NC Pro-Am Day 5 Recap
The ACC shows its talent.
With most of the other nights being downright stacked with star-power, Day 5 was more of a chill night at the NC Pro-Am. There weren’t any appearances by John Wall or Brandon Jennings, and the vast majority of the UNC/Duke players had the night off. The marquee matchup of the night had NC State’s Lorenzo Brown and Marquette’s Darius Johnson-Odom trading blows, along with Karron Johnson showing everyone why he is going to be a problem at Shaw. Those 3 included, here’s a look at some of the guys who did their thing:
Karron Johnson, 6-9, PF, Junior, Shaw: The #1 JUCO player in the country was a man amongst boys this time around at the Pro-Am. The Mount Zion product and ex-Oklahoma State signee didn’t quite make the grades to go D-1, so he’s headed to Flip Murray’s alma mater in Raleigh. There really isn’t much that Johnson can’t do on the floor. If you ask him to play pick and pop, he can get buckets out to the collegiate 3. If you want him to play with his back to the basket, he’ll bully you with his 235 pound frame. If you put a slower defender on him, Johnson will explode to the rim and finish with a dunk. Talent has never been an issue with the former top-30 recruit and if he can put it all together, he’ll be in the League one day.
Darius Johnson-Odom, 6-2, PG/SG, Senior, Marquette: The lefty combo guard had more dunks than anyone, despite being a hair over 6-foot. The athletic freak probably had the most highlights of anyone and kept the defense honest with the trio of 3′s he put on the board. Still somewhat stuck in-between guard positions, look for him to0 build on the All Big East 2nd team spot he had last year and attempt to work his way into the League.
Leslie McDonald, 6-4, SG, Junior, North Carolina: If you had to name an MVP of the Pro-Am up to this point, Leslie McDonald wold have been right there at the top along with John Henson. The amount that the former McDonald’s All-American improved between his sophomore and junior seasons was remarkable, improving the consistency of his jumpshot and shot-creating ability. Unfortunately, that all came to an end as McDonald suffered a torn ACL. It was a crushing blow for both McDonald and UNC, who were expecting a major contribution this season.
Lorenzo Brown, 6-4, SG/PG, Sophomore, North Carolina State: There aren’t many guard at any level who are more athletic than Lorenzo Brown. Looking through my notes, they were filled with “blow by”, “dunk”, and “explosive” the entire time. He still has to put in some work on his jumper and can be a little loose with the rock at times, but even a basketball dummy can tell how naturally talented the NC State sophomore is.
PJ Hairston, 6-6, SG/SF, Freshman, North Carolina: The sizzling summer for PJ Hairston continued yet again, as he shot the lights out of the ball from well beyond the NBA 3 point arc. The work that he’s done with his body and athleticism is baffling, leaving scouts imagining where he could be a year from now based on what he’s accomplished in just a few short months. The Greensboro native still needs to improve on his mid-range game, but with or without it, look for him to get immediate burn as a freshman.