Spiece World 2011: Top Seniors
Some of the nation’s finest put on a show in Fort Wayne
Many of the nation’s top prep stars descended upon Fort Wayne, IN over the weekend to take part in the Spiece Bill Hensley Memorial Run N Slam. The historic Spiece fieldhouse is where recent NBA draftees Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., Daequan Cook, Eric Gordon, and Josh McRoberts refined their skills before jumping to the League.
Decked out with eight full courts, weight room, training facility, sporting goods store and elaborate snack bar, it’s far more then your normal run of the mill basketball complex. Even more compelling for hoops junkies is the history behind the place, donning over 100 game-used jerseys of the best the state of Indiana has produced, including Larry Legend himself, Shawn Kemp, and Calbert Cheaney. They also had signed jerseys of NBA stars Karl Malone, Shaq and MJ, as well as Wilt Chamberlain game-used shorts. Needless to say, you could spend a few hours there checking out the scenery and forget that the future of college basketball is playing just a few feet away.
Here’s a look at some of the top seniors from Fort Wayne:
Marcus Paige, 6-2, PG, All Iowa Attack: If you’re looking for a player to run the pick and roll, you may be looking at the best guy in the country with Marcus Paige. The UNC recruit paced All Iowa Attack to the 17u championship while playing the perfect mixture of setup man and scoring threat. The lefty showed off poise and demeanor that most young playmakers don’t have, while shocking some with his deceptive bounce. After the nightmare known as the Larry Drew saga in Chapel Hill, Tar Heel fans can sleep a little bit easier knowing that they have a legit playmaker coming in to give Kendall Marshall a hand for his junior campaign.
JP Tokoto, 6-6, SF, Wisconsin Playground Warriors: Perhaps the most athletic player in the country brought his “A” game to the table at Spiece, though his team was sent packing a little earlier than expected after bringing a short-handed squad. Tokoto converted on a ton of plays well above the rim, whether it be finishing with an emphatic dunk or pulling his best LBJ impression and catching an unsuspecting defender slipping for a “chase down” block. The UNC recruit’s handle and jumper are both improved, leaving a sense of excitement of what could be in Chapel Hill if he continues to keep getting better at this rate down the road.
Adam Woodbury, 7-0, C, All Iowa Attack: There may not have been an more productive player that Woodbury all weekend long. He’s not a guy that you’re going to catch on Hoopmixtape or Ballislife, but if you’re looking for a guy who is going to come close to getting you 20 and 10 in just about every AAU game he plays, this is your guy. During All Iowa Attack’s championship run, the senior got position deep in the pivot whenever he wanted and finished around the cup with either hand. Adam showed off a fluid jump hook over his right shoulder and really shows signs of a guy who is gong to put up some nice numbers wherever he lands for his collegiate career.
Kevin Ferrell, 5-11, PG, Indiana Elite: The unstoppable scoring guard known as “Yogi” had a wild weekend and was able to get to the cup on just about anyone who attempted to lock up on him. Ferrell, who led the Indianapolis area in scoring, exhibited his smooth as granite game off of the bounce and ability to contort in the air to finish in the paint amongst the trees. Everyone is always going to have questions about Yogi’s height (or lack thereof), but he’s expected to be one of the crucial pieces in IU’s resurgence come the fall of 2012.
Jameel McKay, 6-7, PF, TP Elite: McKay has been quietly establishing himself as one of the nation’s best energy guys with his legit play so far this spring for TP Elite. Flying under the radar a bit during his high school career, the Milwaukee native has made a name for himself on the national scene with his ability to rebound the ball and finish everything in the paint. Headed to prep school, expect McKay to land at a high major program when it’s all said and done.
Kellon Thomas, 5-11, PG, Indiana Elite One- Thomas was essential in knocking out the straight stacked host team Spiece Indy Heat. The powerfully built guard was fearless going to the cup and shot it well from beyond the arc. Size is always going to be his biggest obstacle, but Thomas is a pure winner and will be a really nice lead guard for a mid-major program.
Sam Dekker, 6-7, SF, Wisconsin Playground Warriors- Every time that we seem to catch up with Mr. Dekker, we walk away more and more impressed with his game. The big wing showed off the versatility to play either forward spot, though he was clearly more at home playing on the perimeter. The Wisconsin commit was sizzling during pool play and had multiple 25+ point scoring performances on the weekend. If Dekker keeps improving at this rate, expect him to soar up the national recruiting rankings by the time it’s all said and done.
Hanner Perea, 6-8, PF, Indiana Elite- From when we last checked him out in November, the Colombian big man has put in hella work on his game and it showed with his improved skill set. Hanner threw in some new post moves and a little floater to his repertoire, to go along with his downright scary bounce. The Indiana recruit still definitely has a ways to go, but will be counted on as a key piece to the puzzle that is known as Tom Crean’s resurgence at Indiana.
Steve Taylor, 6-8, PF, Mac Irvin Fire- Taylor kept up his super strong play on the AAU circuit at Spiece even though his team got bounced a bit prematurely. Every time I see this cat, I find it easier and easier to be intrigued with his game. Against Ohio Basketball Club, the Chicago kid hit six 3 pointers and looked right at home doing so. He still has a bit of work to go as far as his game on the blocks is concerned, but expect the faceup 4 to be a hot name once the live period rolls around in July.
Matt O’Leary, 6-6, SG/SF, Indiana Elite One- In one of the bigger upsets of the tourney, O’Leary shot the lights out and led his squad deep into Sunday. You can’t help but be intrigued by a kid who has that sort of size and ability to shoot the rock like that. If you’re a mid-major program looking for a dude to come in and stretch the D, Matt O’ Leary is that man.