King James: Day One Rundown

AKRON, Ohio – So far, of all the April traveling team events we've covered, the King James Shooting Stars Classic had the best opening night. Derrick Rose was on display as were a host of talented underclassmen.

Derrick Rose, PG, Mean Streets Express – We had him for 20 points (5-14 FG, 8-9 FT) to go with 7 assists. Throw out the stats because what was impressive was the one-handed steal he made and the extra gear he has going to the rim. Rose simply sees the game differently and when he's surrounded by four high-major players his game will bloom and he'll be lethal. His 3-point shot needs some tuning but everyone knows his feel and athleticism are on another level for point guards.

Herb Pope (right), PF, Pitt. Jots – The charismatic and friendly forward is a big time talent. We chalked him up with 21 points and 10 rebounds while connecting on 10-for-13 from the field. Pope did a little of everything from chatting up the refs to catching alley-oops. Did we mention he can really pass it from the face up position? If you're ever dragging from a long day of action, Pope is guy you need to go see because he's always entertaining.

J.J. Hickson, PF, WW Renegades – In the second half of his opening game he showed off the package. Hickson scored it pretty much every way possible. He's got good feet inside and his moves are decisive and quick. His second half produced 15 points and showed what he's capable of. We'd like to see that kind of performance each half and every time out because he's got that kind of ability.

Anthony Crater (left), PG, Mich. Hurricanes – We heard the buzz all year long about this all-state performer and finally caught up with him. Man, he's good. At 6-foot-1 he's got some speed (in fact different dribbling speeds), busts 3s and sets up his teammates. We've been looking for a point guard in 2008 to assert himself and join the big timers and he might be right there with the top kids at his position. Went for 17 including 5 3s in his first game out.

Terelle Pryor, SF, Pitt. Jots – Make no mistake about it, the Jots are Pope's team but Pryor's got all kinds of talent. In the first half he deferred to Pope but couldn't contain himself the next go around. With the bulk of his work coming in the 2nd half, he finished with 17 points. Smooth slashes and mid-range jumpers were the order of the day and there's no doubting his potential as a basketball player.

Cleveland Basketball Club Sophs – Yancey Gates and B.J. Mullens are talented kids and very highly regarded. Having said that, they're capable of having more productive evenings than they did Friday night in their opening game. Mullens is 7-foot+ and finishes around the hoop. Gates is probably 6-9 and has a big body with soft mitts. There are lock high-major guys for sure but elite of the elite? We'll have to keep watching to see.

The big news of the night from the Class of 2006 is that Scottie Reynolds will be on LSU's campus for an official visit this weekend. Reynolds checked in en route to Baton Rouge and said that Illinois, Wake Forest and Villanova stopped by his school this week in addition to Michigan. … Hurricanes point guard Anthony Crater has been seen by staffers at Marquette, Illinois, Michigan State, Arizona and Ohio State. "I haven't even begun to think about (recruiting) yet," Crater said. …

Terelle Pryor is no longer committed to Pittsburgh but he likes the Panthers and is exploring some options. One of them could be football. Basically, he's just peeking around and hasn't given much thought to where he'll eventually wind up. … Sam Grooms of D-One Sports is a heckuva mid-major point guard. Now, if someone will just notice him! High Point has and offered. College of Charleston is looking and so is St. Joe's. … We're hearing Northwestern and Dayton for Rising Stars point guard Michael Thompson. …

Herb Pope's list reads Memphis, Louisville, Texas, Connecticut, Kansas State and Pittsburgh (where he was at one time committed). Pope said that if he lists North Carolina maybe they'll show him some interest. … Darquavis Tucker said he's down to Louisville, Arizona, Marquette and Miami. …

Reggie Rose, the brother of Derrick Rose, relayed a list of schools that included Illinois, UNC, Virginia, Arizona, Marquette, Memphis, Louisville and Kentucky. Beating the buzzer before the end of the evaluation period to see him this week was UCLA, Illinois, Memphis and Kansas. … DeJuan Blair has offers from Pittsburgh and Indiana. Miami and Kansas State are on his list. ..

D-One Sports forward Marshall Moses had his jump shot from mid-range working tonight. … Herb Pope does two things like an NBA player: he works the refs and he's got an NBA push off that the refs like calling on him. … Steve Swiech is a center for the Pittsburgh JOTS and he's not playing. In February he broke his foot and JOTS coach Darelle Porter likens him to Aaron Gray. Swiech already has offers from Akron and Duquesne. Xavier, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Penn State are interested. …

"Everybody on our team is signed!"

  • Cleveland Titans player minutes after his team is disqualified for using seniors who have signed with colleges. The Titans did have their share of committed/signed seniors on the roster but hey, anything goes in weekend AAU ball!

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