Dwight Howard, C, Atlanta Celtics: The boys from the ATL got bounced by Cleveland in the playoffs but Howard made his case for the No. 1 spot in the nation. The guy appears to be the top shot blocker in this class, has freaky athleticism and clearly had Mike Krzyzewski's attention on Saturday.
Jermaine Bell, C, Playaz: Sports Academy from Louisiana showed the Playaz the door in the playoffs but not before Bell showed everyone what he's made of. The 6-11 southpaw has used time wisely at IMG where they've done a nice job of getting him aggressive and using his skills. The fifth-year play is improving.
Josh Smith, SF, Atlanta Celtics: Turned in the dunk of the day when he threw one down in traffic. Smith is so athletic and long. His jumper and handle still need some refining but we're talking about one of the elite players in the class. He's a major, major talent.
Vincent Banks, SG, WW Renegades: He's looking for a prep school and surely he'll bump into one shortly. Banks simply stroked it all day long. The guy's jumper from behind the arc is borderline deadly and he's playing with such high confidence. He hit a ¾ court game-winner that sank the Michigan Mustangs.
Marcus Monk, SF, Arkansas Hawks: Talk about a young man with a basketball IQ? Monk plays within himself, passes well, rebounds and defends. He's not much of a perimeter threat but he's a total team guy and he's a very, very good player with excellent grades.
Louisiana Panther Guards Perkins & Dumas: The two play together at St. Aug's in New Orleans so we'll talk about them together. Shawn Dumas is the talented PG and James Perkins is the shooter and together they are outstanding.
Al Horford, PF, Michigan Mustangs: Understanding that his knee is bothering him and he didn't score to his reputation, we liked him. Why? Because the son of Tito has a good body and he knows how to go get rebounds.
Matt Terwilliger, PF, Cleveland Basketball: He'll visit Notre Dame next weekend and is also considering Cincinnati and Ohio State. Terwilliger has skills and touch, he just needs to beef up that frame.
Tim Pierce, SF, Oakland Soldiers: The guy has all kinds of bounce to his game and he's a creative scorer. We liked him last summer and he continues to impress.
Tyler Smith, SF, SE Pump 'n Run: What a body for a sophomore! The guy is big time. He passes extremely well and finishes with creativity and athleticism. Head coaches were in the gym watching him.
Off The Dribble:
Sports Academy forward David Gomez came up huge in his team's win over the Playaz. Cleveland's Brandon Ivey has been terrific in the games we've seen. The small forward keeps playing his way up. Speaking of Cleveland, point guard Jamar Butler is going to be terrific in a Bearcat uniform.
The Mustangs backcourt of Drew Nietzel and Michael Redell is going to be a good one. One lefty and one righty give the 'Stangs perimeter guns who think the game. Best shooter we saw all day? Try Jarvis Hill, a sophomore with SE Pump and Run. Sebastian Telfair had 14 points in an afternoon win over the Celtics.
Roy Bright and the Hurricanes are having problems adjusting to each other and working out some chemistry issues. He had a good first half against Cleveland today but didn't put it together. Reportedly he had 27 Friday night. James Hardy was not the big time scorer we've seen in the past during his stint this weekend alongside Bright with the 'Canes.
Tallahassee's Taurean Green really shot it well from all over the place with range and touch. The Arkansas Hawks are the most unselfish AAU team we've seen in a while. AND, they really get after it on defense. Albert Webber of the Squires has been everyone's darling this weekend. People love how he can shoot and score. We've always said he's Mount Zion's best offensive player.
Oakland power forward Devin Hardin is a just a high schooler but he's got a man's body. He'll try and hammer down anything within range of the basket. Glenn Davis (aka Big Baby) plays about as hard as any guy his size we've ever seen. He'll be playing on Sundays in the NFL sooner than later.
News & Notes
Al Horford drew quite a crowd today. In the building were head coaches from Michigan, Miami, Florida State, Texas A&M and Ohio State. Mike Krzyzewski was front and center for more than one Dwight Howard game on Saturday. SE Pump and Run guard Glenn Miles missed action today with an injured ankle.
Marcus Monk of the Arkansas Hawks is a big time student. He's hearing from guys like Stanford, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Florida, Kansas and Mississippi State. Razorbacks head coach Stan Heath was in the crowd today.
New Georgia head coach Dennis Felton knows what to do in the spring: watch the Atlanta Celtics. Schools continue to evaluate Mike Williams. We caught head coaches from Alabama, Florida, Texas, Virginia, Tennessee and Notre Dame looking on. ND's Mike Brey watched Matt Terwilliger a lot on Saturday in anticipation of the prospect's official visit next weekend.
Joining Terwilliger on his official visit to South Bend will be former Arizona power forward Dennis Latimore. No one values a good transfer like Brey. He built the Blue Hens with transfer players. The games are low scoring in Houston because of 20-minute halves and a running clock.
Curious about Dwight Howard's list? Try Georgia Tech, Florida, Florida State, Kentucky, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Clemson, Indiana and Arkansas. Each school was represented today; even new UNC assistant coach Steve Robinson made the trip. Massachusetts signed Lawrence Carrier so you can bet they'll be right there with his high school teammate, forward Sylvester Seay.
Tennessee head coach Buzz Peterson was front and center watching Tyler Smith. . Alexander Johnson isn't here but we've got the skinny on him. He's been to FSU and Indiana and is on Cincy's campus this weekend. He'll be at UConn next weekend. .
DePaul is putting the press on Tim Pierce of Oakland. Assistants Josh Oppenheimer and Gene Cross followed him around a little today. Sean Singletary injured his ankle in the Playaz playoff loss. Too bad too, because he was playing really well.
Sunday's Playoff Schedule
Quarterfinals: Tallahassee Wildcats vs. Richmond Squires; Houston Select vs. Cleveland Basketball Club; Arkansas Hawks vs. Sports Academy; Long Island Panther vs. Juice All-Stars.