Kingwood Classic Mania!

HOUSTON – It's all over at the Kingwood Classic. The final day at one of the nation's elite spring events was a long one. Here's a rundown on some top performers and we've included some scuttlebutt from around the gym. We've included several Mizzou evaluations including Tyler Hansbrough and Jason Horton

Kingwood Classic, Day One

2004 Checklist

Dayshaun Wright, PF, Albany City Rocks: This was a different Wright than the one we saw at the Boo Williams. He rebounded like a man and finished plays with strength. On the final play of the game, he ran the floor and hit the game-winning layup. He finished with well over 20 points and used his athleticism and energy to impact the game against Westside.

Lorenzo Wade, SG/SF, Belmont Shore: The fifth-year prep has a smooth floor game and plays with patience and purpose. He only had 10 points in a rout, but they were noteworthy. The lefty is a high-major player in a big conference.

DeMarcus Nelson, SG, Belmont Shore: The shoulder he injured two weeks ago looked pretty good tonight. He had 18 before sitting down to watch a good portion of the second half of a route from the bench. There are all kinds of things to like about his game but he really passed well and rebounded above the rim on this occasion.

Alexander Kaun, C, Team Florida: He scored 12 of his team's first 18 points. He would finish with 15 and 7 rebounds. An undersized NCI squad got team Florida to go small and negated his effectiveness in the second half. Regardless, "Sasha" has us convinced he's big time.

2005 Checklist

Emanuel Mayben, PG, Albany City Rocks: He had a much better closing half than he did opener. In the first half, he wasn't taking care of the ball well enough but in the second, he made plays down the stretch. He buried a pair of 3s in the closing minutes and then hit a streaking Wright for the game-winning layup.

Off The Dribble

Jason Rich's 24 points led Team Florida. Rich did a good portion of his damage from the perimeter where his jumper – especially his medium J – looks improved. … The NCI vs. Team Florida game could best be described as an NCAA tourney game where the No. 1 seed got pushed by the No. 16 seed. … Small forward John Williams led the NCI charge. …

Belmont Shore big man Devon Hardin is a presence. He's got the body and is a fine shot blocker and even better rebounder. He just needs a few developed post moves to make some serious waves. … Houston Westside guard Sean Morris has a pretty stoke. He's a two guard packed into a point man's frame and he's headed to Colorado State. …

Texas commitment Dion Dowell had 10 points and 7 rebounds in a heartbreaker against Albany. Dowell is a good athlete and versatile small forward. … Speaking of Dowell, he was involved in the play of the day, but for the wrong reasons. Dowell went up strong for driving dunk and was met by Dayshaun Wright straight up at the rim. Wright won the battle with a major-league rejection. …

NEWS & NOTES

Alexander Kaun is heating up big time. Last Friday, he worked out in front of Chris Collins, Billy Donovan of Florida, Rick Pitino of Louisville, Leonard Hamilton of Florida State and assistants from Ohio State and Michigan. Pitino offered him a scholarship as did Donovan. On April 30, Mike Krzyzewski and Tommy Amaker are trying to make arrangements to go see him. …

We ran into Rob Kurz today and he told us that he'd like to make a decision by the end of the school year. His finalists are Indiana and Notre Dame with Villanova in the third position. IU's Mike Davis met with him on Thursday. …

Also on Thursday, Rick Pitino met with Belmont Shore swingman Lorenzo Wade. … The talk in Houston was that sleeper swingman Dorrell Wright out of L.A. will pick a prep school and do a tour of duty there before eventually heading to Southern Cal. …

Our frequent flier award of the spring has to go to Devon Hardin. The power forward has played in three different tournaments with three different teams in three consecutive weekends. … Texas center James Thomas sat courtside and watched the Albany City Rocks, his former AAU team, play Friday night. …

Jason Rich on one of the schools on his list: "I'm definitely visiting Connecticut if they'll have me." That's a good bet. UConn took Rashad Anderson, another sunshine state product, in 2002. … Albany power forward Sam Dolan is receiving attention from MAC schools and also Rutgers, Rhode Island and LaSalle. …

Teams we watched Friday night: Nike Team Florida, NCI Hoopstars, Belmont Shore, Georgia Warriors, Albany City Rocks, Houston Westside All-Stars, Portland Elite Legends, E&S Elite Houston.

Kingwood Classic, Day Two

2004 Checklist

Daniel Gibson, PG, Houston Hoops: Remember now, only recently did Gibson have the cast on his non-shooting hand removed. Having said that, he was terrific today. He was his old self when it came to finishing tough plays and hit a crucial game-tying 3-pointer down the stretch. Did we mention he played on an upset stomach that acted up on him during the game?

Shane Dansby, SG, Tennessee Travelers: Entering the event only mid-majors were sniffing around. After his early Saturday morning performance that's about to change. He effortlessly drilled 3-balls. If this was his best effort of the spring, he couldn't have picked a better time.

Dorell Wright, SF, Southern Cal All-Stars: He's going to spend a fifth year at a prep school and he's probably going to have his pick of colleges. He's got big time moves, all kinds of offense and he can handle the ball. Major college head coaches were in attendance for his game.

Corey Brewer, SF, Tennessee Travelers: He went for 20 points in the morning in front of a throng of head coaches. He's probably a Top 50 caliber player with a tremendous upside.

Trent Plaisted, PF, San Antonio Wildcats: Welcome to the world of high-major recruiting. This lefty has inside moves, gets creative when he needs to and impressed everyone in the gym. He will be one of the names to emerge from this event.

Kenneth White, PG, Texas Top Prospects: In a year in which the PG spot is a little down, we think "Red" might be able to make some noise. He was super against the Houston Hoops and made at least 4 3s in the game. He's probably a very good mid-major point man.

Brian Johnson, PF, DC Blue Devils: Apparently, he's just starting to get into shape after a long bout with flu-like symptoms that bothered him during and after the high school season. That makes sense considering he's not nearly as active as he was at the end of last year's AAU season. He's just not playing with his normal intensity level. But, he will do some things to show the flashes of greatness he's got in his game.

Lamarcus Aldridge, C, Team Texas: He's a long drink of water and easily one of the five top prospects in the class. The young man has Chris Bosh-like skills and an upside that makes everyone envious.

Chamberlain Oguchi, SF, Houston Select: For the second straight weekend, he's been very good. The guy can flat out stroke it. He's a powerful athlete on the wing.

Justin Cerasoli, PG, Ft. Sooy No Limit: Our first look was a good one. He had 17 points in a losing playoff effort. He should slide nicely into our Top 10 point guard list entering the summer.

2005 Checklist

Tyler Hansbrough, C, St. Louis Eagles: He had 20 points in a losing effort against the Dallas Mustangs. He can really score in the paint and absolutely wowed us when he stepped out and made a 3.

Jonathan Adams, SF, Tennessee Travelers: This young man is going to be a big time scorer. He's got a great body and you know it when you see it.

Justin Wilkerson, SF, Texas Top Prospects: You can see why Bobby Knight and the Red Raiders took him as an underclassman. He's got a terrific stroke.

Off The Dribble

Jason Horton barely scored in his morning game as he struggled with his jumper. However, he was terrific in getting everyone involved and handed out double-digits assists. … Arkansas has itself a good one in Steven Hill. He's going to one day have a major league SEC body and already is one of the better post passers we've seen so far in 2004. … The evolution of James Gist continues. The DC Blue Devils post is long and ultra athletic and someone is going to get a big time player and not even realize it until a year down the line. …

Isaiah Swann had a nice game for the Blue Devils. When he rebounds well it sets up his offense, including his perimeter game. … Jawann McClellan had four 3-pointers in the first half of an afternoon game. … We didn't see it, but apparently DeAaron Williams was impressive with a 16-point outing in the afternoon. …

Illinois Wolves power forward Ollie Bailey is one of the toughest customers on the circuit. He fights you for every inch in the paint and is a warrior. … The entire Dallas Mustangs team, save one power forward, are rising juniors. This team is in the Sweet 16. …

We didn't see him but we heard that Shane Foster, a small forward with Gulf Coast, went off and LSU might make a move on him. … We loved the Louisiana Panthers guard tandem of James Perkins and Shaun Dumas last weekend. However, we think they're more mid-major guys than high-major players. Regardless, they can ball. …

News & Notes

The first head coach in the gym on Saturday morning? Try Buzz Peterson who rose early to catch the Tennessee Travelers. … Corey Brewer drew a head coaching crowd of Peterson, Memphis' John Calipari, Vanderbilt's Kevin Stallings, Rick Stansbury of Mississippi State. He's the reigning state high jump champion. …

Did you know that Tennessee Travelers star sophomore Jonathan Adams' mom played hoops at North Carolina State? … Dorell Wright, a big timer, likes Iowa, Southern Cal, Florida and Connecticut. Billy Donovan was in the building today. … SCA's Arron Afflalo did not play in the morning as he's battling a bout of food poisoning. Last week he turned an ankle so he's had better runs. …

Traveler's guard Shane Dansby's list prior to Saturday: Georgia Tech, UT-Chattanooga, Belmont and Lipscomb. … Back to Dorell Wright for a second. In addition to Donovan, Rick Pitino was in the gym watching him. … North Carolina assistant coach Steve Robinson watched Alexander Kaun in the morning. The Siberian has officially blown up. …

Jason Horton drew a heckuva crowd today. At one game Herb Sendek, Stan Heath, Rob Evans, Pete Gillen, Bill Self, Leonard Hamilton and Quin Snyder were in the gym. … Speaking of Self, he's blown up too. The new KU head coach was spotted signing autographs for little kids on their arms. (Note to kids: get some paper, mom won't be happy). …

UNC watched Lamarcus Aldridge today as well. … Stanford assistant coach Eric Reveno was in the gym watching Kevin Langford today. … Tennessee is doing some work. They'll visit with Tello Palacios next week. … SMU head coach Mike Dement spotted watching Paulius Packevicius and Trent Plaisted today. … Arkansas coach Stan Heath watched his future post man Steven Hill this afternoon. …

North Carolina head coach Roy Williams spent an hour watching DC Blue Devils forward Brian Johnson. … Plaisted likes to list Utah, Texas A&M, Rice, BYU, Nebraska, Baylor, Creighton and SMU. … Whispers tell us that James Gist could wind up picking between Georgia Tech, Providence, Kentucky and Maryland. American has also done a nice job with him but is a long, long, longshot. Paul Hewitt was in the gym today. …

Speaking of American, they signed Andre Ingram, a shooter from Richmond, this week. … Boston College likes Matthew Wheaton of the Houston Hoops. … Kansas is high on sophomore power forward Josh McRoberts. … We've validated this rumor: Kansas is no longer being considered by Shaun Livingston. … Quin Snyder and Bill Self were in the stands watching St. Louis Eagles center Tyler Hansbrough. Missouri has the very inside track on that one and could wind up with a commitment and braggin' rights down the road. …

NC State head coach Herb Sendek was on point guard patrol today. He watched Jason Horton and Justin Cerasoli. … Speaking of Horton, he says that his top schools are Missouri, Arkansas, NC State, Oklahoma, Arizona State and Florida State. … Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt was in the gym late night watching Russell Robinson. … On Monday, Boston College and Tennessee will be meeting with James

Kingwood Classic, Day Three

2004 Checklist

Russell Robinson, SG, Gauchos: We've seen him steal the show in big games (see December City of Palms performance) so we were hardly surprised when he did it again in the finals against Memphis. The guy wants the ball in his hands in big situations. Great effort throughout the weekend.

Robert Swift, C, California Team Select: We thought he played well at the Boo Williams and that continued here. The kid has solid post moves and every now and then he'll finish with a dunk. The Trojans did well for themselves with him.

Isaiah Swann, SG, DC Blue Devils: In one playoff game he made four 3-pointers in a row. He single handedly ended the Dallas Mustangs' hopes of advancing. Overall he had a very nice weekend in Houston.

Brian Johnson, PF, DC Blue Devils: His final game of the event against Memphis proved to be his best. He scored 17 points but they were impressive. Johnson got out of the gate quickly by rebounding and staying active. He made a few face ups and showcased the skill we know he's got in his bag of tricks.

Shawne Williams, SF, Memphis: He looked a little tired in his team's final two games but he had 12 points and 6 rebounds against the D.C. Blue Devils. A 30-foot bounce pass in transition really spoke well about his talent level. Plus, he did what we previously thought might not be doable and met James Gist at the rim and rejected his shot.

2005 Checklist

Keith Brumbaugh, PF/SF, Team Florida: He put up big scoring numbers throughout the weekend. The forward did a lot of damage from the perimeter where he made 3s and medium-range jumpers. He likes to shoot it but to his credit, he was making them.

Byron Eaton, PG/SG, Dallas Mustangs: He's the 2005 version of Andre Allen – fast, powerful and likes to get to the rim. He's really tough to guard going to the basket.

Off The Dribble

The DC Blue Devils big man James Gist plays like someone pointed a canon at the basket and shot him out of it. … Derrick Character did not play in his team's morning game. Reasons? Unknown. … Kevin Langford really played well in a mid-day game for Team Texas. It was the most effective we'd seen him all spring and he did some work in the paint. …

Channing Toney of the Georgia Stars is the son of former NBA standout Andrew Toney. He played well this weekend and scored the ball from the perimeter. … New York teams are doing well this spring. The Gauchos captured this event and Riverside Church was victorious at the Boo Williams. …

News & Notes

UCLA's Ben Howland, Southern Cal's Henry Bibby and Washington's Lorenzo Romar were up early watching California Team Select at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday. … Cincinnati, DePaul and Michigan State sent assistants to watch the Illinois Warriors' DeAaron Williams. … Ben Braun was in the stands watching forward Eric Veirneisel on Sunday morning. …

Among the crew watching James Gist's first game of the day were Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt's, Virginia coach Pete Gillen and Tennessee's Buzz Peterson. … Isaiah Swann's list now reads: Maryland, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, UConn and Virginia. …

Peterson followed Memphis small forward Shawne Williams around much of the day. Williams' list reads Houston, Memphis, Cincinnati, Maryland, Tennessee and Kentucky. Who leads? Try Memphis and Houston at this point. … It's no secret that Tommy Amaker is a big fan of Mohamed Tangara. The Michigan coach was in the stands with assistant Charles Ramsey today. …

Missouri head coach Quin Snyder was in the stands watching Jason Horton again. The whispers in the gym place Missouri in a leadership position with Horton. … Texas sent assistant coach Rodney Terry to watch Lamarcus Aldridge. If you like whispers, the hush hush is that Texas could be on the verge of getting a commitment from him. … Duke coach Chris Collins represented his school in front of Alexander Kaun today. … DeMarcus Nelson was injured and did not play on Sunday. …

Bigger and Better?

Next year's Kingwood Classic will take place after Westfield High has received a face lift. Energetic tournament director Hal Pastner told us that they are building four new gyms next to the main gym at Westfield High. That means the spring's largest basketball event could get even bigger in the coming years. …


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