Greg Monroe, PF, La. Select – There is zero doubt in our minds that this is the kid with the biggest upside right now in the class. The versatility was on complete display at his 8 a.m. game. From the passing, handling and mid-range makes he was the real deal. Without the collective bargaining agreement, Monroe probably isn't playing college basketball. We say all this about him and there's plenty of room to improve his game.
Samardo Samuels, C, Metro Hawks – The opposing coach implored his kids to guard him inside. They did but it didn't maker. When Samuels got the touches in the paint it was a bucket and a trip to the line. One of the more reliable players in the country was at it again. Unfortunately, an injury surfaced and he was limited against The Family which apparently took it to the Metro Hawks in the playoffs.
Sean Mosley, SF/SG, Team Melo – Mark it down: this guy is at least a 3-year starter and he'll ring up a strong collegiate career. He's got old school game and did everything he could to keep it respectable against the Metro Hawks. From the pull-up off the glass to the diving mid-air timeout call, Mosley made it count.
Luke Loucks, PG, Team Florida – The feel for the game and the passing are high level and attractive. His natural inclination is to distribute the ball. To play at the highest level he's got to tighten up his decision making process and continue progress with his handle. Not a big offensive guy but when he makes 3s that's a bonus. Had him with 11 points, 7 assists and 6 turnovers in the morning.
Storm Warren, PF, La. Select – When Mike Theus says this is his most underrated player since Paul Milsap, he's got your attention. The 6-foot-7 insider is cut up despite not being a big weightlifter. He cleans up messes inside and has enough offense in his area to make due. An energetic rebounder, he's a guy to keep watching through the spring. He had 16 in the morning.
Andrew Steele, CG, Ala. Challenge – Whereas his brother was a pure PG coming out, Steele is cut from the combo cloth. A big time competitor, he's a physical guard who can play different styles. He had 18 in his first game out.
J.T. Thompson, PF, Charlotte Royals – The Royals weren't playing very well and needed a jumpstart. Thompson's athleticism and energy were boosts to the big win over the NJ All-Stars. That elite level leaping ability comes in handy on the AAU scene. Going forward, if he's going to commit to shooting jumpers we'd like to see him work it from mid-range and then extend further outside.
Draymond Green, PF, The Family – All year long we'd heard how excellent his season was and how he raised his play. Turns out, the chatter was spot on. The Malik Rose clone tops out at 6-foot-7 (maybe) but his ticker is big time. The guy is a rugged forward. He won't be for every high-level program but assuredly some will value him more than others. With a resume laced with wins, he'll find plenty of friends in the college ranks.
Frank Ben-Eze, C, DC Blue Devils – The book on him says he's made strides since the end of the high school season. The bigs have to look at him for his sheer size and effort. If he demonstrates some offense and feel … look out.
Corey Smith, C, Ala. Challenge – In the three games we saw he was able to become more comfortable in each outing. He played his best when the top bigs were on the court. In his final game he was able to face up to mid-range and be a presence in the paint. He could be a sleeper high level guy coming out of this event.
JaMychal Green, PF, Ala. Challenge – We aren't sure any big man faced more competition than he did on Saturday. Through it all, Green competed, had his moments of excellence and fought through a docket laced with good opponents. The young man blocks shots, gets traffic rebounds and picks his spots on offense. If anyone deserved a pat on the back for a hard day's work it was this kid.
Dexter Strickland, SG, Metro Hawks – You've got to respect a sophomore two guard who gets two dunks and a pair of stickbacks in traffic. There's an air of smoothness to his game and there's no doubt he inserted himself into the elite wings in the class and should be there to stay.
Xavier Henry, SG/SF, Athletes First – Let's start by letting you know he hit a pair of free throws to win a playoff game. This came after sailing along most of the contest taking a shot every now and then. Once it got close this elite talent kicked it in and polished off an impressive evening by going for 18 points and was a humble 5-for-9 from the floor. Talented, effortless and apparently able to save his best for when it matters most.
Kyle Hardrick and Daniel Orton, Athletes First – We knew these dudes were good last year but there is noticeable improvement in each of their games. They ran Kansas' high-low offense to perfection. Hardrick had the bigger night offensively in the playoffs. He's got legit post moves plus counters. Orton hooked him up out of the high post and together they performed well against the Challenge's seasoned crew.
Roberto Nelson, California Hoops – Wired to be a scorer, this thin bodied youngster can get buckets. He's got a few tricks in the bag and the floater is a nice weapon. With improvement and strength could be a high level player.
Kendall Marshall, PG, Boo Williams – We can't tell you the last time it was a freshman started for this traveling team powerhouse. Marshall mans the point and he doesn't look out of place. His ability to change speeds is a gift.
Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried has a son on the Challenge roster. That means face time with Green and Steele. … Rutgers received excellent news on Friday, when according to sources, Mike Rosario took the plunge from the banks of the Raritan and into the Scarlet Knights program. … Ed Davis wants to decide in the fall. Right now the big fella maintains that Virginia is still the leader. …
Draymond Green, once committed to Kentucky, is no longer. Minnesota, however, is very interested. "(Tubby Smith) told me he wanted me to follow him there," Green said. The Gophers, Xavier, Michigan State, Indiana, Boston College, Clemson and DePaul like him. … Xavier Henry has a rock solid three of Kansas, Memphis and North Carolina. He said coaching and playing style allowed him to narrow it down to a trio. … Xavier Gibson is here with the Georgia Blazers but not playing. He broke his right hand and won't be ready for another month. …
Storm Warren is hearing from Florida, Kentucky, Texas A&M, LSU and Ole Miss. Since he's listing A&M and Big Blue, we'd imagine Billy Gillispie is interested in seeing him more this month. … Greg Monroe said Southern Cal, Duke and LSU have made him their No. 1 targets (good idea, fellas!). Kansas and Louisville are worth mentioning early too. …
Frank Ben-Eze thinks Maryland and Clemson are on him tough. The Nigerian big man is only beginning to experience the process. … Notre Dame has offered Matthew Humphrey and he's getting hit by Wisconsin, Miami, Iowa (under Alford), Illinois, Michigan State and Oregon. …
There's a little Oregonian flavor in Chicago these days thanks to the success some Ducks from Chi-Town are having. Big man Josh Crittle lists the Ducks, Clemson, DePaul, Illinois, Virginia, Iowa State, Tennessee, Baylor, DePaul and Valpo. …
Al-Farouq Aminu lists Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Florida and Clemson. … David Forrest, a teammate with the Stars and point guard, has interest from Western Kentucky, Marquette, Auburn and George Washington. …. Sean Mosley has Maryland, Florida State, Clemson, Syracuse, Virginia and Virginia Tech tracking him. The Terps have been there since the 9th grade. …
Nick Williams can bust it from deep and is a legit net stripper. He scored 21 points against the team from Cali including some big ones late. If he monitors his shot selection the percentages will increase. … Props to JaMychal Green for playing hard the entire game when faced with the three-headed monster of Ed Davis, Ty Walker and Reggie Johnson. …
Reggie Johnson came off the bench to give Boo a boost with a trio of dunks and strong boards inside. … Ty Walker has experienced his ups and downs this weekend but that's to be expected for a kid who is in the process of maturing. The last two months have been smooth sailing and now he's seeing guys equal to his ability. Dealing with adversity is part of the process and he's in the midst of learning on the national level.
"Losing is never easy. We might make it look easy but its not."
Teams We Saw – Louisiana Select, Team Florida, Alabama Challenge, California Hoops, DC Blue Devils, Meanstreets, SYF Players, Charlotte Royals, Metro Hawks, SC Ravens, Athletes First, The Family, Boo Williams, Georgia Stars, Team Melo, NJ All-Stars, Georgia Blazers.