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July 13, 2013

Adidas Invitational Saturday notebook


MORE: Adidas Invitational Friday

INDIANAPOLIS -- Saturday was moving day at the Adidas Invitational, as the field shortened down considerably with each time slot passing by. By the end of the day, only four teams remained in each age group, with the winners being given a chance to shine on ESPNU on Championship Sunday. Here's a look at the stories that were Saturday in Indianapolis.

Run, Run, Run

There's no stranger duo in travel basketball than Milwaukee Runnin' Rebels guard Damontrae Jefferson and forward Kevon Looney. But when the two are playing well at the same time, the Rebels become one of the most dangerous teams in the country.

A super tiny 5-foot-8 scoring point guard, Jefferson packs more on-court personality into his frame than any other undersized guard you'll ever see. With a reputation for being willing to pull the trigger every single time down the floor if he can get his shot off, Jefferson begins to look for his shot the second he crosses half-court. One thing that the guard does know how to do is use his lack of size to his advantage, as he relies on his speed and changes in direction to create separation for his quick release jumper or floater. An explosive athlete with a contagious personality, Jefferson excels at frustrating opponents with his persona and making them a play a style of basketball that only he is comfortable with.

Perhaps the only player in the country to whom Jefferson is willing to defer offensively, Looney is able to capitalize on defenses who are frustrated by Jefferson's antics. The long 6-foot-9 forward dominates the offensive glass and is also an excellent dribble-drive power forward out of the high post off of one or two bounces. With Duke front and center to watch, Looney scored on just about every wing or post touch in the game, using his athleticism and length to make the bulkier but slower opposing big men move their feet and either stumble or foul him.

California Love

The most exciting game of the morning session came between two teams that could've just as easily stayed at home and scrimmaged with each other. Los Angeles based 16-and-under clubs Compton Magic and Pangos Elite met up in Indianapolis, with Pangos Elite not only pulling an upset over a Compton Magic team that was favored to win the event but doing so in convincing fashion.

With coaches from Duke, Notre Dame, Boston College, Stanford, UCLA and Oregon State among those in a crowded gym, two prospects in particular stood out for Pangos Elite: Six-foot-8 power forward Roman Davis and 6-foot point guard Leland Green.

Davis is an athletic hybrid forward who is still developing his perimeter skills but has superb athleticism which he uses to impact the game in a variety of ways. He's a lanky player who can push the ball in the open floor and has such long strides that it is near impossible for smaller perimeter players to match him in the open court. Davis is a good finisher in traffic, can finger roll the ball with finesse or finish with a dunk, and is also able to convert from the foul line when he can't avoid contact.

Green was even more impressive for Pangos, especially considering that as a 2016 prospect he's only going to be a sophomore next season at Redondo (Cal.) Union. A lightning quick penetrating guard with a fiery demeanor, Green clearly felt like he had something to prove on Saturday morning as he squared off with some of Compton Magic's highly touted class of 2015 guard prospects. While Green is a capable distributor, his mindset is to aggressively attack the rim with speed, usually bursting to the basket once he receives an outlet pass and trying to score before the defense gets set. Once the Compton Magic defense adjusted to this and backed off, Green showed a smooth stroke from the outside, knocking in several jumpers off the dribble.

While they were disappointed with the result of the game, two prospects from the Magic team also impressed us with their skill-sets. Class of 2015 guards Sedrick Barefield and Rex Pflueger are both talented players who should emerge as some of the better prospects in the rising junior class of Southern California.

Barefield is a crafty point guard with a tight handle that allows him to fluidly run the offense while staying in control. The 6-foot-1 Corona (Cal.) Centennial product excels in the change-of-pace game and can also stop and pop for a jumper when the defense backs off him. Best at attacking off of a crossover in the half-court, Barefield is a skilled passer who knows how to draw the defense to set up passes.

Pflueger is known mostly as a shooter, but in fact it is his athleticism that sets him apart from other guards. A big-time leaper with an explosive first step, the Santa Ana (Mater Dei) product is able to use his 6-foot-4 frame to create shots for himself off of the dribble whenever he wants. And although his shot was not falling with any type of regularity on Saturday, he certainly has a nice release and an abundance of confidence in his shot.

Opening Up

Throughout the tournament scouts and college coaches had been talking about the fact that there had not been one player who came out of nowhere to blow up as an elite prospect nationally. While former Indiana State commit Bryant McIntosh wasn't exactly a nobody entering the tournament, not even the 6-foot-2 Greensburg (Ind.) guard could have predicted the amount of attention his game would create.

McIntosh had been strong during the first few games for his Eric Gordon All-Stars team; but on Saturday the class of 2014 three-star set the field ablaze, scoring from all over the court in two big EG10 wins, including an upset of tournament favorite Dream Vision.

McIntosh proved how difficult it is to defeat Hoosier State prospects on their own turf, as the scoring guard rained in jumpers from deep, used the bounce for two dribble pull-ups and really showed a high IQ in the pick and roll game. For a guard who is known most for his jumpshot, McIntosh is an above-average athlete with a very good first step off the dribble and also shows a good feel for the offensive game as a passer or finisher in the transition game.

Since opening his commitment back up from Indiana State last week after he had been committed to for about a year, McIntosh has already added offers from Florida, Missouri, Davidson, Auburn and Marquette, while also receiving renewed interest from Ole Miss, West Virginia, Xavier, Purdue and several others. Just about all of those schools were at North Central High School in the last twenty-four hours, hoping to get a fresh evaluation of the fast-rising guard.

News and Notes:

While McIntosh was the breakout rising senior on Sunday, class of 2016 wing Amir Coffey made a name for himself as well, winning a head-to-head battle with Canadian superstar Justin Jackson in front of a packed house on the main court. Some of the top college coaches in the business attended, including staffers from Minnesota, Illinois, Xavier, Indiana, West Virginia and Purdue as Coffey used his 6-foot-6 frame to attack YAACE defenders off the dribble, helping lead his D1 Minnesota team to a crucial win in the 15-and-under division. His name might not carry as much weight as some of his more hyped classmates, but look for Coffey to continue to be an absolute force in a class already known for big and athletic slashing wings with smooth offensive games.

Coffey wasn't the only Minnesota prospect to generate a large buzz in Indianapolis on Saturday, as class of 2015 four-star post player Henry Ellenson also had the eyes of several scouts on him. The wide-bodied 6-foot-9 power forward out of Rice Lake (Minn.) is now ranked No. 41 in his class by Rivals.com and has performed up to that level so far this summer. The D1 Minnesota post has a skilled interior game, rivaled at the event only by a few elite big men, as he can score with his back to the basket, is a willing passer who can hit cutters and can effortlessly step out and hit jumpers with the best of them. Minnesota, Notre Dame, Purdue and Marquette were among those who watched Ellenson, with all four of the schools having already offered the rising junior a scholarship.

A sleeper to keep an eye on in the class of 2014 out of Texas is Franchize All-Stars wing guard Damiyne Durham. A volume scorer who is always looking to get his jumper off, Durham has deep range from the field and a smooth right-handed stroke that he can get off in a hurry. Durham was a little bit inconsistent with his touch late in the game with his team trailing on Saturday, but the long 6-foot-5 guard is a talent who will continue to be recruited at the high-major level. Texas A&M, Houston and Marquette were all present to watch the Oakwood (Texas) guard, who also claims offers from Auburn, DePaul and Memphis.



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