Cory Joseph, PG, Grassroots Canada: If you spend enough time with Avery Bradley, his mentality is bound to rub off on you. Joseph looked Keith Appling dead in the eye Saturday night in the playoffs and took a page out of the Bradley book. He contested Appling right from the jump and set the tone for Grassroots win with a defensive effort of serious magnitude. While locking up on defense, he zipped passes to teammates and set the table. It was the best game we've seen him play. His effort should send the message: you don't have to score to be super on the circuit. Joseph finished with four points, the win and tons of respect.
Trae Golden, SG, Atlanta Celtics: His team was in a hole. Ryan Harrow (26 points) and Jordan McRae (21) tossed everything they had at D.C. Assault. While the action was taking place, Golden was sitting with fouls. With a few minutes left in the game, Golden came back in, smoked a handful of tough jumpers and scored 7 points in a two minute stretch to help salt away a playoff win.
Fab Melo, C, Fla. Rams: One of the class's true aircraft carriers. Shame on the refs for putting early fouls on him and limiting our evaluation; not very user friendly. Soft touch, big body (real big body) and he stands his ground inside. Liked what we saw even in a limited view and have high expectations.
Justin Coleman, SG, Petersburg Elite: Just when the day was beginning to drag, Coleman unloaded a barrage of 25 first half points against Team Fla. It began with an alley-oop dunk and then a three off a curl. Coleman's team had only eight players so it quickly ran out of gas but not before his point was proven. This young man is one of the biggest high-major sleepers in the country, period. His jumper is consistently there, he's looks down from the rim and if he works on his ball handling he could make a serious rankings rise. Conservatively we'll call him Top 50.
Okaro White, PF, Team Fla.: Not many guys have found the balance between post and perimeter the way he has. He's a key addition to the Florida State stable of recruits. Rebounds, defends and hustles for his squad. Top 50 talent.
Nate Lubick, PF, NE Playaz: The game we caught was a big time rout so his services weren't needed much past the first half. Lubick dunked what he got his hands on and ran the floor strong.
Damien Leonard, SG, Fla. Rams: In a game that featured too few post passes, Leonard found favor among the basketball gods by passing in the first half. Despite not scratching in the first he scored 16 in the second as his long-range game was the reason for the Rams win. Legitimate marksman behind the arc.
Chris Bryant, PF, Team Fla: Gaining confidence and he's got the appearance of a high-major prospect. Surprised when he faced and made jumpers. He's probably at the stage where he's just beginning to realize his potential. He showed it in spurts and we liked what we saw.
Branden Dawson, SG, SYF 16: You have to like guys who own athleticism and aren't afraid to use it. He'll play at the rim and behind the 3-point line equally well. Tracking as a high-major wing in his class.
Devince Boykins, SG, Raptors: He's a guy to keep an eye on. This will be his first full season without football. He's yet to completely drop the hammer offensively but his athleticism and passing ability are notable. He's tracking as a good defensive player and fine help side shot blocker.
Shabazz Muhammad, SF, Dream Division: Loved him in Vegas and no reason to end the affair. Muhammad is a natural SF who is comfortable using quick scoring moves inside and has the athleticism to go off the bounce. Jumper isn't bad but can improve. Looks to be one of the real deals in his class.
Dajaun Coleman, C, Syr. Select: These big fellas are so big so early that sometimes you forget how young they really are. This guy is 6-9, has mitts and when he wants, can be nasty. One of the top young bigs in his class, Coleman has a touch of Zach Randolph in his game.
Liked 2012 small forward Winston Shepherd of Missouri City, Tex., Hightower H.S. Like the size and live body. … Desmond Hubert of the Playaz will be a force this time next year. He has natural shot blocking instincts. … Don't leave Myles Davis open; that jumper is very strong. … Kudos to Damien Leonard who made an impression for his willingness to pass. … Ashton Khan of Team Takeover is a mid-level point guard out of Canada. …
Derrick Gordon fueled a big rally as the L.I. Lightning stormed back against the Raptors. Gordon is a strong Western Kentucky lean from the guard spot. … Paris Roberts, a 2010 shooting guard with the Raptors 16 team is a Division I prospect. … The highlight play of the day belonged to Ryan Harrow as he sliced through traffic in a playoff game, contorted himself at the rim and we think reversed in a contested lay-up high off the glass. Needed a replay to describe it better but you get the gist. It was smooth and he's very talented. …
Didn't see the game but Breakdown's Jelani Hewitt scored 45 points, including 10 3's in one contest. … Meanwhile a sophomore out of Memphis named Chris Jones went for 40+ twice. …. Tristan Thompson was outstanding (16 points) as was Myck Kabongo (21) in Grassroots dismantling of the Michigan Mustangs. … No big surprise here as Reggie Bullock picks the playoffs to turn in his best game of the weekend to date. …
Myles Davis is hearing from Marist, Rutgers, Louisville, Memphis, Seton Hall, Pittsburgh and Kansas. … Damien Leonard likes Wake Forest, South Carolina, Florida, Memphis and Clemson. … Cady Lulane hears form Ole Miss, Florida, Miami, Auburn, South Carolina and Campbell. … Ashton Khan lists Virginia Tech, VCU, Central Connecticut, Baylor, Virginia and Niagara. … Dwight Powell isn't close to locking it down but said Harvard, Stanford and Virginia were coming strong with UCLA beginning to show interest. … Will Yeguette is an emerging mid-level combo forward with Team Florida. …
Paris Roberts has heard from Xavier, Akron, Marshall and UNC-Greensboro. … Tyrone Garland has offers from LaSalle, Drexel, St. Bonaventure, Nebraska and Temple. He's also hearing from Butler, Virginia Tech, Providence and Seton Hall. … Chris Bryant hears from Auburn, Florida State, Florida Atlantic and Jacksonville. … Will Yeguette has interest from South Carolina, Virginia Tech and Auburn. … Justin Coleman doesn't have an offer (he will shortly) but hears from Marquette, Xavier, Maryland, Florida, Memphis and Virginia Tech. …