King James: UNC Target Report

AKRON, Ohio --- The first-ever King James Shooting Stars Classic got off to a solid start Friday evening on the campus of Akron University. Here's a look at the first day of action:

J.J. Hickson – Worldwide Renegades – The Georgia native didn't have a great start to the King James Shooting Stars Classic. Hickson wasn't going to the glass and didn't show enough intensity in the first half so Chris Johnson, the Renegades' head coach, sat him on the bench for majority of the half. The time on the pine got through to Hickson as he came out in the second half ready to play. He hit the boards hard, showed off a veteran jump hook and even showed he could take his man off the dribble on occasion. He finished with 15 points, but it wasn't enough as Mean Street Express team got the victory.

Derrick Rose – Mean Streets Express – You won't find a quicker guy with the ball in his hands than D-Rose. The 6-3 point guard does exactly what he needs to do and at times it's effortlessly. He doesn't force many bad shots and is as unselfish as they come, especially for a player of his caliber. In his game against the World Wide Renegades he had a few plays that were just spectacular. On two separate occasions he drove into the lane, was knocked off balance, and he somehow managed to finish the shot and get the foul call. Rose helped seal the win for Mean Streets Express as he knocked in a bunch of free throws with under a minute to go. Rose finished with 20 points in his first game at King James.

Tyreke Evans – Team Final – The number one player in the class of 2008 has had better days. The amazing thing is when I left the gym with 5 minutes to go, Evans had 16 points. A phone call a half an hour later revealed he finished with 32 points including a number of free throws late in the game to help get Team Final past the Baltimore Stars. While Evans is known for hitting shots off the bounce, tonight it just wasn't going down. There's no doubt that Evans is talented, and at 6-5 the crafty Philadelphian can get his shot off just about any time he wants, however, he needs to let the game come to him a little more.

Eric Wallace – D-One Sports – Last summer Eric Wallace had some trouble getting the jump shot to go down. So when he came out and hit two step-in jumpers there was reason for optimism. However, a bad shot selection led to a number of missed jumpers throughout the game. There is a lot to like about Wallace as he shows intensity, has a college ready body and is one of the more athletic guys in his class – but that's been the case for a couple years now. He scored 14 in a loss to the Cleveland Basketball Club 16 and under squad.

Wallace said his recruitment really hasn't changed much, except for a few non-ACC schools that have entered the picture. Connecticut, Louisville and Florida are three schools that he said have been showing him interest recently.

"You could say the location factor is an advantage they have," he said, noting the in-state advantage that Wake Forest and North Carolina have. "It's easier for me to get a good relationship with the coaches face to face, with Carolina only being an hour a way and Wake Forest only being 10 minutes away. They kind of have an advantage as far as comfort level."

Don't expect much change in his recruitment until August when he decides on five schools to take official visits too. Are there any early leaders for those visits? "I'm not sure it depends on the coaches and the relationship with the coaches and I'll do some internet research," he said. "They're not recruiting me I'm recruiting them too."

Herb Pope - He was impressive in a win over the Michigan Hurricanes. His skill set is amazing for a guy his size. He runs the floor like a deer and is a solid passer especially in traffic.

Dave Telep's notes from Akron

* We had Derrick Rose for 20 points (5-14 FG, 8-9 FT) to go with 7 assists. Throw out the stats because what was impressive was the one-handed steal he made and the extra gear he has going to the rim. Rose simply sees the game differently and when he's surrounded by four high-major players his game will bloom and he'll be lethal. His 3-point shot needs some tuning but everyone knows his feel and athleticism are on another level for point guards. Reggie Rose, the brother of Derrick Rose, relayed a list of schools that included Illinois, UNC, Virginia, Arizona, Marquette, Memphis, Louisville and Kentucky. Beating the buzzer before the end of the evaluation period to see him this week was UCLA, Illinois, Memphis and Kansas.

* The charismatic and friendly Herb Pope is a big time talent. We chalked him up with 21 points and 10 rebounds while connecting on 10-for-13 from the field. Pope did a little of everything from chatting up the refs to catching alley-oops. Did we mention he can really pass it from the face up position? If you're ever dragging from a long day of action, Pope is guy you need to go see because he's always entertaining. Pope's list reads Memphis, Louisville, Texas, Connecticut, Kansas State and Pittsburgh (where he was at one time committed). Pope said that if he lists North Carolina maybe they'll show him some interest.

* In the second half of his opening game J.J. Hickson showed off the skill set. Hickson scored it pretty much every way possible. He's got good feet inside and his moves are decisive and quick. His second half produced 15 points and showed what he's capable of. We'd like to see that kind of performance each half and every time out because he's got that kind of ability.

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