We continue with players we evaluated ranked between 11 through 150 in the 2009 high school class.
Dominic Cheek, 6-5, Shooting Guard, Rising Senior, Playaz/St. Anthonys HS
5-Star Recruit (Villanova, UConn, Florida, etc)
What we saw made a very strong impression. Cheek is a 6-5, long, athletic and very versatile shooting guard, obviously well coached as youd expect from a Bob Hurley pupil, but also extremely mature both on and off the court. He appears to be an excellent teammate, comfortable doing all the little things for his team, whether thats hustling for rebounds, making unselfish passes, stepping in for charges, or going after loose balls. Hes a very tough, active player who always seems to be around the ball at all times, and seems to play the game at his own speed, with an excellent temperament. He seems to have a lot of confidence in himself, but still isnt afraid to give up the ball and play within the flow of the offense.
Cheek is an excellent shooter, although he shoots the ball with awkward form, well on the way down of his jump. Hes money in the bank with his feet set, though, so its tough to argue too much with the results, even if his release is slow and he may suffer a bit when attempting to expand his range out to the further out college and eventually NBA line. He can handle the ball, but isnt what you would call a go-to scoring option at this pointhes more of a role player who does many different things out on the floor. How much he can improve his scoring ability over the next few years will probably decide how highly regarded a prospect he becomes.
Cheek is a very highly sought after recruit, for obvious reasons, and it will be interesting to see how his game develops over the next few years.
Jordan Hamilton, 6-7, Small Forward, Rising Senior, Team Odom
5-Star Recruit (UConn, Kansas, Texas)
He is a real scoring machine with a picture perfect stroke and the ability to create his own shot with ease at 6-7, although his average athleticism, poor body language and refusal to play any kind of defense are still major red flags. Hes going to be a major force at the collegiate level as a scoring threat from day one, though.
Abdul Gaddy, 6-3, Point Guard, Rising Senior, Portland Legends
5-Star Recruit (Arizona, Cal, Florida, Gonzaga, etc)
Ryan Kelly, 6-9, Power Forward, Rising Senior, D-One Sports
5-Star Recruit (Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, Stanford)
Kelly probably isnt going to wow you on first sight, as hes a skinny power forward with an underdeveloped frame and fairly average athleticism at best. He will win you over eventually, though, as hes an extremely intelligent player with a very high skill level, is a good teammate who really competes, and is highly versatile to boot. Kelly can play facing the basket, as he has range out to the 3-point line and the ability to pass the ball effectively or put it on the floor. Hes never in a rush, though, and is capable of catching and finishing inside thanks to his nice hands and effective hook shot. He knows how to use fakes and does a good job getting to the free throw line, where he converts at an excellent clip. Hes unselfish by nature, and knows how to move off the ball.
Kelly will compete for rebounds and also does his best on the defensive end of the floor, getting the occasional block or steal in the process, even if his lateral quickness is fairly questionable. He has problems getting pushed around inside on both ends of the floor, and thus will have to work on his body if hes going to be more of a factor on the interior. Hes not the most naturally gifted player around, but its not hard to see why the recruiting services like him. He looks like an excellent college player and has a chance to be a pro down the road if he continues to develop his all-around game.
Maalik Wayns, 6-1, Point Guard, Rising Senior, Team Philly
Committed to Villanova
Wayns is a shifty player, blessed with the ability to change speeds and get by defenders effectively at this level, and the strength to take contact and finish regardless around the basket. He has a nice temperament on the floor and seems to be an excellent teammate, which is an extremely important trait considering the position he plays. He can take the ball to the basket strong using either hand, or make a shot from the perimeter, but is just as comfortable dishing out assists to teammates, particularly in an up-tempo transition game.
Wayns shortcomings revolve around the fact that hes not particularly tall, and does not possess freakish explosiveness to compensate for that, as hes a good, but not a great athlete. He may be able to improve on this if he works on his conditioning-level, which does not appear to be the best at the moment. Skill-wise, he does not possess much of a mid-range game, is very streaky shooting the ball from behind the arc, and is just an average defender. Wayns did not look particularly assertive in some of the games we saw him play, especially in the U-18 tryouts, but hes still so young that he has plenty of time to improve on his leadership skills.
Hell be playing his college ball at Villanova under Jay Wright.
Mason Plumlee, 6-10, Power Forward, Rising Senior, Indiana Elite One
Committed to Duke
He is so skilled that his AAU team even runs him at the point guard position, which is not something that is really conducive to winning games at a higher level of competition, but tells you a little bit about how versatile he is. Plumlee would regularly grab a rebound at the U-18 National Team tryouts and then ignite the fast break on his own, showing very nice dexterity in the open court and an advanced feel for the game.
As intriguing as Plumee might be, he still has a long ways to go in many facets of the game. Hes not very effective inside, showing virtually no moves around the paint, limited ability to finish through contact, and a concerning lack of toughness at times. He seems to offer up his glimpses of potential in small doses, and has a tendency to coast as far as his intensity is concerned in others. His court awareness inside the arc is surprisingly underdeveloped, and that translates to the defensive end of the floor as well, where he is extremely weak. Adding strength to his excellent frame will be a priority once he reaches the college level.
Plumlee is definitely a name for scouts to keep in the back of their mind, but theyll probably have to be patient with him.
Mouphtaou Yarou, 6-9, Power Forward, Rising Senior, Cecil Kirk
4-Star Recruit (UConn, New Mexico State, UCLA, etc)
Yarou is a 6-9 post player with a solid build and an excellent frame. He has good size for the power forward position and a very nice wingspan. He runs the floor fairly well and is a solid all-around athlete. Hes not a freak like some of his African counterparts, but he can certainly jump and has nice body control as well.
Yarous feel offensively is actually very good. He has good hands and some moves in the post. He can put the ball on the floor and has a nice stroke from mid-range and from the free throw line. We watched him execute some complicated spins and pivot moves that most big men this age cant pull offlet alone someone who hasnt been playing for all that long. Defensively he can rotate and block shots, but still needs to learn the nuances of how to use his tools herehe doesnt box out for rebounds particularly well and doesnt really rotate over to try and intimidate that often. His activity level leaves something to be desired, and he was very frustrated by the box and one defense that the opposing team decided to play against him.
After watching him play only briefly, it seems pretty clear that Yarou is an intriguing prospect who deserves a more thorough look. Not all that many people are aware of him at this point, which makes him all the more interesting.
Noel Johnson, 6-7, Shooting Guard/Small Forward, Rising Senior, Atlanta Celtics
4-Star Recruit (USC, Georgia Tech, Louisville)
Johnson is also a terrific passerthe reason why the Celtics play him at the point next to the shot happy Trae Golden. Hes not the best ball-handler around, but his feel for the game lets the Celtics half-court offense flow more smoothly when hes on the court. Johnsons scoring ability mostly revolves around his ability to get to the rim in transition, pull-up off the dribble from mid-range, and knock down shots from the perimeter with shaky consistency. He shoots the ball with awkward form, from behind his head and therefore isnt always very accurate at this point in his career. His decision making isnt the best and hes fairly turnover prone, particularly when forced to go left. Johnsons game is just now beginning to round into form, so it will be very interesting to see which direction he goes in once he hits the college ranks.
Richard Howell, 6-8, Power Forward, Rising Senior, Worldwide Orange
Committed to N.C. State
Tyler Honeycutt, 6-8, Small Forward, Rising Senior, Pump-N-Run
4-Star Recruit: (UCLA, Arizona State, USC, etc)
Keith Gallon, 6-8, PF/C, Rising Senior, Houston Hoops
4-Star Recruit: (Cal, Mississippi State, Oklahoma)
Gallon struggles to get up and down the floor due to his terrible conditioning, and therefore will at times spend entire possessions back on the defensive end just to conserve any energy he can. He looks a bit lazy out on the floor and plays absolutely no defense as you can probably imagine.
Gallon has some perimeter skills even-- he can knock down a catch and shoot 3-pointer and is even a pretty good passer. The problem is that he falls in love with his perimeter skills a little too much, preferring to hang out around the arc rather than use the huge advantage he has inside. Regardless, there is no question that Gallon is an extremely gifted player, and that if he lost 30-40 pounds (hes probably a lot closer to 320 pounds than the 285 hes listed at) he might even become a legitimate NBA prospect at some point.
Tommy Mason-Griffin, 5-11, Point Guard, Rising Senior
Committed to Oklahoma