Real Deal on the Hill: Day 1

FAYETTEVILLE, AR – The Real Deal on the Hill got rolling Friday evening, and the event organizers landed ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith to give the teams a motivational speech prior to the first tip off. After the short talk, action got going in Bud Walton Arena and a number of guys put in work.

The first game of the day matched up two top 100 players in Terrance Henry and Latavious Williams. While Henry came out strong in the first half, Williams settled in, got his buckets and showed off a high-major game.

B.J. Mullens and his CBC squad rolled through their first game and the 7-footer continued his hot play as he dominated the paint. Emanuel Negadu put on an impressive display of dunks and Tyler Zeller went to work inside for the Indy Elite.

Latavious Williams, PF, Birmingham Raptors – This 6-foot-8, 195-pound PF struggled out of the gate, but turned it up in the second half against a fellow top 100 member, Terrance Henry. Williams is a long, lean athlete with decent skill. While most his points came off of put backs, he did hit a jump hook and nailed a 12-foot turnaround jumper. He rebounds well for his size, but must gain strength before he gets to the next level.

Terrance Henry, PF, Louisiana Dream Team – It was fun watching Henry match up with Williams, as they are both similar players with similar frames. Henry, however, does have the height advantage, as he stands 6-foot-10. His length and athleticism allow him to blocks shots and snag rebounds. In the first half he boxed out well, but that faded as the game drug on. Like Williams he must put on some weight and gain strength, but we are looking a high-major prospect.

Scotty Hopson, SG, Mid-State Ballerz – Overall it was an unproductive day for Hopson, who jumped to 19th in's latest rankings. He has great size (6-foot-6) for his position and he's a world-class athlete, he just struggles to play hard all the time. Although he didn't score many buckets, he did hit a floater and a 15-footer. His team did get a win, so hopefully we can check him out again later in the weekend.

B.J. Mullens, C, Cleveland Basketball Club – He was great at adidas Nation Final Four weekend, and he picked up right where he left off during the opening round of the Real Deal. Mullens uses his body and strength to muscle his way to the basket and is a great finisher. The strength and weight he's picked up has helped him shake off defenders on the block, mix that with goods hands and foot work and we have ourselves a top 10 player. While his drop step dunk was impressive, his rebounding was what caught the eye of most in attendance. Mullens finished with 9 point and 9 rebounds against an inferior team.

Yancy Gates, PF, Cleveland Basketball Club – Certainly wasn't his best effort, but Gates got it done inside against a team with no size. While he often has trouble catching the ball, he was able to get a bunch of tip-ins and threw down an impressive tip dunk. He's still prone to hanging out on the perimeter and taking occasional bad shots, but there is certainly a big time player underneath it all.

Phillip Jurick, PF, Tennessee Mavericks – Although he isn't always strong enough to hold his ground in the post, he does have a go-to move in the jump hook, as he drained at least three of them. The 6-foot-10 junior is receiving heavy high-major interest because he's got a soft touch and runs the floor well. He showed both qualities tonight. However, he's not extremely active and doesn't rebound with intensity. The Mavericks will need his best effort tomorrow when they go up against the loaded Atlanta Celtics just after noon!

DeAndre Liggins, SF, Indy Elite – Without their point guard (Lewis Jackson) in attendance, Liggins and Walter Offutt shared the point guard duties. Although his true position is on the wing, Liggins handled the duties fine making a few nice passes in transition. He's got great size and length for the wing spot and he's at his best when slashing to the basket.

Zeller "D"ing Up!
Tyler Zeller, PF, Indy Elite – From a production standpoint Zeller, whose brother, Luke, plays at Notre Dame, probably got the most done out of anyone we saw today. He's fundamentally sound, runs the floor and just flat out plays hard. Not many players have the feel for the game Zeller does and he possesses a great touch around the basket. He even hit a turnaround floater and made a nice move on the block for a bucket. High-majors will look and likely bite on the 6-foot-10, 210-pounder.

Emmanuel Negedu, PF, Indy Elite – There aren't many guys that can get up like this 6-foot-6 physical specimen. Negadu's athleticism is off the charts and he has a big time build to go with it. On a fast break (with a defender draped on him) Negadu threw a pass off the backboard to himself and hammered home a nasty two-handed slam. He's not scared to go war in the paint and he will block a few shots too. While he did shoot a few jumpers, his shot still needs more consistency. It's clear he's trying to become a wing player, but he needs more development before we'll list him at that spot.

Teondre Williams, SG, Worldwide Renegades – Against a talented Indy Elite squad, Williams shot the Renegades back into the game. The 6-foot-2 guard drained a nice off the dribble pull up and a couple of threes during a stretch in the first half. While it's clear he can stroke it, he's not bad going to the rack and he can take hit when he gets there.

Tariq Muhammad, PG, Worldwide Renegades – Switching up AAU teams might have been a good thing for the Norcross (GA) High standout, as he looked at home with the Renegades. Muhammad has a strong desire to win and regardless of being with a new team he was the leader when he was in the game. Although he's still not a great shooter, he did knock down a three and got a few finishes in the paint. What Muhammad does best is get to the rack and set up teammates for open looks. Don't sleep on his defense either, as he's capable of a few steals a game.

The Arkansas Razorbacks don't have a Head Coach, but they are still recruiting players. Led by Stefan Welsh, a number of Razorbacks watched Arkansas targets, Clarence Trent and DeAndre Liggins during the first day of the Real Deal on the Hill.

After going for 18 points, Latavious Williams listed Xavier, Clemson, Connecticut and Indiana. His recruitment is still in the beginning stages and he hopes to start taking visits this summer.

Terrance Henry claims scholarship offers from LSU, Oklahoma, University of Louisiana Lafayette and Texas A&M (old staff). He's also hearing from Texas, Tennessee and Mississippi.

Following a tough loss, Philip Jurick said he's hearing the most from Indiana, Tennessee, Florida and Kentucky.

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