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LAS VEGAS AAU DAY 1 NOTEBOOK: JABARI PARKER SHINES, KRIS DUNN SPARKLES & MORE
By Raphielle Johnson
When a who’s who of the college coaching profession is on hand a show is expected. And 2013 prospect Jabari Parker provided that and then some in Mac Irvin Fire’s win over Worldwide Renegades in the evening session of the Las Vegas Fab 48 at Bishop Gorman. Parker showed off his vast array of skills in front of the likes of Dave Rose (BYU), Oliver Purnell (DePaul), Mike Krzyzewski (Duke), Bruce Weber (Illinois), Buzz Williams (Marquette) and Tom Izzo (Michigan State) among others.
Also playing well in the win for Mac Irvin were 2012 forward Steve Taylor and 2012 guards Aaric Armstead and Derrick Randolph. Taylor won’t be graded on the same level as Parker but make no mistake about it, the young man is skilled. Taylor showed off the ability to step out and attack the rim, doing a solid job of playing with contact and knocking down mid-range shots. Randolph, while he looks shorter than his listed height of 5’9”, is the kind of winning player that all successful teams tend to have.
Randolph was highly competitive at both ends of the floor, setting up teammates for easy baskets on quick drives to the basket and disrupting the Renegades defensively. Armstead may not have had the impact scoring-wise that some of the other players had, but he did the little things especially on the defensive end. And 2013 DePaul commit Billy Garrett Jr. proved to be a tough matchup due to his crafty handle and ability to knock down a variety of shots.
The day began at Rancho High School for a matchup of two of the top big men in the Class of 2012, Texas commit Cameron Ridley and Kaleb Tarczewski. Tarczewski, whose final three consists of Arizona, Kansas and North Carolina, got the better of the matchup in the second half after Ridley performed better in the first half. New England Playaz knocked off the Houston Hoopstars by four thanks in part to the tandem of Terry Brutus and Rodell Wigginton.
Wigginton displayed the ability to get to the basket off the dribble while also knocking down perimeter shots, but he has to improve on the defensive end of the floor in order to optimize his potential. In speaking with Wigginton he gave a list of the following schools that have shown interest thus far: Florida Atlantic, Lehigh, St. Bonaventure and Temple.
As for Brutus, he had to deal with a thumb injury to his right hand that limited his ability to score. His goal was to simply do the little things and try to help the team, and he did just that. Brutus has a college-ready build already, and as his handle and long-range shooting (tough to truly gauge his shooting given the injury) improve he’ll become an even better player.
Brutus provided the following list of offers: Florida Atlantic, Marquette, Missouri, New Mexico State, Rhode Island, Texas Southern and Towson. With regards to schools showing interest, DePaul, Iowa State, La Salle (along with a number of other Atlantic 10 schools) and South Florida have shown interest in the 2012 prospect.
Next on the docket was another matchup between highly touted big men Andre Drummond and Isaiah Austin (Baylor commit) as Connecticut Basketball Club took on Family First. But just as it happened in their meeting at Pangos All-America Camp, guard Kris Dunn was one of the players who stole the show in a comfortable CBC victory. Dunn showed off his handle, one of the major strengths in his game right now, proving to be too much for the Texas-based team to corral as the game wore on.
In speaking with Dunn, he noted that he’s working on remaining under control (decision-making) and becoming a better team leader. While neither he nor his coach would name specific schools which have offered, a number of ACC and Big East schools have made their presence known. Dunn also stated that he and his family will take their time in dealing with his recruitment.
The other player who stood out for CBC was Timahj Parker-Rivera, who when taking into consideration all forty minutes may have been the player of the game. Parker-Rivera was active on both ends of the floor, and his current status as an undersized four was evident in his ability to attack the basket and finish inside. Parker-Rivera, who provided nothing more than the fact that a list of school will be available at the end of the current open period, is working on his perimeter game and ball-handling in order to better transition to the three at the next level.
Also playing well for CBC were 2013 guard Khalil Dukes and 2012 forward Ethan Oday. Dukes knocked down shots from the perimeter and was active on the defensive end of the floor, and he’s working on improving his ball-handling and decision-making this summer. Schools interested in his services as of now include La Salle, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Providence, Siena and Towson. Oday displayed the ability to make open mid-range shots while also crashing the boards in a solid outing.
But back to the clash of the titans, one that ultimately tipped in favor of Drummond in the second half. Austin did more of his work inside in the first half, a move that resulted in Drummond picking up three fouls in the first half. But as CBC got things rolling in the second stanza Drummond played a major role, making plays at both ends of the floor and throwing down some emphatic dunks. Austin seemed to drift a bit in his play, and without their leader Family First ultimately fell.
New Heights was also on display in the afternoon, although their game against New Orleans Elite did not result in the outcome they had hoped for. New Orleans Elite won the game by double figures but there were some bright spots for the team from New York. Tyquan Goodlett was quick to the basket off the bounce, and while raw (especially offensively) Chris Opekpa proved to be a very good shot-blocker inside. Programs represented in the coaches area for this game included Cincinnati, Connecticut, Fordham, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Hofstra, Iowa, Manhattan, Marquette, Maryland, Memphis, Seton Hall, Texas along with others.
From there it was over to Bishop Gorman for the Fab 48, beginning with Juice All-Stars’ loss to a stacked Belmont Shore club. 2014 guard Isaiah Whitehead displayed his ability to get to the basket off the dribble but his perimeter shot has to improve. At this stage in his development it’s almost a set shot, but that’s something that can be improved upon with time in the gym. His athletic ability is apparent on both ends of the floor, and Big East teams will take an interest in his services.
Programs represented at this game included Baylor, Dayton, Drexel, Harvard, NC State (head coach Mark Gottfried was front and center to watch Belmont Shore’s Katin Reinhardt), Oregon, St. John’s, Syracuse and Washington. Also playing well for Belmont Shore were big men Zena Edsomwan and Grant Jerrett along with guard Eric Cooper (Cooper and Jerrett are both Arizona verbals).
Grassroots Canada put forth a solid display in their win over the Danny Granger Hurricanes, with Michigan commit Nick Stauskas and 2012 forward Jalen Pennie being two of the players who stood out. Stauskas showed off his perimeter shooting skills, and he’s working on improving his quickness and explosive ability as he’s coming off of an injury to his right knee. As for Pennie, who looked to be taller than his given height of 6’7” in speaking with him after the game, someone’s going to find themselves a very good forward when he commits.
While finishing and slashing to the basket are his strengths, Pennie is working on his ball-handling and perimeter shooting ability. He has just three offers to date: Fairfield, Iowa and Miami (head coach Jim Larranaga was in between this game and Team Breakdown’s loss to the Oakland Soldiers).
Long Island Lighting were also on display as they beat D-One Sports to move to 2-0 on the day with a pair of Connecticut natives leading the way. 6’3” guard Kahari Beaufort and 6’9” wing Kuran Iverson (both 2013 players from Northwest Catholic) both played well in the Lighting win, as did guards Jonathan Severe and Ethan Telfair. Schools represented include Fairleigh Dickinson, Georgia Tech, NJIT, St. John’s, Syracuse and Temple among others (especially schools in the New York metropolitan area).
Beaufort did a good job of getting to the rim off the dribble and he was solid defensively as well. He noted that he’s looking to improve his defensive play in addition to rebounding and working on his left hand. As for schools interested in his services, Beaufort noted that Florida, Miami (offer), Missouri, Providence, St. John’s, Syracuse and Tulane have all shown interest thus far.
Iverson is an intriguing player to watch if only for the fact that he’s working on transitioning to the three at the college level, which lends to him being out on the perimeter more often than not. While he did knock down shots beyond the arc, he stated after the game that this is one area he’s looking to improve upon during the summer.
Iverson has a good all-around skill set, something that the likes of Connecticut, Florida, Florida State, Louisville, North Carolina, Syracuse and Temple (in addition to other Big East schools) have shown interest in. He and Beaufort will likely make their visit to Syracuse at the same time, according to both players.