Indianapolis, Ind.- The annual July viewing period for coaches got off to a fast start on Tuesday. In Indianapolis, Adidas Invitational drew a heavy contingent of coaches and there was no shortage of guys for them to see. On a day where several big name guys -- particularly from the class of 2012 -- made big name noise, it might have been Indiana Elite's Cody Zeller who did the most damage.
Zeller has big day
Cody Zeller has been playing in the spotlight for a while now. The more the near seven foot big man plays in it, though, the better he gets. Coming off of a very nice outing at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, Zeller took his game up a notch on Tuesday during a pair of pool play wins over Dream Vision and the Dallas Mustangs on the first day of the Adidas Invitational.
There's never been any question about his overall skill and his ability to put the ball in the hoop. However, he's also been looked at as more of a finesse player and there have been questions about whether or not he's comfortable getting in the lane and grinding it out like a traditional big man.
Clearly, his skill and ability to stretch defenses to near the three point stripe remains his strength. But, he proved on Tuesday that he will get into the lane and bang some. He attacked the rim for some dunks, rebounded well on both ends and ran the floor. Body-wise, he's been adding muscle pretty quickly and he's a bit more explosive off the floor than given credit for. Zeller made a jump in the most recent rankings and he looks to be well on his way to another one.
More day one standouts
Shabazz Muhammad, SG, Dream Vision- His team suffered a couple of tough set-backs, but the 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman was spectacular. He swished home spot-up jumpers to beyond the three point line with ease. He exploded to the rim for dunks and played his usual tough all-around game. Drew head coaches from places like North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, UCLA and others each time he took the floor.
Gabe York, SG, Compton Magic- When the class of 2012 rankings get tinkered with after the summer's end, expect the 6-foot-2 product of Orange (Calif.) Lutheran to make an appearance. A sweet shooting wing who can create space for his offense via the dribble, he's got some rise near the rim and will gladly put dunks on defenders heads. Despite missing several key players to camp, he kept the Magic rolling and the crew from Cali hasn't lost a game since early April.
Damien Wilson, SF, Atlanta Celtics 16's- A long and wiry lefty, Wilson had it cooking on Tuesday. He splashed home jumpers from deep, got to the rim and used his athleticism to finish amongst the trees and generally made things happen. He's still a bit rough around the edges, but the upside is pretty strong.
Torian Graham, SG, DC Assault- One of the more pleasant surprises of the day, the Durham native got busy playing up on the 17U level. Nearly freakish with his bounce around the rim, he threw down what was easily the day's best jam when he posterized 2011 bad-man Chane Behanan at the rim while earning a foul. His jumper has a big kink in it, but he's pretty accurate with it when he can shoot in rhythm.
Kevin Ferrell, PG, Indiana Elite/Team Indiana- Before it's all said and done, Ferrell has a chance to factor heavily in the discussion of top point guards in the class of 2012. Playing in his home town, he didn't have a good effort during the first game of the day. Against the Dallas Mustangs, though, he came alive hitting tough shots and making things happen for teammates off of the dribble. He's got to be more judicious with his decision making, though.
Ismaila Dauda, C, Florida Rams Blue- An early pledge to Miami from the class of 2012, he's a guy that has a chance to be in the mix for rankings. A big kid who plays a little more of a below the rim style game, he's got good touch on jump hooks, short turnarounds and short jumpers off the glass. Plays physically, rebounds his area and doesn't complain when the ball doesn't come his way.
Wannah Bail, SF/PF, Franchize All-Stars- A long combo forward, it could be argued that he's a natural four with the ability to make the jump to the wing. He's a competitor, scores off sweeping drives and had the jumper falling on Tuesday. The versatility is intriguing and he listed the likes of Kansas, Baylor, Texas, Arizona State, Houston, Arkansas and Indiana.
Hanner Perea, PF, Indiana Elite/Team Indiana 16's- Nobody, and we mean nobody, in high school basketball dunks the ball with more ferocity or bad intentions than the 6-foot-8 insider from Charlotte (N.C.) United Faith. He showed off his rim chin-up skills against the Atlanta Celtics and is one tough kid. Now, exactly how skilled he is we don't yet know. But, it was nice to see him make a few drives to the hoop from the perimeter. Hopefully the ankle injury he suffered isn't that serious.
Alex Murphy, SF, New England Playaz- As we mentioned in the opening, it was the day of the 2012 kids and Murphy was right there near the top. He's got terrific size for the wing, shoots with range, has some athleticism around the rim and plays with a little bit of an edge. Duke is the presumed leader, but he swears that he's open and all the big boys would love to be involved.
Kevin Bailey, SF/SG, Pump 'N Run Elite- Totally off of the radar outside of the West coast, the 6-foot-5 wing from Fresno (Calif.) Clovis East was impressive on Tuesday. An excellent ball handler with a quick first step, he's a mid-range and at the rim specialist. On deep jumpers, he gets excellent lift and bangs home enough shots to keep defenses honest. Very young for the class of 2011, he's a confident kid who is going to see a lot of schools throwing their names into the mix with Colorado (offer), Stanford, Arizona State, Harvard and Colgate.
Final Tuesday notes
We're hopeful that we will be able to get a better look at 43 Hoops Ross Travis. A 6-foot-7 class of 2011 forward from Chaska (Minn.) High is a tough customer who works hard in the lane. A fine athlete, he looks to have some face-up game and touch on jumpers as well. After spending the spring with Team Texas, Jordan Williams showed up in Indianapolis with the Dallas Mustangs and had his moments. A long 6-foot-5 perimeter athlete, he can put up points in a hurry. Nathanial Britt has a big reputation in his native Washington D.C. and he looked pretty good while we watched him with the DC Assault 15's. The southpaw is certainly a guy we'll see more of down the road. Recent Rutgers commitment Jordan Goodman is a tough guy to get a read on. At 6-foot-8, he's a face-up four man who can shoot the ball with some range and has a natural feel for scoring the ball. At the same time, he seems to be in slow motion much of the time. Talent is clearly there and we wonder what would happen if he maximized his effort. Playing up with the Dream Vision 17's, 2013 prospect Tyree Robinson from San Diego (Calif.) Lincoln took some lumps. That happens with young guys. What was impressive about Robinson is that he bounced back and gave some guys lumps of their own. The 6-foot-3 shooting guard is easy to identify as a high level prospect. When he's got it cooking, few players in te country can put up points at the clip Texan D'Angelo Harrison can. The 6-foot-3 shooter got hot during the morning game putting up 25 in the second half. On the school front, Harrison is refusing to list schools and says that he will re-address his recruitment after July.
Only a member of the class of 2014, 6-foot-5 power forward Mavin Saunders of the Franchize All-Stars is one hard playing kid. Give Tymond Howard credit for knowing where his bread is buttered. The tough and athletic 2012 wing is a scorer who doesn't waste much movement and can wear out opponents from between 12 and 17 feet. Over and over and over again, he spotted or pulled up from that range to swish jumpers. He's a tough kid overall. Now playing with the Nashville Celtics, 6-foot-6 2011 wing Devin Langford got it going on Tuesday afternoon. He hit a bunch of threes, got on the glass a bit and made some plays for others. Alabama and Auburn both tailed him during the day. Kansas is making a major push for 2012 big man Kaleb Tarczewski of the New England Playaz.. Bill Self was joined by assistants Danny Manning and Joe Dooley each time the seven footer took the floor. Duke, North Carolina and many others were taking looks as well New Heights is a team built with several tough kids who can make some plays off the dribble. Burly 6-foot-5 southpaw wing Jermaine Sanders was a standout for them from the perimeter while 6-foot-8 prep school forward A.J. West made things happen on the interior. Detroit commitment Alvin Boutte and combo forward Jordan Manuel were huge for the Ohio Basketball Club during a huge comeback win over the DC Assault. With Chane Behanan fouled out, the tiny Boutte and 6-foot-7 Manuel made lots of plays. Whether it was Boutte's fearless drives to the rim or Manuel knocking down a deep jumper, they got it going and their team fed off them to get the win.