DUNCANVILLE, Texas – Opening night in the first event in the adidas Gauntlet series saw a light slate of games, but neither the talent nor the college coach turnout was similarly light. There was plenty of good talent and a number of head coaches among those who came to check out the talent on hand.
Saturday will be a full day of action starting bright and early in the morning. Before that comes, here’s a look at a few players who stood out on the evening, starting with players in the class of 2015.
Tyler Dorsey (6’5″ Jr. PG-SG, Pasadena (CA) St. John Bosco HS) His 19-point outing was a fine one all in all, as he shot the ball well, showed how athletic he is and his body isn’t there yet. He also used his left hand often even though it’s his off hand, which is a good sign.
Danta Hales (6’10” Jr. PF-C, Grand Prairie (TX) Arlington Bowie HS) Long post player with a good frame was probably the best prospect in the first game viewed on the evening. His body isn’t mature, so he won’t overpower anyone inside, but he can get stickbacks, was active on the glass and blocked five shots, including one from behind and another where he was flat-footed and stopped a 6’7″ player’s shot.
Ray Smith (6’7″ Jr. SF, Las Vegas (NV) High) At times, he turned his team’s game on Friday night into his own personal dunkfest, as he had several on the break that were of the highlight reel variety. The lanky athlete scored 21 points, also hitting a couple of shots from deep and handing out a few assists, with one of them being a nice tip pass on a rebound to a nearby teammate.
Tahjai Teague (6′8” Jr. PF, Indianapolis (IN) Pike HS) This might be the player who showed the most upside on the evening, and there was a lot to like. We’ll start with the obvious: he’s long, athletic and a baby physically with a good frame to fill out more. Then look at the skill package he showed off in scoring 14 points on 6-9 shooting and grabbing seven rebounds: he drove, spun and hit a floater over a defender, hit a couple of tough off-balance shots in traffic, and even went 2-3 from long range.
Cullen Vanleer (6’4″ Jr. PG-SG, Beaufort (MO) Pacific HS) A solid floor leader, he has a good frame that he can fill out a little more and is a tough customer on the court. He led his team with 17 points and also made a couple of nice passes to set teammates up.
Underclassmen of note
Jeremiah Allen (6’9″ Fr. PF-C, College Station (TX) home school) With a good post body, he already has something going for him before you watch more and find that he has a good motor. While he’s not the most athletic or mobile post player and has a very long release on his jumper, he ran the floor well and finished the break a couple of times, and is good at using up-fakes to get a shot in close.
Victor Bailey (6’3″ Fr. SG, Austin (TX) Round Rock McNeil HS) One of two freshmen playing up on his team, the lefty is athletic and can shoot the ball, and he plays well within the team concept. He didn’t leap out at you, but he helped his team win with 11 points and will be worth watching the next few years.
Josh Hall (6’7″ So. SG-SF, Houston (TX) Bellaire HS) A plus athlete, he handled the ball often for his team but may not be a point guard at the next level and not just because of his size. He didn’t handle it exceedingly well, but enough to be intriguing, and while he showed he can drive and score and hit the occasional three-pointer, he was just 4-12 from the field, although he had six rebounds.
Josh Langford (6’6″ So. SG-SF, Huntsville (AL) Madison Academy) He’s not a great athlete, but this well-built wing was active and around the ball often en route to 21 points in a win for his team. His ball skills can still get better, but they aren’t bad and he led them in transition often on the evening.
Effrem “E.J.” Montgomery (6’10” 8th grader, Port St. Lucie (FL) Lincoln Park Academy) His stat line won’t wow you, and his play overall won’t just yet. But this is an eighth grader playing all the way up with the big boys, and the lefty didn’t look out of his league. He has a good frame, is athletic and did get a stickback along the way.