Summer school (cont.)
Posted: Monday July 2, 2007 1:35PM; Updated: Monday July 2, 2007 5:56PM
Here are my thoughts on the remaining U.S. players:
Besides Beasley and Jones, two other rising freshmen made the team: 6-1 point guard Jonny Flynn and 6-8 forward Donte' Greene, both of whom are bound for Syracuse. Greene is going to draw a lot of comparisons to Carmelo Anthony, and while he isn't as strong or as versatile as Melo was at this stage, stylistically the comparisons are valid. Flynn, meanwhile, is quick and strong, but his best assets are intangible. He is a pure floor general who is always the most energetic and upbeat player on the floor. He may not be the Orange's starter on the first day of practice, but I predict it won't be long before Jim Boeheim hands him the reins.
Arthur looked more serious, poised and confident than at any point during his freshman season at Kansas. During 5-on-5 play, Arthur did most of his damage on the block, but he showed impressive shooting range during drills. I expect him to be an All-American next season at Kansas before becoming an NBA lottery pick.
Tajuan Porter, 5-6 guard, Oregon. As you'd expect, he shot the ball very well and poured in a team-high 20 points in the win over China. As you'd also expect, Porter's size hurt him at times, particularly in one-on-one drills. With Aaron Brooks graduated, Porter will have to spend a lot of time running the point for the Ducks next season. That will be a challenge considering he is at his best off the ball, but he is definitely a top-flight talent.
Matt Bouldin, 6-5 guard, Gonzaga. Bouldin was much bigger and stronger than I expected. (Or maybe he only seemed that way because he trimmed his bushy coiffure a bit.) He also missed a lot more shots than I expected. Hard to tell whether that was an aberration considering I only watched three practices, but if he's going to make it in the NBA, Bouldin will need to be a deadeye shooter, and I'm not sure he's that just yet.
Raymar Morgan, 6-7 forward, Michigan State. Morgan is definitely ready for a breakout season. He has really good size and agility and plays with infectious energy. He has excellent perimeter skills for a player his size, but he needs to be careful not to live and die by the jump shot. He is at his best rebounding and finishing around the basket, so for now he should be playing from the inside out.
David Lighty, 6-5 forward, Ohio State. Even though he's athletic, skilled and smooth, Lighty can go unnoticed for long stretches because he doesn't do any one thing extremely well. When the team broke into shooting drills, however, he showed a really sweet stroke. The Buckeyes lost just about everyone from last year's Final Four squad, so I expect Lighty will have a very good year if only because he'll be given so many responsibilities.
Finally, I've have to pass along a few gems from Wainwright, the most quotable coach in the game. When chastising his players for blowing a fast-break advantage with a bad shot, Wainwright bellowed, "That's like giving my ex-wife a charge card!" He speaks like that even in casual conversation. "He won't find a cure for the common cold, but he'll play his ass off," he said of one player. And of another: "He's got the attention span of a hummingbird."