2007 Focus: Corey Stokes

Dan Hurley knows a player when he sees one. He's been on the college level, played in the Big East and watched as J.R. Smith made the transformation from high schooler to NBA player. That's why it's important to note how excited Hurley is about Corey Stokes.

Head coaches from Connecticut and Kansas came in to see him. Heck, most of the head coaches in the Big East passed through St. Anthony's gym to see sophomore Corey Stokes this season. The 6-foot-5, 185 pounder, currently ranked No. 27 in the country, is rounding into a big time prospect.

"Corey Stokes will be one of the best in the country," St. Benedict's head coach Dan Hurley said. "This kid has got it. He's got the game. Whatever "it" is, he's got it."

Maybe that's why Duke, Arizona, Kansas, UConn, Wake Forest, Seton Hall and Rutgers are some early but noteworthy names to mention in regards to Stokes. They must feel like he's got "it" as well.

On a loaded up St. Benedict's squad, Stokes averaged 15 points a night. He shot 42-for-98 from downtown and 84% from the line. "That's the best thing he does right now, shoot it. As a sophomore he almost produced what J.R. did." Of course, that's minus the high-wire act Smith was accustomed to displaying.

"I think he's got enough feel for the game that if he does enough off the dribble he should project to be able to play, I think some combo, by the time he's done," Hurley said. "He's got the feel, knows how to use his body and play angles with the dribble and all that stuff."

Shortly teams will begin playing on the traveling squad circuit. Stokes will lace them up with the Playaz and if Hurley thinks Stokes might have managed to go a little undervalued now, there is time for him to make his impact this spring and summer.

"He had a good ABCD Camp and made the underclass all-star game. Then with Tim Thomas [Playaz], I think he got a little lost in July but everyone who has seen him this year is just shocked by how good the guy is going to be."

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