Smith Shines Again At MLK

<b>GREENSBORO, N.C. –</b> The North Carolina Classic, presented by the Scholastic Play-By-Play Network, featured some elite level talent and a battle between two of the best prep school teams in the nation.

Hargrave 85, Laurinburg 84
Oak Hill 80, Greensboro Dudley 49
Mount Zion 73, RJ Reynolds 61
Nansemond River 66, Greensboro Smith 61
Mount Tabor 44, Bishop McGuinness 42
Greensboro Day 66, West Rowan 40

2004 Top Performers

Norman Plummer, PF, Hargrave: He was basically the hero for Hargrave as he called his own number and scored on a driving, game-winning basket. The usual 19 points were accompanied by a typical bevy of offensive rebounds. He'll impact Dayton's program from his first day on campus.

Josh Smith, SF, Oak Hill: Look up "crowd pleaser" in the dictionary and you'll find a picture of Smith looking down through the rim. His aerial assault on the rims at the Greensboro Coliseum was predictable. He finished with 20 points on 9-for-20 from the field and scored all but one of his buckets at the rim. No less than 8 NBA teams were in attendance.

Rajon Rondo, PG, Oak Hill: He's having one of the best seasons of any point guard in the class and you'll be surprised at the names he'll glide by in the final rankings. Rondo had 6 assists and 22 points and his ball handling and work off the dribble were nearly as entertaining as Smith's aerial antics. Food for thought: T.J. Ford wasn't a great shooter either.

Marquie Cooke, PG, Nansemond River: You've heard us say it before but it bears repeating. In terms of getting himself to the free throw line, Cooke is one of the best in the class. Against Smith he shot 18 freebies and made 14 of them. He finished with a tournament-high 33 points to go with 7 assists and 6 steals in an outstanding effort down the stretch.

Lorenzo Wade, SG, Hargrave: The U of L-bound guard got out of the gates quickly as his jumper was working. He didn't quite finish the game with the flurry of scoring he had late in the first half but we've said this before: Wade is going to score a lot of points off his smooth jumper for Rick Pitino.

Vincent Banks, SG, Laurinburg: It's hard to imagine that he is just two weeks out from a hernia operation. Banks had 22 in the game and he's every bit the skilled shooter we thought he was coming out of high school.

Albert Weber, SG, Mount Zion: When's the last time a 6-3 guard known for his shooting dunked three times in a big game? Weber scored 14 points and was charged with handling the ball a lot. He's spent some time at combo guard this season and could find himself in that role at Alabama.

C.J. Anderson, SF, Laurinburg: He loves to play in transition and that's how his buckets came against Hargrave. Not afraid to drive the ball and will use his athleticism to his advantage. Anderson had 19 points and 4 rebounds.

2005 Checklist

Brandon Rush, SF, Mount Zion: He's all-athlete and seems to enjoy the stage when the NBA scouts are in the gym. He had 18 points and like his senior protégé Josh Smith, did all of his work above the rim. He's got the innate ability to leap, hang and make a play. Some guys have an extra burst of speed, he's got an extra couple inches of verticality.


Mike Copeland of R.J. Reynolds has a chance to be a solid mid-major player. The undersized junior PF is an energy, rebounding and effort type guy. … Greensboro Smith received a boost from an unlikely source. Freshman 5-8 (maybe?) PG Sam Grooms scored a dozen points and hit some big shots. It's way too early to project his level but he's got natural leadership qualities. … Joe McCray hit a "3" late to give Laurinburg the lead but Plummer's bucket nullified what would have been a game-winner. …

Marquie Cooke of Nansemond River is a somewhat underrated assist man. He's got excellent vision and this was the best game we've seen him play in quite a while. … Jarhon Giddings of Reynolds has the body style and skill package. He's just to work on being a strong finisher. … Dudley sophomore William Graves had a rough shooting day. Regardless, he seems to really like working the baselines. …

Mohamed Tangara again showed some flashes. On one play he ran the floor and used his athletic ability to come up with a MONSTER dunk in transition. … Speaking of athletes, Josh Smith did something that surprised even those who have seen him a bunch. He's so athletic that he appeared to actually hang in the air and wait for a ball to come off the rim before dunking it. …

Oak Hill junior Bamba Fall, a 6-11 prospect, received some good playing time. Actually, he's coming along. He's got obvious talent as a shot blocker and attempted a skilled jump hook. … C.J. Anderson of Laurinburg loves the transition game so he can get out and use his athleticism in getting to the rim. …


Dudley junior Kevin Swinton is coming off an ankle injury and this was his first game back in a while. Swinton took just four shots and had 6 points and 5 rebounds. … A trio of Illinois fans were parked in the stands behind the Oak Hill bench in obvious support of Rajon Rondo. However, a source told that Rondo might be close to picking Kentucky and is tiring of the process. …

COLLEGES IN ATTENDANCE: Duke, North Carolina, UNC-Greensboro, Appalachian State, Campbell, James Madison, Clemson, Southern Cal, South Carolina, Florida State, Miami, High Point. Head Coaches: Leonard Hamilton, FSU; Bart Lundy, High Point.

Quotable: Hargrave head coach Kevin Keatts to an official: "Mr. Official, the high school games are over. This is prep school. Let the kids play!

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