The McDonald's All-American game and Roundball Classic are in the books.
On high school basketball's biggest stage, Michael Beasley got it done. In leading his team to the win – which actually meant something given the competitiveness of the game – Beasley scored 23 points and had 12 boards. He missed only 3 shots from the field.
Forget the stats, Beasley looked like the most appealing prospect in the game. On a night that was scheduled to belong to O.J. Mayo, Beasley stole the show.
Mayo, who would miss a game-winning 3-pointer, shot an abysmal 4-for-17 from the field. In the practices leading up to the contest, Mayo dominated. In the game itself, he did not come close to replicating the effort.
But, as fate would have it, the McDonald's game would not be Mayo's final rodeo. His chance for redemption came 6 days later at the Roundball Classic in Chicago.
Though he came out on the losing side of the ledger, Mayo seemed to redeem himself with a game-high 27 points.
They spread the MVP wealth around at the Roundball and Mayo shared honors with J.J. Hickson (24 points), Kevin Love (21) and Corey Fisher who had to be smarting from the McDonald's snub. Fisher finisher with 13 points and 16 dimes.
WEST COAST NOTES>
The April evaluation period starts this weekend and there are a number of West Coast prospects who figure to raise their profiles in the next several weeks. In the past, the July evaluation period was the most important time of the year for high school players. But with the recruiting process starting ever earlier, the spring period is now just as important. So players that were maybe a little under the radar previously now have a chance to raise their stock with the spring period.
Breshers is a 6-foot-6 junior post player from Price High in Los Angeles, Calif. Breshers is one of those player who might seem a little undersized at 6-foot-6, but he has a number of attributes that allow him to play bigger. Breshers has a big body, very long arms and excellent leaping ability. He might be the best shot-blocker in the west for 2008. Add to that the fact that he has very soft hands, excellent feet and a very good feel for the game, and you're looking at one of the most underrated players in the country. Breshers has received some interest from the likes of Iowa State, Nebraska, Miami and Washington State, but we expect numerous top programs from around the country to be talking with Breshers by the end of the month.
Brendan Lavender, a 6-foot-4 junior shooting guard from Mountain View High in Mesa, Ariz., is a very talented prospect with a terrific all-around game. He's an excellent shooter, with very good vision and passing ability. He's a very good athlete, with good leaping ability and quickness. One of the things that most impressed us about Lavender the last time we saw him was his unselfishness. You don't see many players with his scoring ability that play as unselfishly as he does. Arizona State, Utah, BYU, Oregon, Washington and Arizona are among the schools expressing interest in Lavender, but we could see some schools outside of the west taking a run at Lavender after this month.
Elijah Johnson, a 6-foot-1 point guard from Cheyenne High in North Las Vegas, Nevada and Michael Snaer, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Rancho Verde High in Moreno Valley, Calif., are two outstanding sophomores. Both players are highly skilled and among the best at their positions in the west. We expect some of the elite programs in the country to be involved with these two players in the near future.
EAST NOTES(Mike Sullivan)
Seton Hall has a winner in recruit Michael Glover. Michael's next challenge will be even tougher -- the Big East Conference. The New Yorker knows how to play the game of basketball -- hard and with intensity on both ends of the court. What he does probably isn't "sexy" enough for some basketball fans, but what he produces is pure magic around the basket.
Glover, a 6-foot-5 warrior for the American Christian School from the state of Pennsylvania, is the type of player you want in a foxhole when your team needs a big basket inside the paint. Despite being smaller than most big players around the paint, Glover manages to score consistently.
Rice High School features some of the top talent at the guard position both in the East and nationally. So the upcoming spring and summer will be a big timeframe for such players like Kemba Walker, a 6-foot lead guard from the Raiders of New York City.
Walker, 165-pounds, is an intense, in-your-face defensive minded guard who can disrupt an offense near the top of the key. He's a member of the Class of 2008 and he's been tested against the best in the nation.
Kemba competed last summer for the New York City Gauchos, an AAU program known for producing terrific guards almost every July evaluation period. For Walker, who already has a bunch of scholarship offers on the table, this is also an important month.
Keep an eye on Our Savior New American shooting guard Gerardo Suero. The 2008 prospect battled recently against the likes of Tyreke Evans and Josh Spivey of American Christian School (based in Pennsylvania). Suero recorded 32 points in the 94-91 overtime victory over American Christian School.