LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- It was a quick stay in Disney for me this week. Basically, I was in town to help broadcast a pair of AAU Super Showcase games on ESPNU and then pick off a few guys during pool play of the AAU Nationals whom I needed to see.
So here are my final thoughts from the Super Showcase.
UNC commit Joel Berry has played winning basketball all summer, and it continued at the AAU Super Showcase.
Hard day at work … NOT!
Thursday was my easiest day of the summer by far. It was a total setup. We had Each 1 Teach 1 against the Houston Hoops on TV -- a contest featuring nine ESPN 100 players! I feel slightly guilty about collecting a game check for that one, but Mrs. Telep will insist we bill the company, and I always listen to Mrs. Telep.
The last time E1T1 lost was in April, and they held on to beat Houston in this one despite Justin Jackson, Kelly Oubre and Justise Winslow nearly completing the comeback. The Houston Hoops have the most talented perimeter in AAU ball, but E1T1 are ultra-deep and not too shabby themselves in terms of big-time players.
Thoughts on the game:
• Oubre was just a shooter this time last year. Now he’s a bona fide scorer and is 10 times better as a finisher. He didn’t settle for 3s Thursday night, either.
• Jackson is as mature a high school player as you’ll see in this class. His patented floater is truly a sick shot. The future Tar Heel is a future pro for sure.
• Winslow is another mature kid, and his body is so strong. After the game, Winslow said he enjoyed playing USA Basketball for Billy Donovan, although the two didn’t talk recruiting until after the gold-medal game.
• Yeah, I went there. On air I compared undersized junior Alex Owens to NBA forward DeJuan Blair. Both had bodies that needed work but knew how to volume-rebound. And Owens has magnetic hands.
• Ohio State commit D’Angelo Russell is a flamethrower. When the lefty makes shots early, his confidence carries him right on through.
• Joel Berry is ahead of the curve mentally, and his well-rounded point guard game is understated. Others may be better athletes, but this UNC-bound floor general and Tyus Jones are in their own category when it comes to game/team management.
• Most of the bigs in the game had little impact on the final outcome. Trayvon Reed (Snellville, Ga./Shiloh) is a large human being and starts for E1T1, but he’s rarely in the game down the stretch. This tells me that patience needs to be the order of the day once he arrives on someone’s campus, and redshirting might not be a bad idea. Hoops center Khadeem Lattin (Houston/Redemption Christian) stroked a nice baseline jumper, but he, too, needs to get stronger and cultivate a go-to move in the lane. For Mike Gilmore (Jacksonville, Fla./Episcopal), the key is confidence. He’s got to be believe he belongs. He does, but he’s not sure of it yet.
News of the Day
• During our broadcast, we touched on Winslow’s new list. He’s now sitting at eight schools: Duke, Florida, Kentucky, Kansas, Texas A&M, Arizona, UCLA and Stanford. TAMU’s Billy Kennedy and new Bruins coach Steve Alford both attended the game, as did Houston’s James Dickey, whose team didn’t make the final cut. UNC and Baylor were also trimmed at no real surprise.
• Oubre said he will visit Kansas for its midnight madness, and look for Florida to also receive a visit from the No. 20 prospect in the ESPN 100.
• South Florida’s Stan Heath, FSU’s Leonard Hamilton and Arkansas' Mike Anderson all watched Reed last night.
• Not at the event but newsworthy nonetheless, a pair of New Englanders tidied up their list. Abdul-Malik Abu is down to St. John’s, UCLA, Providence, UConn, Iowa State, Miami, Kentucky, Kansas State, Florida and NC State. AAU teammate Jared Terrell has Florida, UConn, Cincinnati, Providence, Miami, Oklahoma State, St. John’s, UCLA, Rhode Island and Xavier.
Up Next: A 7:45 a.m. flight from Orlando to Salt Lake City, Utah, and then on to Las Vegas. Once I hit Vegas, it’s go time. I’ll be at the Fab 48 with my eyes on Thomas Welsh, Robert Cartwright and Lamonte Bearden. I haven’t seen Welsh in 12 months, and the other guys are new to me. Barring flight delays, I’m hoping to get in at least six games without falling asleep.