Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Deron Williams Shootout Report

The Mixed Bag
by Nate K

The first game of the day attended by the Free Keon staff was Mt. Carmel vs. Peoria Central.  It was a guard-oriented game featuring D-1 prospects Bobo Drummond of Peoria, and future Illini Tracy Abrams of Mt. Carmel. 

Both guards played reasonably well, but made crucial turnovers down the stretch in a 68-62 OT win for Mt. Carmel.
Abrams displayed the ability to score, driving the lane and finishing, as well as hitting the outside shot resulting in 17 points.  He didn't have any assists, but there were several other factors.  First of all, Abrams has a sprained ankle, and was playing at "70 percent".  Secondly, Mt. Carmel's offense consisted mostly of one-on-one play, and dribble drives to the basket accounted for most of the scoring for Mt. Carmel.
Abrams, only a junior, has a lot of upside and he has time to continue to improve and get healthy.
One of the highlights of the game for the FK staff was watching former Fieldcrest basketball star Jarrod Cook (not an Illini recruit) lose a halftime shooting competition to an eight-year old.

The next game of the day was Robinson vs. Rock Island.  The game pitted future Illini Meyers Leonard against Illini recruit Chasson Randle.  The 6-2 Randle dominated the match-up as Rock Island won 58-52 over the 7-foot Leonard.
Randle scored 28 points and scored inside, slicing through Robinson's 2-3 zone, taking the ball directly at Leonard several times, and scored from the outside as well. 
Here is a video with highlights from the game, Randle is #5 and Leonard is the one that towers over everyone else. 
There were aspects of Leonard's game that were exciting as well. 
If you are excited by 7-footers that shoots fadeaway jumpers against 6-3 opponents, and can't rebound (remind you of any other 7 footer?).  Leonard only had three rebounds in the entire game, but the most disturbing part of his game was his "defense".
As I said, Robinson spent the entire game in a 2-3 zone with Leonard sitting directly in front of the basket.  Leonard mangaged to get 3 blocks but spent most of the game not moving his feet and with his hands at his sides.  Seriously, I have never seen anyone play a zone with so little movement and without putting their hands up.  Also, I would have thought that it was physically impossible to never leave the paint and be 7-feet tall, and only get 3 rebounds. 
Before I get too negative about my boy Meyers, I should mention that he has the remarkable ability to fall down a lot.  In the second half he spent more time on the floor than Wayne McClain during a Tyler Perry marathon.  It wasn't really a hustling thing, it was more of a constantly falling after attempting to tip-dunk or catch a pass type thing.
Of course this was only one game, and it's the only game that I've ever seen Meyers play.  And maybe there were excuses like Meyers has mono.  Or Meyers just had to shoot his beloved dog after it came down with rabies from fighting off a wolf to save his life, and Meyers is emotionally devestated.  Either way, the one game sample size isn't great and I am going to make my assumptions off of it.
All that said, Meyers does have the size and the skills to be a good offensive player, and I'm sure that Bruce will cure him of his defensive woes and make him tougher.  But right now he's a pretty frusterating player to watch.
In positive news, it seems like Randle might commit to Illinois, after the game he said things like ""I love playing here. I think I had like 22 last year and 28 this year and I guess I'm shooting pretty well, so it's looking good for the Illini."
It would be a catch for the Illini if Randle commits, and give the assist to the Deron Williams Shootout.

Current hometown faithful vs. future hometown faithful
by Petey

Waukegan forward Jereme Richmond rounded off the list of realistic Illini recruits/signees who failed to live up to expectations during the Deron Williams Shootout Saturday night.

Despite looking good on paper—scoring 21 points and pulling down 11 rebounds—Richmond did not impress the leery Free Keon staff on the court in his team’s underwhelming 71-55 loss to the top-ranked Centennial Chargers. His shot selection was sketchy, he seemed to lack the ability to get into the lane, and other than a couple of nice blocks he didn’t turn any heads with his defense.

However, in his defense, Richmond’s teammates did not exactly look like the supporting cast of the ’96 Bulls, and I believe those players are more important to how a star looks than most people give credit. Also, I trust that his tall, athletic frame and impressive outside shooting ability will be enough to grow him into a really solid player under Bruce Weber, if he is willing to work. And even though his attitude has been called into question in the past, Richmond’s demeanor and will to win looked a lot better than his 2010 recruiting classmate Meyers “Mehmet Okur is my hero” Leonard.

On a happier note, Rayvonte Rice looked like the guy I wished we had, as he dropped 32 points and did not look like a player satisfied with one state title under his belt. Unfortunately, Rice is a 6-3 power forward, whose game is not really compatible with guard play in upper-echelon division one basketball. However, I do think his knack for the game and tenacity will allow him to be a solid contributor for the Drake Bulldogs in the Missouri Valley Conference. Also, at least one Tiger had a good week, as Centennial’s O’Neil chipped in 13 points in the victory as well.

Next year: Free Keon media passes or bust. That way Nate will have to man up and look Paul Klee in the eyes when he mocks “Texting with Klee”.

Brehm Prep vs. “Quality” Education Academy

by Joshua D. B.

Though by 9:00 pm the atmosphere at the Assembly Hall slowly declined to mimic that uncomfortable void between a women’s basketball event and a 3rd grade Y-ball game, the talent level may have been the highest present on the court all day.

Brehm Prep star, and potential Illini recruit, James Siakam was not available due to a dreadfully timed face injury sustained the day before. Yet, the game did not suffer too much from his absence as teammate Bruce Barron “THE BARRON!” went for 24 points in a losing effort. Other players may have entered the match-up with much more hype than The Barron, but none, save Quincy Miller and Starrgel Love, could come close to his performance.

Miller did, however, provide many more fireworks than The Barron as he converted numerous high-flying alley-oops and transition dunks on his way to 12 points and 11 rebounds. Miller, who is on Illinois’s and every other colleges’ wish list, was pulled in the 4th quarter for undisclosed reasons (at least undisclosed to me). The rest of the vaunted players on “Quality” Ed.’s roster, however, were able to outlast the pesky Barron-led Brehm Prep, and eventually won the game 76 to 74.

What I really took away from this game was:

1.) Partial Deafness in my right ear from the Brehm Prep fandom sitting adjacent to the Freekeon Staff. Who would have thought that a group of roughly 4 could be so annoying (hence the opening reference to the Y-ball games of my youth).

2.) Baylor University is lucky to be getting Starrgel Love. Beyond having a great name, the 6’2 PG competes at a high level which was shown by the 12 points and 7 assists he dropped on Brehm Prep.

3.) Whichever collegiate outfit sneaks in and gets Bruce Barron to sign on the dotted line will be receiving a PG who can score at will and continually provide pleasant surprises. A mid-major program (especially from the MVC) may be able to get an early commitment as Barron is currently flying under the radar and is only given a 1 star rating by

4.) I understand that Quincy Miller is great, but I’ll pass. Do I mind one-and-done type of players? No. Do I mind out-of-state players (even if they grew up in the state)? No. But I’m not overly keen on having a one-and-done player come from out-of-state to take time away from other highly touted recruits who I personally feel more connected to. That being said, if Mr. Miller decides to suit up in the Orange and Blue, I won’t be complaining.

5.) I’m starting to really dislike Paul Klee. It’s bad enough that he’s had multiple failed marketing-esque campaigns that rival something a sixth grader would come up with for a class project, but to show up midway through a very competitive high school game in your own backyard is just unacceptable. Show up on time, put the laptop away for a second and actually watch the game. God forbid you have to type some of your story at home!

1 comment:

  1. More of a thrill: Getting a nail stuck in your foot or Texting with Klee?


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