Dorian Smith, SF/PF, Boo Williams: Branden Dawson is a great rebounder and might be pound for pound the best in the country. Smith isn't far behind because he has an exceptional nose for the ball and the desire to chase boards. He's a winning player who translates to anyone's roster in the country. He's got skill that translates to a small forward spot but he could play either the small or power forward as needed. Others have bigger reps but he's got a hard-earned state title and a game that works for everybody.
Dezmine Wells, SF, CP3: On Saturday he was the performer of the day. We watched him rattle home all three of his jump shots. Few play with the intensity Wells does and he's one of the top finishers in the class. Wells is powerfully built, ultra athletic and wired up the right way. Xavier tip toed into Raleigh, built the relationship and for their efforts have an impact recruit.
Adjehi Baru, C, Team Loaded: For a guy who is very new to the States and the game in general, he's pretty good. It helps that he's playing with Tyler Lewis, one of the most user-friendly point guards around. Baru's two best attributes are almost mutually exclusive to young centers and a rare combination: he's a good shot blocker and passer. His length is an asset. While he doesn't have much original offense (he could stand to develop one go-to move) he runs and is smart enough to know that Lewis will throw him as many alley-oops as he can catch. He's a high-energy center.
Bishop Daniels, SG, CP3: If you haven't seen Daniels in a while, the next time you see him you may be surprised. A highlight seeking dunker in the past, his game is in the process of maturing. Daniels took a look at himself and reasoned that he wasn't improving at getting it done with his old game. He adopted the mantra "no cameras" and set about making the basic plays. He's a talented athlete and a very good jump shooter.
Tyler Lewis, PG, Team Loaded: He's the guy who defies logic. How could a short, unassuming white kid with floppy hair be such a good player? The answer: court vision, passing ability and a pinpoint feel for the point guard position. Lewis had 12 points and a dozen assists in one game we watched on Saturday. Lewis is tough. He has uncanny touch on his passes and everyone who watches or has played with him agrees he's a super guy to play alongside. Plus, he rarely turns it over despite being an active passer.
Torian Graham, SG/SF, D.C. Assault: The Durham native's game is maturing and he was one of the top players and scorers for Assault. Combined with point guard Nate Britt, this is a formidable unit.
Rodney Purvis, SG, CP3: The MVP of the 15s, Purvis was on top of his game against Garner Road (34 points) in the 8 a.m. contest. It was the best individual effort we saw all weekend. Purvis had command of his floater, was extremely athletic and explosive inside and was the best player on the floor. Sometimes he's like a running back that sees the hole and changes directions. CP3 won the championship.
Zachary Douglas, PF/SF, National Christian: We didn't see much of him but his high school coach has been on the money in the past and he says Douglas is next. On Sunday, Douglas dabbled with the 17-and-unders.
Andrew Rowsey, PG, Team Loaded 15s: Size matters when you are under 6-feet tall like Rowsey but for now, he's doing just fine. On Saturday, we watched him score 22 points in the first half of a game. As the years go by, because of his size we'd like to see him continue to develop his PG edge but his stroke is exceptional and it's a weapon.
Isaiah Hicks has a future as a prospect. To be 6-8, long and a natural shot blocker is gift in itself. Once the strength comes the confidence will follow. Purvis got a dunk on him but on the next position, Hicks came back with an offensive rebound and putback. Not a bad response to a tough situation. … Myck Kabongo battled through injury this weekend and got Grassroots Canada to the finals but that's where the run ended at the hands of Boo Williams. …
N.C. Gaters East wing James Milliken is a small college scoring threat. … C.J. Barksdale reportedly had 41 in a game on Sunday. … Jackson Simmons of Team Loaded is the glue guy good teams have in their rotation. … Scoring point guard Kevin Smith of Baltimore Assault should be a CAA/A-10 level attention getter this spring. … We didn't watch much of Boo Williams this weekend but James McAdoo made his return to the court. It'll be a big weekend for him next time around in Houston at the Nike EYBL. …
Daniels indicated early interest from Wake Forest and Georgetown. … Reggie Dillard likes VCU, Wake Forest, North Carolina State and Virginia Tech. … Kevin Smith received interest from Florida State, Virginia Tech, Cincinnati and Baylor. … Lamont Huggins has an offer from Morgan State. … Andrew White boasts offers from James Madison, VMI and Radford. Virginia Tech and Old Dominion are interested. …