Sunday, January 11, 2015

Talent on display at Timberwolves Shootout Basketball Recruiting Analysis

THE RIVALS150: 2015 | 2016
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Timberwolves Shootout hasn't always gotten the national media coverage of some other big winter events but, make no mistake, it is a quality event. At least 27 future NBA players have hit the floor of the Target Center during the event's history and there were more hopefuls on hand Saturday. Unsigned senior guard Sacar Anim showed that he has taken the next step while star power forward Henry Ellenson and touted four-star point guard Marcus LoVett each went for 39. Four-star shooting guard Gary Trent Jr. also impressed.

Anim scored 31 in a win against Morgan Park.
Anim and LoVett duel

In what was easily the best game of the day, Minneapolis (Minn.) DeLaSalle and Chicago (Ill.) Morgan Park locked up in a game that featured a couple of teams really going at it while a pair of unsigned seniors had big days. For victorious DeLaSalle, unsigned senior shooting guard Sacar Anim went for 31 points while Morgan Park's unsigned four-star point guard Marcus LoVet scored 39 entertaining points in a tough loss.

Since his team took home the win, we will begin with Anim. A 6-foot-4 shooting guard who has attracted mid major offers and growing high major interest, Anim was at his best when his team needed him the most.

Early on, Anim had to fight through foul trouble and managed 12 of his points despite playing relatively passively in the first half. In the second, Anim took over on both ends of the floor as he helped his team erase a double-digit deficit.

A good athlete with a college ready build, Anim does a little bit of everything. He rebounds, he plays good on the ball and team defense and he can help out handling the ball against pressure. He finished on strong drives to the basket, converted from the free throw line and knocked down jump shots when there were openings. Anim plays a similar style to a guy we've written about a lot this winter, Tyson Jolly from Oklahoma City (Okla.) Putnam City West.

"It's definitely been a big step for me as a player," Anim said. "I've put in the work for it and I know that everything that is happening for me with my game, I deserve it."

According to Anim, he has attracted offers from programs like South Dakota, South Dakota State, North Dakota, Furman, Rhode Island, Northern Iowa, Indiana State and Drake while Marquette, Miami and Northwestern have been sniffing around.

For his senior season, LoVett moved to Chicago from California where he played his first three seasons of high school ball. Currently ranked the No. 91 player in the class of 2015, LoVett is a flashy and high scoring point guard who is one of the top unsigned guards in the country.

No one has ever disputed LoVett's ability to score, and LoVett certainly did that. He came out on fire scoring 26 of his 39 in the first half and he did it with style. LoVett utilized ball screens to set up pull-up jumpers, he scored at the rim and he nearly brought the house down with back to back NBA range threes, the second of which was a pull-up from the right wing on a two-on-one fastbreak.

LoVett scored 26 of his 39 points in the first half.
The southpaw did a good job of getting on the glass and he also did a good job of finding teammates. As the game wore on, the impact of carrying the majority of the offensive load could be seen as he tired from wave after wave of physical DeLaSalle defenders being thrown at him.

The biggest thing that LoVett did was compete. He was vocal with teammates, he played hard on both ends of the floor and it was clear that he was going to do everything in his power to help his team win.

Back home in Chicago, there's been a lot of talk about how well LoVett is playing as a senior and he lived up to the advance billing.

"Regardless of whatever I do out there I am just trying to help my team," said LoVett. "If I get hot then I just try to keep it going. I know when my shot is on and off and I just try to go with the flow of the game."

LoVett said that he does not have any immediate plans to take any visits and said that he is wide open in the recruiting process. He mentioned Illinois, Kansas, DePaul, Iowa and St. John's as some of the programs that he has had good personal communication with.

Ellenson nets 39

Playing in front of his future head coach (Marquette's Steve Wojciechowski) the nation's No. 17 player in the class of 2015 didn't get off to a great start.

Henry Ellison, a 6-foot-9 power forward from Rice Lake (Wisc.) High, was getting roughed up pretty good by Champlin (Minn.) Park defenders without getting much help from the refs. The frustration boiled over into a shove that sent him to the bench with his third foul in the first half with just 10 points. Being heckled mercilessly by the Champlin Park student section, Ellenson came out in the second half and showed why he's so highly regarded and nearly led his team to an improbable comeback win.

Ellenson has wide shoulders and good strength to go along with his 6-foot-9 size and he is a very capable scorer in the low post. He certainly did damage down there as he scored around the rim, grabbed 18 rebounds and made 14 trips to the free throw line. What sets Ellenson apart, though, is his ability to play facing the hoop.

He is more and more comfortable handling the ball and attacking off the dribble. He can hit stepback threes, is good with the two dribble pull-up and has a generally impressive arsenal. It's hard to imagine him not making a pretty early and meaningful impact at Marquette.

Trent has a great frame and plenty of confidence.
Trent Jr. shines in a familiar place

In the early part of the 2000s, Gary Trent patrolled the paint of the Target Center for the Timberwolves as an athletic and powerful power forward. On Saturday, his son Gary Trent Jr. roamed the perimeter in the same building as a good looking sophomore shooting guard prospect.

A four-star prospect at Apple Valley (Minn.) High, Trent is a 6-foot-4 two guard who has a great frame to build on and plenty of confidence on the offensive end. Trent doesn't need a lot of space or time to unload from deep and he keeps defenders off balance by doing just enough attacking off the dribble to create uncertainty about what he'll do.

Trent only figures to get stronger and he's a good athlete who has added to his explosiveness around the rim. For the day, he went for 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds while dishing out a pair of assists in 26 minutes of action. He already holds offers Texas Tech, Minnesota and Providence and also listed interest from Ohio State and Michigan State.

More notes from the Timberwolves Shootout

Minneapolis (Minn.) DeLaSalle point guard Jarvis Johnson didn't have a great first half against Chicago (Ill.) Morgan Park. He picked up three fouls and his team fell behind by double digits. The second half, though, was a different story for the 6-foot-1 floor general headed to Minnesota. He scored 14 of his 18 points (many of them coming from the free throw line), played good defense and tossed out three of his four assists as DeLaSalle came storming back to win 74-66. Notably, Johnson looks much stronger than at the end of the summer.

St. Paul (Minn.) Cretin-Derham Hall senior guard Joe Rosga led his team to a win over Marion (Iowa) North Scott by dropping 20 points. He can shoot very well from deep, gets on the glass some for a guard and is a pretty good passer. He made both of his three-point attempts and added five rebounds and three assists. Currently unsigned, he could help in some places.

Sophomore big man Theo John of Champlin (Minn.) Park is definitely one to watch. A well built 6-foot-7 power forward, John didn't back down from battling against Ellenson in the post. He ended up fouling out but made an impression and looks like one that high majors will track because of his toughness and quickness off the floor around the rim.

Nebraska-Omaha is getting a steal in J.T. Gibson.
Trent Jr. was the high scorer for Apple Valley (Minn.) High, but junior center Brock Bertram and freshman point guard Tre Jones helped out as well. Bertram is a wide bodied 6-foot-9 big man who holds his position in the post and has good hands. The younger brother of Duke freshman Tyus Jones, Jones is a quick ball handler who gets the ball where it needs to be. They each hold an offer from Texas Tech.

After hearing "non shooter, non shooter" yelled each time he touched the ball Goanar Mar had enough. The 6-foot-7 sophomore forward at DeLaSalle hit a pair of big second half three pointers and looked more fluid than the last time saw him play. He defers a bit to his senior guards for now but his time is coming. Mar currently lists offers from Iowa State, Northern Iowa and Nebraska to go with interest from Xavier, Minnesota and Indiana.

Finally, Nebraska Omaha and North Dakota are getting steals in J.T. Gibson and Cortez Seales. Gibson is an athletic and attacking combo guard from Champlin Park who can get to the rim and is a dangerous shooter from deep. The three-star prospect went for 24 points, seven rebounds and three assists in a win over Rice Lake and looks like he will be ready to deliver early. A 6-foot-4 shooting guard, Seales North Scott team took a tough loss but it wasn't without a fight from him. A slender athlete who is adept at creating space, Seales has a balanced game and he rebounds his position extremely well. He finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds to go along with a pair of assists.

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