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May 26, 2014
Familiar names shine at adidas Orlando
Midwest and West Coast players grabbed the spotlight on Sunday at the adidas Gauntlet Orlando Session. Several familiar names had big games and some younger players proved their value.
When the players who guarded Damontrae Jefferson of Milwaukee Running Rebels reflect on Sunday's games, they may shake their heads in disbelief. Jefferson went off for 82 points and 11 assists in three games.
The flashy playmaker is a mixtape videographer's dream. His first instinct when receiving the ball is to penetrate and get into the lane to make something happen. He is incredibly quick and effective with both hands, has the ball on a string, and despite his small stature (5-foot-8), he is a fearless attacker. Jefferson's energy is also impressive -- his motor never stops.
The No. 47 ranked player in the 2015 class is also quite talkative on court. During player free throws we noticed he'll strike up a conversation with officials, teammates or opponents. He's definitely a vocal leader for the Rebels as well.
"Point guards are the loud speaker, the general of the floor" Jefferson said. "We've got to say whatever needs to be said that ain't being said to motivate their team when their team needs to be motivated."
Jefferson game by game Sunday at adidas Gauntlet
No jet lag for Leaf
There was no jet lag issues with Compton Magic's T.J. Leaf Sunday morning. The long armed forward is an active rebounder, grabbing the ball with both hands, he has a quick second jump and boxes out well. Offensively he can put it on the deck and get to the rim from above the three-point line, he knocked down open three-pointers off the catch and has a very good motor.
"I think we're playing pretty good," Leaf said. "I think I'm starting to get the hang of playing older and playing with this new group but you can always play a little bit better and I think we're going to mold together better as a team."
At 6-foot-10, 210 pounds Leaf said schools are recruiting him as a 3/4. Watching him run the lanes, step out and shoot 15-17 foot jumpers and knock down open three-pointers (he shot 44.4 percent beyond the arc Sunday) and score inside; it's obvious why.
Leaf game by game Sunday at adidas Gauntlet
Conway showed the speed and quickness to push the ball in transition and get into the paint to create. He makes good passes and has a good enough shot to keep defenses honest. Definitely a "team" guy, at times we felt he deferred a bit too much when he could have taken his shot.
Listing offers from Rice, Indiana and Wyoming with interest from Missouri, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Pennsylvania, Saint Louis and Wake Forest, the 5-foot-10 rising junior recently took an unofficial visit to Indiana and came away impressed.
"It was great, going there and seeing Indiana basketball. The way they take basketball as a religion there is amazing. Their fans, their student body all care about Indiana University it's just a great college atmosphere, one of the best I've been to in the country."
Conway shared with us that Larry and Jeremy Shyatt at Wyoming and Tom Crean and Steve McClain at Indiana are coaches that he's built strong relationships with.
"They have been nothing but great role models, great people I can talk to about not just basketball I can talk to them about life. That's been important. They care about the student, the person versus than the athlete.'
Looking to study law, Conway is closing in on his school decision.
"Here in a couple of months I should know, the beginning of August I should know," he said.
Conway game by game Sunday at adidas Gauntlet
Meanwhile, Davis isn't moving that quickly toward a decision on his school destination.
"I've taken unofficial visits to CU, Arkansas and I just visited Indiana last weekend," the No. 23 player in the 2016 class said. "I like Indiana but no school is standing out right now."
Davis showed good ball skills in the game we watched, his mid-range shot wasn't falling but his mechanics looked very good. He can attack off the bounce and is a good passer. Whether playing a tough inside player or a perimeter big man Davis showed that he understands how to defend. At 6-foot-9 1/2, 230 pounds he can guard a center in a pinch.
Davis game by game Sunday at adidas Gauntlet
Jeter taking his time
Dream Vision center Chase Jeter is one of those players you never get tired of watching. He's always doing something to help his team win. Even when he's taking a breather on the bench we saw him discussing the game in a productive manner to a teammate that was struggling.
Jeter is comfortable in the high or low post. He establishes position and calls for the ball. He has great hands and a solid repertoire of post moves. His over the left shoulder jump hook is very reliable. We didn't see him block many shots, but he has the length to be a shot blocker and shot changer.
In mid-April, Jeter's father Chris, told Devils Illustrated that a school announcement was in the plans for May. With May almost over, we asked Jeter for an update on his announcement timetable.
"I kind of changed my mind on that," Jeter said. "I'm going to wait a little bit longer to make sure I evaluate my decision the best and make the best choice for my family and I. So at this point I don't really have a timetable. But as far as a decision goes I'm pushing it back, it might even be past July."
"I've been to most of the campuses so I don't know if I'll take any more visits. At this point it's really just about making my decision, talking about everything with my family, make sure it's the best choice and having a successful summer."
Jeter told us that he's developed great relationships with all the coaches recruiting him but a few stand out.
"Coach [Sean] Miller and Coach Book [Richardson] at Arizona. Coach K and Coach [Jeff] Capel at Duke. I had a good relationship with Coach Wojo but he left. And I have a good relationship with Coach Alford and coach [David] Grace at UCLA and UNLV of course they're in my hometown. I have a great relationship with them, they're at all my events."
Chase Jeter game by game Sunday at adidas Gauntlet
Boatwright joins Simon
A pleasant surprise on Sunday was Gamepoint forward Bennie Boatwright, who recently joined Gamepoint after playing with California Supreme earlier this spring. The move teamed him up with friend Justin Simon, who has committed to one of the schools recruiting Boatwright hard: Arizona.
The No. 39 player in the class of 2015, Boatwright believes being able to play more than one position is an important part of his game.
"I think I've been holding my own this weekend," Boatwright said. "I try to be as versatile as possible, I try to rebound, pass and sometimes score."
The 6-foot-9, 215 pounder looks very comfortable on the wing or as a power forward that can step out off the pick and pop. He can shoot it from deep or pull up in the mid-range and score consistently. Mix in a post game and Boatwright will be very difficult to guard.
Boatwright told us that California recently offered and has been recruiting him hard along with Arizona State, Connecticut and Arizona. Arizona State and Arizona have already gone in-home with Boatwright.
Bennie Boatwright game by game Sunday at adidas Gauntlet
Others to watch
Dream Vision forward Ray Smith is fun to watch. He can stroke it from anywhere on the court, when he's squared up and in rhythm his shot typically went in. Smith can also get to the basket and finish above the rim.
Dream Vision forward Solomon Young is physically strong and aggressively attempts to block shots. He has good footwork and covers a lot of ground on defense. Offensively he can score at the rim, on turnaround jump shots or on three-pointers off the catch. At 6-foot-7 he's a bit of a tweener, but his excellent motor and above average athleticism could make up for that.
Milwaukee Running Rebels wing David Burrell can knock down NBA three-point range shots off the catch. He's a good passer on the move has a good motor and some explosion. We saw great chemistry between he and Damontrae Jefferson.
Eric Gordon Central Stars (also known as EG 10 Blue) forward Elliott Welmer is a nice pick up for Saint Louis. Welmer runs the court well and doesn't mind contact. He'll dive for loose balls and catches well on the move. He also plays with enthusiasm and a great attitude.
Russ Wood is a basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com and Inside the Gators. You can click here to follow him on Twitter..
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