July 6th NC Pro Am Scouting Report

July 6th NC Pro Am Tournament

A good crowd turned out last night for the 2nd round of basketball games at NC Central for the second round of games at the 2010 NC Pro Am tournament.  On the slate for last night’s games were:

  • 6pm – Hendrick vs. Body of Christ
  • 7pm – Team 212 vs. Team Stackhouse
  • 8pm – Coaches in Christ vs. Team Navy
  • 9pm – Team Lucky 7 vs. Team McGladrey

I’ll preface what I write by saying that although summer league pick up games don’t always provide the most accurate predictions for future performance, it is always exciting to get a sneak preview of our current and future players.  The NC Pro Am provides an exciting opportunity for Wolfpack fans to see future players in action alongside other local standout players including those in the ACC and NBA.  I would encourage all NC State fans to go check out some games and show support for our Wolfpack players.

Game 1:  6pm – Hendrick vs. Body of Christ

The first match up of the night was between Hendrick and Body of Christ.  The match up pitted a team made up mostly of high schoolers and Norfolk State star Michael Deloach versus prior Wolfpacker Johnny Thomas and local standout Akeem Richmond (Uni. Rhode Island).

Johnny, who is transferring from NC State up to Marshall University, came out really strong.  Looking healthier than ever and ready to play, he scored 20 points in the first half.  Johnny, who graduated this past semester, is transferring to Marshall to attend graduate school.  He has one year of eligibility remaining.  I was extremely impressed with him throughout the game with his effort on both ends of the court.  He found his shot easily from behind the arc as well as from in the paint during his drives.  It was unfortunate that he was injured for most of his career at State, but I wish him the best of luck in his future at Marshall and beyond.

The next player that I was impressed with was, unsurprisingly, Michael Deloach.  Deloach, who was a star player at Norfolk State, played point guard for Hendrick most of the night.  Seeing as how his team’s two best players (Duke’s Kyrie Irving and Kyle Singler) didn’t show, he played an outstanding game.  He finished with 18 points in a variety of ways.  He shot the long ball, drove to the rim, and got to the free throw line.  Great player and a great game.  Good luck to him in his future whether it involves playing basketball or not.

Final Score: Henrick 86 – Body of Christ 94

Game 2:  7pm – Team 212 vs. Team Stackhouse

The second game of the evening was what most fans came to see.  It featured two of the new Tar Heel Trio, including savior Harrison Barnes, as well as John Henson.  Although the show that most Pack fans came to see didn’t start until after 9pm, the preview was sufficient.  Jordan Vandenberg, Scott Wood, and Team 212 had a show down with Tar Heel stacked Team Stackhouse.  This game was the best of the four.  Both teams hustled and although I wouldn’t say real defense, they both attempted to play a little D.  The game was close throughout and went into OT, only for Harrison Barnes to take over in the extra time to lift his team to victory.

I’ll start off with what I saw in Wood and Vandenberg since that’s what really matters…

The nature of these summer pickup games is similar to AAU basketball games — high paced offenses with relatively non existent defenses, so its easy to see how a player like Vandenberg could struggle a bit.  That being said, he was able to contribute some nice dunks and rebounds.  He put up 8 points and 7 rebounds while playing around 20 minutes.  You can tell that he is still growing into his body a bit, but it does look like he has put on a little weight.  All in all, he struggled a little bit trying to keep up the end to end play, but when it comes down to the grit, you can tell that he’ll be able to bang, play hard nosed defense, and grab some rebounds.

Scott Wood could have done much better than he did.  Unfortunately he got in foul trouble early and was never able to really get in the zone.  He finished the game with 8 points, but didn’t get to play too much.  He did hit a couple nice threes but missed several as well.  He just couldn’t find that rhythm that shooters rely on.

UNC-Chapel Hill’s trio played extremely well.  They ended up scoring 73 of their teams 76 points with Barnes leading the way with 31 points.  To me, Barnes definitely lived up to the hype.  He seemed to always be in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.  Whether it was picking up loose balls, rebounds, or easy points under the basket, you can tell that he has a high basketball IQ.  Reggie Bullock, from Kinston, NC, also played well in spurts.  During the first half he was doing what Barnes was doing.  He seemed to be in the right places at the right times.  He cooled off a bit in the 2nd half, but still scored 20 points.  John Henson still looks like a toothpick for the most part, but in his defense, it does look like he’s put on a little weight.  He continued to play well like he started picking up in the 2nd half of last season.  Never really playing like a center, he worked the perimeter, had some nice drives, and sent a couple shots into the rafters.  Much to the amusement of non-UNC fans, he got tomahawk dunked on BIG TIME at one point and had a couple traveling calls that resulted in sheepish grins.  He finished the game with 22 points.

Henson getting dunked on

Final Score:  Team 212 72 – Team Stackhouse 76 OT

Game 3:  8pm – Coaches in Christ vs. Team Navy

The third game of the evening featured Team Navy, with 3 Duke players and NCSU walk-on Kendall Smith, against Coaches in Christ with a couple rising AAU stars and area players.  Surprisingly enough Team Navy lost with the 3 Duke players, but I’ll explain more about that later.

You could tell right off the bat that the Duke players didn’t care too much about the game.  It was just a chance to go out and play a little ball.  However, it was clear that Ryan Kelly was the best player on the court, and he wasn’t even trying a lot of the time.  He seemed to tweak his knee early in the game, which might have something to do with him not really hustling, but in this game, no one was.  He seemed to have added a bit of weight to his frame, which will surly help him in ACC play this year.  He created his own shot quite nicely a couple times, most noticeably with a Singler-esque drive with the mid-air adjusted one handed shot (made) with the foul.  He finished with 10 points.  Andre Dawkins played a bit during the game, not a whole lot though.  He hit a couple nice 3’s and had a nice dunk, but that’s about it.  He scored 11 points.  Newcomer Tyler Thornton also played well.  He came in sparingly, as Team Navy mostly featured some older players (age 30+) who I guess had to play, and did really well.  He scored 9 points off of three 3-pointers and had a few nice assists.  You can tell that he has great awareness on the court and plays some good defense.  Kendall Smith, a walk on at State, also played pretty well when he was on the court.  He received a couple nice feeds from Ryan Kelly and finished with 6 points and several nice rebounds.

Final Score: Coaches in Christ 78 – Team Navy 69

Game 4:  9pm – Team Lucky 7 vs. Team McGladrey

This is what all the Wolfpack fans were waiting for.  The first match-up where you could see the incoming freshman playing alongside each other.  You could tell during the first few minutes of the game that the new guys were a little anxious to show off for the Wolfpack faithful that came out to see them play together, but once they settled down, the show started.  Team McGladrey featured 4 members of the 2010-2011 Wolfpack, Ryan Harrow, Lorenzo Brown, CJ Leslie, and CJ Williams.  Unfortunately Tracy Smith couldn’t make it out to the game, otherwise, it would have been a team full of Wolfpack.

Team Lucky 7 was a great team, as it featured former Wolfpack star Courtney Fells, who scored 21 points.  They held the lead for most of the game, until Team McGladrey decided they weren’t going to lose.

Overall, I thought the new guys played really well together for the first time in public.  You could tell that there were a few timing issues that accompany inexperience playing with each other.  These issues were mainly a pass going one direction while a guy cuts in another direction, or alley-oop lobs that sail too high.  Going hand in hand with the timing issues were a few communication issues.  Earlier in the game, CJW was the only one directing his teammates on where they should be on D, and what he was doing on offense, but the new guys picked it up a little bit later on.  Once again, this is only a summer league pick-up game, so they’re not trying too hard, especially on defense.

Harrow made some great plays with his passing, dribbling, and shooting.  He wowed the crowd on a couple different occasions with a sick behind the back display of dribbling, no look passes, and a surprisingly easy dunk for someone who is only 5’11”.  He finished the game with 25 points, a lot of which came from outside shooting.

CJ Leslie had the best game of all.  He came out a bit slow, remaining scoreless in the 1st quarter, but after letting the game come to him, he started heating up.  He scored 17 points in a variety of ways, including put back dunks, driving to the basket, and getting to the free throw line.  He had a great all around game, where he posted 17 points,  6-8 rebounds, and at least 5 assists.  He displayed his excellent athleticism by throwing shots into the stands, and by throwing down the go-ahead put back dunk over 2 people at the end of the game.  I doubt he’ll be at State long, but he’ll be a crowd favorite for sure.

Lorenzo Brown also played a great game.  He quietly and efficiently posted 19 points on long range shooting, driving to the basket, and getting to the stripe.  He also led the offense for part of the game.  You can tell that he is definitely game ready for the Wolfpack and will make an immediate contribution.  By going to Hargrave he has gotten in better shape and put on a little weight.  He rebounded well and was not afraid of contact.  I think Wolfpack fans will enjoy watching him play during his career in Raleigh.

Lastly, CJ Willams played his normal game.  He was efficient, played hard, and was noticeably more experienced than the freshmen.  He quietly scored 10 points and pulled down a ton of rebounds.  One thing that I’ve always wanted more from CJW is aggression.  I’ve always thought that if he more aggressively looked for his shot and drove to the rim, he could be an even better player.  He was a little aggressive at times (in which he scored) but also held back at times.  He has the tools and the body to be great, he just needs to work on his ball handling a little and be aggressive.

All in all, I thought that the future of Wolfpack basketball had a great showing.  They showed off their individual skills and wowed the crowd with some exciting plays.  Once again, I’ll state that watching summer league pick-up basketball is not the most accurate way to predict future success of players, but NC State fans can assuredly continue their excitement over the fresh talent and faces entering the RBC Center late this year.

Final Score: Team Lucky 7 75 – Team McGladrey 77

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