NOTE: Players are Class of 2002 unless noted.
Travis Outlaw, PF, Fastbreak USA, 2003: Wow! A year ago, he was a skinny shot blocker. Now, he's a high-flying athlete – in the same stratosphere as James White – who plays way above the rim. He's such a great athlete that he actually can jump and hang in the air to challenge shots. It's like someone is shooting him out of a cannon. His game is becoming much more versatile and there's no reason to think he wasn't one of the three best underclassmen at the event, if not the top dog. He lives in Starkville, Miss., and that's extremely good news for Mississippi State fans.
Marlon Pompey, PF/SF, Grassroots Canada: He has a little jumper in his arsenal and seems to move well outside-in. He's also a pretty good passer worth putting on the recruiting radar at the mid-major level.
Elliott Poole, PF, Illinois Gold: This kid has a big heart. He's 6-6 and 220 pounds and tries to play much larger. Give him a good matchup on the blocks and he goes right after it. He's powerful and crafty inside and is a fighter. He ran into trouble defensively with Walter Waters who sheer height allowed him to go right over top of him. He's a strong-willed mid-major power forward and with the right program will be a player.
Kendall Profett, PG, Long Island Panthers, 2003: Of all the Panthers guards, he's probably the best suited to handle the lead guard duties. He's strong and fast. He finds people off the bounce and makes good decisions in traffic.
Shavlik Randolph, PF, Raleigh Heat: It's unfortunate that those who attended the T.O.C. didn't get to see the real Shavlik, the most skilled big man in this class. What amounts to a chipped bone in his ankle hobbled him and the pressure of being the best prospect in a basketball-crazed area is tough to juggle. However, he did average 15 points for the tournament. Toss this event out because he's much better than what was seen this weekend. Trust me, this kid has a little Tim Duncan in him – though not nearly as good a rejector – and he'll take center stage the month of July.
Allen Ray, SG/PG, New York Ravens: To his credit, Ray looks to be in the best shape of his life as he's dropped some pounds and in turn his game has taken a step forward. In the contest we watched, his jumper was clicking from deep and he has a nice release on it. He also got himself some points off the drive. He just needs to tighten up his ball handling a little and he'll be recruited by plenty of schools in the Big East as a combo scorer. He was the event's second leading scorer to the tune of 30 a game.
JJ Redick, SG, Raleigh Heat: He's the best pure shooting guard in the class; he and Rashad McCants are different type of players. All Redick did was get himself acquainted with the rims at each of the three Triangle schools. No one – emphasis on no one – shoots the basketball the way Redick does. You remember his misses more than his makes, that's how good he is. Off the dribble, Redick got it done, as he's a very good athlete. He now takes his place among the 10 best players in this class.
Anthony Roberson, PG, Michigan Hurricanes: Ironically, it wasn't Anthony Roberson's jumpshot that did the damage this weekend. Instead, it was his work off the dribble penetration, which really stood out. A normally extremely reliable 3-point shooter, Roberson's deep game wasn't there until he really needed in some late-game situations.
Antywane Robinson, SF/PF, North Carolina Gaters: Here's a young man who plays with aggression and purpose. He has a little medium-range jumper and is a very good athlete who should be a solid mid-major type prospect with potential.
Shawan Robinson, PG/SG, Raleigh Heat: His evolution as a player has been something to admire. He's improved dramatically over the last year and physically isn't done. He's a fine athlete, good defender and has plenty of offense off the bounce and with his jumper. Sometimes his shot selection is a little off, but that's fixable. He's really coming into his own.
Aubin Scott, SG, Long Island Panthers: This kid is a perimeter scorer and many of the Northeast low and mid-major schools will likely take a strong look at him. To his credit, he's developed his jumper to where he can hit it on the move and is the Panther's best 3-point threat.
Will Sheridan, BF, Tim Thomas Playaz (2003): The 6-8 Sheridan is the best prospect we've seen in Delaware since Lloyd Price a few years ago. He's a solid athlete and has a great frame. 6-8 guys from the First State don't exactly grow on trees and he's already receiving some national attention.
Alex Spotts, SG/SF, Beach Ball Select: Here's a young man with a solid frame. His game appears to be based around making perimeter jump shots. He'll likely begin receiving recruiting interest at the low-major level with some mid-majors taking a look. Good size; good shooter.
Lodrick Stewart, SF/SG, FOH Seattle, 2003: Great athlete who plays above the rim. He's does a lot of everything in that he gets on the boards, can handle it and will make some threes. He averaged 24 points for the event. He's the lefty of the twins. Athleticism allows him to rise and challenge shots and out jump others for rebounds. Who knows just how good he and his brother can be?
Rodrick Stewart, SG/SF, FOH Seattle, 2003: He's the other half of the high-flying Stewart Circus. In one game, he scored his team's first 13 points. This weekend, he was the better shooter of the two brothers as he was stroking the three. He averaged 25 points and was the 6th leading scorer at the event. He had everyone who watched him in awe of his abilities, that's how good he and his brother are.
Amare Stoudemire, PF/C, Fastbreak USA: Big-time athlete who is simply stronger than his counterparts. His game is predicated on power where he catches the basketball and steadfastly attempts to dunk every chance he gets. That kind of power and determination simply can't be taught. He's the best rejector in the class because he gets off the ground so fast and moves so well that he can chase down drivers in the paint and meet them at the rim where he doesn't lose any battles. To his credit, Amare makes it his business to challenge everything. He shot some threes, but that's not his game. Like many of his peers, diversifying his offensive game is a priority where he'd be wise to develop a go to move down low. When he's running the floor, defenders seek shelter.
Trent Strickland, SF, North Carolina Gaters: He reminds me of a smaller Walt Williams. He has great hands and a nice wingspan which he uses to get on the glass and cause steals. Very good athlete who will also challenge shots on defense. In other events, we've seen him flash a sweet touch from the perimeter. Great catch for the Demon Deacons as he committed the day of the tournament.
Curtis Sumpter, PF, Long Island Panthers: He played primarily on the perimeter this weekend, but it's inside where we've seen him do his best work. He's much more effective when he's getting on the glass for stickbacks and boards. He's trying to develop his perimeter game and while he should signs of life, there is still a lot of work to do in that area. Though he tailed off in the title game, he is a very athletic rebounder.
Jay Thomas, SG, Illinois Fire, 2004: Here's a good-looking rising sophomore. He's a tough defender, solid driver and will get on the glass for you.
Lorenzo Thompson, C, Illinois Fire, 2003: At 240, he has good size and for a young kid he already shows decent post moves so he'll be a kid who pops up on the national radar this summer.
Michael Thompson, C, Raleigh Heat: Like many big men playing with a lot of perimeter kids in AAU basketball, sometimes you don't get the touches. Thompson has great hands and is a good post scorer with long arms. He'll make his mark in July.
Matt Trannon, SF, Michigan Hurricanes: There aren't five better athletes in the class than Trannon. His work on the boards and use of his "live body" was huge in Michigan's run to the title. He's a super athlete with a short jumper who excels on the glass and skies for showtime dunks. This was vintage Trannon doing what he does best.
Florentino Valencia, SF, Illinois Fire, 2003: The Illinois Fire has a few talented underclassmen and Florentino is one of them. At 6-4 he gets on the glass and stays active. He looks like a mid-major guy at this stage.
Matt Walsh, SG/SF, Raleigh Heat: It's a little tough to walk into a situation with so many players on one roster that aren't familiar with each other. I still think Walsh is growing into his body. He's a great athlete with a good handle. Sometimes he goes for the flash rather than the sure thing, but hey, he's a kid.
Darius Washington, PG, Fastbreak USA, 2004: He's grown a few inches since we've seen him last. He loves to shoot the three-ball and once he gets stronger it'll help his range and release even more. He played in the upper division where he averaged 18 points and also for the 15-year team where he was the MVP and tossed in 20 points per game.
Walter Waters, C, Michigan Hurricanes, 2003: Right now, his game is predicated solely on the blocks. Once he catches it down low, he does a fine job of turning and with little wasted movement gets to the glass. He uses his body to create space extremely well.
Darryl Watkins, C, Tim Thomas Playaz, 2003: Here's a young man with a promising future. He's a big-time rejector who also is an aggressive rebounder. He's one of a pair of talented young kids for Jimmy Salmon.
Marcus White, PF, Illinois Gold: Someone is going to have a lot of fun turning White into a solid college player. Here's the deal: he has to catch the ball on the low blocks to be effective. Move him off the blocks and you take him out of his comfort zone. Close to the basket, he has a quick spin move and is a reliable scorer. He's aggressive and plays hard as confirmed by the blisters he developed on three of his shooting hand fingers from dunking.
Erik Wilkins, SG, North Carolina Gaters: The Oak Hill product is a college two guard. He still needs to beef up his perimeter credentials, but chips in nicely on the boards. He'll probably begin his recruitment at the mid-major level and go from there.
Curtis Williams, SF, Michigan Hurricanes: He takes the definition of SF to a new level as he tips the scales at about 250 pounds and is 6-4. He likes to shoot threes and his shot is streaky, but he caught fire a few times and sparked the Hurricanes in some key rallies.
Deron Williams, PG, Fort Worth Lions: Here's a kid worthy of being mentioned among the Top 10 PGs in his class. Like Arizona commitment Chris Rodgers, he doesn't beat you with speed rather he uses his dribble and smarts. Once he got going on Friday night, he looked smooth. He hit floaters on the move, threes and doesn't need a lot of room to get his shot off. Likes to play on the defensive end.
Eric Williams, C, Raleigh Heat: Props to Eric for shedding all kinds of weight; he looks great and isn't done yet. He didn't receive the kind of touches he's used to, but when he did he was effective and efficient.
Marcus Williams, PG, Los Angeles Paladins, 2003: The Crenshaw product is one to follow in the coming year. He runs the show for the Paladins. He likes to let it fly and stays under control with his outside game. Consistency with his stroke will come with his maturation.
Mike Williams, PF, Southeast Raptors, 2004: This one is easy: he's a future star. Here's a young, 6-8, 215 pound forward with a high skill set. He's not afraid of contact and has a very good touch. As far as rising sophomores go, he's one of the most skilled ones in we've seen in his class.
Major Wingate, C, Beach Ball Select. 2003: This is a young man with tremendous size and potential. When he brings it, he has skills around the basket and leaps extremely well as evidenced by one rebound that actually looked like he caught it at the top of the box. He's got to get involved early to keep his interest and needs to play consistently at the level he often shows flashes of being capable of performing at.
Kennedy Winston, SF/SG, New Orleans Jazz: The Alabama state POY is a high-flyer with skills. He's a great tipper around the basket and gets off the ground quickly. He also likes to rebound and has a darn good stroke from the perimeter. He's a future SEC-level player.
Shawn Wumkes, C, Martin Brothers Select: He has mid-major size height wise but is awfully skinny. He's a strong candidate for a redshirt year and needs time to physically develop as he has problems holding onto the ball in the post. He's 6-10 and maybe weighs 210.
Trent Wurtz, SF, FOH Milwaukee: In the one game we watched, he banged a number of threes from the wing. Looks like he could be a low-major find as a shooter who stands 6-4.
The Next Time Around: Here is a list of teams we didn't get an opportunity to see or simply didn't see enough of. With 32 teams, it's tough to catch everyone and an effort will be made to catch these guys the next time around: Tennessee Travelers, Charlotte Aces, Atlanta Celtics, Friends of Hoop Milwaukee, Alabama Ice, Southern California All-Stars, Team Carolina, Masters Hoops, Sky's The Limit, Houston Superstars.