Alex Galindo, SF, Playaz: The MVP of the event is coming into his own. Puerto Rico's finest has a unique blend of talent and savvy that we don't often see in players who have spent less than a year in the States. Over the weekend, Galindo shot it well and that completes his game. However, some of the drives he made, in our opinion, take him to the next level. He had 25 and 24 in the semis and finals, respectively.
Mitch Guest, G, Baltimore Select White: He was the main reason Baltimore Select White was playing late on Sunday. He posted games of 35 and 17 and the Glen Burnie rising senior was the team's best player this weekend.
Kenny Hunt, PG, NC Gaters: The all-tournament performer was the glue guy for the Gaters. He's a solid mid-major prospect who seemingly was making a play every time we looked his way. He's got a really accurate jumper that he moves around and shoots well from a host of places. Terrific weekend.
J.R. Smith, SG, Playaz: He was painting the arc with 3s in one playoff game on Sunday. Smith is clearly one of the most athletically gifted guys in the class. We like to say that he does 2-3 things each game that reminds you of an NBA caliber player. His step-back fadeaway is sweet and he runs, jumps and dunks like a big timer. He had 19 in the semis.
Richard Dorsey, PF, Baltimore Select: It seems like he's playing AAU ball every weekend. Dorsey was a bright spot in a semifinal loss to the Playaz. For him, everything is about athleticism and power. Right now, the post grad player uses both to his advantage and is a tough match up when he's playing actively.
Sean Singletary, PG, Playaz: He was icing his shoulder every chance he could get after a game but we've got to tell you, that shoulder looked to be in pretty good shape when he went up and one-handed slammed one down. Singletary is one of the elite defenders in the class and he's the extension of the coach on the floor. Bright kid, terrific point guard.
James Mays, PF, NC Gaters: He was flying around the court doing his thing again on Sunday. Clearly, he's had one of the best weekends here. Athletically, there are few 6-8 players in his class.
Class of 2006
Vernon Macklin, C-PF, Boo Williams 15s: We probably didn't see him at his best, but like Greg Oden, the freshman whom we saw last weekend, his defense (in particular his shot blocking skills), appear to be slightly ahead of his offense. This is a big kid who appears to have the body and game to be one of the finest in the country in his class.
Class of 2007
Nolan Smith, SG-PG, DC Assault: This 8th grader is 6-1 and has, get this, size 18 shoes! He also owns a shiny new 16 and under MVP trophy. Smith can really score and he's quite the advanced player for his age.
Off The Dribble
Supposedly, Playaz sophomore Andrew Pusar drilled a 3-pointer in the quarters to get the Playaz into the semifinals of the 16s. … Jamual Warren of the Playaz 17s is a superbly athletic guard. The 5th year prep can get to the rim on anyone. He just has to work on valuing the basketball. … Junior Jason Thompson's jumper and athleticism were keys in the Gaters romp over the East Coast Eagles. …
The Playaz Basketball Club has all kinds of players. Until Galindo stepped up on Sunday and got it done for them in three games, a new hero was stepping up each time out. … Best nickname at the event? How about Boo Williams (15s) freshman Vernon Macklin? He goes by "Big Ticket" or just "Ticket." … Sean Singletary might be a zero percent body fat guy. He's chiseled. …
Darnell Harris, a guard with Baltimore Select Orange helped carry his team on Sunday. Harris was sticking smooth 3s in every game we watched on Sunday. … Speaking or Select Orange, one guy who struggled in the semis was Cheyenne Moore. He was held scoreless against the Playaz. …
The DC Assault 16 and under squad is loaded. In addition to Smith, 2005 guard Navarro Bowman is a player and a fine lefty shooter. 2005 guard Raymond Brewer, another lefty, can stroke it and 2005 power forward Dante Cunningham isn't bad either. What a nucleus of talent Curtis Malone has. …
News & Notes
Singletary said he's still looking hard at North Carolina State, Virginia and Rutgers. He's listing Indiana and now Kansas. He says the Jayhawks and Hoosiers are kind of in the same boat in that he's never had a sit down with either school and needs to learn more about them. …
Gaters guard Kenny Hunt feels like Richmond has made an offer to him. He's waiting on his SAT score to come back. … J.R. Smith said that Louisville leads and is going to visit them in the next few weeks. His list now includes Pittsburgh, N.C. State and Connecticut, in addition to the Cardinals. …