ORLANDO -- 84 teams spread across four tournament divisions and 19 playing sites at Disney's Wide World of Sports earlier this week for the 16-under AAU Super Showcase.
In Thursday's Gold Division championship, All-Ohio Red beat Albany City Rocks 83-69. Class of 2010 6-foot-7 PF Jared Sullinger (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) controlled the game from start to finish with his powerful post play, leading all scorers with 28 points and 16 rebounds.
Ohio jumped out to a 24-12 first-quarter lead but 2010 6-8 SF Tobias Harris and 2010 6-3 SG Taran Buie made a second-quarter run to cut the lead to two at the half 37-35. In the second half it was just too much Sullinger. Any time Ohio needed a basket, it went to its go-to guy. Sullinger showed a flurry of power moves and offensive rebound put-backs and Ohio pulled away for good.
Harris finished with 22 points and Buie with 14 to lead Albany. 2010 6-1 PG Aaron Craft and 2010 5-10 PG Juwan Staten (Dayton Commit) supported Sullinger with 20 and 15 points, respectively. Both teams showed heart and toughness as they had to win two games each earlier in the day in order to reach the championship.
Jared Sullinger, PF (6-7, 260)
2010, Columbus, Ohio/ Northland, committed to Ohio State
A player reminiscent of Sean May, Sullinger is a physical widebody who is difficult to deny the ball in the low post. A big target who knows how to seal his defender. He's always working for better post position and has great hands and footwork. A good athlete for a player his size, he has improved his conditioning and changed his body.
Sullinger is an excellent low post scorer with great touch who takes advantage of angles to the rim. He wants the ball and knows what to do when he gets it. He also has a nice shot fake to raise up his defender. He does a great job of being patient and reading his defender before he makes his move. He uses the drop-step and up-and-under move on both low boxes. He will quick-spin when he feels the defender on the catch, shoot the turn shot over his left shoulder and can score through contact. He executes the step through move and has also added a jump hook over his left shoulder as well. He rolls hard to the rim when setting on ball screens.
Sullinger is a good passer out the post when doubled. He can face up off the low box and drive one or two dribbles both ways but prefers to go right under stress. He has decent shooting form on the perimeter with a high release and good follow-through and can make a jumper to the arc with time and space, but his bread and butter is scoring down low. He shows nice touch from the free throw line and rebounds on both ends, especially defensively. He must continue to focus on conditioning and weight training to not only stay in shape but to prevent injuries.
Austin Rivers, PG/SG (6-3, 180)
2011, Winter Park, Fla., committed to Florida
Rivers has long arms and is wiry strong for a player his age. Has good, not great athletic ability but he has a quick first step to beat his defender. Rivers is unselfish and plays with great confidence and has a business-like approach on the floor. In transition he will advance the ball on the pass or dribble when at the point and sprint the floor when he is at the scoring guard position. He can get to the rim, stop and pop for a mid-range jumper or penetrate and kick to an open teammate as he breaks into scoring position.
Rivers is an excellent ball handler who plays with his head and eyes up to take advantage of his court vision. Likes the right side of the floor where he uses the right-to-left crossover. He can be in the middle of the lane in two dribbles, where he elevates into a pull-up jumper or delivers a drop-off pass. He can get into the lane to score or set up a teammate off the on-ball screen. Drives hard to his left and likes to get all the way to the rim.
He is a streaky shooter good enough to keep the defense honest. His guide hand gets involved in his release and seems to move his shot off line at times. He's an excellent rebounder on both ends and is a threat to score on a tip-in on offense or go coast to coast after a defensive rebound. He's a quick-hands defender who understands how to use distance to stay in front of the ball handler and is alert when he is away from the ball to help a teammate. Areas he can improve include shooting range and form, perfecting his left-to-right crossover and strength training. He has a great feel for the game on both ends and is very talented. He is the son of Celtics head coach Doc Rivers.
Michael Gilchrist, SF (6-6, 180)
2011, Elizabeth, N.J./St. Patrick's
Gilchrist is tough, long and athletic, a quick jumper, very active and aggressive. He sprints the floor every time in transition and can finish above the rim. Always in attack mode when catching the ball, he's a good ball handler who likes to drive hard to his right to get to the rim or stop and pop for a two-dribble pull-up jumper. He can also drive or shoot from the high post when he is trailing the play and receives the ball reversal pass. His shooting range is comfortable to about 18 feet and gets good elevation and extension on his shot.
Gilchrist is a big-time rebounder on both ends of the floor with great hands and quick reaction time to the ball. He can start the break with a bust-out dribble to clear the traffic before he outlets. He will sprint in from the perimeter to offensive rebound and is great at tip-ins, dunks in traffic or just keeping the ball alive. He does not accept box outs and pursues the ball until it is secured and gets to the free throw line with regularity because of his aggressive style of play. He displays good touch at the free throw line.
He shows excellent foot speed and lateral quickness on defense, allowing him to keep the ball handler under control. He plays with his hands up and contests the shot whenever he is near a shooter. Very disruptive on defense, he is a live body who plays on the ball in the press. He must work on increasing his shooting range to the 3-point line and be a regular in the weight room. Gilchrist has played with great effort and been productive every time I have watched him in July.
Dejuan Coleman, F/C (6-8, 230)
2012, Syracuse, N.Y./Fowler
Coleman passes the look test with great size, athletic ability and long arms and legs -- his wingspan looks to be off the charts. With great hands and footwork, he can catch a bad pass and turn it into a great play. He plays hard and loves to play -- didn't take off any possessions. Although young, he is the go-to guy on his team.
Coleman sprints the floor in transition effortlessly, using long strides and pumping his arms to cover ground. He finishes above the rim with authority in transition. His post moves are still developing but he attacks the rim with power. He uses the drop step on both low boxes, finishes through contact and dunks any clear angles to the rim. He catches lobs over the defense with ease. Coleman can face up off the post and drive both ways with one or two dribbles but prefers to go right in an attempt to get all the way to the rim. He can also attack off the dribble from the high post. He will shoot the short pull-up jumper in the lane if the defense recovers. His aggressive play allows him to get to the free throw line where he has a nice touch and good form. He does a good job of finishing his shot by holding his follow-through until he gets a result with range to about 15 feet.
Coleman is a big-time rebounder on both ends who goes after every ball. He gives great effort and understands how to make himself bigger by playing with his hands up. He avoids and fights through box outs and does a great job following his own shot and tip-dunking the miss. Coleman is a complete distraction on defense because of good lateral movement allowing him to defend a power forward on the perimeter and long arms to help deny the ball to a center in the low post. He releases contact and steals lazy post entry passes using his great anticipation. Coleman is an excellent shot blocker on the ball or coming from the weak side. He changes the path of the shot when he misses the block. He uses his length when defending the ball handler and is alert to help cut off baseline drives.
Coleman must work on expanding his shooting range and add to his post-up package. He is charge prone because at times he dips his shoulder as he attacks the rim. He has pro potential with continued work ethic and focus.
Anthony Johnson, SG (6-3, 175)
2010, Chicago/Whitney Young
Johnson is a wiry scorer with long arms who plays hard on both ends of the floor. A good athlete with bounce in transition, he can also play the point because of his ability to push the ball on the pass or dribble and get the team into half-court offense. He has good leadership skills -- often saw him encouraging teammates and be a motivating voice on the defensive end.
When at 2-guard, he sprints the lane to get to the rim or shoot the open 3 without hesitation. He looks to score but didn't see him take bad shots or make costly turnovers. He has a quick first step to get by defenders to slash into the lane and can finish with an acrobatic layup. He has good body control and concentration while hanging in the air to get the shot off. Johnson likes to use the crossover move both ways to get into the lane for the pull-up jumper. He favors going left to shoot and right to pass. He has 3-point range off the catch or dribble and a good release and follow-through on his jumper and at the free throw line. He is a very comfortable shooter and makes it look easy to about 20 feet who will take and make big shots -- just a very smooth player.
Defensively he plays in a stance most of the time. He knows how to bump cutters off their path, stay in front of the ball and work to contest shots. Johnson plays with urgency, but must get stronger as he prepares for college and rebound on a consistent basis when playing the wing in order to continue to add to his game.
Adreian Payne, PF/C (6-9, 205)
2010, Dayton, Ohio/Jefferson
Payne has an extra long and slim body and is another who has an off-the-charts wingspan. Super athletic and bouncy, his second jump is as quick as his first -- he is so athletic when he makes a defensive mistake he can get back into the play and have a positive impact on the outcome. He runs like a deer -- can run from rim to rim in about six steps.
He has good hands and footwork, and although his game is still developing he can score in a variety of ways, like in transition where he finishes above the rim. In the low post his package includes a left-handed jump hook on the right low box. He can face up and shoot the short jumper when the defender's hands are down. His specialty is offensive put-backs and dunks created from guard penetration. Payne is a good defensive rebounder and is a good enough ball handler to start the break with the bust-out dribble before making the outlet pass. He's a decent shooter to about 19 feet with a high release and extension that can arc over outstretched hands. He shows good form at the free throw line but at times falls away from the basket and the shot falls short or hits back rim.
Payne is a big-time shot blocker on and away from the ball. He can get shots at square level and block them inbounds to start the break. His lateral foot speed allows him to defend on the perimeter and quickness helps him pick off lazy post entry passes. He must continue to develop a skill package and add strength. No. 1 on his to-do list is to have a serious approach every time he plays -- maturity and focus will take his game to the high-major plus level. Reminds me of a right-handed Sam Perkins.
James Bell, PF/SF (6-5, 210)
2010, Orlando/Montverde Academy
Bell is tough, physical, strong and very athletic and is making the transition from power forward to small forward. A powerful leaper, he runs for layups and dunks in transition and can get to the rim and finish through contact. He is an excellent driver going right. He dribbles through defensive bumps and does a good job of drawing fouls, displaying a good touch at the free throw line when he got there. He can shoot the 3 off the catch with time.
In the post he is very quick. On the left low box he likes to use the baseline spin when he feels the defender is too close when he catches the ball. He will turn and face up off the lane on both sides of the floor and will raise up for the 15-foot jumper if the defender's hands are down. Bell does a great job at reading guard penetration by getting into the vision of the passer and getting his hands ready for the pass. He dunks all clear paths to the rim with authority.
Bell is a decent passer out of the post with the ability to find the open man on the immediate kickout or across the court on the weakside. He is a good rebounder on both ends but attacks the offensive glass for tip-ins or dunks as he goes through and around box outs. On defense he is strong and athletic enough to defend both forward positions -- upper-body strength allows him to use his chest and not his hands to stay in front of the ball. He can also push the offensive player out of the lane with his lower-body strength and is quick enough to deny the ball from entering the low post. He needs to continue to develop ball skills, a mid-range game and shooting range. He is a very aggressive and active player, especially around the rim.
Doron Lamb, SG (6-4, 180)
2010, New York, N.Y./Oak Hill
Lamb has a long, lean body, is a good athlete and is very talented offensively. He can score in bunches when motivated and sprints the lane in transition. He can get to the rim, shoot the floater driving to his left or the 3 when the defense is not set. He moves well without the ball in the halfcourt and does a good job of cutting after he passes. He also curls into the lane off screens.
Lamb is an excellent ball handler, passer and driver who makes good decisions on the break and in the halfcourt. He handles the ball with his head and eyes up and is always surveying the court and has a good mid-range game as well. He reads the defense and flashes across the lane for the 12-15 foot turn shot. He has good elevation and extension and a good, high release and follow-through. He likes to use the step-back jumper driving to his left to create space to get the shot off. He can also go to the left-to-right crossover to get to the rim and will use the inside-out move when he is attacking at high speeds in transition. Lamb is a good, not great shooter from behind the arc but can keep the defense honest. He can draw fouls and get to the free throw line where he has a nice touch. The strength of his game lies inside the arc with creative drives, pull ups and turn shots.
On defense he needs to get in a stance and play with urgency. He gets beat on drives and loses sight of the ball. He needs to get stronger so he can finish better through contact and become a consistent rebounder. At times he seems to shut down and not be into the game, and then he'll turn up his intensity and become the best player on the floor. Lamb must learn to play hard every possession -- his overall talent is undeniable.
Jordan Sibert, SG (6-3, 175)
This kid was a pleasant surprise this week. Sibert has a good body and is super athletic. He showed great stamina and always makes his presence felt when he is on the floor. He plays hard and above the rim, providing highlights in transition -- he went 360 with no problem on a breakaway Tuesday.
Sibert sprints the wing in transition. He can get to the rim and finish through contact. With a quick first step, he drives hard to his right to score. Sibert has a good pull-up jumper with high release and elevation and is a good, not great 3-point shooter off the catch or dribble. He seems to be a bit streaky. He lacks shot preparation but has good form which causes his shot to be flat on the release because he is upright when he receives the ball.
Sibert is a good rebounder both ends and must be blocked out to prevent tip dunks. He is a good ball handler but needs to work on going left as he prepares for the college level. A good defender, he benefits from being such a great athlete. He has the potential to defend positions 1-3 with his active hands and good lateral foot speed. He needs to get stronger to handle physical college play. His best playing days are ahead of his as his game continues to develop. Sibert is one to keep a close eye on.
Keith Appling, SG (6-2, 180)
Appling is a good athlete who has good size and strength with long arms. He has a scorer's mentality but is unselfish enough to also log minutes at the point guard position. He sprints the lane in transition where he likes to spot up for 3. He seemed to like to run the left side of the floor. When the ball was advanced to him and the 3 was not available, he liked to drive left to get to the rim.
When running the point he does a good job of passing up the floor to put pressure on the defense. He made good decisions with the ball and has the ability to penetrate and kick to open teammates. Appling can shoot the 3 off the catch or dribble with good range and confidence. He has decent form on his jumper and finishes his shot by holding his follow-through until he gets a result. He gets to the foul line from splitting the defense with his left-to-right crossover to get into the lane. He shows a nice stroke at the free throw line.
Appling understands how to play defense and has good foot speed and quickness to guard the dribble. He also is alert away from the ball and comes over to cut off drives to the rim when a teammate is beat. He could be a better rebounder from the scoring guard position and must make the weight room a second home as he prepares for the college level. At times he seemed to lose interest in the game and not play hard or be aggressive; he played well when he turned it on but could have dominated the game. He is very talented but I expected more after hearing about him.
Taran Buie (Albany, N.Y./Bishop Maginn) is a true combo guard -- he's a 2-guard who can also play the point when needed because he's an excellent ball handler and passer. The 2010 prospect must become consistent from 3 to draw his defender out to set up his great ability to make scoring plays off the dribble.
One Class of 2011 player to add to the ESPN Watch List is Jay Rome (Valdosta, Ga.). Though undersized for power forward (6-6, 215), he is strong and physical with an athletic, football body. He's still raw but has a killer instinct to be very good once his game develops.
Another is 2011 SG Trevor Cooney (Wilmington, Del./Sanford). He's a big-time shooter with NBA range and tremendous confidence in his shot. He's a treat to watch when he gets it going from behind the arc, but he must continue to add to his game and not depend only on his jumper.
Class of 2010 SG Trevis Simpson (Douglas, Ga./Coffee County) was excellent in transition, getting to the rim by knifing through the defense or catching a lob and finishing with a dunk. He has to tune up his shot because opponents will play off him with his drive-and-slash ability, but he's a good scoring wing who played well against good competition.
Upside is the word for 2010 6-7 PF Justin Jackson (Orlando/Montverde Academy). He holds your attention because he's so active in transition and around the basket. His hustle is undeniable, he just needs strength and skill development.
6-9, 250-pound 2010 center Marcus Kennedy (Yeadon, Pa./St. Patrick) is big, strong, physical and wide. He has good hands and touch around the basket and is a load in the post. Strength, conditioning and diet will be the key to his success.
Reggie Rankin is a recruiting coordinator for ESPN Scouts Inc. Rankin was a Division I assistant coach for 14 seasons, including stints at Boston University, Wyoming, Ohio, Georgia, Nebraska and Dayton.