Last night I sat through an unusually competitive installation of the Micky D’s All -American Game to catch a glimpse of Duke prospects Austin Rivers, Quinn Cook, and Marshall Plumlee as well as sizing up the competition by checking out UNC recruits P.J. Hairston and James McAdoo. The fact that the final score ( E111-W97) totaled less than 250 points was refreshing as it indicates that there were actually several moments of competitive defensive play from both sides ( the West had 13 blocks, while the East created 18 turnovers). This game never completely devolved into the cherry-picking, mad 3 point-bombing, matador-defense playing affair that these “games” ( “showcase” is far more apropos, in my opinion) almost always become, though it certainly had plenty of that in the mix. As a result , the numbers that players put up in this game rarely tell the whole story, and the old “eyeball” test is often needed to get a true feel of who is going to make what kind of an impact. So here you go:
- 1 : Kentucky could lose another 5 guys to the draft and still be pretty darn good as Calipari’s insane recruiting hauls continue unabated. Anthony Davis is as highly thought of as anyone in this class , including Austin Rivers, and he showed why. The guy was a 6’3” point guard 18 months ago and is now a 6’10” point-forward, with quickness, length, ball skills and a great looking stroke at the free throw line. He joins Michael Gilchrist ( co-MVP of this game who had the quietest 14 point 12 rebound performance I’ve ever seen, but still.), 7 Footer Kyle Wiltjer ( who showed off a pretty jump hook) and Marquis Teague ( who is thought by many to be better than his older brother Jeff, who played at Wake Forest and now plays for the Atlanta Hawks).) Yup, UK will be right there at the end next year.
- 2: The other non-UNC/Duke guy that impressed me the most was Brad Beal, who is headed to Florida. He scored in a variety a ways and had 4 assists ( which in this game is like the equivalent of 12 in a normal one), and, though probably a bit smaller than his listed height of 6’5”, is going to jump in and immediately contribute at the shooting guard spot along side Kenny Boynton. This should give the Gators one of the better backcourts in the country next year. Khem Birch, a lanky and athletic PF headed to Pittsburgh, was also impressive at times, especially on defense and the glass.
- 3: As for UNC, both of their prospects played quite well, with McAdoo earning co-MVP honors. This guy is the real deal and, even though a number of his points were on easy breakaway dunks, he showed good range on his jumpshot and generally played with an overall smoothness and athletic ease to his game. He has some long-ass, strong arms that look like a young Karl Malone’s and his game could be fairly compared to the former Jazz great’s as well. He will make our lives difficult next year, no matter who sticks around for UNC. P.J. Hairston is a guy who is looking to score the ball the minute he steps on the court. He has NBA range on his jumpshot ( he hit an absolute bomb of a transition 3 at one point) and moves pretty damned well for a hefty 6’6” guy. He is going to be instant offense coming off of the bench for Roy next year.
- 4: The Duke recruits looked pretty solid,too. Austin (who certainly doesn’t suffer from a lack of confidence) played decently well and is clearly ready for prime time, but was perhaps a little too eager on occasion to throw up a quick three or drive into the maw of the defense. I was hoping to see him employ some mid-range skills, but, you know, I’ll live. Quinn Cook was extremely impressive to me. I have read some comparisons to Sean Dockery, and, while I understand where that comes from ( particularly with regard to his build) he seems much more offensively skilled than Sean and showed a real desire to attack the rim and get his own shot, which belied his reputation as a pass-first PG. He will definitely make a push at a starting spot next year. Marshall Plumlee showed me 3 things : 1) He definitely has some legit post-moves, which already puts him ahead of Mason and Miles at the same stage 2)Despite his athleticism, he gets pushed around alot in the post 3) He seems to have the Taymon Domzalski Hands of Stone or, if you prefer, wears the Casey Sanders +3 Oven Mitts of Fumbling. I would estimate he got his hands on and failed to maintain posession of about 2 rebounds, 2 passes and 2 loose balls. His upside is tremendous, but you can understand why there is talk of redshirting him this year, given that his playing time behind his brothers, Kelly and Hairston will be extremely limited anyway.