- Antonio Williams, Basketball Recruiting
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The second annual adidas It Takes 5ive Classic at the University of Cincinnati was a well-organized, highly-competitive tournament featuring some of the best talent in the country performing at a high level. Teams played in their respective age groups -- 17-and-under, 16-U and 15-U.
In the 17-U championship division it was the All Ohio Force defeating D.C. Assault 78-74. The big difference was 6-9 Matt Kavanaugh and Bill Edwards; they combined for 33 points in the victory. For D.C. Assault, super-quick Darrly Traynham scored 22 points and the talented Rodney McGruder went for 23.
In the 16-U, again it was the home team; All Ohio Red came out on top 78-74. Jordan Sibert scored 18 and Jared Sullinger added 16 for the champs. Eric Atkins gave it his best and scored 18 for D.C. Assualt.
In the 15-U division, the Ohio Basketball Club beat the Michigan Mustangs 64-49. Chane Behanan was awesome going for 30 points for Ohio. The Mustangs were lead by tough power forward Percy Gibson with 19pts.
Derrick Favors, PF (6-9, 220)
2009 Atlanta/South Atlanta
Going into the summer Favors was ESPN's No. 1 player in the Class of 2009, and he continues to earn that billing. This young man excels on both ends of the floor. He is an excellent athlete, and he uses that ability in all facets of his game. With his quick feet he is a good on-ball defender. Favors possesses explosive jumping ability, which makes him a great rebounder on both ends of the floor. He outruns the opposition for transition baskets. In the low post on the blocks he scores easily by using a drop step or the jump hook. When you combine his soft touch, great athletic ability and length, he becomes almost unstoppable in the paint. Derrick is always attacking the basket from the post or off the dribble, and because of that, he gets to the free-throw line often -- it also helps that his free-throw mechanics are strong. During the tournament, he demonstrated the ability to knock down a 12-15 foot jumper. As he continues to work on his jumper, his range will improve because he has a smooth-looking stroke. Defensively he does an outstanding job around the basket of not leaving his feet to contest shots and keeping his arms straight up. He will leave his feet only when he needs to block a shot, a rare quality in a young player. Defensively in the low post, he needs to front his man more and not always rely on his size and length.
Erik Murphy, PF (6-9, 210)
2009, Wakefield, R.I./ St. Mark's (committed to Florida)
Murphy's body is starting to develop and his strength is improving. He will need to focus on his legs and core strength to be a dominant post scorer when goes to college. Right now you can move him away from his sweet spot on the floor because of his lack of strength. Time and hard work will cure that. Murphy has a great work ethic. Athletically he is average. He is a willing runner with outstanding hands, so he gets some easy baskets. This young man shows a strong skill package on the offensive end of the floor. When he catches the ball in the low post with his back to the basket, he does an excellent job of slowing himself down, locating his defender and making a scoring move. His post moves are well polished and he can use either hand and score. He beat opponents with his drop step, jump hook or up and under. He scored some old fashion 3-point plays during this event, which he couldn't do before. His jumper is good with range out to the 3-point line. Right now he is consistent from 17-19 feet. Defensively, he needs to play his man before he catches the ball. He should play his man 3/4 in a scoring area and discourage the post feed. On the catch, he should gap his man, get low and be ready to move his feet. Murphy's IQ for the game is advanced for his age. Most of that has come from his dad Jay Murphy, a former Boston College standout and NBA player.
Shawn Williams, SF (6-6, 190)
2009, Duncanville, Texas
Williams is one of the best jump shooters in the Class of 2009. Along with that, he is a very good athlete who needs to get more out of his athletic ability. He needs to run the lane faster on the break, keep his man out of the lane with his feet, and go after more offensive rebounds. His range on his jumper is out to the new college 3-point line (20 feet, 9 inches). Williams' release is quick and he elevates well with his legs. Coming off screens his shot preparation is solid; he squares his feet and hips to the basket with good balance. He really benefits from off-ball screening (staggers, flares, down-screens and him setting a back screen then popping). He gets his 3s mostly from dribble penetration and transition. An area he needs to improve on is the utilization of the shot fake -- Williams could use it to dribble into his midrange game or continue all the way to the basket and finish. When pressured, he must be able to break his man down and create space to shoot, pass or get to the rim.
Matt Kavanaugh, C (6-9, 225)
2009, Centerville, Ohio (committed to Dayton)
He gives an A-plus effort every time he steps on the floor. His footwork is good, he has strong hands and plays with big heart -- all important components to being a successful big man. He is a mobile, scoring frontcourt player who rebounds the ball. When Kavanaugh catches the ball with his back to basket, he prefers to score over his left shoulder. He shows the ability to take a dribble and go past his defender or go through him to the rim. At times he struggles with opponents who are great athletes. He needs to utilize his shot fakes; he looks to get his defender off their feet then score. Matt possesses a consistent midrange jumper. Facing the basket he needs to add a sweep/go dribble so he can expand his offensive game. In transition he must run the floor with greater consistency, which will lead him to some easy baskets. Defensively, he guards his man and gives solid weakside help. He is not a shot-blocker, so he should always strive to play proper position defense -- both on and off the ball.
Jared Sullinger, PF (6-8, 240)
2010, Columbus, Ohio/Northland (committed to Ohio State)
Sullinger has soft hands, a shooter's touch, good footwork and the competitive nature to win. He continues to try to dominate his opponent -- and usually does. He's a machine when he receives the ball in the low post with his back to the basket, scoring with relatively ease. He starts by establishing great position in the paint, then gets a wide base and calls for the ball. He has a feel for where his defender is when he makes his move. He has long arms and a soft touch. He likes to drop step or spin away from the D most of the time to score. His skill level keeps improving; he is able to step out and shoot the jumper. Defensively, he rebounds the ball well and keeps it secure under his chin. Offensively when he rebounds, he keeps the ball high and puts himself in a position to go back up and score. Defensively, he goes after and blocks shots that lead to easy baskets for his team. As he expands his offensive game with more range on his jumper and the ability to drive past defenders, Sullinger will continue to be one of the best in the Class of 2010.
Khris Middleton, SF (6-7, 185)
2009, North Charleston, S.C./Porter-Gaud (committed to Texas A&M)
Middleton had an outstanding tournament. He was extremely consistent with his performance. Middleton is a thin, wiry athlete who uses his explosiveness to enhance his game. He is a long-range shooter with NBA 3-point range. His range and accuracy could make him one of the top offensive players in the Class of 2009. He is comfortable shooting the ball off the catch along with having a strong middle game. Because of his athleticism and length, he shoots over his defenders. On his dribble drive, he has a great knack of reading the defense and knowing when to pull-up (middle game) or continue all the way to the basket. When he gets near the rim, he has the ability to finish high. When he receives the ball, he is ready to shoot, pass or drive. From a defensive standpoint, he anticipates the passing lane well, which leads to offensive transition baskets. He does a good job on the defensive boards. When he secures the rebound, he will take it and lead the break.
Julian Washburn, SF (6-8, 200)
2010, Duncanville, Texas
Washburn has tremendous upside. He has great size and athletic ability and is beginning to show that he can shoot the 3 or drive and finish at the rim. His jumper needs work, but Washburn has a good-looking stroke, so it should not be a problem. His strength right now is his ability to run the lane in transition and finish on the break. In the half court, he is comfortable driving past his defender. He must develop a middle game -- if he does, it would make him a dangerous offensive player. Defensively, he could do much more than he is doing. First, he should get lower in his stance to guard the ball. He also needs to be alert to helping his teammates when the ball is on the other side of the floor. He rebounds well and demonstrates the ability to get the ball and lead the break. As he continues to develop his game, he'll be more versatile on both ends of the floor.
Jelan Kendrick, SF (6-6, 180)
2010, Atlanta/Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy
Kendrick opened a lot of eyes this weekend with his versatility and his ability to score both inside and outside. He is long and athletic with a terrific skill package. He excels in an up-tempo situation because he is explosive with a good handle both in the open floor and the half court. When he goes to the basket, he knows when to pull up for his mid-range game or gets all the way to the rim. He possesses good body control when he gets in the lane to avoid the offensive foul. As he gets close to the basket, he can finish with either hand. He makes open shots all the way out to the 3-point line and looks comfortable doing so. On the blocks, he can -- and will -- post up his opponent and score with an athletic move. As he gets to the next level, he will need to slow down and make a move with his back to the basket. Kendrick needs to make the weight room his friend over the summer.
Terone Johnson PG (6-2, 180)
2010, Indianapolis/North Central
Johnson is strong and handles the ball well. Not many defenders take the ball away from this scoring point guard. He is always on the attack looking to score the ball. He shows vision and the ability to read the defense to make good decisions. He is comfortable in a two-man game. He reads how the defense plays him then makes the proper decision. He can step behind the screen and nail the 3, drive it hard to the basket or pull up for his middle game with good body control. He relies heavily on his right hand, so he needs to develop his left hand and make it as strong as his right. He can be effective in transition or in the half court game. Defensively he could be a real solid on-ball defender with his strong base. He must take pride in keeping his man out of the lane. Johnson is a competitive young man. If he can show poise and composure on the floor at all times, he will excel.
Bill Edwards, SF (6-5, 210)
2009, Middletown, Ohio
Edwards had a great tournament, playing with consistent effort throughout the event. He demonstrated a willingness to help his team win and did whatever it took to be successful. This lefty has a nice set of skills beginning with his ballhandling. Edwards can take bigger, slower defenders off the dribble and get to the basket. He utilized his pull-up jumper in the lane as he attacked the basket. What really stood out is that he shot the ball well from the beyond the arc -- he also knocked down a few 3s in transition. If he sees a smaller defender on him, he will post him up and score. He is not afraid to go to the offensive glass and rebound. He also gets to the free-throw line for some of his points. Defensively, he has an understanding of help-side defense and will step in and take the charge. Edwards has great basketball genes; his dad Bill Edwards, Sr. was a great player at Wright State University. Edwards always needs to be aggressive on the court and play with intensity every possession. If he does that, he will reach his potential.
• Coach Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals have landed a dynamic duo of 2009 commits in fierce competitor and leader 6-0 PG Peyton Siva (Seattle/Franklin) and explosively athletic 6-8 PF Rakeem Buckles (Opa Locka, Fla./Monsignor Edward Pace). Both Siva and Buckles should make significant contributions to the Cardinals as freshmen.
• Florida Rams 6-5 swingman Freddie Riley (Ocala, Fla./Vanguard), reportedly has backed off his commitment to Florida Atlantic and is expected to attend Hargrave Military Academy (Chatham, Va.) next year. Riley is an exciting athlete and scores from all ranges -- especially soaring to the hoop.
• Along with the Atlanta Celtics another major disappointment was Indiana Elite One. Although loaded with talent, they never seemed to get into a rhythm or find the right chemistry. They did not win their pool and lost early in the playoffs.
• Highly athletic 6-3 combo guard Anthony Marshall (Las Vegas/Mojave) showed that he has the talent, skills and athleticism to play both guard positions. He is also a very effective shooter. Look for Marshall to move up in the national rankings.
• A very gifted 2011 prospect is 6-5 G/F Anthony Wroten (Seattle/Garfield), who showed excellent versatility and potential playing for the Seattle Rotary Select team. Wroten is still in the developmental stage, but played both point and second guard in this tournament.
• One of the most prolific scorers was 6-3 combo guard Demetrius Walker (San Juan Capistrano, Calif./J Serra). Walker was the top player for the Southern California All-Stars and one of the best 3-point marksmen in this tournament.
• The United Celtics (Charlotte, N.C.) team included an outstanding 2010 prospect, 6-6 G/F Jarrell Eddie (Concord, N.C./Cannon School). Eddie is long, lanky and a gifted scorer from the perimeter. He is getting serious looks from major colleges including: Clemson, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, South Carolina and Kentucky.
• Two names to remember in the Class of 2010, both playing on the 16-U champion All-Ohio Team, are 6-9 C Adreian Payne (Dayton, Ohio/Jefferson), a shot-blocking intimidator, and 6-4 2G Jordan Sibert (Cincinnati/Princeton), an accurate perimeter shooter. Head coaches Thad Matta (Ohio State) and Mick Cronin (Cincinnati) were conspicuous admirers.
• The format at the University of Cincinnati's Fifth Third Bank Arena is ideal for a summer basketball tournament. This building has five courts on the main level and five additional courts in a recreation center on the lower level. Coaches and evaluators can avoid intercity driving and remain in one building to watch all games. Compared to the late July events in Las Vegas, this was heaven.
Bob Gibbons contributed to this report.
Paul Biancardi is the national recruiting director for ESPN.com's basketball coverage and a studio analyst for ESPNU. He has 18 years of Division I coaching experience.
The top-ranked player in the Class of 2009 justified his ranking during the It Takes 5ive Classic, writes Paul Biancardi.