Commentary

Mason-Griffin, Penn put on a show at the Super 16 Extravaganza

Originally Published: October 6, 2008
By Reggie Rankin | Scouts Inc.

HOUSTON -- The 5th annual Super 16 Extravaganza, also known as the "Fall High School Championships," is an invitation only event that guarantees each team three abbreviated games including a single-elimination tournament. Generally, this tournament determines the preseason No. 1 team in the greater Houston area. There was a variety of individual talent on display that covered every grade level. RCS (Recruiter's Cheat Sheet) Sports, directed by Jim Hicks, did a great job organizing this tremendous fall event.

[+] EnlargeTommy Mason-Griffin
AJ Mast/Icon SMITommy Mason-Griffin is one of the top 2009 point guards.

Hightower from Missouri City, Texas, was crowned the Super 16 Champion by forfeit after three Yates players could not continue because of cramps after a 4 OT battle with Bellaire in the semifinals. The highlight of the day was a head-to-head battle between Tommy Mason-Griffin (Houston/Madison), ESPNU's No. 37-rated player, and Ray Penn (Richmond, Texas/Travis). These two high-scoring point guards traded NBA 3s for about four consecutive possessions that sent the fans at Chavez High School into a frenzy. Both players finished the first half with 22 points. Madison pulled out the win in this early Big 12 shootout -- Mason-Griffin has committed to Oklahoma and Penn to Oklahoma State.

In addition to the Super 16 there was also the 8th annual free parent-and-coach's workshop on Sunday that provided parents, players' relatives and coaches of all levels an opportunity to be educated on the recruiting process. The speakers included head coaches Herb Sendek (of Arizona State), Trent Johnson (LSU), Matt Doherty (SMU), Terry Dunn (Dartmouth) and Sherman Dillard (Nike), and I was also given a time slot to speak about ESPN Scouts Inc.

Standout players

Tommy Mason-Griffin, PG (5-11, 190)
Senior, Houston/ Madison, Committed to Oklahoma

This scoring point guard has the killer instinct on the offensive end. Mason-Griffin has NBA range and makes it look easy because of his great strength and elevation on his shot. He can score in bunches off the catch or dribble in addition to slashing to the basket and finishing through contact. Mason-Griffin also does a great job attacking in transition, and he is a willing passer when he draws a crowd in the lane. He can deliver the ball on the money with either hand with a crisp pass right into the receiver's shooting pocket. He changes speeds and direction with ease and never seems to get rattled. And to top it all off, he can set up the offense and run the team. Sooner fans should be excited about this youngster.

Raymond Penn, PG (5-9, 170)
Senior, Richmond, Texas / Travis, Committed to Oklahoma State

Penn is another scoring point guard who can really get it going on the offensive end of the floor. He also has NBA shooting range off the catch or dribble, and he makes contested shots like the defender is invisible. Penn has a sweet stroke that he makes look effortless and he shoots with great confidence. When he smells blood from his defender, he attacks him repeatedly. The result could be a 30-point performance. He pushes the ball in transition, and if he is not picked up, he will be at the rim before some defenders cross half court. He can slash with his great burst of speed and break away from reaching defenders in the lane and finish without any problem. Penn has a nice touch and body control. He can also penetrate and kick to open teammates with either hand while making a difficult pass look easy. Penn plays with energy and is a treat to watch.

Joey Brooks, SF (6-5, 200)
Senior, Houston/ Strake Jesuit, Committed to Notre Dame
Brooks is a strong and physical wing who already has a college body. He sprints the wing and finishes above the rim in transition or spots up and reads penetration from the point. Brooks will rebound and start the break with a good bust-out dribble. He's a good 3-point shooter off the catch when his feet are set and he has a nice midrange pull-up. He can also get to the rim with his strength, but at times he had trouble finishing. Brooks does a good job drawing fouls by using his body control and drawing contact in a crowd. A good rebounder, Brooks is a capable multiple-position defender because of size, strength, athletic ability and basketball I.Q. He will be a nice fit in the rugged Big East.

Tim Frazier, SG/PG (6-2, 160)
Senior, Houston/Strake Jesuit

This wiry, athletic combo guard can get to the rim at will in transition or in the half court. He is a tremendous two-foot vertical jumper who can finish above the rim. He lacks strength but is super quick off the dribble. Frazier has a good first step and a great burst of speed once he starts to attack, which leaves the on-ball defender in the dust. He has a nice inside-out dribble to set up his slashes and floaters in the lane, and he loves to finish with a finger roll. Frazier is also a good drive-and-kick passer; he draws a second or third defender on a regular basis. He's a streaky shooter from 3-land, but when he is making jumpers his ability to drive becomes even more dangerous. He has quick hands as an on-ball defender. He plays with great energy and effort at all times.

JJ Richardson, PF (6-7, 235)
Senior, Missouri City, Texas / Hightower, Committed to Pittsburgh

Richardson is a role player-supreme. He does all the dirty work, especially on the defensive end of the floor, where he displays a great understanding of coverages. He helps on screens as well as any high school player that I have seen this summer or fall. He is also a good weakside shot-blocker and uses his body well to move the opposing post player out of the lane. On offense Richardson plays just as hard. He runs the floor every time and posts up ball-side when he does not receive the over-the-top pass. Richardson is more skilled than he gets credit for. He is a good high-post and low-post passer. He can face up on the block and knock down the 12-15 jumpers with time and space. He can power drop step and hit a right-handed jump hook over his left shoulder. He will not wow you with quick, athletic bounces, but he will beat you with his desire, power and physical approach to the game.

Surprise players

Brandon Peters, SG (6-1, 160)
Junior, Houston/ Yates

Peters is a quick and athletic scorer. He is an explosive two-foot vertical jumper who finishes above the rim with ease in transition. He slashes and drives the lane both ways with great elevation and concentration on the rim. Peters needs to add strength, but he is fearless when attacking the rim. He can hang in the air and draw contact to get the old fashioned 3-point play. Peters is also capable of rebounding the ball and taking it coast to coast. The only time he doesn't finish plays is when he jumps away from the rim instead of up toward it. He didn't look to take many 3s but he knocked down numerous pull-up jumpers. Although he is just 160 pounds, Peters went into the post and used a quick spin move in the lane to beat his defender. Peters has a scoring mentality and is in attack mode at all times. He also uses his quickness when defending the ball and he has great anticipation in the passing lanes, turning steals into baskets in the blink of an eye.

Sheldon McClellan, SG/SF (6-5,180)
Sophomore, Bellaire, Texas

This long-armed wing reminds me at times of Scottie Pippen. He can do it all in transition and from the wing. McClellan can get to the rim in transition by rebounding and going coast to coast or sprinting the wing and spotting up for the 3. He slashes in the half court from both sides and likes to work the baseline where he is a good enough ball-handler and passer to find the open man when the defense retreats to stop his penetration. He reads penetration well by getting to the open area for a clear look. He is a good 3-point shooter off the catch, especially from the corner or low-wing area. McClellan uses his long wing span to be an excellent on-ball defender and he does a great job contesting shots. His length and athletic ability make him a capable three-position defender. He plays hard and competes on both ends. With added strength and continued overall improvement, the sky is the limit for this young man.

John-Caleb Sanders, PG/SG (6-0,170)
Junior, Houston/ Home School Christian Youth Association, Committed to Liberty

This young man gets your attention right away. He plays with swagger, toughness and competes the entire game. He is an average athlete at best but it doesn't keep him from being productive. He is a lights-out 3-point shooter off the catch or dribble with deep range. If the defender's hands are down, put three in the book. Sanders attacks in transition where he makes excellent decisions. He will stop and pop if the transition defense is asleep or draw and kick to a wide-open teammate. Sanders is an underrated driver who attacks the lane and finishes with acrobatic shots. He can hang and double-clutch in the air in order to draw contact. He is an excellent free-throw shooter and can knock them down in crunch time.

Erik Williams, SF (6-7, 190)
Senior, Cypress, Texas/ Cypress Springs, Committed to Marquette

Williams, the No. 97 player on the ESPNU 100, came to the event after taking the SAT. He seemed to press early, trying to make up for lost time but eventually settled in and showed why he is a Big East recruit. Williams is long and athletic with excellent skills. He is an above-the-rim finisher in transition or when he has a clear path to the basket. He can rebound and start the break, where he usually makes pretty good decisions with the ball. He runs the floor with ease and is a good 3-point shooter with great elevation and extension. He can spot up and read penetration or take it off the dribble and attack his defender to create space. Williams is a heavy right-hand driver who can get to the lane and extend with his long wing span over defenders or draw fouls. He hustles and competes. On two occasions, he hit the deck for a loose ball. He will need to add strength and I would have liked to see him be more active on the glass. Williams should also work on his post-up game when he has a size or quickness advantage on the perimeter. This kid has great upside and his talent is evident.

Garlon Green, SF (6-7, 200)
Senior, Missouri City, Texas / Hightower, Committed to TCU

The younger brother of the Dallas Mavericks' Gerald Green also missed his first game to take the SAT. Once he joined his teammates Hightower went to the next level. Green is an active and athletic forward. He runs the floor and is a high-wire act in transition. He can shoot the 3 off the catch with time and has a nice one-dribble pullup that he starts with a good shot fake to raise his defender. He is a good defensive rebounder who can start the break with a bust-out dribble. Green is also effective on the offensive glass; he uses his quick bounce for tips and power put-backs. He is another long wing who should add a post package to take advantage of smaller opponents and look to attack more from the wing. Green has great upside. He should be an impact player for TCU coach Jimmy Christian.

Notes

• 2009 prospect Ray Turner (Houston/Jones) is a long, athletic shot-blocker who runs the floor and plays hard. At 6-8, Turner can finish above the rim and benefits from guard penetration on which he displayed good touch around the rim.

• 2009 prospect Kadeem Coleby (Humble, Texas/Christian Life) is a raw and athletic shot-blocker who excels in transition.

•  2009 prospect Will Rose, a 6-7 big from Bellaire, really played well at times today. He is not as athletic as Turner and Coleby but much more skilled. He competed, made the midrange jumper and showed the right-hand jump hook over his left shoulder. He also showed decent ballhandling from the high post area and has good shot-block timing. 82/MM-

•  Strake Jesuit's Ryan Dunbar is a terrific shooter with deep range and a quick trigger. At 6-2, the 2009 prospect is great at spotting up in transition, reading penetration and coming off screens.

• 2010 prospect Joseph Young is a 6-2 shooter from Yates and the son of former "Phi Slamma Jamma" standout Michael Young. Young spots up for 3s and has a quick trigger. He is very confident from behind the arc and has a nice one-dribble pull-up.

• Darius Gardner is a 5-9 jet also from Yates. The 2010 prospect pushes the ball and attacks defenders repeatedly with his excellent ballhandling. He has great court vision and scores on slashes and floaters. I love his aggressiveness.

•  2010 prospect Jonathan Evans of Bellaire is another good point guard. He is strong and steady, takes care of the ball and runs the team. The 6-foot Evans has a nice pull-up jumper to go along with he strong handle and good court vision.

• 2010 prospect Jamel Outler is a 6-4 athletic wing from Bellaire who can get to the rim in transition and knock down the open 3.

• Tobi Oyedeji is a 6-8 high energy athlete from Bellaire who is raw skills-wise. The 2010 prospect is a terrific rebounder, shot-blocker and finisher in transition or from guard penetration.

•  2010 prospect Alex Davis is an extra-long athlete from Yates who could take his game to another level with added strength. At 6-7, he is still raw, but he runs the floor, rebounds on both ends and can make the 15-foot jumper or jump hook over his left shoulder.

• Wheatley's 6-1 shooting guard Goree Allen, a 2011 prospect, can change the scoreboard. He is strong and shoots the 3 off the catch. He drives both ways but is deadly going to his right. He has a scorer's mentality and also gets to the offensive glass.

• 2011 prospect Jonathan Jordan is small in stature at 5-8 but big on heart. He competes at all times. He can knock down the 3 with regularity and get into the lane with his court vision and crossover dribble to set up his pull-up jumper.

• Freshman sensation LJ Rose from Second Baptist is a smooth 6-2 point guard who can run a team and take care of the ball. He has a great midrange game to keep the defense honest.

• Texas A&M commit Jamal Branch, a sophomore, was on my list to watch but cramps kept him out and his team lost in the first round of the tournament. I got great reports but will have to catch him down the road.

Reggie Rankin was an assistant coach at seven schools for 13 seasons, most recently at Dayton. He played at Ohio University from 1986-1990 and was an all-MAC first teamer his senior season.

Reggie Rankin

College Basketball Recruiting