Wednesday, July 24, 2013
AAU Super Showcase: Players to watch
By Paul Biancardi
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The 2013 AAU Super Showcase presented by Champion, which will feature a pair of games on ESPNU, is highlighted by 11 ESPN 100 prospects and a pair of ranked players from both the rising junior and sophomore classes.
The event tips off on Wednesday night (7 p.m. ET on ESPNU and WatchESPN) with No. 1 point guard Tyus Jones and his Howard Pulley AAU team facing a tough and gritty BABC squad led by ESPN 60 wing Terance Mann.
Thursday’s contest (7 p.m. ET on ESPNU and WatchESPN) will pit a pair of UNC commits against each other when Justin Jackson leads Houston Hoops, which has two other top-20 prospects, against Joel Berry and Nike Peach Jam champ Each 1 Teach 1, which also features recruits committed to Duke and Ohio State.
With so much talent on display over the two nights, here’s a look at the 10 most intriguing players (listed in alphabetical order) expected to suit up at the loaded event.
Duke-bound SG Grayson Allen combines excellent athleticism, shooting and intelligence.
SG Grayson Allen (Jacksonville, Fla./Providence)
No. 27 in the ESPN 100
Committed to Duke
AAU team: Each 1 Teach 1 Allen is a fearless driver. When he puts the ball on the deck, he’s going hard and strong to the rim and looking to dunk over defenders. He is blessed with strong legs, great bounce and incredible athletic ability. When Allen isn’t attacking the rim, he’s a knock-down 3-point shooter who understands the game and what his team needs him to do. The future Blue Devil buried some treys at last week’s Nike Global Challenge that were behind the FIBA arc, nearly three feet beyond the high school 3-point line.
PG Joel Berry (Apopka, Fla./Lake Highland)
No. 14 in the ESPN 100
Committed to UNC
AAU team: Each 1 Teach 1 UNC has another tremendous point guard on the way in Berry, one of the true winners in the Class of 2014. He not only helps his team win games, he leads them to victories in big contests, evidenced by Lake Highland’s Florida state title in March and E1T1’s Nike Peach Jam conquest earlier this month. Offensively, he can make elbow jumpers and 3-point shots. His mannerisms, demeanor and results on the court remind me of incoming Washington freshman Nigel Williams-Goss.
PF Bonzie Colson Jr. (New Bedford, Mass./St. Andrew’s)
Unranked in the ESPN 100
AAU team: BABC Colson is an undersized 4-man who overcomes his height with a ridiculous 6-foot-11 wingspan. He effectively uses those long arms to do work in the paint, on the glass, blocking shots and finishing offensive put-backs. Colson is a garbage guy and glue guy and one of the most consistent players in the 2014 class when it comes to effort and rebounding. He can also guard the low post thanks to his wingspan and frame. When you combine all of those factors, it’s easy to see why his stock is rising this summer.
SG/SF Justin Jackson (Tomball, Texas/HCYA)
No. 8 in the ESPN 100
Committed to UNC
AAU team: Houston Hoops There are so many great scorers in the 2014 class but if I needed a basket, Jackson is the guy I’d go to. He has a soft touch from the outside and exceptional skill in the midrange game. The UNC commit can score at all three levels, whether it’s coming off screens, spotting up or with the ball in his hands. Not just limited to the perimeter, Jackson’s length and height help him score over most defenders down low and he projects to play small forward due to his ability to go inside and post up.
Tyus Jones, the No. 1 PG in the 2014 class, controls the game with his ability to score or distribute.
PG Tyus Jones (Apple Valley, Minn./Apple Valley)
No. 3 in the ESPN 100
AAU team: Howard Pulley It’s easy to see why Jones is the nation’s No. 1 point guard, as his playmaking makes the game easy for his teammates. His vision and passing are extraordinary and his pinpoint passes usually result in an assist. He has a lot of Chris Paul in his game because he can beat you either with his scoring or with the pass. Much of Jones’ scoring comes from his floater and 3-point shot, and he also executes the pick-and-roll at a high level. He understands how to attack and create separation or stop behind the arc and shoot the 3.
SG/SF Terance Mann (Lowell, Mass./Tilton School)
No. 41 in the ESPN 60
AAU team: BABC At 6-5 and 175 pounds, Mann has the ideal body to play the 3 and the size, length and athleticism to cover ground on the defensive end. As for his offensive tools, he does everything well but makes his living attacking the rim. He has a good basketball IQ for a young prospect, and playing for a battle-tested program like BABC strengthens his chances of reaching his full potential.
SF Kelly Oubre (Fort Bend, Texas/Findlay Prep)
No. 20 in the ESPN 100
AAU team: Houston Hoops This super-athletic scoring forward has made his mark this spring and summer by both scoring from beyond the arc and completing athletic plays at the rim. Oubre has good length, a solid motor and is using those assets to develop into quite a prospect. The lefty is an intriguing defender who can guard multiple positions, ranging from shooting guards to power forwards. Oubre is an extremely valuable and versatile performer who can do damage from the 4-spot when his team goes small.
SG D'Angelo Russell (Louisville, Ky./Montverde Academy)
No. 23 in the ESPN 100
Committed to Ohio State
AAU team: Each 1 Teach 1 Russell is quickly emerging as one of the nation’s top scoring guards. His 3-point shot is as smooth as they come and he shows tremendous confidence and comfort in taking it. He gets his feet set quickly and has a quick trigger to his release. Russell also has the ability to shake defenders on drives and get the ball up on the rim. He’s a clever passer for a scoring guard and can play with the ball in his hands or off the ball. He hit timely shots during Montverde Academy’s (Fla.) run to the National High School Invitational crown in April and will be counted on to repeat his high level of play as a senior this coming season and at Ohio State after that.
PF Reid Travis (Minneapolis/De La Salle)
No. 40 in the ESPN 100
AU team: Howard Pulley This power forward loves contact and thrives on playing through it. He’s a dangerous offensive player for two reasons: He can score in the low post with his strength and physicality and he can make post moves to get buckets in the paint. Reid is crafty with the ball in his hands operating in the midrange area, whether it’s hitting the elbow jumper or driving to the cup with bodies draped all over him. With his bruising style of play, you can expect to see him frequent the foul line and make his mark on the glass.
SF Justise Winslow (Houston/St. John’s)
No. 15 in the ESPN 100
AAU team: Houston Hoops This 6-5 wing is one of the most versatile players in the entire 2014 class, both offensively and defensively. Winslow can heavily impact a contest without needing to score. He’s a committed defender, an excellent passer and really thrives in the transition game. When it comes to defense, he’ll take on any and all challenges and has the competitiveness to lock anyone down. Winslow proved that earlier this summer as a valuable member of the Team USA U-19 squad that captured gold at the world championships in Prague.