In the Meantime, In Between Time…In Texas
Sixteen high school games in eight days.
by Rodger Bohn / @rodgerbohn
In days in between the lovely All-Star Weekend festivities, the National Prep Alliance Tourney, and the DISD Post Season Classic, we figured we may as well go and catch most of the other top high school cats the Dallas/Fort Worth had to offer. Working with limited time, we tried to peep as many of the top youngsters in the Metroplex as we could, but didn’t quite see everyone we would’ve liked to.
In our gaps, we dropped in one of Rodney Forsett’s practices at Grace Prep. Coach Forsett put his kids through a killer skills workout, really showing you the amazing talent he’s assembled at the small private school. Grace Prep was known as the Buffalo Bills of Texas HS hoops, going to several straight state title games (and losing them all) before finally getting that illustrious W.
SLAM was also on hand to see Pinkston (with top 20 2010 prospect Tony Mitchell) go up against South Oak Cliff (Memphis Grizzlie Darrell “Shady” Arthur’s alma mater), Duncanville (with Baylor bound Perry Jones) vs Naaman, North Crowley (Oklahoma stud Willie Warren’s old school) vs DeSoto, Dallas Lincoln (Chris Bosh’s old stomping grounds) vs Segoaville (LaMarcus Aldridge’s old HS), and Woodrow Wilson (which produced Anthony Randolph) vs South Oak Cliff.
Needless to say, after 16 high school games in eight days, I was pretty stoked to hop on my direct flight back to Cleveland and get a few days of R and R before getting back on the grind yet again for the state tournaments up north.
Here are a few of the guys who caught our eye:
Perry Jones | 6-11 | PF | Duncanville | 2010
In terms of NBA Draft potential, there is not a player in the Class of 2010 who has more than Perry Jones. It’s a little different watching him in the more structured atmosphere of a high school game as opposed to the open, free setting you have in an AAU game. Perry was hit with a quick double team just about every time he touched the rock, making a number of solid skip pases to find the open man. With his back to the basket, he showed a downright beautiful turnaround jumper and drilled a few right handed jump hooks. He really wasn’t able to show off his perimeter skills and athleticism (No. 3 in video) that set him apart from any other big man in this class. The future Baylor bear was able to show off his handle a few times against the press, though. The main knock on Perry is he has never consistently put all of his talents together to completely dominate a game, which he has the potential to do. If what Scott Drew has done with Epke Udoh this season in Waco is any indication, we should def be watching for some BIG things next year out of Mr. Jones.
Tony Mitchell | 6-8 | SF/PF | Pinkston | 2010
Mitchell continued his reign of terror on opposing foes after being snubbed for both the McDonald’s game and the Jordan game. The 6’8 combo forward nearly singled handedly led his team to wins over both South Oak Cliff and 4A favorite Dallas Lincoln with his inside/out play. Dropping nearly 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 blocks in each of the games we peeped, the crazy potential the Missouri commit possesses was evident. Mitchell has a chance to put all of his skills on center stage in Mike Anderson’s run and gun system next season at Mizzou.
Isaiah Austin | 7-0 | PF/C | Arlington Grace Prep | 2012
While Austin struggled a bit in his matchup against LeBryan Nash, we were able to catch his vast array of skills in a Grace Prep practice. It was mostly skill work that Austin was put through and there wasn’t a ton of up and down action, but it served as a great forum for us to truly see how talented Austin was. The seven footer may be the most skilled 7-0 sophomore on the perimeter I have ever seen. It’s not too often you catch a 6-8 guy (let alone a true 7-footer) dribble fluidly up the floor and go behind his back…while dribbling two balls at the same time. Ike Austin’s nephew also showed gorgeous form on his J and range that extended to about 18 feet. He’s definitely more of a finesse guy right now and will have to get tougher if he hopes to become a Chris Bosh/LaMarcus Aldridge type player, but the pieces of the puzzle appear to be in the works early on.
LeBryan Nash | 6-7 | SF/PF | Dallas Lincoln | 2011
Like Tony Mitchell, Nash is a straight inside/out nightmare. What he lacks in terms of full time wing skills, he makes up for in heart and ability to overpower you. The junior, who plays AAU for the Dallas Mustangs, has been one of the more productive players in the Dallas area since his freshman year and did nothing to disprove his top 10 2011 ranking when we saw him. The combination of power, agility and athleticism “LB” owns is what has made him one of the most heavily recruited juniors in the nation.
Jamal Branch | 6-2 | PG | Arlington Grace Prep | 2011
With the lack of five on five play, it wasn’t exactly the ideal setting to evaluate a pure point guard such as Branch. We had a couple of glimpses at the gorgeous court vision and ability to finish in traffic that have made him one of the elite point guards in the Class of 2011. Texas A&M got an outstanding get here in Branch, whom I had coaches from two No. 1 seeds in this year’s NCAA tourney ask me about at this past year’s King City Classic. Both perennial powerhouses gave kudos to Mark Turgeon for locking up this Texas gem early on to head to College Station.
Antwan Space | 6-7 | PF | DeSoto | 2011
Space is definitely the high upside type of player who bigtime programs are looking for in a young power forward. He’s a nasty athlete who did a great job catching and finishing around the rim, while also showing glimpses of a post game with a couple of nice spin moves on the blocks. Antwan used his athleticism to slash to the rim when facing the cup, leaving one to imagine he could potentially be a face-up PF. Still rough around the edges, this is definitely a guy who power conference schools want to keep an eye on.
Julian Washburn | 6-7 | SF/PF | Duncanville | 2010
The run of NBA lottery pick Chris Washburn has the makings of a good one himself. After a brief transfar to play with Kyrie Irving at St. Patrick’s in Jersey, he returned home (along with his brother Chris) to Duncanville to finish out his high school career. The athletic forward had a couple of nasty dunks that only furthered his reputation as a guy who will bang on you (he’s No. 14). Julian is still making the transition to a full time wing and needs to continue to work on his J, but is a guy who could play either position for stretches at whatever school he decides upon. The last we heard, he’s still completely wide open considering a number of Big 12 and Big East schools.
Kyan Anderson | 5-11 | PG | North Crowley | 2011
North Crowley’s next big thing, Anderson was able to bomb deep threes just like his former running mate, Willie Warren. He showed off a gorgeous jumper with deep range, finished in the paint with either hand, and seemed like he had eyes in the back of his head with some of the passes he made. What I liked the most was the fact that Anderson truly enjoyed putting the clamps on people on the defensive end. The skilled point guard isn’t the most explosive athlete nor is he the strongest guy, but one thing is for sure: He’s definitely going to be a nice high major guard.
Nick Banyard | 6-8 | PF | Arlington Grace Prep | 2012
Banyard is a guy who doesn’t get a ton of love around the Metroplex area, but there’s no denying the upside this sophomore has. He stands a solid 6-8 with a good frame and athleticism to match. There’s a bit of work to be done in the skills department and is still rough around the edges, but this is definitely a guy to keep an eye on for the Class of 2012.
Kenneth Hall | 6-6 | PF/C | South Oak Cliff | 2011
While not a superstar by any means, Hall is the type of glue guy who every team needs. 6-6 with crazy long arms, he played outstanding defense against the more acclaimed big men he was matched against regardless of name. He’s still not the most polished guy on the offensive end though, often getting his buckets off of drop-offs and offensive rebounds. Regardless, he’s a great role player who we could see finding a nice home at the mid-major level.