Sabes Invit: Sat-Sun Notes and Photos


- Brandon Cotton was flat out unstoppable today. The 6-0 PG for The Family showed why Michigan State was glad to accept his early committment. Cotton has great quickness and has perfected the nearly-lost art of the mid-range pullup jumper.

- One player who wasn't very well known coming into this weekend was Smyra Stars shooting guard J.R. Pinnock. He's about 6-5, well built, and according to him, isn't really being recruited by anyone right now. Next year, he plans on going to a prep school, and sometime soon, he may very well start getting some high-major looks.

- Brandon Rush, 6-6 forward playing with Kansas City Rocktown, is the youngest of the Rush brothers, following Kareem and Jaron. Only a sophomore, he's an explosive leaper who handles the ball very well and shows good passing skills. Rush is an exciting player to watch and will be recuited at the highest level.

- Rush's teammate, 6-4 combo guard Tim Blackwell, might have been the best shooter of the weekend. If he had any kind of daylight, he was going to knock the shot down. Not long ago, Blackwell only had several offers from mid-major programs, but now some bigger schools like Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Iowa State, are starting to get a little more serious.

- I like a lot of things about Shannon Brown; his scoring ability, his explosiveness, his body. He usually plays hard. But at times, Brown doesn't play smart, and at times I question his attitude. After Brown missed a breakaway dunk in the midst of a fourth quarter comeback, he was promply benched, and stayed there for the rest of the game. Brown didn't seem to care much, or acted like he didn't care. Meanwhile, his Illinois Warriors teammates fought and scrapped, and all but erased a double digit deficit. The Warriors ended up losing by, you guessed it, one point.

- Brian Smithson of the Smyrna Stars impressed me last year at this event with his heady play and ability to finish in traffic. Now in the 17-and-under division, Smithson showed he could do the same things against the higher level of competition, as a solid 5-11 point guard.

- Hometown player Kammron Taylor showed why he's one of the best players in the area, and probably the best point guard. Taylor is deadly from the three point line, and if played close, he'll go by almost anyone on the dribble.

- The most fun team to watch this weekend was the G-Rebs, from Gary, Indiana. First of all, they play hard, but at the same time, have a lot of fun doing it. A guy that might have the most fun of anyone is 6-9 center Kenneth Harris. I have no idea how much Harris weighs, but he's a very large man. Check out the photo of the Valporaiso committment and guess for yourselves. Harris uses his body and surprising agility alike to make powerful scoring moves around the hoop.

- Two other impressive players for the G-Rebs were Juan Diego Tello Palacios and Oumar Sylla. Palacios is only a sophomore and came to the US from Columbia. He's about 6-8 and has great skills, both inside and out. Several times over the weekend, he'd handle the ball on the perimeter and shake his defender off the dribble. Palocios is also comfortable stepping out and shooting the three. Palacios is a player to remember over the next year because he'll draw a lot of interest from high major programs. Oumar Sylla is a 6-5 wing who's very crafty and understands the game. Sylla's jumpshot is unorthodox, to say the least, but he's a dangerous outside shooter. He's also an explosive leaper, catching the crowd's attention on Sunday with a couple of spectacular blocked shots on what looked like breakaway layups.

J.R. Pinnock

Brandon Rush

Brian Smithson

Kammron Taylor

Kenneth Harris

Juan Diego Tello Palacios

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