Friday, April 24, 2009

2011 Rankings

The NFL draft is tomorrow and Mel Kiper being on TV all the time has made me come up with some rankings for the class of 2011 in Indiana. I have seen all the players on the list multiple times if a name is not on the list like Branden Dawson it is because I have not seen him in person. I'm going to do the rankings based off of skills now and college potential. Some players are ranked above their current skills because of their ceiling.

2011 Overall

1. Marquis Teague
2. Michael Chandler
3. Cody Zeller
4. Zac VanDeWater
5. Mitch McGary
6. Justin Gant
7. Jeremiah Davis
8. Ryan Taylor
9. Austin Etherington
10. Tony Springmann

Point Guards

1. Marquis Teague
2. Jeremiah Davis
3. Nic Moore
4. Jalen Packer
5. Jordan Hahn
6. Dee Davis
7. Torrey Nibbs
8. P.J. Boutee
9. Christian Ford
10. Johnny Marlin

Shooting Guards

1. Zac VanDeWater
2. Spencer Turner
3. Kendal Griffin
4. Kenny Enoch
5. Spencer Comer
6. Evan Blackmon
7. Colin Lynch
8. Jackson Renshaw
9. Tyler Hall
10. Trent Lancaster

Small Forwards

1. Ryan Taylor
2. Austin Etherington
3. Rontray Chavis
4. Stevie Jamison
5. Chandler Thomas
6. Brian Stolarz
7. Jon Trawick
8. Trevor Arnett
9. Dwight Cliff
10. Evan Dodd

Power Forwards

1. Mitch McGary
2. Justin Gant
3. Alex Prichett
4. Tyler Greathouse
5. Kevin Fisher
6. Colin Bowles
7. Matt Howard
8. Tim Simmons


1. Michael Chandler
2. Cody Zeller
3. Tony Springmann
4. Isiah Hill
5. Wade Thomas
6. Andrew Rice

I will be at the Top 100 Work Out this weekend at Ben Davis so these might change by Sunday but it is a decent list of players for 2011.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Are You Improving?

"You are either getting better or you are getting worse there is no such thing as staying the same." I heard this quote a few years ago and I have believed in it ever since. I think it can be applied to any part of life but I think it is especially in true. Players are either working on their game and improving or they are going through the motions and getting worse. It might be a tiny, immeasurable amount that you do not even notice but it is happening.

Think of an individual work out for a basketball player. If that player is focused and doing all the drills with great intensity then that player is going improving his game. If a player is unfocused and going half speed through the drills then that player is probably hurting himself. That is why individual work outs should not be measured in time spent in the gym. It should be measured on what was accomplished and worked out with the most effort. A lot of players are willing to spend a lot of time on their games but few go about it in a good way. Intensity and a mindset to make themselves better is the key to a good work out.

Don't just put time in...put effort and work in then improvement will come. It seems elementary to say, but it is easy to lose focus on what is necessary.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Extra Thoughts Pitt

I had a few more thoughts from Pittsburgh that I forgot to include in the other posts. They come from the 2012 Spiece Indy Stars team.

Brent Calhoun 6'7 Warren Central-Still raw and growing but showes flashes with a soft jump hook. He blocks a lot of shots and controls the boards for the Indy Stars. He should develop into a star for Warren Central. Very high ceiling and I believe he takes coaching well.

Jeremy Hollowell 6'6 Lawrence Central- He was a lot better this weekend than when I saw him last in sectional play. He shot the ball well and handled the ball a lot better than he did when I saw him in March. That bodes well for his development.

Austin Burgett 6'8 Avon- If you have seen Justin Gant play think of the same type of player but I believe Burgett is more skilled on the perimeter at the same stage than Gant. Burgett is confident putting the ball on the floor and taking someone off the dribble and showed a good outside stroke. Very hight ceiling.

More From Pitt

More thoughts on some players I watched this weekend in the Pittsburgh Jam Fest on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh.

Donnie Hale Spiece Indy Heat (2010)- Highly-rated player early in his high school career. Athletic post at a legit 6'7. I believe he is listed taller. I do not believe he is taller than 6'8. If he had more of a right hand I think he could be a high major. Could be a star at the mid-major level.

Neal Beshears Indiana Select 2010- The junior all-star had a pretty good weekend offensively. Good first step and rebounds well for a small forward/wing type of player. I would like him to be better defensively, but I think it is more technique and mindset than lack of ability to play defense.

Patrick Cutter Indiana Select 2010- Patrick is a big potential player. A legit 6'6 SF that is still very raw. Still might grow and showed some flashes of what could be ahead of him if he works very hard this summer.

Michael Chandler Spiece Indy Fast Break (2011)- The Louisville commit played pretty well against some tough competition Sunday. Still pretty raw, but a 7 footer that works hard and is relatively athletic is tough to find.

Ryan Taylor Spiece Indy Fast Break (2011)- Fast Break utilized Taylor in a strange way by using him to set high ball screens well the guards weaved off him so he was never rolling or popping out for a shot. Strange to use one of the top players in the nation as a screener and a screener only.

P.J. Boutte Spiece Indy Fast Break (2011)- I have always thought of Boutte as being overrated and I still believe that. I would like to say that you can still be a very good player and be overrated. He is not a top 20 point guard in the nation, but he is good. He makes some questionable plays sometimes and most coaches do not like that coming from an undersized guard.

No Indiana Elite teams were in Pittsburgh. Eric Gordon All-Stars were but I would like to see them again to make sure I have the names and faces matched correctly before I say something about them. So I am not just being ridiculously biased to Spiece teams. :)

2009 Indiana All-Star Team

I wanted to post the 2009 Indiana All-Star team since I posted the Junior teams. Most be a senior to be eligible but that is the only requirement.

Player High school Ht. College
Patrick Bade Franklin Central 6-8 Purdue
Kendal Brown Evansville Harrison 5-9 Southern Illinois
D.J. Byrd North Montgomery 6-5 Purdue
Derek Elston Tipton 6-9 Indiana
Bruce Grimm Jr. Rochester 6-0 East Tennessee
Jordan Hulls Bloomington South 6-0 Indiana
Justin Jordan Fort Wayne North 5-11 undecided
Matt Kenney Mooresville 6-3 Valparaiso
Jake Odum Terre Haute South 6-2 Indiana State
Errick Peck Cathedral 6-6 Cornell
Colt Ryan Batesville 6-5 Evansville
Stephan Van Treese Lawrence North 6-9 Louisville
Scott Wood Marion 6-6 North Carolina St.

Jordan Hulls was named Mr. Basketball. He led Bloomington South to an undefeated state championship.

Justin Jordan is the only uncommitted player on the roster. Many schools have questioned if he is big enough to play on the high levels.

Matt Kenney is a steal for Valpo and I expect him to do really well for them. He is a high major talent.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pitt Jamfest

Just got back from Pittsburgh a few moments ago. It was a pretty easy and fairly quick drive from Indianapolis. Pitt is a confusing place though I will say that. I liked their campus though. Here are some player reports.

Kyrie Irving NJ Road Runners- I heard he was good and that I needed to watch him...something I hear kind of often and rarely does the player live up to the hype. Kyree did and was even better. Lightning quick, great handles, range to 25 feet or farther, great hops. Truly impressive to watch. If he isn't an all-american I don't know who is.

Justin Coleman Petersburg Elite (VA)- Diamond in the rough here. 6'6" SF that is athletic as you can get. Finished really well in traffic against much larger players. He isn't on the scene right now, but I expect that to change very quickly.

Jack Isenbarger Spiece Indy Heat- He has been pegged as a shooting guard, but he played mostly point this weekend and played it well and defended it well against tough competition. He is a steal for mid-majors. A quick, solid point guard with size and he can shoot...sounds decent to me.

Travis Carroll Spiece Indy Heat- Purdue might have the next Tim Duncan. Just kidding Boilermakers. He is very fundamental though and it will be interesting how he develops. Purdue liked that he was a true post when they offered him so I'm not sure they want him to become much of a face-up threat other than the occasional jumper.

Ron Patterson Spiece Indy Stars- Scary describes it pretty well. Great athlete that is developing great range. Tough to compete with him.

Kellon Thomas Spiece Indy Stars- A little undersized but quick and strong. Great basketball IQ. I don't think his lack of height will hurt his recruiting.

I'll post more later just wanted to get some quick notes down.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Isiah Thomas

Is there any way that Isiah Thomas will build Florida International into a decent program? His interview after the press conference was unbelievably bad and awkward. He didn't answer any of the questions directly. It basically seemed like he was lying throughout the whole interview.

He obviously will not be getting the blue chip players to come to FIU so he is going to have to do a great job of spotting potential and recruiting the second tier players. I'm not sure how he will do that with his reputation. I would think a lot of players would stay away from the situation if they have other offers.

Another bad sign was when he was introduced as "Isiah Thompson" at his press conference. How do you mess up the name "Thomas" as if it is a difficult name? Did FIU interview him? I'll be shocked if this turns into a good situation.

Best of luck to him though!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

AAU is Back

It is that time of the year again! I'm not talking about Easter either. AAU season is the best time of the year in my opinion :). I gathered a few observations on the first weekend of action from tournament and a tournament at the Fishers Fieldhouse.

Cody Zeller has improved at an incredible pace. He will likely end up being very similar to Tyler in running the floor and shooting ability.

Marshall Plumlee plays harder than any big man I have seen in AAU as a 6'10 sophomore. That bodes well for his development as a player.

Zac VanDeWater might be the most underrated player in the class of 2011 in Indiana. Very much a high major recruit with his size, quickness, and shooting ability.

Neal Beshears is not your typical small school "all-star" because of his athletic ability. With added muscle he could be a big time player.

Vincent Zollo had to be disappointed that Billy Gillispie was let go at Kentucky because I do not see him gettng any other high major offers unless he grows into his feet. He is the same height he was listed at last summer so unless they over-hyped his height last year than he hasn't grown.

Justin Gant has become much more consistent with his jumper and it looks very good.

Jeremiah Davis has the highest percentage of unnecessary look away passes I have ever seen. He makes a no-look pass every possession for no reason. No big deal until he commits a turnover when he is looking off an invisible defender.

Austin Etherington looks healthy and poised for a big summer in terms of his recruitment. Tough to defend a 6'6 wing that can put in on the floor.

Jalen Packer got to the rim constantly but that has never been questioned. The factor that will decide how high of college ball he can play is his shooting ability.

Just a few things I saw while I caught some glances at games.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

This Just IN...

North Carolina is pretty good. Michigan State needed to play great and have UNC choke to win the game tonight. Unfortunately for MSU neither of those things happened. North Carolina's pressure bothered the Spartans early and often. UNC never let the crowd get into the game. Every coach says they want to take the crowd out of it, but it is a very difficult thing to execute. The Tar Heels executed that game plan with precision.

At least, North Carolina had a former Indiana high school player on their team in Tyler Zeller. He was not a factor in the game tonight, but he would have contributed to their success more if he had not broken his wrist early in the year. I hope he stays healthy next year and has a big year for them.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Indiana Junior All-Stars

The Indiana Junior All-Star team was named. Here is the list.

Deshaun Thomas - Ft. Wayne Luers
Terone Johnson - North Central
Xavier Jones - Gary West
Dominique Ferguson - Lawrence North
Travis Carroll - Danville
Donnie Hale - New Albany

Jesse Berry - Lafayette Jeff
Jake Kitchell - South Central
Russell Byrd - Ft. Wayne Blackhawk
Kennis White - South Bend Washington
Chris Welker - Zionsville
Michael Harris - East Chicago Central

Erik Fromm - Bloomington South
Julian Boatner - Bloomington North
Trey Hughes - Barr-Reeve
Neal Beshears - Winchester
John Michael Jarvis - Terre Haute South
Kegan Clark - Jeffersonville

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Motors make cars run and motors make teams win. A motor in terms of basketball is a player's effort and hustle. If a player has a good motor he is always fighting for rebounds, crushing the boards at every opportunity. It means he is always hustling back in transition defense and not jogging back behind the action. Teams need five players with great motors on the floor to win big games.

Ultra competitive players are basically born with a good motor in them because they don't want to lose so they naturally outwork their opponents. Sometimes players don't have a good perception of themselves and thinking they are outworking guys when they aren't even close. Tyler Hansbrough has the ultimate motor. He is the definition of a guy with a great motor. Hansbrough never gives up on a play until the whistle blows.

One thing that happens a lot in AAU is that younger players watch the older, elite players play during down time stretches. Most of the time the top 25 players in the nation do not play very hard because they can get away with it. So the younger, less talented player says to himself "well player x doesn't play hard all the time and he is going to Ohio State..." and they don't believe they have to play hard to make it to the next level. The problem is a lot of times colleges do not recruit guys because they do not play hard enough. Mediocre talent can't lack hustle and they can't be a problem off the court i.e. grades. I've talked to many college coaches who have told me they like a guy's talent, but they don't think he has the motor to play at their level. That is a shame for the player!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

McDonald's Game

The McDonald's All-American game is about to start. It is a little strange to have zero all-americans going to The Big Ten. I know the ACC and Big East are the hot conferences right now, but you would think a couple would chose the Big Ten. I think the game has dropped off a little bit recently due to a few factors. I think now it is based more off of potential and in the past decades it was based off of accomplishments first and then potential if they have some recommendations.

Another thing is there are no players from Indiana in the game this year. Mason Plumlee did make it and he technically lives in Indiana but spent his high school career at prep school in North Carolina. So, he really does not count. I think Derek Elston would have made a run at it if not for his knee injury last summer. I'm guessing the selections are based off of summer play more than high school seasons for good reason and he missed all last summer.

Next year, I would hope DeShaun Thomas and Dominique Ferguson make it from Indiana. I think both should be locks unless they get injured or do something stupid off the court. The 2010 class in Indiana is definitely better than this year's class and 2011 should potentially be better than both of them. 2012 class is also looking strong early in their high school careers. There is hope for the Big Ten and state of Indiana in the near future.