TELEP: UK targets Lawal, Guzman showcase talent

Dave Telep recaps day two of the Southern Invitational tournament in Charlottesville, Va. Players that UK fans will recognize like Jawan Carter, Gani Lawal and Luis Guzman were all on hand.


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PRIME TIME MATCHUP: No. 1 2007 vs. No. 1 2008

Everyone crowded around Court No. 2 was hoping for an instant classic. Didn’t happen, but what did take place was a pretty tight game won by Sam Rines over the D-I Greyhounds. Sam Rines scrapped its way to the win. Freshman Tyreke Evans led his team with 20 points (7-for-21 FG, 0-for-5 3s) and O.J. Mayo countered with 29 points and struggled just as Evans did from the field going 9-for-25 from the floor. So what did we learn? Well, not much other than Evans (2008) and Mayo (2007) are two of the elite guards in country and while both had their moments, neither turned in the spectacular game -- by their standards -- that would have made this one a classic.

2006 CHECKLIST

Dennis Horner, SF, SJ Select: He must have changed in the car because he came directly from an official visit to the tournament. Horner put up 25 points and made 3-of-6 from downtown. He’s an interesting guy to evaluate because you can see the value in his game, especially for certain programs. Horner’s gifted from the outside, passes well and plays within the offense. He’ll operate best in a system. He’s not overly athletic so he’s not for everyone but those who value skill over athleticism are excited about this spring rankings riser.

Jawan Carter, PG, Playaz: He was pretty much directly responsible for a lopsided afternoon game. Apparently defecting from the Delaware Sharpshooters, Carter went ballistic from behind the arc as he scored 27 points, all of them coming on 3s. His 9 trifectas is one of the highest totals we’ve heard this spring.

Dominique Sutton, SF, N.C. Gaters: In his first game of the day, Sutton went for 24 points, including 18 in the first half. He’s a strong athlete who enjoys attacking the rim. If he can steady his perimeter game he’d be a lock highest level guy for the high-majors.

Casiem Drummond, C, Team Jersey Elite: We watched him put up 21 in a morning session game. He’s a bit heavier than his ideal playing weight but will finish inside. His jumper wasn’t on the mark from mid-range but if you draw a 5-foot circle around the cup he knows what to do from that range.

Paul Harris, Player, G.C. Ballers: We didn’t see the playoff game that his team lost to D.C. Assault but the word on the streets was more of the same: Harris put in more work and fulfilled his end of the agreement to play hard, dominate off the bounce and beast whoever he can.

2007 CHECKLIST

Corey Raji, SF, Playaz 16: For our money, his final game of the night was easily the best performance of the day. How’s this for a stat line: 42 points and 20+ (we should have been counting) rebounds! Raji simply took it to D-One Sports, rung their bell and then went back for more. He scored every way imaginable from slashes to 3s to stick backs inside. With 10 minutes to go he had accumulated 34 points and 50 was definitely within reach. Folks, this wasn’t 42 points in pool play, this was 42 against one of the most loaded teams in the 16 and under bracket. We didn’t know this going into the game, but apparently he averaged 26 points and 19 boards as a high schooler this past season.

Mike Beasley (pictured), SF, D.C. Assault: He says he loves being home schooled and is enjoying the year. On the court, it’s business as usual for this versatile forward. He’s 6-foot-7 and he’s busting 3s and playing actively above the rim. He’s committed to Charlotte but says, “If David Stern won’t call my name [pause]… for now I’m looking forward to college.” Clearly his intentions are to skip a step but you never know what the rules will look like two seasons from now. Word is that in his nightcap he had a special effort against the G.C. Ballers that resulted in a win.

Bill Walker, SF, DI Greyhounds: In the prime time game against Sam Rines, there was no answer for Walker. He was simply too athletic, too strong and too explosive a leaper to be checked. He got where he wanted go and played hard.

Gani Lawal, PF, Georgia Stars 16: Still maturing physically, Lawal shows flashes of why he’s rated amongst the top at his position. In the game we caught he had a flurry that included a block, a series of face-ups and some traffic boards. He’s a strength program away from reaching his enormous potential.

Julian Vaughn, PF, D.C. Assault: As the spring goes along he continues to gain confidence. Though he needs to work on finishing each play strong, he remains a presence inside and on Saturday we caught a glimpse of something else: range on his jumper as he canned a pair of trail 3s.

Lance Storrs, SG, Georgia Stars: Apparently he’s been having an extremely nice tournament. We saw Storrs have himself one outstanding half in which he drilled a series of 3s before cooling in the second stanza. He’s got a strong body and we expect him to flirt with high major status in the next year.

NEWS & NOTES

After notching 42 points in a playoff game, the next likely question for Corey Raji is who’s recruiting you? Raji said Boston College, Rutgers, Virginia, St. John’s, St. Joe’s and Temple had been in touch. … Miles Beatty, the Playaz 16 and under PG, said he was once close to committing to Pete Gillen and the old staff at UVa. Now he’s listing Rutgers and Villanova as well. ….

Gerald Henderson is officially down to two schools. He called Wake Forest and North Carolina to inform them that he’s only considering Duke and Villanova. Don’t be surprised if he reaches a conclusion this month. ... Wayne Ellington is going to North Carolina next weekend. Ellington, as we reported this week, rests at Villanova and UNC with UConn in third. …

There’s talk that Luis Guzman is high on Florida State. “Right now it looks like that’s where I want to be,” Guzman said. “For now.” Arkansas, DePaul, Ohio State, Georgetown and St. Joe’s are giving chase as well. … Georgia Stars big man Gani Lawal has offers from Georgia and Georgia Tech. Miami and UNC have been in touch recently while Duke and Kentucky remain strong on his list. …

Casiem Drummond says that Villanova and Wake Forest are on him the hardest. Cincinnati, Seton Hall, Rutgers, DePaul and St. John’s are also paying attention to him. … What’s up with D.C. Assault’s Nolan Smith? Not much other than the fact that he hasn’t committed and is “just talking with mom” and taking his time. The players? Louisville (dad starred there), and Charlotte (Mike Beasley committed there). …

For what it’s worth, here’s a list from super soph O.J. Mayo. The 6-foot-4 guard likes UConn and Louisville the most and lists Texas, Ohio State, Illinois, Florida State and Oklahoma State. He tried to sneak in Florida A&M but we pressed him on it and other than “putting them on the map” we couldn’t find a valid reason for them to be on the list. Nice try, O.J.!

Recently, the Maryland Terrapins offered D.C. Assault soph Julian Vaughn. Miami stepped up and offered as well. Georgetown and North Carolina State are on him and Duke recently began getting in touch with him. …

South Jersey Select small forward Dennis Horner has been to West Virginia and recently completed an official visit to N.C. State. Horner said that despite the run on official visits, he’s not ready to make a decision. Virginia Tech is in the mix, and he continues to be recruited by Villanova, Wake Forest, St. Joe’s, LaSalle, Rider and Monmouth. …

Marsharee Neely, a shooter from the N.C. Gaters, said ODU, UNC-Wilmington, VCU and Elon are chasing him hard. … Teammate Dominique Sutton said he hears consistently from Wake Forest, Florida State, Clemson and UConn; each is recruiting him at varying degrees. …

SCOUT’S SEAT

Dominique Sutton of the NC Gaters has the athleticism part down pat. Now he’s got to bump up his outside consistency. He fades on his 3s and tends to front rim them. … Teammate Marsharee Neely is a big time shooter with mid and deep game. …

The Greyhounds aren’t getting anything out of their bigs so Bill Walker has to work inside where he’s doing a fantastic job. The flipside is we haven’t seen him take/make a jumper in two weeks. Not that we’re complaining about the posterizing dunks he continues to hammer on people. … David Burton, presently a senior for Sam Rines, did a great job of being active and scoring points against the Greyhounds. …

2007 center Jeremy Price of the Georgia Stars is a powerful inside presence we are going to hear a lot from in the coming year. … The East Coast Scholar Athletes took down the Ga. Stars 16s largely due to the perimeter touch of 6-foot-7 (2007) small forward Noah States who drilled at least 5 3s in the game we watched. … We didn’t see the entire game but someone interjected that Vernon Macklin’s final game was a 30-pointer. …