his first game, he had a bundle of highlight passes off his blazing drives to the basket. In his second game he didn't rack up the assists, but scored at the basket, hit a three-pointer and rebounded the ball on the defensive end.

John Jenkins (Vanderbilt commitment)- Don't expect to see much zone defense against Vanderbilt when Jenkins is on the court. The sharp shooter dominated the third quarter when teams play a 2-3 zone in both of his games on day two. Jenkins has also been good against the man-to-man. He has a great feel for moving without the ball and utilizing screens and has a high, quick release.

Mike Gilchrist (uncommitted)- The 2011 prospect never played on the primary court I was watching, but every time I took a look at his court it seemed like he was making. Come to find out, he scored 30 points in that afternoon game. He is a slasher who is making huge strides with his game.

Taran Buie (uncommitted)- The 2010 point guard impressed on day two with his feel for the game and ability to score from a variety of spots. He went to work on Phil Pressey in the low post while also shooting the ball with confidence from the outside.

Marshawn Powell (Arkansas commitment)- Powell is known for his work on the glass and scoring inside, but he played the small forward on day two and looked quite comfortable making shots and handling the ball.

Jordan Hamilton (uncommitted)- You just don't see many prospects with a mature as game as Hamilton. Both physical and crafty, Hamilton is strong with the ball and sees the court extremely well. Along with being a terrific rebounder for his position, he can manufacture a shot at will.

School lists

John Wall lists Memphis, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina State, Virginia and Oregon. He plans to visit Memphis and Kansas in the near future, and he noted that he might not be too far from making a decision.

Dante Taylor has Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Kansas, Memphis and Villanova on his list, but he doesn't plan on making a decision until the spring.

Solomon Hill recently was offered by USC on an unofficial visit putting the Trojans at the top of his school list along with Arizona, who has also offered. Hill plans to unofficially visit Arizona later this summer and then officially visit Kansas State (offer), Washington State (offer) and Oregon State. Florida State, San Diego State (offer), Texas and SMU (offer) are also on his list.

Glen Rice has an offer from Georgia Tech. Florida State and Miami are the other two schools on his three team school list.

Kammeon Holsey has a top three of Georgia Tech, Florida State and Clemson. All three schools have offered, and Georgia Tech is his favorite.

Roger Franklin stated that Indiana was still solidly on his list despite the recent troubles for the program along with Michigan State, Arizona (offer), Utah (offer), Oklahoma State (offer), Baylor (offer) and Memphis.

"Indiana is a basketball powerhouse and right now I'm still high on them," said Franklin. "They have a great coach in Tom Crean. And I know they have lost a lot of players, but that means there is a great opportunity to play and that's why they are still on my list."



 

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