Zabian Dowdell, 63, PG/SG, Virginia Tech
14 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 turnovers, 7-11 FG, 0-1 3PT
[c]Dowdell and Ubaka went at it in what has so far been the best matchup of the day[/c]
Dowdell is equally impressive when he pulls up from mid-range rather than taking it all the way to the hoop, though he didnt show that ability today with the frequency he did yesterday. He did hit one pull-up jumper in the lane, coming off a crossover hesitation move he likes to use, exhibiting good body control and consistent shooting form.
In terms of passing the ball, Dowdell found teammates for spot-up two and three-pointers, while also doing a fair share of driving-and-dishing, getting into the lane and making kickouts. In transition, Dowdell did a good job managing his teams break, as he usually does, scoring on a lay-up himself and dishing out a few nice passes, one on a cut to the basket through the defense for an assist, and another which was bobbled by his teammate, though should have been converted.
This was a fairly good game for Dowdell, who might be the player with the best chance of being drafted in the second round of the players in attendance here. Dowdell should easily get into the Orlando camp where he can show if he can play at the same level against tougher competition. Showing a bit of distributing the ball, scoring from mid-range, and taking it to the basket, Dowdells shown off the versatility that will make him an attractive option as a point guard or combo guard at the next level, though he would do himself well to show more of his ability to consistently run a team, which hes done a good job of so far here.
Ayinde Ubaka, 64, PG/SG, California
20 points, 8 assists, 6 rebound, 2 turnovers, 3 steals, 8-10 FG, 2-3 3PT, 2-4 FT
In terms of scoring for himself, Ubaka did a much better job today showing off his ability to score in the lane, hitting an array of impressive floaters and scoring off the glass when he got all the way to the rim. He got out in transition when he had the opportunity, scoring some lay-ups and dishing out assists as well, including one very impressive high-speed, look-away assist for a lay-up. Ubaka also showed off his outside scoring ability, hitting two NBA three-pointers, one on a pull-up and the other a spot-up.
Ubaka followed up on his solid performance in day one with a very strong one in day two, and if he puts up another performance like this, showing off the balance between scoring and distributing, he should have a good chance of getting into the Orlando pre-draft camp and putting himself in more serious NBA discussions.
Gary Neal, 6-4, Shooting Guard, Towson
19 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 9-18 FG, 1-5 3PT
Neals jump shot was consistent in release and body form regardless of shot type. His set shots were fundamental and smooth, but his ability to move in any direction and still maintain control was impressive. Hes got good core strength which helps him to maintain control when moving and there is no wasted motion in his quick release.
Defensively Neal really needs to apply himself more because hes got the body to be a physical and disruptive defender but hasnt shown the desire to apply himself. There was one play when his bench was up and barking at him to pressure the ball handler and when Neal did this he was able to move his feet and use his hands to disrupt his opponents dribble. More of this type of effort and intensity will be vital for a shooting guard of his diminutive stature.
Sean Marshall, 6-6, Shooting Guard, Boston College
7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 3-14 FG, 1-4 3PT
Marshalls shot has always been fundamental in form, but he can be somewhat streaky, so its smart for him to be showing his ability to put the ball on the floor. However, Marshalls explosiveness and ability to create for others arent top shelf on the professional level, so showing more of that will be imperative over the course of his draft process.
However, if he continues to apply himself on both ends of the court he certainly has some excellent elements to his game that, coupled with intensity, should serve him well as he moves to the professional level.
Mohamed Abukar, 6-10, SF/PF, San Diego State
15 points, 6 rebounds, 0 assists, 3 turnovers, 4 blocks, 7-14 FG, 1-1 FT, 25 minutes
Abukar is a semi-interesting prospect due to his size (6-10), athleticism, and excellent shooting mechanics. Some might compare him to James Jones in the role he could potentially play in the NBA. The problem is that he doesnt rebound or defend the way you would hope a player his size could, boxing out poorly, getting outhustled in the paint, and not being very assertive helping out on rotations and such, even if his body is much improved from his Florida days. Hes also a pretty poor ball-handler, getting exposed every time he decides to put the ball on the floor for more than one or two short dribbles. Abukar hasnt been much of a difference maker in his teams two losses so far, but he still has one more chance to redeem himself.
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Stephane Lasme, 6-8, PF/C, UMass
16 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 block, 8-11 FG
Lasme showed a coupe of really nice moves from 16 feet and in during this game. He started off his day emphatically by scoring at the hoop impressive after throwing an up-fake at his defender and dunking, and then used a jab in the high post to get his man off balance and score off a jump-stop in the post. On another occasion, he spun into the paint fluidly drawing contact and finishing. He even stepped out surprisingly to hit a 18-foot jump-shot, showing off pretty nice mechanics in the process. He also was a pretty reliable target in the paint thanks to his sure hands and incredibly long arms, looking very active running the floor and cutting to different spots on the court to finishing aggressively at the rim. When he received the ball in the post and a good scoring option wasnt there, he had no problem swinging the ball to the open man for an easy assist.
Defensively, Lasme did a solid job despite lacking size against his matchup and a bit of bulk. He had one outstanding on-ball block on Ryvon Coville, and altered a number of other attempts with his tremendous wingspan and excellent activity levelwith a reach that extends above the top of the square. Lasme also was solid on the glass, going out of his area on a number of occasions on his way to double-digit rebounds, and looking particularly strong on the offensive glass.
It wasnt all rosy for Lasme, though when trying to create offense for himself in the post on anything semi-complicated, he got himself into plenty of trouble. His offensive game is still a work in progress at this point, particularly his footwork, with is extremely raw. His lack of size didnt seem to both him too much today against the relatively unimpressive bunch of big men he had to go up against, but its not of the question that he would struggle against players that are bigger and more skilled.
Ryvon Covile, 69, PF, Detroit
13 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 6-16 FG, 1-1 FT
With his jump shot, Covile looked solid from inside 10 feet, hitting a pair of face-up jumpers as well as one turnaround jumper from the low block, most of them being mildly contested by his defender. When outside of 10 feet, though, Covile missed the majority of his shots, hitting just one and missing a handful. His form isnt bad, though he doesnt completely follow through, so refining that could help improve his proficiency with his shot.
On the boards, Covile held his position well and got most that came into his area, even though he was frequently matched with the taller Darryl Watkins. He had one nice, fluid one-handed putback in which he didnt even go back to the ground between the rebound and the score. Defensively, Covile was active and frequently communicating with his teammates, stepping out on the perimeter when he had to and bodying up well in the post. He did a good job blocking an entry pass on one occasion to force a turnover, but also got faked into the air in the post on one occasion, giving up a score to Stephane Lasme.
For a player many people didnt know about, Covile didnt have a bad first day. He showed some flashes of what his game is about, but didnt have a complete performance, which he hopefully can put together in one of his two remaining games. He would do himself well to put his massive frame to work in the painted area, showing off a bit more of a post game, though its not yet apparent how skilled he is with his moves around the basket.
David Teague, 6-5, Shooting Guard, Purdue
18 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 7-18 FG, 2-5 3P, 2-4 FT
Teague did most of his damage in this game from mid-range and beyond, scoring smoothly on a series of pull-ups and spot-ups from all over the court. Hes clearly a deadly shooter who can get his shot off in many different ways with a quick release and absolutely no hesitation to pull the trigger, but he really started forcing his shots in the second half which took away much of the good impression he made early on. Very few times did the ball come out once it got into Teagues hand, and he really tried to force his dribble more than his current skill-set would allow him to. Teague isnt a great ball-handler by any stretch, turning the ball over on numerous occasions when he tried to put the ball on the floor.
All in all, though, this wasnt a bad effort from Teague in his first game. He should try to play more within the flow of the offense tomorrow, though, considering that he doesnt have to show NBA teams that he can be a shot-creating first option for them, but rather a complimentary guy.
Jamaal Tatum, 62, PG/SG, Southern Illinois
13 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 turnover, 4-4 FG, 1-1 3PT, 4-7 FT
In terms of distributing the ball, while Tatum didnt run the smoothest offense, mostly due to his unnecessary dribbling around with no direction, he did a fairly good job getting open shots for his teammates, doing so in a variety of ways, including on drive-and-dishes, kickouts from behind the three-point arc, and dishing out passes in transition, including one perfectly precise bounce pass through two opposing defenders.
Tatum is normally known for his strong defense, but he was a bit inconsistent in this game, on one hand showing excellent energy throughout to get in the face of his opponent, but also over-exerting at times and opening up lanes for his man to dribble through when he tried too hard to make a play.
Overall, Tatum had a good game, but if he wants to continue to prove how well he can play the point guard position, hed be well-advised to dominate the ball a bit less and have a more smoothly operating offense, without many breaks in passing due to needless dribbling. If he can find that balance of not holding onto the ball too much but still making plays for himself and others, he would help improve his stock for both the NBA and Europe.
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Avis Wyatt, 6-11, Power Forward, Virginia State
11 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 2 blocks, 5-10 FG
The first thing we noticed as the warm-ups kicked off was that the tape we received of his early this year did absolutely no justice to just how athletic he really is. Wyatt is as explosive a big man as youll find at this tournament, pulling off some highlight reel caliber dunks both running and from a stand-still position before the games even kicked off.
Once the game kicked off, the intrigue continued. He started off by running a pick and roll play with his guard, rolling off the screen and spotting up from 17 feet for an unorthodox, but effective shot. He then put the ball on the floor a couple of times, sometimes with his left and sometimes with his right, but didnt quite have the strength to finish the play in traffic, even getting blocked once by Carl Landry when he tried to pull-up off the dribble.
Its clear he has the touch to put the ball in the basket from distance, but his awkward shooting mechanics, pushing the ball towards the basket rather than releasing it smoothly, prevent him from achieving a consistent release point. Later on in the game Wyatt continued to show off all kinds of versatile skills. He threw a really smart alleyoop lob to Kammron Taylor of all people, and then drilled a gorgeous 17 footer off the glass off another pick and pop play (his specialty?). It would have been nice to see him continue to show off his abilities at this point, but unfortunately the four shot-happy guards he has on his team had other ideas, and Wyatt basically did not touch the ball for nearly the entire second half after an excellent showing to start off the game.
In the post, Wyatt suffered from contact on both ends of the floor. Hes a skinny, skinny guy who cant really hold his spot on the block on either end of the floor, and therefore had some problems finishing around the rim or finding a comfort zone from which to get his shot off effectively. As a rebounder, he is clearly behind the curve, only pulling down 3 rebounds in 27 minutes as he just couldnt help from being pushed around by smaller, stronger guys.
All in all this was a really intriguing performance from the Division II player, certainly when speaking relative to the level of play we saw in some of the other games. You dont find freakishly athletic 6-10 or 6-11 players who can create their own shot every day, and the NBA people we spoke to around us were clearly excited to find him here. If youre looking for an NBA comparison, our own Joseph Treutlein likens him to Andray Blatche. Hes anything but a sure-fire NBA player and still has plenty of work ahead of him to continue to prove people wrong, but this was a nice way to start that off.
Adam Haluska, 66, SG, Iowa
20 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 6-12 FG, 1-4 3PT, 7-7 FT
Haluska started off the game quickly with a drive-and-dish kickout for an open three-pointer, but his teammate wasnt able to convert. He came back down the court to take matters into his own hands, putting up a spot-up three-pointer where he exhibited a very quick release with a hand in his face. His shot is a bit in front of his face, but nothing drastic, so he shouldnt have a problem getting it off at the next level, even at 66 or 65. Haluska missed the rest of his spot-up shots from three-point range on the night, but he kept it going from the mid-range, showing off an impressive array of moves to get his shot off. One of his best moves on the night was when he caught the ball deep on the baseline and was in an isolation against his man; Haluska went through a succession of jab-fakes before putting up a long two-pointer with a hand in his face, swishing it easily.
Haluska got his mid-range game going in transition a bit as well, exhibiting excellent body control to make a jumper while moving at high speeds. On one play he drove down the right side of the court, made a quick stop along the baseline to turn into the hoop, and made a pull-up, fade-away shot with a hand in his face while drawing contact, making the whole succession look easy. His next move was very similar, but even more impressive, as when he stopped on the baseline, he pivoted, turned, and hit the same fade-away shot again.
Haluska did a good job taking the ball to the hoop as well, using his decent athleticism and first step along with the ability to draw contact and still get a shot off. He was fouled multiple times driving to the basket, still getting a decent shot off on most of them by protecting the ball with his body, and he converted all seven of his free-throw attempts with his smooth shooting stroke. Haluskas most impressive drive was one in which he got into the lane and spun off his man while still moving towards the hoop, putting in a nice shot off the glass.
Defensively, Haluska was on and off, making a few nice weakside steals and doing a good job overall of moving laterally to stay in front of his man, with a few exceptions where he got lazy and just didnt make the necessary effort to stay in front. Haluska also did a pretty good job staying with his man moving through screens off the ball.
If Haluska continues his impressive play here and into Orlando, he has a good chance of moving into the late second round in the draft. Hes very versatile and does everything fairly well, while possessing enough athleticism to get by in most areas. Against stronger, more athletic opponents at the next level, because at 65, he may not have as much success taking the ball to the hoop and finishing the way he does here and in college, he may be more prone to having his shot blocked near the basket, but his mid-range and long-range game should translate well, and with his passing and ball-handling he has skills he can contribute when his scoring isnt on. Haluskas biggest concern moving on here at the camp should be not forcing the issue when his scoring isnt on, reverting to using his ball-handling and passing to help his teammates until he can get his shot going again.
Rashad Jones-Jennings, 6-7, Power Forward, Arkansas Little-Rock
9 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 4-8 FG, 1-1 FT
But although its not common for a player to make it with Jones size limitations, his tenacity and his ability to defend and rebound are skills that are equally as rare. Jones plays with a motor that refuses to quit. He boxed out on every single free throw, using his body and punishing his opponent. Jones constantly searched out his man and made sure to keep himself between the man and the basket on every shot that went up, even when he clearly had run out of gas toward the end.
Jones also got his hand on numerous loose balls and did it with purpose for the most part. When he couldnt secure a rebound or a steal he would attempt to deflect it to a teammate and not just slap at the ball for no reason. His head constantly moved to survey the situation and get a feel for where the ball was, where the opponents were spaced, and where he needed to be in order to maximize his ability to make a play.
Offensively, Jones is limited, but not as much as Reggie Evans was limited coming into the NBA himself. This is not to say that Jones will find success on the same level as Evans has, without knowing his intangible qualities, but he certainly has some elements to his game that do translate to the professional game.
Its extremely hard for a player with Jones abilities and limitations to make it to the NBA level, but there are a number of anomalies in the league, so its not out of the question. Regardless of where Jones ends up, his skills as a defender and rebounder are top notch and he has the type of motor that very few players possess at any level. Where he ends up will be a matter of situation and environment, but he can help a team at some level in the realm of professional basketball. It will be interesting to see how his next two games play out, because he has a chance to improve his standings tremendously in the eyes of the pro game on every level if he keeps this up.
Jarrius Jackson, 61, SG, Texas Tech
12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 6-11 FG
When Jackson did try to create with the ball, though, he had pretty good success, scoring in a variety of ways from within the three-point arc. His first score of the game was on a nice drive where he brought the ball up and under to get past his man, then jump stopped before going into a lay-up off the glass. His next score was on a pull-up jumper from 15 feet at very high speed where he exhibited excellent body control. One of his most impressive moves was a stop-and-go where he came off a high screen and quickly accelerated down the left side of the lane to put up a nice floater which he converted. He also made two other drives left, one which he finished on the left side and the other which he changed directions to finish on the right side of the hoop with his right hand. Jackson didnt really get his outside shot going in the game, not taking advantage of opportunities to shoot from behind the arc.
To Jacksons credit, he really played within himself and didnt force the issue when the lanes werent open for him to drive or pass, but it still wouldve been nice to see him play more assertively and fully show off his scoring abilities. He made a few nice passes on the game, making a few drive-and-dishes that werent converted, a nice pass to a cutter off a pick-and-roll, and a nice kickout for a three-pointer in transition. Jackson definitely projects as an undersized shooting guard at the next level based on what hes shown in college and here, so he has a bit of an uphill battle to climb, especially since he isnt extremely overwhelming athletically. He should have a good chance of getting into the Orlando pre-draft camp and getting invites to training camps, but he doesnt have much chance of getting drafted unless he really wows with his ability to score against the better competition in this draft class at Orlando.