Sunday, December 27, 2015

City of Palms: Wiley's motor doesn't stop
Austin Wiley finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds against Montverde Academy.
FORT MEYERS, Fla. -- The second day of the City of Palms Classic featured several teams playing their first game in the event including a match up of top ranked Montverde Academy (Fla.) and Spain Park (Ala.).

Five-star power forward Austin Wiley played the entire game with his motor on high. The Auburn-bound big man reminds you of a young Alonzo Mourning with his broad shoulders, big body, good hands and his ability to run the floor. Wiley passes well out of the post and showed terrific footwork. Montverde used their depth to constantly have a fresh defender on Wiley but he still finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks.

Spain Park shooting guard Jamal Johnson started the game slowly but as the first half wore on you could see him starting to figure it out. Johnson has good range on his jumper, plays under control and was excellent on screen and roll. His good body control allowed him to take the bump in the lane and still finish. Johnson could have easily scored 30 points but his free throw shooting let him down in the second half.

The strength in this season's Montverde Academy team is their front court anchored by senior Bruno Fernando and sophomore Silvio De Sousa. On this day the duo combined for 22 points, six rebounds, three blocks and two steals.

Fernando doesn't just have a good motor, Fernando has a great motor. He will catch a body at one end of the court then sprint back to help in transition defense. Fernando gave great effort defending Wiley. Whether he was defending Wiley inside or had to switch off on a perimeter big man, Fernando showed that he understands how to defend.

DeSousa is tough, athletic and plays with terrific energy at both ends of the court. He makes the correct pass out of the double team and his footwork is good. In the country for just 11 months and already a five-star prospect, as DeSousa develops his low post moves and counter moves he will be almost unstoppable in the paint.

I was impressed with...

Whenever you hear the name Bam Adebayo, the term 'dominant big man' typically comes up. The second day of the City of Palms was no different. Adebayo had a very efficient 23 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals. He seemed to feed off of the contact when the ball goes up and was equally effective rebounding at both ends of the floor.

North Carolina-bound Tony Bradley continued his elite level play with 33 points and 13 rebounds but got very little help from his teammates. Bradley knows how to get deep low-post position and hold it. When the double team comes he knows how to react. Bradley can handle the ball and is a good passer. He also must be defended honestly when he steps away from the basket.

Jayson Tatum made half of his shot attempts, both inside and outside the arc. Tatum was also successful at getting to the free throw line where he made 11-of-15 attempts. With a complete scoring repertoire the Duke-bound Tatum was a match up nightmare for Bartow (Fla.) defenders and was able to get his from anywhere on the court. He finished with 36 points for Chaminade (Mo.) and made it look easy.
Other thoughts...

Sarasota Riverview has a backcourt with high major potential in juniors A.J. Caldwell and Brion Whitley.

Caldwell is one of the best jump shooters in the state of Florida and that skill was on display as he shot he shot 41-percent beyond the arc. He was also opportunistic on defense with three steals. Caldwell will need to improve his mid-range game. As teams learn he is less effective there, they will run him off the line.

Whitley is athletic and physical enough to score in the paint or in traffic. At 6-foot-4, 170-pounds he attacked the cup and got to the free throw line where he made all seven attempts. Whitley also has the poise to step to the line late in the game and knock down free throws as he did with 37 seconds to play to put his team in position to win.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Wiseman, Bone impress in Nashville
James Wiseman scored 15 points, hauled in six rebounds and blocked two shots on Friday.
NASHVILLE -- Nashville's Ensworth High School looks like it will be a popular stop for high major college coaches over the next few years. Senior point guard Jordan Bone has already been locked up by Tennessee but freshman power forward James Wiseman looks like he's got the ability to make Ensworth a destination spot.

Wiseman holds promise

At this point, 6-foot-9 freshman power forward James Wiseman of Nashville (Tenn.) Ensworth is only two games into his high school career. However, Wiseman showed on Friday night why his name has been floating around basketball circles in the South as a potential high-level player.

A slim southpaw with a 200-pound frame to build on, Wiseman was quite impressive as he delivered a 15-point, six-rebound and two-block effort that showed off a high skill level.

On his first touch of the night, Wiseman made a high catch that he quickly laid in off the glass with soft touch. He followed that up with an even better catch on the run in transition where he quickly gathered the ball, elevated and dunked while being fouled. So excited about the play was Wiseman that he ran back down to the other end to play defense before realizing that he'd been awarded a free throw attempt.

By the time the night was over he had added some jump hooks and converted on 12-foot jump shots while showing off a level of skill that surpassed his experience level.

Donald Wynn has coached Wiseman in his Enplay program since the freshman was a third grader and he's seen consistent skill development.

"His biggest assets are his athletic ability and size," said Wynn. "He's really comfortable with his body at his size. He runs he floor well and he has good from 12 to 15 feet. He can block shots most of the time and keep the ball in play."

On Friday night, hometown Vanderbilt was watching and Wiseman has been to campus. The Commodores haven't offered just yet, but one should be coming soon. Tennessee has offered and Texas has been in touch.

Many more programs will be getting involved soon and the spotlight will likely start to shine brightly on Wiseman but the plan is to keep him grounded.

"He's a very humble kid that's focused," said Wynn. "He has a great support system in place so he just needs to stay in the gym and focus on his academics and I believe the sky is the limit."
Bone part of sneaky good Vols class

If you look at Tennessee's five-man 2016 recruiting class of three-star prospects on paper, it doesn't jump out at you. Only North Carolina small forward Jalen Johnson currently ranks in the Rivals150. But, make no mistake about it Rick Barnes and his staff have signed an excellent foundation class that will provide lots of experience and leadership.

Three-star point guard Jordan Bone is the third member of the Vols' class that has seen live in the past few weeks -- forwards John Fulkerson and Grant Williams were the others -- and he has a very good chance of working his way into the Rivals150 when it's all said and done.

In previous viewings, Bone had looked to be a bit more of an undersized 6-foot-1 guard who was trying to play the point. After watching him again, he's clearly a point guard and he's looking like one that is much better than thought.

Bone showed a tremendous first step, speed with the ball and high level passing ability. He can score with the jumper and he plays hard on the defensive end as well. Looking at where he is and who will be on the roster at Tennessee it's easy to envision him being at least a two to three year starter.

Were Bone still open in the recruiting process there would be a huge battle to land his services. Instead, Barnes and his staff did a great job of identifying and locking in on him even and making sure that they landed their point guard of the future.
Jordan Bone has a very good chance of working his way into the Rivals150.