Scouting: Upperclassmen at 2012 College Practice Camp


image9[1]Michigan’s 2013 commitments, all of whom excelled at College Practice Camp a year ago, were not in attendance this year due to other commitments. That left all eyes in the upperclassmen afternoon session on a number of priority 2014 recruits including Keita Bates-Diop headlined the session.

Keita Bates-Diop (2014, Wing, Illinois Wolves)

Keita was probably the only player in attendance who is a “lock” for a Michigan offer on June 15th. He didn’t appear to be in his element during the 5-on-5 scrimmages but his skillset was more than evident in the drill portion of camp. Everything he was asked to do he did easily. His concentration and coordination was on display and it separated him from his peers. During the 5-on-5 scrimmages Keita didn’t exactly stand out but did what his team needed from him in this guard-filled camp: he rebounded the ball well, finished in the post, and played smart defense. Bates-Diop’s performance jives with what we’ve seen this spring: he has all of the tools but needs to become one or two notches more aggressive within a game setting. Still, he was solid and definitely the best player in attendance.

Sean O’Mara (2014, C, IBA Select)

Sean O’Mara has been getting plenty of attention from Michigan and the rest of the Big Ten recently. At camp, it was clear why. Though he can be a bit plodding, O’Mara has a polished post game that you don’t often see with big men his age. He has a legitimate go-to drop-step that can get him a look at the basket from the block nearly every time he gets the ball. His footwork can improve, but it’s already advanced. He has a consistent hook shot, as well, and is able to finish in traffic. He can improve his rebounding and has a hard time staying with quicker big men. He has a knack for finding open 3-point shooters from the post. His midrange jumpshot is good but not great, and if you take him off the block he’s much less effective. But with his size and post-up ability, he can be a very good big man prospect. Good enough for a Wolverine offer? That’s up for debate.

Peyton Allen (2014, G, Illinois Wolves)

Peyton Allen has the reputation for being a shooter but at camp he showed he is much more than that. He’s a big, strong guard who can finish at the rim and he plays a physical brand of defense that stymied many of his opponents at camp. He plays with a ton of energy on both ends of the court and loves to push the ball. He has a very high release point on his shot that makes it really tough to affect defensively, and he gets it off relatively quickly. He used his lethal jumpshot to free up lanes to the basket and from there could either take it to the rim or dish to the open man. Allen can do a little bit of everything, and as he gets quicker he is sure to become a great prospect.
Vitto Brown (2013, F, Spiece Indy Heat)
Brown was one of the few 2013 players at camp, and even though Michigan looks to be about finished with their 2013 class he showed why he still believes he’s deserving of a scholarship. Brown was very impressive under the basket and looked to have a decent midrange jumper. He hit a 3-pointer and was relentless on the offensive boards, getting numerous putbacks thanks to his ability to get strong position in the post. He was very active inside on defense and racked up quite a few blocks. He had a monster slam on the baseline, showing off his obvious athleticism.

Darreon Reddick (2014, G, SW Illinois Jets)

Reddick is a solid guard prospect out of Illinois who is getting attention from across the country. He was able to show off his diverse skill set during drills, including his smooth shooting stroke and good ballhandling. He had trouble establishing himself during the scrimmages, but showed off his quickness driving to the basket as well his ability to pass. When he gets into the paint, Reddick knows what to do with the ball, but he can sometimes go up out of control. Reddick wasn’t hitting his shot from outside during 5-on-5’s but had solid form, it just wasn’t falling. It wasn’t Reddick’s best camp, but his talent certainly showed.

Darius Austin (2014, Wing, SW Illinois Jets)

Like his Southwest Illinois Jets teammate Darreon Reddick, Austin didn’t have a terrific camp but showed that he belongs in the category of elite recruits in the 2014 class. Austin is an exceptional inside defender with active hands and a strong post presence. He is trying to move his game out toward the wing, and struggled a bit with his ballhandling. There were times when Austin was forcing the issue in the post, but he had some flashes on great play, nailing some well-guarded fadeaway midrange shots. If Austin can learn how to go to the basket with more control, he can be a much more consistent force.

Grant Evans (2014, G, Fieldhouse Elite)

Evans, like Peyton Allen, is known as a shooter. Also like Peyton Allen, he showed his game was far more diverse than simply good shooting. Evans had a very impressive camp, despite not shooting particularly well. The lefty made his impact felt in other areas of the game, most surprisingly in rebounding. Evans had a nose for the ball in every game he played, and each time he grabbed a defensive rebound, he was able to start the fast break and get easy buckets either for himself or for teammates. He was great at moving without the ball and made several great basket cuts that resulted in points. He was a player who brought a lot to the table and took nothing off. Overall, Evans is a smart, aware player who has all the tools to become a really impressive prospect.

Aaron Brennan (2014, F, Fieldhouse Elite)

Brennan is a versatile player with a jumper that’s a bit unorthodox but still manages to find the net most of the time. He releases it on the left side of his head despite being right-handed, and he often fades away with it. Brennan was very active in the post but needs to work on his finishing ability. To his credit, more than once he followed his own shot and completed the play. On defense, he was quick off his feet and had a few nice blocks. Brennan is a big body and likes to take it to the rack. He had a few nice fadeaway midrange shots, one in O’Mara’s grill late in the scrimmage portion of camp. He was able to show off his versatility throughout camp. If he works on finishing consistently at the rim, he can become a dangerous player.

Javon Bess (2014, Wing, King James)

Javon Bess had a solid camp and is an attacking player that can do a little bit of everything. His athleticism and size make his ceiling hard to guess. He’s an excellent distributor, especially on the fast break but his jumpshot is inconsistent. To his credit, he went through stretches during 5-on-5’s when he hit a few 3-pointers in a row. His tenacity on the offensive glass is excellent — not many players his age follow their own shots, but he does it nearly every time. Overall, Bess is one to keep an eye on. He’s skilled in many areas of the game, and if he gets a more consistent jumpshot and puts on some weight, he’ll be tough to stop.

Jamal Poplar (2014, Wing, Michigan Mustangs)

Poplar is an extremely thin wing prospect who can handle the ball as well as finish inside. He didn’t have a great camp, but he was able to show off some prodigious body control in taking the ball to the rim. His jumper wasn’t falling, and it looked like it needs some work. Poplar has some tools but also a ways to go.

  • Rob

    Personally, I think OMara gets offered. Our list of potential 2014 bigs is awfully short. Wideman might be a little more versatile and athletic but I think Beilein really doesn’t want to play any more 6’7″ centers like Jordan Morgan. This guy is going to get really big and sounds like a true post player who knows the fundamentals. That sounds like a Beilein big man to me. Lock him up now and then we can concentrate on Bates-Diop, Booker and whoever else they want for the perimeter spots.

    • A2JD

      I don’t think we have to offer a guy of his talent level this early. There might be other (better) bigs that come on our radar. I’d rather see if we can get K B-D on board first. Then Booker. Then see if that turns the head of a 4 or 5 star big. Talent attracts talent.

  • Billiam

    Thoughts from a crazy:

    Reddick: when a guy has trouble going up under control it’s usually a footwork failure on the last step. While the peeps I know couldn’t figure it out (so, bias) it’s a relavitely simple thing to fix. Belein might like him.

    Austin: Thank God the kid attacks the basket! If you wanna get good, you need to work on yourself. (Sad implications, I know) Still, when a younger kid works to achieve his goals, it’s wonderful to see. Too many kids defer (GRIII) and that’s a hinderence to their development. Good to see the kid trying to improve, although I personally don’t think he’ll come here.

    Only once have I seen a person shoot opposite (right when left-handed, VV.) Worked well with the kid I knew, but still wierd as heck. Yet, wierd means “confusing” (proof:baseball)
    …Will confuse the crap out of the guy who guards him his first game, but after that he’ll find a person in his face more-so than in HS. IE, people in high school didn’t know how to affect his shot until a few shots into the game — they didn’t watch tape– but people in college will affect his shot a lot more from the begininning due to watching tape. –>still, how does a defender put their right hand up when the dribbler might go past his left (try it, it’s really hard…you gotta drop the left foot, but if you drop it you can’t put your hand up properly on your right side)

    Anyways, too much analysis. Suffice it so say these kids will do well.

  • Steve2081

    Scout has Michigan’s 2013 class ranked 6th right now. Not bad but we’d be even higher if they had Irvin rated anywhere near where he should.

  • SamGoBlue

    A couple quick observations, as Michigan asked visitors to keep stuff mainly quiet:

    1. Bates-Diop was likely the best player at the camp, looking very good in some drills (and not so good in others), but is more of a physical specimen than a finished product at this point. He has incredibly long arms and good rebounding ability to go with above-average athleticism, making him an incredibly prospect, but he was extremely passive in the scrimmage portion and really struggled with his shot all day.

    2. The MVP of the camp was without a doubt Vitto Brown. I know it’s unlikely that he will get an offer from us, but if Cameron doesn’t end up coming I really think we will give him a serious look. He dominated just about every game during 5-on-5 play and clearly has a college-ready body. He’s a legit 6-8 with incredible strength and athleticism to go with a tenacity around the hoop not seen in many players his age. Whlie he didn’t wander outside of 12 feet often, he showed a pretty good mid-range shot and really knew how to work his way in the post. He also blocked a number of shots as Joe pointed out, but I think I was most impressed by his attitude. I never heard him swear after an unfinished play like many of his fellow campers and he was constantly encouraging his teammates and asking his coach questions. He will be a great teammate and a productive player at the next level.

    3. Peyton Allen unfortunately didn’t take a whole lot of shots from downtown but did showcase a pretty good driving game. He also struggled through a lot of the ball-handling drills, as many of the kids did. He is probably about 6’4 and still a step slow right now but should be an intriguing prospect down the line.

    All in all, I think Bates-Diop is the only one from camp that will get an offer June 15. I still think O’Mara is too slow and unathletic to get an offer yet, but he could work his way into one down the line while we continue to weigh our big men options in the class. Allen needs to continue to work hard on his game, but he will be a prospect we certainly keep an eye on. Other than these few players, however, I couldn’t identify many of the other prospects, partially because I have never seen their faces before and partially because no one really stood out or “wowed” me. It was a pretty weak camp overall, as most of our top prospects were at other events, but it was enjoyable to watch a number of young players work hard all day on their games to get to that next step. Best of luck to all of them.