Slam Dunk: News & Notes

Take a peek at where some of the top players at the Slam Dunk to the Beach are looking at - and other tibbits of info from the national tournament in Delaware.

David Huertas has a valid reason for not shooting the ball as he has been accustomed to.

The Arlington County Day (Fla.) 6-4, 185-pound junior dislocated his little finger on his left hand and also has a hairline fracture on his right thumb.

He suffered the injuries a couple of weeks ago at a tournament in Arkansas and returned during a tournament last week in California after sitting out a couple of games.

Huertas is a native of Puerto Rico and earned a spot at the Nike Camp last year after a quality performance at the Nike Hoop Jamboree.

His perimeter game has been impressive enough that the likes of Arizona, Florida, Stanford, Miami, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Rhode Island have expressed interest.

``He's such a prolific scorer who really knows how to play the game," Miami Tropics coach Art Alvarez said. "He knows how to play off screens, passes it well and has good court vision. But nowadays you just don't find shooters like him. He can knock it down from 25-30 feet on a consistent basis."

_______ Don't label Marcus Johnson as just an athlete any more.

The Westchester (Calif.) 6-5 1/2, 190-pound junior swingman has improved his perimeter game after working on it all offseason.

Johnson wants to go to college 3,000 miles away in Syracuse.

``I've liked them since the fourth grade," he said.

Johnson said that, in addition to the Orangemen, he also likes UConn, Kansas, Kentucky, Arizona and UCLA.

_______ Marriott Charter (D.C.) 6-8, 205-pound senior forward Jerome Habel's reputation hasn't helped his cause of getting a big-time college scholarship and he knows it.

Admittedly, the athletic shot-blocker didn't respond well to constructive criticism in the past, but he's changed his ways and is hoping it will translate into a scholarship to either Cincinnati or Florida State – his top two schools.

Habel has only played basketball for three years after making the transition from football. He figured that he'd be working right now if not for a strong performance at the Peach Jam this past summer that helped him decide to do another year of school in hopes of playing college basketball.

``It's hard to have the reputation of being uncoachable," Habel said. "But I'm trying to show people that I've changed. I hear it all the time and there's really nothing I can do about it except play hard."

In addition to Cincinnati and FSU, Habel also said that Houston has remained involved.

_______ Mount Zion (N.C.) 6-7, 240-pound sophomore Tracy Smith is still getting accustomed to life in Durham, but he has no regrets about leaving Detroit and Martin Luther King High.

Smith has given Mount Zion some quality minutes inside off the bench and the 15-year-old forward is already getting some attention from the likes of Illinois, Oklahoma, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State. Notes: Mount Zion (N.C.) 6-11 senior Shawn Taggart is looking at DePaul, Georgia, Georgia State, Boston College and UAB while his teammate, 6-8 Robbie Simpson, is being recruited by Georgia State, UAB, Penn State and Marshall. Look for Mount Zion to get 7-foot, 340-pound freshman James Tyler Jr. in the next week or so. … According to Germantown coach Jim Fenerty, Georgia Tech, Rutgers, Virginia and Temple are involved with junior forward Brian Grimes. … Want an early school list for Scotch Plains (N.J.) 6-9 sophomore Derrick Caracter. Try Georgetown, North Carolina, Miami and St. John's – depending on who the new coach of the Red Storm is. … Heritage Christian sophomore Chris Roquemore, who was one of the day's top players after scoring 20 points and grabbing 10 boards in a loss to St. Benedict's, has re-opened his recruitment after making an early pledge a couple months ago to Baylor. … The crowd favorite award went to Providence-bound 6-9, 300-pound senior Anthony Ivory when the big man went up against 7-2 string bean Kevin Mormon of Our Savior. Ivory finished with 8 points, but had a huge bucket late in the second half to help lead the team to the win.

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