Real Day: Day Three

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.– The final day of the Real Deal In The Rock gave us a chance to eyeball some outstanding young players including Marcus Smart, a Texan who flew under the national radar until this weekend.

Markus Kennedy, C, NE Playaz: The major league team isn't ready to call him up so they're optioning him to Winchendon for a post-grad year. Kennedy, a Villanova signee, will take an extra session under Mike Byrnes before returning home. Against the Mustangs he manned up inside and played with physicality and effectiveness inside. He's got work to do on his body, but we've always thought the rest would take care of itself.

Lebryan Nash, SF, Mustangs: His body is in the best shape it's ever been. He's got a true small forward frame and shot it well here up until Sunday's game. So, in the morning when his jumper wasn't working he didn't let it bother him. Nash got steals, blocks shots and finished inside at the rim.

Marcus Smart, SF/PG, Texas Assault: When you stumble onto a guy this competitive, so consumed with winning and equally talented, it makes for the perfect ending to a long 3-day tournament. Texas Assault didn't win the 16's championship and Smart didn't make the game-winning shot. What he did do is make one of the strongest first impressions these eyes have seen in a long time.

Smart is a 6-foot-3+ wing player who handled point guard duties but hasn't defined his long-term position. He could be a versatile point forward cut from the Dwyane Wade mold. He stuck 3s, looked good with his mid-range game and attacked. The guy has the tools to pass, rebound in traffic and lead his team. He guarded points and power forwards with the same intensity. Winning matters to him (he won 37 high school games later year) and on this site we've preached competitiveness and basketball IQ; he exudes both. Smart's about to become a national level recruit.

Alex Poythress, PF, Nashville Celtics: Patric Young with more offense. That was my first impression of this talented 6-7 (and growing) power forward. He's going to be strong, skilled and a nice blend of inside with a perimeter touch. What we liked best is that he took it personal to rebound the ball and when he was in the game he commanded the glass.

Alex Murphy, SF, NE Playaz: Every year he's improved and continues to take steps. For example, today he caught it on the wing and dunked on a guy. He made heady basketball plays, has all the tricks and shoots the ball with ease for a guy his length and size. Lock high-major prospect.

Jordan Adams, SF, Atlanta Celtics: The 16-and-under Celtics are loaded (like old school Wallace Prather style loaded) and Adams is one of the main cogs in the machine. Extremely talented with a live body and rebounds. He'll be a small forward or shooting guard.

The Southern Kings "B" team advanced to the Elite 8 on the strength of wings Tommie Williams and Don Quarles. … Players, if you think you play hard, go watch Marcus Smart. That's the standard bearer in 2012. … Phil Forte (2012) is cut from the Ryan Wedel mold of undersized shooters. …

2012 center Kyle Meyer had three dunks for the Celtics and showed a measure of skill. His body isn't there yet but he's a guy that needs to be on the high-major radar. …

Kendall Anthony has an offer from Lipscomb and interest from Penn State, Murray State, Ole Miss, Old Dominion and Wichita State. … Alex Poythress has offers from Vanderbilt and Cincinnati. Alabama and Tennessee are interested. … Conor McDermott likes Creighton, Columbia and Penn. … J.J. Thompson likes Stanford, TCU, Arizona State and SMU. …

Luke Mergerson likes SMU, Kansas State, Houston, Texas A&M and Wichita State. … Devonte Abron listed offers from Arkansas, Arizona, West Virginia, Texas A&M and Texas. …


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