Scouting Report: Jayhawk Invitational Day 2

Alex Murphy

Your day two update, with reports on Branden Dawson, Shabazz Muhammed, Winston Sheppard, Alex Murphy, and more.

SYF Players v. SW Minnesota Stars

Branden Dawson, 6'7 WF, 2011 SYF Players

There's one hyphenated word to describe Dawson: man-child. Dawson was simply a man amongst boys in this matchup, leading his team to an 81-63 win over an overmatched Stars club. Dawson's final tally came to 26pts of 12-15 FG, 0-1 3FG, 2-2 FT, while adding in about 10 rebounds (at least) and a few steals too.

Dawson is billed as a wing at the next level, and his build and athleticism certainly make him an enticing prospect at the position. Built like a truck, Dawson does all of his damage in the paint via a variety of baseline and post moves. While the form on his jumper looks good, he's very inconsistent with his release point and struggled to get close on the few jumpshots he actually took. His ability to attack defenders off jab-steps and baseline drives is almost unmatched right now, given his strength and size. He bulldozes over smaller defenders and right by the bigger ones, usually finishing at the glass or the rim. His ballhandling befits that of a true small forward, as he shows a good ability to use 1- and 2-dribble moves to attack his opponents. To his credit, he rarely tries to over-dribble and typically makes his few bounces on the floor count.

Defensively, Dawson is a very nice prospect on the wing. He's got excellent length, big hands, and surprising lateral ability for a player of his size. At the college level, he may be asked to play as a combo forward, seeing as how he might not be a great matchup for some of the small lineups seen across the country, but his strength with allow him to defend in the post just as well as his length will help him defend to the 3pt stripe.

It's pretty clear that Dawson is an advanced wing forward at this point and has certainly lived up to his billing as a potential McDonald's All American from the 2011 class.

Dream Vision v. NE Players

Shabazz Muhammed, 6'5 SG\SF, 2012 Dream Vision

After the extensive scouting report on Muhammed, you would think we had seen enough. Today, though, Muhammed continued his domination of the 17s age group. He reportedly went 4-4 from the 3pt line in his earlier game, helping to ease questions about his long range ability. Then, in a matchup with NE Players and their combination of Alex Murphy (6'7 SG\SF) and Kaleb Tarczewski (7'0 C), Muhammed went to work on the glass. He relentlessly grabbed rebounds, both offensively and defensively, showing an incredible knack for getting boards well out of his area. For a guard, Muhammed is just an absolutely ferocious rebounder.

Winston Sheppard, 6'7 WG, 2012 Dream Vision

I came away more impressed today with Sheppard than I was last night. Today, Sheppard ran his team pretty well and looked to constantly get his players (Muhammed or Chol, for the most part) in position to score. With such great options down low, it's no surprise that Sheppard rarely looks to shoot or even attack the basket. He showed nice body control and ball skills in transition, and I am starting to ultimately wonder where his position is at the next level. He can clearly run the point, but it would seem that his long term potential is as a creative shooting guard that can help with PG duties. Hopefully we will see that potential realized over the next few years.

Alex Murphy, 6'7 SG\SF, 2012 NE Players

Despite an absolutely ridiculous scene featuring his 7'0 running mate (Tarczewski) foul out after seemingly 8 or 9 fouls and his coach being ejected late (which caused the refs to call off the game), Murphy was a warrior for his team. Rebounding, passing, screens, and free throws – Murphy did it all to help his Players squad come back from a double-digit deficit to give the Dream Vision squad all they could handle.

Unfortunately, Murphy's jump shot hasn't been dialed in all weekend, but it's pretty clear that his shooting ability shouldn't be questioned. His form and mechanics are consistent and sound, which makes me think it was simply an off weekend for the talented wing.

Naadir Tharpe, 5'11 PG, 2011 NE Players

While not a KU target, I would be remiss if I didn't mention this point guard that is chock full of moxie. Tharpe, in tandem with Murphy, took his game right at the vaunted Dream Vision front line and was a major reason for the Players even being in the game at the end. His shooting is excellent with range out past the 3pt line and his control over the ball is also great. He's very much a scoring point guard, but with very few viable options on his team (heck, they only  had 7 players TOTAL) Tharpe put his team on his back late and scored almost at will against Winston Sheppard and Shabazz Muhammed.

Even though his team ended up going down to the more talented Vision squad, it's hard not to envision Tharpe as a winner at the next level.

Compton Magic v. Total Impact Basketball G&H Impact

Isaiah Austin, 7'0 PF\C, 2012 Compton Magic

Austin looks every bit of 7'0 and he has arms that stretch for days. It's easy to see his skill level too, as he handles the ball with surprising ease and shows great form on his jumper. He has showed a few elementary spin moves in the post, but it's clear that his skill level down low is still being developed.

Austin's going to make his mark with his athleticism though, as he's a big leaper and shows excellent fluidity in moving up the court. His movement isn't labored at all and he looks unexpectedly nimble on his feet. Now, I'd like to see him start to show some fire on the defensive end and use that wonderful wingspan to alter more shots.

Norvel Pelle, 6'10 PF, 2011 Compton Magic

Pelle is one of those players that just look like a high major player. He has a fantastic frame and looks to be a few inches taller than his listed 6'8 (he certainly looks very near to Austin's reported 7'0 height), while also boasting a wingspan that rivals the best ones at this event.

The rumor going around was that Pelle was putting on a block show in his earlier game, but unfortunately he was saddled with some fouls in the game we caught. Despite those fouls, it was clear that Pelle is a force defensively and definitely has the makings of a high-level shot blocker at the next level.

Offensively, we saw very little from Pelle. Unfortunately for him, he rarely got the ball in position to do much. When he did get the ball, though, he seemed to lose focus and missed a few dunks. While he doesn't seem to have the same touch out to the elbow on his lefty jumper like Angelo Chol does, it's easy to see that his form is good and he should improve as the years go by.

Jahii Carson, 5'10 PG, 2011 Compton Magic

Carson is an electric point man with a devastating crossover. He loves to shoot the deep ball and shows excellent form and consistency on that shot.  At this point, though, he's decidedly one-sided as he almost universally goes to his right. At the same time, he's yet to see any guard at this event that can exploit that tendency, as there simply isn't anyone quick enough to stay in front of him.

While not a KU target, it's clear that Carson will end up at a high level school and will be a thorn in some conference's side for a long time.

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