Price Chopper Invitational Gets Started

Thanks to this weekend's Price Chopper/Kansas City Prep Invitational, local hoops fans are getting the opportunity to see some of the best talent that the nation has to offer. The Invitational also gives locals to see how kids from right here in the Kansas City Metro stack up against players from all over the country.

Among the players in attendance are several players on the Kansas radar and assistant coach Tim Jankovich was in attendance making sure as many players saw him as possible.

THURSDAY EVENING STANDOUTS

Derrick Rose - According to Mean Streets Express coaches Reggie Rose and Luther Topps, most of their guys were dragging a bit on Thursday. The team left the Chicago area around five in the morning and as a result didn’t have their legs, but the 6-2 PG wasn’t using any excuses. Although his jumper didn’t fall as often as it usually does and he forced a couple of passes, Rose proved that his ranking is no joke and that he is blessed with some ability that most others can’t match. You won’t find many guards who are faster with the ball in their hands and he’s a competitive guy who generally doesn’t force things and plays team ball. Unofficially he finished up with 20 points and six assists in a tough loss.

Isacc Miles - The matchup with Rose was one that the 6-2 combo guard from Bishop Miege has been looking forward to for a while. Those that have followed him locally already knew that Miles would hold his own, but few would have predicted he’d harass Rose as much as he did. As a result Miles and his Rocktown teammates were able to walk away with a hard earned victory. It’s still up in the air whether Miles will end up as a 2006 or 2007 recruit, but he’s proven by now that he’s a legit top 100 player nationally in whichever class he ultimately ends up.

Travis Releford - The last time Releford took the court he went for a 31 points and 20 rebounds in the 16 U division of the Adidas Super 64. He didn’t quite reach those numbers on Thursday night but there isn’t any way that those watching him play couldn’t have been impressed especially since he still has three seasons of high school ball to mature.

Going against a BABC trio of guards that included Georgetown commitment Jeremiah Rivers, Iowa State pledge Farnold Degand and Wake Forest commitment Anthony Gurley, the 6-4 guard from Kansas City (MO) Central was clearly the best talent on the floor. For the evening he finished with 22 points -- on 10-13 shooting from the field -- grabbed seven rebounds and handed out three assists. He did have a few silly turnovers and uncharacteristically missed his free throws but there is little doubt he’s the real deal. He continues to get better each time he takes the court and he had coaches raving.

Tyrel Reed - Releford wasn’t alone in his dominance of the highly touted and older BABC guards as the 6-2 PG from Burlington (KS) High shrugged off a slow start and made some big plays to give his KC Pump ‘N Run 16’s team a second half cushion. He consistently drove past defenders and pulled up for soft jumpers and hit the toughest shot of the night when he came down on the fastbreak, pulled up going right to left from fifteen feet, hung in the air and kissed a jumper off the glass while fading away. The numbers weren’t huge -- 15 points, four assists and three rebounds -- but he made several huge plays and showed why many consider the 2007 standout the best player in the state of Kansas, regardless of class.

OTHER NOTES FROM THE KC PREP INVITE

  • According to some of the coaches in attendance, Bryce Webster’s stock is back on the rise. The 6-9 center has realized that he isn’t going to beat others with athleticism and has focused on going to the rim strong and using his footwork and soft touch to create scoring opportunities.
  • Just a few days ago both Ramar Smith and DeShawn Sims indicated that they would be in Kansas City for the tournament but both were no shows for The Family based out of Detroit. After making it all the way to the quarterfinals of the Big Time in Las Vegas while playing with the R.E.A.C.H Legends it looks like the duo has decided to take the rest of the summer off.
  • It sure looked as if the KC Pump ‘N Run 17 and under team was suffering from a bit of a post Vegas hangover as they struggled against the St. Louis Eagles. Their shots weren’t falling and they struggled to contain recent Mississippi State commitment Ben Hansbrough who played very physical. Prep school bound Brady Morningstar got them back in the game late with several jumpers and strong drives to the basket but a late technical on the Pump ‘N Run bench proved to much to overcome in the four point loss.
  • KC Rocktown’s win over the Mean Streets Express was that much more impressive considering they played most of the game without George Goode and Jarryd Cole who struggled with foul problems. Both of the 6-7 rising juniors made late plays but credit to 6-5 Logan Harris -- younger brother of K-State wing Lance -- and 6-3 do everything wing Terrance Hill for stepping up and playing big. … For his part Anthony Gurley proved why Wake Forest was thrilled to get an early commitment. The 6-3 WG had the jumper working from all over the place and hit several contested jumpers.

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