Gary Johnson among Holiday Hoops standouts

After a brief stay at the home base in Kansas City, the Road Show was on the move again Friday. This weekend's stop is the Holiday Hoops Festival held in Bud Walton Arena on the campus of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR. The eight team field featured some locals looking to hang with a talented crew of out of towners.

Among those putting in some work on Friday were Darrell Arthur, Gary Johnson, Corey Stokes, Michael Sanchez and the nation's #2 sophomore Samardo Samuels.


Darrell Arthur - Shackled by a few ticky-tack fouls picked up early in the game, the 6-9 forward from Dallas didn't get his first bucket until just five minutes remained in the first half, but he picked up the pace after that. Arthur stroked home a couple of fine looking jumpers, got out in transition for easy finishes and scored off of a few impressive drives along the baseline. Late in the game a few opposing fans started suggesting rather loudly that Arthur is overrated. With a smile on his face, he called for the ball in transition and attacked the rim with bad intentions while chin checking a helpless defender earning a trip to the line to rub a little more salt in the wound. After 25 and 11 on Thursday -- with a KU staffer on hand -- he finished with 19 and seven.

Gary Johnson - There really isn't any other way to describe it, the 6-8 junior from Houston plays like a man around the basket. He uses his solid and long frame for textbook seals in the post where he catches and makes quick, decisive and more often than not productive power moves to the goal. On top of that, he'll step out and bury a three or a comfortable looking 17 footer. His ball handling is a little shaky, but he also had a few nice drives along the baseline in a 25 point effort.

Corey Stokes - This 2007 stud is blessed with a college ready body, plentiful athleticism and range that extends to anywhere in the gym. Things come so easily for him on the offensive end and his team is so deep and loaded that he'll sometimes go quiet. Just when you think he's going to disappear he'll knock down a 25 footer and make it look effortless, or he'll score on a powerful drive to the hoop. The ability, body and athletic ability are all there and it's just a matter of generating some consistency.

Michael Sanchez - The local product from Har-Ber High in nearby Springdale, Sanchez is a well built junior. He's not afraid to use his body to get to the basket and he's a foul drawing machine who made 24 trips to the line sinking 20 of them. A good shooter with a nice stroke, Sanchez also has a tendency to settle for too many jumpers. Friday night he avoided that problem and as a result he finished with 38 points in a big win. Think a younger and not quite as dominant version of former Minnesota Gopher Kris Humphries.

Samardo Samuels - A rugged and tough 6-9 power player, Samuels probably wouldn't be asked for his id in any bar in the country. The reality of it is, he's just a sophomore and has an incredibly bright future ahead of him. He uses his bulk to establish position deep in the post where he simply turns for easy lay-ins or dunks. He isn't cat quick, but he's deceptive and already makes good use of fakes. Every school in the country is going to recruit this kid, and they are going to recruit him aggressively.


Newark (NJ) St. Benedict's coach Danny Hurley has so much talent on his hands it should be illegal. Along with Samuels and Stokes, he's got 6-0 sniper and Marquette commit David Cubillan and two of the best unsigned seniors in the country in 6-8 BF Lance Thomas and 5-11 PG Eugene Harvey. Thomas is a solid all-around guy who is long and quick while Harvey is a peddle to the metal end to end blur who forces tempo for the entire game and drops off slick dime after slick dime.

6-6 junior wing Ravern Johnson from Clarksdale (MS) Coahoma Co. is about to experience his national coming out party as a prospect. He made some noise last summer at Nike camp and in late summer events, but the athletic wing is developing into a scoring machine. He's lost the hitch in his jumper and can bang home his high arching shot from anywhere inside of 25 feet. He was tough to contain in a 27 point outing versus Dallas (TX) South Oak Cliff. …

Schools in attendance- Tulsa, Arkansas.

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