The second and final practice for the Jordan Brand Classic took place this morning and we primarily observed the West All-American Team today. The West Team is full of long, athletic wings and should put a lot of points on the board tomorrow. The players who stood out the most during today’s practice were:
Stanley Johnson, SG – Johnson was easily the biggest standout in today’s practice for the West Team. He led his team throughout majority of the scrimmage and seemed very confident. Johnson’s extremely athletic and able to get inside with ease. He also has nice range and was pretty efficient from beyond the arc today. He showed how he can create space from a defender and get his own shot, as well as dish the ball on the move. Johnson does well at taking contact, hanging and still finishing the play. He outhustled his competition today and even showed off after practice with some athletic competition-style dunks. He’ll be a great addition to the Wildcats next season.
Cliff Alexander, C – The Kansas recruit has a huge, athletic frame. At 6’8” and with his style of play, he’ll likely play power forward at the next level. He’s great with his back to the basket and seems to have nearly perfected a myriad of turnaround jumpers and running hook shots. He has a quick first step, which makes it difficult for other bigs to contain him. Alexander displayed many emphatic dunks today and also showed off some of his midrange potential. He’s a terrific rebounder on both ends of the floor, but needs to work on his hands and protecting the ball. Due to his size, adding a consistent jumper to his arsenal will be imperative and continue to increase his massive potential.
Emmanuel Mudiay, PG – The SMU recruit has great size for a point guard and is an explosive athlete. We were most excited about scouting him today, and even though Johnson overshadowed him, he still put on a good performance. Mudiay has a good handle, is able to penetrate and either finish at the rim or find his teammates on the move. This is made possible by his powerful first step and strength. He’s skilled at drawing fouls and has great court vision. Mudiay has pretty good range, but needs to continue working on his shooting mechanics. He also has excellent defensive potential, which should only improve under Larry Brown next season.
Tyler Ulis, PG – Ulis joins an excellent recruiting class for Kentucky next season. At 5’9”, he exceeded our expectations with his performance today. He is an extremely quick, pesky guard who is great at anticipating and creating steals. He’s also a great, creative passer and good floor general. Due to his lateral quickness and toughness, he’s a pretty good defender for his size. Ulis is also skilled at shielding the ball from his bigger defenders and finishing inside. He has very good range and a quick release, which will be essential to getting his shot off at the next level.
Justise Winslow, SF – Winslow is an extremely athletic wing with a similar size and build as Johnson. He’ll be a great teammate and role player next year at Duke. Winslow can defend just about any position and is a great rebounder on both ends of the floor. He’s a high-energy, physical wing who has a knack for blocking shots and getting out in transition. Winslow is also a very good passer and seems to always have his head in the game. He needs to work more on his offensive mechanics and continue to improve his shooting, but the potential is there.
D’Angelo Russell, SG – The OSU recruit was a bit overshadowed in today’s practice by the bigger, longer wings, but still showed potential. He was always in the right spots on offense, showed off a good handle, made the right passes and finished well inside. He’s able to make tough shots off the dribble and has a good change of speeds to keep defenders guessing. Russell was overpowered and outhustled at times today by other wings, and needs to stay engaged. He has promising potential on both ends and should do well at OSU.
Chris McCullough, PF – The Syracuse recruit has great size and length for a power forward and is extremely athletic. Slower bigs will struggle to stay with McCullough, especially if he can lure them out to the perimeter. He’s a good rebounder and has a quick second jump, which helps him stay with every play. He struggled to contain Alexander at times and will have to improve his defensive discipline. McCullough showed off some huge, athletic blocks and dunks today and is a very fun player to watch. Similar to Alexander, if McCullough can add a consistent mid-range game to his offense, he’ll become much more dangerous.
Theo Pinson is another long wing that looked impressive today. He has a nice looking shot from outside and uses his strength and quick first step to get inside. He’s a skilled passer and will pair nicely with Justin Jackson at UNC. Shaqquan Aaron (Louisville) is the longest wing on the team and showed off a nice handle today. He’s a decent passer, a great finisher and has massive defensive potential. His length bothers his opponents and he’s terrific in transition and at finishing plays in the air. Kameron Chatman is a 6’8” wing heading for Michigan. He has potential on both ends and a nice looking shot. He can score off the dribble and fills the lane well. Devin Booker, another Kentucky recruit, is a 6’5” shooting guard with a quick first step. He has a good-looking shot and great range beyond the arc. Booker also passes very well while on the move.
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