Pan Am Trials: Pan-demonium, A Re-cap of the Trails
By David Scott - July 16, 2007
HAVERFORD, Pa. - What did we learn after three days on the Main Line at Camp Wright on the outskirts of the Losses 10,000 city?
We learned that Eric Maynor (VCU) doesn't just shine in March, that Roy Hibbert (Georgetown) may have cost himself Draft position by not joining ex-teammate Jeff Green in the 2007 NBA proceedings and that Jay Wright, all of the sudden, became one of the elite coaches in college hoops.
Without further ado we present to you the "Hang Time" Haverford Half-Dozen: Six Observations (and Several Booms and Busts) from the 2007 Pan Am Game Trials:
1. Randal Falker Will Play in the NBA
In a camp dominated by the high-majors in every way (invitees), shape (the bigs were BIG) and form (coaches and selection committee members skew heavily to the BCS schools), Falker did for us what hardly any player in Camp could do: Stand out.
His offense is limited but he still manages to score points and as is a trademark of the Salukis, the St. Louis native knows how to draw contact and sell a call, all in one fluid motion. The sight of Falker seeking out coaches to talk to within an hour of the 14-man team announcement was telling. He truly, earnestly wanted to know how he can get better and wanted Wright to give him some suggestions. In other words, he wants to get better. Get ready for a whole new slew of "Meet the Falker" headlines because this kid will be heard from all season.
2. Devendorf and Dookie Disappoint
Shortly after the final evaluation session of the camp was over, Committee Chairman Jim Boeheim had a pressing matter to take care of beyond the final picks. He had to talk to his junior-to-be guard Eric Devendorf and let his player know a few things. So he sat against the upright bleachers on a folding chair next to his young shooter and had a heart-to-heart.
Boeheim was a bit busy to discuss that conversation with "Hang Time," but we think we read the body language pretty well: Do you see how far you have to come, Eric?"
Devendorf did pick things up during the ragged closing session and showed some bursts, but for the most part he was a non-factor. Boeheim needs to be careful with the loose cannon that is the Bay City Roller and make sure that Devendorf knows there were some positives to take out of the camp - namely, that he should now know how far he needs to go to reach the level of a Drew Neitzel and certainly a Wayne Ellington.
Scheyer was a level below Devendorf, meaning the bottom of the pack and it became very clear, very early, that Scheyer's 180-pounds doesn't quite match up to Neitzel's 180 or even Devendorf's 175. Eric Maynor's 165 would appear to be about ten pounds over the under-sized Scheyer. He will be the next, great test of whether players get better over a Duke career. Right now, he's got a long road ahead of him.
3. Method to the Madness
USA Basketball is chart-happy and it's something we probably should have paid a bit more attention to during the sessions. One Team USA insider offered some revealing looks into what the Committee uses for purposes of determining the selections. "It's not quite what the Tournament Selection Committee has in terms of numbers and stats, but they do have access to a lot of numbers," said our mole. "We chart everything during the scrimmages.)
That helps explain why the somewhat surprising picks of Maarty Leunen, Bryce Taylor and Kyle Weaver shouldn't have been all that surprising. Leunen, in particular, came in with a reputation of having an "International" game.
We still don't know what that means because we happen to think a guy like Joey Dorsey is going to have any trouble bringing an "international" game with him to Rio - and about 260 chiseled pounds of USA muscle. We also tend to think that all the West Coast kids are getting strong Boeheim support as he is chiefly credited with extending invites to the impressive list of Pac 10 propsects.
4. Vandy Produces Again
Shan (pronounced SHAIN) Foster (Vanderbilt) had a lot of checks on the plus side of the ledger for his senior status, his versatility and, of course, his touch. Let's remember not to be surprised when this next great Commodore appears out of nowhere in January or February, the way Derrick Byars did last year.
"One big thing we learned at Vanderbilt is importance of team camaraderie the importance of being together at all times," said Foster on Saturday before learning his of his good fortune that night. "It would mean a great deal to be considered one of the 12 best players in the country. There's a lot of great players and great talent. I think I bring a great deal of toughness, I'm a great team player and I think I shoot the ball pretty well from the outside."
Foster does all that and more and he also has really stepped up his defense with some great hands and instincts on D. But he knows it's his shooting that will get him to Rio.
"For a long time they've been saying Americans can't shoot," said Foster. "So I guess they're looking for shooters now and hopefully I'm in that mix."
5. Memphis Means Business
There was one clear cut winner as far as teams go and that was Conference USA's flag-bearer, the Memphis Tigers who seemed to be sending out a warning flare that Cal's Caged Tiger's aren't playing for funsies. Joey Dorsey was simply eye-popping for 80 percent of his time on the floor. "He is a beast and he's only 6'9, but he's a monster," said Foster. "He's big and strong, he can run the floor well, he jumps great. It's just a hard guy to guard with his size."
But it's not just Dorsey's Haverford showing that has Memphis being just about confirmed as the nation's No. 1, it's also the buzz starting to get louder and louder about the gifted Derrick Rose who joins the Tigers this Fall. And don't forget about Chris Douglas-Roberts, the 6-foot-6 guard who some were lamenting wasn't in Haverford for the sake of Team USA.
Memphis might even make a run at back-to-back undefeated conference runs and will once again play a brutal non-conference schedule, including a Dorsey-Hibbert meeting in Memphis and a Rose-OJ Mayo match-up at Madison Square Garden.
6. Upset Special
With the presence of Bill Self on the selection committee (and seeing as Jay Wright was apparently granted the right to add borderline Scottie Reynolds to the roster), we were a bit surprised that neither of Self's players (guards Mario Chalmers and Sherron Collin) were chosen for the 14-man slate. Collins was the weaker of the two and Chalmers probably didn't grade out well when statistics and consistency were taken into account.
â€¢ Booms and Busts from the Trials:
Eric Maynor, VCU - May The Chain be unbroken and may Maynor make it to Rio
The Maruqette Guys - Wesley Matthews was ill, Dominic James couldn't get clearance from the Pan Am people and Jerel McNeal was too up and down to make a serious run at the roster. The good news for in-attendance (and intense) Tom Crean, is that he now has some motivating material for at least two-thirds of his talented trio. (And he can always use the iffy reviews James got from NBA people to prod along the third guy.)
Stella Blu Restaurant - Located down the hill from the team headquarters at the W. Conshohocken Marriott. Almost as appealing as the veal scalloppini was the fact that co-owner Kim Strengari is a bit of a college hoops junkie. She said the joint had been jumping all week long with coach and scout-types who were also in the area for the high school camp going on at Philadelphia University.
The Wawa, just across the street from the hotel - Which part of TSTD ROLL did the sandwich maker on Sunday morning not understand? Or was it the ***T-O-A-S-T*** line on the order slip that confused the poor lad? The beauty of the Wawa sandwich touch screen ordering system is that you don't need to speak with anyone and you get to choose EXACTLY what you want. You can even pay extra for bacon that never gets included on the un-toasted roll.
It could signal the end of our non-Super Wawa shopping days. All the wee little Wawas pale in comparison to the Super Wawas and the bitty baby Wawas are invariably overcrowded and under-cleaned. (Yes, we have a Wawa obsession and no, we don't feel it's necessary to discuss it further.)
Jay Wright, Villanova - Exactly what USA Basketball needs in terms of work ethic, charisma and coaching ability. He charms even the most hardened and stoic of the Philly press corps and he runs a terrific camp where all the players know exactly who is in charge.
Mike Krzyzewski, Duke- He used to be able to send a full team of guys to Trials like these. This year he sent DeMarcus Nelson, who got injured and left and Scheyer, who would have been better off getting injured and leaving instead of staying and getting exposed.
DJ White, Indiana - We are expecting huge things from White this year and the way he got after it for these three days of trials, he deserves all the success that's coming to him.
Richard Hendrix, Alabama- He disappeared after the first couple of sessions and that can't be a good sign for Mark Gottfried who was raving on Saturday night about how much he is enjoying his first go-round as a coach with USA Basketball.
Jon Brockman, Washington - He stepped up his production a bit late in the camp but he earned the respect of fellow bruiser, Joey Dorsey. if Dorsey says Brockman's strong than we tend to believe Brockman is pretty damn strong.
Scottie Reynolds, Villanova - Will need to have a great few days in order to justify being on the 12 man roster. So far, he looks like Wright's binky that the coach had thrown in along with placing the trials right near his suburban Philly home.
Derrick Low, Washington State - A mini-me version of Joakim Noah, right down to the bushy ponytail. We started off skeptical but he won us over and we fear he may knock Maynor off the squad that goes to Rio.
Chris Lofton, Tennessee - There's no doubt that the senior-to-be is better than he displayed in Haverford, but the recurring thought of him looking so undersized is going to be hard to erase.
NBA scouts - They numbered a consistent 15 or so during the first three days and to a man they seemed to love the level of competition and the depth of talent in camp. "It's better than what we were doing at camps like ABCD and Nike," said one scout. "With this type of setting, we're seeing guys who will be first-rounders next year and they're playing against other first and second rounders."
Roy Hibbert, Georgetown - More NBA Scouts means more scrutiny and more picking apart of the somewhat awkward big man's game. If Hibbert plays as tamely as he did last week, during the Hoyas season, he will cost himself many positions in next year's Draft.
Hang Time - Face it, you really like us. We just spent four days live-blogging and speculating about 30 of the top college players in the country and the thermometer was reading 90 degrees on a mid-July day. Who gives you your college hoops fix ALL THE TIME? Hang Time does.
Hang Time - We completely missed the Pac 10 and Maarty Leunen phenomena as it unfolded, despite fair warnings from committee members and coaches. And we never should have doubted Wayne Ellington - he's super talented.
Oh, and we joyfully ate that mistakenly made Wawa sangwich because we were too far down the road to turn around give Wawa a wagonful of whining.
Posted by David Scott at 12:31 AM on July 16, 2007