Initial Scouting Reports, High School Class of 2009 (#11-150 Recruits)

Initial Scouting Reports, High School Class of 2009 (#11-150 Recruits)
Jul 30, 2008, 01:17 am
We’ve spent the last few weeks evaluating many of the top players in the high school classes of 2009-2011, for the purpose of acquainting ourselves with the next crop of NBA prospects that we’ll be discussing in coming years. We’ll be sharing our thoughts on what we saw, heard and learned from the U-18 Men’s Basketball Tryout in Washington DC, and the various AAU tournaments (Nike, Reebok, Adidas) in Las Vegas, as initial scouting reports in our player database.

We continue with players we evaluated ranked between 11 through 150 in the 2009 high school class.

Dominic Cheek, 6-5, Shooting Guard, Rising Senior, Playaz/St. Anthony’s HS
5-Star Recruit (Villanova, UConn, Florida, etc)

Only a week or so removed from losing in the finals of the U-18 FIBA Americas Championship, Dominic Cheek (#11 Scout, #11 Rivals, #5 ESPN) decided to pass on playing in the AAU tournaments in Vegas, but luckily for us, we had the chance to fully evaluate him in the USA Basketball tryouts in early July in Washington DC.

What we saw made a very strong impression. Cheek is a 6-5, long, athletic and very versatile shooting guard, obviously well coached as you’d expect from a Bob Hurley pupil, but also extremely mature both on and off the court. He appears to be an excellent teammate, comfortable doing all the little things for his team, whether that’s hustling for rebounds, making unselfish passes, stepping in for charges, or going after loose balls. He’s a very tough, active player who always seems to be around the ball at all times, and seems to play the game at his own speed, with an excellent temperament. He seems to have a lot of confidence in himself, but still isn’t afraid to give up the ball and play within the flow of the offense.

Cheek is an excellent shooter, although he shoots the ball with awkward form, well on the way down of his jump. He’s money in the bank with his feet set, though, so it’s tough to argue too much with the results, even if his release is slow and he may suffer a bit when attempting to expand his range out to the further out college and eventually NBA line. He can handle the ball, but isn’t what you would call a go-to scoring option at this point—he’s more of a role player who does many different things out on the floor. How much he can improve his scoring ability over the next few years will probably decide how highly regarded a prospect he becomes.

Cheek is a very highly sought after recruit, for obvious reasons, and it will be interesting to see how his game develops over the next few years.

Jordan Hamilton, 6-7, Small Forward, Rising Senior, Team Odom
5-Star Recruit (UConn, Kansas, Texas)

We’ve evaluated Jordan Hamilton (#14 Scout, #12 Rivals, #13 ESPN) in extreme depth already (click his profile for more), but it’s important to note that he looks just as skilled as he did back in Orlando earlier this year.

He is a real scoring machine with a picture perfect stroke and the ability to create his own shot with ease at 6-7, although his average athleticism, poor body language and refusal to play any kind of defense are still major red flags. He’s going to be a major force at the collegiate level as a scoring threat from day one, though.

Abdul Gaddy, 6-3, Point Guard, Rising Senior, Portland Legends
5-Star Recruit (Arizona, Cal, Florida, Gonzaga, etc)

Widely considered the second best point guard prospect in the 2009 class, we didn’t get as much of a chance to evaluate Abdul Gaddy (#9 Scout, #14 Rivals, #14 ESPN) as we may have hoped. Gaddy looks to be a very smooth, but somewhat raw point guard who plays the game at a very nice pace. He has great size for the position, a low center of gravity, and a lot of shake to his game. He throws in all kinds of nifty hesitation moves to keep his defender off-balance, and shows the ability to knock down shots from the perimeter with a high arch and feathery touch, pull-up off the dribble, finish with a floater, or create for others on the drive and dish. He utilizes the pick and roll well and looks very unselfish, although he still needs to learn the nuances of the game from what we could see of him going up against the top guards in this class. He alternated between looking a little too much for his shot and then being extremely passive, deferring late in the game and not showing the willingness to step up when his team needed a basket. We’ll see a lot more of him down the road we imagine.

Ryan Kelly, 6-9, Power Forward, Rising Senior, D-One Sports
5-Star Recruit (Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, Stanford)

Ryan Kelly (#13 Scout, #17 Rivals, #20 ESPN) was one of the more impressive players we saw at the USA Basketball U-18 tryouts, and was able to translate his game over fairly well to the AAU setting as well.

Kelly probably isn’t going to wow you on first sight, as he’s a skinny power forward with an underdeveloped frame and fairly average athleticism at best. He will win you over eventually, though, as he’s an extremely intelligent player with a very high skill level, is a good teammate who really competes, and is highly versatile to boot. Kelly can play facing the basket, as he has range out to the 3-point line and the ability to pass the ball effectively or put it on the floor. He’s never in a rush, though, and is capable of catching and finishing inside thanks to his nice hands and effective hook shot. He knows how to use fakes and does a good job getting to the free throw line, where he converts at an excellent clip. He’s unselfish by nature, and knows how to move off the ball.

Kelly will compete for rebounds and also does his best on the defensive end of the floor, getting the occasional block or steal in the process, even if his lateral quickness is fairly questionable. He has problems getting pushed around inside on both ends of the floor, and thus will have to work on his body if he’s going to be more of a factor on the interior. He’s not the most naturally gifted player around, but it’s not hard to see why the recruiting services like him. He looks like an excellent college player and has a chance to be a pro down the road if he continues to develop his all-around game.

Maalik Wayns, 6-1, Point Guard, Rising Senior, Team Philly
Committed to Villanova

Widely considered the 3rd or 4th best point guard prospect in this class, Maalik Wayns (#25 Scout, #19 Rivals, #12 ESPN) was fairly up and down in the numerous times we were able to evaluate him this month (in both DC and Vegas). It’s not hard to tell what the recruiting services see in him, though. He is a physical point guard with excellent ball-handling skills, very good intangibles, nice toughness (he draws comparisons to Kyle Lowry) and a clear-cut playmaking mentality.

Wayns is a shifty player, blessed with the ability to change speeds and get by defenders effectively at this level, and the strength to take contact and finish regardless around the basket. He has a nice temperament on the floor and seems to be an excellent teammate, which is an extremely important trait considering the position he plays. He can take the ball to the basket strong using either hand, or make a shot from the perimeter, but is just as comfortable dishing out assists to teammates, particularly in an up-tempo transition game.

Wayns’ shortcomings revolve around the fact that he’s not particularly tall, and does not possess freakish explosiveness to compensate for that, as he’s a good, but not a great athlete. He may be able to improve on this if he works on his conditioning-level, which does not appear to be the best at the moment. Skill-wise, he does not possess much of a mid-range game, is very streaky shooting the ball from behind the arc, and is just an average defender. Wayns did not look particularly assertive in some of the games we saw him play, especially in the U-18 tryouts, but he’s still so young that he has plenty of time to improve on his leadership skills.

He’ll be playing his college ball at Villanova under Jay Wright.

Mason Plumlee, 6-10, Power Forward, Rising Senior, Indiana Elite One
Committed to Duke

As far as long-term prospects go, Mason Plumlee (#12 Scout, #25 Rivals, #19 ESPN) is definitely one of the most talented big men we saw in the month of July. 6-10, with a great frame and very nice athleticism, Plumlee has a great physical profile for an NBA power forward prospect. He also shows flashes of the budding skill level needed, as he can put the ball on the floor from the perimeter with big strides and very nice ball-handling skills, hit 3-pointers, pull-up off the dribble, and is an absolutely outstanding passer.

He is so skilled that his AAU team even runs him at the point guard position, which is not something that is really conducive to winning games at a higher level of competition, but tells you a little bit about how versatile he is. Plumlee would regularly grab a rebound at the U-18 National Team tryouts and then ignite the fast break on his own, showing very nice dexterity in the open court and an advanced feel for the game.

As intriguing as Plumee might be, he still has a long ways to go in many facets of the game. He’s not very effective inside, showing virtually no moves around the paint, limited ability to finish through contact, and a concerning lack of toughness at times. He seems to offer up his glimpses of potential in small doses, and has a tendency to coast as far as his intensity is concerned in others. His court awareness inside the arc is surprisingly underdeveloped, and that translates to the defensive end of the floor as well, where he is extremely weak. Adding strength to his excellent frame will be a priority once he reaches the college level.

Plumlee is definitely a name for scouts to keep in the back of their mind, but they’ll probably have to be patient with him.

Mouphtaou Yarou, 6-9, Power Forward, Rising Senior, Cecil Kirk
4-Star Recruit (UConn, New Mexico State, UCLA, etc)

On the advice of one of the college coaches, we went to take a look at Mouphtaou Yarou (#88 Scout, #31 Rivals, Unranked ESPN) at an out of the way gym on our last day in Vegas. That was definitely a smart move on our part. Yarou is a native of Benin (he supposedly has royalty in his blood) and has been in the States for just a few months now. He hasn’t been playing basketball for all that long from what he told us, but you would never guess based off the way he plays.

Yarou is a 6-9 post player with a solid build and an excellent frame. He has good size for the power forward position and a very nice wingspan. He runs the floor fairly well and is a solid all-around athlete. He’s not a freak like some of his African counterparts, but he can certainly jump and has nice body control as well.

Yarou’s feel offensively is actually very good. He has good hands and some moves in the post. He can put the ball on the floor and has a nice stroke from mid-range and from the free throw line. We watched him execute some complicated spins and pivot moves that most big men this age can’t pull off—let alone someone who hasn’t been playing for all that long. Defensively he can rotate and block shots, but still needs to learn the nuances of how to use his tools here—he doesn’t box out for rebounds particularly well and doesn’t really rotate over to try and intimidate that often. His activity level leaves something to be desired, and he was very frustrated by the box and one defense that the opposing team decided to play against him.

After watching him play only briefly, it seems pretty clear that Yarou is an intriguing prospect who deserves a more thorough look. Not all that many people are aware of him at this point, which makes him all the more interesting.

Noel Johnson, 6-7, Shooting Guard/Small Forward, Rising Senior, Atlanta Celtics
4-Star Recruit (USC, Georgia Tech, Louisville)

The Atlanta Celtics’ 6th man and de facto point guard when he’s on the floor is no other than 6-7 Noel Johnson (#34 Scout, #36 Rivals, #39 ESPN), a very smooth and versatile swingman in the Josh Childress mold. We’re talking about a wing player with excellent physical tools for the position—size, wingspan, frame and solid athleticism to boot. Johnson looks to have the makings of an outstanding defender who can guard multiple positions, as he’s smart, intense, long and fundamentally sound. He tries to contest every shot and does a great job staying in front of his matchup thanks to his above average lateral quickness, which makes him a handful to deal with at his size.

Johnson is also a terrific passer—the reason why the Celtics play him at the point next to the shot happy Trae Golden. He’s not the best ball-handler around, but his feel for the game lets the Celtics’ half-court offense flow more smoothly when he’s on the court. Johnson’s scoring ability mostly revolves around his ability to get to the rim in transition, pull-up off the dribble from mid-range, and knock down shots from the perimeter with shaky consistency. He shoots the ball with awkward form, from behind his head and therefore isn’t always very accurate at this point in his career. His decision making isn’t the best and he’s fairly turnover prone, particularly when forced to go left. Johnson’s game is just now beginning to round into form, so it will be very interesting to see which direction he goes in once he hits the college ranks.

Richard Howell, 6-8, Power Forward, Rising Senior, Worldwide Orange
Committed to N.C. State

Richard Howell (#74 Scout, #59 Rivals, #60 ESPN) definitely caught our eye as someone who may be a bit of a sleeper relative to where he’s ranked. He’s a slightly undersized big man with a great frame and excellent strength for a player his age, but he brings a very high skill level to the table on top of that. Howell likes to play facing the basket, where he can put the ball on the floor with a spin move into the paint, or knock down a flat-footed and slow-developing 3-pointer with very nice consistency. He also has good hands and a nice feel for playing inside, and showed off a solid drop-step move inside in addition to a pretty turnaround jump-shot. Howell is just an average athlete and doesn’t seem to play all that much defense at this stage, but he looks like a really nice prospect for Sidney Lowe at N.C. State, especially in that system.

Tyler Honeycutt, 6-8, Small Forward, Rising Senior, Pump-N-Run
4-Star Recruit: (UCLA, Arizona State, USC, etc)

There seems to be a wide range of opinions regarding the prospects of skinny 6-8 small forward Tyler Honeycutt (#59 Scout, #121 Rivals, #80 ESPN), but based off what we saw in Vegas, it’s difficult to see what’s not to like. Honeycutt has the size to play the 3 or the 4 in college and shows attributes that will allow him to see time at both spots depending on the matchup, which makes him a pretty intriguing prospect at his size. He will call for the ball and try to make some basic spin moves in the post, but can bring the ball up the floor in a point-forward role and also knock down 3’s. We watched him come off screens and also make shots with his feet set on the catch and shoot. He is a solid athlete with long arms and a frame that is underdeveloped at the moment but should fill out. He seems like a good teammate and has an excellent demeanor on the floor. Honeycutt is going to have to find a position he can defend at the collegiate level (his future is likely at the 3) and continue to add strength to his frame, but we understand why teams like UCLA, USC and Arizona State have already offered him scholarships.

Keith Gallon, 6-8, PF/C, Rising Senior, Houston Hoops
4-Star Recruit: (Cal, Mississippi State, Oklahoma)

Keith “Tiny” Gallon had a much more inspired outing in this AAU setting than he did the last time we saw him—in an (extra extra large) Oak Hill jersey at the Spalding HoopHall Classic. Gallon is still the incredibly big, out of shape, super long and strong big man he was back then, but he was able to be a lot more productive than he was last time out. Gallon is a true load in the low-post when he puts his mind to it, as he has very nimble feet, the ability to finish with either hand, good footwork, enough girth to establish position deep in the post, great hands, and excellent scoring instincts. He’s very quick off his feet, dunks absolutely everything around the rim, and is a force on the offensive glass at this level.

Gallon struggles to get up and down the floor due to his terrible conditioning, and therefore will at times spend entire possessions back on the defensive end just to conserve any energy he can. He looks a bit lazy out on the floor and plays absolutely no defense as you can probably imagine.

Gallon has some perimeter skills even-- he can knock down a catch and shoot 3-pointer and is even a pretty good passer. The problem is that he falls in love with his perimeter skills a little too much, preferring to hang out around the arc rather than use the huge advantage he has inside. Regardless, there is no question that Gallon is an extremely gifted player, and that if he lost 30-40 pounds (he’s probably a lot closer to 320 pounds than the 285 he’s listed at) he might even become a legitimate NBA prospect at some point.

Tommy Mason-Griffin, 5-11, Point Guard, Rising Senior
Committed to Oklahoma

Gallon’s running mate at Oak Hill next year will be diminutive point guard Tommy Mason-Griffin (#42 Scout, #72 Rivals, #22 ESPN), a guy who has been shooting up the recruiting rankings as of late. Mason-Griffin is a small, quick and very talented scoring point guard, showing great ball-handling skills, really nice hesitation moves to get by defenders, and the ability to change speeds and create offense exceptionally well for both himself and others, particularly in transition. He has a very nice stroke from the perimeter as well, good range on his jumper, and the ability to pull-up off the bounce, making him a lethal scorer when he gets hot. Mason-Griffin is more of a scorer than a playmaker at this point in time, but he has apparently improved on that aspect of his game. Considering his lack of size (the 5-11 he’s listed at may be a stretch) he will probably have to develop pretty much impeccably over his college career to emerge as a serious draft prospect, which means improving his ability to run a team and also become a much better defender.

Recent articles

13.8 Points
5.7 Rebounds
3.3 Assists
12.8 PER
20.8 Points
10.4 Rebounds
3.9 Assists
26.8 PER
5.3 Points
2.3 Rebounds
4.2 Assists
11.7 PER
11.8 Points
5.4 Rebounds
2.2 Assists
21.4 PER
12.5 Points
0.0 Rebounds
2.5 Assists
27.3 PER
0.0 Points
0.0 Rebounds
0.0 Assists
0.0 PER
5.1 Points
4.9 Rebounds
1.1 Assists
15.5 PER
11.9 Points
6.5 Rebounds
1.3 Assists
22.6 PER
4.8 Points
2.0 Rebounds
0.5 Assists
7.9 PER
13.5 Points
3.0 Rebounds
0.0 Assists
16.2 PER
21.3 Points
4.0 Rebounds
7.5 Assists
21.8 PER
0.0 Points
0.0 Rebounds
0.0 Assists
-26.6 PER
2.3 Points
2.0 Rebounds
4.2 Assists
8.9 PER
10.1 Points
6.1 Rebounds
2.1 Assists
18.1 PER
8.0 Points
1.0 Rebounds
6.0 Assists
25.3 PER

Twitter @DraftExpress

DraftExpress Shop