Big River Classic Recap
Top Punks put on a clinic in Jackson, MS.
by Jamie Palmer / @deepsouthhoops
Well folks, it’s spring time and that means only one thing for the grassroots media, the start of AAU basketball.
My original plan was to attend Nike’s EYBL tip off party at Boo Williams place, but when I saw the list of teams and players attending this year Big River Classic, I decided to make the trip to Jackson, MS. I can catch Nike’s EYBL gig later this month at Bob Knight’s joint in Dallas.
Here are my thoughts on the nationally ranked players in attendance along with some under-the-radar players who stood out.
Twymond Howard, 2012 | 6-6, 200 pounds, Forward | Marc Rowe | Pearl, MS
The combo forward was fearless getting to the cup at the BRC. His ability to put it on the floor along with his athleticism and quickness made it a nightmare for any power forward checking him. Defensively he guarded both forward spots because of his quickness and size. If Howard can get his jumper in line, he will lose the “one dimensional” tag and gain elite status for his position.
Wannah Bail, 2012 | 6-7, 205 pounds, Forward | Franchize All-Stars | Houston, TX
Bail, native of the Bahamas, put his athleticism on display at the BRC, just check the video below. He was very effective in transition where he exploded out on the break to catch the ball at the rim or the open spot in the half court. In the half court he showed his ability to step out and shoot the three along with handling the ball in space inside 15 feet but his real game was around the basket where he used all of his length to rebound and jump hook over outstretched defenders. Right now he is tagged as a power forward but if he keeps improving his shot selection and 1-on-1 game on the perimeter he may shape into a nice combo forward.
Keith Frazier, 2013 | 6-4, 180 pounds, Guard | Dallas Mustangs | Irving, TX
K “Smooth” put a shooting clinic on for the good folks of Jackson, MS. Frazier, one of the nation’s top shooting guards, was jaw dropping in transition where on numerous occasions did his best “Jimmer” impression pulling and hitting from the first open spot past half court. Off the dribble he kept it simple and used his length and athleticism to convert at the rim. If he adds a mid-range game off the bounce, it could get scary for the high schoolers.
Torlof Thomas, 2013 | 6-2, 170 pounds, Guard | Southern Phenoms | Montgomery, AL
Thomas, sporting the “Busy Bee” look (Google the movie Sunset Park), flat out blew by his defenders at the BRC. The speedy combo guard can score in variety of ways and one that stood out most was his ability to explode by his defender and finish at the cup against the bigger defender. His mid range off the bounce was also pretty impressive especially in victory over MBA Elite where he dropped 39.
Shirmane Thomas, 2013 | 6-2, 160 pounds, Guard | Dallas Mustangs | Dallas, TX
Thomas kept the refs busy all tournament with the “count the bucket” phrase. The tough-minded PG displayed a scorers mentality and drew the whistle on about every drive to the basket. In transition he showed the ability to pass with either hand and knock down the jumper when the defender took the lane away in 2-on-1 situations. He is definitely a scoring point but with a better perimeter game, Thomas could develop into a nice combo guard.
TreShawn Bolden, 2013 | 6-8, 230 pounds, Forward | MBA Elite | Jackson, MS
Bolden displayed a unique set of skills at the BRC. His college-ready body screams out post player but ability to handle the ball and attack the basket shows he can be effective on the perimeter. He is extremely unselfish and can pass the ball well from the block and perimeter. He must work on his outside shooting if he plans to play the three spot full time.
Michael Carey, 2012 | 6-5, 190 pounds, Guard | Franchize All-Stars | Rosenberg, TX
Carey bulldozed his way to the basket at the BRC. The big guard was to much for the smaller defenders as he used his size and athletic ability to score at will. He played with a high level of energy on both ends and was very effective getting in the paint and dishing to the open man on the perimeter. His jumper needs little work in both the range and consistency departments.
Leyton Hammonds, 2013 | 6-7, 210 pounds, Forward | Dallas Mustangs | North Richland Hills, TX
I will let the video below speak for how Hammonds got down at the BRC. Besides the highlight, the long smooth face up four does have the ability to step out and hit the three. If he can polish up the offensive game (mainly the post) and become a better defender on the perimeter, Hammonds could be a high level player.