Commentary

Tourney Recap: AAU U17 Nationals

Originally Published: August 4, 2008
By Paul Biancardi | Scouts Inc.

With over 150 teams the AAU Nationals is always loaded with big time talent and many surprise players. This year was no exception. The Milk House on Disney's Wide World of sports complex provided the perfect venue to see all of these outstanding teams compete.

For the second year in a row Team Breakdown from Florida coach and founded by Kenny Gillion walked away as the champions! Congratulations to all who participated in this prestigious event. Lets take a look at some who impressed us the most.

Standouts

Brandon Knight 2010 (6-3 175) PT/G
FT. Lauderdale, Fla./ Pine Crest H.S.

A young player who exudes confidence in himself and his teammates. This scoring point guard has all the tools to be one of the best in his class. Brandon has great size and athletic ability along with a high motor. He is at his best in the open floor when he can go all the way to the basket and score or pull up on a dime in the lane with a strong middle game jumper. He possesses excellent speed with the ball. His size and strength allow him to get to any spot he wants on the floor with the dribble and from there he makes solid decisions. He understands how to get an assist from his penetration. When the defense helps "in" from the perimeter he makes the kick out pass, when the defense helps "up" he delivers the dump down pass. He is improving in the half court from scoring to trying to run a team. That is a huge learning curve for most players but Brandon is someone who picks up concepts quickly. His 3-point shooting is streaky and he needs to really hone in on the ability to catch and shoot ,along with pulling up behind a ball screen for 3.

He must continue to value the ball each and every possession at times he gets a little out of control with his ball-handling/ and passing. He is a solid on ball defender, I believe he could be outstanding defensively with more focus on leveling off the drive and contesting every jumper. He does rebound well on the defensive glass and starts the break for his team .He is a winner and has the rare ability in time to be great while making his teammates better. Back to back championships in the Nationals shows he is not getting complacent.

Doron Lamb 2010 2G (6-4 185)
Brooklyn, N.Y./ Oak Hill Academy, Va.

This young man has good athletic ability and a knack for scoring the ball. He has an abundant amount of talent offensively. Doron excels in the open floor because he can both handle the ball or score the ball. When he has the ball in his hands he keeps his head up and sees the floor, while always thinking about how he can best score. Behind the line he can get streaky and knock down 3's in succession. His three point shot is improving and needs to become more consistent to set up his strong suit which is his middle -game. He shoots the pull -up jumper with good body control and confidence. He is very consistent from the elbow area on his mid-range jumper, it seems to be a sweet spot for him on the floor. His release and extension on his shot are in sync with solid mechanics as he rises over his defenders. He knows how much space he has before the defender can get to him. On his drives to the basket he seems to be under control for the most part. When he gets in the lane he already possesses a floater and needs top learn the jump stop to avoid the charge. A large percentage of his points come from the foul line as well as from the 2-point range.

Jamal Coombs-McDaniel 2009 SF (6-6 195)
Boston / The Tilton School

Jamal Coombs-McDaniel
Les BentleyJamal Coombs-McDaniel has been turning heads this summer.
Coombs-McDaniel has always been a natural scorer. .This summer he utilized that scoring ability on a consistent basis. He is a gifted scorer and did so in a variety of way. First and foremost he is a willing runner and fills the lanes to get easy baskets. He can shoot the ball from the 3 point line in a confident comfortable manner. He understands shot selection that's why he knocks the 3 ball down at solid percentage. When the defenders closeout is off balance or out of control Jamal reads it well and attacks to the basket. When he gets inside the arc he demonstrates an excellent middle game jumper or he can go all the way and finish. Jamal can finish with strength or finesse. He tries to adjust his body in a manner that will allow him to scorer based on where his defender and the help defender is located. When Jamal senses he has a size advantage in the post he will put himself on the block and score. He uses a drop step or turns and shoots over his man. He should work on low post moves and his strength to expand his scoring opportunities in the paint. He invites contact when he attacks the basket and does score a fair percentage of his points from the free throw line. His basketball I.Q. is solid and he is not afraid to do whatever it takes to win. He leads by example on the floor.

Scott Wood 2009 SF (6-6 185)
Marion, Ind.
Scott is one of the better shooters in the class of 2009. He can stroke it to the new 3-point line (20 9") with range and accuracy. Whether he is cutting of a screen or spotting up when his man goes to help Scott understands and exhibits excellent shot preparation. His foot work is strong as he gets his toes pointed toward the rim , his shoulders squared in a hurray, his head is up, his eyes see the ball into his catch, and his hands are ready in his shooting pocket to release the shot. Moving without the ball is an art that Scott utilizes as his teammates look to get him shots. He uses screens well as he reads how his defender is playing him and makes the proper cut .(straight, curl ,fade) When defenders over play he makes a back-cut to the rim. With his length and size he can shoot over most defenders. When his jumper is not there Scott will find the open man because he plays with his head up and is unselfish. He shows a good shot fake when the defender closes-out on his jumper, and then gets to his middle game effectively.

Ricardo Ratliffe 2008 PF (6-7 215)
Hampton,VA / Kecoughtan H.S.

This young man is a scoring machine in the paint. He is a big time athlete who runs the floor with terrific speed, jumps a second time quickly or jumps over you to score. What makes him special is that he has great physical attributes along with a soft scoring touch. He does a good job of posting up in the paint trying to make and maintain contact so all he has to do is turn and score. With a defender on his back Ricardo likes to go to his jump hook with his right hand over his left shoulder. He does an excellent job of going to the offensive glass scoring on second chance points. He can and will tip dunk the ball on missed shots. In offensive transition he can out run his opponent down the floor for easy baskets. From of his teammate's penetration he catches the dump down pass well with his soft hands. When he gets near the basket with his explosiveness he can earn many 3point plays the old fashion way.

Surprise Players

Kyrie Irving 2010 PT/G (6-3 170)
South Orange, N.J / St Patrick H.S.

A point guard with great size, Irving demonstrates strong poise and patience for his age. On his penetration to the basket, Kyrie uses various dribble moves. He does a great job changing speeds and directions with his dribble. Kyrie has good speed to get into the lane while keeping his body control as he goes to score or try to make the assist. While playing on the perimeter, he has the ability to make the appropriate pass. He keeps the ball moving on the perimeter with solid ball reversal, hits cutters, and penetrates for a dump down lay-up or kicks it out for a jumper. He has outstanding peripheral vision. He could get more assists if his teammates were ready to catch his passes. When open behind the 3-point line, he knocks down the shot with good mechanics. Against full-court pressure, he doesn't panic. He sometimes baits the double-team and uses the throw-ahead pass to advance the ball. He tries to make the appropriate play at all times. He is the son of former Boston University star Drederick Irving back in the 1980s.

Marcus Jordan 2009 2G (6 -2 190)
Chicago/Whitney Young H.S.

This young man is the son of former NBA legend Michael Jordan. Make no mistake about it, Jordan plays the game his way and performs at a consistent level. He is an extremely tough competitor who plays with high energy on every possession. His body is strong and his athletic ability is good. This lefty is fearless going to the basket off the dribble. He can take contact at the rim and finish to get the 3-point play. He must do a better job reading the help defense; he gets in the lane to avoid the charging foul. To complement his driving ability he is knocking down the open jumper all the way out to the 3-point line. He shows the ability to pull-up into the all important middle game. He will post up because of his strength and likes going to the offensive glass. On the defensive end, Marcus takes pride in keeping his man out of the lane. He rebounds "down" well defensively to help his team start the break. He scores the ball well and from different spots on the floor. As this young man continues to work on his skill set and his vision of the court expands he will continue to improve.

Gerald Coleman 2010 2G (6-3 185)
Boston/ Tilton School

Coleman is developing into a prolific scorer. He knocks down the 3 consistently. When he gets into the paint, he plays with poise and control. This lefty can get all the way to the rim and finish with his strong body. At the basket, he can take contact and score the ball or see the help defender and slither his way around to avoid the defense. In the open floor, Coleman excels; he runs the break with scoring on his mind always attacking with his eyes on the rim. He doesn't take many bad shots and is a willing passer. He goes to the offensive glass looking for put-backs or tip in dunks with his strong athletic ability. Defensively, he gets on the glass and shows the ability to rebound the ball and handle it on the break. On the perimeter, he has the ability to keep his man out of the lane and needs to concentrate on that aspect of the game. With his length he could be a disruptive defender.

Daniel Miller 2009 PF/C (6 -8 240)
Longansville, Ga. / Christian H.S.
This young man is really starting to get the attention of college coaches. He is a solid athlete with soft hands and decent footwork. As he matures, his body will become defined. He scores the ball well in the paint area. He goes to the glass and gets offensive put backs as well as tip dunks. On penetration, he finishes the dump-down pass. He needs to learn how to score in the low post with his back to the basket. He is comfortable hitting a 10-12' jumper facing the basket. If he puts more of an effort into running the floor he will maximize his production on both ends of the floor. Defensively he does a good job of blocking shots both and his man and coming over to help.

Darius Theus 2009 PT/G ( 6-3 185)
Portsmouth, Va./IC Norcom
Theus is an unselfish player, but, at times, he gets a little too unselfish. He has a high I.Q. for the point guard position. Theus has good athletic ability, and a wiry strong body. He is extremely fast in the open floor with the basketball; he runs the fast break well and makes solid decisions with the ball. He can get from foul line to foul line as well as anyone. In the half court, he uses the dribble effectively with good change of speed and change of direction dribbles moves. His middle game is solid. He is a threat on the pick and roll. He attacks the rim and goes by him or stretches him out to create space. He has a consistent jumper from 15-17 feet but needs work on his long-range shooting. He can make 3-point shots, but it's not his strength . Against pressure he invites the double-team with the ability to split the traps. Defensively, he can cause problems with his long arms and quick hands. Off the ball, he anticipates passing lanes well, but sometimes goes for steals to often.

Malcolm Moore 2009 PF (6-6 220)
Iowa City, Iowa
Moore really knows how to use his body in the post. He scores the ball and has clever post moves. He seals with his body well and has been taught how to make and maintain contact on the block. As he catches the ball with his back to the basket he goes slow to read the defense. When he makes his move he locates his defender first (scores with either hand) or throws it out of the post quite effectively. Anytime there was a double team or the defensive guard came down to dig Malcolm found the open man on the perimeter. He plays the game with a strong I.Q. His hands are strong and his footwork is in sync with his moves. The more you watch him play you realize he has a knack for scoring in the paint. He can take a hit and finish a play while possesses a good looking free throw. Speaking of free throws Malcolm scores a good percentage of his points from the line. Defensivly he needs to front the low post especially against taller players. When he gets stronger and committed to the weight room this young man will be even more productive on the court.

Keith Clayton 2009 (6-8 225) PF
Orlando, Fla./Orlando Christian
Clayton demonstrated above average skill level throughout the summer. He stepped up in a big way to help lead his team to a championship in the National AAU 17 under championship. When he plays with a high level of energy and aggressiveness Keith can put up numbers. For a big man Clayton can knock down the jumper consistently from 15 feet. He catches the ball at the high post and uses his dribble to get to the rim effectively and under control. In the low post, he locates his defender and will make a comfortable move to score. He does a good job at hunting out offensive rebounds put packs and can take a little contact on the way back up to the rim and finish. When at the free0throw line he shows a fluid stroke with good rotation. Keith has soft hands and agile footwork which enhances his offensive strengths.

Notes

•  Ralston Turner 2010 SF(6-6 185) Muscle Shoals, Ala. Is a great long distance shooter along with a strong body. He shoots it deep with range and accuracy. He is not limited to just shooting, Ralston displayed ball handing/passing skills. He rebounds well on both backboards and with his size and strength he could defend both on the perimeter and in the post. He was impressive for the Alabama Challenge.

•  Two of the smallest point guards in the country in 5-9 Phil Pressey 2010 (BABC) and 5-7 Ray Taylor 2009 (Team Breakdown)make big plays. Phil is an outstanding ball handler, as he possesses exceptional court vision and delivers passes that leads to assist. He has a natural floater in the lane and can make open 3's.Ray is a jet with the ball in his hands and excels in transition. He is a pesky on ball defender who can be a catalyst for his team. Both need to make sure they don't get caught over penetrating with nowhere to go. Both are fearless in there approach to the game, make there teammates better.

•  Two big men who played well this week are (Team Florida) 6-9 Kyryl Natyazhko with his skills and and rebounding. Also (MBC) 6-10 Tom Knight who shows a solid jumper out to 15' and plays below the rim yet he is effective and improving.

Paul Biancardi

Basketball Recruiting

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