Commentary

Point guards show bright spots and room for improvement

Originally Published: June 24, 2008
By Antonio Williams | Scouts Inc.

Kendall MarshallAndrew Shurtleff for ESPN.com6-4 point guard Kendall Marshall needs to use his size more to his advantage.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. -- Part 2 of the NBPA Top 100 Camp recap breaks down the statistical assist leaders and other standout performers.

Assist leaders

Kendall Marshall, 6-4 PG, 5.0 apg
2010, Arlington, Va./Bishop O'Connell, North Carolina commit
Marshall did a very good job locating open teammates, willingly giving the ball up to them in position to score. Although he does not have great quickness, Marshall has good size for the point guard spot and needs to use this size more effectively by putting smaller, quicker point guards on his hip and backing them down instead of trying to dribble past them. He also plays too upright, which allows smaller guards to get under him and bother him. Once he gets sped up by smaller guards, Marshall has a tendency to leave his feet for passes and get caught in the air without options.

C.J. Harris, 6-2 PG, 4.0 apg
2009, Winston-Salem, N.C./Mount Tabor
Harris has good quickness and hits open teammates for layups, especially in transition. He will have to improve his decision-making and harness his abilities; he has a tendency to sometimes get out of control. Harris will become an even more effective passer once he improves his jumper, which will make teams have to honor him a viable offensive threat in addition to a passer.

[+] EnlargeJunior Cadougan
Andrew Shurtleff for ESPN.comWith improved conditioning, Junior Cadougan will be tough to stop at the next level.
Junior Cadougan, 6-1 PG, 3.9 apg
2009, Humble, Texas/Christian Life Center
Cadougan aggressively attacks the rim off the bounce and looks to hit open teammates off penetration. His thick body and good quickness make him tough for opponents to cover. He will have to work on his conditioning, resculpt his body and improve his decision-making for the next level. Cadougan can become an even better passer if he alleviates his tendency to over-penetrate, which gets him in trouble. He plays very similar to former UConn point guard Khalid El-Amin.

Phil Pressey, 5-9 PG, 3.8 apg
2010, Ashburnham, Mass./Cushing Academy
Pressey uses his small stature to his advantage by getting under point guards and pestering them into turnovers. Once in the open court, he swiftly pushes the ball up the court and finds open teammates for layups. Pressey also has the ability to break down defenders in the half court and either pass to bigs in the lane or kick out to guards on the perimeter for jumpers. Once in the lane, he will have to cut down on his tendency to shoot wild, difficult layup attempts.

Eric Bledsoe, 6-1 PG, 3.6 apg
2009, Birmingham, Ala./Hayes
Bledsoe has good quickness and strength, which allows him to easily penetrate to the paint and hit open teammates. He does a good job of processing off the pick-and-roll, correctly deciding if he should score himself or finding bigs rolling to the rim or popping out for jumpers. Bledsoe has a tendency to overlook easy passes in his effort to make the spectacular play, which he will have to improve for the next level.

Other Standout Performers

Harrison Barnes, SG/SF 6-6
2010, Ames, Iowa
Barnes has explosive leaping ability and good quickness, making him a very tough offensive player to handle. He has good range on his jump shot, easily connecting on 3-pointers. He can also get to the rim and use his leaping ability to finish in the paint. For the next level, Barnes will have to add a midrange, pull-up jumper to his arsenal, which would cause defenses fits given the fact he will elevate right over most defenders. He says he has offers from: Iowa State, Iowa, Indiana, USC, Kansas, Texas, Maryland, Oklahoma, Minnesota and TCU.

[+] EnlargeKarron Johnson
Jason O. Watson for ESPN.comKarron Johnson is one of the top 2009 prospects hailing from North Carolina.
Karron Johnson, 6-8 Combo-Forward
2009, Durham, N.C./Mount Zion Christian
Johnson has great athleticism and leaping ability, often finishing above the rim with ease. He has the ability to create off the dribble and hit the pull-up jumper, but he needs to improve his jump shot consistency. He also has a tendency to try to do too much with the ball in his hands and needs to exercise better shot selection. His demeanor toward coaches was worrisome, as he was insubordinate once or twice when he was taken out of the game. Overall though, Johnson's aggressive nature makes him very tough to defend.

Brandon Knight, 6-3 PG
2010, Fort Lauderdale/Pine Crest
Knight displayed maturity beyond his years, leading his team vocally as well as through effort and example. Though thin, Knight does not shy away from the paint and uses his good quickness to get into the paint. Once at the rim Knight can finish, but he sometimes struggled in the paint. He will remedy this problem by adding strength. He shot the ball of the dribble well, especially in transition. Knight came up short when he missed jumpers due in large part to his tendency to not finish his jumpers by dropping his hands quickly on the shot. Knight has a great motor and gets a number of buckets in transition due to his hustle and energy.

C.J. Leslie, 6-7 Combo-Forward
2010, Raleigh, N.C./Word of God, N.C. State commit
Leslie has lively legs, electric athleticism and leaping ability, all of which make him a great offensive rebounder and shot blocker. His second jump also allows him to get to offensive rebounds quicker than many opposing interior players. Leslie has the speed and quickness necessary to get out in transition and frequently finishes above the rim on the break. Leslie will have to improve his jump shot range and accuracy in addition to his ballhandling skills to see more time on the perimeter.

Trent Lockett, 6-5 SG
2009, Minnetonka, Minn./Hopkins, Arizona State commit
Lockett has good athleticism and a quick first step, which makes him a very good off-the-dribble offensive scoring threat. He has the leaping ability to finish at the rim, but he can also elevate over defenders for jumpers in the mid-range, Lockett also plays good defense, and any team loves a two-way player.

[+] EnlargeDamon Powell
Jason O. Watson for ESPN.comSuper sleeper Damon Powell showed amazing athleticism and competitiveness.
Damon Powell, 6-6 SF
2009, Oakland, Calif./McClymonds
Powell possesses off-the-charts leaping ability and athleticism. He also has a never-ending motor and competes with fire and intensity on both ends of the court. His athletic ability allows him to guard almost anyone on the court. His intensity and desire can sometimes get the best of him and make him commit unnecessary fouls, but you do not want to take that intensity away from him and limit his effectiveness. Powell has quick leaping ability which makes him a great offensive rebounder and incredible weak-side shot blocker. He gets unbelievable lift on his jumper -- almost too much -- and he ends up releasing his shot on the way down. He also sometimes drops his hand instead of holding his follow-through on his jumper. His aggressive style of play and athleticism makes him favorably compare to former Virginia Tech G/F Deron Washington, though Powell will have stronger body in college than Washington did. Powell has a huge amount of upside and has interest from schools such as Fresno State, San Francisco, Kentucky and Stanford.

Josh Selby, 6-2 PG
2010, Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha
Selby has great scoring ability and has the quickness to get anywhere he wants with the dribble. He aggressively breaks down defenses and gets in the lane at will for layins at the rim. Selby can hit from the perimeter, though he needs to improve in this area. His exceptional scoring ability tends to cause Selby to hunt down shots as opposed to creating scoring opportunities for others. As Selby matures, he will have to pass the ball a little more and understand that if he involves teammates, he will have easier scoring chances.

Tristan Thompson, 6-8 Combo-Forward
2010, Newark, N.J./St. Benedict's, Texas commit
Thompson has great length and leaping ability, making him a tough cover for slower, bigger defenders that come out on the perimeter to guard him. He also has great hang-time and body control, allowing him to convert on some very difficult shots in the paint. Thompson has a very raw offensive game and will have to smooth out his jumper, though he has a nice, high release which makes his jumper extremely difficult to block given his length and leaping ability. He also has to improve his ballhandling and add more strength as stronger, more physical defenders sometimes give him problems.

Antonio Williams is a recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. He previously worked as an NBA scout for Marty Blake Associates.

Antonio Williams

Basketball Recruiting
Antonio Williams is a recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. He previously worked as an NBA scout for Marty Blake Associates.

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