Steve Taylor, PF, Mac Irvin Fire – When Mac Irvin was on the ropes early in the day it was Taylor that rescued them with his rebounding, passing, and shot making. Then as it got to the nitty gritty at the end of championship time, Taylor again made huge plays. He can really shoot the ball, and is improving his entire game along with it. Toughness had been a question, but it should be no longer. He is proving to rebound and defend at a very high level to go along with his skill.
Derrick Randolph, PG, Mac Irvin Fire – The diminutive Randolph runs the show for the Fire, and he does it well. Now he can definitely pound the air out of the ball dribbling, but when he attacks north and south he is tough to stop. His change of direction is super human and he has great quickness. Also Randolph shows an ability to find open teammates, and makes good decisions in transition. His size is a major concern as is his attention to detail on defense, but offensively he gets the Fire in a lot of good spots.
Aaric Armstead, SF, Mac Irvin Fire – Activity on the defensive end is the name of the game for Armstead. He is so intense defending on the ball and really plays passing lanes with intensity. Now he can get out of position because of his energy level, but more often than not he simply causes havoc. Also he is an excellent athlete who loves to attack the rim. As his skill set improves on the perimeter he could be someone who blows up in the summer because of how hard he plays every time out on the floor.
Zak Showalter, SG, Wisconsin Swing – The Swing fell in the championship finals to Mac Irvin, but Showalter did everything that he could to get them the win. He shot the heck out of the ball, showed toughness finishing in the lane off the dribble, and did what he could on the defensive end as well. When he is making shots his game goes to another level. Still he played mostly off the ball and looks more comfortable in that role, but his toughness and shot making made him difficult to handle.
Arroyo Edwards, SF, Playground Elite – There are times where Edwards is simply unguardable. Going to the rim he is tough to contain with his athleticism and quick first step, and also he can make shots in the mid-range. Now the problem is he picks and chooses when he wants to be aggressive and can disappear. With his talent level he should be more consistent, but he simply takes quarters off, but the times where he is looking to score he is extremely difficult to defend.
Mitch McGary, C, SYF Players – It was a weekend that McGary will definitely remember for a while. Quite simply he was a dominant force from start to finish and that continued on Sunday. McGary is looking far more athletic than he has in the past, and the skill putting the ball on the floor has come a long way. Even with the SYF guards struggling, McGary controlled the action down low and made big time play after big time play.
Glenn Robinson, SF, SYF Players – The talent has always been there, and now it is beginning to come out with Robinson. He is just so much more confident and it shows when he tries to dunk everything instead of settling for jump shots. Robinson hit several pull up jumpers which was good to see, and he also can hit from deep. Bringing it on every possession is the next step, but Robinson did a lot of good things for SYF.
Tommy Hamilton, C, Mac Irvin Fire – It was a bit of a surprise to see Hamilton playing at the event, but wow did he come ready to put on a show. Whether it was his NBA caliber 18 foot fade away jumper, threes, rebounds in traffic, or post moves, Hamilton simply did it all. Most importantly Hamilton looked to be enjoying playing the game of basketball. Talent has never been in question with Hamilton, desire has, but he was as focused and determined as any player in the gym. It was Hamilton's dominance that led Mac Irvin to the 17 and under title.
Duane Wilson, PG/SG, Playground Elite – Wilson keeps on growing and getting more athletic. Always a skilled player, Wilson is now physically one to really watch with his good size for the point guard position. He attacked off the rim and finished at all three levels on the floor. Now strength is the next growth area, but Wilson is making the good strides with his body and his game to be a player that high-majors really like.
Jabari Parker, SF, Ferrari – Really it is getting to the point where you almost feel sorry for the poor defender charged with trying to stop Parker. He simply proved to be unguardable in every way. He was making shots, dunking on people, and destroying them off the dribble. Even with his teammates struggling mightily to get things going, Parker kept his team in the game at all times. An elite kid on and off the floor, Parker has made so many strides from last season.
Nolan Berry, PF, St. Louis Eagles – He probably had the move of the tournament with a reverse pivot baseline post move in which he basically stole the manhood of two defenders looking to stop him, and that was only part of the story. Berry runs the floor very well, is an excellent passer, and hit a few shots out to 15 feet. The athleticism looks to be coming, and added strength should help. Skilled kids with a high IQ and natural ability are hard to find, but that is the description that Berry fits.
Luke Fischer, PF/C, Wisconsin Swing – At the moment Fischer is just scratching the surface of how good he is going to be. A few days after showing some flashes, Fischer showed the complete skill package. He was knocking in threes, scoring on post moves, and rebounding against physically stronger opponents. As maturity comes there will be a big upward movement for Fischer, and he looks to be on that steep upward path.
Jahlil Okafor, C, Mac Irvin Fire – He is a cornerstone of USA Basketball, and Okafor is proving that is a very good thing for the country. Okafor is an absolute beast on the block, and really it doesn't seem fair that he is so good at such a young age. A true post player who plays like it, Okafor rebounds as well as any young player you will see, and on top of that can face up his man and attack off the dribble. He had a spin move and layup that was simply stunning for a player his size, and Okafor simply continues to get better. Right now he is making a very strong case to be the No. 1 player in the country in his class, though the competition no doubt will be fierce.
Larry Austin, SG/PG, Mid-America Elite – A player from downstate Illinois that has gotten a lot of attention is Austin, and he showed why on Sunday. His team couldn't pull out a close win, but Austin was tough to handle off the dribble, and used his athleticism to score in the lane. Also Austin made some shots and showed an ability to handle either guard position. He isn't a kid loaded with upside, but still he is a very good looking prospect from the Land of Lincoln.
Jackson Davis, PF, Mid-America Elite – Davis is a young big man with great hands and a body that looks like it could fill out very nicely. He is from Kentucky, though he runs with an Illinois based AAU team. Davis scored some on the inside and blocked shots using his long arms. He has to be more assertive, but for a kid loaded with potential, he showed the ability to produce at a high level in a very hotly contested game.
Paul White, SF, Ferrari – White is a big time wing who could develop and play at either forward position in college. During the high school year White mainly plays on the perimeter, but he showed a willingness to play inside on his AAU team. Still it is his skill level at almost 6-foot-7 that makes him so intriguing. His inside-outside game is tough to handle on the 15 and under level, and White was clearly the biggest reason for Ferrari's deep run in the tournament.
Paul Turner, SF, Ferrari – Turner isn't the physical freak of nature that some of the other young Illinois prospects are, but he is very talented. He can score on the inside, and shoots it pretty well out to about 15 feet. Turner will have to continue to develop the skill set, but it isn't hard to see why high major schools are taking a close look at this freshman.
D'Angelo Russell, SG/PG, All-Ohio Red – If there is one thing that Russell proved, it is that he can flat out get buckets. Right now he is a scorer who can handle the ball as opposed to being a point guard who can score, but with the ball Russell is a problem for defenders. He has good size and solid athleticism, and possesses that unique ability to create space and get a clean look against defenders off the dribble. At times his shot selection can be very questionable, but still with his ability to get buckets sometimes being bashful isn't a good thing either.