Kevin Jones, PF, Mt. Vernon – Early in his high school career we were worried he'd fall in love with the 3-point line and never return; that's not the case. As a senior Jones is an example of the consummate face-up forward. A threat from the perimeter and a committed insider. He's good at both and Bob Huggins will embrace his effort and results. 27 points and 12 boards for the winners.
Greg Monroe, PF, Cox – When you look at the senior class and evaluate players who made strong decisions based on style of play and fit, Monroe's decision blows most away. The Hoyas will know what to do with him plus he won't have to be a huge numbers guys, which right now, is not a comfortable area for him.
Having said that, parts of the package were on display and at 6-10, he passed and handled with great skill. There's no "wow" factor with Greg and for some that's not enough. Regardless how you slice him up, the kid has major talent. 24 points in the win over Whitney Young.
Kemba Walker, PG, Rice – He quietly went about his business and finished with 23. When Stephenson was going off, Walker asked for the assignment and at least made his guy work harder. Rice's defense never got wound up and the inability to exert its will on that end cost them.
Brandon Jennings, PG, Oak Hill – This edition of the Warriors can ill afford for Jennings to struggle offensively. He did and they paid the price. Jennings scored 27 but went 11-for-27 from the floor and 3-for-14 behind the arc. To complete a nightmarish offensive struggle, Jennings was shut out in the assist category, which may be a first.
Quintrell Thomas, PF, St. Patrick – He saved his best for last. Relying on his explosiveness and athleticism, Thomas went undetected for 3 quarters then sprung loose for 7 points in the last period.
A.J. Rompza, PG, Whitney Young – Being a leader is earned. Rompza has always had our respect but now we're sure he's a class act. Named the MVP in his team's loss to Cox, he was given a trophy. As he walked into the team tunnel, he handed the hardware to Ahmad Starks and told him it was his. Rompza dazzled with his crowd-pleasing passes but Starks came off the bench and hit his first 4 shots of the game. Central Florida has a big time character guy headed its way.
Lance Stephenson, SF/SG, Lincoln – A national TV audience watched him rip off 15 points in the first quarter and smoke jump shots on command. Mix in 16 rebounds and this was a big time effort. Stephenson scored it from various spots on the floor and his jump shot is definitely improved from a year ago. The step-back mid-range is a weapon.
This kid is going to terrorize the AAU circuit for enormous numbers. We're in for a good back and forth between he and Derrick Favors when it comes to top dog. They're two completely different players, personalities and prospects which makes for an entertaining summer.
Maalik Wayns, PG, Roman Catholic – Before the summer even arrives he's likely to be universally regarded as a Top 5 player at his position. Smoking in the first quarter with 5 trifectas, Wayns cooled and didn't make a big play until his 3-pointer tied the game in the closing minute. 26 points for the Philly favorite who embraces contact.
Dexter Strickland, SG, St. Patrick – To steal a comparison from the golfing world, Friday was a game he drove it deep and hit every fairway. Saturday was the round of a grinder. Strickland shot 4-for-10 from the floor but got to the line 10 times, stroking 8. In two games he shot 24 free throws, which speaks to his aggressiveness and ability to get by defenders.
Durand Scott, SG, Rice – Came out and was aggressive, hunting his offense. Had some strong moments and is beginning to assert himself as an offensive player.
Lamont Jones, SG, American Christian – As of late he's been hot and the run continued. Jones found the rims at Sovereign Bank Arena to his liking and he worked them for 26 points.
Tamir Jackson, SG, St. Benedict's – How about 10-13 from the field and 6-for-8 from deep? On a night when St. Bene's looked somewhat sluggish (and rightfully so after late night on Friday) Jackson was the energy. Finished with 26 points.
Aaron Brown, SF, Roman Catholic – To start for this team out of the city you'd better be good and tough. He's both. A small forward born and bred, he's keen to his duties on the glass and goes hard.
Michael Gilchrist, SF, St. Patrick – You can't help but be enamored with him and what he can become. It's extremely rare to see a freshman with his confidence and ability. It's one thing to think you belong, it's another to prove it.
Three former big time guards sat courtside and watched the action on Saturday. Jason Williams (Duke), Shaheen Holloway (Seton Hall) and DaJuan Wagner (Memphis) attended games. Hollloway is an assistant at Iona. …
Timber Creek junior shooting guard Montez Blair demonstrated a Division I stroke. The 6-2 wing has a beautiful stroke that he steps into and knocks down. … Shannon Givens, a strong-bodied junior point, should draw mid-level attention as he continues to improve. … Samardo Samuels punched the clock with 24 points.
Mount Vernon junior Sherrod Wright is a mid level option at the shooting guard slot. … One of Tyreke Evans' more understated lines of the year: 7 points. … A tired St. Benedict's team unleashed a new weapon: sophomore wing Mike Poole. He's a good looking prospect. …
Paris Bennett of St. Patrick is kind of that glue guy that good teams have. He shot it well the last two days. …
Academy New Church senior Larry Loughery is hearing strong from Penn and Princeton and he'd be terrific Ivy four-man. … Shannon Givens gets heat from Seton Hall, Stanford, Drexel, Temple, Cincinnati and LaSalle. …
Head Coaches In Attendance -- Norm Roberts, St. John's; Matt Brady, Marist; Tom Moore, Quinnipiac; Mike Dean, Wagner.
"Now I got to stand guard by the locker room and get my Uzi out."