Mid-Way Recap: 10 Best 2008 Performances

The first half of July is finished. Although there's another 10 day evaluation period on the horizon, we wanted to take a quick look back at the top performances by upperclassmen during the first period.

Luke Babbitt

Luke Babbitt, PF – Playing with a new team at the adidas It Takes 5ive Classic didn't slow Babbitt at all. The southpaw showed off his smooth jumper and helped EBO get a handful of blow out wins in pool play. His biggest game came against Troy Gillenwater and the New England Playaz. Although the Playaz got the victory, Babbitt scored 29 points by draining deep jumpers, driving to the basket and posting up on the block.

His face up game has always been an impressive, but he continues to add moves and show that he can get physical on the block if he needs to. With his ability to score we fully expect Babbitt to make an instant impact on Nevada's program. (Evan Daniels)

William Buford

Buford Shows Out At RBK U
William Buford, SG – We're guilty of this at times. When a player makes such an early pledge he's first in line to be taken for granted. Buford fits the profile. He's drawn little national attention since the early pledge to Ohio State. However, his play this month has cast the spotlight right back on his game.

Arguably the top wing performer (insert applicable Elliot Williams argument here) at the inaugural Reebok University, Buford finished 8th in the camp in scoring (15.2 points). He'll remain in the Scout.com Top 20 and hasn't done anything to damage his No. 12 ranking. His West Virginia Jam Fest performance was darkened by an early exit from the Greyhounds. (Dave Telep)

Demar DeRozan

Demar DeRozan, SF – After watching the Cactus Classic two months ago, the bar was pretty high. Frankly, in successive performances, the Southern Cal-bound wing didn't measure up to it. With DeRozan it's not a matter of how good he can be, it's about consistency. As an evaluator, you want to see him replicate the effort. In Akron he not only replicated it, but surpassed expectations.

There's a future NBA player in that body and he showed out at LeBron. The challenge – once again – will be to let everyone know for sure one more time this summer that's he's ready to be considered the best in the business. (DT)

Michael Dunigan

Michael Dunigan, C – There are big men that will try and go around defenders or even over them, but that's not Dunigan's style. The 6-foot-9, 240-pounder instead would rather go through them. During the LeBron James Skills Academy, Dunigan went head-to-head with Samardo Samuels and the physical battle was a virtual draw. T

he next day Dunigan took on Riek and clearly out played the 7-foot-2 big man. But his great play didn't stop there. At the Peach Jam, Dunigan continued his physical ways and scored at will when he got the ball in the paint. Although he doesn't have a variety of moves inside, he doesn't have trouble scoring because of his strength and aggression. (ED)

Hopson's Hot Streak Continues

Scotty Hopson

Scotty Hopson, SF – As Kentucky-based reporters flocked and asked him if he was "locked" into Mississippi State, Hopson never wavered. The only thing more impressive than his demeanor with the media was his play on the court.

He entered the summer ranked No. 28 and he's blasting toward the Top 10. Most figured he was capable of such an outburst but Hopson, prior to the camp, hadn't done enough to convince even himself.

After a dominating scoring performance he's in the mix for the McDonald's Game. If he wants the accolades he'll close the summer strong as its there for the taking. A convincing performance set the tone for his summer. (DT)

Brandon Jennings

Brandon Jennings, PG – This guy loves ball. Since his freshman season he's been the best point guard in the class and that's not in question. We're including him among the 10 best performers with the disclaimer that he's capable of better.

After leading RBK U in scoring (18.3) and assists (8.0) we submit he wasn't even close to his best. The talent level was evident – always is – but he was too fancy and didn't play his game. Now, that's saying something because he got a lot done. What he didn't do was win the camp championship and knowing Jennings that shouldn't set to well. He's headed to Vegas where traditionally he's excelled. (DT)

Greg Monroe

Greg Monroe, PF – Taking everyone's best shot isn't always easy to handle, but Monroe seems to be taking it in stride. At the LeBron James Skills Academy, Monroe played solid basketball but didn't dominate. That changed at the Peach Jam. In pool play Monroe attacked the basket, buried mid-range jumpers and showed an ability to use both hands around the basket.

For a guy that stands 6-foot-8, Monroe is incredibly versatile and is capable of taking rebounds coast-to-coast. After the first evaluation period of July and heading into Monroe's last, he still holds the top spot in the rankings. Can he fend off the rest of the class? (ED)

Riek Dominates At LeBron

John Riek

John Riek, C – After watching Riek play and in most cases, out perform, every big man camper at the LeBron James Skills Academy, observers in the gym walked away with the same feeling. Riek is going to be a high draft pick. The Sudanese native stands 7-something and swats shots effortlessly.

Three weeks ago he wasn't holding the ball above his head. He is now and no one could slow him down. The game is simple: catch, turn, dunk/shot and score. That's the easy part for Riek. The challenge comes in figuring out his age (he wasn't sure), where he'll attend school and what year he'll be. With the knowledge that he graduated high school in Egypt, we're treating him as a senior … for now. (DT)

Samardo Samuels

Samardo Samuels, C – If we're right and the Class of 2008 mirrors the 2005 contingent then we'd like to introduce you to the next Tyler Hansbrough. Thus far if you include the spring, no senior big man has been as productive as the Montego Bay native. Samuels hasn't scored a knockout in all his matchups but he hasn't been knocked down either.

Like Hansbrough, better NBA prospects may emerge from the class. However, also like Hansbrough, Samuels is in line for the most early success and best NCAA career before he works himself into the league. (DT)

Willie Warren

Willie Warren, SG – If this report were written after the LeBron James Skills Academy, then Warren wouldn't be included. However, the 6-foot-4 rising senior brought his "A" game to the Peach Jam, so he's earned his way into the recap. His first game at the Peach Jam was a 45-point blow up against Meanstreets and he backed that up with a few more brilliant scoring efforts.

The future Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill guard scored mostly off long jumpers, but also mixed in some from mid-range as well. Although Warren says he is attempting to become a point guard, we still prefer him on the wing for a few reasons, but mainly because of his ability to score. (ED)

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