LAS VEGAS -- Quality individual matchups dominated the final day of play at the adidas Super 64 in the semifinals and in the final. In one semifinal, Grassroots Canada, led by 6-1 PG Junior Cadougan (Humble, Texas/Christian Life Academy) and 6-8 SF Tristan Thompson (Newark, N.J./St. Benedict's) took on Pump-N-Run Elite which features talented 6-8 SF Tyler Honeycutt (Sylmar, Calif./Sylmar) and 6-3 PG Kendall Williams (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Los Osos). Cadougan, through his relentless penetration, helped his team capture the win and a berth in the final. In the other semifinal, the Compton Magic took on the Atlanta Celtics in a game that came down to the wire with the Compton Magic besting an undermanned Celtics team, which was missing 6-7 PF Terrance Shannon (Forsyth, Ga./Mary Persons). Point guard Shannon Sharpe (Senior, Corona, Calif./Corona Centennial) absolutely changed the game with his defensive effort against aggressive the Celtics' Trae Golden (Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern), shutting down Golden's penetration to the hoop.
Later in the day, the Compton Magic took on Grassroots Canada for all the marbles. The intensity seemed to get the best of the Compton Magic at times, as they committed ill-advised fouls 70 feet from the basket, resulting in easy free-throw opportunities for Grassroots Canada. Thompson, after struggling from the line throughout the game, hit a number of clutch free throws down the stretch. It looked like those free throws would seal the win for Grassroots, however, 6-4 combo-guard (Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara) Roberto Nelson hit a 3 to send it to overtime. The game went back-and-forth in the extra session with each team having opportunities to seal the win. Magic combo-guard Xavier Thames (Sacramento, Calif./Pleasant Grove) hit two free-throws to tie the game, but Grassroots missed a layup at the buzzer to win it, sending the game to a second overtime. After a valiant effort, the Magic could not overcome their failure to capitalize on Grassroots' mistakes, ultimately succumbing to the superior talent level of Grassroots Canada.
Adidas scouting notes
Shannon Sharpe, 6-3, PG
Senior, Corona, Calif./Corona Centennial
Sharpe has very good lateral quickness, long arms and good strength that he uses to control the game on the defensive end. He slides his feet well and rarely comes out of his defensive stance, all while applying outstanding ball pressure. He hustles all over the court and has a nose for the ball. Sharpe has great energy and plays passing lanes for steals well.
Derrick Favors, 6-9, PF
Senior, Fayetteville, Ga./South Atlanta
Favors makes quick post moves with his back to the basket. He crashes the offensive boards effectively using his superior athleticism to snare rebounds and finish below the rim. On the defensive end, Favors uses his lateral quickness to hedge on screens and recover back to his man, getting into position to contest shots.
Junior Cadougan, 6-1, PG
Senior, Humble, Texas/Christian Life Academy
Cadougan has deceiving quickness despite the shape of his body, which he will have to continue to improve for the next level. Right now, his body gives him the necessary strength to get in the paint and still finish while initiating contact. Cadougan can stroke the jumper from 3 with his nice, high-release point and good rotation. He has good handle with a nice crossover dribble from left to right. Cadougan tends to play out of control; learning to control his speeds will make him a more effective finisher at the rim. He has great poise and never loses his composure.
Roberto Nelson, 6-4, Combo-Guard
Senior, Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara
Nelson uses his dribble to apply pressure to opposing defense, constantly drawing fouls through his ability to get to the paint and initiate contact with defenders. Nelson's body control sometimes hinders him as he avoids contact and ends up making shots more difficult by adjusting in the air. This ability gets him in trouble at times, as he tends to dribble right into defenders and try to double-pump shots, instead of driving into the midrange and using a pull-up jumper. Nelson's defensive intensity wanes at times, while other times, he dials in on the defensive end.
Justin Hawkins, 6-5, PG
Hawkins spent a great deal of time playing power forward for his team and did an adequate job scoring around the hoop. He has good athleticism and the quickness to take the ball to the hole off the dribble or pull-up in the midrange for the jumper. Although he's not a shooter, Hawkins uses timely 3-point shooting to his advantage. He also does a very god job of not forcing offense. Hawkins plays hard on both ends of the court, hustles and moves his feet well on defense. He also gets into passing lanes for steals.
Joe Burton, 6-8, PF
Senior, Hemet, Calif./Hemet West Valley
Burton does not have explosive athleticism, but he has good court awareness and passing ability for his size. Burton knows how to use angles and has decent footwork in the post, which helps him overcome any deficiencies in athleticism. He has the ability to finish with either hand in the post. He struggles a little when quicker post guys take him out on the perimeter and will have to drop some weight to combat this issue. However, he should not drop too much weight; that would negate the advantage that he presently enjoys over the opposition by using his extra size to establish position for scoring and rebounding. Burton has to improve his body and continue to develop counter moves in the post to deal with more athletic defenders.
Tristan Thompson, 6-8, Combo-Forward
Junior, Newark, N.J./St. Benedict's
Thompson struggled to finish around the hoop during the championship game, but he must become a better finisher in traffic once his body matures and he adds strength. His incredible length and leaping ability make him a tough cover for the defense and he draws fouls on the defense constantly. He rebounds the ball on both ends but his rebounding will improve when he gets stronger. Thompson needs to continue to improve his shooting ability, post moves and ballhandling.
Trae Golden, 6-2, PG
Junior, Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern
Golden has good upper-body strength and attacks the rim with reckless abandon. He shoots a lot of free throws because of his aggressive play, which puts a ton of pressure on opposing defenses. Golden does get out of control at times and needs to look to pass to teammates, especially when he has the No. 1 player in the Class of 2009 in Derrick Favors as a running mate. Golden has problems when he faces tremendous ball pressure.
Noel Johnson, 6-1, PG
Senior, Humble, Texas/Christian Life Academy
Johnson struggles shooting the ball from the perimeter, but did a good job of using his size and quickness to create off the dribble and get to the paint, but he will have to continue to improve his ballhandling skills. He unselfishly passes the ball to open teammates and has good court vision. Johnson has the lateral quickness, length, strength and will to develop into a dominate on-ball defender.
Tyler Honeycutt, 6-8, SF
Senior, Sylmar, Calif./Sylmar
Honeycutt again played out of position at power forward. Still he did an effective job rebounding in traffic, despite his thin frame. Honeycutt relies on the offensive boards for many of his scoring opportunities using his length and quick leaping ability to snag boards.
Myck Kabongo, 6-0, PG
Sophomore, Newark, N.J./St. Benedict's
Kabongo has good quickness and changes speeds well, which makes him an effective penetrator. He also has good vision and passing skills, but sometimes looks for his own offense too much. However, he should become a more effective decision-maker with maturity. Kabongo needs to continue to work on his jump shot accuracy and range.
Jason Calliste, 6-2, PG
Senior, Toronto, Ont./Mount Zion Academy
Calliste has good range on his jumper, consistently converting from 3-point range. He also has the quickness that allows him to get to the rim off the bounce. Calliste becomes an even better offensive threat if he exercises better shot selection and not settle so much for 3s in addition to cutting down on his tendency to over-dribble and get himself into trouble.
Antonio Williams is a recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. He previously worked as an NBA scout for Marty Blake Associates.