Nissan Shootout Rundown

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Just a week after nearly a dozen post-Christmas tournaments, Game-7 put together an impressive field for the Nissan on Nicholasville Shootout. The headliners for the weekend were Gani Lawal, Al-Farouq Aminu, J.J. Hickson and A.J. Stewart and each chipped in to make it a successful weekend of hoops.

There was a large contingent of Kentucky fans on hand to check out A.J. Stewart Saturday night, but if they attended both days of action they got to see a talented Norcross team dominate the paint with two gifted post players. Gani Lawal threw down thunderous dunks while Al-Farouq Aminu showed a side to his game that he hasn't consistently featured before. The big man took his game out of the paint and was draining jumpers all over the court.

Gani Lawal, PF, Norcross – It's amazing the 6-8, 220-pounder didn't snap a rim this weekend as Lawal used the paint as his personal playground and dunked on any defender in his way. The Georgia Tech signee finished with 27 and 12 the first night and 22 and 11 the second helping Norcross to blow out wins. Both days Lawal ran the court well, hit the offensive glass and showed a drop step move that was impressive.


Hickson Stands Out
J.J. Hickson, C/PF, Wheeler – Over his high school career, Hickson has been inconsistent at times. He'll be great for a half and just OK the next, but that wasn't the case this past weekend. The 6-9, 220-pound big man played hard and aggressive for four halves and put up 59 points and 28 rebounds in two games.

His game looks more mature than last summer and he's added a series of go-to moves to his arsenal. His drop step move was unstoppable each night, he showed a nice looking jump hook and he even stepped out and knocked down a three-pointer. His hands are superb as he seemed to catch everything thrown his way and he got up and down the floor on breaks. If he continues to put together these types of performances Hickson should be a major candidate for a spot in the McDonald's All-American game.

Josh White, PG, Christian Life Academy – There are a lot of low and mid level programs in need of a point guard and this is the type of guy that fills that role. White stands just 5-foot-9, but the shifty lead man is elusive in the open court and handles the ball well in traffic. Saturday night against Richmond (Ky.) Bryan Station White went for 31 points, including a three that sent the game into OT.

The CLA standout creates open shots for his teammates, but is also a very capable scorer. When he gets in the lane you'd think he'd have trouble, but he has a good looking floater and he finished with his off hand (left) at least a half dozen times on strong drives to the hoop. He also has a great free throw stroke as he went 11 of 11 from the line on Saturday.

David Ndoumba, PF, Christian Life Academy – Without Ndoumba C.L.A. might not have won a game this weekend. The 6-foot-6 power forward went to work around the basket scoring off dunks, tip ins and up and under moves. He's a high level athlete that will rebound and play the role of garbage man around the rim. Ndoumba didn't show much range on his jump shot and is still raw when it comes to scoring on the low block. In his final game he scored 19 points and 13 rebounds in an over time win.

Ty Proffitt, PG/SG, South Laurel – The Notre Dame signee was called upon to do it all against Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler, and he did his best scoring 21 points, but it wasn't nearly enough to hang with the talented Georgia squad. Proffitt was 8 of 15 from the field with most of his points coming off long jumpers. He handles the ball well and is smart with it, but his quickness will b tested at the next level.

A.J. Stewart, PF, Arlington Country Day – Playing in front of his future college crowd Stewart came out fired up scoring 15 points and grabbing 11 boards in the first half. He was very active around the rim and threw down a few dunks in the paint. The second half was a much different story as he failed to ever get back in the flow of the game. He finished with 16 points and 14 boards and just escaped Lexington with a win. Every point Stewart scored came within 4 feet of the basket, so he must add some range to his game as well as some quality post moves before he heads to Lexington for school.

Al-Farouq Aminu, PF, Norcross – With Roy Williams looking on Aminu scored 26 point on 10 of 13 shooting, including 4 of 6 from the three point line Saturday night. Aminu showed a lethal inside-outside game that we hadn't seen in the past. He likes to get up and down the floor and is capable of nifty, athletic finishes around the basket. His game is very smooth, his jumper has great form and he's earning his top 10 ranking in the 2008 class.

Aaron Morris, SF, Madison Central – This 6-6 wingman is an intriguing prospect. He has a good looking jump shot, out to the three-point line and is capable of hitting pull-ups off the dribble. Morris has long arms, a desire to rebound and the ability to post up smaller defenders or take bigger ones off the bounce. He led MC to a 3-point win over Christian Life Academy on Saturday pouring in 23 points. His team was a little over matched against Norcross on Saturday but he still managed 13. Morris is definitely a D-1 prospect, but what level he projects at is tough to determine as he still has a chance to develop further.

Tarriq Muhammad, PG, Norcross – On a team with at least 5 D-I players, Muhammad doesn't need to score. His main job is to dish out the rock and he did that well this past weekend. For his grade he's a mature ball handler and is smart with the ball especially in the open court. He didn't make a jump shot all weekend, so his shooting is definitely something to improve, but he still has a few years in high school to fine tune his jumper.

Muhammad said South Carolina Wake Forest, Tennessee and Florida have shown interest. At this point the Demon Deacons lead the pack.

The Tar Heels seem to be making a slight push for Al-Farouq Aminu. They had an assistant on hand Friday and Coach Williams on Saturday. Aminu said has scholarship offers from Florida, Georgia Tech and Clemson. He's also hearing from UConn, Tennessee, Wake Forest, Carolina and Kentucky.


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