Locals Shine at Hoop Jamboree

ST. LOUIS --- The Nike Hoop Jamboree has become one of the most prestigious events in the country for rising high school freshman, sophomores and juniors. With potential invitations to Nike's July All-American camp in Indianapolis on the line, young prospects from across the country put their best foot forward. Among those impressing were a trio of North Carolinians.

Because Ty Walker, Akeem Richmond and TaShawn Mabry are still so young, it's tough to know exactly how aggressively they'll be pursued by North Carolina. However, it doesn't hurt to take a look at how some of the top young prospects in the state performed on a national stage.


Ty Walker - Heading into the St. Louis camp, opinions on this long and bouncy frontcourt player from Wilmington (N.C.) New Hanover varied wildly. He didn't put up huge numbers for his high school team and he hasn't played a ton of minutes this spring for the North Carolina Gaters -- but that didn't matter in St. Louis as the 6-11 forward/center put together an impressive outing. He runs the floor extremely well, has a nice looking shot, gets off the floor quickly and can erase shots thanks to his incredibly long arms ( 7'05" wingspan, 9'03" standing reach). He only weighs 197 pounds, sometimes settles for threes, needs to mature and lacks consistency at this point, but he's also got a ton of potential and it will be very interesting to see how he develops over the next few years.

Akeem Richmond - By scoring over 20 points a game during his freshman season last year at Sanford (N.C.) Southern Lee, the 5-11 combo guard was deserving of his invite to the Jamboree. He handles the ball pretty well and excels at creating opportunities to shoot off of the dribble and is a very reliable shooter from deep. He's got a pretty good feel for the game and will only get more dangerous on drives to the hoop as he gains the added quickness and strength that will come along with maturity. It's always interesting to see how a player responds when thrown into a shoe camp type atmosphere and Richmond certainly proved he belonged. As long as he continues to improve he won't lack for attention from college coaches over the next three years.

TaShawn Mabry - Considering that this 6-5 wing from Rocky Mount hasn't even stepped foot on a high school basketball court, it's best to be cautious when evaluating his play. Then again, you have to give the athletic lefty who is a member of the class of 2010 a pretty healthy heaping of credit for not only holding his own, but impressing against players who were for the most part a few years his senior. He's got a good looking 185 pound frame with long arms, pretty good looking form on his jumper and a very good motor. Right now he's at his best on the offensive glass and in transition but the tools to develop into a highly recruited basketball player are there if he is given the coaching and time to develop them.

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