Jayhawks shine at adidas Nations

On Boot Camp Eve, we shift our blog’s focus to basketball. Yes, basketball practice don’t begin until October 4th but as we inch towards Late Night, we’ll be covering more and more Kansas basketball news. We’ll have some non-conference schedule breakdowns as well as discussing some recruiting news. Late Night will bring a bunch of highly-touted recruits to the Fieldhouse and we’ll let you know who is coming and why they’ll be crucial to upcoming basketball seasons.

Earlier this week, NBADraft.net did a college prospect analysis of the players at adidas Nations, which was a month ago. Kansas freshmen Wayne Selden and Joel Embiid both received high praise from NBADraft.net. Sophomore Perry Ellis also performed well.

Check out the recaps below:

Wayne Selden:

Selden was the most impressive player and prospect at adidas Nations. “Mature” is the best way to describe his game, as both his demeanor and skill level are very advanced for a player entering his freshman season.

Selden never seems to be in a rush, and is a quality decision maker. He never sulked or complained when an official made a bad call involving him. He has an NBA body at 18, with top-level explosiveness and strength. In fact, his body and physical style of play is reminiscent of a young Mitch Richmond.

He displayed a good understanding of when to pass and shoot. He was on the receiving end of numerous alley-oop plays and displayed nice athleticism on breakaway dunks. He was adept at making entry passes into the bigs in the post. He can take his opponent to the hole with both his right and left hand and keeps the defender honest by mixing up his offensive attack — the defender rarely knows if Selden is going to attack off the dribble or take the open jump shot.

At Nations, however, his jumper was inconsistent. While the rotation and form of his jump shot look good, he does seem to not always fully commit to it. But with repetition (and also Andrew Wiggins creating openings for his fellow Jayhawks), it’s possible that these inconsistencies will fade by season’s end.

Selden was not always fully alert on defense at this event. He kept getting caught on some back-door cuts and back picks, giving up easy points to his opponents as a result. He competes and gives good effort on the defensive end, though, so the coaching staff at Kansas should be able to correct these ball-watching tendencies. Scouts came away saying he could end up a top-five pick if things fall into place for him at Kansas. There is some question about his height (some say he could measure at 6-foot-3 barefoot), but it shouldn’t hurt his stock too heavily.

Joel Embiid:

The buzz surrounding Joel Embiid has been escalating ever since the Jordan Classic. It was even further intensified when Rick Pitino declared he would make him the second player chosen in the 2014 draft (after Wiggins).

Unfortunately Embiid’s lack of consistency and feel for the game were exposed at this camp, as he struggled against stronger and more seasoned post players. Embiid will likely end up a one-and-done top-10 pick on upside alone, but he looked far too raw to take in the top five, much less No. 2.

He’s in excellent hands at Kansas and should develop a great deal over the next six months. He showed flashes of his immense potential, as he has the size and physical tools that you don’t find in a center in every high school class. He was an enforcer on the defensive end, blocking shots (Kaleb Tarczewski in particular) and altering others, but his offense was, at best, a work in progress.

He’s at his best when he’s hitting the offensive glass and trailing the fast break. In half-court sets, he’s prone to holding the ball too long. He couldn’t score effectively in the post and didn’t seem to know what to do with the ball once he got it. He does show very nice touch around the hoop, which is what makes him so intriguing.

It would really benefit him in the long run if he had a two-year plan in place at Kansas, as he is 3-4 years away from truly coming into his own. His motor runs hot and cold, and he seemingly hasn’t developed a real passion for the game. While he’s not quite as thick, he’s got some similarities to Andrew Bynum, with his skill set and physical make-up. Unlike Bynum, Embiid will hopefully develop a strong work ethic and dedication. His upside is right there with the top handful of players in this year’s loaded draft class.

Perry Ellis:

Ellis dominated at Nations, improving his stock as much as anyone. He’s an undersized power forward, but he plays with such intensity and energy that he should be able to carve out a solid niche at the NBA level. He reminded some scouts of Kris Humphries.

He is extremely aggressive around the basket and showed a crafty ability to use his body and fakes to get shots off. He had moments where he displayed Antawn Jamison-esque quick hooks and slick post moves. Ellis consistently hit mid-range, top-of-the-key and baseline jumpers. He played with a sense of urgency, out-hustling opponents, diving for loose balls and playing solid one-on-one defense.

While he had an impressive camp, scouts had questions about his true NBA position. Does he have the skills for the 3? Is he big/strong enough to become a 4? These are legitimate concerns. While he’s clearly more of a PF than a SF at this stage in his development, he does show some combo-forward ability with his improving face-up skills. An underrated athlete, look for him to have a breakout sophomore season for the Jayhwaks and develop into a potential top-20 pick for the ’14 draft. Also see: Perry Ellis Interview.

Selden got some more praise from SBNation.com, as well:

-The single individual I came away most excited about, even though his name was spelled incorrectly in the program: incoming Kansas freshman Wayne Selden. He has the frame of an NBA two-guard already and he’s only 18. Tremendously compact handles, excellent jumper, plays within himself, great body control, beautiful eyes … he really has it all. With Joel Embiid, who also performed well, Andrew Wiggins and Selden, Kansas could have three of the top 10 picks in next year’s draft.

Very encouraging news for some of the younger Jayhawks that could have a big impact on the 2013-14 season.