What we learned at Spiece Run 'N Slam
All-Iowa Attack's trio of Paige, Gesell and Woodbury shows its one not to mess with
FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- After a weekend of watching a smattering of juniors and a ton of underclassmen, the weekend concluded on a high note at the Spiece Run 'N Slam. When it comes to AAU basketball, you're not always getting great evaluation games but every now and then things fall into place.
All-Iowa Attack-Indiana Elite yields great matchups
The Indiana Elite and All-Iowa Attack matchup turned into an outstanding evaluation setting because of the positional matchups between the two teams. A spot in the title game was on the line as these two teams clashed in the semifinals. Together, they boast six players who will be in the NBA Top 100 Camp next month.
Shoe company allegiances run strong on the circuit, often making it challenging for the best players at each position to match up, but that wasn't the case because it's a non-shoe-affiliated tournament.
Battle for top PG spot?
Stylistically, Marcus Paige (Marion, Iowa/Linn-Mar) and Kevin Ferrell (Greenfield, Ind./Park Tudor) couldn't be more different, but both are in the conversation for the top point guard in the 2012 class.
Paige, coming off a strong performance at the EYBL where he sustained an ankle sprain, the UNC commit had four points (3-6 FG) to go with four turnovers and three assists. Ferrell shot 5-for-15 and collected 14 points, five turnovers and three assists.
Paige is a pass-first facilitator and may be the most trustworthy point in the country when it comes to running a team. When compared with Ferrell, he's more vocal, balanced and takes a more active leadership role. Ferrell is quicker than Paige and has a better burst to the basket. He's more apt to look to score and we'd give him the edge as a defender. In the grand scheme, both are average finishers, decent shooters and Ferrell, an Indiana commit, is a righty while Paige is left-handed. Paige's team won the game and the championship, but this battle will have to be continued at next month's NBA Camp.
Wings with differing styles
At the wing position, Mike Gesell (Sioux City, Neb./South Sioux City) yielded the size advantage to Ron Patterson (Indianapolis, Ind./Broad Ripple). Gesell, a combo guard with intentions of playing the point in college, proved to be the superior shot maker. A 3-pointer to close the half was key for All-Iowa Attack and his ability to separate and get his shot off in different zones trumped Patterson's offensive package.
Patterson, an Indiana commit, wasn't too shabby either though his highlight came on the defensive end in the second half. Indiana Elite slid Patterson over to guard Paige and it was Patterson's length that gave Paige problems. A noted defender, Patterson's offensive game is less diverse than Gesell's because he's more of a catch-and-shoot specialist with a strong defensive mindset. Both Top 100 wings turned in solid outings, though different in style.
Bigs battle was no contest
Adam Woodbury (Sioux City, Iowa/East) demolished Indiana Elite in the first half and was the sole reason his team led by 15 at the half. The left-handed Woodbury put on a post clinic against Indiana Elite and Hanner Perea (La Porte, Ind./La Lumiere). He was rolling in hooks, up-and-unders and his touch was very good -- especially considering he was playing against good size and athleticism. He and Paige were also on point running pick-and-roll. So far this spring, Woodbury earned his stripes as a Top 100 recruit.
Perea, to his credit, rallied in the second half. While Woodbury's game is about size and skill, Perea's is predicated on athleticism and rebounding, particularly above the rim. His presence in the lane at both ends gave Indiana Elite a shot in the arm for the second half which turned into a back-and-forth battle down the stretch. Woodbury held the edge, but Perea didn't go away without a fight.
This battle of the bigs presented an interesting clash of styles. Indiana knows what it has in Perea and the next step is to empower him with scoring moves in the lane and get him comfortable in that regard. Woodbury is Iowa's top post target, so the pair may wind up battling in the Big Ten one day.
Big Ten's big gamble
This is a jaw-dropping stat: Indiana and Purdue have combined for 17 early commitments from juniors, sophomores and freshmen. Of those 17 commitments, 15 of them were on rosters for the Spiece event. Three were injured and didn't play, so 12 of the committed players participated, giving local fans a preview of their recruits.
However, not a single committed player to either school was on a team that won a championship at Spiece. Indiana Elite started three future Hoosiers and lost in the semis to All-Iowa Attack, a team that has four high-major caliber players. The Eric Gordon All-Stars played in the U-16 division and started two Indiana commits and a Boilermakers pledge but didn't make it out of the first round of the playoffs.
We've made it a theme this year to bring up the risks of early commitments. There's a risk on the school because once the program takes players early, it may want to pursue better players later in the process, but may be out of scholarships. There's also the risk of the players getting complacent once the decision-making process ends.
No matter the reason, risks are involved. Think about the sheer number of early commitments by these two schools alone. Seventeen is a significant number and it means a huge chunk of their recruiting is finished for the upcoming years. We aren't saying these players aren't good enough, in fact some like Ferrell and Perea project as early starters. The point is will they turn out to be the best fits for each program?
Not household names but impressive games
• Jerron Wilbut (Downers Grove, Ill./South) is the top wing on an Illinois Wolves squad. He is strong and gifted as a shooter from the combo guard slot.
• Anthony Dallier (Wexford, Pa./N. Allegheny) ran with the Ohio Basketball Club and caught our eye as a skilled small forward with an excellent aptitude for the game. Duquesne and Cornell offered the junior already and they'll have company this summer.
• Bryant McIntosh (New Castle, Ind./Chrysler) is a 2014 guard on a team laced with talent. The 6-3 shooting guard is one to watch because he's tough, makes shots and has a ball player's swagger.
• Illinois Wolves 16s guard Nate Taphorn (Pekin, Ill./Pekin) put on a shooting display worthy of a college audience. Unfortunately, college coaches weren't allowed in the building to see him drain six 3-pointers in one game.
• Motown's Sherron Dorsey-Walker (Detroit, Mich./Pershing) is one of those gifted shooting guards with a deft touch. Michigan, Florida State, Iowa State, Indiana and Dayton are looking at him.
Dave Telep is the senior basketball recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. His college basketball scouting service is used by more than 225 colleges and numerous NBA teams. He can be reached at email@example.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.
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