Commentary

Knight, Williams among big men with upside at New England 75

Originally Published: August 15, 2008
By Antonio Williams | Scouts Inc.

Wrapping up the summer exposure period, the New England 75 offers a chance to see some of the top talent hailing from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont competing against each other in an organized camp setting. Despite only one day of action, the camp gives each team a chance to play in multiple games and presents the opportunity to view the players in different, intriguing one-on-on matches. The participants also went through an efficient drills portion of the camp, providing position-specific instruction before game play started.

For the most part, campers played each game with a good amount of intensity and effort, making this event a very effective evaluation tool.

New England 75 all-star selection Scouting Notes

Thomas Knight, 6-7 PF
Senior, Dirigo, Maine/Dirigo
At first glance, Knight's walk would not immediately make one think he possesses very quick, nimble feet, but after a few trips up and down the hardwood he quickly proves naysayers wrong with his very agile movements for a big guy. He runs the floor very well for a big, which provides him with the opportunity to play in up-tempo offensive settings. Knight does a decent job of rebounding on both ends in traffic, and though he can get stronger, he has enough strength to hold his position in the post for rebounding and scoring. A lefty, he can score on the low block but needs to continue to improve in this area, especially in making quicker, more decisive post moves.

He has the ability to step away from the basket with range that extends out to the 3-point line, which would make him a great fit for pick-and-pop, high-low sets, as well trailing on a break for jump shots. Knight really excels on the defensive end, contesting and most times blocking shot with incredible ease. He does this without swatting wildly or erroneously jumping for blocks well out of his area -- both which end up causing foul trouble for others. As he improves his body, Knight will only become better for the next level.

Akeem Williams, 5-10 PG
Senior, Avon, Mass./Avon
Williams has a very thick, compact build, giving him with a very low center of gravity. His physical stature makes it very tough for opposing guards to get into him and bother him with pressure. He has very good strength and quickness, making him a very effective penetrator. Williams has the passing skills, vision and the pass-first mentality that makes him the quintessential quarterback for a ball club.

In the open court he usually makes the right decision for dishes on the break and rewards teammates busting to the rim. Williams can also use his passing skills to probe and pick defenses apart in the pick-and-roll. When he decides to score for himself, he prefers to get to the paint and use his strength to finish at the rim. Williams can connect on the occasional jumper but needs to improve his jump shot consistency and range.

Jordan Williams, 6-8 PF
Senior, Torrington, Conn.
Williams has to continue to reshape his body and add muscle. Increasing his muscle tone would only serve to enhance his already impressive strength -- it would make Williams an absolute terror in the post. Though he did not receive a great deal of touches in the post, he still ran the floor very well and finished off breaks when he got the chance. He could use his body to establish positioning for scoring and demand the ball more, but those skills should come as Williams gains more confidence in his abilities.

Williams does a good job of rebounding in traffic, but given his frame and his tools, he could become an even better rebounder with better conditioning. He does a really good job of using his size and deceptive athleticism to alter/block shots. Williams has a great deal of upside and should continue to improve.

Denzel Brito, 6-1 combo-guard
Junior, Groton, Mass./Lawrence Academy
Brito has very good athleticism, quickness and lively legs, making him a tough cover for defenders. He uses his leaping ability, combined with his quick first step, to easily get to the hole for layups. Brito also excels in the transition game and with his hops frequently finishes breaks with above-the-rim baskets. He also has decent vision and willingly gives the ball up to open teammates in fast break situations.

Brito has to add an effective mid-range pull-up to his arsenal, and given his leaping ability, he should have no problems elevating over defenders for shots. He sometimes has a tendency to over-penetrate and get himself into trouble. Brito plays both guard spots but seems most comfortable off the ball at this stage in his career. He gives good effort on both ends of the court.

Steve Samuels, 6-4 SG
Senior, Windsor, Conn./Windsor
Samuels has explosive athleticism and leaping ability, making him a perfect fit for high-octane, up-tempo offenses. He gets out on the break and looks to finish with authority, sometimes above the rim in traffic. He has decent length but needs to add more strength and muscle to his frame to complement his athletic ability.

At this point most of Samuels' offense derives from his very quick first step, which allows him to get into the teeth of the defense. Once in the paint Samuels has knack for feeling out the defense and making adjustments in the air for layins at the tin. He will have to improve the accuracy and range on his jumper. He also needs to improve his shot selection and learn to change speeds, which will alleviate his tendency to get out of control. Samuels plays with a great deal of intensity and effort on both ends of the court and often gets into passing lanes for steals.

Carson Desrosiers, 6-10 C
Junior, Lawrence, Mass./Central Catholic
Desrosiers has a great deal of upside and room to develop, both in terms of skill as well as body-wise. At this point he does not have the strength to establish and hold prime positioning for scoring and rebounding. When he receives the ball in the post, defenders easily knock him off balance when he attempts moves with his back to the basket. When he tries to post, he also gets pushed up the block and out of the paint. When he does get the ball in the paint, he sometimes struggles finishing around the hoop.

Desrosiers, due in large measure to his lack of strength, often drifts out on the perimeter for his offense. He has range on his jumper that extends out to 3, but he needs to quicken his release just a tad. Desrosiers can run the floor well for his size and has good dexterity. He does a good job of contesting shots on the defensive end, using his length and decent timing. He needs to become a better rebounder on both ends of the court, which he will probably improve with added strength and muscle.

Ike Azotam, 6-7 combo-forward
Senior, Roxbury, Mass./O'Bryant
Azotam's impressive athletic gifts allow him to swing between the perimeter and the paint with relative ease. He has long arms, but given his lack of muscle, he seems better suited to play the small forward slot on the next level. Azotam has range on his jumper that extends out to the land of 3, but he needs to continue to improve his jump shot. He also handles the ball decently but will need to continue to show progress in this area to see more time at small forward. If he plays inside he will have to improve his post moves and footwork in the paint.

Azotam runs the floor very well and has electric leaping ability, allows him to produce highlight reel worthy finishes very often. His energy and quick leaping ability make him an effective rebounder on both ends. Azotam plays with a high level of intensity and has surprisingly decent court vision for his size.

Danny Lawhorn, 5-10 PG
Junior, Hartford, Conn./Hartford Public
Lawhorn, though small, does not back away when taking the ball to the rack. His incredible speed and quickness off the dribble make him a devastating penetrator. Once he gets past defenders he has very good vision and passing skills. Teammates should have their hand up and ready to receive passes because Lawhorn will thread the needle and find them in traffic. He has to continue to improve his shooting, but he does a great job of making teammates better.

More Notes

6-10 PF Erik Murphy (South Kingstown, R.I./Saint Mark's School)
Murphy unselfishly deferred to his unheralded teammates and did not look to steal the show from other area players who do not have as much acclaim as he currently enjoys. He did a good job of running the floor and finishing above the rim in transition.

6-2 SG Matt Brown (Northfield, Mass./Northfield Mount Hermon)
Brown uses his very impressive strength to overpower smaller guards when getting to the paint. He also can stick the jumper from 3 but will become even tougher to guard when he perfects the mid-range game. He plays with reckless abandon on the court and gives maximum effort on both ends.

2011 prospect 6-1 SG Jared Johnson (Springfield, Mass./Springfield Central)
Johnson can score the ball with relative ease. He can hit the perimeter jumper and take the ball off the bounce and score using pull-ups or getting all the way to the rim. He has a very bright future offensively.

2010 prospect 6-1 SG Jordan Laguerre (Manchester, N.H./Trinity)
This lefty has a nice, efficient stroke from the perimeter with range that extends to the 3-point line. He can also operate off the dribble with relative ease. He can score almost at will but needs to exercise better shot selection.

6-3 combo-guard Dominique Langston (Bridgeport, Conn./Kolbe Cathedral)
Langston has unbelievable athleticism and leaping ability and plays well in the open court. He has the springs to jump over defenders and finish with a dunk. He also can hit jumpers in addition to passing the ball very effectively.

6-3 SG Kyle Stockmal (Watertown, Mass./Watertown)
Stockmal does not possess explosive quickness or athleticism but shoots very well. He has a nice jumper with very little wasted motion, resulting in a high number of makes from the perimeter. Stockmal has very good range on his jump shot.

2011 prospect 5-10 PG Anthony Jernigan (Hartford, Conn./East Hartford)
Jernigan passes the ball with great flair, using his vision to locate teammates in traffic for shots. He also changes speed off the bounce very well, and combined with his quickness it makes him tough to defend off the dribble.

6-7 SF Kyle Casey (Chestnut Hill, Mass./Brimmer & May)
Casey has the ability to play both in the paint ands on the perimeter given his range on his jumper, though he has to increase the speed on his release. He plays hard on both ends of the court and willingly passes the ball.

6-9 C Rashad Wright (Springfield, Mass./Cathedral)
Wright has very good athleticism and runs the floor very well. He contests shots, but sometimes his effort wanes on the defensive end. He also needs to make quicker, more definite moves in the post.

6-7 PF Clancy Rugg (Burlington, Vt./Burlington)
Rugg constantly moves on both ends of the court, making him a very tough cover on offense and seemingly always around the ball on defense. He scores around the basket by catching defenders off guard with quick, unorthodox moves. Rugg also can step away and hit jumpers.

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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