Western PA Well Represented at Adidas Invitational in Indy
Posted July 17, 2013 3:52 pm
Photo courtesy of timesonline.com
Preps.com continues our coverage of hoops in the heart of AAU season. With college basketball coaches packing up high school and recreational center gyms all over the country during open period, we had the opportunity to attend the Adidas Invitational hosted by Indiana Elite and to our surprise many of Western PA’s top ballers were in attendance.
Typically the hardwood isn’t what comes to mind when you talk about Western PA, but as of late the region has tried to catch up with our eastern counterparts and started churning out some legit hoopers. Obviously with players like Dejuan Blair in the league and emerging Schenley grad, Deandre Kane, transferring to Iowa State to elevate his draft status, the area isn’t completely oblivious to hardwood talent. Players like Sheldon Jeter, Tyler Scott, Barnett Harris, Lincoln Davis, Micah Mason and Justin Dobbs put western pa on the map in college recruiters eyes, but this next wave of players looks to let them know western pa hoops is here to stay.
While traveling with Team Adidas which showcased some of the top players in the region, we also had the opportunity to catch up with some other AAU programs that displayed some of the regions top talent. Below is a brief summary on some of the players that caught our eye.
Satchel Pierce (Kiski Prep/Team Adidas)– Pierce had just about every school in the country watching his 7′ 280lb frame during the tournament and rightfully so. This behemoth of a center showed decent athleticism and didn’t have the typical dopiness that you see from most players his size. Standing 7 feet tall, the skies the limit for the Kiski Prep player. Duke, Kansas State, and University of Michigan just to name a few, lined up to watch the footer play. Although he didn’t dominate as you would like to see, he did show a nice touch around the basket. After Tubby Smith watched him play in person, later that evening Satchel’s father received the phone call that Texas Tech had offered. Satchel has lot’s of work as far as developing his athleticism, aggression, and skill set, but there is no doubt he has the potential to be a very special big man with the right guidance.
Ryan Skovranko (Lincoln Park/Team Adidas)– Skovranko may have the highest upside out of all the players on Team Adidas, which is saying a lot with the immense amount talent on the squad. Ryan has a silky smooth jumper that he over relies on, but also boast ridiculous athleticism that creeps up on you with his wiry frame. At 6’6 he kind of reminds us of Gateway’s Tyler Scott with a little more consistent jumper. He needs to work on creating better shots and finishing better at the rim, but a year in the weight room could turn this kid into an absolute beast. He’s receiving a significant amount of attention and certainly will land at the D1 level. Just like Satchel, if Ryan receives the right guidance he has the potential to have his name called at the NBA draft someday if he continues to work on his ball handling and strength.
Kason Harrell (Hempfield/Team Adidas)– Harrell may have been the lone class of 2015 player on the team, but he certainly didn’t show it. Probably the most productive player on the team. He’s a fundamentally sound guard that has the same skill set that made players like Jason Williams, and Chris Duhon effective at the collegiate level. The combo guard needs to work on his decision making and ball handling in traffic, but has excellent athleticism and finishes well around the basket, along with playing smothering defense. Kason doesn’t lack any confidence in his jump shot, which is surprisingly accurate, particularly when he’s on fire. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing the combo guards news clippings all through the local papers in the future. His maturity and discipline is rare for someone his age and may lead him to being one of the more highly recruited players the region has ever seen.
DJ Porter (University Prep/Dejuan Blair All Stars)– The son of Pitt legend Darelle Porter certainly doesn’t have any deficiencies in the skill set department. The silky smooth guard has a Jamal Crawford like game and can score from anywhere on the floor. With an assassin’s mentality offensively, he certainly could come in and contribute early for a D1 program. Effort on defense and strength are certainly area’s of concern, but don’t be surprised if the city leaguer puts up ridiculous numbers this winter during the season. With a former professional basketball player/coach as a father, I would expect his “cool swagger” to transform into a player with a sense of urgency eventually. It will be interesting to see how this highly skilled player develops in the future.
Ryan Luther (Hampton/Maryland 3D)– Considered by many as the top player in the class of 2014 in Western PA, Ryan Luther is a fundamentally sound player that any coach would love to have. The first thing that comes to mind when you watch his skill set is “Larry Bird” until you see his bunnies and he crashes on opposing defenders. It’s hard to evaluate him, because he has a solid jumper, along with understanding spacing on the floor, but also has the size and strength to finish inside. He kind of reminds us of a David Lee type player, but he likes to float around the perimeter more than Lee. Plays off the ball, so we didn’t get to see him put the ball on the ground too much, but from everything we gathered, he seems to have all the tools to be a phenomenal role player at the D1 level. May not have the same upside as some of the other players on this list, but certainly is the most basketball savvy and consistent.
Elijah Minnie (Lincoln Park/Team Adidas)– Seems like people have been talking about this guy forever, but we finally had the opportunity to watch him live. At almost 7 feet, he has the size to die for and athleticism all major D1 schools are looking for. Showed some similarities to Delaware incoming freshman Barnett Harris, but probably has more athleticism, but less of a skill set. He likes to float around the perimeter, where he has a fairly accurate jump shot that has an extended wind up, but his most effective work is done in the paint. What Minnie lacks in strength he makes up in explosion and athleticism. It seems like at times he becomes a little uninterested and plays down to his competition, but when he turns up, he’s as good as any big man in the country. Elijah is one of those players that flashes glimpses of greatness, but in order for him to become a more consistent player he’ll need to play more from the elbow in. If he reaches his full potential he has the ability to have the same skill set of a Amare Stoudemire type player.
Preps.com will continue to keep you updated on basketball players in the area throughout the AAU season.