By Aggrey Sam
I’ve seen a lot of good ball in Orlando, but my personal highlight was seeing the legend herself, Glen Rice’s (apparently ex-) wife, who showed up to watch her kids (Glen Jr. and G’Mitri; both can play) ball the other day. As the Super Showcase winds down (the gold division chip game featuring SLAM diarist Xavier Henry’s Athlete’s First team is tonight), here’s a baker’s dozen of prospects who have performed well over the last couple of days:
Alec Burks, 6-3 combo guard, 2009: A skilled distributor and ballhandler from the scrappy Spiece Mo-Kan team, Burks’ size, court vision, finishing ability and effort on the defensive end earned him more than his fair share of admirers.
Dion Waiters, 6-3 combo guard, 2010: A Philly native who committed to Syracuse before even playing a high school game, Waiters’ strong physique, toughness, athleticism and near-unstoppable scoring repetoire makes him a matchup nightmare for opponents.
Kyryl Natyazhko, 6-10 post, 2009: I’ve heard comparisons to former Kansas big man Sasha Kaun (both are Russian and prepped in Florida), but the mobile Natyazhko is much more polished offensively, as he has solid footwork in the post, can step outside to hit jumpers and owns a soft touch around the rim.
Okaro White, 6-7 combo forward, 2009: Natyazhko’s AAU teammate isn’t a full-fledged wing, but the slender White’s versatility–he possesses great quickness, athleticism and aggressiveness–along with his rebounding ability, mid-range J and tough defense make his inside-outside game a tough matchup.
Rodney Williams, 6-6 wing, 2009: A big-time leaper from Minnesota, Williams is becoming a deadly outside shooter and excellent wing defender, but his athleticism also allows him to wreak havoc on the boards on both ends of the court.
Eddie Ludwig, 6-8 post, 2009: Ludwig, a Louisiana native, isn’t the prettiest player, but the redhead’s determination and skillset–he has a decent handle for his size, a nice touch out to beyond the arc and he’s willing to bang down low, despite his skinny frame–have attracted a lot of attention.
Darius Smith, 6-2 point guard, 2009: The Chicago product, who one college coach told me might be the best defender in the nation for his class, is starting to knock down his once-suspect J more consistently, which is bad news for foes who already struggled with his driving ability, rebounding from the guard position, distributing skills and intangibles.
Doron Lamb, 6-4 combo guard, 2010: Lamb, a New Yorker who told me he’s headed to Oak Hill next season, continues to tear up the summer circuit with his smooth moves, calm demeanor and polished game, but more importantly, he’s starting to carry himself with that all-important swagger.
Brandon Peterson, 6-8 combo forward, 2009: Another member of the Birmingham Ice squad, Peterson’s diverse blend of wing skills, post moves, athleticism, length, rebounding and touch around the basket certainly opened up some eyes.
Keith Appling, 6-2 combo guard, 2010: This was my first time seeing the touted Detroit prospect play and I wasn’t disappointed, as the slender guard continously attacked the bucket, hit jumpers from multiple distances, displayed advanced moves on the wing, played harassing D and combined his slashing game with unselfish playmaking.
Marshawn Powell, 6-7 combo forward, 2009: The recent Arkansas de-commitment shone brightest in the showcase game for Boo Williams, as he hit both the offensive and defensive glass, finished strong at the rim, found gaps in the defense to hit jumpers and generally played tough and efficient ball.
Kendall Marshall, 6-3 point guard, 2010: In his battle with Phil Pressey, Marshall, a UNC commitment, reconfirmed his top spot in his class’ floor generals by completing controlling the tempo, knocking mid- and long-range jumpers, using his improved strength to penetrate and dropping dimes like a new-school version of Mark Jackson.
Cully Payne, 6-0 point guard, 2009: Much maligned after committing to DePaul before he started high school (he’s now committed to Alabama), Payne has developed into a heady, pass-first playmaker who hits open shots and makes things easy for his teammates.