Harrison Barnes, SG, Pulley: There are some good ones here and we haven't seen them all but this guy was the class of the ones we did see Friday night. Wow! We'll be moving him over to the two guard spot where he's now more explosive and even better getting to the rim. His game is maturing and the sweet jump shot remains intact. The guy took a charge, made a three and led a furious comeback that fell short against the Hoops. No doubt he's a candidate for the top spot in this class. This guy is a serious, serious prospect.
DeShaun Thomas, PF, Spiece: When he dives to the blocks and works it, the lefty is a beast. Chalk up 31 points in his opener as the Ohio State pledge went about his business. He mixed in a few threes but without resistance in the paint he was too much to handle against the S.C. Ravens.
Alex Kirk, C, Houston Hoops: He averaged 28 and 17 this year but didn't get to look anyone in the eye. That changes as he steps up in competition this spring. Legit 6-feet-10 and armed with good hands. He's a hustler with enough post shake to get by. He'll have to improve his conditioning but as a true center he's got high-major capabilities. Throws super outlet passes and seems to have a desire to improve.
Doron Lamb, SG, Gauchos: His club was getting hammered and in the second half Lamb had enough. He began asserting himself and hunting his offense which, by the way, he's pretty good at. Lamb's not going to blow you away with athleticism but he's a competitor who can get buckets. When it's on the line, he wants the ball. Chalk up 33 points for Lamb who played like a lion.
Fantoine Butler, PF, S.C. Ravens: Our "Who Is This Guy?" award goes to the Augusta native. This kid is an easy mid-major pick who is rangy, goes 6-8 and can swat shots.
Nick Johnson, PG, Oakland Soldiers: His 15 points in the first half were enough to sink the Gauchos into a hole they couldn't climb out of. The nephew of former Celtic Dennis Johnson, Nick's got a sweet 3-point stroke, quick trigger and is much improved from last season. The hoops IQ was on display when he made a serious baseline cut and shook loose for a backdoor dunk. Impressive stuff and 21 points for the game. Thought he might be a shooting guard last year but he's heading in the point guard direction.
Kyle Wiltjer, PF, Oakland Soldiers: What's not too like? He's big, has a stroke and his post offense is better than a year ago. There's a crafty element to his game and he dumped 23 points in his opener. He's high-major material and a Pac-10 priority for sure.
Houston Hoops Backcourt: J-Mychal Reese and L.J. Rose are on track to be quite the potent duo. Rose's jumper was smoking against Pulley and Reese can deliver it. Impressive outing for the rookies.
Big fan of the energy that Desmond Simmons brings. If he catches it clean behind the line he knocks down trifectas. … Props to Doron Lamb for stepping up and giving the Gauchos a chance (they didn't win). … Boo's machine of Kendall Marshall, James McAdoo and Luke Cothron was rolling early in the event. Marshall was great in the set up role, McAdoo was his usual self and Cothron put home his chances inside. …
The dunk of the day belonged to Brandon Peters. In transition he rose up over Pulley's Jacob Thomas and crushed it. … Tobi Oyedeji has gotten much more polished in the post. He's confident with his offense and is quick to get into his scoring moves. … Brandon Knight and Austin Rivers are in the same backcourt here and that show is something we'll look forward to on Saturday. …
Fantoine Butler is hearing from Georgia Tech, VCU, College of Charleston and Winthrop. … Ethan Jacobs, a big fella for Spiece, has Penn State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Minnesota and Indiana State on him. The Sycamores are serious and will dispatch their head coach next week. …
Nick Johnson has offers from Arizona State, Oregon State, Virginia Tech, Gonzaga and Pepperdine. UCLA, Connecticut and Texas are interested. He's been to UCLA, ASU and USC. … Tim Dixon of the Ga. Blazers is hearing from Georgia Tech, Florida State, Oklahoma State, Alabama and Auburn. … Alex Kirk has much of the Pac-10 plus New Mexico and Texas Tech. …