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Deshawn Sims Scouting Report

Over the weekend, I attended the Jordan All-American Classic, a second-rate McDonald's all-star game. The Classic invites 20 of the nation's best kids (top 100) to Madison Square Garden, and the players do the all-star-game thing: dribble a lot; try to dunk on most possessions; ignore defense. That's not meant as a complaint, though. The event, though lacking the drama inherent to a game of significance, was lots of fun, mostly because it afforded viewers an opportunity to glimpse into the future of college basketball.

As some are likely aware, Class of 2006 Michigan recruit Deshawn Sims participated in the game. Sims even started, and dude performed rather well. What immediately strikes you about Sims is his midrange game. He has a nice jump shot from 10-15 feet, and he's confident in it. At 6'7", the guy projects as a small forward in the NBA, although at Michigan, he'll likely be able to bang inside. And luckily for the Wolverines, Sims has a good frame that will allow him to add muscle and get stronger. Again, this was an all-star game, so it's not fair to make many final conclusions, but Sims looked fairly comfortable banging inside. At the beginning of the game, he had a nice two-hand dunk, and he was consistently fighting for rebounds and boxing out (imagine that!).

I was also impressed by Sims's all-court abilities. Though not a prodigy like Kevin Durant (who's going to Texas and is already the most talented player on that team--think about what that means), Deshawn made some nice passes, was content to work with his teammates (i.e., he didn't shoot every time he touched the ball), and appeared to possess good footwork on defense. For a bigger guy, he moved well on the wing.

I don't know that putting the ball on the floor will be Deshawn's immediate strength, and I didn't see a refined post game, but the former is something at which he can work (assuming that Tommy Amaker even knows how to teach that skill, not a given) while the latter is sadly just not at all common among even the elite players. Every player has holes in his game, but as I watched Sims, I immediately thought, "Wow, this guy is already better than anyone else on Michigan."

Looking at next season's lineup, the starters will likely be Courtney Sims, Brent Petway, Ronald Coleman, Dion Harris, and Jerret Smith. That is not an NCAA Tournament team. Once acclimated, I'd expect D. Sims to take the starting SF spot from Coleman, though. Even with his limited experience, I'd think Deshawn could offer Michigan more than a few rebounds and some iffy jump shots--the things Coleman brings with him to the proverbial table--from game to game. D. Sims also already has more basketball skills than seniors-to-be Courtney Sims and Brent Petway.

So is it a good thing that the best Michigan player isn't even enrolled yet? I could see that going either way, although the same can be said for Texas, Ohio State, and Georgia Tech among others. Perhaps it is not the indictment it seems like. Michigan fans should be excited about Deshawn. Let's just hope that the coaches figure out how to use him and how to make him a more complete player.