2008 Spalding Hoophall Classic -- Best of the Rest

2008 Spalding Hoophall Classic -- Best of the Rest
Jan 22, 2008, 02:14 am
Note: We'll deal with John Riek later this week in a separate article

2008 Spalding Hoophall Classic --Part One-- Elite Prospects

Henry Sims, 6’10, Power Forward, 2008, Mt. St. Joseph HS (MD)
Committed to Georgetown
32 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 5 turnovers, 2 blocks, 10-16 FG, 0-1 3PT, 12-16 FT, 32 minutes

Rodger Bohn

Henry Sims (#43 Scout, #62 Rivals) had the most dominant performance of any prospect here in Springfield, scoring 32 points and nearly leading his team to a shocking upset victory over Oak Hill Academy. He is all you can ask for physically out of a 6’10 high school senior, blessed with broad shoulders, decent lower body strength, and very long arms. Athletically, the Baltimore native runs the floor exceptionally well and has above average leaping ability. When you combine this with his great motor, you begin to understand why he is a top recruit nationally, despite not having a super refined skill set.

Against Oak Hill, Mt. St. Joseph established Sims as their go-to-guy from the tip. He received countless touches in the post, where he was able to use quick drop steps to put points on the board. Once Oak Hill began combating him with double teams, he responded well by making the proper reads and finding teammates for open looks at the basket. Henry showed off his soft hands by catching everything thrown to him and grabbing a ton of offensive rebounds, which he usually converted at the rim. He’s not the most skilled or fluid player in the world, but he really gets the job done at this level. When not around the basket, he displayed a promising jump-shot from 17 feet and in. Although he did not shoot the ball from the perimeter at an outstanding clip, he established himself as a presence out there with his ability to hit the short jumper or put the ball on the floor once and take it to the rim.

Sims used his long arms and good timing on the defensive end to alter many shots, doing his best to marginalize the impact of Oak Hill’s posts. He boxed out well inside and likely would have had more rebounds if his team did not allow the Oak Hill guards to crash the glass so much. The potential is definitely there for this athletic big man to develop into a defensive presence at Georgetown.

Henry is part of a Hoya recruiting class that includes two other power forwards, Greg Monroe and Chris Braswell. With Vernon Macklin returning next season, there is definitely going to be a battle for playing time in the Georgetown frontcourt. Sims’ ability to play the center slot will give him a better chance to see the floor as a freshman, and he will certainly be a player that NBA scouts will keep their eye on over his tenure in college.

Sylven Landesberg, 6’6, Shooting Guard, Senior, Holy Cross (NY), Committed to Virginia

26 points, 5 rebounds, 0 assists, 2 turnovers, 2 steals, 8-22 FG, 1-4 3PT, 9-9 FT in 32 minutes

Rodger Bohn

Sylven Landesberg (#38 Scout, #54 Rivals) did not play his best game here at Hoophall, struggling shooting the ball from the field in a narrow loss to a Drew Gordon-less Archbishop Mitty squad. He had some problems getting to the rim, settling for contested pull-up jumpers (which he normally makes) that were off the mark today. The Queens’ native’s lack of athleticism was evident on a few of his attempted drives to the baskets, where he was cut off by far inferior players and forced to defer to his teammates.

With that said, Sylven is a bit of a throwback player in that he has a sly demeanor out on the floor with a very high basketball IQ. He does a bit of everything offensively, handling the ball well, shooting it with range, and finding the open man when necessary. Very aggressive going to the rim, but better going left than right, Landesberg played much stronger than his 195 pound would lead you to believe. He has a natural scorer’s instinct, even though his shooting mechanics could use some work in order to improve his consistency from beyond the arc.

All in all, this was an average showing for a player who has the potential to be a major contributor next year at Virginia. The graduation of Sean Singletary and lack of a sturdy point guard will certainly open up minutes at that slot for Landesberg, although we feel he would be much better suited playing off of the ball so that he is able to make his scoring presence felt more. Either way, the opportunity is going to be there for the skilled guard to contribute during his freshman campaign.

Korie Lucious, 5-10, Point Guard, Senior, Milwaukee Pius
Committed to Michigan State
21 points, 2 assists, 6 turnovers, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, 8-19 FG, 5-13 3P, 0-1 FT

Jonathan Givony

Undersized point guard Korie Lucious (#90 Scout, #91 Rivals) managed to keep his team in the game early on against New York City powerhouse Abraham Lincoln, showing most of his strengths as a top-100 prospect, but eventually succumbed to Lance Stephenson and co. and ended up showing us most of his flaws.

Lucious is a severely undersized point guard, standing around 5-10. He’s a good but not great athlete, showing average quickness for a player his size, and looking more like a scoring point guard than a real distributor at the moment. Most of his damage offensively comes off his terrific 3-point stroke, featuring excellent mechanics and elevation and being an outstanding weapon he can utilize from anywhere on the court. Lucious can come off screens or pull-up off the jumper equally well, from mid-range and behind the arc, only needing a glimpse of daylight to get his shot off, and being extremely business-like about the way he creates his shots and scores. He started off the game on a tear, scoring 14 points in the first 7 minutes, but then being extremely streaky the rest of the way, only scoring 8 in the next 25 .

A solid ball-hander, Lucious rarely gets all the way into the paint and finishes, usually preferring to pull-up off the dribble from mid-range or shoot a very pretty floater. He struggles to finish around the rim, due to his average size and strength.

As a point guard, Lucious seems to be a pretty unselfish player on a team that really needs him to score heavily in order for them to have a chance at winning. He looked a little bit single-minded at times, taking a ton of shots and not looking like he was really able to contribute that much once his shot stopped falling. He seems to be able to run an offense, but too way too many risks with the ball, making some low-percentage wild passes that didn’t seem very smart. As he grows older, he will likely learn how to value his team’s possessions better. Tom Izzo will surely make a point of that…

Defensively, Izzo might have some issues with him initially as well. He gambles a little too much, and seems to be somewhat low energy in the effort he extends on this end of the floor. Lucious in general doesn’t seem to be the most passionate player in the world, looking very cold at times and not really showing any emotion from anything that went on on the floor, good or bad. He seemed to waive the white flag pretty easily once Abraham Lincoln started making a run, not really seeming to care much when was damn was getting beat badly. We’d like to see better leadership skills out of such a talented player, since his team clearly needed it.

All in all, Lucious looks like a nice guard for Michigan State’s rotation, a four-year player who should develop into a solid contributor in the Big-10.

Keith Gallon, 6’8, Power Forward, 2009, Oak Hill Academy (VA)
10 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 turnovers, 0 blocks, 3 steals, 5-7 FG in 25 minutes

Rodger Bohn

”Tiny” Keith Gallon (#22 Scout, #37 Rivals--2009) had a truly uninspired performance in his matchup against Henry Sims, looking very disinterested for every second he was on the floor. He walked up and down both ends of the floor, scoring the majority of his points off of leak outs in which he never came back on the defensive end. The big-time junior was constantly pouting when he didn’t receive the ball, and was made his displeasure clear to his teammates vocally.

If you had not seen Gallon beforehand, you would think it’s downright insane that he was being recruited by some of the more elite programs in the country. Luckily, we had the chance to observe the big man on other instances and have a pretty good idea of what he can do in the occasions that he actually exerts some effort. The Houston native is exceptionally light on his feet for a player weighing close to 300 pounds, showing gorgeous footwork and great body control. Having shown the ability to score on the blocks, he also proves to be an adept passer when faced with a double team. Let the facts be straight, Gallon has the potential to be an excellent recruit when he deems necessary.

For Gallon’s sake, we hope that he develops some sort of passion for the game as his conditioning and lazy play could very well be enough to scare some schools away. Just a junior, there is plenty of time before we even begin to think of Gallon as a draft prospect, but he certainly needs to shed some pounds and develop a better work ethic if he hopes to succeed at any level.

Enoch Andoh, 6-7, Power Forward, Senior, Archbishop Mitty
Committed to Bucknell
21 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 1 block, 8-16 FG, 5-5 FT

Jonathan Givony

With UCLA commit Drew Gordon out indefinitely after breaking his foot last Friday, #6 ranked team in the country Archbishop Mitty needed senior power forward Enoch Andoh (unranked, Scout and Rivals) to have a big game in order for them to have any chance at beating Holy Cross. The future Bucknell big man went out and did exactly that, scoring 21 points and carrying his team to victory through sheer grit and determination.

Andoh is an undersized power forward, standing somewhere between 6-7 and 6-8, with long arms and good frame, but not a great deal of athleticism. He lacks quickness and explosiveness, but makes up for that with a terrific feel for the game.

Andoh gets most of his production in the paint, where he has a very versatile post game. He likes to use jump-hooks with either hand, and is extremely smart at feeling out his man with his body and creating space for himself to operate with all kinds of crafty spin moves. When double-teams collapsed on him, he didn’t seem to have a problem finding the open man. He has excellent hands and a soft touch around the rim, but sometimes struggles finishing in traffic due to his lack of size and leaping ability. He also made his presence felt on the offensive glass, showing nice timing and aggressiveness attacking the rim.

Defensively, Andoh wasn’t really challenged too much here by Holy Cross, but it wasn’t hard to tell that his potential is limited here due to his average physical tools.

All in all, it seems like Bucknell got themselves a very nice post player for their level of play in Enoch Andoh. He should have a very productive college career.

Matt Simpkins, 6’9, Power Forward, Senior, The Patterson School (NC)
Committed to Memphis
8 points, 5 rebounds, 1 turnover, 4-7 FG, 0-1 3PT, 0-1 FT in 15 minutes

Rodger Bohn

Matt Simpkins (#73 Scout, #47 Rivals) played very little here in Springfield, and did not appear to want to be here in the time that he did see on the hardwood. Starting the game on the bench, he showed some awful body language out on the floor, often casually walking up the floor even with his future head coach in college (John Calipari) watching him from front row. The athletic forward scored his points on a few inside conversions, not showing any real perimeter skills for a player who is attempting to eventually become a wing forward.

While Matt had a poor showing in Springfield, it was clear that he has a player who has a ton of long term potential. He is a super athlete with ideal size, making it quite clear why Calipari felt he would fit into Memphis’ system. Able to run the court and put the ball on the floor well for a player his size, the upside is there for him to be a nice prospect down the road, as long as he is able to continue to improve upon his skill set and erase the question marks surrounding his character.

Tristan Thompson, 6’8, Small Forward, Sophomore, St. Benedict’s (NJ)
7 points, 7 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal, 3-3 FG, 1-1 FT, 20 minutes

Rodger Bohn

Thompson has shown a lot of promise for a player so young touring the country. He sees plenty of minutes at the small forward position at the moment due to St. Benedict’s inside duo of Samardo Samuels and Greg Echenique, offering plenty of intrigue as a prospect down the road. Owning all of the ideal physical characteristics one could ask for in a wing, standing 6’8, blessed with very long arms, and owning superb quickness for a player so young. The Canadian phenom is already a very nice defender, playing with a great passion and applying a massive amount of ball pressure to whomever he was guarding.

Offensively, the perimeter skills are not quite there yet, with Thompson standing to use room for improvement in the areas of ball-handling and shooting. His lack of refinement in these areas has not stopped the top programs in the country from calling, with North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, Memphis, and Georgetown amongst the schools currently recruiting Tristan. Far from a finished product, he has established himself as a name to remember down the road and one of the better players the high school class of 2010 has to offer at the moment.

Glenn Bryant, 6-7, SF/PF, Junior, Oak Hill Academy
14 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 4 blocks, 3 steals, 5-7 FG, 4-5 FT, 25 minutes

Jonathan Givony

Oak Hill’s junior combo forward Glenn Bryant has been shooting up the recruiting rankings lately, drawing interest from schools such as Memphis, Florida, Florida State, Michigan State, Ohio State—indeed drawing Memphis head coach John Calipari courtside (right next to us) to take in his game.

It’s pretty easy to see why college coaches like him. Bryant is a super athletic forward with a terrific motor—long, active, strong, with a nice frame that should fill out in time. He gets most of his production off sheer hustle and aggressiveness, running the floor in transition, hitting the offensive glass, cutting to the basket for a catch and finish, etc.

He competes extremely hard on the glass, going after rebounds out of his area and then finishing strong above the rim once he gets his hands on the ball. He also has excellent timing to block shots, both on the ball in the post or on the perimeter, or even coming from the weak-side.

Facing the hoop, Bryant has average ball-handling skills, but is quick and aggressive enough to put the ball on the floor in strong fashion and make his way to the rim. His perimeter skills look extremely raw at the moment (he didn’t attempt any jump-shots), so he has some work ahead of him if he’s to reach his full potential and make the transition to playing the small forward position—which seems pretty far away at the moment.

Still, you have to like what he brings in terms of toughness, activity and sheer athleticism, traits that can come in extremely handy to any college coach looking for a role player.

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