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March 29, 2011

What we learned: East squad edition

MORE: What we learned: West squad

CHICAGO - All that's left of McDonald's week is for the East and West squads to hit the floor of a near sold-out United Center on Wednesday night. After three days of practice, here's what we learned about the East squad.

Brad Beal, SG- We learned that the 6-foot-4 shooting guard headed to Florida is exactly who we thought he was. That is, an efficient shooter who mixes in drives with his deep shooting. Looking ahead, there will likely be an adjustment for him in terms of driving the lane against bigger players, but his skill and strong body will help him overcome.

Chane Behanan, PF- The 6-foot-7 power forward headed to Louisville probably hasn't gotten the acclaim he deserves. Sort of a Corliss Williamson type power forward, he makes up for his lack of height with bullish strength and outstanding instincts. He's more of a competitor than we had realized.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG- Outside of Austin Rivers, there's probably not a shooting guard has done better than the 6-foot-5 Georgia signee. We always knew that he could fill it up, but seeing that he has more game off the bounce was notable.

Michael Carter-Williams, SG- While talented, the 6-foot-5 Carter-Williams is a bit of a tweener. The thin Syracuse signee isn't really a point guard and he's not really a shooting guard either. He can handle and create his own offense while showing creativity. But he is still lacking strength and it could effect him more than people realize.

Rakeem Christmas, C- The 6-foot-9 Syracuse signee has the type of talent that had NBA guys scribbling notes. He can run, he's quick off the floor and can score some. However, it was surprising to see him struggle to maintain a high activity level practicing with other elite players.

Quinn Cook, PG- It's been an interesting week for the six-foot tall Duke signee. He's probably been used to dominating the ball and being the man offensively but at McDonald's that's not been his role. He can take care of the ball and is a good passer. But, he also struggled a bit when he did look to score and he may have to adjust his ways some when he goes against more length and power in college.

Mike Gilchrist, SF- The biggest question we've had with Gilchrist is would he be able to score as he climbed to the highest levels of basketball. At McDonald's he's proven to be a higher level scorer than previously thought. His baseline slashing, in-between game and transition finishing all translate. There's not another kid who puts more effort into making plays.

P.J. Hairston, SG- Everybody has always known that the 6-foot-5 North Carolina can shoot it with range. But, we don't think people realize just how quick and sure his release is. There are guys that jump higher than him, but he's explosive and powerful off of the floor and should be a better off the dribble scorer.

James McAdoo, PF- Another North Carolina signee, McAdoo has great length and has started to fill up on top of his 6-foot-8 frame. He's got a good nose for the ball and is an instinctive rebounder. He runs the floor but we noticed that he seems to be a bit unsure of himself on offense in terms of whether to try and attack in the lane or be more of a faceup guy.

Johnny O'Bryant, C- During McDonald's practices, the LSU signee has faced some struggles. He's gotten bigger and doesn't generate as much lift as in the past and had trouble against the trees because of that. Instead of trying to overpower guys, he's tried to shoot fadeaways and that hasn't worked out to well. Conditioning is going to be a big key for him in the future.

Marshall Plumlee, C- As expected, Plumlee came out and put every ounce of effort he had into practices. Running the floor North and South he is fleet of foot and he's a fine leaper with strength. He gets the dropsies on rebounds and passes and looking ahead it will be important for him to be more secure with the ball and contest more shots.

Shannon Scott, PG- There probably isn't anybody who has looked to shoot the ball less than the Ohio State signee. On the other hand, he's been as a good an on the ball defender and reliable distributor of the ball as anybody taking part in the McDonald's game. He'll need to be a little more aggressive with his offense in college.


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