The high school class of 2006 is one of the best in recent memory. Unfortunately for them however, they will be forced to attend college for at least one year under the NBAs new age limit. Even so, over 20 NBA scouts were in attendance Wednesday night to watch stars such as Greg Oden
, Kevin Durant
, Thaddeus Young
, and the rest of the top high school players in the country take part in the most recognizable all star game our country has to offer.
Below are our observations on some of the top players playing in the game. Please keep in mind that we have seen every one of the players play before, so we may refer back to certain things that stick out in our memory from the past.Greg Oden- 71; 240 lbs; C; Signed with Ohio State
10 points, 3-4 FG, 4-4 FT, 5 rebounds, 4 blocks, 1 assist, 19 minutes1260Mike Schmidt
Though an injured wrist limited his play, Oden displayed the type of flashes of dominance that make him the clear cut number 1 prospect of the class of 2006 right now. Right away he put his shot blocking ability to work, sending back a 10 foot shot from Spencer Hawes
that seemed to be on the way to the bottom of the net. One thing that separates Greg Oden
from most players his age is his understanding of the game, often using his high basketball IQ to recognize open teammates and showing flashes of his superior passing ability. On the offensive end, Oden didnt go to his patented drop step in the post, but he did show the ability to make his free throws when put on the line. This will be very important for him as his basketball career progresses and the style of play becomes more physical. Oden also decided to show off his outstanding athleticism while going up for a dunk. He rose above his teammate Gerald Henderson
(whos also a great leaper) and caught an alley-oop pass, guiding it into the hoop as the entire crowd in San Deigo watched in awe.
As an NBA prospect, Greg Oden
offers everything that you can ask for. His combination of athleticism and size/strength combined with his great understanding of the game make Oden the type of player that immediately draws comparisons to NBA greats. If there was no age limit, there would be no question that Greg would be the first player selected in the 2006 draft. Instead, Oden will have monster expectations to try and live up to at Ohio State, and the lucky winner of the 2007 draft lottery will have a once in a generation center to build their team around.
Kevin Durant- 610; 205 lbs.; SF; Signed with Texas; Co-MVP of Game
25 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers on 10-17 FG, 2-6 3PT, and 3-3 FT in 18 minutes of play1258Rodger Bohn
Durant, who we featured in an article on Tuesday, did not disappoint, sharing MVP honors along with Chase Budinger
. He showed us the wide variety of skills that make him such an intriguing prospect for the future. The 610 SF displayed effortless shooting ability from NBA three point range, a quick release, and great form on his jumpshot. Not only a distance shooter, he showed an in-between game with a variety of mid range jumpers and pull-ups in the lane to compliment his deep shooting. Kevin showed improved athleticism, ball-handling and passing skills from the last time we saw him, which translated into easy baskets for himself, as well as open shots for his teammates.
Although he was easily one of the three most talented players on the floor, Durant still desperately needs to bulk up and find a true position before draft talk can be muttered out of his (or our) mouth. His shot selection was a bit questionable and his defense was a bit shaky, but the proper teaching and discipline that he will receive at Texas should rid those problems.
All faults aside, Kevin made it clear tonight that he is an extraordinary talent, and someone draft fans need to keep their eye on this upcoming season at Texas. If he lives up to the lofty expectations that most have for him, dont be surprised to see Mr. Durant picked awfully high in the 2007 Draft.
Gerald Henderson- 65; 190 lbs; SG; Signed with Duke
16 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 turnovers, 6-10 FG, 1-1 3P, 3-4 FT in 17 minutes of playJonathan Givony1264
The most complete player on the floor tonight appeared to be Duke recruit Gerald Henderson
. In an all-star setting where almost all of the emphasis is put on 3-point shooting and highlight reel dunks, Henderson was the only guy who really attempted to showed any type of real basketball skills on both ends of the floor. Whether he was posting up his man, rebounding in traffic, slashing to the hoop, saving a loose ball, making a full-court pass, or showing off his outstanding athleticism by coming up with a tip-dunk or challenging Greg Oden
for the rights to finish an alley-oop, there wasnt much more Henderson could do to get Duke fans excited about what they have in store next year. Its pretty rare to see a player this young be so well-rounded and versatile already at this stage in his career, but also have the type of explosiveness we saw in the dunk contest to lead you to believe that he still has a massive upside to continue to improve. His feel for the game also appears to be excellent. If Coach K is willing to give him minutes next year, Henderson looks like an early dark horse candidate for freshman of the year. After watching him play numerous times now next to his high school teammate Wayne Ellington
, it's very hard to understand why the recruiting services all consider Henderson to be a worse prospect according to their rankings.
Thaddeus Young- 68; 215 lbs; SF; Signed with Georgia Tech
14 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block, 1 assist, 1 turnover on 6-9 FG, 0-2 3PT, and 2-2 FT in 19 minutes of playRodger Bohn
The Georgia Tech recruit showed why most have him ranked as the third best player in the country (behind Oden and Durant), as he showed off his full package of skills in San Diego Wednesday night. The 68 wing put the ball on the floor well, posted smaller defenders, and forced Kevin Durant
into some extremely tough shots. With his size and skill package, Young has the ability to play both forward positions, although he made it clear that he will be playing small forward primarily at Georgia Tech. He will surely be an immediate impact player next year at Tech if he is able to bring the silky smooth game that he showed tonight with him.
In Youngs case, the NBA age limit hurt him dearly. He stated at his press conference when he picked GT that had the NBAs age limit not had been put in place, he would have definitely entered the NBA Draft out of high school. Thaddeus and his father also mentioned that they were looking for schools that would take their son under the condition that he would very likely only play one year, so obviously Young is a player that we must keep our eyes on closely next season, as there is a strong possibility of him declaring for the draft if he has a strong year for Georgia Tech.
Spencer Hawes- 610; 225 lbs; C; Signed with Washington
11 points, 5 rebounds, 2 turnovers on 5-9 FG, 1-2 FT in 17 minutes of playRodger Bohn
Hawes played his usual game, showing a wide variety of post moves, the ability to score in the paint and rebound against bigger foes. At only 610, he is a bit undersized for the center position, but uses his gritty play and skill to make up for his lack of size and athleticism. Spence showed an excellent set of skills in the pivot, including a jump hook with either hand and the ability to read the defense perfectly down low. For a center prospect, he has remarkable coordination and motor skills, but doesnt have very much in terms of athletic ability, which might hurt him at the next level. Look for Hawes to be a very productive player next season at Washington, but he will really have to produce exceptionally well to overcome questions about his lack of size and athleticism in the eyes of NBA scouts.
Chase Budinger- 68; 200 lbs; SG/SF; Signed with Arizona
11 points, 5-8 FG, 4 assists, 3 steals, 3 rebounds, 21 minutes1265Mike Schmidt
Budinger was one of the most impressive players throughout the game. He displayed his awesome jumping ability in more than just the dunk contest, using it to finish in the paint on a few occasions. His perimeter stroke looks good, though if he used his explosiveness to elevate more it would make his shot unblockable. Budinger passed the ball surprisingly well, and has a pretty good understanding of the game. He will need to improve his handle, as well as his ability to create for himself off the dribble. In addition, Budinger is rail thin and really needs to add weight to his frail frame. He is also a weak defender, and will need to improve his lateral quickness in the future. Chase Budinger
has all the tools to become a good NBA prospect, but will need to put in some good work at Arizona under Lute Olson to reach his full potential.
Brandan Wright- 69; 200 lbs; PF; Signed with North Carolina
12 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 turnover on 6-10 FG in 17 minutes of playRodger Bohn
Wright didnt stand out tonight like one would expect a player of his caliber to, but wound up with a pretty solid game at the end of the night. The 69 PF showed his awkward lefty game, hitting short jumper after short jumper in the lane and finishing well around the rim when strength was not an issue. He used his absolutely freakish wingspan to disrupt offensive players, and was also able to grab a few rebounds in the meantime. Once thought of as a 2007 draft prospect, it is becoming more and more evident that Brandan would be best suited to spend at least two years at UNC. His body desperately needs to develop, and his offensive game could use some refining before he decides to throw his name in the NBA Draft. Fans should definitely look for Wright to contribute next year playing alongside Tyler Hansbrough
however, as the two will compliment each other perfectly in the Tar Heel front court.
Daequan Cook- 65; 185 lbs; SG; Signed with Ohio State
17 points, 2 assists, 1 steal on 6-13 FG, 5-9 3PT in 19 minutes of playRodger Bohn
The Dayton Dunbar product came out and played his game tonight, showing off his deep shooting ability and smooth scoring touch. After seeing Cook tonight, one might conclude that he is strictly a three point shooter, but that is not the case at all. Daequan is as smooth a SG as there is, able to create his own shot and score on virtually anyone from anywhere on the court. The athletic wing should be able to step in and start right away at the SG position next year at Ohio State, and look to see a whole lot of production from the Ohio native for the Buckeyes next season.
Robin Lopez- 70; 245 lbs; C; Signed with Stanford
3 points, 8 rebounds, 1 block, 2 assists, on 1-2 FG, 1-2 FT in 16 minutes of playRodger Bohn
While the numbers may not jump out at you, Robin Lopez
played a very nice game for the touches he received Wednesday night. Lopez defended Greg Oden
to the best of his capability, ran the floor well, and fought very hard for every single rebound. His lone field goal was on a beautiful spin move and left handed hook shot over Oden that really made me open my eyes. Robin is not as far advanced as his brother Brook is on the offensive end, but is the better defender of the twins headed to Stanford. Expect the California duo to step in next year and give the Cardinal some much needed frontcourt help.
Brook Lopez-; 70; 245 lbs.; PF/C; Signed with Stanford
6 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover in 18 minutes of playRodger Bohn
Brook, the higher regarded of the twins, did not live up to his billing today. The seven footer looked a bit lost out on the floor, and did not play with his usual aggressiveness. Although he knocked down a 16 foot jumper, Lopez never seemed to command the ball, playing very passively. He is more athletic and has more offensive skills then his brother Robin, but was unfortunately outplayed by his younger brother (by one minute) on this day. Expect both to really help out Stanfords depleted front line next season.
Javaris Crittenton- 65; 195 lbs.; PG; Signed with Georgia Tech
8 points, 3-9 FG, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 turnovers, 20 minutes 1266Mike Schmidt
Crittenton displayed an impressive ability to finish near the rim with a high level of athleticism. He shot the ball from the perimeter with a nice looking stroke, but only made 1 of his 4 three point attempts. Crittenton also has an outstanding handle, and pushed the ball up the court during the time he was on the floor. He is more of a scoring guard right now, still transitioning to the point guard position. Javaris will need to continue to work on his point guard skills, and look to his teammates more often. Crittenton was a teammate of Dwight Howard
s in high school, and will be suiting up for Georgia Tech next season. He is a very good NBA prospect, who could make the jump to the NBA after a couple years of college.
Darrell Arthur- 69; 220 lbs; PF; Undecided
7 points, 2-6 FG, 3 rebounds, 1 block, 13 minutes1267Mike Schmidt
Arthur didnt get a whole lot of minutes in the game, but displayed some nice skills in the short time he was on the floor. He proved he can hit the three ball, showing off a smooth shooting stroke with a quick release. In addition, Darrell showed nice finishing ability near the basket, and even made it to the free throw line a couple of times. Arthur is very athletic, and showed off his leaping ability during the dunk contest. He will need to improve his ball handling ability in the future, and add some weight on his frame while improving his basketball IQ, but right now Arthur has the makings of a good NBA prospect. Darrell Arthur
is currently undecided on what college to attend, but is certainly a player to keep an eye on once he makes his decision.
Ty Lawson- 60; 190 lbs; PG; Signed with North Carolina
4 points, 2-7 FG, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 turnovers, 1 steal, 19 minutesMike Schmidt
Known for his great quickness, ability to change speeds, and ability to finish in the paint, Lawson didnt have a great McDonalds game. Many of his shots near the hoop were altered by taller players, and he just couldnt seem to get anything to roll his way on the rim. Lawson did show flashes of very good passing ability, as his court vision is clearly one of the biggest assets he brings to the floor. Though he did finish with 5 assists throughout the game, he forced it into large crowds in the paint too often, and turned it over 3 times with no place to go with the ball. The biggest concern for Lawson going into North Carolina will be his outside shooting ability, and his ability to guard larger point guards. Though improved throughout his senior year, Tywons long range shot remains very streaky, and he has little mid-range game to back it up. To help him finish over larger players, he will need to develop some type of floater or runner from about 8-10 feet away from the hoop. Lawson is listed at 5-11, and will be tested on the defensive side of the ball in college. He remains a nice prospect, and can step in and run things right away for the Tar Heels.
Vernon Macklin- 69; 225 lbs.; PF; Signed with Georgetown
6 points, 3-3 shooting, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 turnovers in 16 minutesMike Schmidt
Macklin possesses very good athleticism and leaping ability. He uses it to its fullest on the glass, where he pulled down 10 rebounds throughout the game. Some of these came on the offensive end of the floor, and led to second chance points in the paint. Macklin is not all that skilled right now. He showed some pretty good finishing ability during the McDonalds game, but lacks any type of perimeter game or shooting ability. In addition, he doesnt do much to create his own looks with his back to the basket, and doesnt really have a defined role besides running and jumping. His athleticism helps him greatly, but Macklin will really have to develop some offensive skills to put himself firmly on the NBA radar.
Sherron Collins- 511; 195 lbs.; PG; Signed with Kansas
11 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 turnover on 4-8 FG, 1-2 3PT, 2-3 FT in 16 minutes of playRodger Bohn
The diminutive point man from Chicago took this game as a challenge to show that he was the nations best point guard. While Im not sold that he did that, Collins did have a very nice performance in the McDonalds game and will give Bill Self an excellent compliment to Mario Chalmers
next season. Sherron showed great explosiveness and quickness, but unfortunately also took some pretty questionable shots and didnt find the open man as much as youd like a 511 PG to. All in all, it was a solid performance by Collins that was topped off by an off the backboard pass and dunk to himself as time expired. Jayhawk fans will love watching the flashy Collins, as he will command immediate playing time next season.
Wayne Ellington- 64; 185 lbs; SG; Signed with North Carolina
8 points, 3-10 shooting, 2-8 3 point FG, 3 rebounds, 15 minutes Mike Schmidt
Ellington, hyped up as the nations best shooting guard, didnt live up to the billing in the McDonalds game. His 3 point shot wasnt falling, and though he has a nice looking shot, there is a weird side-spin on it with the way he releases the ball. Ellington also didnt look too impressive taking the ball to the basket either, and his defense was lacking. He appears to be severely undersized for a shooting guard, and has proven to be very streaky throughout his high school career. This season, he wasnt even the best prospect on his own team, despite what the recruiting rankings will tell you. Ellingtons high school teammate Gerald Henderson
has broken out as a much more consistent player this season, and even stole the show at the McDonalds game. North Carolina will be a good situation for Ellington, where he can shine when hes on, and let his teammates take over when things arent going his way. He will really benefit from having teammates can create, which will create a situation where Ellington can use his natural scoring abilities that hes known for.
Earl Clark- 69; 220 lbs.; PG/SG/SF/PF; Signed with Louisville
4 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 assist on 1-7 FG, 0-3 3PT, 2-2 FT in 16 minutes of playRodger Bohn
The Louisville recruit had a terrible performance tonight, but showed flashes of his remarkable skill package that had colleges all over the country drooling over him. Clark is a remarkable ball handler, passer, and defender for a player of his size, but often lacks the ability to put it all together at the same time. Tonight was an example of that, as he handled the ball well, but shot it extremely poorly from the field. Regardless of tonight, its very rare that you find a player who can legitimately play four positions on the floor, and Earl Clark
is definitely a player that draft fans should watch at Louisville due to his immense potential and versatility.
Lance Thomas- 68; 200 lbs; PF/SF; Undecided
9 points, 2 steals on 4-8 FG, 1-2 FT in 21 minutesRodger Bohn
The New Jersey native had a solid night, contributing his usual scrappy play to the plethora of shoot first all stars. Thomas is attempting to make the transition from power forward to small forward, but is struggling in the mean time at it. Regardless, its always a pleasure to watch the forwards heady, active play, as it seems like he has a motor that seemingly never stops. Lance is down to Rutgers and Duke for next season, but neither really seem to fit the bouncy forwards game too well.