Stickdog went to Vegas and sent us this
very very fine report - and says there's more! Send it on, Stick! Thanks!
So your team just misses winning the National Championship after being set up by the media like a bowling pin. Then the real trouble begins. One returning player after another 1) tries to make Jerry Krause look like a genius, 2) tries to make Bret Bearup look like a genius, 3) tries to make a hack Chicago Tribune "journalist" look like a genius, and 4) fails to keep his father from looking like an imbecile. While these disappointments seem daunting, there is a simple remedy: Next year. And of course, the year after that and the year after that.
Adidas Big Time Tournament, Las Vegas, here we come!
This time there were no floods or fires or impromptu water falls in the middle of unsuspecting casinos. There was, however, 110-degree heat, crazy thrill rides, indoor wind tunnel flight, blackjack, and well over 1,500 high school basketball games. There was Coach K, David Henderson, Wojo and the ever-indulgent stickchick. There was Coach Gut, Pete Gillen, Jim Calhoun, Gary Williams, Mike Jarvis, Steve Lavin, Herb Sendek, Steve Robinson, Bobby Cremins, Tommy Amaker, Quin Snyder, Rick Barnes, Clyde Drexler, Billy Donovan, Rick Majerus, Jerry Tarkanian, Mike Brey and Bob Bender. There was Britt Oettinger, Clark Francis, Frank Burlison, Bob Gibbons, Russ Blake and Kurt O'Neil. There was Gerald Wallace, Eddie Griffin, Deshawn Stevenson, Jerome Harper, Andre Barrett and Alton Ford. But most of all, there was Chris Duhon. And next year and the year after that began to look even better.
First, the disclaimer: We (the stickpack) viewed over 35 games during the five-day tournament, but even so, we didn't see everyone we wanted to see. Avery Queen, Glenn Batemon, Teyo Johnson, Alton Ford, Blake Stepp, Maurice Young and Dwon Clifton will somehow have to manage with one less evaluation of their performances. I was also disappointed to find many players listed on rosters who did not attend the tournament due to injury or other reasons: Abdou Diame, Chris Wilcox, Wesley Stokes, Rasheed Dunbar and several others. Futhermore, I was unable to positively identify any new Duke targets. Although Duke coaches watched Eddie Griffin, Deshawn Stevenson, Scott Hazelton and Michael Joiner intently, it seemed that Duke's very hefty presence at the Big Time was primarily due to Chris Duhon. And believe me, he's worth every effort as a player, a winner, a leader and a person.
For you hardcore recruiting fans, here are the first ten team reports. (Believe it or not, there's more where these came from.) We scouted all of these teams for at least three games. In the case of the Jazz (Duhon's team), we felt on first name basis with the players by the time the tournament ended. There were large numbers of talented underclassmen at the tournament and Duke coaches eyed many of them. The players captioned with no class specifications are rising seniors.
New Orleans Jazz
The New Orleans Jazz led by the clutch Chris Duhon, went 9-0 in five days to capture the Big Time Championship. The Jazz roster sported at least six high Division I athletes and their level of play was phenomenal, averaging over 90 points per 32 minute game. In order to emerge as champions, the Jazz had to beat the DC Assault, the Michigan Mustangs, and the Tim Thomas Playaz in succession on the last day of a long and tiring tournament. All three of these teams were certainly among the top six in the field. The Jazz and the T1T Playaz set a combined scoring record in the blistering 110-103 final.
Chris Duhon 6'2" Guard
Chris was very deservedly named the MVP of the Las Vegas Big Time Tournament as he was, by far, the most valuable player on the winning team. He scored 19 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and dished out 7 assists in the championship game. He averaged 18 ppg for the tournament. Duke and Kentucky coaches followed his every move, and his performance proved their wisdom. Chris is a leader, a gamer, a winner, a coach on the floor and a player's player. He doesn't monopolize the ball like so many lead guards, and yet he always makes his teammates better. The decision making of his team improved noticeably whenever he entered the lineup, even if he was playing off the ball. In this tourney, he defined clutch. Whenever his team was in trouble, he would come up with a steal, lead an easy break or hit a big three. Perhaps it was Chris' unbelievable unselfishness that caused me to question his performance last year. After watching seven games this year, believe me, I am fully convinced of Chris' talent. He is the exceptional player who can seemingly dominate play at any time, but who defers to and involves his teammates until critical situations in which his teammates look to him.
A quick inventory of Duhon's skills: Langdon-like range, Amaker-like steadiness and leadership, Dawkins-like defense and explosiveness (almost), and Hurley-like ability to run the break. He rifles assists inside in the half-court set, and throws the alley-oop. He has very quick hands and feet on defense. He can slice through the lane and throw down the dunk or finish in traffic. He hustles for rebounds and loose balls and recovers from broken plays by canning a three or completing a no-look pass. Three of six from 3 point range was a bad game for Chris.
Is he the perfect guard? Well, not quite. He's not the strongest player, and can be overpowered by very physical guards. He doesn't play very rough defense under the basket, and though he fights for rebounds, he's no Thomas Hill. He sometimes forgets to follow his usually accurate shot, expecting it to always fall. He sometimes seems hesitant to penetrate--he carves defenses up rather than breaking them down. He's not strong enough to finish consistently in heavy traffic. However, he is a great open floor defender and he has a very good interior and midrange scoring ability. From beyond the arc, he may be the best shooter in his class, and he shreds tight presses with ease. He has the capacity to single-handedly add 10 or 15 points to a lead in a couple of minutes of play.
Would Chris be a good fit with Duke? Absolutely. Remember, Jason Williams played WG with his AAU team as a rising senior, and Duhon played off the ball quite a lot both last year and this year. Duhon has the unique ability to direct the game even if he is off the ball. He and Williams could compliment each other perfectly. In my opinion, both players would be lead guards even if they were on the court at the same time. Because of their different skills, Williams would be more of a penetrating lead guard while Duhon would be counted on for more perimeter scoring. However, to simply say that "Duhon would slide over to shooting guard" would be to miss the point of Duke basketball - which is to take advantage of the unique skills of each team player. The Dawkins and Amaker analogy does not work here because Duhon's game actually combines many of the skills of Dawkins and Amaker. Whether as a point guard, a lead guard, a shooting guard or just a guard, rest assured that Chris Duhon
would carve out a niche at Duke as easily as he carved up the competition at the Big
Brandon Mouton 6'5" WF
Brandon solidified his status as a top 40 player with a fine all around performance. He exploded for 33 points in the championship game as Duhon broke the double team and found him again and again. Brandon has a solid inside-outside game, a strong body, a nice stroke from out to 21 feet and good court sense. He is a consistent finisher who can really sky for both dunks and rebounds. He has good form on his freethrows and runs the court well. Sometimes Brandon gets restless and hoists up a bad shot out of the flow of the offense. And while he can certainly put the ball on the floor and go to the hole strong, he is by no means a slick ball handler. He is, however, a strong player on defense and with the ball and will have a great chance to become a star in college basketball.
JueMichael Young 6'3" WG
JueMichael followed his impressive ABCD camp with another great showing in Vegas. Young is a strong, skilled player who can go inside or sink the open three. He averaged 15 ppg for the tournament and scored from all over the court. He is also a tenacious and effective defender who gave the very talented Bernard Robinson all sorts of trouble. Young uses his strong body to crash the hoop and score and/or draw the foul. He is a high flying dunker who always plays strong with the ball. JueMichael sometimes tries to do too much and takes an ill-advised shot. His passes are not as crisp as possible and his court sense is not extraordinary. However, these are minor deficiencies for a player with tremendous talent. Top 40 prospect.
Maurice Williams 6'1" Guard
A smooth, quick, and skilled combo guard, Maurice averaged 14 ppg at the Big Time. Maurice can run and jump with the best of them and has good range to 24 feet. He has a sweet stroke, decent PG skills and the ability to shake off a defender for a midrange score. He also is adept at getting to the hoop with or without the ball. He follows his shot and is strong enough to rebound inside. He is not the strongest defender, but he recovers well. Another top 50 prospect.
Justin Reed 6'6" PF
Justin is a big, strong kid with a decent 3-point stroke. He scored 29 points vs. the Michigan Mustangs in a semifinal game. He also managed to shatter a backboard on a dunk, causing the Big Time organizers quite a bit of consternation. Justin runs the floor well for his size, bang underneath and pop out for an open three. He has a nice spin move which he uses to overpower weaker players. He scores and rebounds well in heavy traffic and he fights valiantly under the hoop with taller players. Justin can be inconsistent with his interior passes and catches, but he's a top 50 prospect with a big upside.
Kendall Dartez 6'9" Junior Forward/Center
Dartez is a young, growing player with good defensive instincts and finishing skills. As the Jazz's tallest player, he defended and rebounded well. He can sky for dunks, block shots and draw fouls. He has legitimate range to 16 feet and good form on his shot. He has a nose for the hoop and looks to score. However, Kendall needs to learn to redirect some entry passes for open threes (he's a black hole a la Alaa), and he needs to gain strength to battle inside. All in all, a great junior prospect who already knows how to use his quickness and athleticism to score in bunches.
Dwayne Mitchell 6'3" WG
After seeing very little action all tournament, Mitchell exploded for 16 very athletic points in the last 13 minutes of the championship game.
The Tim Thomas Playaz were second only to the Jazz in talent and were probably even deeper and more athletic overall. They averaged 89.9 points for each 32 minute game, and they destroyed teams with a very potent fast break. UNC coaches were noticeably present, as was Tommy Amaker.
Eddie Griffin 6'8" PF
Weighing in at only 200 lbs., Griffin looks a little thin to dominate at power forward, but he's just one of those rare talents. He averaged 23.1 ppg and scored 34 trying to keep his team in the championship game with the Jazz. He certainly would have been named MVP if the Playaz had managed to win the tourney. He has extraordinary timing on defense with games of 8 and 9 blocked shots. He has good court sense and he scores and dishes wisely off broken plays. He can be muscled underneath, but he jumps quickly and is a great rebounder for his size. He's a good freethrow shooter, and a decent perimeter shooter capable of nailing the occasional three. He can feed the interior crisply from the high post, and he scores on put-backs and tip-ins quite frequently. He's quite a leaper and he knows how to use his quickness to his advantage. However, what Griffin does best is simply receive the ball in the low post and proceed to deposit it in the basket. He offers a high target, uses his soft hands to catch the entry pass and simply turns and shoots over or around his defenders. He never brings the ball down and quickly releases it toward the hoop for a high percentage opportunity. Simple, dangerous, and very effective.
Can Griffin make the adjustment to wing in college? Well, he certainly hasn't shown he can handle the ball. In fact, his refusal to dribble or even bring the ball down low is what makes him so effective. Perhaps Griffin is the perfect recruit for the modern era: a dominant college performer with a glaring deficiency (ball handling) that must be addressed before he can become a valuable professional. In any case, he would be a force in college if he enrolled today. Top 10 prospect.
Marcus Toney-El 6'6" Wing
Tommy Amaker smiled as his newest recruit showed off his strong physique and his smooth, pretty moves to the rim. Toney-El also sported an excellent perimeter shot to 22 feet, forced his way to the line at will, and swooped in for thunderous dunks. Top 30 prospect who averaged 18 ppg.
John Allen 6'4" Wing
Very involved, active on both defense and offense, Mr. Allen raised his stock in Vegas by scoring 14 ppg from the inside and outside. He's a strong, tough wing who's not afraid to fight for rebounds and steals. Allen is a heady player who is a good rebounder his size. He can hit the three, but he prefers to score off the dribble. He can attack the rim, or pull up for a jumper if the defense adjusts. Top 75 prospect.
Mark Curry 6'5" PF
Undersized, but very strong and athletic power forward does the dirty work inside, runs the break well and scores off garbage and in transition.
Jeremiah King 6'2" Junior Guard
This confident, athletic scorer is a multitalented wing who thrives on the break. King is a strong ball handler and a good defender who can hit from the perimeter, but who could use to improve his decision making skills.
One of the tourney favorites, the Mustangs boast an extremely young and talented team. They reached the semifinals before running into the Duhon, Reed and Young buzzsaw. If the youngsters return next year, this team should be odds on favorite to go all the way in Vegas or any other venue.
Anthony Roberson 6'0" Sophomore PG
Frank Burlison rates Roberson the #1 guard in high school regardless of class. I wouldn't go so far, but Anthony has incredible talent and two full years in which to improve his already mature game. As a sophomore, he compared favorably to Duhon's performance as a junior. In fact, he plays a lot like Duhon in that he sets up his teammates first and uses his excellent scoring ability in strategic bursts. Of course, he sometimes tosses up long threes seemingly on a whim, but nearly 50% hit bottom. Roberson is a quick and crafty defender who can generate turnovers. He has a very pretty shot from both the floor and the foul line. He likes to penetrate and either dish, go strong to the hole or pull up for the 10-12 footer which usually drops. Of course, he could use more height and strength, but he's already one amazing high school performer.
Kelvin Torbert 6'4" Junior
Several coaches I spoke with predict that Torbert will be the class of 2001. This precocious rising junior is a strong, tough, heady, athletic, run-jump scorer who also sports a deadly jumper. He bulls into the lane at will, drawing fouls and/or finishing strong. His passing skills are just passable, and sometimes his bold forays careen out of control. However, I would not bet against him with the game on the line. He averaged 18 ppg in the tournament and he was the star of the Mustangs' tough 75-74 OT elimination of the Gerald Wallace and Mario Austin lead Alabama Ice.
Robert Whaley 6'9" Junior Combo Forward
The hot rumor is that Missouri and our old friend Quin lead for this tall, rangy athletic forward with great leaping and shot blocking ability. Just a rising junior, Whaley already has a nice soft turnaround jumper as well as the ability to connect facing the basket out to 18 feet. He runs the floor like a gazelle and crashes the boards. He showed a nice bank shot from the elbow along with a variety of impressive dunks. However, he has trouble muscling exceptionally strong players in the lane and can have his shot thrown off underneath when tussling with more brutish post players. He could use more strength, but with his skills, he could easily move to the wing.
Robert Brock 6'9" Forward
Nimble post player with a decent jumper. Can be pushed around.
Nucleus Smith WG
This mystery player replaced the injured Desmon Farmer on the Mustang's roster and proved himself a valuable asset with a smooth shot and a number of impressive slices to the hoop.
Pump N Run Gold
This deep, well-coached team progressed all the way to the semifinals where they where dispatched by the more athletic Tim Thomas Playaz.
Lou Wright 6'6" WG
Lou is a toothpick-thin wing with a sweet, sweet stroke from all area codes. He arrived late for the tournament and took awhile to get his feel for the game, but he was the main offensive force for Pump N Run's admirable stretch run. He scored 15 points in the quarterfinal victory over LA Rockfish and 22 points in the semifinal loss to the Playaz. Scoring seems to come easy for Lou who looks almost frail but plays tough on both sides of the floor. An active player with deceptive athleticism, Lou rebounds surprisingly well using his quickness and height to slither into the lane and snake the ball away from beefier competition. He is also a slick dribbler who unfortunately overdribbles on occasion. He has the quickness to go around his man, but he's most dangerous from way downtown. One of the best shooters in Vegas, for sure. Top 50 prospect.
Brandon Brooks 6'6" PG
Brandon is a tough, solid, heady penetrator and distributor with the ability to direct offenses on the break or in half court sets. He's a hard working defender who is strong for his size. He scored 18 points against the Rockfish, but hurt his wrist and was limited to 3 points against the Playaz. Brandon has good hops and can get above the rim. He's a smart leader with a knack for the crafty play, but he's not a great shooter by any stretch of the imagination. Perhaps King Rice would be a good comparison, except that Brooks is likeable. Top 100 prospect.
Salim Stoudamire 6'2" Junior Combo Guard
Salim was not able to stay for the last day of the tournament, but he played well for the first four days. He's young and needs to mature mentally and physically. Like his brother Damon, he's a demon in transition and a threat to drive, dish or hit the three. He's very aware on the court and has deep range.
Aerick Sanders 6'8" PF
Long, quick and very lean post, Sanders is a surprisingly effective rebounder and shot blocker. He's also a smart post player with good footwork who knows how to score down on low on both first and second chance opportunities. He has a soft 10 foot shot and nice form on his freethrows. Top 100 prospect.
Brandon Fullove 6'4" Wing
Brandon is a stocky, heady, Chris Mullin-type with a knack for making clutch plays. He's a fundamentally sound and active defender with quick hands and good positioning. Unfortunately, he's a step slow against the quickest competition. He is strong with the ball and can bull to the hoop, drawing fouls. He also has a very consistent shot out to 21 feet.
Antoine Jarrell 6'6" Wing
This explosive, athletic player is very quick to the hoop. He has strong hands on offense and defense and good perimeter skills. Unfortunately, Antoine's performances were somewhat erratic in the Vegas tournament.
The Massachusetts Wildcats had a difficult tournament. Scott Hazelton, the Wildcats' star, broke his nose early in pool play. Not the most talented team with Hazelton full strength, they were bounced from the tournament the first day of open play. Coach K and David Henderson caught their first day of action.
Scott Hazelton 6'8" WF
Scott is a rangy, athletic, and skilled WF who can rebound, outlet and hit the three--think a taller version of Ricky Price, or a less explosive Donyell Marshall. He plays good fundamental defense when he concentrates and he generally shows good court awareness. He has the ability to find the open man when he's double-teamed, and he runs the floor very well. Scott had a difficult tournament primarily because his nose was broken by Cambyland's 250 lbs. Quadir Habeeb in the second game of pool play. After his injury, he attempted to play with a fitted mask, but he was obviously frustrated and generally ineffective. Even before his unfortunate injury, Scott showed signs of mental strain or physical fatigue, sometimes trying to do too much on offense. He let little mistakes get to him and perhaps pressed himself too much. He is obviously a very talented athlete who will certainly be successful in college. In fact, his athletic ability and potential outshining quite a few players "ranked" higher than Scott.
Tom McLaughlin 6'5" Junior Wing
The dog's pet. A Danny Miller play-a-like, McLaughlin is a tough, skilled kid who really gets after it on both ends of the floor. A good shooter out to 22 feet, McLaughlin hustles for loose balls, fights for rebounds and uses good hands on defense to create steals. He follows his own shot automatically and is not afraid to venture into the lane. He handles and distributes well for his size, showing good court awareness. While not the quickest or most athletic player in the tournament, McLaughlin has the look of a winner who, with normal improvement, will compete at a high division I level.
Anthony Andersen 5'10" Guard
This quick shooter is a team player with a smooth game and demeanor.
Isiah Ransome 5'11" PG
Isiah is a tough, physical point guard is not a shooter, but isn't afraid to the dirty work. He was on a lot of good plays and he dishes well in half court sets.
The Razorbacks proved their mettle by playing two of the best teams in the tournament--Gateway BBC and the Tim Thomas Playaz--very tough. However, they also played down to the level of lesser competition. Gateway BBC knocked them from the tournament in a 68-60 struggle. David Henderson and the coaches of many smaller NC schools watched.
Michael Joiner 6'7" Wing
An athletic wing with a pretty good handle, Joiner reminds me a bit of Kevin Strickland physically. Michael is in great shape as he never stopped to catch his breath in Vegas. His range is perhaps 21 feet, but he hits clutch threes in all of his games. He is also adept at taking opposing players into the lane off the dribble, and he even puts the basketball between his legs with surprising dexterity. He played the lane on defense in Raleigh's somewhat passive zone and he managed to block quite a few shots. He also blocked out reasonably well. He had less success guarding quicker players on the perimeter, but he certainly has the athletic talent to stay with these players. He makes good outlet passes and can really run the break. However, he could use to improve his court awareness, and he has a devil of a time controlling rebounds. To his credit, he has very quick reactions which allow him to get his hands on just about every ball in his vicinity. But, these are usually tips which, as often as not, end up in the opposing teams' possession.
Allen Lovette 6'4" WG
This high flier is a good finisher with quick hands and 3-point range. He likes to take his man one on one and has several good scoring moves. Top 100 prospect.
Weston Taylor 6'5" Forward
Not the most athletic or talented player, Taylor is, however, a very tough and active winner. In fact, he may have been his team's most valuable player. He fought for every rebound and loose ball in his vicinity and played more than adequate defense against much taller competition. Truly a warrior, Taylor should make a valuable mid-major contribution.
EBO / EA Sports
Last year's EBO team featured Carlos Boozer, Brett Nelson and Deshawn Stevenson. They were a talented team that underachieved drastically. This year, EBO was "The Deshawn Show" featuring Deshawn, his cheering section and several decent role players. After surviving a nightmare trip to Las Vegas which included sleeping in the airport, EBO played some decent basketball and Stevenson really impressed observers. For all the rumblings about Deshawn going pro, there were certainly a lot of college coaches watching including Calhoun, Jarvis, Roy Williams, Quin and Wojo.
Deshawn Stevenson 6'5" Wing
Deshawn was simply the best athletic prospect playing in Vegas. He is very strong, very quick and an excellent leaper. He was his team's primary ball handler often bringing the ball up, and he showed decent (scoring) PG skills. He has legitimate range out to 22 feet and he averaged 27 ppg for the tournament. Many of his points came off of a pretty fadeaway jump shot which is accurate to three-point range. Deshawn's athletic forays to the hoop resulted in several impressive slams including one where he flew in to follow his own missed shot. He is strong with the ball and was able to split most double teams with ease. His one-on-one moves are very effective, and he intelligently looks to draw the foul inside. He played very selfishly, but perhaps the composition of his team required that sort of play. He reminds me a lot of Maggette, but with a bit more polish and a bit less explosiveness. Like Maggette, he could use to improve his court sense, but he is assuredly a top 5 prospect.
Maurice Tyree 6'7" Junior Forward
This physically impressive player really skies for rebounds on offense and defense. He has good timing on blocks and he makes few mistakes, but was basically not involved offensively. One to watch.
Sedrick Powe 6'6" Forward
This undersized post player showed he could score from in close. He blocked shots and lived on second chance opportunities. He snuck around bigger players for rebounds and tip-ins and played pretty tough defense.
Belmont Shore - Southern California
After toying with inferior competition in pool play, Belmont Shore showed good talent and heart, beating a couple of very good teams in open tournament play before falling to the champion New Orleans Jazz in a close contest.
Travon Bryant 6'8" Forward
This quick, muscular, athletic leaper played with a lot of grace and confidence. Playing like a smaller Terrance Morris, Travon proved to be a decent ball handler and sweet three-point shooter who can also mix it up inside. He plays intelligently, taking advantage of his interior/perimeter skills and the mismatches they afford. He has quick hands, good form on his freethrows, and is a strong rebounder and finisher down low. However, he did not always concentrate on defense and is rumored to face an uphill battle academically. Top 25 prospect.
Ellis Myles 6'7" Power Forward
Looking like a poor man's Elton Brand, Myles simply overpowered many opponents down low and was probably his team's most valuable player. He has a good array of strong post moves and he is a rebounding force underneath. He has a soft touch close to the basket and he scored a lot of garbage buckets. He actually has a surprisingly quick first step, he runs the floor very well, and he plays a vigorous defense. He is adept at getting to the line, however, once there, his freethrow attempts scare spectators. He put up the three several times, but his perimeter game would probably be more impressive if it were kept secret. Top 75 player.
Tito Maddux PG
This fifth year player is a strong, surprisingly intelligent point guard with the ability to take just about anyone to the hole at will. Unfortunately, he is much better at drawing fouls than converting foul shots. His perimeter shot is also suspect. However, he's a gamer who can really push the tempo. He plays aggressive defense and has the strength and quickness to go coast to coast like no one's business.
DC Assault 17s
This very talented squad advanced all the way to the quarter finals where they ran into a motivated Jazz team that would not be denied. Certainly one of the five best teams in Vegas, the DC Assault 17s featured at least five bonafide Division I players. Don't be surprised to see New Mexico appear on several of these players' lists following New Mexico's hiring of DC Assault's former head coach as an assistant.
Cliff Hawkins 6'2" Combo PG
This deceptively strong scoring point has a nice all around game. He scored 27 points in his team's elimination loss to the Jazz. He has a large repertoire of scoring skills. He can hit the three off the dribble or drive, draw contact and finish. He's an alert passer who can break down defenses off the secondary break. He plays the passing lanes well and comes up with critical steals. He also has a decent midrange game, complete with head fakes, dribble fakes and jump stops. He may not react to the pressure of being scouted well as he noticeably pressed and began to play out of control when he noticed Coach K watching him. He also threw up more than a few ill-advised threes. However, he is definitely a top 40 prospect.
Bernard Robinson 6'6" Wing
Bernard is a strong, confident scoring wing who combines inside toughness with a deadly three-point shot. Given an inch or two of room, he can hit a jumper off the dribble from just about anywhere on the court, and his shot looks very sweet. He makes good cuts to the basket without the ball, and he can shake and bake his way to the hoop with the ball. However, he doesn't look to pass much, doesn't really assert himself on defense and makes some questionable decisions with the ball. Definite top 25 prospect.
David Hawkins 6'4" Wing
This wing forward is a rebounding force who exploits his incredible strength down low. He rebounds very impressively for his size, and is an active defender. He cans his freethrows and can hit the three if left open. Top 100 player.
David Holmes 6'6" Forward
This undersized power forward is a strong rebounder who is quick to the basket. He makes good cuts without the ball and is adept at drawing contact underneath. However, he couldn't handle Justin Reed down and he bonked many of his freethrows. Top 100 player.
Tyree Spinner 6'7" Junior Forward
This strong young prospect is an active, athletic forward who can hit the occasional three. He showed a nice spin move down low, proved good awareness, drew fouls and took charges. He looked a bit overmatched against the best competition, but he was one of the best juniors in the tournament.
Maurice Branwell 6'8" Forward
This athletic shot blocker has nice shooting form from the line or the field. However, he does not always show the best judgement on either end of the floor.
LaFonte Johnson 5'10" PG
This tough, quick scrapper is a good defender with a nice three-point shot.
James White 6'6" Junior Forward
Young, thin player has a pretty shot, good quickness, good positioning and a lot of fight.
This young, talented team performed well and was a pleasure to watch, although they often favored the matador defense. They were knocked out of the tournament by the Houston Super Stars 101-92, though Imari Sawyer did not go down without a fight. Bobby Cremins, Pat Kennedy, and Jim Boeheim were among the awed spectators.
Imari Sawyer 6'1" PG
Clocking in at 25 ppg for the tournament, Imari proved he could score as well as dish. This strong, quick guard got into the lane and drew fouls at will. He is a gifted ball handler who delivers precision post passes and alley-oops. He plays aggressively on both ends of the floor and proved to be a tough defender. He has a very good, but not automatic three-point shot, and he can both lead and finish the break with aplomb. He got to the line 19 times in the Fire's elimination loss to the Houston Super Stars, and tossed in 31 points against a very good Friends of Hoop Orange Team. A talented top 20 performer who sometimes played selfishly, but was very impressive overall.
Sean Dockery 6'2" Sophomore Guard
This extremely young and slight prospect has incredible range and great court awareness. Sean is a very adept ball handler with legitimate NBA three-point range. A cocky but heady player, Dockery can pass or go to the hole, but is best at hoisting up the bomb.
Luther Head 6'3" Junior Guard
Not just another young, cocky talent, Luther is strong with the ball and plays with a lot of flair. He's a quick and athletic junior with a sweet shot out to 23 feet. He follows his own misses, flies high when attacking the rim and tosses assists. Come up on him outside and he'll slice into the lane. He needs strength to finish in traffic and play better defense, but he's a very intriguing young prospect. Kudos to the coach with the sense to scout this young star.
Lavar Seals 6'4" Junior Guard
The third of the Illinois Fire's tremendous underclass trio, Seals is the strongest and most mature. Adept on defense and strong with the ball, Seals also shows great range and athleticism. He'll certainly be a prized recruit next year.
Chris Alexander 7'1" Center
Tall, mobile and athletic, but also reasonably strong, Alexander was a sought after postman in a class very weak on centers. He has a decent midrange shot and is a good rebounder. Top 75 prospect.
Reo Logan 6'10" Forward/Center
Another tall, athletic player, Logan has good basketball skills for a 6'10" high schooler. He combines impressive post defense with shooting range to 18 feet. He'll be heard from on the next level.