King, Gilchrist impress in NYC
The Rumble in the Bronx featured a good amount of talent from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut in addition to some very talented teams from other regions in the country. While some of the household names that we have come to expect had good showings at this event, a host of previously unheralded prospects proved their mettle in games, thus proving worthy of mention on the national recruiting scene.
In the 17-under championship game, Team Final, led by uber-prospect 6-7 combo-forward Michael Gilchrist (Elizabeth, N.J./St. Patrick's) and Tyreek Duran (Philadelphia, Pa./Neuman-Goretti) faced off against California Supreme, which featured 6-5 SG Keala King (Compton, Calif./Dominguez) and 6-7 SF Dwayne Polee (Los Angeles, Calif./Westchester). Team Final used a balanced attack, with Duran manning the controls, to beat California Supreme on their way to laying claim to the 17u title.
Michael Gilchrist, combo-forward (6-7)
Team Final, 2011, St. Patrick's/Elizabeth, N.J.
Gilchrist, despite the lofty expectations and endless amount praise and adoration heaped upon him, never seems to disappoint in the effort department. That fact is somewhat of a pleasant surprise given that a great deal of elite prospects will rest on their laurels and coast at certain junctures during an event. He impresses with the zeal and vigor that he displays when he attacks the boards, particularly the offensive glass; he uses his quick leaping ability and wiry strength to gather boards and power up for finishes in traffic. He also has good ball-handling skills, especially going right, which allows Gilchrist to initiate the offense for his team at times. His decent passing skills and unselfishness allow him to man the point-forward slot at times, though he needs to continue to refine his ball-handling skills and improve his accuracy and consistency from the perimeter.
Keala King, SG (6-5)
California Supreme, 2010, Dominguez/Compton, Calif.
King has very good athletic ability and loves to attack the rim. A lefty shooter, King actually prefers to go right during his forays to the bucket. He does a good job using his right hand to finish in the paint at the rim. King needs to continue to improve his ball-handling skills and add a midrange pull-up jumper to his offensive game. He excels at breaking defenders down off the dribble, getting into the lane and finding open teammates for easy scoring opportunities. For a player who spends so much time in the lane, King needs to continue to improve his free-throw shooting touch by getting more arc on the ball by using his legs. King also plays very good on-ball defense and plays passing lanes for steals. He plays hard and rarely takes plays off.
Tyreek Duran, PG (6-0)
Team Final, 2010, Neumann-Goretti/Philadelphia
Duran has very good quickness. He's almost like a one-man press break; he excels at bringing the ball up the floor against pressure, thus creating a number of fast breaking opportunities for his club. While his quickness allows him to get into the lane with ease, his jets and passing ability make him a very tough cover in the transition game. His vision helps him find open players for scoring chances. He will also connect on open jumpers, but he needs to continue to work on his consistency from the perimeter. His quickness allows him to put immense pressure on opposing defenses, and he plays at his best when he looks to involve his teammates first, then look for his scoring attempts as opposed to thinking about his offense first.
Dwayne Polee, SF (6-7)
California Supreme, 2010, Westchester/Los Angeles, Calif.
Polee has to add a considerable amount of strength and muscle to his frame, but he has a great deal of upside and room for development. His ability to develop other aspects of his game and not rely almost exclusively on his incredible athleticism will determine his ultimate place among national prospects. Polee has explosive leaping ability and can seemingly finish above the rim at will. He will connect on a jumper from the perimeter, but he has a low release point and needs to become more consistent. I'd also like to see him add a pull-up jumper to his game, instead of relying on runners when he goes off the bounce and cannot get to the rim. His lack of strength also causes him to avoid contact and miss finishes at the rim instead of going over defenders. He also needs to continue to improve his ball-handling skills.
Miles Davis, SG (6-1)
Playaz, 2011, St. Peter's/Jersey City, N.J.
Davis had a very strong showing throughout the event. He sparked runs for his club with timely hoops and strong-on ball defense. Davis will connect on jumpers with range that extends out to the 3-point line, but he also has more than enough quickness to create off the dribble and get to the bucket. He has a very mature build for his age, and his strength allows him to get past defenders on the perimeter. Davis plays good defense, using his strength and lateral quickness to harass opposing ball-handlers. He has decent passing skills and vision. His true worth will be realized as he learns to become more of a playmaker and gets more comfortable handling the rock as the initiator of his team's offense.
Charles Hankerson, Combo-guard (6-4), Gold Coast
2010, Coral Reef/Miami, Fla.
Hankerson has adequate, but not outstanding quickness. Therefore he uses his superior strength and muscle to create space for his shot when he operates off the dribble. Opposing defenders just bounce off of Hankerson when he looks to establish contact to create separation for his shot. He has more than enough strength to finish in the paint and take contact, but he really excels in the midrange portion of the floor, relying on his superior size to shoot over smaller defenders when he runs the point. He has enough ball-handling skills to play the point. He has range on his jumper that extends out to the 3-point line. He needs to use his superior size and strength to harass opposing guards on the defensive end more often.
Chris Gayot, PG (5-9)
New Heights, 2011, Cardozo/Bayside, N.Y.
Gayot has the toughness coaches love in their point guards; he plays with a healthy chip on his shoulder. He has a stocky build along with a low center of gravity that allows him to generate power, making it very difficult for defenders to deter Gayot from turning the corner and getting to the paint when he decides to attack, especially when Gayot gets to go to his right. He has good quickness, which complements his fearless attitude, allowing him to get into the teeth of the defense frequently. He will have to continue to work on going to his left off the bounce, in addition to continuing to perfect his jump shot accuracy. That said, Gayot will hit jumpers from the perimeter, including 3-point shots. He excels in the open court and can find open teammates for scoring chances with ease when he penetrates.
Rhamel Brown, PF (6-6)
Juice All-Stars, 2010, Transit Tech/Brooklyn, N.Y.
Brown has a very good frame with wide shoulders and long arms that help him compensate for his lack of ideal height for the post. He battles on almost every possession and contests shots on the defensive end whenever an opposing player gets into the paint to score. Brown also rebounds the ball on both ends of the court and excels as an offensive rebounder. A lefty, Brown will collect an offensive carom and go back up in traffic with his right hand when he has to. Brown will have to work on his touch around the hoop and continue to improve his footwork in the post. Adding a short jumper will help him on the next level; he may not have the height to constantly score in the paint.
Cleanthony Early, SF (6-6)
BC Eagles, 2010, Pine Bush/Pine Bush, N.Y.
Early has great energy and uses it to make spectacular plays on the floor, especially on the offensive end. When engaged, he runs the floor very well and also contributes on the defensive end as a shot-blocker. He has range that extends out to the 3-point line, but he has to improve his consistency and speed up his rather slow release. He also has the leaping ability and quick first-step necessary to use the dribble drive to get to the cup, but he has to work on getting under control to square up for pull-up jumpers. As he becomes more disciplined and understands how to efficiently use his energy and athleticism, Early could tap into his vast potential as a scoring wing.
Jordon Bronner, PG (6-0)
Westchester Hawks, 2010, Iona Prep/New Rochelle, N.Y
Bronner has decent, but not outstanding quickness -- though he can get into the teeth of the defense by relentlessly attacking the rim. He leads his team by example and plays very hard. He will defend well and looks to involve his teammates on the offensive end with his play as a pass-first point guard. Though he needs to get more rotation on his jumper and improve his accuracy and range, Bronner will connect on pull-up jumpers. Any team in need of a hard-nosed, tough lead guard should give Bronner a look.
• Markel Brown (Alexandria, La./Peabody), a 6-4 SG, has incredible athleticism and leaping ability. He will finish a number of plays above the rim and as he improves his perimeter play, Brown will become a force as a 2-guard.
• Miles Cartwright (Los Angeles, Calif./Loyola), a 6-3 SG, will hurt opposing defenses with his lethal shooting from beyond the land of 3. It does not rank out of character for him to connect on successive 3s when defenses do not run him off the 3-point line.
• Six-foot-five-inch SF Brian Voekel (New Rochelle, N.Y./Iona Prep) plays the game from the shoulders-up better than most young prospects. He makes very good passes and also accomplishes tasks that do not show up in the box score, helping his team to wins.
• Kerry Weldon (New York, N.Y./St. Agnes), a 6-5 SF, has electrifying athleticism and leaping ability. He plays a very active brand of basketball and will finish above the rim with ease. He also rebounds the ball in and out of his area effectively.
Antonio Williams is a recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. He previously worked as an NBA scout for Marty Blake Associates.