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EYBL Session 2 – Scouting Duke Prospects

 

Duke Recruit 6'2" Tyus Jones of Apple Valley, MN, Photo by Andrew Slater
Duke Recruit 6’2″ Tyus Jones of Apple Valley, MN, Photo by Andrew Slater

I take a look back at the Nike EYBL Session 2 and give my thoughts on prospects and how they may have improved from a season ago.  Here is my take on some of the key Duke prospects with some added tidbits –

 Justise Winslow - The thing that most impressed me about Justise Winslow was his court vision which makes him a really good passing wing. Winslow plays on a very talented team which is interchangeable at some positions. There are times when he [private] brings the ball up the court which is a testament to his getting better with his overall handle since a season ago. Winslow is a team oriented player who seems well versed in what he can and cannot get away with in that he is in touch with his capabilities. He can take his man off the dribble an moves strong to the rack when he gets his man on his hip or a screen is set. Winslow can also battle inside due to his strength. I can certainly understand why Krzyzewski and the staff prefer him over Theo Pinson. IMO, Winslow has done a better job of harnessing his skill set and it certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s a high character kid on and off the court, valuing education and showing a wise mind when dealing with media and teammates alike. Duke is in sold shape here and Winslows’ brother probably prefers the Blue Devils but he glows when talking of Arizona too, so there is work to be done and this one will likely come down to the wire.

Theo Pinson - The athletic wing has moments where he seems to lost his focus and that does not always allow for a consistent effort. But when he is on, he’s a very talented young man who plays at a high level. Pinson still needs work on his stroke and finishing better on drive. Actually, he would be better served kicking out more often when he finds traffic on drives instead of trying to create a sensational shot. Duke is still recruiting Pinson but it is clear that he is their second choice to Winslow at this time but as we know in recruiting, things can change in a days time.

Tyus Jones - Jones is a flat-out competitor and a cool customer. I have said in the past that he’s a silent killer at times and this season he demands the ball even more when the game is on the line. And his Howard Pulley teammates want the ball in his hands for he always seems to come through at crunch time. Pulley seems to always play in close games and they overachieve due to Jones play. I joked with him during an interview that he was “Jack Frost,” in that he is so cool in the clutch, almost always coming through. In fact, it would be story worth and draw attention if he flopped when the game is on the line for it is so rare it happens. Jones has a shifty speed which is not jet like but is effective in that he changes speed well. His handle is solid and he can get shots off even when everybody in the gym knows a shot is coming often getting to the line. He’s also a deadly three-point threat even when not open and he can find the seams in the defense making him a ridiculous stat stuff with concerns to assists. Jones maintains that he will be a package deal with Jahlil Okafor and Coach K and Izzo among others were at all of his games.

Devin Booker – Duke is still recruiting or staying in touch with Booker despite getting a verbal from Grayson Allen. Booker has good defensive footwork and likes playing on ball defense. He has a nice stroke from the outside or can break you off the dribble. He also hustles non stop or at least he did in my views. He seems well versed in the game of basketball and plays with a quiet, cool confidence.

Elijah Thomas - He is not a super flashy big man, just one who gets the job done, defends well and can throw down dunks with ease. Thomas is still getting use to his frame and he can intimidate opponents. He plays with enthusiasm and confidence and is alight hearted kind of kid off the court, whose Mom plays a huge role in his life. He is a big time prospect in next seasons class that likes Duke a lot but he has other schools who are right there as well. Thomas will draw more and more attention, so strap yourself in for a long recruitment on this one.

Harry Giles - Coach K really, really like this kid and was the first coach in the gym to see him in his opening game. Giles? He’s a long, lean, sure-fire talent who is incredibly coordinated for his height and age. Potential. He’s oozes in it and he was one of the few kids playing on the 16U teams which drew a bevy of major college coaches, Giles mentioned that he is already tiring of the media process, so stay tuned. He seems a bit shy off the court but not so much so on it. While he can not always be super vocal, he does talk on the court and directs teammates for he understands spacing well at his age. He took it the length of the court for slams, made sweeping hook moves where he kissed the ball off glass and attributes his handle to wanting to be a guard when he was growing up. Ridiculous upside. [/private]

Devin Booker updates his status for BDN

BDN Photo
BDN Photo

HAMPTON, VA — The Nike EYBL tour continued this past weekend as session 2 took place in Hampton, Virginia, and BDN was once again there to cover the grassroots event. One of the players who continues to impress with his hustle and great footwork is Devin Booker, a 6’5″ WG from Mississippi.

Many have wondered aloud if Grayson Allen’s recent commitment to the Blue Devils would affect Booker’s recruitment. We sought out the answer to that in our chat with Booker.

Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski [private] watched him play in his last game yesterday and Booker showed well. Before that, Steve Wojciechowski took in one of his games.

Booker told Blue Devil Nation that Duke is still in contact with him and that the Blue Devils are still on his list. But he also admitted that the verbal from Grayson Allen does have some effect. At the same time, though, he followed up quickly by saying he is not afraid of competition and having to earn a spot wherever he decides to go to school. The most important factor in choosing a school will be the trust he feels with his eventual coach.

Booker said this his recruitment would slow in the summer while he just concentrates on getting better. Michigan State, Michigan, Missouri, Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina and some others have continued to show interest. He is set to cut his list by the end of summer but at this point he doesn’t know how many teams would make the list.

As for camps, it looks as if he will attend one of the Nike Skills Academies, but he was undecided on which one. He also mentioned a desire to compete with USA Basketball.

It remains to be seen what the future holds with concern to Duke recruiting him, but sources close to the situation indicated he was still on their list. [/private]

_D3A3379

Justise Winslow Values Education and Basketball

Peach 12 more pics 011LOS ANGELES – Over the years Texas has mostly been known as a football state. High school football runs rampant in small and big towns all over the state. It’s become a ritual for cities to flock to their local high school games on Friday nights and watch the stars of the future. However, there’s been a change over recent years in Texas. What once was a football state has now brought out some of the top basketball talent in the country. One only needs to look at the team listings for the Nike EYBL and see that the state of Texas alone has four AAU teams in the league, more than any other state.

Next year Duke will sport two players from the state of Texas in sophomore Rasheed Sulaimon and incoming freshman Matt Jones. Duke will hope to continue the Texas pipeline by adding 2014 wing Justise Winslow. Winslow, who attends St. Johns School, a very strict academic institution, has been on Duke’s radar for quite some time now. The 6’6 wing has a chiseled frame that would allow him to step onto a NCAA court right now. Recently he was awarded the Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year for the state of Texas, an honor that was won by Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart last year.

Winslow, who hails from Houston, credits his excellent academics to his brothers, specifically his older brother, Joshua Winslow, who plays defensive back for Dartmouth. Being an excellent student, Winslow says that academics will be a factor in his decision. His brother Joshua is pushing him to [private] choose the best academic school possible when Justise makes his final decision.

In the first session of the EYBL in Los Angeles Winslow’s Houston Hoops team went 4-0 with an average margin of victory of 24.5 points. His team is filled with athletic Division 1 prospects which include future North Carolina Tar Heel Justin Jackson, Khadeem Lattin and Kelly Oubre. On a team filled with talent Winslow still shines through. Winslow ran point-forward for Houston Hoops and looked very natural doing it. Perhaps his best attribute is his passing skills which allow an offense to be run through him. His strong frame allows him to get to the basket and finish through contact. Winslow also has a knack for not taking bad shots, a quality lost on many young basketball talents. In 4 games of the first session Winslow averaged 14.5 points, 4.3 assists, 6.8 rebounds, and 52 percent shooting from the field.

BlueDevilNation caught up with the top priority prospect and discussed his recruiting, his high school, why he likes to read the Wall Street Journal and other topics.

BlueDevilNation: What do you feel like you’ve most improved on over this past year?

JW: I think really just being a leader out there. Someone who my teammates can respect. Also my shooting and ball handling, reading pick and rolls and things like that.

BDN: What do you feel you still need to improve on?

JW: Well everything. You never can be satisfied, but, you know, especially my shooting and ball handling.

BDN: I don’t believe I’ve seen one yet but have you made a final list?

JW: No, not a final list. I’m down to 10 right now.

BDN: Who are those final 10?

JW: North Carolina, Duke, Florida, Kansas, Texas A&M, Baylor, University of Houston, Arizona, UCLA, and Stanford.

BDN: Do you have a timeframe for when you’d like to make your decision?

JW: I’m going to narrow it down pretty soon, probably going into June. Hopefully I can sign and be committed by November.

BDN: So the early period then.

JW: Yea, hopefully.

BDN: You had a few in-home visits recently. Take me through the Arizona one if you could.

JW: Well they were my first one. It was Thursday at noon. They came over and it went pretty well. Coach Miller thinks I’m the key to him getting to his first Final Four. But, you know, over the years I’ve built a good relationship with Coach Miller so it was really a comfortable visit.

BDN: You also had one with Duke as well. Could you take me through that visit?

JW: You know, Coach K, I had an unofficial visit with them this past spring also. Coach K thinks I can come in and step in and be that elite wing that they’ll be missing in the next couple of years with probably Jabari leaving and Hood leaving also. They just think I can come in and have an instant impact. And just the Duke brand and education.

BDN: What’s your relationship like with Coach K?

JW: Great. He was the USA basketball coach and I made the USA 17U team so I got to meet him there and talk to him there. He’s a great guy.

BDN: Speaking about your USA experience. Do you think that has translated over to your high school and AAU playing?

JW: I think with the USA experience, you know, no one’s really playing selfishly so it kind of helps you identify your role on whatever team you’re playing with. I think that’s something I carried into school and into AAU just to know my role and try to play to the best of my abilities.

BDN: Have the Duke coaches compared you to anyone by any chance?

JW: Well they compared me to Gerald Henderson and Grant Hill, things like that. But they also say that I’m special and unique in my own way.

BDN: You ran a lot of point for Houston Hoops, does that differ from your role in high school?

JW: Ah not really. I would just say in school ball I have the ball in my hand a lot and I run the floor. But out here, I do whatever the coach wants me to do and it goes back to just knowing my role and playing my role.

BDN: Are you taking any official visits soon?

JW: Official? No. I think I’m going to try and take an unofficial to UCLA soon because I haven’t been out there with Coach Alford there. So that’s something I’m looking to do.

BDN: Have you spoken with Coach Alford recently?

JW: Yea I had an in-home with him.

BDN: How do you like him?

JW: Oh he’s cool. He’s young, energetic. I like his style of play.

BDN: Other than a school championship next year, what are your personal goals?

JW: To win the Gatorade Player of the Year again for Texas.

BDN: You won it this year. Congratulations.

JW: Thank you. You know, to make those McDonald’s All-American game and the Jordan Brand game.

BDN: Did you get a chance to watch those games this year?

JW: I watched the McDonald’s game but I didn’t get a chance to watch the Jordan Brand game. You know that’s just one of my goals since growing up.

BDN: Oh absolutely. I wanted to ask you about your fantastic competitive drive. Where does that come from? Was it natural or did you learn it over the years?

JW: I think that just, being the youngest in my family, never winning, I just tried so hard to win. I used to get, not picked on, but, my older siblings would bug me and pick on me a little bit. Toughen me up. So I think that’s really what makes me a tough competitor.

BDN: You have an older brother at Dartmouth, correct?

JW: Yes sir.

BDN: What’s his influence on you like?

JW: He’s a great influence on me. He wants me to be the best player, but, in this recruiting process he wants me to go to the best academic school possible.

BDN: Well he’s at a great school. I saw you recently tweeted a picture of you reading the Wall Street Journal. Do you read that often?

JW: (laughs) Kinda, not really. But I think it’s good to be up to date with the current events, with the things going on in Boston and Korea. It’s good to know about those things.

BDN: Do you have a favorite subject in school at all?

JW: Math and physics.

BDN: You also said you recently saw the movie 42 (Jackie Robinson Story). How was that?

JW: Oh it was great. In school ball I actually wear 42 kind of for that reason. So that’s just a big role model in my life because he did so much for baseball and for other sports.

BDN: Oh I had no idea. You go to a fantastic academic school in St. Johns. How did that decision come about?

JW: Just, you know, my siblings, my brother, the one at Dartmouth went there. He was a big role model in my life. Going back to the academic thing he just wants me to go to the best academic school possible. So going there provided me with a chance because if basketball doesn’t work out..

BDN: You’d have something to fall back on..

JW: Exactly. Exactly.

BDN: Thanks a lot for your time. Good luck the rest of the weekend.

JW: No problem. Thank you. [/private]

 

 

 

JalenLindsey

Jalen Lindsey 2013 Nike EYBL – Session #1 – Los Angeles

JalenLindsey

 

LOS ANGELES – As Duke’s search for wing players continues it has brought them to Jalen Lindsey, a 6’6 swingman from Nashville Tennessee. Lindsey, who currently sports a 4.0 GPA, says that Duke has recently expressed interest in him. The swingman possesses solid athleticism which he thinks is one of his strengths. Lindsey, who plays for Christ Presbyterian Academy, is coming off of back to back Class AA state championships and many believe his team is in line for a threepeat next year. This past year he won the state championship tournament MVP as well as the Mr. Basketball award for the state of Tennessee.

BlueDevilNation was able to catch up with the Nashville product and discuss the new interest from Duke.

BlueDevilNation: For someone who hasn’t seen you before could you give us a scouting report?

Jalen Lindsey: I’m definitely, I’m really athletic. I use my athleticism a lot. You know, I can knock down the three too. It’s kind of an all around game so you gotta be prepared for anything.

BDN: What would you consider a strength of yours then? [private]

JL: Athleticism definitely.

BDN: What do you feel you have to work on?

JL: Oh definitely ball handling. That’s something I’ve been working on for months and months lately, years actually.

BDN: Is there any player you try and model your game after?

JL: Uh not really, not really.

BDN: You’re just kind of your own guy?

JL: (laughs) Yes sir.

BDN: Does your role differ from AAU to high school ball?

JL: Yea it’s completely different cause I’m like the tallest guy on my high school team so I’m kind of a post man, post-forward. And in here (AAU) I’m a 3 so I have to go back and forth between those two.

BDN (Andrew Slater): You won a state title this past year…

JL: Yes, yes. Second year in a row.

BDN: Do you view yourself as a 3 or a 2?

JL: I do, I view myself as a 3 and every college coach and a lot of my friends tell my I’m going to play the 3 in college and hopefully if I go to the NBA I’ll play the same position.

BDN: What’s your current height and weight?

JL: I’m 6’6 195lbs.

BDN (Andrew Slater): What kind of student are you?

JL: I have a 4.0GPA

BDN (Andrew Slater): Wow..you’re articulate so..

JL: (laughs) My dad, my mom and dad are on me about grades so I definitely work hard in class.

BDN: Do you have any recent offers?

JL: Not any recent offers. I have 20 total offers, I couldn’t name them all right now but not any recent offers.

BDN: Any schools that have recently come into play?

JL: Yea, uh, Duke has been coming onto me pretty hard. Duke’s been coming in pretty hard lately.

BDN: Have you spoken with them recently?

JL: I have. I spoke to Coach James like 2 days ago.

BDN: Did they say they’d be here to watch?

JL: Yes, definitely.

BDN: What do you know about Duke?

JL: You know, I know Duke’s a great school. Great coach and they got a lot of background and I really like Duke.

BDN: So you would be open to them?

JL: Yea, definitely.

BDN (Andrew Slater): Have you taken any recent visits?

JL: I haven’t. I haven’t.

BDN (Andrew Slater): Do you have any planned?

JL: I plan on taking some visits during the summer but I’m not sure which ones.

BDN (Andrew Slater): Are you going to cut down on your list?

JL: Yea, sooner or later I will. Sooner or later I’m going to cut down on it to where there’s less schools.

BDN (Andrew Slater): More manageable?

JL: Yea exactly. I’m just taking my time right now.

BDN (Andrew Slater): What are some factors that are going to be in your decision?

JL: Academics for sure. And then you got the facility and the relationship between the coaches is a big thing for me too.

BDN (Andrew Slater): Just out of curiosity how did you select your high school?

JL: My coach I’ve been playing with him since I was young..

BDN (Andrew Slater): I remember he played college ball at Vanderbilt?

JL: Vanderbilt, yea. So I’ve played with him since I was little, I was on his AAU team so I joined them and that was it.

BDN: And just one last question. You have a new teammate in Grayson Allen can you give me a scouting report on him?

JL: Grayson’s a great player. He’s athletic, he can dribble, he can shoot, he’s got the whole package. Grayson’s a great guy too so he’s fun to play with. [/private]

Theo_Pinson

Theo Pinson chats up the Nation

Theo_PinsonLOS ANGELES – Seventy miles from the Duke University campus is Wesleyan Christian Academy. Theo Pinson helped lead his Trojans to the NCHSAA 3A state championship as they beat Greensboro Day 59-49. The 6’6 swingman was also selected to the NCISAA 3A boys all-state team along with his teammate Harry Giles. Pinson is playing in his last season of AAU before he becomes a senior and ultimately matriculates to the school of his choice.

On Sunday, Pinson’s team, CP3, beat a relentless Howard Pulley team 70-66. Howard Pulley, led by top point guard prospect Tyus Jones, was down 15 points with under 5 minutes to play and almost made the miraculous comeback. Pinson scored 16 points on 4 of 11 shooting. He also made key free throws down the stretch including a big offensive rebound to keep possession for his team.

BlueDevilNation was able to catch up with the swingman prospect and get his thoughts on his recruitment.

BlueDevilNation: What’s your mindset going into this final AAU season? Any different than before?

Theo Pinson: Na, I mean all of the other years I wanted to win championships. We went to the final four last year so we’re trying to finish this time.

BDN: What do you feel like you’ve improved on most this past season?

TP: Defensive wise I’ve just been pressuring up a little more cause you have to do it [private]  in college.

BDN: Has that been a big focus for you?

TP: Oh yea, and shooting also.

BDN: Will you be cutting your list anytime soon?

TP: Uh yea, probably after the live period this time, after Boo Williams.

BDN: Is there any school that’s recruiting you the hardest right now?

TP: Oh, na.

BDN: Is there any pressure to stay in state?

TP: Not really, I mean, of course a lot of people are going to say go to Duke, go to Carolina, go to State and other schools. But, I mean, I’m just doing the best for me.

BDN: Will distance be a factor for you at all?

TP: No.

BDN: Speaking of Duke, have you been in contact with them regularly?

TP: Yea, I mean, all of them have been, since the seasons been over, everybody’s been trying to communicate and telling me they’re going to be watching this weekend and stuff like that.

BDN: Who do you keep contact with at Duke?

TP: I talked to K the one time and then it’s been Capel, but he’s been in surgery right now. And Wojo a couple of times.

BDN: Do you pay attention to who comes out and watches you?

TP: Yea you gotta pay attention to that. You gotta use little stuff like that to separate the schools.

BDN: Do you have any visits coming up?

TP: Umm, not right now.

BDN: How about any in-homes?

TP: No, not yet.

BDN: Who do you feel is the toughest player you’ve had to guard?

TP: Either Julius (Randle) or Andrew (Wiggins). Those are two good ones. (laughs)

BDN: You have a great high school teammate in Harry Giles. Can you give me a scouting report on him?

TP: Uhhh, shoot, you better learn how to guard, or you’re going to have to find somebody that’s strong or something. I don’t know, I mean he’s hard to guard. He’s gotta stop himself. That’s the only way you’re gonna stop him.

BDN: And lastly, are teams recruiting you as a 2 or a 3?

TP: A lot of teams are just recruiting me as a guard. I mean I can play any position from the 1, 2, or 3 or a 4 if I have to.

BDN: Thanks a lot.

TP: No problem.

[/private]