Napier impresses, Wroten returns
HAMPTON, Va. -- The second day of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League was filled with exceptional performances. On every court, you could see high-level talent with intense team play. The stars of tomorrow were shining bright all day and into the evening at the Boo Williams facility.
Shabazz Napier, PG (6-0, 160)
2011, Lawrence Academy/Randolph, Mass., AAU: Boston Amateur Basketball Club
This scoring point guard can just about do it all offensively. He had a terrific performance on Friday and came on even stronger Sunday. Napier is always looking to attack the defense. When he puts the ball on the floor, he is well-versed at the drive, draw-and-kick concept as he creates opportunities for his teammates. When he gets in the lane, he has a smooth floater that allows him to score before the defense can be a factor.
Although Napier is small in stature, he bounces off defenders and finishes in the paint. In a pick-and-roll situation, he read the defense, saw a gap and demonstrated a beautiful split between the two defenders for a basket.
Napier uses the jab step to create space for him to score when needed. He can make shot-clock plays when the offense has nothing going. What's really impressive is his shooting range and accuracy. He is compared to Dana Barros, a former BABC, Boston College and NBA great.This young man, who is committed to UConn, competes and exudes self-confidence.
Levi Randolph SG 6-5, 180
2011, Bob Jones/Madison, Ala., AAU: Alabama Challenge
Randolph is an offensive machine. The Alabama 6A player of the year has all the tools when it comes to scoring. Along with talent, he has the rare ability to allow the flow of the game to come to him and not force the action. He has a smooth handle and breaks down defenders with an excellent crossover dribble into the paint, then uses his good body control to finish the play. When Randolph doesn't get all the way to the rim, he demonstrates a good-looking pull-up jumper. He is comfortable and confident in his 3-point shot. With his size, he can see over defenders and displays good peripheral along with a solid basketball IQ and vision to make the assist. To go with his athletic abilities, Randolph is a high-level student. He is looking at Alabama, Georgia, Florida State, Virginia and Vanderbilt.
• Great to see Tony Wroten Jr. (Seattle/Garfield) on the court again. This was his first appearance after he tore his ACL on the football field this past fall. He still has that tremendous ability to blow by defenders and score or make the assist. He continues to find himself at the free throw line thanks to his penetration, but he must work on that perimeter jumper to become complete.
• Speaking of West Coast point guards, watch out for Josiah Turner (Sacramento, Calif.). He possesses excellent size, strength and speed. I really like how he changes speeds and direction with the ball to get to the cup and score.
• Staying on the theme of point guards, Jalen West (Bossier City, La./Bossier) has all the attributes you need for the position. He can shoot it behind the arc, is always under control as he runs the show and changes speeds as he attacks the basket. Defensively, he shows good anticipation as well as pesky on-the-ball defense.
• Looking into the future in the 15-under division, some special talent was on hand. Most notably, Dakari Johnson of the New York Gauchos impressed us. He has a huge body with an enormous wingspan, good hands and the skill to score. It was impressive to watch him put the ball on the floor. We also were impressed by small forwards Wayne Selden of BABC and Tadric Jackson of the Georgia Stars.
Paul Biancardi is a veteran of the coaching ranks with years of college experience. He has recruited on a national level with stops as an assistant coach at Boston University and Boston College, associate head coach at Ohio State and most recently as an assistant at Saint Louis University. Biancardi was head coach at Wright State University from 2003 to 2006. In 2003, he was named Horizon League Coach of the Year. He is a selection committee member for the prestigious McDonald's All-America Game and the Gatorade Player of the Year award.