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March 28, 2005The No. 1 player in the Rivals150 Gerald Green did not disappoint in Monday night's dunk contest at the McDonald's All American Game. It did not come easy for Green as he had to win it in a dunk off against a surprise runner up.
It is not easy for a 6-foot-11 player to look impressive in a dunk contest, but Josh McRoberts pulled it off by forcing a dunk off with Green. In his final dunk, however, Green threw the ball off the backboard and then took the ball between his legs before finishing a windmill dunk for a perfect score.
Green was a heavy favorite to win the contest, but no one would have predicted McRoberts to do so well. McRoberts' strong showing, once again, demonstrates his underestimated athletic ability.
The other two finalists in the dunk contest were Jon Brockman and Amir Johnson.
The three finalists in the three-point shooting contest were Martell Webster, Danny Green, and Mario Chalmers, who tallied a top score of 18 points in the preliminary round.
Chalmers won the contest with a score of 17 points in the final round, Green took second with a score of 14 points and Webster finished with a disappointing 8 points after racking up 17 points in the preliminary round.
Random Thoughts after Two Days of Practice
Byron Eaton will immediately step in and contribute at Oklahoma State. He is as strong as they come, can defend the ball 94 feet, can execute the high ball screen, rarely turns the ball over, can finish at the rack and can knock down the open three. JamesOn Curry's scoring average should skyrocket playing alongside Eaton.
On the West squad, you could put Byron Eaton, Monta Ellis, Julian Wright, Jon Brockman and Tyler Hansbrough on the court at the same time, and the East squad might not get a shot off. If they did get one off, it probably would not be a good one, and it would be the only one they would get on that possession. These five guys are as competitive, hard nosed players as you will find among the top prospects in the country.
Kansas has something special headed its way in the versatile Julian Wright. Wright is a vicious defender who does not just want to stop his man from scoring but wants to take the ball from anyone in his vicinity. He can guard four positions, from the point to the power forward.
Look for Coach K to give the ball to Greg Paulus next year and let him run the team. Paulus has displayed extraordinary leadership skills thus far in practices and has better athletic ability than most give him credit. He will have to cut down on his gambling mentality on defense and with his passes if he wants to keep the ball in his hands.
Players in serious need of gaining weight and strength are Calvin Miles, Micah Downs and Amir Johnson. Too often these guys are unable to make plays simply because of strength, not because of a lack of athletic ability or poor skills.
Brandon Costner will play in the perfect system for his abilities at North Carolina State. Yes, he is another player that needs to get stronger, but he is moving well and looks more like a three instead of a four. The lefty has a very good feel for the game and can pass the ball and stroke the three. He has a natural fade on his jumper that makes it very difficult to contest.
Look for Danny Green to make the biggest impact of the freshman perimeter players for North Carolina. He has size, a very good jumper with range and a caginess about him that allows him to make plays against more explosive athletes.
Do not expect Eric Devendorf to be the heir apparent to Gerry McNamara. Devendorf does not have the decision making skills of a point guard nor the range of McNamara. Devendorf will be very good at Syracuse, however, but it will be as a shooting guard. Perhaps he will develop as a point guard during his career at Syracuse.
Monta Ellis did not shoot the ball well in the first practice, shot it very well in the second practice and then laid an egg in the three-point shooting contest. He tallied only 7 points out of a possible 30 points in the preliminary round. Ellis' jumper is improving as is his left hand. He looks like the type of guy that will continue to become a better shooter over the long haul.