April 29, 2006

King James Classic Pool Play Notes

Team Final earned a hard fought 81-76 win over the Baltimore Stars in Friday night action at the King James Shooting Stars Classic in Akron OH. The game featured a number of D1 prospects, plenty of technical fouls, a handful of disgruntled fans and heaps of trash-talking.

Tyreke Evans, 6'4", Guard, American Christian PA, Class of 2008, scored 34 points on 7-17 shooting from the floor (1-5 from beyond the arc) and 19-22 from the free-throw line. His made buckets included a 3-ball from the wing, an elbow jumper, a dazzling 15-foot, fade-away off a spin dribble, and four lay-ups off drives to the basket. Getting to the rim is Evans' forte. He isn't a blur with the ball but he is crafty and has a wonderful handle that he uses to get by opposing guards at will. What he lacks in pure speed he makes up for with hesitation moves, great change of direction dribbling and a good first step. Once past the first line of defense he gets the help defense to foul him and send him to the free-throw line with great frequency. At the next level, where players are more skilled at providing help defense and drawing charges, Evans will have to more frequently pull up and hit the mid-range jumper instead of always thinking RIM.

Evans is a wonderful passer in transition and makes good decisions with the ball on the break. In the half-court, he doesn't consistently use his passing skills to create good looks for his teammates. Team Final's offense featured a lot of one-on-one play - due in part to the lack of consistent outside shooter on the roster. In addition to his 34 points, Evans tallied 5 assists, 5 rebounds, 1 blocked shot, 1 steal and 4 turnovers.

Tyreke has wonderful offensive skills for a Class of 2008 player and good size for a guard. He is simply "too hard to guard" for the vast majority of defenders at this level.

Nasir Robinson, 6'5", Guard, American Christian PA, Class of 2008, scored about 17 points in this contest. He primarily scores by taking the ball strong to the hole. He has a wide body that makes him tough to guard when combined with his handle and toughness. In the past, Robinson scored more in transition than in the half-court. He has improved his handle and dribble-drive ability to the point he is now more effective in the half-court. Robinson is tough and plays decent defense.

Matthew Bryan-Amaning, 6'8", Forward, South Kent CT, Class of 2007, very good run and jump athlete. Has developed some nice post moves including a soft turnaround bank shot off the glass. Shooting and ball-handling need to improve if he is to play the 3 in college … or he needs to add more bulk and toughness to play more of an inside game at the 4. Scored 10 in this game.

Jeff Robinson, 6'6", Forward, St. Patrick's NJ, Class of 2007, very athletic, most effective in transition, inconsistent shooter from the outside. Scored about a dozen in this game by draining a three-ball and adding several dunks that he scored slashing to the hole or by dunking in transition. Needs to add more skill and shooting to the game to become a great prospect - has all the physical tools to be a good one.

Jermaine Jackson, Class of 2008, 6'8", Forward from Reading PA doesn't get much run for this loaded squad. His game hasn't improved noticeably in the last 18 months. Nice athleticism and height but hasn't added enough skills or strength to project as a high major player.

Mean Streets Express won their opening game at Akron University:

Derrick Rose, 6'4", Guard, Simeon Ill., Class of 2007, a fabulous prospect. What stands out the most is how under control he plays. He glides around the court, with or with-out the ball and can use a variety or dribble moves and hesitation to get wherever he wants to go with the ball. Very good passer with excellent court vision. Shot the ball well from the free throw line but inconsistently from beyond the arc and the field.

Playing for the Pittsburgh Jots:

Herb Pope, 6'8", Forward, Aliquippa PA, Class of 2007 … another gem! Pope is long, athletic and has surprisingly good ball skills for a player his size. Pope is a wonderful passer off the dribble - able to find the open man in transition and in the half-court.. He can score the ball inside with a variety of moves including a nice jump hook.

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