The Super Showcase has been going on all week here in Orlando and the AAU Nationals for the 17U kids began yesterday. I arrived near 2:00 pm and didn’t get a full day’s worth of work in. I did still find time to be able to catch a few games, so I thought I’d give a quick update on some of the things I’ve seen thus far:
– Tobias Harris played twice last night. First he played on a “made for tv” game (meaning that it wasn’t a part of the normal tournament schedule but was produced by the tournament directors for television purposes). That game featured Harris’ Albany City Rocks team against Michael Gilchrist and Rakeem Christmas of Team Final. Harris played extremely well in front of an ESPNU television audience, about a hundred college coaches, and tons of fans. Not getting sucked in by all the bells and whistles, I split time between that game and Cameron Clark’s Team Texas Elite game. Harris later told me that he ended up scoring about 20 points and, from what I did see, he really played with a little extra “umph.” On one particular play, he had Gilchrist guarding him on the perimeter, who he used a crossover to get around, he drove baseline and met a waiting Rakeem Christmas. Anyone that knows Christmas knows that his strength is defense and normally, a waiting Christmas would shake a player into making a mistake. Not Harris, who charged straight for Christmas and rose to the occassion, getting the hard foul and nearly getting the bucket. Although it didn’t finish in highlight fashion, it showed a lot about Harris’ attitude and abilities and the confidence he has in his game. In his next game, Harris again reach double figures, and I had a chance to talk to him afterwards about his recruitment. As far as changes, he didn’t really have much to add. Harris remains open to adding new schools into his recruitment. I noticed that Bruce Pearl and other UT coaches were following Harris from court to court, so I asked him specifically about their interest, to which he answered, “I like them as a school and they’re coming at me hard.” On Kentucky’s peaking interest, Harris said, “They’re recruitment me hard too, as far as top targets and they’re one of my top schools.” He noted that Calipari is a hard recruiter and that he had offered him a scholarship and added that he will visit Kentucky, “probably in August.” Oklahoma, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, West Viriginia, Rutgers and Maryland were the other schools that Harris felt were really putting in a lot of work and coming on pretty strong.
– 2011 SG Brad Beal spoke a bit about his recruitment. He had Duke’s entire staff watching him closely. Duke, North Carolina, Arizona and Villanova are schools that he initially listed when asked who was recruiting him. He seems to feel the same amount of interest from everyone, that being a high interest. On rumors that Florida is the clear cut leader and that he may be committing soon he said, “No not at all. I don’t even have a leader yet.” His mother takes care of most of his recruitment, with Beal explaining, “She sometimes talks to coaches more than I do.” I dug a little deeper but only found that Mom doesn’t currently have any favorites either. I talked to him about the interst that he is getting from Kentucky and he said that Coach Calipari had attended one of his games but that he hadn’t heard from them after that appearance. He believes the current situation to be a sort of “scouting period” that hasn’t yet blossomed into full fledged recruitment.
– Cameron Clark played fairly well in the brief amount of time that I had to watch him. I will speak to him more in-depth after the tournament, but as of now, Cameron is planning on taking visits to Kentucky and Arizona State in the near future, but the dates aren’t yet set. He did agree with the consensus view that UK has really turned up the interest lately.
– Adreian Payne said that he wasn’t sure yet if the list of five schools would be a list of schools that he would take official visits to. The only other option is that he commits before making all five officials. Adreian should be here all week, so I’ll try to pick his mind a bit from time to time.
– Kyrie Irving played in the morning session today in front of Coach Crean and an assistant, two coaches from Virginia, one from Seton Hall, one from Notre Dame, the entire Duke staff and UK assistant coach John Robic. He absolutely lit it up in the 3rd quarter, scoring 18 of his 21 points in that quarter alone. It may have been more if he didn’t sit for most of the 4th. With the coaches crowding around the court, I asked hm if he noticed the faces in the crowd watching his game. “I just love to put on a show, no matter who’s watching. You never know who’s watching. That’s what my dad always said.” Kyrie does put stock in which coaching staffs show up to most of his games. He said that IU, Virginia and Duke were staples at most of his performances. On whether he would visit UK, Kyrie now said that “at this point, its a possibility.” That is a little bit of a change from the firm yes that he used to give to that question. Kyrie still plans on taking all of his official visits but says that he will commit once he “gets that gut feeling.” I got the felling that Kyrie may be making a little headway into his decision and that UK may be slowly sliding out of consideration, although Robic’s presence tells me that UK is still showing at least some interest. Duke and Indiana seem to be willing to battle furiously for Kyrie’s commitment.
– Coach sightings: Kansas coach Bill Self watched Brad Beal and Doron Lamb. Orlando Antigua watched Tobias Harris, Adreian Payne and Doron Lamb. Tom Crean and Coach K watched Kyrie Irving. Jeff Capel watched Cameron Clark, Phil Pressey and Doron Lamb. John Robic has watched Kyrie Irving and Doron Lamb so far.
There will be a lot more to come throughout the day. I’ll get to watch Fab Melo, Doron Lamb, Kyrie (again), Cam Clark, Phil Pressey, Adreian Payne, Shane Larkin (Barry’s son) and Tobias Harris, among others. Make sure that you are following all the tweets for the recruiting news, updates and reports from the games.