UA Best of the Best recap
Big men Mitch McGary and Robert Carter highlighted the UA combine
ATLANTA -- Under Armour welcomed 80 top prospects from around the country to Marist High School this weekend for the second annual Best of the Best. The three-day event not only measured the players' physical and basketball aptitude, but also educated them on a variety of subjects critical to their future development. Overall, the event was a well orchestrated collaboration between event director Winfred Jordan and Ted Gladue's group at Under Armour, resulting in a terrific display of talent and a great weekend of competition and education for all of the participants.
Mitch McGary (Chesterton, Ind./Brewster Academy)
2012, PF, 6-foot-10, 225 pounds
There was lots to like from McGary this weekend as he solidified his spot as one of the premier big men in the country and came away as the clear-cut winner of a one-on-one matchup with Robert Carter (Thomasville, Ga./Thomasville). While some guys really understand what it means to play hard, McGary takes it to another level, competing with authentic intensity every second on the floor and being a great teammate, even in a camp environment such as this. He looks to rip the rim down every time he catches the ball within 8 feet of it and showed some progressing skills with the ability to start the break with his dribble and make a couple of high-level passes from the low post and a turnaround jumper to complement his already-consistent face-up jumper.
Jordan Price (Congress, Ga./Southwest Dekalb)
2012, SG, 6-4, 220 pounds
Price headlined the long list of Georgia products who showed well this weekend and was the unofficial player of the day on Saturday after showing his complete offensive arsenal. There wasn't a more college-ready shooter in the field, because he has an effortless stroke with a quick release and deep range. Don't mistake him for a one-trick pony, though, as he got easy points by running in transition, made tough shots off the dribble and finished with touch and dexterity around the rim.
2012, PF, 6-8, 240 pounds
Carter is a highly skilled big man with an incredibly efficient half-court skill set. Saturday's damage was done on the low block as he used his massive shoulders and wide upper body to earn his desired real estate then went to work with his terrific hands and feet, ultimately proving impossible to defend in single coverage (unless your last name is McGary). Sunday his attack was more perimeter-oriented as he warmed up in skill stations before pulling opposing shot-blockers away from the basket with his shooting range coming out of pick-and-pop action.
Shaq Goodwin (Decatur, Ga./Southwest Dekalb)
2012, PF, 6-8, 210 pounds
Goodwin is yet another big, powerful post player with surprising agility and athleticism. While he showed some flashes of skill with the occasional standstill jumper, his best role is that of a relocation big man, getting opposite dribble drivers but still staying within vicinity of the rim to take full advantage of his ability to finish explosively through contact.
Glenn Robinson (St. John, Ind./Lake Central)
2012, SF, 6-6, 175 pounds
Big Dog Sr. was on hand Sunday getting a good look, while his son produced in high volume for the second consecutive day. While he continues to be a valuable shooting threat from the perimeter, his handle has developed into a weapon that allows him to smoothly cross over his defender or be creative coming off ball screens. His physical development was equally impressive, showing length and power on the wing along with the ability to play consistently above the rim.
Rysheed Jordan (Philadelphia/ Imhotep)
2013, PG, 6-3
Jordan was at his best when the lights were the brightest, taking over his team's playoff game on Sunday with a lethal attacking game and even higher upside. He's as physically gifted a lead guard as there was in the field, complete with great size, long arms, a strong frame and some big-time bounce. He attacks the rim hard going north and south in transition but can create east to west,as he showed with the highlight of the day on Sunday when he broke his man down from the deep corner, taking one dribble to the rim then rising up for an emphatic two-handed flush.
Danuel House (Houston/ High Tower)
2012, SF, 6-6, 185 pounds
He announced himself in style on Saturday, catching an alley-oop off the jump ball of the opening-round game, and didn't take his foot off the gas until the weekend came to a close. He has the full package physically, sporting a long and strong build along with the high-level athleticism to get his head all over the rim. He's a slashing scorer and big-time finisher who also shoots it well enough to keep his defender honest and has enough poise to penetrate and pitch. He's also very active on the defensive end of the floor, putting his physical tools to good use and taking pride in his performance on that end.
Danrad Knowles (Houston/Homeschool Christian Youth Association)
2012, PF, 6-9, 190 pounds
Knowles is a long and lean combo-forward with a smooth skill set. He has easy range to the arc and handles well for a guy his size with a smooth overall floor game. He's most intriguing from the midpost area, where he has an NBA-style attack using his size and length to shoot over defenders in the 12-to-15-foot range. He's plenty mobile and agile but will need to add a significant amount of strength to his frame before he's able to play against contact with any type of consistency.
Ali Mohamed (Sugar Land, Texas/Trent International)
2012, C, 6-9
Mohamed is a highly skilled post player with a tremendous feel for the game. He makes standstill shots to the arc and has a soft touch and dexterity around the rim. While not especially athletic, the Egyptian native has catcher's mitts for hands and advanced footwork both inside and out with a proficient jab series. He's also a high-volume rebounder who uses his girth well and grabs everything with two hands above his head.
Christian Sanders (Houston/St. Thomas)
2012, SG, 6-3, 170 pounds
Sanders may not jump out at you physically, but the more you watch him the more you like his game. He just flat-out knows how to play. He's highly skilled with a high basketball IQ and innate feel for the game. His shooting stroke captured him the 3-point title on Saturday, while his dribble-drive game was a consistent threat to either side with off-the-bounce passing skills to match.
Players to watch
Isaiah Whitehead (Brooklyn, N.Y./ Lincoln)
2014, SG, 6-4, 195 pounds
As physically advanced of a 2014 guard as there was in the field, Whitehead's power allows him to attack the rim in straight lines. His handle borders on that of a point guard, but he won't play with the ball to prove it to you, instead he'll drive downhill to the rim and finish by going either through or around contact with a great combination of strength, athleticism and body control. With a complementary pull-up game to boot, he's a consistent 3-point shot away from being dominant.
Aquille Carr (Baltimore/ Patterson)
2013, PG, 5-6, 140 pounds
Carr has an absolutely unrivaled combination of speed and quickness. He's a blur with the ball in the open floor and just as explosive in contained areas with quick starts and stops. His lack of size almost plays to his advantage as it allows him to knife into gaps and create angles others wouldn't. At some point he'll have to account for it on the defensive end, but not in this type of open-floor atmosphere.
Quadri Moore (Linden, N.J./Linden)
2014, PF, 6-8
Moore is a highly skilled, young big man with a wide body. He was trying a little too hard to make a name for himself on Saturday but nonetheless showed an intriguing tool set. When he let the game come to him on Sunday he drilled three 3s in a row and showed tremendous dexterity, finishing with both hands on both sides of the rim and starting the break after grabbing a rebound and even throwing a left-handed bounce pass off the dribble. He definitely needs to tone his frame and improve his conditioning, but he'll be a priority for high-major programs looking for skilled big men.
• J.P. Tokoto (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Menomonee Falls) is an incredible athlete on the wing and a big-time finisher, but he has to learn to utilize his athleticism in other areas if he's going to become more efficient with his overall floor game. Step one is learning to play lower to the ground off the dribble and becoming more efficient with his bounces.
• The Harrison twins from Travis High School in Houston showed their talent in spurts this weekend. Aaron Harrison attacked the rim hard in the open floor, while also showing a proficient one-on-one skill set from a standstill. Andrew Harrison showed the great blend of size and feel that makes him one of the premier point guards in the nation.
• Ray Lee (Romulus, Mich./Hunting Prep) is a big point guard who accelerates in the open floor and bounces off the ground as if it were a trampoline to dunk on unsuspecting big men.
• Farad Cobb (West Palm Beach, Fla./Summit Christian), Dallas Anglin (Jersey City, N.J./Seton Hall Prep) and Jay Daniel (Hampton, Va./Phoebus) are three guards who impressed this weekend and should find themselves getting a steady dose of mid-major recruitment this summer.
• After a disappointing day on Saturday, Chris Walker (Bonifay, Fla./Holmes County) showed much better on Sunday by focusing his attack within 12 feet of the rim, where his physical tools and pretty, soft touch allowed him to be more productive.
• Rondae Jefferson (Chester, Pa./Chester) has one of the best frames you're going to find. He thrived in combine testing and in the open floor but struggled in the half court, where the sheer size of the competition created less space in the lane to create.
• Damien Wilson (Austell, Ga./Oak Hill) scored in high volume this weekend but hunted shots at times and was at his best when allowing his individual talents to help facilitate for those around him.
• 2014 point guard Austin Tilghman (Middletown, Del./St. Andrew's) has the look and feel of a future Big East guard in the mold of Levance Fields.
• Skylar Spencer (Los Angeles/Price) is a prospect on the rise in the Class of 2012. The long lefty is still filling out his frame, but he's not that far away having a big-time body to match his athleticism and quick feet.
• AAU teammates Daniel Dingle (Bronx, N.Y./St. Raymond) and Kamari Murphy (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln) looked good physically this weekend. Dingle has continued to cut up and sculpt his frame, while Murphy has added some needed bulk to his upper body.
• Kennedy Meeks (Charlotte, N.C./West Charlotte) is a wide-bodied big who played his best basketball on Sunday going to work with his skill set, showing touch and footwork on the block and facing up out to 18 feet.
Adam Finkelstein has been a coach or scout at the high school, college and pro levels. He was an assistant coach in Division I by the age of 24 and also worked as a scout for Marty Blake, the NBA's director of scouting.
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