Sunday, July 28, 2013
Vegas post battle lives up to billing
By Joel Francisco
LAS VEGAS -- Every once in a while, a much-anticipated matchup exceeds expectations, and that is exactly what happened when ESPN 100 top-10 prospect Myles Turner battled up-and-coming Thomas Welsh on Saturday. Turner is known as an elite shot-blocker, and he certainly didn't disappoint in that area as he had a plethora of deflections at the rim throughout. However, the multiskilled Welsh exhibited his unique skill set as he nailed several midrange jump shots and displayed his all-around post game.
But those two weren't the only top players on Saturday at the elite AAU events in Las Vegas. Here's a closer look at some of the best performances from Day 4 at the Las Vegas Classic and Las Vegas Fab 48.
Emmanuel Mudiay continued to impress at Las Vegas.
Best Player Emmanuel Mudiay (Dallas/Prime Prep) 2014, PG, 6-foot-3, 185 pounds Status: Claims offers from Kentucky, Texas, Baylor, Kansas, SMU, St. John's, NC State, Arizona, Louisville, Oklahoma State and St. John's.
What stood out with Mudiay in the first round of the playoffs was his versatility. He has terrific size for the 1 and high-level burst and overall feel for the game. He is tough to stop in transition, where he uses his speed and strength to finish among the trees inside. If the driving lanes close up, he can deliver a cross-court pass right into the shooter's pocket. While playing with elite junior Malik Newman, Mudiay has shown that he can play both guard positions with equal aplomb. When it's all said and done, it wouldn't surprise me if Mudiay turns out to be the No. 1 player in the class.
Biggest Surprise AJ Owens (Cedar, Texas/Trinity Christian) 2014, PF, 6-7, 230 Status: Claims offers from Liberty, Abilene Christian, Oral Roberts, Holy Cross, North Texas and has interest from Texas State, Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin.
At the end of an evaluation period, it is always nice to come across a sleeper, as we say in the scouting world. Owens is a thick, left-handed 4-man who can score in a variety of ways in the paint. He can knock in the elbow jump shot, but his strength is converting left-handed jump hooks in the paint. Look for his recruitment to heat up in the near future, and it doesn't hurt that he carries a 4.12 grade-point average.
Smooth Operator Stephen Thompson Jr. (Torrance, Calif./Bishop Gorman) 2015, SG, 6-3, 160 Status: Much of the Pac-12 and WCC is involved, plus UTEP and Boston College.
In a loss to the New York Panthers, Thompson was one of the few bright spots for Superior Athletes Black. The wiry Thompson is slippery when breaking down defenders off the dribble and he has an assortment of shots to choose from. His pull-up game is tight, as well as his floater. In addition, his jump shot is one of the most prolific out west, regardless of class.
Center of Attention Thomas Welsh (Los Angeles/Loyola) 2014, C, 6-11, 250 Status: Claims offers from California and UCLA.
Welsh has improved as much as any big man I've evaluated in quite some time. Most bigs his age lack fundamentals and possess limited skill sets. That is not the case with Welsh. His shooting touch is feathery out to 17 feet and he always keeps the ball high when operating in the paint. When double-teamed, he can hand out the nifty assist. Overall, he more than held his own against Turner.
Most Efficient Isaiah Brown (Renton, Wash./Lakeside) 2016, PG, 5-10, 150 There are not too many high-level point guards who play with Brown's poise and savvy. His A Plus squad has a bevy of talent and he does a nice job facilitating the offense. He has a sneaky crossover and his pull-up game is solid. The Class of 2016 has several promising lead guards, and Brown is on the upper echelon of that list.
Best Touch MJ Cage (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) 2016, PF, 6-8, 215 Cage fits that finesse 4-man label with his soft shooting touch. He can step out and hit the 3-ball or toss in a jump hook. He isn't overly aggressive, but he does keep rebounds alive on the offensive end because of his hands and overall feel. His fundamentals are sound and he always keeps the ball high when operating in the paint. He needs to get more physical and assertive in the paint, but skill-wise he is peerless out west for his age.
On the Rise Roy Hemsley (Los Angeles/Windward) 2015, PF, 6-6, 250 Hemsley has tightened up his frame, and as a result his game has gone to another level. He is an undersized 4-man, but he has great feet, soft hands and an evolving face-up game. At the elbow he can face up his defender, utilize the jab step and pull up for the jump shot going right to left. Defensively, he is a high-IQ player who uses his strength and power to keep opponents out of the paint.
Myles Turner showed outstanding timing and a knack for knocking in deep jump shots.
Best Shot-Blocker Myles Turner (Bedford, Texas/Trinity) 2014, C, 6-10, 220 Status: Kansas, Arizona and UCLA are among the 26 schools he has listed.
Every year there is always a late-blooming prospect who emerges during his senior season, and Turner is that particular prospect for the 2013-14 season. Anthony Davis comes immediately to mind as someone who fits that description, and Turner could be on a similar path. Turner is an elite shot-blocker with outstanding timing and he pursues shots out of his area as well. The most unique aspect of his game is his ability to drop in deep jump shots. Once he gains strength and continues to build his skill set in the paint, his upside is immense.
Las Vegas notes
Earl Watson Pangos Elite received quality performances from 6-8 Joe Furstinger (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Santa Margarita) and 6-2 junior Nuwr'iyl Williams (Santa Monica, Calif/Santa Monica). Furstinger is a solid shot-blocker because of his long arms and can nail elbow jump shots. Williams is one of the most explosive 2-guards in his class out west.
There is virtually no one on the high school level who can shut down Rashad Vaughn (Henderson, Nev./Findlay Prep), but 2015 Jeffrey McClendon from Earl Watson Pangos Elite did an admirable job. McClendon has the strength, athleticism, and tenacity to be a lock-down defender at the next level.
Double Pump Elite has two fast-rising prospects in the Calabasas High 2014 tandem of 6-2 Jeremy Lieberman (Calabasas, Calif./Calabasas) and 6-6 Max Hoetzel. Lieberman is a scoring point guard who competes and the sharpshooting Hoetzel has offers from UC Davis, Pacific, Utah State, Loyola Marymount and Cal Poly.