The championship between the Panthers and the New England Playaz took four overtimes to complete and still ended in weird fashion. Sterling Gibbs sank the last of three free-throws to give the Panther the win.
If an MVP were named, it would have to go to Maurice Harkless. The talented wing prospect sent the Panthers semi-finals game to overtime and was their go-to guy down the stretch during the event.
Naadir Tharpe, PG, New England Playaz – Over the past few months Tharpe's improved play has been noted on Scout.com. His jump shot from three has become quite consistent. Off the catch he's a pretty good shooter and his pull-up off the dribble continues to get better. Tharpe has also become a better leader and he's beginning to understand exactly what it takes to run a team.
Sterling Gibbs, PG, New York Panthers – Although he doesn't have great speed or athleticism, Gibbs manages to get things done from the point guard position. On Wednesday he led the Panthers, who were coached by Rafer Alston, to the Desert Duel title, where he hit the game winning free throw in the fourth over time. During a semi-final he hit a big three-pointer and made a handful of passes in transition that led to buckets.
Maurice Harkless, SF, New York Panthers – It's been quite a month for Harkless. The 6-foot-7 wing has improved his play and his stock among college coaches. A big part of the Panthers run through the Desert Duel, Harkless scored a game-tying bucket to send a game into over time and made big play after big play during the event. He moves fluidly, can attack the rim and has the ability to step out and shoot threes.
Brett Kingma, PG/SG, Friend of Hoop – For the second day in a row, Stingma, a 6-foot combo guard, had his jump shot working. He ripped off 16 points in the first half of an afternoon, including four three-pointers. His release is quick and his range is deep, but he's more than just a shooter. He can go off the dribble to create for others or himself. He has a wide variety of schools tracking him.
Norvel Pelle, C, Compton Magic – This one is a tough nut to crack. On one hand, Pelle, a 6-foot-9, 210-pound post prospect, takes plays off and doesn't always play with the fire and intensity one wants out of their big man. On the other hand, he's a major talent, elite shot blocker and a guy that moves up and down the floor with ease. He quickly gets off the ground and is a high level athlete. On Wednesday he swatted shots all around the Mesquite High School gym.
David Kravish, PF, Spiece Mo-Kan – Mid-major schools are all over this 6-foot-8 lean post prospect. Kravish runs the floor very well, has a good set of hands and has good touch inside. He showed off a jump hook and also stepped away for a jump shot during their morning game on Wednesday. He's tracking as a high mid-level prospect.
Quinn Cook, PG, DC Assault – On this team Cook is relied upon to score and he can do that at a pretty good clip. His pull-up jumper on the break is reliable and his range is getting deeper. He's a confident kid and if he's challenge he plays even better. There aren't many quality lead guards left, but this is definitely one of them.
Dallas Anglin, SG, NJ Playaz 16's – During a mid-afternoon game, Anglin, a 6-foot-2 guard out of Montclair (N.J.) Seton Hall Prep, left his mark on the game by knocking down jump shots. He mixed in a few drives to the rim, but off the catch he was especially shooting the ball well.
Willie Cauley, C, Spiece MoKan – Nationally Cauley may be a tad underrated and that could be because of the amount of quality size in the 2012 class. Regardless he's a talent. He stands at least 6-foot-10 and has a solid build with massive arms. Offensively he has a great set of mitts, good touch inside and he makes quick moves to the rim once he receives the ball. Defensively he gets his hands on shots, will go to the glass and is quick to turn and outlet the ball up court.
Steve Taylor, PF, Mac Irvin Fire – Every time out this 6-foot-7 forward seems a little better. He's straddling the mid-major plus/high-major minus line and after Wednesday's performance it wouldn't surprise me to see high majors to begin pursuing the big man. He was active and aggressive on both ends, scored inside and moved up and down the court with ease. He also proved to be a force on the glass.
Jabari Parker, SF, Mac Irvin Fire – Over the course of the spring and summer, Parker has proved against top-notch competition that he can compete with older prospects. In the Desert Duel he was aggressive and showed off his impressive skill package that allows him to play inside or out. He's especially talented on the offensive end, where he uses jabs, ball fakes and hesitation moves to keep defenders on their toes.
Anrio Adams, SG, Seattle Rotary – Adams, a 6-foot-2 guard, was on the receiving end of a number of Tony Wroten passes on Wednesday. Adams found holes in the defense and buried three after three. He has a good-looking jumper and gets great elevation on his shot. He's also a pretty good athlete that is capable of attacking and scoring at the rim.
Maurice Harkless said Florida, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Memphis, Maryland, Kansas, St. John's, Arizona, Louisville, Fordham, West Virginia and Cincinnati are all in the mix. He said he would like to start taking visits next month.
Desmond Ringer is huge for a 15-year old. The Atlanta Celtics big man is an imposing prospect that has a good set of hands and can finish inside. Ryon Riggons gets up and down the floor extremely well. He didn't do much offensively, but he was active on the offensive glass. Damion Lee, of DC Assault, is an intriguing wing prospect. He's a very good athlete that scored it well around the rim. He's going to St. Thomas More next season.