Commentary

Simms, Hagins steal the show with breakout performances

Originally Published: September 24, 2008
By Bob Gibbons | Scouts Inc.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A capacity group of 200 young prospects attended the sold-out, 14th Annual Bob Gibbons Fall Evaluation Clinic at Wake Forest University on Sept. 20-21. The two top 2009 performers in the event were P/WF Jamelle Hagins (Roanoke, Va./ William Fleming) and PG Jarius Simms (Winston-Salem, N.C./ North Forsyth).

The most talented overall prospects were 2010 players, 6-foot-7 forward Reco McCarter (Goldsboro, N.C./ Wayne Country Day), 6-8 C/F Patric Young (Jacksonville, Fla./ Paxon School) and high-flying 6-4 G/F DaMarcus Harrison (Greenwood, S.C.). There were numerous outstanding underclassmen from the classes of 2010, 2011, 2012 and two in 2013.

The Sunday morning, keynote speaker was former NBA player Rusty LaRue, who is now the athletic director and head basketball coach at Forsyth Country Day in Lewisville, N.C. LaRue gave an inspirational talk about how his hard work, determination, dedication and study of the game helped him to reach greater heights in sports career than anyone expected.

In addition to playing two games each day, players are divided by position into three groups -- lead guards, wings, and post players for teaching stations under the direction of head clinician Andy Muse, the head coach at Winston-Salem, N.C., Mount Tabor High School. The basic theme of this clinic is back to the basics. Every player in the clinic was evaluated, and will receive a personal evaluation.

Standout Players

Jamelle Hagins, P/WF (6-8, 215)
Senior, Roanoke, Va./William Fleming

Hagins is a versatile, athletically gifted power forward. If he develops his perimeter skills, Hagins potentially could play either forward position at the next level. He was the best all-around post player in the position drills and dominated the in-game competition. He has excellent athletic abilities, including quickness, agility, and a high vertical jump. He moves his feet well on defense, and plays with intensity. Hagins has good form on his shot and can hit 3-pointers. He needs to continue working hard on his shooting to improve his consistency. He can pick-and-pop to the rim and has an effective drop step move. Hagins played for the Carolina Raptors travel team this past spring and summer. However, he stood out more playing in the post at this clinic. He is presently being under-recruited; Hagins is a bona fide major college prospect.

Jarius Simms, PG (6-1, 185)
Senior, Winston-Salem, N.C./North Forsyth

Simms transferred to North Forsyth this year from High Point Christian. He is not a flashy player, but Simms is a true point guard and an outstanding floor-leader. He has the ability to make his teammates better. Simms has a strong body and the skills to penetrate and dish to open teammates or finish at the hoop. He has an effective outside shot, but as a true point guard he has a pass-first mentality. Simms plays aggressive defense on the ball, and works hard on both ends of the court. Simms was a solid, team-oriented player for the N.C. Gaters in the AAU Junior National Tournament this summer. For a mid-major program in need of a point guard, Simms should be considered.

Reco McCarter, P/WF (6-7, 187)
Junior, Goldsboro, N.C./Wayne Country Day

McCarter is, unquestionably, one of the top 2010 prospects in the talent-rich state of North Carolina. He is blessed with exceptional athletic abilities, including a terrific vertical jump, lightning speed and quickness, the hands of a magician, and superb reflexes. McCarter can explode to the hoop or pull-up and shoot his soft left-handed jumper. He has good ballhandling skills and is an effective passer. He still needs to focus on his 3-point shooting consistency, and becoming stronger. He always plays with high intensity, desire, and confidence, and has a great work ethic. McCarter's potential is virtually limitless. He projects as a high major college prospect. He attended the Wake Forest elite camp in August, and, reportedly, has much interest in the Demon Deacons.

Patric Young, C/F (6-8, 215)

Patric Young
Les Bentley for ESPN.com Patric Young (left) is the No. 10 power forward in the Class of 2010.
Junior, Jacksonville, Fla./ Paxon School
Young has the most potential and upside of all the big men who attended this clinic. He has superb athletic abilities, including his explosive quickness off the floor and a soaring vertical jump. He has very strong hands and catches the ball well. Young is an outstanding rebounder, shot-blocker, and low-post scorer. His most effective scoring weapon is his jump-hook with either hand. Young is a tremendous dunker, particularly in the post. He has the potential to play either the high or low post at the next level. He needs to improve his shooting range and consistency and work on his ballhandling. He plays with a high energy level and intensity. Young is a quiet, soft spoken young man with a good attitude. His list of colleges includes Florida, Florida State, Wake Forest, Miami, South Florida, Connecticut and Jacksonville.

DaMarcus Harrison G/F (6-4, 190)
Junior, Greenwood, S.C./Greenwood

Harrison is not rated on many national lists, but he has performed at a very high level at the past two Fall Evaluation Clinics. He is an extraordinary athlete with incredible quickness. He explodes to the hoop, has great timing, and plays above the rim. Harrison is an outstanding rebounder from the wing position and the ultimate competitor. He excels in transition and can finish with strong drives to the hoop, spin moves, pull-up jumpers, and soft bank shots. He plays strong defense on the ball, stays with his man and is a tireless worker. Harrison has a great attitude. He is, literally, a coach's dream as a player. He has high-major potential.

Chase Fischer, 1/2G (6-3, 165)
Sophomore, Ripley, W. Va./Ripley, committed to Marshall

Fischer has remarkable basketball knowledge for a young player; he always seems to make the right decision. He is a poised, confident floor leader and an excellent playmaker. Fischer has precise passing skills and is outstanding on the break. He is a dead-eye 3-point marksman who can score every way. Marshall got a steal with this talented young West Virginia player, and it was very smart for the Herd to get his commitment early. Otherwise, the high majors would be all over him. Fischer works very hard on and off the court, and, is constantly in the gym trying to improve his game. He projects as a top prospect in the Class of 2011.

Brian Richardson, 2G (6-5, 170)
Junior, Wilson, N.C./Greenfield School

Richardson is a versatile, highly talented young player, with the skills to play both guard positions. He did not have a great shooting performance at this clinic. But he is a very capable outside shooter and scorer. Richardson is at his best offensively with the ball in his hands. He is a very creative ball-handler. He can get to the rim, shoot with either hand and find open teammates with accurate passes. Richardson must get stronger and play with more intensity. He must become a better defensive player and have more toughness on the court. He is getting high-major looks, but right now may be an upper, mid-major prospect.

Surprise players

Noah Fischer, 2G (6-3, 175)
Senior, Ripley, W. Va./Ripley

The older brother of Marshall commit Chase Fischer, Noah is a fundamentally sound, hardnosed competitor. He gives maximum effort at both ends of the court, handles the ball well, runs the court on the break and can get to the basket. Fischer is an accurate 3-point shooter who can score from every range or position inside the arc. He has a high basketball IQ and is a true team player. He is an ideal system performer and should be considered by mid-major and low-major programs.

Jordan Downing, WF (6-5, 185)
Junior, Huntersville, N.C./ Hopewell

Downing is a versatile, athletic wing player with a very complete arsenal of scoring abilities. He can shoot from outside, slash to the hoop or consistently make jump-hooks with either hand. He has a good work ethic and shows outstanding potential. Downing was rated by the coaches as one of the four best wing players at this event. He needs to concentrate on becoming a better defensive player and playing harder on both ends of the court. However, Dowining has the talent and the abilities to take his game to a higher level and become a major college prospect.

Dominique Raney, 2G (6-4, 175)
Sophomore, Oklahoma City, Okla./Putnam City

Raney was one of the real unknowns who attended this clinic. However, he established himself as a star of tomorrow. Raney is a remarkable athlete, with explosive leaping ability. He is also a very good shooter with 3-point range. Raney has good leadership qualities for his age, and he is a total team player. He has good basketball instincts. Raney is most definitely a young player to watch.

Allan Jones, W/PF (6-5, 200)
Senior, Clemmons, N.C./West Forsyth

Jones was one of the most aggressive players and leading point producers in this event. He is the consummate competitor. Jones is very physical and has good range on his shot. However, at his size, he needs to develop his skills to play the wing forward at the next level. Jones should focus on ballhandling and improving his 3-point shooting. He has the athleticism and lateral quickness to defend opposing small forwards. Jones has an excellent attitude; he is a total team player.

Georges MaNgoue, C/F (6-8, 230)
Junior, Lewisville, N.C./Forsyth Country Day

This exchange student from Cameroon is loaded with potential. He is a very gifted athlete, with good size, strength and power inside. However, he is still somewhat raw and undeveloped offensively. MaNgoue has a great work ethic and knows how to play the game. He just needs to improve his low-post scoring skills. He rebounds effectively, boxes out, and defends the post very well. With a year of good coaching at Forsyth Country Day, MaNgoue should become a solid major college prospect.

Joshua McNally-Bibbens, P/WF (6-6, 235)
Senior, Staten Island, N.Y./Michael J. Petrides

At the 2007 clinic, McNally-Bibbens showed good athletic abilities and potential. This year, he has improved his basic skills and has become a much more complete player. He has a very strong body and uses it to play physically in the paint. He is an effective rebounder and low-post scorer. He needs to develop some face-up moves and a medium range offensive game. McNally-Bibbens is very coachable and eager to learn. He is a good low- to mid-major prospect.

Frank Tanner, G/F (6-4, 185)
Senior, Harrisburg, N.C./Hickory Ridge

Tanner has been coming to our evaluation clinics since 9th grade, and he may have attended the most of any player. His older brother, Ford Tanner, also was a fixture at our evaluation clinics, and turned down college scholarship offers to play for the Junior Varsity team at North Carolina. He likely will make the varsity squad next year as a junior. The son of a coach, Frank Tanner is very well-schooled in the basic skills. He knows the game, makes good decisions and has excellent shot selection. He is a very accurate shooter with deep range. He can score driving to the hoop and pulling up for medium-range jumpers. He is a true mid-major prospect. But, do not be surprised if he follows in his brother's footsteps to North Carolina as a walk-on.

2008 Fall Evaluation Clinic notes

• Asheville Christian School (Swannanoa, N.C.) has two very promising senior big men in 6-9, 220-pounderr Sam Johnson and 6-10, 195-pounder Ignas Palaima, a native Lithuanian. Both are legitimate college prospects.
• Skilled senior big man Peter Daaleman (6-10, 220) missed Saturday's action with congestion in his chest, but played well on Sunday. Daaleman (Chapel Hill, N.C./East Chapel Hill) needs strength. He obviously was not playing at 100 percent. But, he showed good post moves, passing skills and an accurate shooting touch.
• There were a bevy of young, talented post players on hand, including: 2010 prospects Cameron McQueen, (Charlotte, N.C./Ardrey Kell), Jaleel Roberts (Evans, Ga.) and rugged Marquis Hines (Fayetteville, N.C./Seventy-First); and promising 2011 player John Cannon (Burnsville, N.C./Mountain Heritage), a 6-11, 220-pounder.
• Six-foot-7 forward Austin Harper (Spartanburg, S.C.) is strong on the boards, can score inside or out and is a very solid mid- to low-major performer.
• One of the most intriguing players in this clinic was 2008 graduate Zachary Morgan, now at Brevard Community College (Cocoa, Fla.). Morgan, a combo guard, is a sensational 3-point shooter and a skilled combo guard. He is not playing junior college basketball and is now qualified for college, giving him four years of eligibility.
• Derek Harrison (Greenwood, S.C.) is a point guard with at least low-major potential. This skilled playmaker may have had the most quickness and best moves of any point guard in the event.
• Outstanding 2011 players included: 6-5 G/F Nigel Snipes (Atlanta, Ga./Paideia); 6-2 1/2G Bishop Daniels (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God); 6-0 PG Wes (Cole Spring, Texas/The Woodlands); 6-4 G/F John Schoof (Fairfax, Va./ W.T. Woodston); 6-2 G/F Tyler Harris (Columbia, S.C./Dreher); 6-4 WF Malcolm Brunner (Brunswick, Ga.); 6-5 PF Harrison Bowne (Hickory, N.C./ St. Stephens); and 6-0 PG Jahmad Saleem (Augusta, Ga./ Cross Creek).
• The top 2012 player in the clinic was precocious PG Tyler Lewis (Lewisville, N.C./Forsyth Country Day). Lewis is already getting high-major college offers. His older brother, 2G Colby Lewis, is a senior at Forsyth Country Day. He is a superb shooter and a definite college prospect.
• Other top 2012 prospects in the clinic were: 6-4 G/F John Edwards (Concord, N.C./Cannon School); 6-3 2G Alex Biggerstaff (Burnsville, N.C./Mountain Heritage); 6-1 1/2G Darien Rankin (Salisbury, N.C.); 5-11 1/2G Tevin Taylor (Rocky Mount, N.C.); 6-1 G/F Kian Lewis (Spartanburg, S.C.); and 6-3 G/F Patrick Kirksey (Simpsonville, S.C./Hillcrest).
• The event also featured two off-the-charts 2013 prospects (eighth graders): 6-5 WF Greg McClinton and 6-5 Gary Li, a native of China. Both are students at Lewisville, N.C./Forsyth Country Day. Li is still adapting to U.S. basketball, but he has much upside. McClinton is really special. He has Vince Carter-type potential, and I project him as one of the nation's elite eighth graders.

Bob Gibbons is a recruiting director for ESPN Scouts Inc. He is the editor and publisher of the All Star Sports Report and is widely regarded as the recruiting guru of college basketball.

Bob Gibbons | email

Scouts Inc. Basketball Recruiting
Bob Gibbons is the editor and publisher of the All Star Sports report and is widely regarded as the recruiting guru of college basketball.

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