T of C Sunday Afternoon
So, here are a few thoughts on what I saw today.
Wayne Ellington - You know the feeling when you're checking out the new sneaks at Champs...You can tell the difference between the top shelf high-priced shoe model and the mid-level range model for posers. Well, Ellington and his Episcopal teammate are the high-priced models. When you watch him play, you can definitely can see the difference between an elite level of game and the mid-level window-washers.
With Ellington, the difference is how he comes off of screens and how he pops out to the wing. He explodes, and he has unbelievable hops, which utilizes to constantly leap to the rim for rebounds and caroms. What a great feature for a shooting guard, huh? Believe me, there's no camping out on the wing for this guy, he loves to stick his nose in the lane.
Despite a tough loss, and a tough performance against Tyrone Shelley, who looks like a right-handed Stacey Augmon and who is looking at Minnesota, Ellington has the tools to be a major ACC performer.
What should interest most Tar Heel fans is that he plays a selfless game, which is almost to a fault...Yet, isn't that the rap for all Carolina players?...So, that argument should stop right there. With his soft touch and with the NBA 20 year-old age limit coming into effect, it's highly likely that you'll get a nice plate of Ellington for three years.
Gerald Henderson Jr. - Damn, why can't these two stay together. The two of them in a backcourt are simply lethal. The funny thing after watching Henderson Jr play with Ellington in a loss against a scrap-iron tough Hoops Squad team from Los Angeles is that I can't see how the so-called recruiting gurus can decipher who's better Ellington or Henderson Jr.
Both of these guys are straight up ballers, and Henderson Jr. plays a very similar game. However, I would say that Ellington may have a better touch with the mid-range floater that he launched late in the game, but you could say that also with the one-dribble jumper from the wing from Henderson Jr with two minutes left. If you're looking for overall athleticism, you may take Henderson Jr because of his leaps, but Ellington blocked some incredible shots on the defensive end....See what I'm saying.
Regardless, Henderson Jr. did get matched up against a smaller point guard from Hoops Squad, and he showed me great footwork. I like this kid a lot, and he presents himself very well off-the-court.
Duke has a major poster boy with this guy. Watch out for the upcoming battles between these two best friends in '06.
O.J. Mayo Part II (Nice Photo) -
(Photo)Overtin "O.J." Mayo with his boy from Cincy...I like the hardness that comes from my man, O.J. #32...Young gunna' keep rippin' it. I like the use of the headband for sending messages to your crew back home.
Yet, after watching the Playaz, I'm really struggling with whether or not I would take Ellington or Henderson Jr. for the long run...Just my two cents.
D.J. Augustin - I love top flight point guards, and I want to love this guy's game. Yet, there's something that made me tail off of him. Maybe it's his J, or maybe it's his speed...But to me, he reminded me of a less speedier version of Andre Barrett at Seton Hall two seasons ago. Nice game and tough, but I don't know about leading a running team to the promised land. Now, to be fair to Augustin, he did have an injury that hobbled him...
Yet, if you Tar Heel fans are wondering if the staff made the right choice between Tywan Lawson, Augustin, and Mike Conley Jr., they should be pleased because the staff made the right choice with Lawson. Lawson is speedier, stronger, and he has a nice touch on a floating jumper within 10-12 feet that has shades of Rod Strickland on it. Plus, Lawson is an Oak Hill gunner...The level of comp that he works against says a lot.
Supposedly, Augustin is down to LSU, Texas, and Wake Forest. Here's to hoping that he stays local, and he gets a chance to play with "Big Baby" Glen Davis.
Hoops Squad, Los Angeles, CA - If more AAU teams played this hard and well together, then you could say AAU ball is more fun to watch than high school teams. These guys were a blast to watch, and because of the lack of superstars, everyone counted them out.
You know I'm a big fan of city kids, and these kids were classic scrap-iron tough city kids from the Los Angeles and San Diego public schools leagues that were totally unimpressed by the resumes of the elite programs such as Spiece, Indiana led by Mike Conley Jr and Greg Oden or The Playaz with Ellington and Henderson Jr.
Talk about a reality show in the mix for ESPN 2...Screw that And 1 crap....
Schools like Fairfax, Dominguez, Taft from LA and Crawford from SD were represented well. Corn rows, jheri curls, and shaven heads went with the jerseys numbers that didn't match with the program...Hell, Coach Richard Isaacs with his Buddy Holly glasses and warm-up pants are even more of a trip.
Great watch, and more importantly, they played as hard as if they were playing for the Pro-Am title at Venice Beach. Who says West Coast ballers can't roll? Keep a watch out for Tyrone Shelley...He's my sleeper...Supposedly, he's headed for Minnesota, but if a West Coast powerhouse like UCLA, Zona, or a high-mid program like UNLV or USC doesn't take a shot on him, they're crazy....Believe me, give the guy three years, and he'll be an incredible athlete. He really did well on Ellington by locking him down.
Photo: Tyrone Shelley enjoying a Tropicana after a W over Ellington and Henderson Jr...Hoops Squad...Those my boys.
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