Stopped by the National Prep Showcase today at Albertus Magnus College, and saw Cleveland Melvin in action.
He was impressive. In the short time I was there, Melvin hit a nice baseline floater, had a monster blocked shot, missed a 15-foot baseline “J” then had his most impressive sequence of the night: a steal, and on the other end of the floor, a sweet low post spin move and hook shot for a hoop.
Melvin definitely looked active and athletic. Seemed a little frustrated at times not getting the rock enough on the high post in the middle of Champlain St. Lambert’s 2-3 zone. I swear, it must be the baggy uniforms, but out on the floor he doesn’t seem to be 6-foot-8. Up close, however, he is every bit 6-8.
“It’s a good choice for me, the best fit,” he said of his decision to commit to UConn earlier in the week. “I’m guaranteed getting a lot of minutes, coach Calhoun told me.”
Melvin, who checks in at 205 pounds, says he can play both power and small forward but prefers power forward.
“I finish well, and I rebound well, too,” adding that he needs to work on “my handle, and work on my strength, too.”
When asked what player he would compare himself to, Melvin didn’t have to look too far.
“Stanley Robinson. (UConn coaches) said (they) look forward to me playing like Stanley -- athletic, runs the floor, grabs boards.”
Melvin said things are going well academically, and that he recently got a good score on his SAT. He said he thoroughly enjoyed his visit to UConn Nov. 7-8, going out for dinner with assistant coach Patrick Sellers and talking to his future teammates about what life is like at Storrs.
“They were telling me how school’s going to be great, a lot of girls and all that,” he said with a smile. “I’m just happy and excited to be a part of UConn.”
***Plenty of other top-notch talent in the house, including the following Big East commits: C.J. Fair (Syracuse), Austin Carroll (Rutgers), Dashaun Wiggins (Seton Hall), Isaiah Epps (Pitt), Ron Giplaye (Providence), Russell Smith (Louisville), J.J. Moore (Pitt), Michael Carter-Williams (Syracuse), Gerard Coleman (Providence) and Markus Kennedy (Villanova).
Among the coaches in attendance while I was there were Sellers, URI head coach Jim Baron and Michigan assistant (and former Penn State head coach) Jerry Dunn.