Thursday, January 8, 2009

ACC Ballers: Recruiting Spotlight

Ben Golliver of recently took in a the 2008 Les Schwab Invitational (Dec. 26-30) in Hillsboro, Oregon where he had a chance to scout two high school seniors, Renardo Sydney and Sherrod Wright, who have been on the ACC radar for a couple of years. Renardo is a 6'10 250lbs 5 star forward prospect (ranked #10 in the class of 09' by from Los Angeles, California via Mississippi. Sydney lists USC, UCLA, Mississippi State, Arizona State, and Virginia as possible college destinations for the 09'/10' season. Sherrod Wright is 6'3 a 3 star shooting guard prospect from Mount Vernon, NY. Wright is being recruited by Wake Forest, Virginia, Xavier, Georgia Tech, and Pittsburgh. If you can remember, Ben wrote a piece for us about Kyle Singler just before he started playing for Duke and apparently his high praise was right on. This is what he has to say about these two:

Renardo Sidney (link)

Renardo Sidney is a great talent and will be an impact freshman. Once you get past his NBA body (and his NBA quickness for his size) there’s a lot to like and a few concerns.

Sidney’s Fairfax team regularly uses him at the high post, where he is able to turn and face anywhere from 18 to 21 feet out. It is here he seems most comfortable. Sidney has big hands and great vision, and he often holds the ball shoulder-height or higher looking to hit cutting teammates or to throw a skip pass if the defense overcommits. His passing was the most surprising aspect of his game: his passes were regularly on the money, in the right places for easy catches and finishes and almost always with only one hand. Whether he will be able to continue to do this with a college and/or NBA ball is an open question but it is a dominating skill to possess in high school.

Sidney can also shoot it from the high post and in both games I watched stepped back to launch high-arcing three pointers. His form is very good and the ball often snapped twine. From outside he was content to catch and shoot in rhythm or perhaps take one dribble to find his shot… he is not overly active in driving the ball from outside or working through multiple moves to get his perimeter shot. This should serve him well. When bigs mess around like that they end up getting stripped in college.

Sidney’s high post location on offense led to a lot of crashing of the glass and with neither one of the opposing team’s able to match his mass, he simply dominated when he put in the effort. With big leads in both games, Sidney coasted more than you would like, often not chasing offensive boards at all. It remains to be seen if effort (and his weight) will be his undoing.When Sidney did post up on the low block, he displayed a number of nice finishing moves, including a finger roll and some vicious dunks. He has a refined drop step move and was a very, very quick elevator; he was very efficient around the hoop and didn’t mess around with unnecessary dribbles or missed shots from point blake. He also did well to avoid player control fouls, which is difficult for a guy his size.

On defense, he stayed much closer to the rim and accounted for most of his team’s defensive rebounds. He got beat backdoor for a dunk because he cheating trying to ball-deny a pass to the high post. He showed the kind of weakside help you would expect from someone his size, and had a few block shots, although most of the opposing guards were not too keen in testing him.

One other note: he threw a number of great outlet passes, one a three-quarter court bounce pass that hit a runner in stride. Thing of beauty. Sort of a Black Kevin Love, to put it crudely.

In the final assessment, I expect to see him in the NBA sooner rather than later. I think he is a good candidate to go one and done and will have high expectations next season. He had an annoying habit of getting down on his teammates, scowling and carrying on when they would miss a shot or fail to catch a pass, which hopefully will get coached out of him in college.

Sherrod Wright (link)

Although I saw Sidney twice, I only saw Sherrod Wright play once, in his Mt. Vernon team’s semifinal matchup with Dominguez High (the eventual tournament winner, beating Fairfax in the final). Like Sidney, Wright was named to the all-tourney team (Sidney was MVP) but unlike Sidney his play did not have the same “wow” factor.

Wright plays wing on a guard-dominated team that works extremely hard on both ends of the court. Wright is definitely the tone-setter and came across as a focused individual. On offense, he seems to favor his pull-up jumper, which he hit with less regularity than you would like given how often he shoots it. His stroke had a hitch to it occasionally and as currently constructed will not cut it in the NBA. I also got the feeling that he relies on his pull up j because he doesn’t have the first step to beat quality wings off the dribble. He was locked up pretty well by Dominguez’s Robert Mandingo (yes, you read that right) and never attempted more than a move or two (he showcased a sweet compact spin move early in the first half) to free himself. Part of that was his playing within the offense, which is definitely something you like to see from a star player in high school. He also drew his fair share of fouls due to the ball being in his hands so often because he is his team’s go-to player.

Wright crashed the boards relentlessly and had a number of put-backs (including a dunk), tips to his teammates and the like. His hustle game is straight. When he did get some space in traffic, he showed quick elevation for a powerful dunk. He has an impressive vertical leap but didn’t unveil it as much as the crowd was hoping for.

Some of his points came from the defensive end, where he played passing lanes well, showed great on-ball technique and came away with a few steals. His intensity ran over on one play when he was whistled for a technical foul for reaching across the baseline trying to contest an inbound pass. Wright struggled a little bit bringing the ball up in transition when he was guarded (he got blocked on one break out and a turnover on another) but did coast for at least 2 uncontested breakaway layups/dunks off of steals. He also played the pick and roll defense very well, jumping out to force a long route for the point guard while not fouling (difficult for high school kids against quick guards).

Wright has a nice frame (6’4” almost 200) that should fill out with an additional 10-15 pounds of muscle in the next few years, which will serve him well in college. I was not totally enthralled with his game and my first instinct is to say he probably doesn’t end up making the league. But that should be taken with a grain of salt: I saw him once and he was playing against an excellent Dominguez club that has a stockpile of quality guards. Wright has the work ethic and competitiveness to do big things.

- Ben Golliver, Blazer's Edge

Next Up:


Noon - Georgia Tech (9-5, 0-1) at Maryland (11-3,0-0) Espn Full Court
Noon - NC State (9-2, 0-0) at #11 Clemson (15-0, 1-0) Espn Full Court,
2pm - #2 Duke (13-1, 1-0 at Florida State (13-2, 0-0) Espn
4pm - Virginia (6-4, 1-0) at Virginia Tech (9-5, 0-1)
7pm - Miami (11-3, 0-1) at #24 Boston College (13-3, 1-0) EspnU


8pm - #3 North Carolina (14-1, 0-1) at #4 Wake Forest (13-0, 0-0) Sun. Night Hoops

1 comment:

TheOdenator said...

Check out that kid Jordan on Sidney's team as well. He hit three 3's on three consecutive possessions. He has amazing form, and nice athleticism. You would want him to be a bit bigger if he is going to use that athleticism productively, but right now he is a kid who can shoot the lights out.