- Joel Francisco
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During the second day of action in Las Vegas, I ventured down to Rancho High School to take in the action from the adidas Super 64. There were many interesting matchups that resulted in many high-level efforts, and none better than what 6-foot-10 senior Cody Zeller (Washington, Ind./Washington) dished out.
Like his brother Tyler at North Carolina, Cody runs very well in transition and has an assortment of skills that extend out to 20 feet. In his matchup against highly-touted 6-11 Isaiah Austin (Mansfield, Texas/Grace Prep), Zeller used his advanced fundamentals and savviness to repeatedly break down Austin defensively.
2011 (6-10, 210) | AAU Team: Indiana Elite/Team Indiana
Zeller is vaulting up the scouting charts due to his improved play this summer. His skill level and savvy are about as potent as it gets at the 4. He has a feathery touch out to 20-feet and he utilizes the pump fake to get around his opponents. He has very good hands when catching passes in transition, usually ending up with a thunderous dunk. He still needs to gain strength to finish with contact at a more consistent rate, but he's looking more and more like a top-15 talent or better.
Rodney Hood (Meridian, Miss./Meridian)
2011 (6-6, 190) | AAU Team: MBA Hoops Elite
Hood is a slick left-hander who seems like he's been around the AAU circuit forever. His skill set is high-level and he is difficult to stop one-on-one. Like most lefties, he has a tendency to go left and generally struggles when he has to adjust. However, his handle is quite good and he has a nice burst to his game. If his drive gets cut off, then he turns to his smooth jump shot. He is one of the few players in the country who appears to be as equally impressive shooting off the dribble as he does off the catch. Hood is an outstanding talent, but he is so used to having the ball in his hands that he'll need to learn to move without the ball at the next level.
Aaron White (Medina, Ohio/Strongsville)
2011 (6-7, 200) | AAU Team: Ohio Basketball Club
White is a pure basketball player. He is deceptively athletic and he's always around the ball. He is the prototypical "glue" guy who can impact the game on many levels. He has quick hands on defense and he can get out and finish in transition. In the half court, he can face-up his opponent and take him off the dribble and he's quite unselfish. His basketball IQ is high and his passing prowess in the half-court set is high level.
One to watch
Ismalia Dauda (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Grandview Prep)
2012 (6-8, 230) | AAU Team: Florida Rams
Dauda is an intriguing 5-man for the high-major level. He is well put-together and has ideal length. He uses his powerful frame to establish position in the paint area, where he displays his solid drop step move. His soft hands allow him to snag rebounds in his area and he has a high motor. Dauda is still quite raw on the offensive end, but defensively he recovers quickly in transition and is one of the better shot blockers I've seen this summer.
• Quincy Miller (Chicago/Westchester Country Day) goes 6-9 but hovers around the perimeter and launches far too many 3s for a player with his inside ability. However, in his game against the Florida Rams he battled inside for offensive rebounds and exhibited solid footwork for some outstanding finishes.
• There isn't a smoother scorer in the country than 6-7 senior LaQuinton Ross (Jackson, Miss./NJ Life Center Academy). He doesn't exert a whole lot of energy on the court, but his shooting touch inside and out is highly impressive.
• Norvel Pelle (Los Angeles/Price), is about as inconsistent as it gets in terms of effort and productivity, but at 6-9 his physical abilities are off the charts. He gets off the floor as quickly as quick as any big I've seen, which generally leads to spectacular blocks and above the rim finishes.
• Austin stands 6-11 but is projected by some as a 3-man for the next level due to his remarkable perimeter skills. If he could gravitate more to the paint area on offense and use his extraordinary length his game would go to another level.
Joel Francisco is a recruiting coordinator for ESPN Recruiting.