NATIONAL NOTES (Dave Telep
The 2007 Boo Williams Invitational is appropriately named since the host team has now won the event three years running. This time around, junior power forward Ed Davis took control and carried his team to the title.
The 6-foot-8 power forward out of Richmond scored the game-winning hoop with 2.9 seconds remaining as his club finally wore down Meanstreets out of Chicago.
Meanwhile, down in Fayetteville, Ark., the other major traveling team tournament saw a pair of West Coast teams tangle for the title in the heart of SEC country. Jrue Holiday, the Gatorade Player of the Year from the state of California, helped his Pump ‘n Run squad stave off young Renardo Sidney and the L.A. Dream Team.
Boo Stock Boosters
Ed Davis, PF, BWSL – The signature performance of the young traveling team season belongs to the guy who simply dominated the final day of play. After toeing the line with Scout.com's No. 1 prospect in 2008 Greg Monroe in the semis, Davis scored the championship clinching bucket against Meanstreets.
Since last season, Davis has advanced his game and his reputation as a Top 5 prospect in the class is solidified at this stage. The son of a former NBA prospect, Davis could conceivably have his own future in the league.
Greg Monroe, PF, La. Select – Lost in the shuffle of Davis' big weekend was the fact that Monroe took a much less talented team to the semifinals of a major event. In the first game on the second day of the event, Monroe showed off some Josh McRobert's-like qualities with the basketball. He sits a top the rankings and has a huge target on his back the rest of the way through. Good thing his shoulders are wide enough to carry the load.
Big Men, Big Weekends
JaMychal Green and Samardo Samuels, a pair of powerful junior insiders, fared well at the Boo Williams. Green's toughest challenge was getting through a round of big time matchups last Saturday. He faced Davis and frontcourt partner 7-footer Ty Walker midday and then finished off the tournament by holding down the fort against Oklahoma sophomores Kyle Hardrick and Daniel Orton. The latter pair ran the high-low offense to perfection while Green hunkered down and competed hard.
Samuels and his Metro Hawks contingent were in line to play for the championship until The Family derailed their train. The Hawks were without Samuels services in the playoffs as he aggravated a hamstring injury. Frankly, an injury was the only way the Samuels train was going to be derailed.
WEST COAST (Greg Hicks)
The Las Vegas Easter Classic was a bit down this year in terms of talent relative to past events, but there were still some quality prospects in attendance. Here's one person's opinion on the top West Coast prospects in attendance.
Malcolm Lee, the 6-4 junior point guard from Riverside (Calif.) North, gets a slight edge as the top West Coast player in attendance. His length, quickness and deep range make him a very exciting prospect at the next level. Lee has the ball-handling ability to play the one, but his shot is getting good enough that he may play significant minutes at the two. As an illustration of just how much we think of Lee as a prospect, we think he's a better prospect at the same age than Arron Afflalo.
And Afflalo just took UCLA to back-to-back Final Fours, was the Pac-10 POY and a consensus First Team All-American. Of course, Lee has a long way to go before he's the player that Afflalo is today. But, as a prospect, Lee has better physical traits and skills than Afflalo did as a high school junior.
In our unofficial ranking of the Easter Classic prospects, Luke Babbitt comes in just a notch behind Lee. Babbitt, a 6-7 junior power forward from Reno (Nev.) Galena, is going to be a terrific college player. He might not ever leave early for the pros, as he doesn't have the size/athleticism that the NBA is looking for, but he possesses a very high skill level. Babbitt's shot looks even better today than it did in December.
Babbitt's got a very soft touch and his range is now well beyond the stripe. The one area where we think he needs to improve is rebounding. He's not going to jump over people, so he needs to get better with his positional rebounding. But that's a minor quibble for such a talented prospect.
After the top two guys, there are a group of players that we're very high on. Tyrese Breshers, a 6-6 junior power forward from Los Angeles (Calif.) Price, Elijah Johnson, 6-2 SO PG Las Vegas (Nev.) Cheyenne, and Victor Rudd, 6-6 SO SF Sylmar (Calif.) High, are all very talented young players. Breshers is seeing his recruitment blow up as we speak, as multiple high majors are now involved with him. Johnson didn't have a great tournament, but we think that has more to do with the team he played on (Houston Hoops kept him off the ball way too much) than any fault of Johnson's. And Rudd is a very good-looking small forward with the ability to finish at the rim, as well as shoot the three. All three of these players figure to play at the high major level eventually.
EAST COAST (Mike Sullivan)
Cardozo (Bayside, New York) head coach Ron Naclerio has had a very successful program for two decades plus competing in a very rough conference -- the New York City Public School Athletic League. So he needs to have high quality players in his program each season to be competitive.
It's likely Cardozo will again be a force in the New York area, especially with players like James Southerland, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound swingman. Southerland, a current junior and member of the 2008 class, is a player to watch this summer on the AAU circuit.
Southerland will need to show more consistency in his offensive game. He possesses a sweet touch from the perimeter. It's likely college coaches are going to evaluate him also on James' ability to score from around the basket.
"He needs to get a little stronger," said Naclerio. "But he has the offensive skills to be a very good college player."
Naclerio added that Virginia Tech, Seton Hall, Rutgers, St. John's, Syracuse, Florida, and Louisville are just a few schools that have scouted Southerland over the past few months. But Naclerio has said it's likely the spring and summer will determine Southerland's serious list as he prepares for his senior season ...
It's been reported on several sites across the internet, including on Scout.com's New York high school site that former Tilden High School (Brooklyn, New York) center 6-foot-8 center Alanzo George was severely hurt in an car accident. George, who hails from St. Vincent, was supposed to attend Manhattan College next season.
According to a report published, Alanzo fractured the C4 and C5 vertebrae, and is paralyzed from the waist down. George was supposed to transfer to a prep school this season because he had run out of eligibility to play in the New York City PSAL.
George was a player that was watched several times over his career by the Scout.com New York High School site. He was a solid inside player who battled for every loose ball while on the high school level. He averaged 16 points a game during one season at Tilden.
The Alonzo George Road to Recovery Trust has raised money to help cover the cost of his rehabilitation. Anyone interested in contributing to the Alanzo George Road to Recovery Trust can mail donations to the address below: Maxim Group C/O Ed Rose, Alanzo George Road to Recovery Trust, 405 Lexington Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10174...
St. Raymond's head coach Oliver Antigua appears to have some solid young talent returning next season for the Ravens' basketball program. It's likely he will count on several players, including 6-foot-3, 175-pound guard Omari Lawrence.
Lawrence, a sophomore and member of the 2009 class, played recently at Jimmy Salmon's Playaz Spring Fling held mostly on the campus of Seton Hall University. Lawrence played with the Long Island Lightning AAU program and competed against a very talented DC Blue Devils team in one matchup. Lawrence displayed solid skills and hustle.
Omari has long arms and a nose for the ball. He appeared to do a solid job around the basket and showed some balance in his offensive game. A native of the Bronx, Lawrence is a player to watch this upcoming summer as he competes on the AAU circuit.
The Ravens normally play a very competitive spring and summer schedule so Lawrence will have a chance to play against some of the best players from across the country. Lawrence is worth watching this summer. It's likely his recruiting process will pick up substantially over the next several months as college coaches watch. It's likely the area programs will give Omari a serious look this spring and summer on the AAU circuit as Lawrence prepares for his junior season.