The morning session just ended here in Akron, OH. Today I was able to get my first look at 2012’s Perry Ellis and was also able to talk to Roscoe Smith, Tobias Harris and Johnny O’Bryant. Perry hasn’t done media interviews yet, but fret not UK fans, I WILL track him down. Here’s my reports from the morning sessions:
Kyrie Irving– Irving was impressive on the defensive end. He is pesky and slides his feet quickly to stay in front of his man. Due to the weird angle of the bleachers, I wasn’t able to see his offensive side of the court, but Brett Blevins of HoopsReport.com said that he was able to use his height advantage effectively against 5’9″ Andre Stringer and turn it into a couple nice finishes at the rim and a couple good looking jumpers. He also pushed the tempo well.
Michael Gilchrist– What else can you really say about him? He is built so well and has all the tools to be great. Although his jump shot may not be the prettiest, he is still able to knock it down consistently.
Perry Ellis– Ellis didn’t get to show off too much yet but on one drive from the perimeter he was used long strides to work his way past his defender and finish at the rim with a reverse lay in. The body that he has for his age is everything you could want and Ellis has no problems getting physical with some of his older defenders at camp.
Tobias Harris– Harris showed off a quick first step but he is working out with the big men at camp and that is not really working to his advantage. The one time he used that step to get past Johnny O’Bryant, O’Bryant used his height and reach to block the shot from behind. He’ll either need to transition to more of a wing game or grow a couple more inches in order to compete at a high collegiate level as a big man.
Johnny O’Bryant (pictured above)- O’Bryant played good post and perimeter defense and really showed off his high motor on that end of the court. As I said before, when he does get beat, his reach and quick hands can be used to make up for it. Not much yet on the offensive end, but he did show good form on a 15 footer that rimmed out. He is also pretty quick from end to end, which would translate well into the DDM.
Johnny O’Bryant– O’Bryant is a little unsure about when he’ll make his decision, most likely spring, but he is sure about who his top schools are right now. In no particular order, he gave me Memphis (first and enthusiastically), followed by Kentucky, Oklahoma, and both the Mississippi schools (assuming Mississippi State and Ole Miss here). He holds offers from all of the big schools including Kentucky. He plans on making his way to Lexington for a visit at some point in July, whenever he can cram it into his busy AAU schedule.
Tobias Harris– Harris is being recruited by a lot of schools at this point. When asked about how he keeps up with them all, Harris revealed his secret, “This is how I do it, four from the Big East [Notre Dame, Syracuse, Louisville, UConn], two from the ACC [Georgia Tech Maryland],” and then he threw out, very rapidly, “Tennessee Oklahoma, Kentucky, Memphis, USC, the new staff.” He told me that UK is just now getting involved, as is Memphis, so where they stand as far as offers go, is still a mystery. Harris knows that they plan on getting a better look at him, possible a first look for UK coaches he said, and the offers will probably come afterwards. He doesn’t have any planned visits for the summer but Oklahoma, Memphis and Kentucky are the only campuses that he has yet to see. Kentucky is trying to getting him in for a visit, Memphis is definitely going to get one, and the new staff at USC is trying to get him back down there for another look. At the end of the summer, he plans on sitting down and cutting the list to five so that he can make his official visits and a final decision.
Roscoe Smith– Roscoe is still getting used to the idea of his new basketball home, Oak Hill Academy. He said he is excited to focus completely on basketball and get himself ready for the next level. He has spoken with Doron Lamb, his new Oak Hill teammate, and the two seem to be getting along nicely. Could that eventually help UK’s chances with Roscoe? We’ll see. Roscoe has yet to cut his list of schools down and still seems either completely open or playing his cards extremely close to the vest. He did mention that his mother would have a big impact on his eventual decision but she doesn’t have any favorites at the moment either and will allow Roscoe to make the best decision for him. His plan is to cut his list to five at the end of the summer and take all official visits before his eventual decision.
Expect more later from the evening session. I’ll try my best to track down the elusive Perry Ellis. Doron Lamb, Marquis Teague and Mike Shaw are some of the other kids that I’d like to get the chance to shoot the breeze with.