From an IU fan's standpoint, the Adidas May Classic may very well be at its absolute best in 2009.
There have been plenty of times when there have been a plethora of IU recruiting targets in town for the three-day event, but this weekend's tournament has someone worth watching at just about every twist and turn.
The biggest reason why is because this year's event has attracted just about all of the top in-state AAU teams to Bloomington. While the Indiana Elite programs have always been mainstays at the event, this year's field includes most of the high profile Spiece teams as well. That is going to give IU fans a chance to see just about every big-name in-state recruit out there. If you haven't had a chance to see many of the players before this weekend, who are some of the must see attractions? HoosierNation takes a look:
1. Kyrie Irving, NJ Roadrunners 17-and-under – The St. Patrick's (N.J.) H.S. product appears to be Indiana's top target for the 2010 class, a 6'1", 175-pound point guard who is a likely McDonald's All-American next spring. IU assistant coach Roshown McLeod is a big reason why Indiana is in great shape with this standout, who is tremendous in transition and can score points in bunches.
2. Marquis Teague, Spiece Indy Heat 17-and-under – Teague has suggested that he's going to make a college decision in June, and despite the emergence of Kentucky onto the recruiting scene, all indications are that this is a battle pitting Louisville and Indiana. It's highly unlikely that Teague will tip his hand about which direction he's leaning, but that doesn't make him any less of an attractive player to go see this weekend. One-on-one he's virtually unstoppable, as he possesses the ability to beat his man off the dribble and attack the rim or step back and shoot from behind the 3-point arc.
3. Ron Patterson, Spiece Indy Stars 15-and-under – As things stand now, Patterson's Spiece Indy Stars will play Saturday morning's opening game at Assembly Hall at 8 a.m. The 6-3, 175-pound Broad Ripple H.S. star is ultra-athletic and a tremendous finisher in the open court. Defensively he can create havoc with his long arms for Coach Chris Hawkins' team. He's already been offered by Indiana, Purdue and Ohio State and looks to be one of Crean's top 2012 priorities.
4. Obij Aget, Team Indiana Elite 15-and-under – There are some who are talking about this Sudanese product as being one of the top five or 10 players in the 2012 class. At 7'0" and 195 pounds, Aget is an athletic forward as opposed to a slender big man who would spend most of his time in the post. Aget doesn't fit that mold, and he'll be one of the leaders on a loaded 15-and-under team coached by Mark Adams.
5. Jalen Packer, Indiana Elite One, 17-and-under – For those who haven't seen the Princeton (Ind.) H.S. sophomore, now is a perfect time to do so. He's a 6'3" point guard who is extremely adept at getting past the first defender, forcing someone to help, and then creating for his teammates. He's a different type of point guard than 2011 classmate Marquis Teague, but Packer is extremely effective and a key to Indiana Elite's squad. He figures to be someone who starts getting plenty of scholarship offers once more coaches have had a chance to see him play.
6. Dominique Ferguson, SYF, 17-and-under – The former Kentucky commit is back on the market after Billy Gillispie's departure and he's expected in Bloomington this weekend. His SYF team is getting prime billing, playing a pair of pool play games at Assembly Hall (9:30 p.m. Friday, 3:45 p.m. Saturday). He's provided very little insight into which way he's leaning since re-opening his recruitment, but it's been pretty clear that Indiana has been making a big push for the long, athletic forward.
7. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Team Indiana Elite 15s – When you watch him play, you'd never think this 6'3", 200-pound North Central H.S. product is a high school freshman, but he does in fact have three years of high school basketball ahead of him. Smith-Rivera is capable of dominating games in the 15-and-under age division thanks to his ability to take a smaller guard down on the block and score in the paint. But he's also a very good mid-range shooter, and when his team needs a basket he can get that done as well.
8. DeJuan Marrero, Spiece Indy Heat 15s – The Gary, Ind., product was offered a scholarship by Crean earlier this spring, making him one of three in-state freshmen to get IU offers (along with Patterson and Smith-Rivera). Indy Heat has been one of the country's top 15-and-under teams thus far, and Marrero is a big reason why. Versatility is one of this 6'5" standout's greatest attributes, showing the ability to play a variety of different positions on the court. He averaged 17 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks this season for Bowman Academy, and also is getting a lot of interest from Illinois.
9. A.J. Hammons, Spiece Indy Heat 15s – Along with Marrero and Ft. Wayne wing Raphael Davis, Hammons makes the Indy Heat go. He's a 6'11", 270-pounder who didn't play a ton of minutes as a freshman at Carmel H.S., but he's a player that a lot of coaches are keeping a very close eye on due to his huge frame. He'll be someone worth watching, particularly as the tournament play gets going and Hammons plays against some bigger bodies.
10. Flavian Davis, Wisconsin Scholars 17s – This rangy 6'4" combo guard led his Wisconsin Lutheran H.S. team to a state championship in March, and now he's leading the Wisconsin Scholars AAU program this spring and summer. He can score in a variety of ways, and had a 30-point plus game against Indiana Elite in an AAU event earlier this spring.
11. Keith Appling, Michigan Mustangs 17s – This 6'1", 175-pound combo guard is headed to Michigan State, and he's capable of putting up huge numbers anytime out on the court. He did that earlier this spring in the state championship game, when he scored 49 points in the title game to lead Detroit Pershing to a 90-73 win over Kalamazoo. Appling's Michigan Mustangs team will play in Assembly Hall at 2:15 p.m. Saturday.
12. Marshall Plumlee, Indiana Elite One 17s – The younger brother of Duke players Miles and Mason Plumlee, Marshall is a 6'11" sophomore who is the biggest of the three of them. He's hit a growth spurt and every bit of the height that he's listed at. While he's still learning how to be a consistent scorer, there's a whole lot to like about his game. He's an extremely hard worker with loads of energy, and he can knock down a mid-range jump shot as well. Most on-lookers believe that his physical gifts, coupled with his work ethic, make him a player to keep an eye on for the 2011 class.
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