Roundball Classic: Game Recap

Roundball Classic: Game Recap
Apr 12, 2006, 04:00 am
The 2006 EA Sports Roundball Classic was a surprisingly competitive game, with the players looking to win more than showboat as is usually the case in most all-star games. The West team was able to snatch a 118-102 win from the East, after a late fourth quarter surge to give them the victory. Mike Conley Jr.’s 13 assists tell the story of how the West team shared the ball, as they had 7 players score in double figures. Daequan Cook and Greg Oden shared Co-MVP honors for the winning West team, while Derrick Caracter and Alex Stephenson shared MVP honors for the East squad.

Final Score: West 118-East 102

West Team

Greg Oden- 7’0, 240 lbs; C; Signed with Ohio State
21 points, 10-12 FG, 1-2 FT, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 assists in 26 minutes

Oden picked up where he left off in the practice sessions with his outstanding play, garnering himself Co-MVP honors along with Daequan Cook. He took over the game on both ends of the floor, and left little doubt in anyone’s mind that he would have been the number one pick had he been allowed to enter the draft this year.

Offensively, Greg brought out virtually every post move he has. He seemingly has been looking to show off his improved left hand, going to his hook shot many times when receiving the ball down low. Oden did a great job of establishing position down low, as well as passing the ball out of the post and re-establishing position on the blocks. What was surprising was that Greg actually had a shot blocked by Alex Stephenson, but he got his own rebound and responded with a reverse dunk that he drew a foul on.

On the defensive side, he was able to alter everything that came in the paint, and easily had more then the 2 blocks he was credited with. Oden plays so strong, not giving up post position at all and keeping his man firmly boxed out when rebounding the ball. He used his great wingspan and timing to stay out of foul trouble, while totally changing the game defensively. It was just another example of how much of a truly special defensive force Oden has the potential to become.

Draft fans obviously have been hearing Greg Oden’s name for years now, and will all be watching him next year at Ohio State. He is the sure fire number one pick of the 2007 Draft right now, and would really have to disappoint at Ohio State in order not to be picked that high. With the work ethic that Greg has however, it’s very hard to see that happening, and many feel that we’ll all be shocked when we see the type of impact that the Indianapolis native has on the Buckeyes next season.

Daequan Cook- 6’5, 195 lbs; SG; Signed with Ohio State
18 points, 7-13 FG, 2-5 3PT, 2-2 FT, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 blocks in 25 minutes

The Dayton scoring machine picked up right where he left off at the McDonald’s game, finishing as the second leading scorer behind Greg Oden. His ability to score on virtually anyone on the high school level is downright amazing, but it’s more impressive that he does it without becoming a volume shooter like many players do. Cook is now a legitimate 6’5, giving him average size for an NBA SG to go along with his excellent athleticism and very complete game. All the tools are there that NBA scouts are looking for in a SG prospect, aside from the fact that Daequan plays no defense at all. Fortunately he understands that this is by far his biggest weakness, and he told DraftExpress that he is really looking to improve upon that by the time he hits Ohio State.

Draft fans really need to watch Cook, who I feel is a star in the making. There were a lot of mumblings of him entering the NBA Draft before the age limit was put in, so this is definitely a possible “one and done” type player. If he lives up to the expectations that I, along with many others have for him at Ohio State, there is a great chance that he will bolt after his freshman year for the chance of playing in the NBA.

Mike Conley Jr.- 6’1, 175 lbs; PG; Signed with Ohio State
7 points, 3-6 FG, 0-1 3PT, 1-2 FT, 8 rebounds, 13 assists, 4 turnovers in 27 minutes

Mike Conley Jr. will be making a hard case for a starting spot at Ohio State next season, even though current point guard Jamar Butler had an excellent sophomore season. Mike’s ability to run a team is unparalleled at the high school level, and his unselfishness and court vision will surely translate to the college level. It was incredible how he was able to distribute the ball and keep all his teammates happy, and it should be noted that Coach Conley (his father) played all four of the Ohio State recruits at the same time in order for them to build some early chemistry, although Conley, Oden, and Cook have been playing together for years now.

In terms of NBA potential, Conley Jr. is difficult to project. He’s small at only 6’0 or 6’1 and not a great shooter, but he really knows how to play the game and can run a team. Conley has mentioned before that he will be a four year player, so draft fans will have plenty of time to watch him develop into an NBA prospect during his time in Columbus.

David Lighty- 6’5, 215 lbs; SG/SF; Signed with Ohio State
14 points, 6-10 FG, 2-3 3PT, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals in 23 minutes

Lighty does not have the scoring ability or flare of Cook, but has all of the things that Cook lacks in terms of the mental side of the game. He is one of the smarter players you will see at the high school level, and is incredibly productive every time he steps out on the floor. While David’s immediate upside is nowhere near that of Cook’s, he is a safe bet to be a very productive college player and constantly develop throughout his career. The Cleveland native played point guard for his high school this past season, which greatly improved his decision making and now gives him the ability to play all three perimeter positions for the Buckeyes next season.

Patrick Beverley- 6’2, 175 lbs; SG/PG; Undecided
13 points, 6-12 FG, 1-4 3PT, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 turnovers, 3 steals in 23 minutes

The Chicago native had a very nice performance at the Roundball, although he still projects as more of a SG then a PG at the moment. He showed the ability to break down virtually every guard that the East team had to offer, and made some very sound decisions with the ball in his hands. The Marshall High guard has been one of the fastest rising players in the nation this past spring, and scoring 35 points per game this past high school season didn’t hurt him either. He is currently considering Michigan, Arkansas, and St. John’s and has said that he sees himself as a “Daniel Horton type guard”, which is a pretty accurate description of his style of play.

Bryan Davis- 6’9, 225 lbs; PF; Signed with Texas A&M
15 points, 6-16 FG, 0-2 3PT, 3-6 FT, 8 rebounds, 5 steals, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers in 23 minutes

Bryan showed high school hoops fans what his game is all about at the Roundball: Hard work. He battled every single possession as if it were his last, and played with a passion that scouts dream of in more talented players. Davis showed off his ability to score in the post, and even brought up a smooth left (opposite) handed hook shot. His shot selection wasn’t great, but any basketball fan couldn’t help but fall in love with his gritty, active, hard nosed game. Aggie fans will absolutely love Bryan next year at A&M, as his nonstop motor and developing skill set will command immediate playing time behind Joseph Jones.

Lance Thomas- 6’8, 210 lbs; PF/SF; Undecided
13 points, 6-19 FG, 1-1 FT, 5 rebounds, 4 turnovers in 25 minutes

Thomas had a bit of an off night Sunday, as he shot the ball extremely poorly from the field to start off and never seemed to get things going after that. He was out of control at times and made some bad decisions, but played hard the entire game with his usual nonstop motor. Lance will be deciding very soon between Rutgers or Duke, but regardless of which school he attends, he made it clear that he will be refining his perimeter skills to allow him to play both forward positions.

Damion James- 6’8, 227 lbs; SF; Signed with Oklahoma
10 points, 4-9 FG, 0-2 3PT, 2-4 FT, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks in 23 minutes

Damion was looking to show fans why he felt he was snubbed from the McDonald’s game, but unfortunately for him, he didn’t exactly stand out in the Roundball game. The Texas native never really seemed to get within the flow of things offensively, as he began to force some shots after things weren’t working his way. It was a disappointing performance from James, who is viewed as one of the more polished high school players in the country and is compared by some to Tracy McGrady, which I don’t agree with. He told DraftExpress after the game that he will wait and see who Okalahoma hires as their next head coach before deciding whether or not he will reopen his recruitment.

Tom Herzog- 7’0, 225 lbs; C; Signed with Michigan State
2 points, 1-3 FG, 5 rebounds, 7 blocks in 22 minutes

“The Zog” is still incredibly raw offensively, but has great timing and length on the defensive end, resulting in his excellent rebounding and shot blocking statistics. He will contend for playing time as a freshman at Michigan State, as neither Goran Suton or Drew Naymick stand out in any facet of the game and are nowhere near the defender that Herzog is. On the flip side, Tom is extremely skinny and really needs to bulk up to play in the Big 10. His offensive game also needs some fine tuning, but the Spartans have a long tradition of developing big men into productive players, although not necessarily NBA prospects.

Scottie Reynolds- 6’0, 185 lbs; PG; Signed with Oklahoma
5 points, 2-6 FG, 1-3 3PT, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 6 turnovers, 3 steals in 23 minutes

Scottie didn’t overly impress at the Roundball, as he displayed poor decision making skills and was forcing the issue all game long. I really question his ability to run a team at the high major division one level, but he will surely bolster any program with his excellent shooting ability. Reynolds is in a tough situation at the moment, as he signed with Oklahoma when Kelvin Sampson was still at the helm, and has made it clear that he is interested in following him to Indiana if possible.

East Team

Derrick Caracter- 6’9, 280 lbs; PF; Signed with Louisville
16 points, 7-14 FG, 0-1 3PT, 2-2 FT, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals, 3 turnovers in 24 minutes

The New Jersey native showed off his polished post game in the second half of the Roundball, after a mediocre at best first half. The nimble big man is much more athletic then people give him credit for, and is just as skilled as any power forward in the country. Caracter’s ball handling and shooting skills are definitely above average for a post player, and he can really score once he receives the ball down low. The downside however, is that his game is somewhat reminiscent of Eddy Curry’s in that he is extremely talented offensively, but doesn’t play much one on one defense and is a poor rebounder, although he is a better shot blocker because of his great wingspan and quick leaping ability.

The coaches at Louisville must keep Caracter motivated in order for him to reach his fullest potential. How they will do that is the great question. Derrick’s coaches all throughout high school have had problems with his desire, and it’s just a shame to see such a skilled and talented big man just go through the motions when out on the floor. Hopefully Coach Pitino can make him play hard, because if that happens, we are looking at a definite NBA player.

Alex Stepheson- 6’10, 230 lbs; PF/C; Signed with North Carolina
15 points, 6-12 FG, 3-6 FT, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks in 21 minutes

This was my first time seeing the North Carolina recruit, and boy was I impressed. Stepheson is all that you can ask for in a developing big man, as he is strong, athletic, and plays extremely hard. He’s incredibly athletic and finishes well around the rim, and that alone should earn him immediate playing time at UNC. He stepped out and knocked down a few mid range jumpers, and even brought out a few moves down low, but the Tarheel staff will have a lot of fun working with him because of his immense potential. Alex is also one of the two or three players that I’ve ever seen block Greg Oden’s shot. Unfortunately for him however, Oden got the ball back immediately and had a reverse dunk and Stephenson, drawing a foul on the way as well. As stated in the practice articles, Alex definitely has all of the tools to step right in and play at North Carolina, and could even take minutes away from Brandan Wright if Wright does not begin to show some immediate improvement in his game. UNC’s frontcourt is regardless looking incredibly stacked with 20 and 10 machine Tyler Hansbrough returning.

Earl Clark- 6’9, 200 lbs; PG/SG/SF; Signed with Louisville
15 points, 5/13 FG, 2/2 3PT, 3/3 FT, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 turnovers, 3 steals in 25 minutes

The freakishly tall wing from New Jersey showed us his vast array of skills at the Roundball, although he was not dominant in any particular facet of the game. He handled the ball well in the open court, broke opposing wings down off the dribble, played great defense, and even knocked down two 3-pointers, which is the weakest part of his game. He did however make a few questionable passes, which led to his four turnovers in the game. Draft fans should follow Clark at Louisville, as it is incredibly rare that you find a pure wing player with his size (he looks around 6’10). As long as he improves his jumpshot and develops physically, Earl is a surefire NBA player because of his outstanding skill set for a big man.

Curtis Kelly- 6’10, 190 lbs; PF/SF; Signed with Connecticut
14 points, 6/10 FG, 2/4 FT, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals in 23 minutes

The first thing that stands out about Kelly is that he looks much closer to 6’8 then he does 6’10. With that said, the energetic forward had an excellent game at the Roundball, doing a little bit of everything to help his team battle against the four Ohio State recruits. The UCONN recruit was very active, and used his great length to his advantage, resulting in a very productive game. While Curtis is projected by some as a SF at the next level, he still has a ways to go before we can begin talking about that. His handle is still a bit sloppy and his outside shot needs work, but he is athletic enough to play on the perimeter with some work. What makes this seem like a possibility is the New York City native’s great work ethic, displayed by his staying late after the Roundball practices shooting three pointers while every other player was in the locker room hanging out with teammates. I’m sure that Jim Calhoun and his staff with do a great job with Kelly, and we’ll be talking about him as a draft prospect in a few years.

Darrell Arthur- 6’9, 220 lbs; PF; Undecided
9 points,3-12 FG, 0-2 3PT, 3-6 FT, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals in 22 minutes

Darrell had a decent performance at the Roundball, but not what you’d expect out of the most coveted unsigned player out there. He looked very comfortable facing the basket, knocking down a couple of fluid mid range jumpers. He also showed great hands, catching a few tough passes, and finishing and/or getting fouled at the rim. Aside from that however, he didn’t really do that much and seemed frustrated out on the floor, looking like his head wasn’t really in the game. The Dallas native has narrowed his college choices to Oklahoma, Kansas, Baylor, and Texas, but some are speculating that Indiana could get back in the mix with the hiring of Kelvin Sampson. Some project Arthur as a SF at the next level because of his great coordination and skills facing the basket, although we see him more as a face the basket PF.

Eugene Harvey- 6’0, 165 lbs; PG; Undecided
4 points, 2-4 FG, 10 assists, 5 rebounds, 5 turnovers

Harvey did a great job running the show for the East team, not backing down to the more heralded Mike Conley Jr. in the slightest bit. He showed great court vision throughout the game, but is still a bit on the small side and is not a good outside shooter. He is currently holding offers from Rutgers, USC, Maryland, and Illinois, but has said that he will attend Rutgers if high school teammate Lance Thomas goes there as well. Rutgers would be a great move for the duo, considering that they would receive a great deal of playing time while getting plenty of exposure in front of scouts in the Big East.

Perry Stevenson- 6’10, 197 lbs; PF; Signed with Kentucky
6 points, 3-5 FG, 5 rebounds, 2 turnovers in 17 minutes

The long and athletic big man from Louisiana never really seemed to get in the flow of things, but excited the crowd with a few powerful slam dunks. Blessed with a freakish wingspan, Stevenson is an excellent shot blocker, but did not have one single block in the Roundball game. Although listed at 197 lbs., Perry looks much closer to 190 and will have to bulk up mightily before he is able to compete as a power forward in the SEC, but all the tools are there for him to become a very nice player down the road.

Chris Singletary- 6’4, 220 lbs; SG/SF; Undecided
8 points, 4-7 FG, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 turnovers, 2 steals in 22 minutes

Singletary had a pretty nice game, but didn’t stand out in one particular area. He played incredibly hard, but was a little on the small side and isn’t a great decision maker. The power guard from Chicago was originally committed to Missouri, but has reopened his recruitment with the departure of Quin Snyder from Mizzou. Ole Miss, Providence, and Wake Forest are the three schools that he is considering, and Chris will surely give any of those schools some well needed toughness from the wing position.

Will Walker- 6’2, 180 lbs; SG/PG, Signed with DePaul
8 points, 4-13 FG, 0-4 3PT, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 turnover in 22 minutes

The diminutive scoring guard from Chicago had a decent game statistically, but did not impress in terms of style of play. To call Walker a PG is a stretch by any means, as he looks to shoot virtually every single time he touches the ball. I do see potential for him as a combo guard however, as he did show the ability to break defenders down and create, but always looked to score first and missed many open teammates. While Will finished with four assists, he could have easily had 8 or 9 if he looked to pass instead of putting up bad shot after bad shot each time down the floor.

Brian Carlwell- 6’11, 265 lbs; C; Signed with Illinois
2 points, 1-3 FG, 3 rebounds, 2 assists in 21 minutes

Many Chicago natives told me that Carlwell was not a Big 10 center right now, and boy were they right. The Illinois recruit really had a bad weekend of basketball, showing that he is not ready to step in and compete at a high division one level. His footwork, hands, and overall skill package need a ton of work to be that type of player. The potential is there however for Brian because of his size, but it’s going to take a ton of work with the Illini coaching staff and most likely a red shirt year before we will find out what kind of player Carlwell winds up being.

Derek Glasser- 6’2, 165 lbs; PG; Signed with USC
5 points, 2-7 FG, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers in 22 minutes

Glasser was totally outmatched throughout the week in the games and practices. Selected as a substitute player, it was clear that he was not on the same talent level as the other players. Derek displayed poor ball handling skills throughout the weekend, which will definitely need to improve if he plans on playing point guard at USC. On the positive side however, Glasser did have a great attitude and played extremely hard every second he was on the floor, but unfortunately he was just outmatched by more talented players.

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