Monday, April 4, 2011

Five Star Basketball @ The Final Four: Houston, TX

Long before adidas & Nike, there was Five Star.  Below, Coach Max with the legend himself, Mr. Howard Garfinkel or "Garf" as he's affectionately known at camp in Pittsburgh, PA circa 2006
Boyz To Men would have been a perfect description of the Houston Final Four version of the famed Five Star Clinic held in the Space City on Saturday. With about 100 talented players in the two sessions, the morning was devoted to the youngsters 8th grade & below, while the afternoon session catered to the high school players. "Catered" might be the wrong word to use, as Five Star is a working man's camp where the energy is high and the pace is break neck. Their motto, "Where the Teaching Never Stops" is on the money.
Kerrville Tivy's Rowdy Winters navigates the "chair" ballhandling drills

National basketball writer Vince Baldwin of Prep Spotlight, Mr. Code, Director of Nike Basketball's Grassroots division, Five Star's Recruiting Coordinator, Shay Berry (former coach at Ivy League's Dartmouth), & Max Ivany, of D1 Nation Prep Report were on hand to evaluate the talent.  Both myself & Mr. Berry came up with a consensus group of top performers at the camp.

Co-Players of the Camp
2012 W 6'8" Wannah Bail of Rosenberg Lamar Consolidated has all the tools for next level play, and then the level after that.  He's fluid, can shoot it from the perimeter and runs the floor like a gazelle.  When he gets to the rim (especially in transition) he dunks everything with authority. 

2012 PG 6'5" Alex Caruso of College Station A&M Consolidated is getting better every time out.  He's got sneaky athleticism, plays the passing lanes as well as anyone, has great court vision and really understands the game.
Alex Caruso is making a habit of dunking on people in this young 2011 grassroots season.

Cream of the Crop
2011 W 6'7" Anthony Norris (Prep) is athletic, gets to the rim and when he goes hard is extremely tough.  He was formerly committed to memphis but has reopened his recruitment as he's deciding on which prep school to doa 5th year at.

2011 W 6'7" Austin Jenkins of Austin Hyde Park is unsigned.  He's ready to go academically, so D1's beware.  He's getting stronger, can shoot the three, rebounds & blocks shots.

2012 W 6'5" Michael Carey of Rosenberg Lamar Consolidated.  Along with Bail he fellow Bahamain, Carey can really run the floor and get to the rim. 

2012 PG 5'11" D.J. Griggs of Brazosport.  Looked for his own shot early and often.  Has great body control when he goes to the cup.

2013 W 6'8" Johnathan Motley of Galena Park Northshore was the longest player at camp.  There's a huge upside with this youngster as he's super bouncy and also has a nice shot out to 15 feet.

Left: 2013 PG 5'10" T.J. Williams of Pflugerville is smooth. He's never in a rush, has an improved shot and always looks to drop a dime to his team mates.

Right: 2013 G 6'0" Rasmus Bach of Austin Anderson caught everyone's eye with his hardnosed all around effort.  The Aussie is making great strides in his game.

2013 PG 5'11" Will Morse of Austin Westlake has a season as a varsity starter under his belt.  He likes to shoot it, but he also makes good decisions & distributes the ball well when he has quality team mates that know how to finish.

2014 W 6'5" Mavin Saunders of Houston Kinkaid is a physical specimen who goes hard to the hole and shows skill as well.  We'll see how much he grows.

Left: 2014 G 6'0" Trey Dilworth of Round Rock McNeil showed a tough, explosive game.  He goes hard to the rim and was extremely tough in transition.

Right: 2014 PG Chase Carlton of Austin Westlake battled older players all day, not giving an inch. Along with Will Morse, Westlake's young backcourt has a chance to be really good next year.

2014 F 6'7" Kendrick Bradford of Spring Westfield is a big frosh, with athleticsm & toughness on the boards.

2014 6'5" F Joe Burton of Houston Christian Life is strong, skilled and despite odd rotation on his shot, also shot the ball extremely well from the perimeter.
Coach Max of D1 Nation Prep Report, comparing notes with Five Star's Shay Berry