Day One, Adidas Texas Classic
Pearland, Tex.-- With the NCAA coaches sitting a hotel waiting for the evaluation period to begin on Saturday, the thoroughbreds were slow out of the gate on Friday night. Action will definitely pick up tomorrow at the Adidas Texas Classic.
Derrick Roberts, SG, Houston Select: David Salinas told us he had players, but little did we know just how good a few of them are. Take Roberts for instance. He's a sleek guard with a good handle and looks every bit like a high-major guy. He had a drive and baseline dunk that was awesome. He had 11 points on 4-for-6 from the field in a romp over Team Detroit.
Joe Jones, PF-C, Houston Select: The big fella got his eight and 11 and took a seat for the remainder of the game. While his offense continues to improve, his rebounding prowess has never been in question. Jones got manly rebounds against Team Detroit.
Jerome Habel, PF, D.C. Assault: The kid must have had seven blocks in a loss to the Long Island Panthers. Habel, a lefty, really showcased his overall game tonight. He made a few faceups but it was his rebounding and defense that set the tone.
Brian Laing, PF-SF, NY Ravens: The kid plays the same role for the Ravens that a former Gary DeCesare-protégé--Chris McCrae--did a few years ago. He's a warrior who will get on the glass and stay there. He bangs, hustles, rebounds and plays his tail off. He was one of the lone bright spots in the Ravens loss to the Illinois Fire.
Javan Adams, Houston Superstars, SG-PG: He's probably a little undersized to be considered a full-time shooting guard. but that's where he'll likely wind up at the mid-major level. We were impressed with his offense, in particular his mid-range game. He had 17 in a game Friday night.
Steven Neal, ATH, Team Minnesota: Neal ran a lot of point guard in his team's opener. The guy can pass and handle well. He didn't shoot it from deep on this occasion, but he did play in attack mode and get to the rim. He's a superior wing athlete and a high-major one.
Greg Johnson, PG, NY Ravens: This NYC product is prepping in Massachusetts but he's playing with the Ravens this weekend. The kid can flat out distribute the rock. Did I just sound like Dick Vitale or is it just me? HE also sees the floor well. If you're open he‚s going to find you.
DeAndre Thomas, PF, Illinois Fire: He had a great game against the Ravens. The 6-8 soph was aggressive and played his tail off. He‚s got nice hands and isn't afraid to get in there and finish with contact.
Off The Dribble:
The Illinois Fire has quite a tandem on the wing in Aramis Brown and Jeremy Pargo (brother of Lakers guard Jannero). Brown does everything from behind the arc, and little inside it. Pargo, like his brother, also prefers to shoot it but he can get in the paint too. They combined for 37 in their first game.
Ravens small forward Gavin Grant was held in check against the Fire. However, we did give him seven big rebounds as he did his part and got on the glass throughout. One of the most athletic plays we've seen all spring was turned in by Kiwan Smith of the Long Island Panthers. He ripped down the rim when a Josh Wright layin came off the front of the iron. Smith was there for a rousing dunk.
Joe Jones and Derrick Roberts seem to be the two best prospects on the Houston Select roster, but Chamberlain Oguchi isn't bad either. He can shoot it with range and is athletic as all get up. Xavier got a good one in guard Darryl Garrett. The Team Detroit standout has not a good looking stroke, but a great looking stroke.
News & Notes:
LI Panthers swingman Rashon Clark did not play in the evening game because he needed to get stitches after diving on a loose ball earlier in the day. Two teams that did not show were Hunting Park and Inland Empire. Gavin Grant says he's got "a lot of schools." Pittsburgh was recruiting and Ben Howland has him on his list at UCLA.
Remember the tennis star Yannick Noah? Well, he's got a son, a big son. Joakim Noah is a 6-10 big man with the Long Island Panthers and he can play--basketball that is. Houston Select lost the services of Jawann McClellan, who opted to join the Houston Hoops.
Houston Select guard Derrick Roberts lists Texas, Texas Tech and Texas Christian as schools he likes. We can see him at all three places. His running mate, Chamberlain Oguchi likes Georgia Tech, Oklahoma, Kansas State, New Mexico, St. John's and Colorado State.
Jerome Habel says he needs some press. The fifth-year forward is hearing from Charlotte and Virginia Commonwealth, but that is about it. He certainly had a good night on Friday.
Saturday will be a big day at the adidas Texas Classic. We'll be seeing some terrific players, including a handful like Al Horford that we've never seen at all. Plus, the college coaches will be in the stands and the kids will take up the level of play to another notch.
Day Tne, Adidas Texas Classic
A lot of good teams got bounced from action Saturday at the Adidas Texas Classic. But, not before a number of talented players could do their thing.
Dwight Howard, C, Atlanta Celtics: The boys from the ATL got bounced by Cleveland in the playoffs, but Howard made his case for the No. 1 spot in the nation. The guy appears to be the top shot blocker in this class, has freaky athleticism and clearly had Mike Krzyzewski's attention on Saturday.
Jermaine Bell, C, Playaz: Sports Academy from Louisiana showed the Playaz the door in the playoffs, but not before Bell showed everyone what he's made of. The 6-11 southpaw has used time wisely at IMG where they've done a nice job of getting him aggressive and using his skills. The fifth-year play is improving.
Josh Smith, SF, Atlanta Celtics: Turned in the dunk of the day when he threw one down in traffic. Smith is so athletic and long. His jumper and handle still need some refining, but we're talking about one of the elite players in the class. He is a major, major talent.
Vincent Banks, SG, WW Renegades: He is looking for a prep school and surely he'll bump into one shortly. Banks simply stroked it all day long. The guy's jumper from behind the arc is borderline deadly and he's playing with such high confidence. He hit a halfcourt game-winner that sank the Michigan Mustangs.
Marcus Monk, SF, Arkansas Hawks: Talk about a young man with a basketball IQ. Monk plays within himself, passes well, rebounds and defends. He's not much of a perimeter threat, but he's a total team guy and he is a very, very good player with excellent grades.
Louisiana Panther Guards Perkins And Dumas: The two play together at St. Aug's in New Orleans so we'll talk about them together. Shawn Dumas is the talented PG and James Perkins is the shooter and together they are outstanding.
Al Horford, PF, Michigan Mustangs: Understanding that his knee is bothering him and he didn't score to his reputation, we liked him. Why? Because the son of Tito has a good body and he knows how to go get rebounds.
Matt Terwilliger, PF, Cleveland Basketball: He'll visit Notre Dame next weekend and is also considering Cincinnati and Ohio State. Terwilliger has skills and touch, he just needs to beef up that frame.
Tim Pierce, SF, Oakland Soldiers: The guy has all kinds of bounce to his game and he's a creative scorer. We liked him last summer and he continues to impress.
Tyler Smith, SF, SE Pump Œn Run: What a body for a sophomore! The guy is big time. He passes extremely well and finishes with creativity and athleticism. Head coaches were in the gym watching him.
Off The Dribble:
Sports Academy forward David Gomez came up huge in his team's win over the Playaz. Cleveland's Brandon Ivey has been terrific in the games we've seen. The small forward keeps playing his way up. Speaking of Cleveland, point guard Jamar Butler is going to be terrific in a Bearcat uniform. ?
The Mustangs backcourt of Drew Nietzel and Michael Redell is going to be a good one. One lefty and one righty give the ŒStangs perimeter guns who think the game. Best shooter we saw all day? Try Jarvis Hill, a sophomore with SE Pump and Run. Sebastian Telfair had 14 points in an afternoon win over the Celtics.
Roy Bright and the Hurricanes are having problems adjusting to each other and working out some chemistry issues. He had a good first half against Cleveland today, but didn't put it together. Reportedly he had 27 Friday night. James Hardy was not the big time scorer we've seen in the past during his stint this weekend alongside Bright with the ŒCanes.
Tallahassee's Taurean Green really shot it well from all over the place with range and touch. The Arkansas Hawks are the most unselfish AAU team we've seen in a while. AND, they really get after it on defense. Albert Webber of the Squires has been everyone's darling this weekend. People love how he can shoot and score. We've always said he's Mount Zion's best offensive player.
Oakland power forward Devin Hardin is a just a high schooler but he's got a man's body. He'll try and hammer down anything within range of the basket Glenn Davis (aka Big Baby) plays about as hard as any guy his size we‚ve ever seen. He'll be playing on Sundays in the NFL sooner than later.
News & Notes
Al Horford drew quite a crowd today. In the building were head coaches from Michigan, Miami, Florida State, Texas A&M and Ohio State. Mike Krzyzewski was front and center for more than one Dwight Howard game on Saturday. SE Pump and Run guard Glenn Miles missed action with an injured ankle.
Marcus Monk of the Arkansas Hawks is a big-time student. He's hearing from guys like Stanford, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Florida, Kansas and Mississippi State. Razorbacks head coach Stan Heath was in the crowd today.
New Georgia head coach Dennis Felton knows what to do in the spring: watch the Atlanta Celtics. Schools continue to evaluate Mike Williams. We caught head coaches from Alabama, Florida, Texas, Virginia, Tennessee and Notre Dame watching him. ND's Mike Brey watched Matt Terwilliger a lot on Saturday in anticipation of the prospect's official visit next weekend.
Joining Terwilliger on his official visit to South Bend will be former Arizona power forward Dennis Latimore. No one values a good transfer like Brey. He built the Blue Hens with transfer players. The games are low scoring in Houston because of 20-minute halves and a running clock.
Curious about Dwight Howard's list? Try Georgia Tech, Florida, Florida State, Kentucky, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Clemson, Indiana and Arkansas. Each school was represented on Saturday; even new UNC assistant coach Steve Robinson made the trip. Massachusetts signed Lawrence Carrier so you can bet they'll be right there with his high school teammate, forward Sylvester Seay. ?
Tennessee head coach Buzz Peterson was front and center watching Tyler Smith. Alexander Johnson isn't here, but we've got the skinny on him. He's been to FSU and Indiana and is on Cincy's campus this weekend. He'll be at UConn next weekend.
DePaul is putting the press on Tim Pierce of Oakland. Assistants Josh Oppenheimer and Gene Cross followed him around a little on Saturday. ?. Sean Singletary injured his ankle in the Playaz playoff loss. Too bad, too, because he was playing really well.
Sunday's Playoff Schedule
Quarterfinals: Tallahassee Wildcats vs. Richmond Squires; Houston Select vs. Cleveland Basketball Club; Arkansas Hawks vs. Sports Academy; Long Island Panther vs. Juice All-Stars.