Our second report features Jalen James, Javontae Hawkins, Marques Mondy, Malcolm Hill, Steven Haney Jr., Denzell Watts, VJ Beachem and a number of 2014 prospects that stood out in the morning session.
Jalen James – 2013 G
James has a very strong handle to go along with a solid frame. He was impressive in ball handling drills and plays the game under control. At this point he doesn’t seem to be quite as assertive and aggressive, or willing to take over a game, as Michigan’s other lead guard prospects. The next step in his development will be to add that element to his game, maturing to the point where he’s a constant creator and facilitator on the offensive side of the ball. If that confidence develops, it should be a scary combination because of James’s prototypical size and strength at the point guard spot.
VJ Beachem – 2013 Wing
Listed at 6-foot-7 on the camp roster, Beachem was one of the tallest wings in attendance. He might be even skinnier than his AAU teammate, Zak Irvin, but he does a much better job of driving the ball all the way to the basket. Adding strength will do wonders for Beachem’s game as it allows him to finish through more contact and grab more rebounds. His jumpshot is as smooth as his game and he continues to make strides in the right direction. Only has a Purdue offer at this juncture but should land several more as the calendar moves toward July.
Javontae Hawkins – 2012 Wing
Hawkins continues to do what he’s known for: make athletic plays and shoot deep threes. He showed off the ability to be a lock down on-ball defender against some of the most athletic prospects at the camp, most notably Marques Mondy and Zak Irvin. He hit an NBA range three on the main court but needs to continue to improve his consistency on his perimeter shot and also his handle. The next step for Javontae is to develop a mid-range game with the pull-up jump shot.
Malcolm Hill – 2013 Wing
Hill, a consensus top 50 recruit, was one of the top ranked prospects at the event. He took an unofficial visit on Friday before participating in the camp on Saturday. He’s an efficient scoring wing that can be productive without taking opportunities away from his teammates. He never really got involved in the 5-on-5 games that I saw, but that was more because he was never passed the ball on the wing rather than anything he did wrong.
Marques Mondy – 2012 Wing
Mondy is a bit frustrating to watch. He’s a great athlete, with a strong build for a wing player and is a pretty good perimeter shooter as well. The talent and potential to be a great player is painfully obvious. He also just can’t seem to consistently produce as much as he should. He tends to drift on offense and prefers to settle to fire up a three rather than attack the basket. Mondy has so many tools that he could very likely blow up this July if he can string together a couple of strong tournaments.
Steve Haney Jr. – 2013 Wing
Haney didn’t have his 3-point shot going in the games that I saw but he appears to be making a concentrated effort to diversify his game. He had a nice offensive rebound and a couple of solid takes to the basket on the main floor. He does a good job of playing under control and using his length to finish around the rim.
He has tremendous chemistry with his point guard, Derrick Walton, and knows how to find his shot whether by moving off of the ball or pulling up.
Denzell Watts – 2013 G
We’ve harped on Watts’s physical strength and it was very evident at camp on Saturday. While Walton and Morris use their elusiveness and quickness to get in the lane, Watts powers his way in and does a great job of finishing through contact. Similar to Demetrius Jackson, he’s still a scorer first at this juncture and I’m not sure that he makes his teammates better players as well as someone like Monte Morris or Derrick Walton.
- Bo Zeigler – Strong and athletic forward that plays above the rim. Zeigler was in an interesting group for drills that included Tony Farmer and Austin Hatch, the other stronger wing prospects on the Michigan board.
- Deandre Johnson – The 2013 point guard that no one is talking about. Johnson is strong with the ball and explosive in transition, he’s not at the level of some of the other U-M point guard targets but he continues to play well.
- Dontel Highsmith – A bit of a similar build to Jalen James, Highsmith is a guard that plays within himself whether it’s distributing or finishing around the rim. He’s nursing a leg injury and wasn’t 100% but was still quite productive.
- Andrew Zelis – Illinois native made Mark Donnal look small but he’s still developing a feel for the game as a big man. His size makes him the sort of big man prospect to keep on the radar for the next two years to see how he develops.
- Drake Harris – 6-foot-4, Grand Rapids Christian – Sophomore guard’s game is mature beyond his years and he seems to blow past other players effortlessly. I’ve seen him play better but his talent is obvious, even when he’s not playing his best basketball.
- Perry Poindexter – 6-foot-7, North Central, IN – Great frame, length and athleticism but needs to be more assertive. The promise is obvious as he moves very smoothly and is extremely skilled for a young growing big man.
- Tyler Wideman – 6-foot-7, Lake Central, IN – Aptly named post player with a big frame and surprisingly good feet. Wideman has good touch around the basket and has the strength to muscle his way anywhere that he wants to get in the pant.
- DaRohn Scott – 6-foot-8, Grand Rapids Christian – Showed off a very nice drop step when he got the ball on the block. Long and athletic with a wiry frame, Scott’s coordination at this juncture bodes well for his future.
- Other Notables: Maceo Baston Jr., Keita Bates-Diop, Sean Sellers, Bryant McIntosh, Darius Austin, Jamal Poplar