Pitt JamFest: Top 2008 Prospects

Pitt JamFest: Top 2008 Prospects
May 02, 2007, 08:46 pm
Last weekend’s Pitt JamFest offered many of the top names in recruiting circles throughout the country. Top 2008 prospects such as Ed Davis, Samardo Samuels, and William Buford were on hand but ultimately an unheralded Grassroots Canada team (led by Davoe Joseph) took the 17-U crown.

DraftExpress was on hand to provide detailed breakdowns on the top performers from the class of 2008, 2009, and 2010 respectively.

2008 Prospects

William Buford, 6’5, SG, D-1 Greyhounds, 2008, Committed to Ohio State

There was not a more productive player throughout the weekend then future Ohio State wing William Buford. He led his D-1 Greyhounds squad to the finals of the 17-U gold bracket, only to come up short to a surprising Grassroots Canada team. Buford showed off absolutely everything that you can ask for out of a scoring guard, as he shot the ball well from deep, displayed the ability to pull-up from mid range, and used his athleticism to finish at the rim once he got inside the paint. He showed off great form on his jumpshot and simply looked like a sophomore in college out there against aa group of 17 year old boys.

Buford is going to have the opportunity to step and contribute immediately for the Buckeyes with the impending departure of shooting guard Daequan Cook to the NBA and Ron Lewis’ graduation. He will certainly have to improve upon his defense in order to truly make himself an elite prospect as far as the NBA is concerned, but at the moment, there is not another shooting guard prospect in the class of 2008 that brings as much to the table as William Buford does.

Ty Walker, 7’0, C, Boo Williams, 2008, Committed to Wake Forest

While Walker never scored more then 10 points in any of the games that we observed, he exhibited more in terms of upside then any other player in the class of 2008 present in Pittsburgh. He stands a legit 7 feet tall with phenomenal length (wingspan rumored to be 7’5) and a frame that certainly has the potential to fill out. While he is not a scoring machine at the moment, he is easily the best shot blocker that his class has to offer. Ty combines his super length and athleticism with remarkable timing, allowing him to block 4-5 shots per game while staying out of foul trouble. He will almost certainly make an impact from the day he steps foot on campus at Wake Forest, solely based on his ability to change the game on the defensive end.

Despite the fact that Ty never had any remarkably huge scoring outputs, he exhibited a remarkably soft touch around the basket and proved to be an above average passer for a true center. He still has a bit of a ways to go in terms of post development before he should even consider bolting to the NBA, but with merely average development on the offensive end, we will surely see Walker in the NBA by the time it is all said and done due to his ability to change the game on the defensive end.

Ed Davis, 6’8, PF, Boo Williams, 2008

Davis did not disappoint with his statistical output throughout the week, although his team was bounced awfully early in tournament play given all of the talent that they possessed. He showed why many consider him the nation’s top power forward, as he rebounded the ball consistently, showed the ability to play out of the high post, and of course used his patented athleticism to finish everything around the rim. By our accounts there was not a game in which Davis had less then 16 points on the weekend, a testament to his consistency. On the defensive end, the Virginia native uses his massive wingspan and outstanding leaping ability to block/alter his fair share of shots, making opposing big men think two (and three) times before putting the ball up in the paint against himself and Ty Walker.

In order for Ed to fulfill his fullest potential, he must continue to improve as a ball handler and midrange jump shooter. While his low post moves are quite solid at the moment, he goes left almost every time, making him quite predictable to guard. Either way, the Virginia native has just as much (if not more) potential then any power forward in the class and appears to be on the right path to fulfill that.

Samardo Samuels, 6’8, PF/C, Metro Hawks, 2008

The New Jersey big man did not have the most productive tournament statistically, but did show all of the college coaches in attendance why he is regarded as one of the top ten players in the class of 2008 by every major recruiting analyst. Despite the fact that he only stands 6-foot-8, he is able to make up for his below average height with a massive wingspan. Samardo used both his length and outstanding body to dominate the glass throughout the weekend, while also establishing himself as a formidable shot blocking threat. He showed off a very soft touch around the rim, while showing off improved perimeter skills. On one occasion, he took the ball coast to coast, making a behind the back dribble and getting fouled on a dunk attempt. On another, Samuels stepped out and looked quite comfortable hitting a 18 foot jumper, looking pretty impressive for a 250 pound post player in doing so.

Samuels was a bit disappointing statistically, as he did not ever dominate the game or demand the ball, in the time that we spent observing him. His attitude seemed a little on the poor side, as he was seen complaining to the referees constantly and was usually the last player down the floor defensively. Motivating Samardo will be key in him fully reaching his potential at the collegiate level, but the staff at whatever school he goes to (rumored to have UNC lead) should be able to keep their big man playing hard enough for him to be more productive in college then he is at the high school level.

Sylven Landesberg, 6’6, SG, Metro Hawks, 2008

Landesberg was the second most productive player in the class of 2008 that we observed, as he filled up the stat sheet all weekend long. Despite his incredibly slender frame, he was able to score in every way imaginable throughout the weekend. He showed off a very nice handle for a wing, even playing point guard at times and looking quite comfortable doing so. Sylven was downright automatic shooting the ball, whether it be through a devastating pull-up jumper or from beyond the arc. It was clear throughout the tournament that we were looking at a player with an extremely high basketball IQ, with the lengthy wing rarely making a mistake or forcing a bad shot when he had the ball in his hands.

Obviously the biggest flaw that many are going to pick out in Landesberg’s game is his strength, or lack thereof. At only 180 lbs, he surely needs to bulk up a bit before he reaches college if he hopes to defend stronger wing players. Although Sylven has the length and quickness to eventually be a nice defender, he did struggle a bit guarding smaller players on the weekend. With improved strength and defensive fundamentals however, we should surely see Landesberg make an impact in his first year at the collegiate level.

Romero Osby, 6’7, SF, Southeast Elite, 2008

After a very strong performance at Real Deal on The Hill, Osby leveled out a bit at the Pittsburgh JamFest. He never seemed to really get in a groove offensively, despite the outstanding size and skills that he owns for a wing player. He really struggled on the defensive end guarding smaller wings, which is understandable considering he is 235 lbs and out on the perimeter guarding 6’4 guards. Romero shot the ball well from the outside throughout the weekend, and gave fans a glimpse of the remarkable potential that he has in brief spurts. Regardless of his play, it was clear that we were looking at a 6’7, 235 pound wing with an impressive skill set and an impressive body who is surely a player that draft fans need to keep an eye on.

Yancy Gates, 6’9, PF, Ohio Basketball Club, 2008, Committed to Cincinnati

In one of the more surprising upsets of the tournament, Gates saw his stacked Ohio Basketball Club squad get upset by the Rhode Island Hawks in their pool play finale. The 6’9 Cincinnati recruit led the way for his team with 13 points, but the consistency issues that plagued him throughout his career were evident once again today. He showed his tremendous upside early in the game, stepping out and knocking down a three, blocking a handful of shots, and utilizing his strength on the low blocks with his back to the basket play. Then we saw the player that has left so many recruiting analysts frustrated over the years. Yancy was scoreless in the second half, and was most often seen floating around the perimeter and jacking up contested jump shots, despite the fact that he is stronger then virtually any player the class of 2008 has to offer. If he truly hopes to reach his fullest potential once he becomes a Bearcat in the fall of 2008, Yancy must realize that he has perform as the player we saw in the first half for a full 40 minutes each and every night.

Darius Miller, 6’6, SF, D-1 Greyhounds, 2008

Miller did not have the best tournament, as William Buford did the blunt of the scoring and playmaking duties for his D-1 Greyhound team. It was clear that he has all of the raw talent and tools to be an outstanding wing down the line, but could really use some polish before he can be considered an NBA prospect. He has a great body, is incredibly long, and uses his quick feet to keep in front of his man at all times on the defensive end. The Kentucky stud has shown the ability to hit the three (although not consistently), but could really use some work on his ball handling skills before he steps foot on campus in 2008. He is definitely a very interesting prospect however, due to his outstanding athleticism and ability to be a shutdown defender on the perimeter.

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