Brandon Bell, PG, Michigan Mustangs: With two seconds remaining against Mater Dei, Brandon Bell stepped up. The brother of former Michigan State star Charlie Bell calmly drained a 3-pointer to sink Mater Dei. The shot exemplifies the reason why many schools have been hot on him as of late. That shot is just the kind of intangible that programs are looking for. Toss in his toughness and he's a popular guy these days.
DJ Strawberry, SG, Mater Dei: He went off for a workmanlike 25 points in his team's loss to the Mustangs. We firmly believe scorers are made on the high school level and if you can't score in high school you won't score in college. Well, it looks like Strawberry's scoring package will translate well in college. He has a medium-range game off the bounce and can attack the rim and finish. He's having a nice tournament.
Louis McCroskey, SF, NY Ravens: He scored 18 points in his team's win over Spiece Top Prospects, including the game-winning jumpshot. The game-winner, McCroskey's second of his career, came off a 15-foot baseline effort.
Rodrick Stewart, SG, Gary Payton Nike: In his team's win over Eastern Washington Elite, Rodrick scored 23 points on 8-for-18 from the field. Impressive was his 7-for-8 from the line. What he does really well is create space for himself. With that space, he's able to get off his medium-range jumper.
Adam Morrison, SF, Eastern Washington Elite: It's almost chic to say "this kid would be perfect at Gonzaga." Well, this kid is going to be perfect at Gonzaga. Why? Well, he has a nice live body, he's active and he absolutely shoots the lights out of the basketball from behind the arc. The game flows to him and he's a very productive player.
Kirk Walters, C, Michigan Mustangs: Apparently, Lute Olson has been spending some time watching him; he's not the only one. Walters is making believers out of a number of schools. He's a skinny 6-9+ but he's very skilled, competes and if you watch him a few times, you begin to appreciate what he gets done. This could be a sleeper alert in the making.
Robert Vaden, Spiece Top Prospects: Down 50-25 at the half to the NY Ravens, Vaden mounted a furious comeback. He scored 24 of his 30 points after the break. With less than 30 seconds remaining, he came off a screen to give his team the lead. After a series of Spiece misses from the line, the Prospects were then done in by McCroskey's jumper. However, not even the loss could diminish what Vaden did for his club. He probably made at least 6 triples in the game. He's committed to Purdue.
Marvin Williams, PF, Seattle Rotary: He's a sum is greater than the parts kind of guy. Not only is he extremely talented, but he does the little things in a Shane Battier kind of way. Williams has the complete package – game, charisma, poise and personality. He's been most impressive this summer. When we got to the gym this morning, Matt Doherty, Roy Williams, Lorenzo Romar, USC assistant Kurtis Townsend and Arizona assistant Josh Pastner had already beaten us there.
LaMarcus Aldridge, C, Texas Blue Chip: We caught most of his opening round playoff game. It's easy to see why major colleges are so interested. He has a long body – longer than Chris Bosh's – and generally plays active. A few more touches from his friends would go along way but you can definitely see the talent.
Atlanta Celtics: Wallace Prather's bunch starts just one senior – Boubacar Coly – and four underclassmen. Small forward Josh Smith is the most impressive of the bunch. He's a big time winger who has a chance to be tops in his class. Center Dwight Howard, with his size 21 sneaks, gets better every time out and he's a Top 10 kid. Shooting guard Dwayne Day is a high-major player and Randolph Morris could be national Top 25 kid and he comes off the bench.
Off The Dribble
Arizona Stars swingman Brett Collins did a nice job in his team's win over the Ft. Worth Lions. He gets a lot done and has himself a pretty solid medium-to-deep game. … Lodrick Stewart of Gary Payton is looking healthier these days. In the first half of the morning game he made some 3s. … The New York Ravens generally use their signature pressure defense to suffocate teams. For a half versus the Spiece Top Prospects the Ravens had it rolling and then they decided to let Robert Vaden get hot. … One of our favorite PGs in the Class of 2004, DuPree Fletcher, hit for 33 in a win over Baltimore Select. …