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April 27, 2004After watching countless hours of basketball and talking to numerous players and coaches at the Kingwood Classic, a notebook fills up with information. In this installment of On the Bounce with Coach Meyer, Rivals.com National Scout Jerry Meyer has sifted through his notes and come up with more tidbits of information.
At first glance, some coaches and scouts may dismiss Brian Morris of Jefferson High School in Portland, Oregon because of his less than athletic build. But the bottom line on the No. 84 ranked player in the class of 2005 is that he can get it done. The 6-foot-8 power forward is a tremendous threat in the mid-range area. He can score with a variety of moves and is a dangerous passer to both the post and shooter on the arc. He is not the fastest up and down the court, and he will struggle to defend slashers on the perimeter. In the right high major system, however, Morris will be an effective player. With his size, smarts, and skills, he can impact possessions in a lot of different ways. UCLA is coming in to visit this week, and Morris already has offers from Oregon State, Utah, Boston College, and San Diego.
Team Texas combo guard Austin Johnson, 6-foot-3, 170-pounds, has picked up an offer from USC according to his family. The No. 78 ranked player in the class of 2005 is a smooth athlete with a great feel for the game. He can pressure the ball 94 feet on defense and can do a little bit of everything on offense. Long and lanky, Johnson has the look of a prospect that will only get better as he gets stronger.
Keenan Ellis of Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, Indiana is a top 2007 prospect. The very thin 6-foot-10 center/power forward is full of potential. He knocked a couple 15-footers and looked comfortable with the ball for the D1 Greyhounds against the Houston Hoops in a 15-under game. He can move on defense and will only get better as he gets stronger. And he might still be growing.
An intriguing prospect in the vein of Arkansas Wings power forward Michael Washington is Jonathan Huffman of Central Park High School in Montgomery, Alabama. The 6-foot-11, 210-pound power forward has the potential to be an impact player. Right now the number one thing he lacks is strength to finish plays. He has the moves to create shots but has trouble scoring the ball, and he gets in position on defense but is not always strong enough prevent scores. With a pretty good looking outside shot, Huffman has a chance to be a tough inside/outside threat in the coming years. After one of his games this weekend, he said Auburn had been his leader before the coaching change. Now he is not sure if the offer is still on the table. He also lists offers from Ole Miss, Georgia, and Penn State and interest from Alabama and Tennessee.
When Louisiana Select point guard Demond Carter, the No. 19 player in the Rivals150, cannot find his own shot, he has a gunner on the wing who he can pass the ball to in sweet shooting Cory Bloom. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Brother Martin High School in New Orleans averaged 17 points a game during the high school season while shooting in around 45 percent from the three point line. Bloom has received phone calls from Oklahoma, Dayton, Wyoming, and Rice. He is getting mail from Connecticut, Georgia Tech, Florida, Louisville, and Texas.
As good as Louis Williams and Mike Mercer are, and they are very, very good, the Georgia Stars would not have won the Kingwood Classic without key contributions of Jay Brown, Daniel Emerson, Alade Aminu, and Bill Humphrey. All weekend the 6-foot-3 Bill Humphrey played with strength and knocked down big shots. Look for more on the rising 2005 shooting guard prospect.
Mike Mercer is a multi-talented combo guard who can knock down shots from the outside. Sometimes he is inconsistent, however, and can miss badly for stretches from the outside. It might have something to do with the sideways rotation on his ball. Will Georgia try to change his mechanics to try and make a good thing even better? Or will they not risk the chance of altering something that might be flawed but already good?
If there is a tougher prep player than Niagara Falls High School combo guard Paul Harris, then I would like to see him. The 2006 prospect led the GC Ballers to the 17-under Silver Division championship while playing with a broken nose, a cut under each eye, and four stitches in a split upper lip. The rugged guard is looking forward to playing one day in the physical Big East.