Monday, September 28, 2009

Gym Rats Recap Part Two

In today's recap of Saturday's Gym Rats Midnight Madness event, we will take a look at two of the elite, national level prospects that participated. Those prospects, who won co-MVP honors for the respective teams, are Syracuse commit Fab Melo and Mississippi product LaQuinton Ross.

Fab Melo-(Class of 2010, Syracuse commit, pictured above): Boy does Boehheim have a good one here. The main question I had after watching Melo play on Saturday was one that I also had after watching Aaric Murray at Gym Rats last year. How many years of college ball will he play? Melo is a massive human being, listed by most of the recruiting sites as a 7 footer weighing around 260 or 270 pounds. Despite being that size, Melo was able to get himself up and down the court easily with the quick guards. While he certainly did display a post-up game, the thing that jumped out to me most was his soft touch in the 15-18 foot range. Going up against Malcolm Gilbert, Melo was able to take him both inside and outside. After getting jammed all over in the opening minutes of the game by Gilbert (see yesterday's article), Fab waited for the right moment to get him back. And in the second half he did with a put-back dunk over Gilbert. In addition to that dunk, Melo also had some impressively athletic blocks on the defensive end. He finished the game as the second leading scorer on his team behind Tony Chenault. His game, at least here, did not appear to be a flashy one, but more of a finesse game. It is a game that should transition beautifully to the college level and beyond. And beyond his basketball talent, Melo played the game with a refreshing attitude. A smile was plastered to his face throughout the game. During halftime, he let one of the younger kids from an earlier game throw him an alley-oop pass. Melo is absolutely a player that Syracuse fans can look forward to greeting on campus. Even if it is for only a year or two.

LaQuinton Ross
- (Class of 2011, undecided): This was my third time seeing Ross in the past two years. When I first saw him two years ago, I couldn't believe that he wasn't a rising senior. I couldn't believe there was a better player in his class. Then when I saw him this past summer I noticed a significant drop-off in his game. Well, Ross looked back to his old self on Saturday as he led all scorers breaking the 40 point mark. Those 40 points came in about 20 minutes of play too. Ross is a tough match-up for opponents because, for being 6'7 or so, he is a terrific perimeter shooter. His 3-point and mid-range jumpers are probably his strongest suit. In this game, Ross' jumper was falling with ease. He also played point guard for much of his time out on the court, which is an interesting development. I'm not sure if he plans on truly being a 1 in college, but he looks more than capable of playing the 2. 6'7 shooting guards with his range are special.

Check back tomorrow for write-ups on Kyle Anderson and Cezar Guerrero.

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