USA Day 1: News and Notes

Looking for a star from Day #1? Look no further than 6-6 PG Shaun Livingston from Peoria (IL) Central.

Nobody in the gym will dispute that the slender point established himself as the ELITE PG prospect in the class of 2004. Not only that, he deserves serious consideration as the top player in the class overall. He uses an uncanny feel for the game and is always squared, enhancing his passing abilities. Now that he is finishing with athleticism at the rim and barely even ripples the net on midrange splashes, Livingston just causes too many problems. He had 17 and 6 in morning and 19 and 6 in the evening session going against players like Darius Washington, Sebastian Telfair and Jason Horton.

Not far behind Livingston for star of the day was Texas verbal Mike Williams. The 6-8 BF from Alabama was an absolute beast in the paint all day long getting 28 and 13 and 21 and 19 during the nightcap. His stock had slipped as he tried to prove he could play the wing. He can't. Now that he is concentrating on attacking the basket and scoring in the paint, Williams is looking like a top 10 prospect.

Noticeably quiet on the first day was Bremerton (WA) High stud Marvin Williams. The 6-8 forward showed flashes, but looked uncomfortable for most of the day.

With so many elite level athletes in attendance there were sure to be some earth shaking crams. Looking for early honors was Michigan bound combo-guard Joe Crawford of the North squad. At 6-4 and probably 205 pounds of muscle, Crawford is beyond explosive and made sure East guard (and high riser himself) Isaiah Swann got two up close and personal looks at what Crawford is packing with high flying two handed finishes. Alas, after holding the lead in the filthiest dunk category for most of the day Crawford was surpassed by the East's J.R. Smith.

Smith tossed in a 360 windmill on one fast break and topped things off by slowing down on the break enough for the North's 6-8 BF Matt Hagen to get underneath the basket, foul him and then be summarily embarrassed when Smith finished him off with a right hand tomahawk. The amused Smith and onlookers couldn't help but laugh after this one. Also making their case were James Gist, D.J. White (who also victimized Hagen), Dayshawn Wright, Swann, and Dorrell Wright.

Here's hoping that Duke bound WG DeMarcus Nelson was able to find a little ice to cool down what had to be a sore shooting arm. The 6-2 Nelson chucked up a total of 47 (!) shots on day one hitting 19 of them. He's an explosive scorer but takes a lot of unnecessary and wild jump shots at times.

Former KU target Steven Hill has been dissed about every way possible by coaches in Southwest Missouri, but he'll have the last laugh. It says right here that Hill is big time and will be an impact player by the time he leaves Fayetteville for his more than likely next destination of the NBA. He is skilled, athletic and as soon as he fully adjusts to the speed on the next level he'll cause lots of headaches. He had 14 and four and eight and eight on the first day but made a lot happen with the few touches he got.

High scoring honors for the day go to Memphis bound PG Darius Washington of the South. The Orlando (FL) Edgewater product erupted for 32 - including 21 in the second half - during the evening session. As hot as Washington was, Michigan State bound Drew Nietzel was on the other end of the spectrum. The usually on target PG suffered through a frigid 1-14 shooting day. Also suffering through a frustrating shooting day was Compton (CA) Centennial combo guard Arron Afflalo who hit on only 9-28 shots. Finally, there might not be a basketball player on the planet with a quicker crossover than Sebastian Telfair.


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