On Wednesday, Rick Barnes signed three of the top players in the nation for the class of 2009. Scouts Inc. gives a month-by-month evaluation of Texas signees Jordan Hamilton, Avery Bradley and Shawn Williams.
Jordan Hamilton, Small forward
Ht: 6’7″ Wt: 215
Dominguez H.S., Compton, Calif.
ESPNU 100: No. 8 (No. 1 small forward)
September, 2008: Hamilton was a man among boys at this event (2008 Fullcourt Press Fall Hoops Classic) and virtually unstoppable on every possession. He is the most gifted scorer on the west coast and might have the most polished offensive game in the country. He is a menace in the open court and a very underrated passer as well. He has range on his shot out to 25 feet and he is equally effective in a catch-n-shoot situation as well as off the bounce. He has very good straight-line speed, but he doesn’t possess great lateral quickness, however. He has a variety of ways to score at his disposal and he also possesses that killer instinct, especially on the offensive end. There have been many times in the past where Hamilton has lost his composure and he has a tendency to hunt for his own shot far too often, but at this event he played under control and kept his emotions in check.
August, 2008: Despite Hamilton’s shortcomings — he has a tendency to hunt shots and lose his composure — he is one of the most gifted scorers in the country. There isn’t a 3-man in the nation with Hamilton’s scoring skills. His 3-point shot is tight when he is balanced, but there are times he struggles coming to a jump stop and/or he fades away on his release. In the open court, his handle is very good and he has an innate ability to get to the basket. He shows flashes now and again of his passing ability; he delivered some of the sweetest assists throughout this event. In addition to his scoring prowess and dexterity on the offensive end, he is one of the nastiest rebounders in the game. He isn’t afraid to get dirty in the paint area and there are many times he’ll lead the break after grabbing a defensive rebound. Hamilton may struggle guarding at the next level due to his lack of elite athleticism. Still, he loves to compete.
April, 2008: Hamilton is a prolific scorer from anywhere on the court and dazzled the crowd in a quarterfinal against 2D1. He can score in a variety of ways — has a sweet floater in his arsenal — and is actually a much-improved passer. His handle has gotten better, but in a semifinal against LA Dream, Hamilton struggled against Lance Stephenson. Stephenson’s strength and tenacity (when he wants to play hard on the defensive end) contained Hamilton’s opportunities, holding him to 7 points. As Hamilton continues to get stronger and does a better job allowing the game come to him, his future is bright.
January, 2008: Hamilton continues to demonstrate why he is considered one of the top scorers in the nation. Against one of the best defenders in the country (Jrue Holiday), he dropped in an efficient 26 points. On the positive side, he is getting more comfortable creating off the bounce and has improved (shot selection) in getting his points within the framework of the offense rather than taking ill-advised shots. However, if Hamilton is to reach his potential at the next level he does need to clean up some areas of his game. For example, he is still too star-driven (can be selfish) and has a propensity to get frustrated too often with officials and/or if things don’t go his way. Hopefully he can continue to improve in Russell Otis’ no-nonsense system and take his game to another level.
December, 2007: Hamilton was inconsistent throughout the whole tournament (2007 Westchester Tip-Off Classic). Although Hamilton is a prolific scorer — think Wesley Person — with a legitimate jump shot out to 23 feet, there are areas of his game that need to be tightened up, most notably his decision-making. Many times throughout the tournament he forced the issue with an ill-advised shot and/or an errant pass. I feel the toughest part of the game for players to grasp is allowing the game to come to them — and Hamilton is no exception. In addition, he needs to work on the fundamentals, particularly the jump-stop as he struggled numerous times to get his feet set while shooting. Overall, Hamilton has excellent skills and a definite scorer’s mentality, but he needs to clean up a few areas of his game if he wants to make an immediate impact at the college level.
September, 2007: After a less than spectacular performance last week at the Fullcourt Press Showcase, Hamilton — along with Jeremy Tyler — was the most dominating prospect in the event (2007 Fullcourt Press Fall Hoops Classic). This lengthy wing is the best scorer in the state. His jump shot is smooth with unlimited range and his overall skills are scintillating to say the least. His mid-range game has improved considerably since the spring as he is getting much more comfortable off the bounce. He has a plethora of ways of scoring and he uses the glass about as well as anybody I’ve witnessed at this level. In the past we’ve questioned his approach (had a tendency to be selfish) to the game, however, his new high school coach Russell Otis has appeared to improve that shortcoming. Although Demar Derozan (Compton, Calif.) is the more explosive athlete, Hamiltion’s skills and fundamentals are far and away much more polished.
Notes AAU Team: Lamar Odom…California is the final school on his list…Averaged 27.6 points and 11.1 rebounds as a junior…Because he repeated his freshman year in 2005-06 he must apply for a fifth year of eligibility…Top three of Texas, UConn and Southern Cal…
Jordan Hamilton Highlight Video Avery Bradley, Shooting guard
Ht: 6’3″ Wt: 180
Findlay College Prep, Henderson, Nev.
ESPNU 100: No. 15 (No. 5 shooting guard)
August, 2008: Bradley was projected as a high-major prospect coming out of the regular season, but after his stellar performance during the summer evaluation period, not to mention the Nike Global Challenge, he must be considered a certain McDonald’s All-American. He was fantastic throughout the weekend; Bradley was arguably the most consistent and explosive prospect. He is a superior athlete with extraordinary lateral quickness and leaping ability. He has a terrific first step to the basket and can either stop on a dime and nail the midrange pull-up or elevate amongst the bigs for the dramatic dunk. He is one of those unusual prospects who could excel in either a motion offense or an up-tempo transition style. He has become deadly with his pull-up but he has become very sound as a catch-n-shoot type as well. Another area he has improved is his ability to separate himself from defenders. He has a swift crossover and he has added a hesitation move that keeps defenders on their heels. Although he is a scorer in every sense of the word, he delivered some of the niftiest passes, especially in transition. In addition to his outstanding offensive repertoire, he is equally as good on the defensive end. He can anticipate in the passing lanes as well as anybody and his man-up defense is simply the best in the country. He defended some of the best guards in the country — 5-7 junior Phil Pressey, 5-10 senior Tommy Mason-Griffin and 6-3 senior John Wall come immediately to mind — and came out on top on most possessions.
July, 2008: Bradley is making a case for No. 1 player in the west and top ten overall in the country. What separates him from most prospects around the country is his effort at both ends of the court. He is arguably the best 2-guard defender in the country as he slides his feet as well as anybody and he’s extremely bouncy — caught a few lobs where his elbows were above the rim. In addition to his bouncy nature he has that 2nd gear that college coaches covet. His perimeter skills, specifically his jump shot, have improved tremendously since last year. He can separate himself from defenders at will due to his uncanny quickness and he has the ability to stop on a dime and rise for the mid-range jump shot. He gets great lift on his shot and his release is excellent.
June, 2008: (2008 Paul Pierce Skills Academy) Bradley demonstrated why his stock has elevated considerably since the regular season. His effort at both ends was awe-inspiring and his demeanor is outstanding. He was the most explosive driver in camp and was able to get to the rim at will on most defenders. His jump shot has improved since last summer and he gets great lift on it. He still needs to extend his range and get more consistent with it, but overall he makes enough of them where you have to honor it. Defensively, he slides his feet as well as anybody I’ve seen this evaluation period and he has very quick hands.
April, 2008: “Relentless” and/or “warrior” are a couple of adjectives that come to mind when describing Bradley. He had an outstanding event and could be considered one of the top five 2-guards in the West. His wiry frame and explosive nature allow him to finish among the bigs and he never appears to wear down. His handle is solid although he could get better off the bounce and his jump shot (gets good lift, but its trajectory is flat) needs to get more consistent. He is one of the more bouncy athletes around and his quick feet and hands should translate into being an excellent defender at the next level.
September, 2007: Bradley had a very good weekend and should be recognized as one of the top five two-guard prospects out in the West for his class. He has a terrific frame with long arms and he appeared to be more athletic (he had a couple of monster baseline dunks over the top of some would-be defenders this weekend) than we originally thought. He got most of his points off of utilizing his quick first step and explosiveness, but he needs to get more comfortable with his perimeter handle — most notably when defenders get into him. One area of his game that needs the most polishing is his jump shot. He gets great elevation on it, but its trajectory is extremely flat. Defensively, he is more advanced than most high school players. He plays with great intensity, and with his wingspan he could become a devastating defender at the next level.
AAU Team: Northwest Panthers…He has heard from every Pac-10 school…Connecticut has offered as well…Left Bellarmine Prep in Sept. 2008 to improve his chances for qualifying…Reportedly down to Kansas, Texas and UCLA, with the Longhorns as the favorite…
Avery Bradley Highlight Video Shawn Williams, Small forward
Duncanville H.S., Duncanville, Tex.
Ht: 6’6″ Wt: 190
ESPNU 100: No. 72 (No. 14 Small forward)
June, 2008: Shawn is a very versatile offensive player who can attack the defender in a number of ways. His best offensive weapon is his ability to shoot the ball in the mid-range area, where he is equally effective off the catch or the dribble. He is also a good shooter from behind the three-point line, although he can by streaky. His ability to create his own shot has vastly improved as of late. He is at his best when attacking immediately after the catch where his quick first step is often enough to get him into the lane. While he isn’t quite as effective off the dribble, his slashing ability still has to be respected with a rapidly improving handle. Although Williams has good size, strength, and athleticism for the wing position, he still needs to learn to finish more consistently against contact. He also rebounds well from the perimeter and is able to pass effectively within the flow of the offense.
December, 2007: Shawn Williams is a great shooter with very good size for his position. Williams can make 3’s, is good shooting off screens and is capable of using one or two dribbles after a shot fake to get his shot off. Williams has a good basketball body and is a good athlete. He is not very good laterally on defense and needs to work on this part of his game. Williams also needs to work on his one-on-one game and on creating his own shot. If he works on his ball handling, this is an area that he can improve on. Williams plays on a great high school team and he is a winner. He also knows that you sometimes have to sacrifice your own game for the benefit of the team. He is a nice prospect who is going to continue to improve as he works on his ball skills.
AAU Team: Texas Select…Texas A&M, Florida and Louisville also offered…