Nike Hoop Jamboree: The Wings

ST. LOUIS – LaQuinton Ross, a prospect yet to play a high school game for Callaway High in Mississippi, took center stage last week. However, he had company. Here's our breakdown of the three perimeter positions from the Nike Hoop Jamboree.

Through the years, rising 9th graders have managed to garner considerable headlines at the Nike Hoop Jamboree. A few summers back, Demond Carter dazzled onlookers with his deft scoring touch and maturity. Last June, it was Jeremy Tyler who had complete command of his game and managed to ride his performance right into the July scene.

Before scoring a point in high school, small forward LaQuinton Ross asserted himself in a national setting with high-level caliber players. When camp ended the consensus was drawn that Ross was the top wing prospect and long term an equal or better prospect than 7-foot-2 John Riek.

The soon-to-be Jackson (Miss.) Callaway wing made headlines this spring with his play on the AAU circuit. His player's card was stamped officially after 4 days of action in St. Louis. At 6-7, Ross is a natural scorer with body control, range and for lack of a better term, the look of an elite level young player.


In breaking down the crop of points at camp, depending on how you view the position, you could have drawn two different conclusions. Mfon Udofia, without a doubt turned in the best performance. He was on the winning side of the 3-on-3 competition plus captured the camp championship.

Valuable Week For Udofia
For a guy who didn't play to his considerable reputation during the spring, Udofia proved himself as one of the best floor generals in his 2009 class. With room to tighten up the package for sure, he's a 3.5 student who scores it from different areas while having command of his team and getting kids involved.

Udofia's performance aside, the Elijah Johnson demonstrated possibly the biggest ceiling of anyone at his position. Some feel – and they may be proven correct – that he's a shooting guard. However, in crunch time Johnson gravitated to the ball and showed an innate aptitude to forgo his pension to score and turned into a leader. He'd be the first to tell you the transformation to the point is still a work in progress. But, we'd be the first to agree that it's likely on the horizon.

Be On The Lookout For …

  • Tony Chenault (2010, Pennsylvania), Michael Dixon (2009, Missouri), Darrius Morris (2009, California), Anthony Johnson (2010, Illinois), Phil Pressey (2010, Massachusetts), Tyler Thornton (2009, D.C.), K.C. Ross-Miller (2010, Texas), Brandon Smith (2009, California)


    After watching Nolan Dennis play with poise, athleticism and virtual grace, it would be shocking if he doesn't turn out to be one of the most highly sought after wings in the 2009 class.

    Smooth Dennis Graded High
    Forget the stats because he won't be among the leaders. What he did do was flash his talents to the point where in our mind he appeared to be the top SG prospect in attendance.

    Three of the next best wings hail from the Class of 2010. Reggie Bullock has a line on the top rising sophomore in the state of North Carolina. Like Dennis, his game is controlled and smooth.

    Ralston Turner (Alabama) and Duron Lamb (New York) weren't too shabby either.

    Be On The Lookout For …

  • Shaunessy Smith (2009, Mississippi), Dion Waiters (2010, Pennsylvania), Avery Bradley (2009, Washington), Bill Edwards (2009, Ohio), Najj Hibbert (2009, Maryland), Anthony Marshall (2009, Las Vegas).


    This was a position laced with talent. After Ross, the debate begins. 2010's Jereme Richmond was off his game the first day.

    Stewart Cranked It Up
    That was the first day. Going forward, Richmond, a versatile wing with a basketball IQ and the ability to pass, handle and shoot, backed up the high school season hype.

    Hollis Thompson's improvement from his first spring event through June has been steady. Combine his academics and his basketball talent and you're peering at one of the most recruitable athletes in the Class of 2009. Speaking of 2009, Ari Stewart's perimeter offense and Rodney Williams' athleticism were major topics of conversation during the week. Heading into the event Stewart had a burgeoning national and his profile will peek heading into July.

    Be On The Lookout For …

  • Tristin Spurlock (2009, Maryland), Dominique Ferguson (2010, Indiana), Roger Franklin (2009, Texas), Zach Peters (2011, Texas), Terrence Boyd (2009, Florida)

    Statistically Speaking

    Roger Franklin (19.6), Ari Stewart (17.2) and LaQuinton Ross (16.8) finished 1-2-3 in overall scoring at the camp. … Ross' measurables: wingspan 7-feet, reach 8-9. Wow!. …

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