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Kingwood Classic

July 3, 2002 Columns No Comments

Summer Camping in the Phil Nation

Postcard from Texas

Kingwood Classic

by Phil Kasiecki

The 2002 Houston Kingwood Classic, held at various sites in metropolitan Houston, Texas, saw more than 200 teams participate in terrific basketball action. The non-stop action was excellent, with many good Division I prospects participating. Hal Pastner and his staff did a terrific job running the show throughout the weekend, as most games started on time and were a pleasure to watch.

Due to changing NCAA regulations regarding AAU basketball and recruiting in general, this event was one of the few in the spring that Division I coaches could attend this event. The gyms were full of coaches, from the head coaches of big-time programs like Matt Doherty (North Carolina) and Tubby Smith (Kentucky), to new head coaches such as Dave Leitao (DePaul) as well as assistants at many mid-major and smaller schools.

Here are notes and evaluations of some of the best and/or most notable players participating in the tournament that I was able to see. In some cases, the city of the school was not available from the team roster or from previous records I had on the player in question.

Blake Adams (6’6″ Jr. SG-SF, Aldine Nimitz HS, Houston, TX)
Good size shooter shot the ball well from long range. He has decent quickness and is a good athlete, able to finish some drives as well though he looks most at home as a shooter. High-major prospect.

Aaron Aflalo (6’4″ So. SG-SF, Compton Centennial HS, Compton, CA)
This wing has some decent athleticism but is not overly quick, which might make him a small forward. He did not shoot the ball well until later in the tournament and does not always seem to play 100%, which makes his potential more difficult to gauge.

Mohamed Akubar (6’9″ Jr. PF, Rancho Bernardo HS, San Diego, CA)
This active forward played well overall. He made plays inside and on the baseline, made some mid-range jump shots and also finished a few fast breaks. He sometimes plays away from the basket a bit much, as he did not shoot the ball well from outside overall and was not a big factor on the boards. He could also use some more strength. High-major prospect.

Andre Allen (5’10” So. PG, Booker T. Washington HS, Memphis, TN)
This quick, well-built point guard is a penetrator who showed the ability to finish drives and maneuver in traffic.

Morris Almond (6’6″ Jr. SF, McEachern HS, Powder Springs, GA)
This athletic scoring wing is a good leaper who scored in several ways. He moved well without the ball, scored garbage points, hit a few mid-range jumpers off the dribble and knocked down a couple of three-pointers off the dribble. Mid-major prospect.

Trevor Ariza (6’8″ Jr. SF, Westchester HS, Los Angeles, CA)
He had his moments during the tournament, but wasn’t a big star. He likes to drive to the basket, as he can handle the ball well for his size and he goes up strong to finish drives. He is active on the glass, uses quick moves when he posts up and he rebounded well, and he can be better on the post with added strength though he is really a small forward. His jump shot was not falling, and a couple of times he was out of control, but he’s definitely a big-time prospect.

Brandon Bass (6’7″ Jr. SF-PF, Capitol HS, Baton Rouge, LA)
Well-built forward is a scorer who showed the ability to handle the ball. He scored posting up and on the fast break with a strong finish, and looks to be a legitimate combo forward. High-major prospect.

Demetris Bell (6’5″ Jr. SF-PF, Summerfield HS, Summerfield, AR)
Active athlete played very well while being overshadowed by a teammate who had a superb showing. He made several key plays, shot the ball well from long range and rebounded, and showed toughness on the inside despite a frame that could use more strength. The question is, given his height, can he be a true small forward at the next level? Mid-major plus prospect.

Kevin Bridgewater (5’8″ Jr. PG, Adair County HS, Columbia, KY)
Strong, scrappy point guard took over at times in one game. He is a good leaper and has good quickness, and he made a few deep three-pointers to go with his slashing baskets. Mid-major prospect.

Michael Brock (6’7″ Jr. SF-PF, Simon Kenton HS, Independence, KY)
Well-built combo forward is a competitor at both ends of the floor. He played a lot on the perimeter and shot the ball well from mid-range and long range, exercising good shot selection. Mid-major prospect.

Rashaun Bryant (6’9″ Jr. PF-C, Coosa HS, Rome, GA)
Big space-eater moves well on the low post for his size and can rebound, including at the offensive end. He scores in close on the post and scored on some put-backs during the tournament. High-major prospect.

David Burgess (6’10” So. PF-C, Woodbridge HS, Irvine, CA)
Good size post player really struggled at the offensive end in the early going, as he doesn’t go up strong and he doesn’t have good hands. He had trouble finishing, and even when he scored on the post late in the tournament, he still did not go up strong a lot. He rebounded well at the defensive end.

Warren Carter (6’8″ Jr. SF-PF, Lake Highlands HS, TX)
Long, thin combo forward is a nice athlete who showed some inside-outside ability. He is quick around the basket and uses it to score in close, showed a nice touch with a few baseline jumpers, and scored out to long range on three-pointers. He could use more strength, but he can score and is a nice athlete. High-major prospect.

Matt Causey (5’11” Jr. PG, Beckmar HS, Gainesville, GA)
This quick point guard is a clever dribbler who penetrates very well since he can maneuver in traffic. He has quick hands and generally prefers penetrating to try to score to shooting jump shots, though he did knock down some clutch shots from long range. He’s a pesky defender with quick hands and plays hard every second he is on the floor. High-major prospect has committed to Georgetown.

Milton Collins (6’2″ So. PG-SG, OP Walker HS, New Orleans, LA)
Quick combo guard played very well. He is very aggressive at both ends, driving strong and finishing at the offensive end and using quick hands to steal the ball and get easy layups in transition. He showed a good stroke as well, though he looked to penetrate more than shoot. He will be worth keeping an eye on.

Prince Cousinard (6’2″ Jr. SG, Yates HS, Houston, TX)
Scoring wing is basically a slasher who plays bigger than his size, as he drives in against bigger players and will rebound inside as well. Low to mid-major prospect.

Shaun Davis (6’1″ Jr. PG, Lincoln HS, CA)
This scoring point guard played very well. Quick, but not a jet, he was able to maneuver well in traffic when he penetrates, and he goes up strong to finish. He also knocked down some three-pointers to keep defenders honest, but he didn’t show as much in the way of playmaking skills as one would like to see from a point guard. He’s a high-major minus/mid-major plus prospect.

Ra’Sean Dickey (6’10” So. PF-C, Marlboro County HS, Clio, SC)
Burly post player is strong and mobile with some quick post moves, but he missed a lot of close shots over the weekend as he went up too strong a few times. He played out of control at times.

Darrell Dora (6’9″ Jr. PF-C, Gonzales HS, Houston, TX)
Good size post player played his best basketball later in the tournament. He could use some more strength and did not seem to play very assertively. He did not get many touches at the offensive end, so that is an unknown quantity from this tournament. Mid-major prospect.

Roderick Earls (6’4″ Jr. SG, Parkview HS, Little Rock, AR)
This wing scorer played his best ball later in the tournament. He showed a good stroke on his jump shot, and also went inside for a few rebounds. Mid-major prospect.

Ndudi Ebi (6’10” Jr. SF-PF, Westbury Christian HS, Houston, TX)
At times, this athletic big man took over games with his shot-blocking and running the floor. He is very active and plays stronger than he looks, uses his long arms to block many shots (he made several great blocks in this tournament), and can score on the post or on a long jump shot. If he can fill out his frame, this big-time prospect has unlimited potential.

Patrick Ewing, Jr. (6’8″ Jr. SF-PF, Marietta HS, Marietta, GA)
The son of the NBA star doesn’t have the outside shooting touch of his father, but he has some good skills at both ends of the floor and looks like his father in the way he runs. He has some combo forward skills as a good athlete who can handle the ball some, but he did not play his best basketball here as he was in foul trouble in one game and his jump shot was not falling. More of a power forward, he’s a high-major minus prospect.

Zam Frederick (6’1″ So. PG-SG, Calhoun HS, St. Matthews, SC)
Well-built guard did not play his best basketball at this tournament, especially at the offensive end. He’s a power guard and more of a scorer than a shooter, and he struggled to score while forcing up some bad shots. He later knocked down some three-point shots and played better.

Rashann Freeman (6’8″ Jr. PF, Schenectady HS, Schenectady, NY)
This post player can get out in transition and finish the fast break and occasionally lead it, as he goes up strong to finish in close. He can also face the basket and knocked down a couple of mid-range jump shots. High-major minus prospect.

Corey Gibbs (6’8″ So. SF, Pace Academy, GA)
Well-built forward is a good athlete who generally looked to post up and can run the floor well.

Daniel Gibson (6’3″ So. PG-SG, Jones HS, Houston, TX)
This quick combo guard played very well in helping his team to the title in the 17-under bracket. He shot the ball very well from long range with his good stroke and elevation on his jump shot, handled the ball well and was able to drive and dish, finished drives, and generally made plays to help his team.

Grant Gibson (6’3″ Jr. SG, Bloomington South HS, Bloomington, IN)
Shooter got off to a fast start in one of the tournament’s first games, but later did very little. The reason is that he is a very good catch-and-shoot three-point shooter, but struggles when he tries to shoot off the dribble, and he did more of the latter later on. He has a quick release and can move without the basketball. Mid-major minus prospect.

Kalen Grimes (6’8″ So. PF, Hazelwood Central HS, Florissant, MO)
Powerful post player is a warrior inside who plays as hard as anyone. He has good size and strength and uses them to box out for rebounds and score on the post with strong moves. He runs the floor well and is very aggressive at both ends of the floor.

Marcus Hall (6’1″ Jr. PG, Jersey Village HS, Houston, TX)
This quick point guard ran a talented team well, showing the ability to use both hands and involving teammates and he shot the ball reasonably well. Mid-major prospect.

Thomas Herring (6’7″ So. SF-PF, Fremont HS, Fremont, CA)
Well-built forward showed a nose for the ball and made plays at both ends of the floor. He is versatile, active, and will do dirty work, and he showed some wing skills during the tournament, making him a prospect worth keeping an eye on.

DeKovan Holloway (6’6″ Jr. SF, North Clayton HS, GA)
Athletic wing had a good showing at the offensive end. He shot the ball well, including on the move, and knocked down some three-pointers. Mid-major plus/high-major minus prospect.

Jason Horton (6’2″ So. PG, Cedar Hill HS, Cedar Hill, TX)
The younger brother of Daniel, a McDonald’s All-American in the class of 2002, played very well. He’s a quick pass-first point guard who plays pesky defense on the ball, penetrated well all weekend and went up strong when he had a chance to finish, and also hit some mid-range jumpers and three-pointers. If he gets stronger, he has a lot of potential.

Lee Humphrey (6’2″ Jr. PG, Maryville HS, TN)
This floor leader is not shy about putting the ball up, as he showed his good three-point stroke while handling the ball well and showing decent quickness. He can make shots from a little behind the college three-point line as well. High-major minus prospect.

Ekene Ibekwe (6’9″ Jr. SF-PF, Carson HS, Carson, CA)
Long athlete has the skills to play both forward spots, though he could use more strength if he is to play power forward. He is a good leaper and shot-blocker who rebounded well and finished in close. He was a non-factor in one game, but had a good showing. High-major prospect.

Onye Ibekwe (6’6″ Jr. PF, Maine Central Institute, Pittsfield, ME)
Strong post player is a warrior in the paint, as he battles inside for rebounds and loose balls. He missed some shots in close from going up too strong, and his jumper was not falling, but he looks like a mid-major plus/high-major minus prospect.

Joshuah Jackson (6’8″ Jr. PF, South Aiken HS, GA)
This post player has good size and grabbed his share of offensive rebounds while also scoring some baskets in close. Low to mid-major prospect.

Jerrell Jamison (6’6″ Jr. SF, Brookland-Cayce HS, SC)
Athletic wing has good size and skills, though he could have been more consistent. He can handle the ball and drive to the basket, but his jump shot was inconsistent from game to game. He can make shots out to long range, but needs to be consistent with his shot. High-major minus prospect.

Joseph Jones (6’9″ So. PF-C, Normangee HS, Houston, TX)
Well-built post player rebounded well during the tournament. He did not get many touches on offense, so that was not on display very much.

Marcel Jones (6’6″ So. SG-SF, Mater Dei HS, Santa Ana, CA)
This wing has good size and a smooth stroke out to long range that was on display a lot when he was in the game. He also hit some mid-range jump shots off the dribble and showed the ability to finish drives in close, though he struggled a bit shooting the ball late in the tournament. With his stroke and size, he will be worth keeping an eye on.

Shawn Livingston (6’6″ So. SG-SF, Peoria Richwoods HS, Peoria, IL)
Skilled perimeter player can actually play the point since he handles the ball well and is unselfish. He passes the ball well, has decent quickness, and his size gives his team an edge in a zone defense when he plays up top. He scored on the move a few times, finished some drives and also knocked down a few three-pointers when he decided to get his offense.

Kenny Love (6’2″ Jr. PG, South Bend Adams HS, South Bend, IN)
Good size point guard has above average quickness and is a pass-first floor leader who showed the ability to pass on the move. His jump shot was not falling, but he did not look to shoot much. Mid-major prospect.

Cartier Martin (6’7″ Jr. SF, Aldine Nimitz HS, Houston, TX)
This scoring wing is a very good athlete with good size. He drives strong to the basket and is not afraid of contact, thus being adept at drawing fouls, and he has three-point range on his jump shot. He struggled hitting off the dribble early in the tournament, but later was making his shots. High-major prospect.

Emanuel Mayben (6’1″ Fr. PG, Troy HS, Troy, NY)
This penetrating point guard was able to pass well on the move while his jumper was not falling. He has some potential if he can get stronger and keep improving.

Richard McBride (6’4″ Jr. SG, Lanphier HS, Springfield, IL)
Well-built wing played well, especially shooting the ball. He shot the ball well from long range, including some very deep three-pointers, though at times he can fall in love with the long range bombs and take some ill-advised shots. He scored on the move using his quickness, and with his strength he can finish his drives in close. Big-time prospect.

Lester McGlabb (6’0″ Jr. PG, OP Walker HS, New Orleans, LA)
Quick point guard handled the ball well, utilizing a nice spin dribble to avoid defenders and especially in transition, and he penetrated to the basket to create or try to score. Mid-major prospect.

Jawaan McLellan (6’5″ So. SF, Milby HS, Houston, TX)
Athletic, well-built wing had a good showing. He made plays at both ends of the floor and showed that he can drive strong to the basket and finish, while also knocking down an occasional long range jumper.

Paul Milsap (6’8″ Jr. PF, Grambling HS, Grambling, LA)
Well-built athlete is mainly a post player. He rebounded well from being very active, and showed a few post moves at the offensive end and an ability to hit from around the elbow. Mid-major prospect.

Taurean Minor (5’11” Jr. PG, Heritage Christian HS, Houston, TX)
This point guard is built like a running back, and he can look like one with his quickness and strong drives to the basket. He is a penetrating point guard who finishes very well around the basket and is excellent in transition, where he scored many of his points (including 41 in the quarterfinals). He’s an excellent leaper with a quick spin move, and looks often for his offense first and foremost. He got his share of loose balls and also scored by following up misses. The mental aspects may be a challenge for him, as he has disappointment lags and also got hit with a technical foul in one game. With his physical tools and ability to use them, he’s certainly a big-time prospect.

DeMarcus Nelson (6’3″ So. PG-SG, Vallejo HS, Vallejo, CA)
Good size combo guard made a few three-pointers and is a good athlete who looks to be capable of playing both guard spots.

Tyrone Nelson (6’9″ Jr. PF, Hempstead HS, Hempstead, TX)
This post player looks a bit thin, but battles in the post with others. He got out in transition, was able to handle the ball a little away from the basket, and would bang with other big men. High-major minus prospect.

Sydney Nicholson (6’6″ So. SF-PF, Ray HS, Corpus Christi, TX)
This active athlete played mainly on the post for his team, but might be able to adapt to small forward later on. He scored in close and rebounded at both ends of the floor, making plays from moving around well.

Brent Petway (6’8″ Jr. PF, Griffin HS, GA)
Big-time athlete is a great shot-blocker and rebounder who generally plays on the post. He could use more strength, and he did not do much at the offensive end in this tournament. High-major prospect.

Brandon Phillips (6’5″ Jr. PF, El Dorado HS, AR)
Space-eater on the post moves well and rebounded well at this tournament. He is undersized for playing on the post, and his stamina might be a question mark, making this role player a low-major prospect.

Art Pierce (6’8″ Jr. PF, Grace Community HS, Ft. Worth, TX)
Good size forward is also an excellent student (3.9 GPA) and had a good showing. He is active and makes plays at both ends, as he got some offensive rebounds and put-backs while also hitting a few mid-range jump shots. He could use more strength, but he’s a good mid-major prospect.

Brian Randle (6’8″ Jr. SF, Notre Dame HS, Peoria, IL)
Athletic lefty played well, for the most part. He drove strong to the basket and also scored in transition, can finish inside, and he can hit from long range though he generally did not shoot very well when he took jump shots. High-major prospect.

Derek Ravio (6’0″ Jr. PG, Mt. View HS, Portland, OR)
He had an excellent showing, as he played better as the weekend went along. Fundamentally sound, he ran the team well and took good care of the ball, used picks and maneuvered well in traffic, and looked to score more later in the weekend. He often scored on runners, but also hit some mid-range jump shots and a few long range shots and made several clutch baskets that had coaches there very impressed. The biggest issue for him is his slight frame, as he could use more strength. Nonetheless, he’s a good mid-major plus prospect.

Sam Rayburn (6’10” So. C, Sunset HS, Portland, OR)
This long, thin post was basically a non-factor until later in the tournament when he played better. He hit a few short jumpers outside the paint, but was not a big presence on the boards.

Ray Reed (6’1″ Jr. PG, Inglewood HS, Inglewood, CA)
This quick point guard is an excellent leaper who looks to penetrate more than shoot, perhaps in part because his jump shot in the past has had room for improvement. He leads and finishes the break well and plays good on-the-ball defense. Mid-major plus/high-major minus prospect.

Evan Risher (6’1″ So. PG, North Rowley HS, TX)
Quick point guard is a good penetrator to the basket and also was not afraid to go inside and rebound against bigger players.

Rell Porter (6’7″ So. SF-PF, Pittsburg HS, TX)
Good size athletic forward scored on some slashing baskets and also in transition.

Blake Schlib (6’7″ Jr. PF, Rantoul HS, IL)
This versatile role player plays very well within the team concept and does many things to help a team, as he really lets the game come to him. He boxes out and rebounds, gets loose balls, makes hustle plays, and will score in the flow of the offense and also gets some garbage points. Mid-major plus/high-major minus prospect.

Josh Shipp (6’4″ So. SG, Fairfax HS, Los Angeles, CA)
The younger brother of Joe from California, he’s a good athlete who finished well on fast breaks and drives to the hoop and makes plays at both ends. He also showed a good stroke in hitting some three-pointers, as he looks to be a better shooter than his brother.

Darren Smith (6’6″ Jr. PF, Lincoln HS, Portland, OR)
Well-built but undersized power forward was a consistent presence on the boards for his team. He did not show much at the offensive end on a perimeter-oriented team, but he looks like a good mid-major-minus prospect as a role player.

Darryl Strawberry, Jr. (6’4″ Jr. SG, Mater Dei HS, Santa Ana, CA)
This good scoring guard also brought the ball up at times, though he is certainly a shooting guard with a scorer’s mentality. He has good quickness and uses it to slash to the basket, though he made some three-pointers and will battle inside against bigger players. High-major minus prospect.

Kenyonna Swader (6’8″ Jr. SF, Smyrna HS, Smyrna, TN)
Long, thing forward has good size and is a good athlete. He can post up and score from about 12 feet out and from mid-range while facing the basket. He was active on the glass and also finished a couple of fast breaks. High-major prospect.

Robert Swift (6’11” So. C, Garces HS, Bakersfield, CA)
Early in the tournament, this big man was not very aggressive on the post, but he was more assertive later. He can block shots and occasionally score inside, but his hands look to be a question mark and he did not finish well in close early.

Jamal Tatum (6’1″ Jr. PG, Helias HS, St. Louis, MO)
This unspectacular point guard is not a jet, but was effective running the team. He penetrated well and used picks, and hit a few mid-range jumpers while being mostly a pass-first floor leader. Mid-major plus prospect.

Phillip Thomasson (6’7″ Jr. PF, Burleson HS, Burleson, TX)
He played well at both ends of the floor, showing toughness underneath the basket and rebounding, while also getting out in transition and leading the break or finishing with a strong drive. He runs the floor very well and is a good athlete. High-major minus prospect committed to Colorado State.

Vakeaton Wafer (6’6″ Jr. SF, Pineview HS, Pineview, AR)
He came out of nowhere to be perhaps the best story of the tournament, as his recruitment is sure to change from this. He is a great athlete who showed a real ability to score in all ways, as this well-built wing can score from driving strong to the basket, hitting three-pointers, and with mid-range jump shots off the dribble. He has good body control and showed good shot selection. Big-time prospect.

Wesley Washington (6’2″ Jr. SG, Mater Dei HS, Santa Ana, CA)
He has some very good physical tools, as he is strong, quick, a good leaper and quick off his feet. He hit a couple of three-pointers and also finished drives inside. High-major prospect committed to California.

Albert Weber (6’4″ Jr. SG-SF, Higgins HS, MS)
Scoring guard shot the ball well, including some clutch shots, and also had a few slashing baskets. Mid-major prospect.

Marcus Williams (6’2″ Jr. PG-SG, Crenshaw HS, Los Angeles, CA)
This scoring combo guard played very well. He is very good at penetrating to try to score, though he is very left-handed with his shot and less so with his dribble, and he shot the ball well out to long range. High-major prospect.


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