Hoop Summit Recap

Hoop Summit Recap
Apr 09, 2005, 11:26 pm
In another well-played amateur all-star game, the US team handily defeated a watered-down group of internationals. Much like other all-star games this spring, there was a surprising amount of defense played. While much of what went on only confirmed previous conclusions, standouts for the US team included Duke-bound Greg Paulus and UNC signee Tyler Hansbrough. On the international side of things, a lesser known Blue Devil signee, Martynas Pocius, showed that he is going to make a major impact in Durham next season.

Here is 's recap of the game:

US prospects

Greg Paulus
6-2 PG, committed to Duke

While Greg Paulus has been getting rave reviews all spring for his ability to find teammates and his overall floor general skills, he probably still managed to surprise some people tonight. He broke the game's assist record in the first quarter alone, seemingly making a highlight reel pass every time he touched the ball. His freakish three quarter court pass to a seemingly covered Louis Williams gets my vote for the play of the day. Paulus was clearly the game's MVP, despite being a non-factor as a scorer. While it's difficult to see Paulus as an early-entry candidate any time soon due to his so-so athleticism and lack of scoring ability, he does have a very thick frame (his football background showing up), and his floor general skills are very unique. Greg Paulus is going to make a lot of ACC opponents very miserable

Tyler Hansbrough
6-8 PF, committed to UNC

Another player that probably has at least a couple of years in college ahead of him, the bullish Hansbrough absolutely dominated anybody the international team threw at him. Paulus gave him scoring chances all night, and Hansbrough ended up with 30+ points. He showed a variety of post moves, including a sweet baby hook. Most importantly, he finished around the basket with remarkable accuracy, even while absorbing a lot of contact. The problem with Hansbrough at the next level is that he's just 6'8, but that wasn't evident tonight.

Julian Wright
6-8 WF, committed to Kansas

While we didn't get the ballhandling display that Wright put on at the McDonald's game, what we did see was a downright fabulous open floor dunk show. Wright got out in front of the defense on several occasions, and threw down a couple of nasty windmill slams. Wright also showed his length on the defensive end, coming up with a couple of nice blocked shots and nearly catching several others. While his offensive game is supposed to be very raw, Wright did score on several short midrange-type jumpers tonight. All told, Julian Wright is my second favorite NBA prospect from the high school class of 2005 (behind Gerald Green), and Kansas fans should consider themselves lucky that he has apparently decided to forgo the league for now.

Martell Webster
6-6 WF, committed to Washington

Webster continues to put up some impressive scoring numbers, and display a very nice jump shot. He got going early, hitting several three-pointers from the corner on assists from Paulus. He also scored well around the basket, putting the ball up before shot blockers could react. Despite this, I have questions about his NBA future. He has a mature frame, but this isn't necessarily a good thing, as he is almost too thick to play the wing. He certainly doesn't have the sort of first step or off-the-dribble type scoring ability that a guard needs to play in the NBA. His ballhandling is nonexistent, as he shot the ball nearly every time he touched it. Some have Webster pegged as a mid-first round pick, and while he certainly has specific traits that appeal to NBA types, I feel that Martell Webster's overall package is quite mixed.

Monta Ellis
6'3 G, committed to Mississippi State

While Ellis played better here than he did in the McDonald's game, he still couldn't get his offensive game on track. Ellis seemed to be forcing things early, and never got his outside shot to fall. He was eventually was able to get going on a couple of slashing moves to the basket and two very nice anticipation steals. Ellis has nice size for a PG and can cover a lot of ground in a hurry, but there is nothing here that screams NBA to me. Ellis hasn't been able to show that he can take over a game scoring-wise, and while he hasn't shown a lack of PG skill, he's played mostly off the ball in the games that I have watched. He ought to play in the SEC for a couple of years and hone his PG skills.

Louis Williams
6'1 WG, committed to Georgia

Williams seems to think he is a lock for the first round, and that is a real shame – because he isn't. I have withheld judgement on Williams's game for quite some time, but after tonight, it is obvious to me that he has a very long ways to go before he ever is an effective NBA player. One would expect a guy with a purported Allen Iverson-style game to really dominate an event like this, but Williams doesn't seem capable of it. He did get assertive early in the 2nd quarter and converted on a couple of nice dribble drives, but he mostly looked timid with the ball. He just doesn't have that explosive step, leaping ability, or scoring move that one would expect from a player of his billing. He couldn't hit an outside shot, and most importantly, looked absolutely terrible nearly every time he got in a ballhandling situation, in which he could have shown off PG skills. Williams's basketball IQ and decision making skills are clearly behind the curve, even at the high school level. My hope is that somebody close to Louis Williams will get him the right information, because if I was an NBA GM, I wouldn't touch him with a 10-foot pole.

Brandon Rush, 6'5 WG, undecided
Richard Hendrix, 6'8 PF, committed to Alabama
JP Prince, 6'6 PG, committed to Arizona

The US coaching staff clearly went with a trimmed down rotation, as they wanted to win this game. Because of this, the above players didn't get much playing time at all. However, I was surprised not to see more of Hendrix and Rush. This clearly wasn't the coming out party that Rush had intended when he replaced Gerald Green on the roster.

International Prospects

Martynas Pocius
6'4 WG, committed to Duke

Probably the least heralded of Duke's monster 2005 recruiting class, Pocius went out and showed the world that not only is he worthy of the Blue Devil Jersey, but that he's going to be quite a player in the ACC. Pocius's jumpshot, supposedly his strength, wasn't falling early, so he began attacking the basket. While he isn't a world class athlete, he managed to slash with some effectiveness, though the long arms of the US team did manage to catch up with him on a couple of instances. He showed off some impressive leaping ability with a baseline dunk in the 2nd quarter, and was really attacking the defense as a ballhandler. Seemingly just to prove that he's a complete player, Pocius finally caught fire from the outside in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter. He easily drained two quick release three-pointers on consecutive possessions, giving credence to the theory that Coach K has recruited him to eventually replace JJ Reddick. Based on tonight's play, he should be able to fulfill that task just fine, as he was easily the international team's best player.

Dusan Sakota
6'10 F, Greece

Sakota attempted to bang with the US big boys in the first half, with disastrous results. He didn't have nearly enough strength to post anybody up, and looked a split second too slow on nearly everything he attempted to do. However, Sakota got a chance to play out on the perimeter for a stretch in the second half, and acquitted himself quite nicely. He has a beautiful quick release jumper, and enough of a first step to do some damage off the dribble against post players that come out and try to defend him. However, his lack of strength is a critical deficiency at this point. Dusan Sakota probably has some potential down the road, but would be wise to wait a couple of years and add weight to his frame before attempting to make the jump.

Semih Erden
6'11 PF, Turkey

Compared to Sakota, Erden is quite a bit more ready to play in the paint. He has a bit more bulk to his frame, and was a bit more effective with his length. He didn't show as much skill from the perimeter, but the internationals needed him in the paint.

Uche Echefu
6'8 PF, Undecided (looking at Kentucky, Florida State, Michigan, others)

Echefu didn't get too many touches, but looked fairly good when he did get the ball. He displayed a very nice jump hook, and looked very comfortable taking the midrange jumper in the lane. Everything he does is inside of 10 feet, and it looks like he will be a very nice double-double type PF for whatever college is lucky enough to sign him this spring. He would do very well in stepping in for Chuck Hayes at Kentucky, if Tubby Smith could get him to commit.

Ben Allen
6'11 C, committed to Indiana

Allen is an Aussie big man prospect that was relatively unknown before signing with the Hoosiers last fall, but looked fairly solid in limited minutes tonight. Allen has a lanky, but passable frame, and some nice skill around the basket. One face-up move from the baseline was particularly impressive. It's hard to tell how well a guy like Allen will develop, but Mike Davis has somebody that should be able to step in and play a role right away this fall.

Jevohn Shepard
6'5 WG, committed to Michigan

Shepard is a high-flyer of Canadian origin. He didn't show much in terms of skill, but was able to more than hold his own athletically. He probably doesn't play much until some of Tommy Ammaker's upperclassmen graduate, but he has clearly has the tools to develop into a player.


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