With only the Great Lakes Summer Championship left on our schedule, this is one of the last stops of our summer AAU tour. Games won’t be done in Louisville for another two days, but I wrapped things up there today and I’m heading home to Ann Arbor. Here are some final thoughts on the tournament and what some of the Michigan targets were able to do these last couple of days.
Coaches Watch – All you need to know: on Saturday, Coach Beilein and I had the exact same schedule. Coach Meyer joined him more often than not. Also seen: Tom Izzo, whose schedule was also very similar to mine, Bruce Pearl, which makes sense given the proximity of Louisville to Tennessee, and Butler coach Brad Stevens was watching some of the Michigan Mustangs games. Many of the smaller schools were at most of the Michigan teams’ games, including Eastern Michigan and Oakland. Bob Huggins was watching Tommie McCune closely.
Ray Lee – Lee didn’t have a great day on Saturday. He looked a little off, wasn’t getting to the basket as much and not hitting his shots. He had his moments, hitting a few big 3-pointers in an early game, but overall I’d say it was a sub-par day for him. I think he showed what he was capable of during the other days of Hoopfest, just had a so-so day yesterday. Today, it was a different story. I only got to watch part of the Pride 16’s game at 11:45, but Ray was killing it. He was undoubtedly the team’s leading scorer for the game, showing off his ability to drive and shoot from outside. The kid can flat-out put the ball in the basket. If he can do that a little more consistently, he’s going to be a big-time recruit.
Matt Costello – Frequent commenter SBell posted an article on Saturday asking if Matt Costello was the best Michigan post prospect since Al Horford. His answer: Yes. And I have to agree. The guy is a gifted passer out of the paint, he moves like a guard, he has highly-evolved post moves and he hustles his ass off. Also, his jumpshot is probably better than most guards. That isn’t hyperbole; I’ve been watching him since Tuesday and he doesn’t miss often. On Saturday he continued his dominance. He shot the ball extremely efficiently; he was very quick with the ball and didn’t force shots inside. He was without a doubt the main attraction for many big-name coaches. Also on Saturday, Costello picked up an offer from Indiana, which brings his total, if things haven’t changed since I talked to him in Indy, to four (Oakland, USC, Michigan, Indiana).
Tommie McCune – I hadn’t watched McCune since the Motown Showdown in May, and here’s what I thought of him. What I saw today was better. I only watched one game, but it’s obvious McCune is moving better and handling the ball better. He’s similar to Jalen Reynolds in that he tries to show off his versatility a lot during games. I don’t think he’s as good a shooter as Reynolds (from what I’ve seen) but I think he has a better chance of evolving into a good college wing. He needs to settle for jumpshots less and get to the hoop more. In my opinion, he would be best served by improving his game from the inside-out. Get in the post and refine some moves, then get to the point where you can run the fast break and hang out on the wing. He’s a very good player and his vision is great for a big man.
Jalen Reynolds – Jalen looked pretty good on Saturday, but not great. I’m not sure it’s entirely his fault–it doesn’t seem to me like his team is using him enough. There are a lot of coaches here. Give him an opportunity to showcase what he can do in the post. Feed him the ball and let him go to work. Instead, Reynolds does most of his work getting rebounds and loose balls because he still hustles. We did get to see flashes of talent in the post, with a couple of nifty baby hooks thrown in. The second game was unfortunate because the competition was so horrible, but Jalen went off. He was getting putbacks and dunking all over the place. It’s hard to come away with much from the kids he was playing against, but it’s clear that Reynolds’ athleticism allows him to thrive on the fast break. He’s a great finisher. Today, Reynolds just looked out of it. He inferred to me that he wasn’t feeling well, but for whatever reason his head didn’t appear in the game, the majority of which he sat on the bench. I think coaches know how talented Reynolds is, but he needs to take these opportunities to show what he can do.
Chris Harrison-Docks – Chris is a quick guard out of Okemos, MI who can really shoot the ball. I watched him in Indy and wasn’t too impressed, but that was mostly because his shot wasn’t falling. After watching him yesterday, it’s obvious why so many schools are after him. He has great handle, great moves and plays very good defense. He has good size, enough to avoid being pushed around by bigger guards. His shot is smooth and he can get it off any time–pull-up, off the dribble or in a catch-and-shoot situation. He’s definitely a score-first guard at this point, but his vision is good enough for him to evolve into a creator. Today, he was even better in the game I watched. His shot was lights-out and he showed off his ability to finish at the rim. Very impressive player who made some real progress this weekend.
Denzel Valentine – Denzel did his usual thing on Saturday. He shot the ball well from deep, created shots for himself and others in the post, and generally impressed. He wasn’t running the point as much because he was in with Harrison-Docks most of the time, but he still managed to get a few dimes in. He rebounded really well in the game I saw, banging down low with the bigs. That’s something you can’t forget: Valentine is a big, strong guy and he works his butt off. He’s a guard, but he’s about 6-5 and could easily play in the post for the Mustangs. Impressive, as usual. Today, I saw one more Mustangs game and it was much of the same. Valentine’s spin move is one of the best I’ve seen in a while. It gives him space every time and he can score off it whenever he wants.
Ron Patterson – Patterson is a talented 2012 wing prospect from Indianapolis and I got to see him for the first time (briefly) today. He’s a big guard, probably about 6-5 and well-built. He rebounds well for a guard and also has a smooth jumper. He’s a smart player and very quick. He’s kind of a do-it-all player skilled in many different areas. I got the sense he could take the ball to the basket more but settled for the jumper. Overall, a very talented player.
News and Notes
- I spoke with Harrison-Docks after his game on Saturday and he told me he had offers from a ton of smaller schools including Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Utah, and Bradley. However, he has now been catching the eyes of some high-major schools and has heard from Michigan, Michigan State, Illinois, Florida and Colorado.
- There appears to be little mutual interest between Tommie McCune and Michigan. McCune said he visited Michigan during a couple basketball games but hasn’t heard from coaches since then. He has plenty of other options–McCune has been offered by USC, West Virginia, Baylor, Dayton, Providence, Xavier, South Florida and he’s pretty sure there’s more. Also, one of the reasons I’m more impressed with him now than I was earlier in the summer could be because he’s finally healthy. He said he had trouble with swelling in his knees and hurt his ankle as well.
- Ron Patterson has a smattering of offers from Big Ten schools. So far he’s been offered by Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Xavier, Purdue, Ohio State and Tennessee. He has been in contact with others, including Miami, Florida, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech. He said all schools were pretty even, but that Michigan would be “One of the top” schools he would go to.
- Dante Williams, a 2011 wing from Huron High School, is now playing with Team Pride. He looks like he’s fitting in well, but he’s a solid player who would fit in just about anywhere. Williams has garnered interest from local schools as well as Dayton, and has an offer from Eastern Michigan.
- Darren Washington, a 2012 big from Gabriel Richard, is also playing with Team Pride. Last time I saw him play AAU was in May and he was playing for The Family.