By Bryan Kriss - email@example.com
The 11th annual Howard Pulley Invitational has concluded and we came away very impressed with a few prospects. Newly established Texas PRO added to their early AAU season success by winning yet another event. They had a couple of close games, but went undefeated on their way to a championship over the St. Louis Eagles. Here were a few of the standouts:
Danuel House (Texas PRO) - Danuel House was the most pleasant surprise of the weekend for us. It was our second time seeing him play, so we knew he was talented, but he exceeded our expectations and left quite the impression on us. A big-time athlete, House attacked the lane and got to the rim almost whenever he wanted and used his explosiveness for several highlight-reel dunks. He isn't just an athlete though. House showed good ball handling skills and a solid shooting stroke with range out to the three point line. He did most of his damage in the lane and around the rim, but he knocked down multiple smooth looking jumpers when we were in attendance. If he isn't being heavily recruited by the Big 12 already, he will be soon.
Emmanuel Mudiay (Texas PRO) - From watching Mudiay play, you would never expect him to be just a freshman. Already at 6-foot-4, Mudiay is a very skilled point guard with a mature body and good athleticism. He got to the rim at a high rate and did an excellent job of finishing in traffic and through contact. He also showed a textbook shooting stroke and consistently knocked down three pointers and mid-range jumpers. There is very little this young prospect can't do and his best years are clearly in front of him.
Isaiah Zierden (Howard Pulley) - We've said it before and we'll say it again. Isaiah Zierden is one of the best three point shooters in the country regardless of class. He put up big scoring numbers all weekend for Howard Pulley and hit too many threes to count, including 5 consecutive against the MPLS Gators where he scored 25 total points. High-majors looking for a deadly shooting specialist should keep a close eye on him in July.
Cameron Biedscheid (St. Louis Eagles) - After struggling early in their AAU season, the Eagles bounced back and made it all the way to the championship of the Howard Pulley Invitational. He didn't put up huge scoring numbers like he's capable of doing, but his talent was still obvious. He does a great of creating separation between himself and his defender and was able to get his shot off at a good rate. His shot wasn't quite as consistent as we've seen in the past, but there is no doubt that he is one of the better three point shooters in his class. Notre Dame got a good one.
Peter Jok (All-Iowa Attack 16s) - There were stretches of games where Jok was somewhat quiet because he is an unselfish player (and possibly partly because he was fighting through some knee pain), but it doesn't take any more than a few possessions to see that he is a sure-fire high-major player. At about 6-foot-6, Jok is a smooth athlete with an impressive skill-set for his age. He has a nice looking stroke and did most of his damage from behind the three point line. He is a good ball handler as well and helped bring the ball up the floor on a regular basis, but it would be nice to see him use that ball handling ability to attack the rim a little more often.
Isaiah Austin (Texas PRO) - What more can we say about Isaiah Austin? His skill level for a 7-footer is astonishing and although his shot was a little off, he was still instrumental to his teams run to the championship. He did a good job of scoring around the basket while displaying some solid post moves, but probably made his biggest impact with his defense and rebounding. He made scoring in the paint extremely difficult for his opponents all weekend and recorded double-digits in blocks in at least one game. He still needs to add strength and he has a tendency to float around the perimeter just a little too much at times, but we will be tracking him closely this summer as he is in strong consideration for the top ranking in 2012.
Tyus Jones (Howard Pulley) - Another freshman phenom, Tyus Jones looked more experienced than any of his opponents this weekend, most of whom are two years older than him. His feel for the game, vision, and passing ability are incredible for a player his age and never cease to amaze us. He is forced to play off the ball at times due to their guard-heavy roster, but he still finds ways to rack up assists left and right. He is already one of the elite guards in his class and I fully expect him to keep getting better as he improves his shooting (among other things), which is already solid. It will be a lot of fun to watch him progress.