On Sunday the Arkansas Wings and Carolina Ravens will battle for the title, but both were challenged and needed big efforts from their star players to make it out of the round of four.
For the Wings it was Hunter Mickelson, Ky Madden and Aaron Ross that stepped up in the semi-finals. DeMarcus Harrison and a pair of post prospects – Kameron Dunnican and Fred Mattison -- led the Ravens.
B.J. Young, PG, St. Louis Gameface – Getting to the rim has never been an issue for Young and on Saturday he was on a mission in the quarterfinals. Despite falling in a big game against CBC, Young was a force in the open court. Using his speed and hesitation moves, he blew by defenders and lived in the paint. Whether he adjusted his shots, finished through contact or dropped in floaters he showed a strong ability to finished.
Dorian Finney-Smith, PF, Boo Williams – Often times in the consolation bracket teams don't bring their top game. That wasn't the case for Finney-Smith in Boo Williams match up with the Houston Hoops. A rangy 6-foot-8 combo forward, Finney-Smith showed he was a pretty good athlete, moves fluidly up and down the floor and is starting to make that transition to a full time wing. His ball handling still needs some work, but he's capable of attacking the basket as well as knocking down mid-range shots.
DeMarcus Harrison, SG, Carolina Ravens -- In a big game against the CP3 All-Stars in the quarterfinals, Harrison, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard, put together one of his best outings of the summer. Harrison shot the ball well off the catch, mixed in a few mid-range jump shots and finished with 23 points. A game later in the semi's, Harrison went for 20 points and was just as efficient. He's a quality scorer that high majors are starting to take a strong look at.
Bishop Daniels, SG/PG, CP3 All-Stars – With the CP3 squad trailing majority of the quarterfinal game, Daniels tried to strap CP3 on his back and carry them in the second half. At one point he scored on four straight possessions, as he attacked the rim and knocked down a jump shot.
Greg Whittington, PF, HCYP – A versatile pick and pop four man, Whittington shined this week at AAU Nationals, leading HCYP to the semi-finals. Offensively he was efficient. He stepped away from the rim and knocked down jumpers, but also attacked off the dribble and showed good touch on his floaters. Mid-majors should keep an eye on this 6-foot-8 prospect.
Kameron Dunnican & Fred Mattison, PF, Carolina Ravens – Both have been a major part in the Carolina Ravens run to the finals of the AAU Nationals. Dunnican, a 6-foot-8, 205-pound forward, is an active big man, that runs the floor and gets on the glass. Mattison, who stands an inch shorter, is an energy guy, who finishes well with his right hand around the rim. Both are projecting as mid-level prospects.
Hunter Mickelson, C, Arkansas Wings – His improvement has been well documented as Scout.com, but Mickelson is certainly deserving of some more ink. With his future head coach looking on, Mickelson picked up his play against the nation's top 2012 prospect – Andre Drummond. Mickelson ran the floor, finished around the basket and scrapped for loose balls and rebounds.
Andre Drummond, C, Connecticut Basketball Club – Strapped with foul trouble, Drummond struggled to get it going in the semi-finals. He did, however, certainly have his moments. His size and strength inside are tough to contain and if he catches it on the block it's a struggled for defenders to stop him from scoring at the rim. He also hit a 12-foot jumper in this one. Drummond finished with 12 points in the semi-finals.
Rodney Purvis, SG, CP3 All-Stars – After leading the CP3 15's to the Nationals title he had hopes of getting another championship with the 17's, but that run came to an end on Saturday. A major talent that continues to prove himself every time out, Purvis played well in the 17's quarterfinals and made an effort to slash to the basket and score inside. He's a good shooter off the catch and has range to the three-point stripe.
Rashad Madden indicated the most heat is coming from Arkansas, Ole Miss and Baylor. Florida, Marquette, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State and UConn are in the picture. Madden said he's taking five visits.
Power forward Greg Whitington has potential as a mid tier prospect. Robert Morris and Mount St. Mary's are on his list. Georgia State was tracking him in Orlando as well.
Dezmine Wells played his normal role for CP3 on Saturday. Wells attacked the rim, scored in transition and was a garbage man in the paint. Brice Johnson is a 2012 prospect to keep an eye on. At 6-foot-9 he has a long, lanky frame and moves up and down the floor with ease. Donteil Daniels was a beast inside as usual. The undersized four-man is active, defends the post and grabs every rebound in his area. Rashad Madden looked good playing on the ball for the Arkansas Wings. He's upgraded his ball handling and proved to be a good passer.
If you're keeping score at home the was coaches who made B.J. Young a priority on the last day were Fred Hoiberg, John Pelphrey and Chris Lowery. Andre Drummond drew UMass head coach Derek Kellogg and assistants from North Carolina and Connecticut. ... Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy and Arkansas skipper John Pelphrey were hawking Rashad Madden.