Texas Wrap Up
Over the Thanksgiving holiday CoutCred made a trip to Texas to check out some of the country's best and some of the country's unknown. Texas is and will continue to be a recruiting hotbed for college basketball's top notch programs. I have always felt that this is one state that college coaches should be running to in efforts to scoop up quality talent. With trips to both Dallas and Houston for RCSSports Hoopsgiving Classic, CourtCred got a good gauge on some of the talent in the area.
Best Player In The Gym
This trip provided us an opportunity to look at players that are capable of playing at every collegiate level. The marquee players on the bill that the crowd had anticipated seeing were top 5 player Emmanuel Mudiay(SMU signee) and recent Duke commit Justise Winslow. When the smoke settled and the numbers were in it was HCYA's Justin Jackson that put in the best performance of the night. Jackson poured in 38 points 10 rebounds 4 assists and 3 blocks in 32 minutes. Jackson has no doubt continued to improve on his already consistent game. The 6'8 small forward might not look like he's getting that much bigger, but it's apparent that the UNC bound senior is getting stronger. If Jackson was on campus right now in Carolina he would seriously challenge for a starting position. Practically unstoppable on the baseline, Jackson's release on his shot looked to be quicker, and when he went up to attack the glass he snatched down rebounds. Sometimes Jackson's toughness is over looked. On his high school team he is always matched up with the other teams best player, if not that he finds himself guarding bigger stronger players on the post which has in turn made him a very smart defender.
If Justin Jackson was the best player in the gym, then JC Washington was the hardest playing person in the gym on that day. The Yates High School power forward who recently signed with the University of Houston had his rough, hard nosed motor revved up the entire game. If you have ever seen a Yates basketball game then you understand that its non stop presser and pushing the ball. At 6'6 Washington keeps up with this frantic pace with no problem. He often got the break started after pulling down one of his 15 rebounds and advancing the ball with the pass. He scored from point blank range by putting back offensive boards and using his soft hands to finish off dump ups in the paint. There was once a time that I wasn't a believer in Washington's game. I think at this point I am still a bit on the fence, sometimes it is hard to see where he will fit in in a system that doesn't play at such a fast pace. The one thing you can't deny him is that he plays with max effort which is a skill in itself.
No Fireworks In Prime Time Matchup
The Dallas Prime Prep/Houston St. Johns game didn't live up to the hype with lack luster performances from both teams and its star players. Prime won the game, only managing to put 46 points on the board. The nations number one point guard Emmanuel Mudiay looked unenthused while on the floor as he manged to only attempt five shots on the night for a total of 4 points 3 assists. The game was far from Prime's face paced highlight heavy showings thatwe have come accustom to. On the other end it was no better for Winslow, although he ended up being the games high scorer with 13 points and 10 rebounds, but he wasn't very assertive on the night.
SC Guard Making His Presence Felt In Dallas
In Dallas we made the stop to state contender Kimball to peak in on its new point guard South Carolina transplant Juwan Evans. Evans is no stranger to huge numbers and in his first contest with his new team he managed to post a triple double. On the night that we were in the building Evans was just one assist shy of his second triple double on the season finishing his game against Guyer with 26 points 12 assists 9 rebounds. Evans' best attribute is his speed which he has no problem harnessing so that he may change directions. Its hard to guard the ball when you can't keep it in front of you. Evans is a great finisher, he had to have three or four buckets with the foul. He does a great job of making adjustments on the floor and although a lot of times he ends up as the teams leading scorer he never misses an opportunity to get his teammates involved.
De'Aaron Fox 6'3 So. PG Cypress Lakes HS
The #1 sophomore in the Houston area put together a pretty complete game in a loss on the day, but Fox left us with a lot to look forward to. The lefty has deep range that he can release either off the dribble or when his feet are set. He did a good job of not just limiting himself to being a scorer, at the end of the game he had hauled down 14 rebounds. Fox can thank his extremely long each for his superb rebounding numbers. He was aggressive when it came to balls coming off the glass, along with getting his hands on passes that came across his face. As a point guard Fox will have to work on not being so left hand dominate and he must continue to add upper body strength.
Tim Priller 6'9 Sr. PF Dallas Richland HS
An unsigned senior that surprised the coaches that sat on the sidelines watching. He's not a monster by any means, Priller has sort of an awkward game but he proved to be very effective. At the half Priller tallied 15 points and 5 rebounds. He proved that he could be accurate from beyond the arc knocking down a few threes from the trailer position on the break. An extra year would do Priller some good. It would give him a chance to get stronger and more polished, but he could and will more than likely end up on a college roster next year.
Sam Mays 6'4 Jr. SG Houston Kinkaid HS
In warm ups before the game started Mays showed off a nice stroke, but when the game started he got himself going with some nifty footwork in the open floor to avoid drawing offense fouls. Mays used both hands equally around the rim before flushing one home with one hand. I would like to see more of Mays to get a better feel for his game. He has good size on the wing and a good strong frame. He could have stood to have been more aggressive.
Jeff Roberson 6'6 Sr.F Houston Kinkaid HS
He might be the top unsigned senior in the Houston area and a lot of signs are pointing toward an Ivy League school for him. Early on he looked more four man than wing, but that would change as the game carried on and he asserted himself more. It would serve him well to play with more energy and use his upper body strength to punish small defenders. He's strong off the dribble rather than quick. He looks comfortable shooting the ball, but is more effective playing from free throw line extended and in.
Joe Burton 6'7 Sr. SF Atasocita HS(Oklohoma St. Commit)
Burton had a quite first half, he played well within the flow of the game, but it was the second half where he showed why he's taking his game to the Big 12. At the start of the 3rd quarter Burton worked from the outside in. He was on the receiving end of some extra passes that set him up for some open threes which he knocked down, three to be exact. After he found the basket you could tell that he started to feel it and found some extra pep in his step. Burton started to fill the lanes and finish at the rim which included a crowd pleasing catch and finish over the rim. I like Burton as a prospect, I like his ceiling and Oklahoma St. fans should like it to. He's an unselfish player that will continue to improve and should be able to bring energy to both ends of the floor.
Jordan Hunter 5'9 Jr. PG Beaumont Ozen(Committed to New Mexico)
One of the better little guards around the country. Before tip off we found out that Hunter had recently committed to the University of New Mexico and the coaches were on hand to check out their newest recruit. If an Alabama tailback was on the basketball court then he would resemble Hunter. The well put together guard is sort of a combo guard, but will be running the show at the next level. On this day he would play the majority of the game off of the ball with his brother Jared at the point. Hunter was a sniper from the outside canning six threes on the day. His on ball defense stifled opponents, lateral quickness isn't a problem with this pesky guard and he is an excellent rebounder and athlete for his size.
Ty Dalton 6'3 Jr. Combo Guard Second Baptist HS
Second Baptist isn't one of those schools coaches flock to because it spits out basketball talent, but coaches Marland Lowe and Kevin Mouton have put in a lot of work to get their guys ready for battle. The team has seen strides mainly thanks to the play of guard Ty Dalton. Dalton was easily the surprise player of the trip as he did an array of things to keep his team in the game. Dalton is no doubt a guard, but he was Second Baptist's best post player it seemed like. In the first half everything ran through him as he posted up on the left block where he took his time to find teammates that cut to the basket while scoring every now and then with a crafty move. Dalton has a high basketball IQ, he took what the defense gave him and he knew when it was time to force the issue a little. He followed up a 20/20 outing the game before by being the second highest scorer on the trip with 32 points behind Jackson's 38.