Keep in mind that this is not the first time we've seen these players play, so some things that stick out in our memory from the past could be mentioned as well.
Gerald Green- 24 pts (8-12 FG, 6-9 3pt, 2-3 FT),1 reb, 1 stl, 1 TO, 20 min
Green was easily the most impressive player in the McDonalds All American game. He showed a true combination of athletic ability and general basketball skill. Green wowed people in the dunk competition, he threw down dunks that were eerily similar to performances Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady had in dunk contests. He just seems to explode off the ground, hanging in the air, getting great elevation with a certain smoothness that just can't be described. He showed great range during the game by hitting 6 three-point shots, with a very nice stroke and follow through, good elevation on his jumper, and even shooting and making it off the dribble at times. He showed an advanced ability to use ball fakes and jab steps to free himself for open jump shots. Comparing him to last year's aerial artist and three-point shooter extraordinaire JR Smith, Gerald Green is a better ball handler than Smith is and he is more of a fluid and agile athlete in general.
I like Green's creativeness and intelligence as a basketball player, not only in the air going to the hoop but also in terms of how he creates shots for himself off the dribble. Just in terms of pure body language, Green seems to have it in terms of swagger and confidence. He has a cockiness about him and his body language that tells you that he knows he is a great player and has absolute confidence in his abilities. With that said, he had no problem getting his teammates involved when his shot was just not there.
Once again showed the insane natural tools that make him a lock lotto pick in this draft. Has more hops than any HS guy in last year's draft, and tonight he showed that he has the shot. He gets his shot off quickly, and my oh my is it pretty! Quite frankly, I don't see why Green can't go in the top 5. Nearly everybody in the lotto at the moment has some serious downside, and Green is ALL upside. He blew every other prospect out of the water, and that driving dunk that he got fouled on and still threw down on was just unreal. What a prospect!
An NBA scouts take: Green helped himself more than anyone tonight. He left no doubt in my mind who the best player on the floor was. If he wants to go to college that's fine, but he's probably a top 10 pick should he decide to come out.
Greg Paulus- 14 pts (2-6 FG, 0-2 3pt, 9-10 FT), 9 ass, 1 TO, 24 min
Paulus was the engine that made the East run today, and probably the #1 reason why they won. He's exactly the type of PG you want to have at a game like this because he is extremely unselfish. Paulus showed off some outstanding court vision today, along with the ability to make extremely difficult passes look easy. He has begun to develop good chemistry with Josh McRoberts already, which is bound to make the Duke fans happy. He's the type of guy that makes everyone around him better, and probably has a future in the NBA after 3-4 years in college as long as he improves his offensive game. A 9 to 1 assist to turnover ratio in a game like this should tell you all you need to know.
Josh McRoberts 17 pts (7-8 FG, 2-3 3pt, 1-3 FT), 12 reb, 1 asst, 4 TO, 24 min
The ultimate high post forward. Can shoot it with range, put it on the floor, and pass amazingly well. Still needs work on his low post game. Good rebounder on both ends of the floor. Finishes extremley well with either hand. Pretty weak physically. Runs the floor well. Not afraid to get dirty in the paint, but prefers to play in the high post. Good, but not great shot blocker. Throws a good outlet pass to start break. McRoberts looked very good today, especially in the first half. Left a very strong impression with the way he played. Coach K has a lot to look forward to with him, but will he let him play the game the way he knows how to? Says that he's definitely going to Duke, although he was one of the few guys out there that showed that he actually could think about declaring.
Monta Ellis- 8 pts (3-10 FG, 1-5 3pt, 1-3 FT), 3 reb, 2 asst, 2 stl, 1 TO, 4 fouls 17 min
A terrific athlete, with spectacular lift on his picture perfect shot and a very nice first step. Ellis clearly has all the tools in the world, but very little in terms of intangibles or an NBA position at the moment. He was forcing bad shots all night, every time has was asked to run the PG position he brought the ball up the court, stopped at the three point line and elevated for a shot without even looking in the general direction of the rest of his team. His coach was clearly not happy about this, and neither were his teammates apparently. Ellis was the only player today who really treated this game like a personal NBA workout, and showed a pretty poor attitude when things weren't going his way. He would pout anytime one of his teammates dared to take a shot, complained to the refs and anyone else who was willing to listen, and sat on the end of the bench and did not talk to anyone when he was not on the floor. As you will read in the somewhat disturbing interview we conducted with him after the game, Ellis was not happy about the minutes he played (pretty much on par with the other draft prospects in the game), the number of shots he was given and the fact that he wasn't played exclusively at the PG spot. Here is what Monta had to say about this: "He [the coach] figured that I was a better shooter then anyone on the floor, so he put me at the two. Then when I played for the first 7 minutes and I didn't get in for the next what 20 some minutes? He expect me to get in and do what I need to do when I've been sitting on the bench for 20 minutes. You know? You get stuff like that. I can play the 1. Most people have seen it this year that I can play the 1. My last 15 games, I was up to about 10 or 11 assists a game, so there ain't no doubt that I can play the 1. I can play the 1."
Stay tuned tommorrow, as we have a full interview with Ellis and others coming.
An NBA scout's take: Monta is a great player, especially when it comes to scoring, but he did not help himself tonight with the way he played. He looked out of his element at the PG position, and displayed a very poor attitude both on and off the floor. That's going to be somewhat of a concern for us. He's going to have to bring it big time in New York. He'd be smart to keep all his options open.
Louis Williams- 14 pts (5-10 FG, 1-3 3pt, 3-3 FT), 3 reb, 1 asst, 1 stl , 3 TO, 20 min
Williams is clearly a very skilled offensive player. He can get into the lane and score from basically anywhere on the floor. His size is a big concern, as at 6-1 I would like to see a lot more PG skills to consider him a real NBA draft prospect. He showed a good attitude and appears to be a smart player, but made poor decisions with the ball in his hands, probably because of how nervous he appeared to be. We'll have to see what he does at the Jordan Classic, but I do not think he should be as firm on the NBA as he is right now, because in such a deep draft he is in now way a lock for the 1st round at this point. To compare him to Allen Iverson right now just isn't fair to him or AI because he's just not in that class. Athens is a really nice town and Georgia is building a very solid program with an excellent young coach. Like I've said in the past, he might be cheating himself out of becoming something very special down the line by rushing things.
An NBA scout's take: I was personally a little disappointed in the way he played. He's very talented, but I'm not sure if that's what the NBA is looking for when it comes to drafting high school players right now. Again, let's see how he does in NY.
Martell Webster 16 pts (6-15 FG, 2-7 3 pt, 2-2 FT), 6 reb, 2 blks, 2 stl, 23 min
Has a very good body, a beautiful stroke with good elevation on his shot, but did not show enough of an all-around game to be considered a legit draft prospect this year. He's a good, but not a spectacular athlete and doesn't have much slashing ability due to a weak handle at the moment. He started off the game red hot, but quickly cooled off and forced a number of bad shots. He is clearly a man inside the paint, doing a great job on the glass and outmuscling players much bigger than him. Webster is going to be terrific at Washington, and its good that he is going there because he needs the playing time and coaching he'll be receiving.
An NBA scout's take: He says he's going to college, and I think he's making the right move. Very talented player, I'm looking forward to watching him develop.
Richard Hendrix- 6 pts (2-3 FG, 2-4 FT), 4 reb, 2 blks, 14 min
Hendrix is a tough one to pin down. This clearly wasn't his type of game, as he appears to be the type of player who isn't happy unless he is down low banging, scrapping and fighting for loose balls and position in the paint. He's got a great body, though, with terrific hands and is clearly very athletic for his size. He appears to be a very smart player, what you would expect from a coaches son, with an excellent attitude and solid fundamentals. He was actually trying to play some defense out there, coming up with an impressive block and was doing a good job boxing out. I am not sure he is big or polished enough to be a lock for the first round this year, but have no doubt that we'll be seeing him at some point in the NBA. Would be wise to take the process slowly and keep his options open.
An NBA scout's take: I liked the kid, he is definitely a basketball player. Do I wish he was 2 inches bigger? Sure. Do I think he should be declaring for the draft? Not sure about that. I have to see some more from him before I decide. He's on the bubble right now.
Mario Chalmers 20 pts (8-16 FG, 3-9 3pt, 1-3 FT), 4 reb, 5 asst, 5 stl, 3 TO, 19 min
Chalmers showed that he can score in bundles in short spurts, but will have to do more than that to make it in the NBA someday. Right now his ball-handling is not good enough, he forces too many bad shots and he does a poor job getting his teammates involved. He's a good, but not great athlete, and from what he's saying is not considering the NBA which is probably a good thing for him.
Julian Wright 14 pts (7-9 FG, 0-1 3pt, 0-1 FT), 3 reb, 4 asst, 2 stl, 1 TO, 17 min
Another player like Nate Minnoy that doesn't really fit the mold of one standard basketball position. Seemingly all arms, Wright has freakish athleticism, good vision and ballhandling ability, and defensive intensity, but little offensive game. At 6'8, he is going to be very effective for Bill Self next year, even though he might not score many points. As far as the NBA goes, it looks like he's got a decent floor game and could end up playing a Scottie Pippen-type point forward. He definitely moves like a wing and has the court vision, but his offensive game needs desperate work. A couple of years at Kansas will make him a lotto pick, if the offense improves as expected.
Andrew Bynum 9 pts (3-5 FG, 3-3 FT), 5 reb, 1 blk, 11 min
Absolutely dwarfed everybody out there, so he probably looked a bit better than he actually is. Most years there would be other players out there similar to his size. Still, he's got to be 7'0+, he runs the floor well, has good post instincts, and seems to be somewhat coordinated. He is probably the most intriguing center prospect to play college ball since David Harrison, and if he keeps improving the way that he has been, he probably won't stick around at the NCAA level very long. Scary to think that he is only 17.
An NBA scout's take: He's a big big boy, that's for sure. Showed some very good raw ability over the past few days. I think Calhoun is going to do a great job with him, he definitely needs some work but he's got all the raw tools we look for in a future NBA prospect.
Amir Johnson 1 pt (0-5 FG, 1-2 FT), 7 reb, 2 asst, 2 blks, 1 stl, 1 TO, 19 min
One of the harder players to figure out, Johnson shows downright incredible athleticism and very intriguing potential as a shotblocker. He gets up and down the floor like a guard, and is a monster on the glass. Not only is he athletic, but he has a certain smoothness to his game. He isn't a bad ballhandler or shooter either. However, his offensive game is very, very raw. I wanted to see this guy convert a post move very badly, but every time he got the ball down low he would either bobble/lose it or get fouled. I don't think he's the 6'11 that he was listed at for the Roundball, but is probably at least in the 6'9+/6'10 range. Johnson probably needs to go to Louisville for a year and develop his scoring moves quite a bit, but depending on how much PT he gets next to Palacios and Padgett, and how hard he works on his body and skills, he could be a one-and-done type talent.
CJ Miles 13 pts (5-10 FG, 3-5 3pt), 3 reb, 2 asst, 1 blk, 3 TO, 13 min
Not what I was expecting, but not all bad either. Very skinny, solid but not spectacular athlete. Good outside shooter who probably needs to work on other aspects of his game. People who think he should declare and is going to be a first round draft pick need to lay off the pipe. Miles could be ready after a couple of years at Texas, though.
Tyler Hansbrough 15 pts (4-7 FG, 1-1 3pt, 6-6 FT), 8 reb, 21 min
Tyler surprised me a bit today by stepping out and knocking down a three pointer, considering that most have said that his shooting range is limited to about 15 feet max. The true epitome of a banger, Tyler took the ball up strong and looked to draw contact every time he received the ball inside of the paint. He also does a great job of running the floor and crashing the offensive glass. While Tyler is undersized (6'8) and is not a very quick leaper, he is an extremely powerful leaper who will dunk the ball every time in the paint if he has enough time to come down and explode above the rim from a standstill. Defensively, he struggles against quicker opponents due to his poor lateral quickness. Hansbrough has a great chance of grabbing each and every rebound, as he finds a man and puts a body on him the second a shot goes up putting him in great position for the ball to fall right into his lap. While Tyler is not much of an NBA prospect right now, he could easily develop into one if he can measure out at 6'9, improves his shooting ability a little more, and works on his foot speed.
Check back later in the day for more coverage, including interviews with some of the players.