2011 AAU Super Showcase Notes
Evaluating some of last week’s top prospects in Orlando.
by Franklyn Calle / @FrankieC7
The 2011 AAU Super Showcase lived up to its hype after featuring over 500 of the top AAU basketball programs between the grades of 8th and 12th. This was my first time attending the event as a member of the media. One of the first impressions for anyone walking into the venue had to be the amount of college coaches under the same roof. I think I literally saw just about every division 1 school represented in stands. Some of the well-known names included, Kentucky’s John Calipari, Kansas’ Bill Self, UConn’s Jim Calhoun, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Memphis’ Josh Pastner, Florida’s Billy Donovan, North Carolina’s Roy Williams, Georgetown’s John Thompson III, West Virginia’s Bob Huggins, and Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin. The ESPN Wide World Sports Complex, the main site for the games, was just as impressive. Probably the closest thing you’ll find to a sports theme park. The locale has playing fields for just about every sport you can think of: basketball, baseball, softball, football, lacrosse, soccer, etc.
Okay, back to basketball. This year’s showcase seemed to have Massachusetts and Texas in center stage with a handful of prospects that made noise, as you’ll see by the number of players I’ll be giving mentions to below. In the gold brackets, Ty Lawson Team Takeover took home the 15-and-under chip, Team Takeover (Bounce) won the 16-and-under crown, and Houston Defenders captured the 17-and-under title. Some of the most notable match-ups included Mitch McGary Vs. Nerlens Noel, Gary Harris Vs. Rodney Purvis, and Tony Parker Vs. Isaiah Austin.
The following is a list of the players that I had a chance to watch and stood to me. (Note: These guys were not necessarily the “best” players).
Aquille Carr, 5-6, Patterson (MD), 2013: In the 16-and-under bracket, he was probably the biggest attraction and seemed to draw a big crowds, with a standing room only atmosphere surrounding the court. Carr is just a flat-out fearless and explosive guard. His hops are just unreal. It literally seems as if he is jumping off a trampoline when getting off the ground. He does a great in drawing fouls and puts his body on defenders when attacking the rim. A freakish athlete, the Baltimore-native will continue to be the main attraction at every gym he steps in for the next couple of years. That is if he doesn’t take the $750,000 pro contract he’s been offered to play in Italy.
Jaylen Brantley, 5-10, Wilbraham & Monson Academy (MA), 2013: An explosive scoring guard with lots of confident in his shot, Brantley likes to hit step-back jumpers and has range that goes well beyond the perimeter. The rising junior is consistent from 3-point land. He has a quick first step and loves to pump-fake — victimizing defenders and stepping in for a jumper or drive to the hole. Brantley hit a buzzer beater from half-court that send BABC to the quarterfinals and eliminated Mitch McGary’s SYF Players.
Nerlens Noel, 6-10, The Tilton School (MA), 2013: He is a blocking machine and could very well be the best shot blocker in America. Only a junior, Noel possesses good foot work, active hands, and his long arms allow him to contests any shot in his vicinity. In addition, he is a timely jumper with great body control and a quick bounce off the ground. Noel is also effective at wrapping around players on the post.
Georges Niang, 6-7, The Tilton School (MA), 2012: This rising senior is as a great of a post player as you’ll find. And that’s no exaggeration. Niang has a smooth soft touch around the basket. He is effective with his back against the basket and uses the glass effectively. The Massachusetts native exhibited great footwork and is able to finish in the post going left or right. Niang has verbally to committed to Iowa State.
Alex Poythress, 6-7, Northeast (TN), 2012: This rising senior was so impressive that Duke’s Coach K offered him a scholarship during the week. He can put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket at will. Poythress can also knock it down from the behind the perimeter if you dare give him too much space. He also showed glimpses of being able to handle the ball and distribute as well. Last night though, there were reports of an investigation in the works on that scholarship offered by Coach K and whether any violations, such as communication between the two happened during the week.
Archie Goodwin, 6-5, Sylvan Hills (AR), 2012: In the game (and-a-half) that I saw him, he proved to be a great finisher at the rim. The uncommitted wing showed an explosive first step and ability to put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim in a variety of ways. Goodwin’s great body control and athleticism allows him to hit tough shots around basket.
Jarnell Stokes, 6-8, Oak Hill Academy (VA), from Memphis (TN), 2012: This versatile forward has a strong physique that he uses well to create shots for himself. He showed that he can bring the ball up, as well put the ball on the floor and beat defenders off the dribble, which is impressive for his position. On two occasions, he shook defenders off him after through-the-back crossovers. Stokes can play with his basket towards and against the basket. He runs the floor well, is aggressive in transition and does a good job using his body as a shield. The rising senior also has a soft touch in the paint.
Martavious Newby, 6-4, Booker T. Washington (TN), 2012: He demonstrated that he can break down the defense and find the open man. His hands were active in the lane. Newby sneaks in the paint consistently for tip-ins, offensive rebounds or steals, and seems like an aggressive and relentless defender. His range extends beyond the arc and can knock it down consistently.
Anthlon Bell, 6-3, Barlett (TN), 2012: He’s a pure shooter, simply put. With a smooth stroke and deep range, Bell is deadly around the perimeter. He loves shooting the 3-pointer and hits them on a regular basis. In the two games I saw him play in, most of his shot attempts came off the catch.
Gary Harris, 6-4, Hamilton Southeastern (IN), 2012: This Indianapolis native showed a knack for hitting spot-up jumpers, with a deadly stroke from behind the perimeter. Harris is dangerous when running the ball in transition and does a great job spacing and positioning himself for outlet passes. He is a terrific slasher that can dish it down low. The very athletic and agile shooting guard has some good leaping abilities.
Aaron Harrison, 6-4, Travis (TX), 2013 (right): This rising junior is one of those guys that you can label as an ideal shooting guard prospect. He’s very confident in his shot and proved to have range that goes well beyond the perimeter. In the championship game, Harrison had a game-high 18 points. He can also easily step in and draining mid-rangers. Putting the ball in the floor and distributing is also in his repertoire.
Kamari Murphy, 6-8, IMG Academy (FL), from Brooklyn (NY), 2012: Being that he’s from Brooklyn, I’ve had the chance to watch him grow over the past three years. His intensity has picked up tremendously. Murphy runs the floor well, is very agile and has very active hands on the defensive end. In the games I watched, he was looking to be the aggressor, and was impressive in following shots for tip-ins and dunks.
Mitch McGary, 6-10, Brewster Academy (NH), from Chesterton (IN), 2012: Already encompassing a college-ready body frame, McGary uses his bulky physique to bully his way to the basket. He has slick hands on the defensive end and even contests shots from beyond the perimeter (and even blocked a few). The undeclared senior is rated among the top big man in his class. He’s very athletic for someone his size and also runs the floor well. With a soft touch around the basket, McGary also can knock down mid-rangers consistently. The hustle is always there, as he dives for loose balls and is always active around the rim – specially on the offensive glass looking for tip-ins.
Julius Randle, 6-9, Prestonwood Christian Academy (TX), 2013: I was really impressed with his game. He is touted as the top junior in the country, and I must agree. At 6-9, he can play every position on the floor. The strong, athletic, and explosive forward is an expert at drawing contact and getting to the free throw line. He seemed to play the entire game at a high intensity. His agility is impressive for his size. Randle can split the defense easily off the dribble. Although I’ve heard he is very effective in the post, against the Long Island Lightning, I saw him catch the ball on the perimeter, facing the basket, and dribble his way in – either putting an array of moves to create space for a shot or going all the way to the whole. As versatile as a rising junior can be.
Matt Jones, 6-4, DeSoto (TX), 2013: Also a rising junior, Jones is another that can be considered an ideal shooting guard prospect. A smooth jump shooter with range that goes beyond the perimeter, the DeSoto (TX) native is a deadly shooter with a terrific off the catch touch. He also exhibited a dangerous spin move.
Rodney Purvis, 6-4, Upper Room Christian Academy (NC), 2012: Although his CP3 All-Stars squad did not live up to expectations after not even making it out of pool play, the rising senior showed glimpses of why he is considered among the best in his class. Purvis is a slick combo guard that can split the defense with a quick first step and killer crossover. He has a nice change of speed game and loves driving in paint for a runners and floaters/teardrops. If you give him the space, he has no problem sinking the jumper.
Tony Parker, 6-9, Miller Grove (GA), 2012: Due to his physical state, many consider him a second coming of Renardo Sidney. Even during the showcase, I heard a couple of coaches (no names mentioned) which likened him to the former McDonald’s All American. Overpowering his opponents in the paint, Parker is a headache to contain. He displayed a soft touch around the basket and his presence alone could be a problem for offensive and defensive schemes.