Greg Oden, C, Spiece: Team Hoopzone wanted to run offense through its two big guys and Oden, who rarely gets challenged, decided he wanted to make it difficult for them. Hoopzone's Will Paul got hurt early and then Oden went to work swatting shots and completing post moves with the kind of power and athleticism that made him the top prospect in this class.
Davon Jefferson, PF, H-Squad: Before fouling out, he amassed one of the best stat lines of the event as he went for 31 points (10-for-19 FG) and 8 rebounds. His perimeter game, in particular his mid-range shot, has developed some and he's always been a superior athlete. If you're going to take a 5th year and come out and play in the 17-and-under division, you might as well be a dominant force and Jefferson has accomplished that this weekend.
Jodie Meeks, SG, Ga. Hurricanes: Against the So-Cal All-Stars this was probably the best game we've seen him put together this spring. Down the stretch he made winning-type plays and carried his team offensively to the tune of 25 points (9-for-19 FG). The ‘Canes got it into OT against a West coast power before running out of gas Saturday afternoon.
Chase Budinger, SF, So Cal-AS: One of the best volleyball players in the country looked pretty good as a basketball player Saturday afternoon. Budinger had 16 points, 7 boards, 3 assists and one tremendous dunk on top of a kid. His mid-range pull-up late in regulation was sweet and tied the contest with the Hurricanes.
Derrick Caracter, PF, NY Panthers: Hey, he looks to be in good shape and he's always had those reliable mitts. A skilled 6-foot-9 that was hooping against the Renegades, Caracter came to play in the Saturday afternoon game we caught and mixed it up on the perimeter and inside nicely.
LaRyan Gray, SG, Louisiana Stars: This could be one of those sleeper scenarios where he continues to gradually – step by step – get better. He's got great size at 6-foot-6 and if he becomes a little more aggressive we'd like him even more. Injured a good portion of his junior season, he's been good each event we've seen him.
Perry Stevenson, PF, Louisiana Stars: Understanding that he's a long way from even reaching his potential, Stevenson consistently goes out and puts up numbers. In the morning contest we caught, he went 7-for-10 from the field with 18 points and 6 blocks. If he can 1) develop his skill set or 2) put on weight then he's got a chance to really excel.
Alex Stepheson, PF, RBC West: He's the owner of one of the best frames at this event. The Harvard-Westlake 2006er has plenty to work with. To reach his long term potential we'd like to see him develop a little mean streak which would crank his overall production up a notch.
Tory Jackson, PG, Mich. Hurricanes: Against Southeast Elite in the first round of the playoffs, he took care of the basketball, shot it well and used his speed when needed. He's a difficult player to press and when he's making sound decisions he can really be a factor at both ends.
James Hickson (pictured), PF, WW Renegades: If this was your first time seeing him (like it was for us) how could you not be impressed? Forget that his team got drilled and take a look at his effort. The young man goes about 6-foot-8. He's a true inside-outside threat who can hit it to mid-range. On the defensive end, he's got one of those live bodies that blocks a lot of shots.
Tyreke Evans, SG, Philly Raiders 16: His club took a 20-point lead into halftime mainly because he had 23 at the break against Fox Valley. Then, in the second half Philly got complacent and had to stave off the Valley. The final play of the game was a sweet drive and dish to Nasir Robinson for the game-winner. When it was all said and done, Evans finished with 31 points (10-for-19 FG), including 4-for-7 from downtown. His candidacy for top player of the Class of 2008 honors is strong.
Mookie Jones & Kevin Jones: The Westchester Hawks duo isn't bad for a pair of 2008 forwards. Mookie hit for 21 in the 8:30 am game and Kevin chipped in with 7. Mookie rebounds and outlets with the best of them and Kevin has one of those long frames worth watching develop over the next few years.
Renardo Grant, SF, Jackson MBA: At 6-foot-8 and 215 pounds, your first inclination is to think of him as a post player. WRONG! This rising 9th grader is a wing and frankly, the best darn 8th grader these eyes have seen. He finished his morning game with 20 points, 5 rebounds, 5 blocks and 6 assists. Forget the fact that he ran some point and stroked a 3 in transition, this guy does it all. Two NBA guys sat in the front row just shaking their heads in amazement. In this business, everyone is always looking for the "next best thing." Well, here's a young man with a chance. When we launch our 2009 database, we'll kick it off with him!