Commentary

Beal, O'Bryant break out at U-16 event

Originally Published: June 9, 2009
By Joel Francisco | Scouts Inc.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The 2009-10 USA Developmental National Team trials gave the coaches and the media a glimpse of the type of talent that will soon be on display in Argentina in the coming weeks.

Although the first day of the trials didn't produce any eye-opening performances, the two scrimmages on the second day revealed the kind of talent that we envisioned before arriving in Colorado. Whether it was 6-5 junior Anthony Wroten's (Seattle, Wash./ Garfield) mind-blowing passing ability or 6-8 junior Angelo Chol's national coming-out party, the performances were terrific.

In addition to Wroten and Chol, 6-4 junior Brad Beal (St. Louis, Mo./ Chaminade College Prep) was outstanding with his prolific shooting touch as was 6-9 junior Johnny O'Bryant (Cleveland, Miss./ Eastside), who took the phrase high motor to a whole new level.

Standouts

Brad Beal (6-3, 180)
2011, St. Louis, Mo./ Chaminade College Prep

In a national setting in which there were (surprisingly) very few consistent shooters, Beal was by far the most consistent. He has a prolific jump shot out to the stripe. He gets great lift on his shot and his release is impeccable. He is terrific shooter in both a catch and shoot situation and hitting the pull-up in transition. He plays the game with an even keel and rarely forces the action. He excels in the transition game because he can attack the rim or nail the jump shot. Furthermore, he was very effective running the pick-n-roll and slithered his way to the basket on a number of occasions. His handle is solid, but he can become more of a lethal scorer off the dribble with practice and development. Although he possesses that scorer's mentality, he is unselfish; he delivered a few nice passes in transition. Overall, Beal is one of the most promising 2-guard prospects in the class of 2011.

Johnny O'Bryant (6-9, 225)
2011, Cleveland, Miss/ Eastside

If there is another big in the Class of 2011 who plays as hard as O'Bryant, I've yet to see him. Although he isn't as explosive as current Phoenix Sun Amare Stoudemire, O'Bryant approaches the game (at both ends) in the same manner. He plays with a warrior's mentality in the paint area and is a relentless rebounder. He can explode around the basket and either finish with a power dunk or turn-around jumper. Despite his power-approach to the game, he does have a soft touch out to the elbow. His shot is somewhat flat, but it does have excellent rotation. In addition, he handed out a couple of nice assists, which demonstrated his feel for the game. A typical sequence for him is to rebound and immediately fill the lane for the finish. He's one of the few players that I've seen that hustles to get back on D after a missed shot or turnover. Overall, he still needs to work on his fundamentals (over handles it while attacking the basket) and be a little more patient in the paint area, but his blue-collar mentality is a fresh sight to see in a highly ranked prospect.

Angelo Chol (6-8, 205)
2011, San Diego/Hoover

After a slow start, Chol was arguably the most impressive performer the second day of the trials. This lefty has a nice frame, soft hands, and is very good converting in the paint area. He loves turning over his right shoulder (like most lefties), and he is very methodical while scoring over the opposition. He has a deadly jump hook on which he gets nice lift with his feathery touch. In addition, he can drop step and dunk when there is little traffic. He is getting more productive in the midrange area and puts together a few possessions where he took his defender off the bounce. His jump shot, on the other hand, is still a work in progress. He has a slow and very high release (winds up) and he doesn't follow through (short arms it) on many of his attempts. Defensively, he has nice timing and is a potent shot-blocker. Overall, Chol definitely helped his stock with his performance in Colorado Springs.

Adonis Thomas (6-5, 210)
2011, Memphis, Tenn./ Melrose

Thomas, who may remind you of current NBA player Jason Richardson, continues to catapult himself up the 2011 rankings. He has that prototypical wing-type frame and the athleticism to boot. His strengths are attacking the rim and either throwing down a dunk or he can go the finesse route and deposit a floater. His chiseled physique allows him to draw contact and finish despite that contact. His handle is solid, and he's able to get his own shot, but it he needs to get better going left for the next level. If there is one area that needs to be addressed it's his outside shooting touch. He has the ability to knock down the 3-point shot, but it needs to get more consistent to keep defenses honest. On the other hand, his mid-range shot is pretty solid. In addition to his improved perimeter skills, he is a very potent scorer in the post. He knows how to spin off contact and isn't afraid to power up amongst all the bigs. On the defensive side of the ball, he has the potential to be a lock-down defender. He slides his feet very well, is incredibly strong and anticipates well in the passing lanes.

Quinn Cook (6-0, 165, PG)
2011, Hyattsville, Md./ Dematha

Cook was one of the major standouts due to his feathery shooting touch and surprisingly solid point guard play. He doesn't possess the ideal size for the Division I level, but he certainly has the game for the highest level. Prior to seeing him at the trials, I envisioned Cook as an undersized 2-guard, but he definitely showed here that point guard is his projected position at the next level. The point guard crop wasn't special, with the exception of Anthony Wroten Jr., but Cook was the best combination of scorer/playmaker of the bunch. Besides his tremendous shooting touch, Cook changes speed very well and threw some dynamite passes in transition. In addition, he executed the pick-n-roll very well and facilitated the offense on a high-level. When he didn't dish off to his teammates he has an innate ability to score amongst the bigs, including a soft floater.

Surprises

Anthony Wroten Jr. (6-5, 205)
2011, Seattle, Wash./ Garfield

After a dismal first day in terms of effort and execution, Wroten Jr. put on a passing exhibition that was quite frankly, peerless. He is a true point guard with a powerful body and deceptive quickness and burst. He keeps his head on a swivel in transition and always sees the open man. Although he favors going left (he is left-handed) there was nobody at the trials that could keep out of the lane because of his strength and quickness. Once he got in the lane he dished out some of the niftiest passes I've seen in awhilequite possibly since LeBron was a school boy. Unfortunately, he plays the game in spurts and as a result he isn't nearly consistent as he should be. In addition, his jump shot (more like a set shot) has a long ways to go. His release is slow and mechanical and the trajectory on his shot is quite flat. Overall, Wroten has a chance to be a player not only in college, but beyond that as well. However, I'm curious on how much he wants it. He was very lackadaisical during drills and didn't take the setting serious until the scrimmages began.

Chasson Randle (6-0, 160, Two-guard)
2011, Rock Island, Ill.

Although Randle is described by most pundits as a point guard, I see him more as a combo-guard. He has a terrific (lengthy) frame with very long arms and it wouldn't surprise me if he grew an inch or two more. He is one of the few players his age that plays the game under control. He has tremendous savvy for this game and it's exhibited on almost every possession. He does have the feel to play the point guard position, but he doesn't possess that highly coveted 2nd gear and/or quickness to get in the lane and/or push it strong in transition. It takes time for him to get going and he struggled at times pushing the ball in transition when defenders got into him. On the other hand, he could be lethal in a motion-style offense because of his understanding of the gamenot too mention he is the owner of one of the better looking jump shots for his class. His mechanics are very tight and he is always on balance.

Andre' Drummond (6-10, 250, C)
2012, Oakdale, Conn./St. Thomas Moore Prep

Drummond had the most upside of any participant in camp and it was an easy call if consider his enormous, yet lengthy frame. His game has a ways to go at both ends, but his ceiling his vast. First and foremost, he plays this game with great energy and he isn't afraid to mix it up in the paint area despite his youth. He had a number of impressive finishes inside and his post skills (nice drop step) are more advanced than most young bigs. He did struggle a bit converting in traffic, but with proper fundamentals (not bring the ball down) and added strength, that aspect of his game should improve. He can step out and hit the shot at the elbow and he even showed off a jump hookbut it needs refining. He handles the ball remarkably well for big man as he crossed-over another defender in transition for the lay-up. Drummond has a tremendous future and if addresses the areas that need polishing and continues to stay focused, he'll likely reach his goals.

U-16 notes

James McAdoo, a 6-8 power forward out of Norfolk, Va./ Norfolk Christian, had a quiet weekend, considering his reputation. He was the most skilled 4-man at the trials, but only showed glimpses of his well-rounded game. He can knock down the shot at the elbow and he attacks the rim, especially along the baseline, very well. However, he struggled converting in traffic after make his initial move to the basket.

K.C. Caudill, a 6-10 rising junior out of Brea, Calif./ Brea-Olinda, plays hard at both ends and he is a terrific passer as well, but he struggled rebounding and scoring in the paint area due to his lack of quickness and lift. Overall though, Caudill is a high-major 5-man who is quite skilled with either hand around the basket and like most bigs will get better in time.

One of the more intriguing prospects in the class of 2011 was 6-3 Kevin Ware (Conyers, Ga./ Rockdale County). He was the most slick ball handler in the trials and got to the rim at will. In addition, other than Anthony Wroten jr., he was the most spectacular passer. Unfortunately, he needs to work on improving his jump shot, which needs a lot of work to keep defenses honest.

L.J. Rose, a 6-2 rising sophomore out of Houston, Tex./ Second Baptist School, is a true point guard with a high basketball IQ. He gets rid of the ball quickly in transition and manages the game very well for someone so young. However, he doesn't possess elite speed and/or quickness and as a result there were times he struggled to separate from defenders.

The most difficult prospect to project at the trials was 6-7 Kyle Anderson (North Bergen, NJ/ Paterson Catholic) of the class of 2012. He has a remarkable skill set for his age and he plays the game at an effortless pace. He can spot up and nail the 3-point shot and he's extremely unselfish (tremendous passer). However, he doesn't have quick feet or bounce as of yet and may develop into a highly skilled power forward.

[+] EnlargePerry Ellis
Steven Maikoski/USA Basketball2012 prospect Perry Ellis is a versatile forward.

• Class of 2012 prospect Perry Ellis is a 6-8 skilled 4-man out of Wichita, Kan./ Wichita Heights. His frame and demeanor reminds me of a young Royce White (incoming freshman at Minnesota). He does a solid job converting around the paint area (uses his body well) and he can stick the jump shot at the elbow, but his frame doesn't exactly scream upside.

• If you're looking for a blue-collar type who battles you until the whistle blows, then look no further than 6-9 rising sophomore Tony Parker (Lithonia, Ga./ Miller Grove). He has a huge frame that needs to lean out and he doesn't possess much bounce around the basket, but he can score with either hand and he's physical at both ends.

• Justin Anderson, a 6-5 2012 product out of Montrose, MD./ Montrose Christian School, is extremely explosive while attacking the rim and needs to do that more often and play to his strengths. However, his jump shot (gets very good lift) is a tad mechanical in its release and his ball skills need a lot of polishing.

• His jump shot left him after sinking quite of few of them the 1st day, but 6-4 rising junior Brandon Kearney (Detroit, Mich./ Southeastern) is an intriguing wing-type for the next level. He has a wiry frame, solid bounce, and he made a number of nice passes.

• The biggest enigma of the camp, was 6-9 Norvel Pelle (Compton, Calif./ Dominguez). This 2011 product was the quickest leaper out of all the bigs and made some spectacular blocks and finishes, but displayed very little savvy and skill around the basket, not to mention he struggled to rebound in traffic. In addition, he showed only glimpses of his ability to knock down mid-range shots. However, his upside is immense and he is definitely a diamond in the rough for the high-major level.

• On a side note, I would like to thank the USA Basketball Staff, most notably Caroline Williams, Sean Ford, and Craig Miller for their hospitality.

Joel Francisco has been a high school basketball scout for 15 years. He has written for Hoop Scoop Magazine and Basketball Times and organized "So-Cal's Finest," his own scouting service.