Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas said it best when speaking to his team prior to a game during the NBA Finals: "It's a battle of wills, not a battle of skills."
Coming on the heels of the mega AAU tournaments in Las Vegas, the Double Pump Best of the Summer event becomes more of a war of attrition: The players, running on fumes after displaying their wares in Vegas, work through physical and mental fatigue in efforts to finish off the vaunted summer evaluation period with a bang and possibly win a championship along the way. Given the amount of games that these players have played in a short period of time, the tournament presented a surprising number of well-played, close games. Fortunately, players participating in the event did not suffer a rash of injuries that can occur when dealing with fatigue.
In the championship game, an upstart 1-5 Elite team, led by 6-foot-8 SF Mike Moser (Portland, Ore./Grant), took on traditional AAU power DC Assault, with Kansas State commits 6-8 combo-forward Wallace Judge (Washington, D.C./Arlington Country Day School) and 6-4 SG Rodney McGruder (Washington, D.C./Archbishop Carroll) leading the charge. In an intense, competitive matchup, DC Assault managed to secure the title on a follow-up by McGruder in the final seconds.
Wallace Judge, 6-8 combo-forward
Senior, Washington, D.C./Arlington Country Day School
Judge did a very good job of controlling the boards on both ends of the floor, especially on the offensive glass. He managed to maintain this high level of intensity and effort throughout the tournament, and that's especially impressive given the fact that he has had trouble with keeping his intensity high for the duration of an event. On the glass, Judge uses his strength to establish position and his athleticism to outjump opponents when corralling rebounds. He possesses incredibly quick leaping ability in addition to a similarly quick second jump, which makes him an even more effective offensive rebounder. Once he gets the rebound, he quickly gets back and uses his strength to power up for layups.
Judge has to continue to improve his ability to finish strong in the paint while absorbing contact; he will undoubtedly improve this skill as he matures physically. Though he has the makings of a skilled, versatile inside-outside threat, Judge does his best work offensively when he does not venture too far away from the basket. He does not have polished footwork in the post, but his quick, decisive moves make up for any lack of refined post moves. Judge has an emerging jump hook using the right hand and he has the quickness to utilize the turn-and-face move in the mid-post area for a quick drive past slower defenders. He will also shoot the jumper on the turn-and-face move in the mid post, though he needs to become a more consistent shooter from the perimeter. He runs the floor very well and finishes in transition. Judge needs to uses his impressive athletic gifts to have more of an impact on the defensive end, by contesting shots and shutting down the lane on a more consistent basis.
Mike Moser, 6-8, SF
Senior, Oregon, Ore./Grant
Moser spends a great deal of time as a point forward for his club, and he played very well in this role during the tournament. He has good vision and passing ability, both of which complement his ability and will to make his teammates better. Moser has the thin build and tendencies of a young, right-handed version of Jalen Rose, and though Moser does not possess the same awareness or polish as Rose at this point, he does rank as a better athlete than Rose. Moser can put the ball on the floor and get to the rim, though he has to continue to improve his ballhandling skills for the next level, especially when he faces quicker and stronger perimeter defenders. He has a tendency to overdribble in his efforts to penetrate. Once in the paint, Moser does a good job of locating open teammates for easy scoring chances.
Moser will connect on jumpers, with range that extends out to the 3-point line, but he needs to continue to develop in this area. He also has to improve his shot selection, as he often opts to shoot 3s in transition instead of getting into the teeth of the defense. Moser should utilize his midrange pull-up jumper more when he cannot get into the paint. His defensive game has as much versatility as his offensive game: He effectively uses his length and quick feet to guard three to four positions on the court. Moser also rebounds on both ends of the court, scoring on the offensive boards and starting breaks by dribbling up the court after he snares a defensive rebound.
Rayes Gallegos, 6-2, combo guard
Senior, West Jordan, Utah/West Jordan
Gallegos used the summer evaluation period to announce his presence on the national recruiting scene in resounding fashion. He has the ability to consistently shoot from the perimeter and drain jumpers with regularity. Gallegos has range on his jumper, which easily allows him to connect from the land of 3. He not only will shoot the spot-up 3, he will also take defenders off the dribble and pull-up for an effortless 3-point shot. He also uses his quickness and ballhandling skills to get into the midrange for pull-up jump shots. Gallegos has very good leaping ability and uses his hops to get good lift on his jumper, which allows him to shoot over outstretched arms of defenders. He also has very good arc and a nice, high release point for his jumper, though he tends to rely on the pull-up from 3 a little too much at times, especially when he cannot get to the rim. Gallegos, with his good quickness and leaping ability, should use his midrange pull-up.
Once he breaks defenders down, Gallegos has the ability and vision to spot teammates for open jump shots on account of his penetration and passing skills. With more scorers around him, his passing ability and point guard's mentality should come to the forefront. His versatility as a point guard or shooting guard will help him immensely on the next level. Gallegos has the correct disposition for a point guard and his demeanor rarely changes, whether he has drained four consecutive 3s or faces intense ball pressure from opposing guards.
Anthony Stover 6-10, C
Senior, Los Angeles, Calif./Renaissance
Stover places his imprint on the game through his stellar defensive play. He regularly contests shots both in and out of his area. Stover has very good timing on blocked shots, making him a good on-the-ball shot blocker as well as a good weakside-help defender who can erase his teammates' mistakes. He uses his length and jumping ability to aggressively swat away shots, but he has very good discipline when practicing his craft: he adeptly avoids foul trouble and doesn't go for every head fake that offensive players use against him. Once he gets his hands on the ball, he does not erroneously swat the ball in the stands, which would give the opposition the chance to set up a play to score off the inbounds. Instead, Stover taps the ball, giving his team a chance to get it and start a fast break, which in turn gives him the chance to run the floor and finish in transition.
Stover also has an excellent feel for the game despite his height, and he passes the ball very well for a big. He has impeccable vision, easily locating cutting teammates or open players on the perimeter when he gets double-teamed in the post. Stover has to continue to improve his post game and footwork, in addition to adding more strength to his frame. More muscle and strength will make him a better finisher in traffic and allow him to hold his position on the low block and make him more of an offensive threat in half-court sets. Due to his lack of strength, he wants to turn-and-face in the mid post, but he easily gets knocked off balance by defenders when he tries to go by defenders. Stover does have decent form on his jumper from about 12-15 feet, but he needs to improve his consistency in this area.
Michel Snaer, 6-5, SG
Senior, Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde
Snaer uses his strength, quickness, and athleticism to give opposing defenders nightmares. He can overpower smaller guards on the perimeter, but he can also use his very quick first step to get to the paint easily. Once in the paint, Snaer has the leaping ability and strength necessary to take contact, adjust in the air and still convert the basket, using either hand to finish at the rim. He uses his physical gifts to place pressure on defenders and draws a number of fouls on the defense. Snaer also has very good vision and passing ability, finding open teammates in traffic for layups. He has a tendency to leave his feet for passes when he gets in the paint; though effective most of the time, sometimes it causes him to turn the ball over. Snaer has great range on his jumper and will connect from well beyond 3-point range, but he has a tendency to settle for the shot at times. He needs to get in the midrange area more and pull up for jumpers, which will open up his penetration to the basket and his long-range bombs.
Snaer hits the boards with great tenacity and focus, using his strength and leaping ability to battle opposing interior players for rebounds, especially on the offensive end. He also plays defense and moves laterally very well, while he uses his strength to force smaller guards into turnovers.
Kennan Hornbuckle, 6-3, SF
Senior, North Hollywood, Calif./Campbell Hall
Hornbuckle scored the ball with great consistency throughout the tournament. He has nice range on his jumper that extends well beyond 3-point territory. Hornbuckle has an almost effortless jumper with a near-perfect follow-through, which also makes him a very good shooter from the perimeter. He also has very good athleticism and runs the floor well, which makes him a threat as a spot-up 3-point shooter in transition or as a finisher above the rim while running the break. He has good leaping ability and a good frame, which should work to make Hornbuckle even more aggressive on the offensive end, though he has a tendency to take a backseat at times. Hornbuckle has good quickness and can get to the rim, but needs to become a better finisher in traffic.
Hornbuckle has good passing skills and will look for open teammates on the break in addition to half-court sets. He plays with a good amount of energy and gives decent effort on the defensive end, though he has the athletic ability and strength to become a defensive stalwart. He also needs to use his ability to create more offense for himself in the midrange area, using his leaping ability to shoot the pull-up jumper over defenders. As he prepares for the next level, he needs to become more aggressive and use his athletic gifts to impact the game on a more consistent basis.
Terrell Mack, 6-4, SG
Graduated Senior, Vancouver, Wash./Fort Vancouver
Mack has very good athleticism and quickness, making him a very tough cover for opposing defenses, especially when he decides that he wants to take defenders off the dribble. Once in the paint, he uses his impressive leaping ability to get shots off in high-traffic areas. He has decent ballhandling skills, but he needs to become a better dribbler as he sometimes has problems when facing intense ball pressure, which forces him to get in a hurry. He plays at a very quick pace, but he has a tendency to become too hurried and get out of control at times. Mack has an assortment of floaters that he uses to convert in the paint, and he effectively releases the shots at unorthodox angles on unsuspecting defenders. Mack can also hit 3s, but he needs to continue to become more consistent when shooting from downtown.
Mack remains in attack mode on the offensive end throughout games, but he needs to use his impressive physical traits to become more of a defensive force. He has the lateral quickness and athleticism to become a force on the defensive end.
Brandon Davies, 6-8, PF
Senior, Provo, Utah/Provo
Davies does not have explosive athleticism and quickness, but he has very impressive offensive tools. He has a decent body and the strength necessary to hold his position in the post. Once he gets the ball on the low block, Davies has nice footwork and effectively uses the jump hook with his right hand while turning over his left shoulder. He will have to continue to use his footwork and counter moves when he matches up with more-athletic defenders. Davies also faces the basket very well and can play in the mid post as well as the high post given his ability to connect on jumpers from the perimeter. He also willingly passes the ball when doubled on the block and he also passes the ball well in transition. Though he should not handle the ball all of the time, Davies does have the ability to dribble the ball on the break and break down defenders when he has it in the mid post. Davies does a good job on the boards and uses his body to establish prime position for scoring and rebounding in the painted area.
Ray Turner, 6-8, PF
Senior, Houston, Texas/Jesse H. Jones
Turner has very good athleticism and leaping ability, which he uses to have a huge impact on the game for his team. He scores very well around the hoop and uses his very nice right-handed jump hook when he gets the ball in the post. Turner also has the ability to connect on jumpers in the trail position on the break as well as in the high post, with range that extends out to about 15 feet. He runs the floor very well and finishes off the break above the rim consistently with his leaping ability. Turner also hits the boards with a great deal of effort and uses his quick leaping ability to terrorize the offensive glass. He plays decent position defense in the post and uses his athleticism to overcome the fact that he may rank as an undersized interior player at this point. Turner will become even better once he adds more to his post-game repertoire.
Jordan Williams, 6-8, PF
Senior, Torrington, Conn./Torrington
Williams has good size and strength, which he uses to wreak havoc in the post on both ends of the court. He uses his size to carve out deep position in the post for rebounding and scoring close to the basket. Williams, despite his size, runs the floor reasonably well and will finish in transition, keeping up with the smaller, quicker guards. He rebounds in traffic very well, and extra contact does not seem to bother him most of the time. Once he receives the ball in the post, he relies on his emerging post game to score in the paint, though he needs to continue to improve his footwork and post moves. Williams needs to continue to improve his body, which will lead to even better conditioning and make him effective for longer stretches. Williams does contest shots, though he needs to use his imposing size to affect the game more on the defensive end.
Best of the Summer Notes
• With his performance on the summer AAU circuit Gallegos should garner attention from a number of high major programs. He stated that he wants to play out his senior season and then commit at that point. Gallegos currently lists Colorado State, Nebraska, UCLA and Utah as schools that have expressed interest in his services.
• 2009 prospect 6-10 C Bak Bak (Sherman Oaks, Calif./Village) has a nice skill set for a big. He shoots the ball from the perimeter and can connect on 3s. Bak also contest shots very well and plays with good activity on defense. He runs the floor and needs to continue to add strength in addition to muscle to his frame.
• 2010 prospect 6-10 C Dera Ezuma (Burlington, N.J./Burlington Life Center) plays with good energy on the defensive end and contest shots. He hits the offensive boards with great energy and runs the floor. He has to increase his strength and add post moves, but he offers a nice package for a kid who has lived in this country for only six months.
• Six-foot-4 SG Johnel Gray (West Linn, Ore./Cleveland) has tremendous range on his jumper and shoots it with great consistency. He almost shoots a set shot and never seems in a hurry.
• 2009 prospect 6-6 SF Cyrus Durham (Aurora, Colo./Cherokee Trail) has impressive scoring gifts. He has a deadly midrange pull-up jumper that he uses to score points in bunches. He can also use his strength to get to the rim and score in the paint.
• 2010 prospect 6-8 combo-forward Evan Smotrycz (Reading, Mass./North Hampton) has a diverse offensive game. He shoots the ball from the perimeter very well and also has very good passing skills. Smotrycz currently has offers from Georgia, Northwestern and Oregon. Undoubtedly, we will hear more about him in the near future.
• 2009 prospect 6-7 PF Arsaland Kazami (Houston, Texas/The Patterson School) has amazing athleticism and very lively legs. He runs the floor very well, finishes above the rim and rebounds the ball with great tenacity. He also contests shots very well.
• Six-foot-5 SG/SF Deend Parker (San Francisco, Calif./Abraham Lincoln) possesses incredible vision and passing skills. He has a point guard's mentality and could provide a team with great size from the position if he had to play it in a pinch.
Antonio Williams is a recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. He previously worked as an NBA scout for Marty Blake Associates.