Big Time Day One: Top Performers

LAS VEGAS – The open evaluation period resumed on July 25 and the Big Time was the place to be for some of the best and most competitive action we've seen all summer long. The following is a rundown of the top players and scuttlebutt from the first day of the 2001 Big Time.

Commitments

Florida: C Mario Boggan is a Gator. Reportedly, he's doing well in his summer school courses and this time the commitment stands.

UMass: Ivory Coast native Mike Lasme is the new point guard recruit for the Minutemen

Siena: Rob Lanier's first commitment of the year is from NY SF David Ryan

Appalachian State: PG Nathan Cranford is headed to Boone

St. John's: Done deal. Forward Tim Doyle says he's going to SJU.

2002 Top Performers

Antoine Wright, SF, Inland We didn't get to witness this one, but word has it Wright took another step forward to Top 25 status. Those on hand say he made tons of 3s and was awesome. "I don' think he stays four years," one assistant coach told us.

Chris Rodgers, PG, Inner City Players Terrific passer and team leader. He was at it again early in the morning. The bottom line is this kid will be in the lineup from the moment he matriculates to campus and that's saying something. We love him as a point guard.

Chet Stachitas, SF, Atlanta Celtics Remember Brett Blizzard? The kid who grew up near Tallahassee and everyone passed on him and then watched as he guided UNC-W to the Tournament? Well, no one is going to make the same mistake on Stachitas. On Wednesday, he busted his tail on every play and found a groove with his medium-range game.

Deron Williams, PG, Ft. Worth Lions Deron helped spring one of the biggest upsets of the day as the Lions knocked off the Long Island Panthers. Ft. Worth had no business winning the game but Williams' ability to lead and score made this one happen.

Carmelo Anthony, SF, Baltimore Select This probably wasn't even vintage Carmelo but you just get the sense that this 6-7 scorer has the kind of ability that can get a decent team a win in the tournament and a good team to the Final Four. He's an impact scorer in the Big East.

Allen Ray, SG and Francisco Garcia, SF, NY Ravens The boys from the Bronx blitzed Team Carolina behind the 3-point shooting of these two. By the time Garcia and Ray had 10 points each, barely 8 minutes had passed in the game and the Ravens were thinking about resting their starters.

Antonio Lawrence, SG, EBO/EA Sports Truly one of the great talents in the class. He's athletic, bouncy, aggressive and can sky. Against Baltimore Select, he was all of those things. Once he learns how to play in a structured setting the sky could be the limit but there is work to do in that area.

Game of the Day

How about Lenny Cooke vs. Raymond Felton? Would you pay to see that one? Well, it happened on Wednesday and Cooke's newly formed Prep Stars International squad squeaked one out 82-79 over Beach Ball. Don't hold us to the totals, but Cooke was good for about 36 and Felton might have dropped in 38, including 9 3-pointers. For a Beach Select perspective, it was vintage Felton and he rose to the occasion. Late in the game, he was on the wrong end of a backcourt call and probably was fouled taking the last shot. It was the first time one of his comebacks came up short in a long time. Cooke on the other hand was his usual intense self. His jumper was working on this occasion and that makes all the difference in the world in his game.

2003 Standouts

Charlie Villanueva, SF/PF, Long Island Panthers Meet the next Rodney White. Villanueva is just beginning to scratch the surface of his talents. He's a legitimate threat to 3-point range and accomplishes this while not neglecting his responsibilities inside. He's a Top 10 talent in 2003.

Major Wingate, C, Beach Ball Select One of the criticisms – and rightfully so – about Major has been consistency. On Wednesday, he brought his game and played. He made perimeter shots and was a presence. More performances like this will do wonders for his national reputation, which could stand to use a boost.

Trevor Ariza, PF, Belmont Shore The Westchester High standout is still growing but he's regaining his athleticism and is becoming a better player. A strong camp showing on started his ascent and his play today didn't hurt.

Dennis Lopo, SF, Juice All-Stars Here's a guy we had never seen before. Turns out he attends Benjamin Banneker High in Brooklyn but is originally from Paris, France. Lopo was a scoring threat all over the court in an 87-82 OT win over Cleveland Basketball. He was hitting from 3-point range and getting to the with drives and athletic tips. Nice surprise.

2004 Watchlist

Sebastian Telfair, PG, Juice All-Stars Not even close to being his best and was still a crowd pleaser. His jumper is starting to enter the dangerous category and there isn't a kid his age with more court awareness or savvy. He's just a smarter basketball player than the rest out there.

Surprises

Reggie Butler, SG, West Coast All-Stars He had a big-time game this morning. An array of offensive moves included a big-time explosion dunk and a tone of baseline antics, which resulted in buckets.

Cliff Brown, SF, Team Detroit He's at least a mid-major forward who loves to take guys to the blocks and work off mismatches. He's a good athlete who can catch in traffic and make shots to 3-point range.

Andrew Burleson, SF/SG, Raleigh Heat Coming off a poor Peach Jam effort, there was nowhere to go but up and that's what he did as he connected on a bevy of 3's. He's a low to possible-mid-major player who can hit jumpers. He appears to be a shooting specialist.

Sani Ibrahim, PF, Atlanta Celtics We count Sani as a surprise because he seems to be struggling. His offense has taken a hit this month. Shots he was making in June aren't falling in July. He's really struggling to get himself points. In his defense, while he's fallen on hard times at one end, he's still rebounding and blocking shots at the other.

Seneca Collins, SF, Fort Worth Lions He's really a power small forward who can flat out shoot it from downtown. For his size, you would envision him playing a different style but he's a rugged kid who moves around on offense but rebounds and helps inside as well.

David Teague, SG/SF, Indy Metros He's better than advertised. Teague can score it. He has good body control and range on his shot. He'll attend prep school this year and then enroll at Purdue where he can be a help to the Boilermakers.

Mike Melton, SG, Cleveland Basketball Club Having never heard of him nor seen him play, his ability to shoot the basketball from deep was evident. He accounted for at least three tough three-balls in the game we watched and was a sparkplug for a rally.

Richard Midgely, PG, EBO/EA Sports This native of England is headed to Cal where his athleticism and shooting ability will allow him to take over the point after ShanTay Legans graduates. He's better than we thought and his ability to let it fly on the move is impressive. Makes good decisions.

Todd Galloway, PG, Baltimore Select He hit Midgely up for 38 and the Cal-bound guard countered with 25 of his own in a good contest that Baltimore eventually won in overtime. Galloway, with all of his college suitors on hand, was nearly impossible to guard. He's a Top 100 kid for sure these days following a strong ABCD performance.


Scout Hoops Top Stories