Carolina Challenge: Under The Radar

CARY, N.C.– You know about C.J. Leslie, Reggie Bullock and Ian Miller but what about Justin Cheek? The Carolina Challenge was laced with not only big names but scores of prospects that earned their stripes and should be pinging the radar of college programs.

Justin Cheek, SG: The son of an NFL referee, his play didn't draw any flags from us. A natural scorer, the lefty can get his own shot and heats up quickly. We'd be shocked if mid-level program with high recruiting aspirations don't take him seriously.


Raley-Ross Excelled
Corey Raley-Ross, SG: The brother of the SEC's 6th man of the year had a terrific day. Previously known more for his scoring, C.R.R. turned it up defensively and it fueled his offensive game. Awesome off the pull-up, few raised their stock like he did and should be considered a good mid-level prospect.

Jeremy Jeffers, SF/SG: If you're a shooter, you're expected to make shots. This lefty poured in jumpers during a stretch and confirmed our beliefs that he can get it done at the mid-level. Confidence is now sky high and if he can get more tips in traffic and meander his way to the rim with confidence he'll continue to win over admirers.

Damontre Harris, C: The longest prospect at the Challenge since Ty Walker. Last year, Hassan Whiteside emerged from the state to raise eyebrows. This kid could do the same. A rejector and rebounder, he's got Inspector Gadget arms and a huge ceiling.

Griffin Shaw, PG: A late addition to the Challenge, Shaw needed only one game to get comfortable and prove that he belonged. In overtime, he was the recipient of a kick out in the corner and he coolly drilled a game-winning 3-pointer. A heady floor general, he'll be a small conference signee who puts forth maximum effort.

Brian Richardson, SG: He's the guy that could wind up having a big summer and seeing his list of suitors expand. Love his feel, presence on the court. Strength will come. Would be surprised if he doesn't wind up in a big league.


Harris Could Be Sleeper
Jordan Downing, SF: Not a guy who draws attention to himself or might stand out in this setting and that's precisely why we like him. He's a fundamentally sound player at both ends who thinks and respects the game. Mid level schools are lining up to land him and given his winning resume, there's every reason to think he's a nice player at that level.

Jay Canty, SF: The one-time High Point pledge was shocked to learn that he led the Carolina Challenge in scoring. He didn't set out to do it but his steady and consistent scoring touch added to solid point totals. Best when he's a slasher, Canty is quick to the basket and a good finisher.

Kadeem Green, PF: The native of Canada is deceptively long and on this occasion, consistent with his efforts. Really liked what he did in skill work and he's not bad around the cup. Right on the mid/high cutline.

Manny Dias, PF: He said he'd been in the gym working on his jumpshot. We'd agree. This was the best we've seen him and his effort was high and his mid-range game strong.

Akil Mitchell, PF: An improved jump shot was augmented by quicker footwork than previously thought. Overall, he's put himself in contention for a mid-level schollie if can replicate the effort.

George MaNgoue, PF: This day is about challenging yourself and gauging where your game is. MaNgoue competed harder than he did in high school and when he experienced success for his efforts, kept on coming. There was a buzz about him early and if can replicate that this spring/summer he'll raise his profile.

Reco McCarter, PF/SF: Length is big time and an indicator to what he can become defensively. He's worked hard in the classroom and on the court and finished strong at the Challenge.

Detrique Baker, C: Definition of prospect. He looks young, is long and his defense and rebounding trump his offense. He was a deer in headlights early but gathered himself and turned in a solid day. Above all, he's a nice looking long-term prospect.

DeMon Brooks, PF: His level is to be determined but his effort is not up for debate. Quick feet help him overcome a lack of size. Uses shoulder fakes and throws his body into defenders. He'll be a small college signee and a good player.

Lucas Troutman, C: The Class of 2010 needs big guys to step up and Troutman is going to get looks. Throughout the day there was a buzz about his game and his ability to convert inside had people checking their rosters for his name.

Anthony Gill, PF: An injury to his thigh ended his day prematurely but we took notice. A good shot blocker, his body is coming around and he's got nice touch. No doubt a mid-level prospect he must be watched closely due to his athletic ability and long term potential. Don't be surprised if he cranks it up a notch in the coming year.

Bernard Sullivan, PF: He's got to feel real good about his day. The lefty brought lots of energy and found a nice balance between his inside and outside. This was the best we've seen him and cranking it up against good competition is a big deal.

Marshall Plumlee, C/PF: Every year he adds a little element. This time around his ball skills looked stronger. Nobody embraces this event more than Marshall who has developed behind his older brothers. He's a guy who improves at his own rate and he continues to make steady, noticeable gains.

Jacquise Moore, SG: You have to love his athleticism, leaping and overall energy. He was one of the first guys in the gym and it didn't take long for him to get acquainted with the rims. Drove it to the rim and made 3s. Great looking wing prospect in time.

Travion Leonard, C: When he decided to attack the rim, it was a battle Donta Harper couldn't win. With the force of an earthquake, Leonard surprised everyone in the gym, including himself. It was one of the day's highlights but it wasn't his best. Still working on his body, Leonard showcased a soft touch and took ownership in his area. Big strides for him.

John Cannon, C: Like Plumlee, the strides are noticeable. Fights for what's his inside his area and is a natural shot blocker. Loved how he competed and he's got nice mitts.

Dezmine Wells, SF: The camp set up well for his game. An energy who loves to slash and draw contact, Wells got out of the gates quickly. There's a big motor in that strong body. The next step is developing a mid-range go-to-shot and expanding his ball skills.

Chris Wilson, PG: Strong, smart and tough. Love this guy long term as a C.J. Harris clone with even more point guard in his game. This summer if he beefs up his outside credentials he'll have a chance to really impress.


Lewis Plays Tough
Braxton Ogbueze, PG: This kid has the goods to down the road be a serious guard prospect. He's got a smooth stroke and strong body. Plus, he's quickly on track to becoming a lock down defender. Scored it, defended and impressed with his all around game.

Tyler Lewis, PG: It's hard to be this small and this young and make an impact at the Challenge but Lewis did. He's fearless and smart and those attributes fuel his game. An adept passer, give him an opening and he's sticking a jumper. Impressive debut and he scored 21 in a game.

Madison Jones, PG: He's a crafty, wiry guard with good vision and passing ability. Strength is going to help steady his shot but there's no replacement for his natural passing IQ and craftiness.

Reggie Bullock grasped the concept of the day as well as anybody. Bullock made the extra effort to encourage the younger kids and help them get through the day. It was a genuine commitment to being a leader and that's a big deal. He had the ball in his hands enough that he could have pulled it more often, but he took a team approach and it was a strong example for the rest of the campers. By the end of the day, others followed his lead. …

Jacoby Davis won't get the recognition Marquis Rankin or Braxton Ogbueze received but this strong guard can score and is a player in his own right. … Devince Boykins' chest cold inhibited him from getting to show his "A" game. He's a great looking athlete with basketball savvy but it was tough to get a read on him given the circumstances. …

Weston Murphy learned that he's a Division I player last Saturday. Good size, good stroke and great grades will insure he gets a ‘ship. … The ascension of Ian Miller continues. Florida State was up on larceny charges for stealing him from the in-state ACC schools. Add grand theft to that list; kid is a major heist for Leonard Hamilton. …

Anthony Stitt will be one of the featured guys here next time around. He played only five high school games this year due to transfer. … Emanuel Chapman is the passer in the 2009 class. Brennan Wyatt, a guy he'll compete for schollies with, improved his jump shot and can lead a team. Athletically, Stargell Love grades out better than both. Each is different and all had their moments. …

There will never be another pick like the one David Wishon laid on an unsuspecting C.J. Leslie. Wishon has added an accurate hook and his body is improving. Changing ends is an area he needs to work on. … Jonathan Frye caught fire late in the event. He'll be a must-get mid-level wing. High school teammate Michael Neal will be a big name here next year with his scoring ability. …


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