Here's an inside look at some of the top players and performers from the tournament. Many, you've heard about and a few of those that you should know about:
6'5 forward Karriem Baker (Michigan Mustangs 16u) is back in the AAU mix after bruising his knee in his first tournament of the year. Slow traffic in Indianapolis kept him out of the first game of this tournament but, he averaged over 20ppg in the following four games. He does a great job of finding his way into the blocks and is creative enough that lay-ups become carte blanche.
DJ Byrd (Indiana Elite-One 16u) puts 6'4 and 190 pounds together very well. Combine that with athleticism and there's no wonder he has offers from Indiana and Notre Dame. He's explosive towards the rim and although he didn't shoot it exceptionally well from down-town he crafted other ways to score. He also wasn't detoured by an off game vs. the Mustangs 16u, as he responded in later games by showing off his stroke.
Michael Dunigan (Meanstreets 17u) is a 6'9 beast here or there and it was nice to watch the athletic power forward battle against some of the nation's best post players. The Chicago based team faced a formidable front court in the Ohio Basketball Club (BJ Mullins and Yancey Gates) at Assembly Hall and he did a nice job of scoring, rebounding, and playing defense. He beat his opponents up and down Assembly Hall's big court, time and time again.
6'9 pound Devin Ebanks (Team Takeover 17u) is one of Scout's highest ranked players in the '08 class and he has plenty of tools ball-handling, shooting, scoring, and athleticism to back the ranking up.
The lanky forward had his way in a pool play game against the Gateway Basketball Club (MO.) scoring at least 25 and grabbing double digit boards. It might have been running the long Assembly Hall Court two hours later that slowed Ebanks' output as his game was slow to takeoff in the following pool game to the Michigan Mustangs 17u.
He still reached double figures in points and neared the same in boards. Ebanks no doubt has talent, adding that extra explosiveness will really decipher him from others.
At 6'9, Angel Garcia brings versatility and talent to the Cap All-Stars 17u squad. I only watched him play once over the weekend and he played with a more aggressive feel than last summer.
I like his ability to handle the ball in the open court and under intermediate pressure. He also reads the floor well as he brought the ball up the court at times. He's receiving serious looks from Big Ten and Conference USA schools at the present time.
6'9 with size and talent Yancey Gates (Ohio Basketball Club 17u) is already committed to the University of Cincinnati and should be a force on the next level.
Gates met up with the Meanstreets' Dunigan and the solid 6'7 Josh Crittle battles in the paint for epic as battles and a glimpse towards the future.
Gates does a lot of things now and is ready for the next level now, progression is his future. He also had a great alley-oop in the game against the Meanstreets that brought cheer from the crowd.
Terrance Jennings (Mt. Zion '08) is 6'9 and was active in the paint throughout the weekend. His athleticism and ability to get to the rim against the Indiana Elite and the Meanstreets were highly impressive. Jennings was also a workhorse on the boards for the So Cal All-Stars. He's being recruited across the nation and has a lot of the makings that the premier DI players have.
Jin Soo Kim (Team Takeover 17u) did a lot of things at 6'7 that turned heads such as knock down threes, dunk in many shapes and form, and show hustle throughout his time in Bloomington. He runs the floor well and he's quick to push the break after rebounding. I talked with him after a game and he told me that he has reclassified and will be in the class of '09.
DeAndre Liggins (Indiana Elite 17u) spent time on the perimeter and is showing improvement in his shot. His length and height (6'7) were often too much for perimeter defenders and vice versa on the defensive end. Don't let the shooting fool you he can also finish and can show off his athleticism on the break. He's a key member on one of the county's best 17u AAU teams.
Expect more updates on players from the last two weekends soon…