Harrison Barnes, SF/SG, All-Iowa Attack: It's been a while since we've seen a guy this competitive hit the circuit. There's an edge to Barnes that can't be taught. When his desire to prove a point and win collide, great things happen. Against Casey Prather, Barnes put up 21 points to Prather's four in the first half. Barnes went to work as a board man, defender and overall tough guy. Barnes picked Prather twice and had his way at both ends. He finished with 32 points but did not get the win. Prather's team rallied in the second half.
Credit Prather for somehow picking up the pieces and moving from the ropes to the middle of the ring. His defensive effort was much more focused and assertive. He finished with 15 points. In order to advance his game, he's got to tighten up his ball handling and find a comfort zone on offense.
Brandon Knight, SG/PG, SE Elite: The Celtics threw three different defenders of opposites shapes and sizes at him. The result: Knight dialed in and had a big game. He took and made some deep 3s. Pounded it on the floor and got to the rim when needed. As a passer, he sizzles it. Truly is a high-level combo guard who can change games with his stroke from different spots on the floor. Knight dumped 35 points on the Celtics.
Joe Jackson, PG, Memphis Magic: He's responsible for two of the most athletic dunks this event will ever see. Aside from the little man's high-wire act, he's quick and slippery to the cup. He's quite fearless and he's getting more and more confident with each passing year. How a guy his size can rise like that is a gift. He's cemented himself as one of the top guys at his position and a national riser. In his final game Saturday night, the Magic toppled powerhouse All-Ohio.
Patric Young, C, Jax Lee Bulls: He'll rise significantly when the new rankings come out and for good reason: he's turning into a beast. We saw him score 6 points, pull down 10 rebounds and block nine shots (he had 18 rebounds in his first game of the day). His intensity as a board man is second only to how hard he hunts shot blocks. He's a go-to-move on offense away from taking a significant leap.
Aaron Bowen, SG, Jax Lee Bulls: The Marquette Golden Eagles were WAY ahead of the curve with this guy. A natural scorer, he's 6-foot-5 and can fill it up. A long body, he'll fill out in college and has a chance to become a major part of the Golden Eagles backcourt. He pumped in 20 points.
Tarik Black, PF, Memphis Magic: There are guys that are good and some that are hungry. Black is both and he's motivated to announce his presence. Consider us believers in the 6-8 (maybe) four man who attacks the rims as if they did him wrong. All of his offense is within a small radius of the bucket BUT he's an aggressive frontcourt player with very good rebounding instincts.
Jean Kendrick, SF/PG, Hoop Planet: For an early morning game he stuffed the stat sheet. Picked a guy at midcourt, knocked down a few Js and used both hands to finish at the rim. A unique guard who would be outstanding in a multiple guard offense. Think a bigger Chris Douglas-Roberts.
Ian Miller, PG, Atlanta Express: The crew he's moonlighting with should feel fortunate to have him after Saturday afternoon. In the second half, Miller reeled in Dallas Showtyme before eventually banking in a 3-pointer at the buzzer. He's developing quite the reputation for late-game heroics (see state title winning hoop).
Luke Cothron, PF, SE Elite: This was the real Cothron. He was a problem for the Celtics. The Alabama native went for 26 points and was a beast inside. His catches in traffic, with both hands and finishes around the rim were indicative of a competitive guy who was intent on playing hard.
Noah Cottrill vs. Phil Pressey: Cottrill came out smoking hot and canned his first four 3-pointers. He pushed 20 in the first half and turned the tempo up on Playground's offense. Always tough, he was the aggressor in the first half and won the matchup. However, in the second, Pressey stepped up. His vision and superior passing skills came into play. Two good ones, head to head using different styles.
Cameron Clark, SF, Team Tex.: Wow, he's going to be a blow up guy (if he hasn't already). He's at least 6-5, a strong athlete and he'll wear it out from mid-range. A committed defender, Clark was excellent with helpside blocks and rebounded his position. Good to see guys emerge in the spring and Clark has Top 50 talent at the minimum.
Ryan Harrow, PG, Atl. Celtics: He's about as athletic as a guy can get in a 5-11 body. A natural scorer, Harrow has plenty of talent. The next step is slowing it all down and toning up his drive and kick game. If he can transition into being less of a scorer and more of a set up man he'll be better served long term.
Austin Hollins, SG, Nashville Celtics: Here's one we didn't see coming. Prior to the weekend he wasn't on our radar but he sure is now. He'll straddle the mid-to-high fence and can tip himself over the edge with a few more solid outings. Shooter with smarts and a body that can get better.
Doug McDermott, SF, Martin Bros.: He's not just Harrison Barnes high school teammate. McDermott is carving out his own niche. In the 8 a.m. game, the jumper was working. More importantly, he's a balanced player who is savvy around the cup. He'll begin as a strong mid-level prospect.
Josh Hairston, PF, Assault: The Keys didn't present much of a challenge so he went out, dropped 14 in the first half and the crew from D.C. tossed it into neutral for the win. Hairston was an opportunity scorer and mixed in a half hook.
Adonis Thomas, SG, Memphis Magic: He's tracking as one of the best sophomore wings in the southeast region. Blessed with a strong body, he's a fundamental player who passes as well as he scores. There's a good pace and flow to his game and high-majors are going to be all over him if they aren't already.
Myck Kabongo, PG, Grassroots Canada: His numbers were not eye popping but his impact on the game was. Against Rising Stars, Kabongo found his way into the paint at will. He's slippery fast and a load to handle off the bounce.
Jason Carter, C, Franchize: To see a sophomore big man with his aggressiveness – not to mention size – in the post is refreshing. Even against Tariq Black he didn't back down. Already has post shake to his game, he's a strong kid with a real presence in the paint.
You knew Alabama head coach Anthony Grant was going to reconnect with a player who got out of the state. Luke Cothron isn't balling in Bama as a high schooler but he's a native of the state. Two weeks ago, Grant made the contact and you can bet the Tide is going to work him hard. …
Jamail Jones is a guy to watch this spring. He's a 2010 wing with bounce and athleticisim from Hoop Planet. … Like Maxie Esho for UMass. Good energy, the A-10 post play is in his wheelhouse and it's a good match. … 2011's Kedren Johnson for the Nashville Celtics is someone to keep an eye on. A powerful combo guard, he was a gritty competitor in his team's final playoff win. Strong, finishes and has confidence. …
Kyan Anderson of the Dallas Heroes is a kid mid level schools will look at. He's below 6-feet though he does have a jumper and sees the floor. … Phil Pressey has elite vision and passing ability. … Stacey Poole of the Lee Bulls is a competitive wing. Hit for 21 in game we watched. …
So far this spring, Harrison Barnes has put himself on a different level than his peers. He's not operating on the same grading scale as his classmates this April. He'll be the first to nitpick his game so we don't mind helping out. The next step is shoring up his handle and eliminating forces on offense. Sometimes his competitive streak gets the best of him and he'll pull one he shouldn't. Outside of that, he's set the bar very high for himself. …
Our final game of the night featured two of the country's best shooters: Cory Joseph and Alex Rossi. Joseph had 17 points. Rossi, who was in constant motion, will enter the conversation as one of the top perimeter threats in his class. … Lenzelle Smith, playing the role of power guard, is going to be an asset at Ohio State. He finds shooters, finishes and his shot has improved since last season. …
Jamail Jones has interest from Clemson, Oregon, Stanford, Arizona, Marquette, Georgia State, Georgia and Georgia Tech. … Doug McDermott has offers from Albany, South Dakota and North Dakota. Northern Iowa, Creighton and Indiana State. … Jelan Kendrick said 20 schools have offered him and he doesn't want to leave any out. We did ask him who was extremely committed to signing him and he said Georgetown, Oregon and Georgia Tech. …
Ben Hazel has offers from UNC-Greensboro, Howard and St. Bonaventure. … Sophomore Kedren Johnson has offers from Tennessee and Vanderbilt. … Cameron Clark has Oklahoma, Arizona, Soouthern Cal, Kansas and Arizona State. He says each has offered and after watching this weekend, we hope they were wise enough to beat the posse. … Cothron has Duke, North Carolina, West Virginia, North Carolina State and Oklahoma coming next week. Sidney Lowe and Anthony Grant are charging hard. He has yet to speak with Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams. …
Tariq Black is listing Arkansas, Tennessee, Memphis, Miami, Alabama and Massachusetts. "But, there's more than that." … Madracus Wade has offers from Arkansas, Ole Miss, Missouri, Baylor, UMass and Oregon State. Vanderbilt is looking. … Joe Jackson said the shakeup at Memphis definitely rattled him. The Tigers, Kentucky, Tennessee and Marquette are in the mix. … Nate Hicks of Atlanta Express is hearing from Auburn, LSU, Florida State and FIU. … Austin Hollins hears from Arkansas, Belmont, Sanford, St. Joe's and Middle Tennessee State. …