First I want to thank the District folks Ray Davis and Jamal Brown for the invite to check out the pro run. It was definitely worth me getting out of bed at 7am and making the drive to Virginia to check out the next wave of college stars and current and future pros from the DMV. We're in good hands. It was a bunch of Alphas competing against one another for two straight hours, to seven, on two courts. Losers had to sit and wait for the next game to be over. Teams were carefully put together so you had a match-up to push you. No political nonsense, no hiding, just straight basketball. How its suppose to be. We need something like that here in the area for serious ball players, similar to how they do out on the West Coast at UCLA with Rico Hines organizing quality runs. Its no reason not to have that here in the DMV. I hope it continues. Lets see who stood out.
- Favour Aire/ 6'10/ 215/ Bishop McNamara:
Junior big man held his own. He was a presence in the paint defensively blocking and altering shots. He crashed the boards well and finished inside well showing a soft touch around the basket. He got in trouble bringing the ball down, where obviously the caliber of guards on hand swarmed him and made it difficult for him to power up to try to score. He's still a bit raw and getting use to his height and length but his potential is crazy. And seeing him make plays against grown men as a youngster just finishing his sophomore season in high school speaks volumes.
- Jeff Allen / 6'7/ 230/ Overseas (Former DeMatha, Hargrave, VA Tech Forward):
Overseas vet made shots from all three levels, showed quickness off the bounce, consistently beating his defender for dunks and utilized some great footwork in the mid and low post to make plays. He also was a lot slimmer then when I last saw him a couple years back which helped him be more explosive and be able to run with the young guns throughout the day. Savvy Pro showed why he's consistently been overseas the nine seasons and counting.
- Jared Bynum / 5'10/ 180/ R-Soph/ Providence:
Bynum was arguably the most impressive guard in the gym and its due to his impact in all aspects. He hit three pointers, facilitated well, scored in transition and off the bounce, and he was by far the best defender. WHOEVER he was defending had to be very careful with the ball cuz Bynum was ripping players left and right. He was so dominant defensively, teams just sent a pick whenever he was on the ball to get Bynum off of the ballhandler. He put in work during his redshirt season after transferring from St Joseph. Friar fans should be excited.
- Anthony Cowans/ 6'0/ 180/ Maryland/ NBA Draft Pool:
We've done a probe on Cowans a couple of months ago so our audience is well versed at what he brings. It was a continuation of that on top of possibly being in the best condition of his life preparing for the pros. He knocked down NBA range threes, scored inside, did work out of the mid post which is saying something from a 6'0 PG, and also ran the show and got others involved. It was spurts where Cowans simply couldn't be stopped. I feel he's an NBA player, I just hope teams don't judge him off his size and pay attention to his skills and heart.
- Jon Davis/ 6'2/193/ Lakeland Magic (G-League):
Tough shot maker. The athletic floor general hit step back 3's over bigger wings on hand, he finished above the rim in transition and displayed a solid post game. If Davis shoots from 3-point range for Lakeland, like he did during the open run, it will open his game up tremendously and will obviously attract more eyes for a potential call up to the NBA.
- Jordan Hairston/ 6'0/ 160/ Texas A&M- Corpus Christi:
Hairston showed that last season wasn't a fluke as far as his ability to shoot the ball with range at an efficient rate. Hairston brought that deep shooting to the open run as well, pulling up a few feet inside half court as well as knocking down open shots which is a struggle for a lot of players. The next thing for Hairston to get better at to take his game to the next level, is being more of a pest defensively and being able to make teammates better consistently which is the number one job for any floor general. Once he adds those improvements to his game, the sky is the limit.
- Jay Heath/ 6'3/ 175/ Boston College:
Ultra aggressive scoring guard. Most of the players took time to feel their way into the games, not Heath. His first shot was a 30 footer. He was on the attack all day. He was Lethal in transition, displayed a nice pull up jumper and was tough. It's easy to see why he was second leading scorer for Boston College last season. A natural scorer.
- Ayinde Hikim/ 5'11/ 165 / LaSalle:
Was VERY impressive. He picked up guys full court, battled bigs in the post and won his fair share of those match-ups. He scored well in transition, on the move and inside with lay-ups and runners BUT the biggest improvement was seeing Hikim hit three pointers efficiently. Last season at LaSalle he shot 26 percent from deep, you would've thought he shot close to 40 percent watching him play Saturday. That's whats holding his game back. If he becomes a threat from deep next season, the A-10 is in trouble.
- Corey Manigault / 6'9 / 225 / New Mexico/ Pro Prospect:
Former Paul VI big man was a technician on the block. He scored with both hands on both blocks. Great footwork which made it hard for opposing bigs to defend him. He ran the floor great, basket to basket resulting in easy baskets and he knocked down a couple three pointers to keep defenders guessing on how to slow him down. He definitely has a pro career in front of him.
- James Palmer/ 6'5/ 207/ Agua Caliente Clippers:
Another natural scorer. Scored from 3-point range, mid range and inside. Long, athletic, he got his hands on passes by just leaning over and it wasn't lazy passes either. His length for a wing is ridiculous which makes him a formidable defender as well. He's streaky from deep, that's the one area he has to improve.
- Jamorko Pickett/ 6'8/ 206/ Georgetown:
Hoya senior wing scores so effortlessly. With his size, skill, length and athleticism, he's a nightmare to guard. He was automatic from mid-range, didn't matter if it was off he dribble or in the post. He scored cutting back door for lobs, he hit jumpers from deep and was solid defensively. He had trouble banging with more physical bigs though, once they got to his chest and he was rocked back, opposing bigs had the space to score easily inside despite Picketts length. Getting stronger I feel will elevate his game. He has all of the tools, it's just how bad does he want it.
- Roddy Peters/ 6'3/ 192/ (Maryland, South Florida, Nicholls State), G-League:
When they start sending doubles to you as a guard during an open run, you know you're going to work. Peters was in incredible condition and he put that conditioning to use. He was unguardable in transition and off the bounce while keeping defenders honest being automatic from mid range shooting the ball. Simply put he's ready for a G-league and overseas opportunity. He was that impressive. If I was a general manager, I would bring him in to battle for an open roster spot for sure.
- Charles Pride/ 6'4/ 185/ Bryant:
Quick, shifty , fearless scorer. Great at one on one play, he was a difficult guard for everyone in the gym. He's can score with deep jumpers, off floaters, runners and out of the mid post. He's also an underrated passer, especially out of the pick an roll. Talented guard to keep an eye on.
- Jeremy Roach/ 6'2/ 180/ Duke:
Duke fans will love Roach, opposing ACC fans will hate him which is par for the course being a Blue Devil. He served every one that tried to guard him, including the pros. His team I believe won their first five games before finally taking a loss. Best pure point guard in the gym. He can facilitate well, shoot with range, excellent handle, crafty finisher with either hand, and a good defender. Total Package.You can see him fully having his athleticism return after tearing his ACL his junior season. Roach is a problem, I expect him to do a lot of damage next season at Duke.
- Earl Timberlake / 6'5 / 215/ Miami:
One of my favorite young players in the area. Timberlake did his thing. He's a big, athletic, tough versatile guard and showcased all of that on Saturday. He shot it well from deep, played great defense, finished strong at the basket and the most impressive part of his game, passed the hell out the rock, threading the needle to teammates on the break and bigs cutting inside for easy baskets. He physically looked bigger and ready to handle the college grind. Earl imposed his will against top level college guys and pros, I have no doubts he will do the same at Miami.
- Melo Trimble / 6'3/ 195 / NBL, Overseas Spain:
Trimble did what Trimble does. He controlled the pace and picked teams apart with his passing and scoring. Trimble is a highly skilled big guard that plays chess. He did it all Saturday taking what the defense gave him and making them pay.
- Will Vedder/ 6'9/ 225/ Virginia State:
Vedder, a Virginia State senior forward, absolutely killed from the opening tip to the end of the run. No one could guard him. He was too skilled and athletic for bigs and too big and strong for guards. He scored efficiently from all three levels. Dunked whenever he was near the basket and held his own defensively. I had never heard of Vedder before the run but he is definitely someone imma keep an eye on moving forward. If it was one player that wowed everyone, it was him.
- AJ Wilson / 6'7/ 210/ George Mason:
Wilson is special due to the many ways he impacts the game. He can dominate and don't score a lot. What sets him apart from other players is his motor. It's young Dennis Rodman like. Bad Boys Rodman would get the rebound, outlet it to Isiah and literally outrun everyone down the court for the lay-up or tip in. Wilson has that same level of energy. He dunked on anybody that was near him in the paint, His chemistry with Jeremy Roach was beautiful to see. Anytime Wilson was on the move, Roach found him for easy dunks. Wilson also shot well from outside, rebounded and did all his customary hustle plays including running down countless players for blocks, to stop a potential easy basket. This is why his team ran off about five straight games to begin the run. He's a guy you win with and its not rocket science to see why he's an All A-10 player and a player who I feel will be making a lot of money to play this game one day.