Prospects at Hoop Jamboree

The Nike Hoops Jamboree has been an event where elite, young talent first gets a spotlight and this year is no different. Many young prospects who could potentially get recruited seriously by UCLA that we've been telling you about here on BRO -- like sophomores Elijah Johnson and Hollis Thompson -- showed off their talents...

Originally published at Scout Hoops. Prospects already recognized as potential UCLA recruits will have an ** by their name.

Through the years, rising 9th graders have managed to garner considerable headlines at the Nike Hoop Jamboree. A few summers back, Demond Carter dazzled onlookers with his deft scoring touch and maturity. Last June, it was Jeremy Tyler** who had complete command of his game and managed to ride his performance right into the July scene.

Before scoring a point in high school, small forward LaQuinton Ross asserted himself in a national setting with high-level caliber players. When camp ended the consensus was drawn that Ross was the top wing prospect and long term an equal or better prospect than 7-foot-2 John Riek.

The soon-to-be Jackson (Miss.) Callaway wing made headlines this spring with his play on the AAU circuit. His player's card was stamped officially after 4 days of action in St. Louis. At 6-7, Ross is a natural scorer with body control, range and for lack of a better term, the look of an elite level young player.


In breaking down the crop of points at camp, depending on how you view the position, you could have drawn two different conclusions. Mfon Udofia, without a doubt turned in the best performance. He was on the winning side of the 3-on-3 competition plus captured the camp championship.

Valuable Week For Udofia
For a guy who didn't play to his considerable reputation during the spring, Udofia proved himself as one of the best floor generals in his 2009 class. With room to tighten up the package for sure, he's a 3.5 student who scores it from different areas while having command of his team and getting kids involved.

Udofia's performance aside, the Elijah Johnson** demonstrated possibly the biggest ceiling of anyone at his position. Some feel – and they may be proven correct – that he's a shooting guard. However, in crunch time Johnson gravitated to the ball and showed an innate aptitude to forgo his penchant to score and turned into a leader. He'd be the first to tell you the transformation to the point is still a work in progress. But, we'd be the first to agree that it's likely on the horizon.

Be On The Lookout For …

  • Tony Chenault (2010, Pennsylvania), Michael Dixon (2009, Missouri), Darrius Morris (2009, California), Anthony Johnson (2010, Illinois), Phil Pressey (2010, Massachusetts), Tyler Thornton (2009, D.C.), K.C. Ross-Miller (2010, Texas), Brandon Smith** (2009, California)


    After watching Nolan Dennis play with poise, athleticism and virtual grace, it would be shocking if he doesn't turn out to be one of the most highly sought after wings in the 2009 class.

    Smooth Dennis Graded High
    Forget the stats because he won't be among the leaders. What he did do was flash his talents to the point where in our mind he appeared to be the top SG prospect in attendance.

    Three of the next best wings hail from the Class of 2010. Reggie Bullock has a line on the top rising sophomore in the state of North Carolina. Like Dennis, his game is controlled and smooth.

    Ralston Turner (Alabama) and Duron Lamb (New York) weren't too shabby either.

    Be On The Lookout For …

  • Shaunessy Smith (2009, Mississippi), Dion Waiters (2010, Pennsylvania), Avery Bradley** (2009, Washington), Bill Edwards (2009, Ohio), Najj Hibbert (2009, Maryland), Anthony Marshall** (2009, Las Vegas).


    This was a position laced with talent. After Ross, the debate begins. 2010's Jereme Richmond was off his game the first day.

    Stewart Cranked It Up
    That was the first day. Going forward, Richmond, a versatile wing with a basketball IQ and the ability to pass, handle and shoot, backed up the high school season hype.

    The improvement of Hollis Thompson** from his first spring event through June has been steady. Combine his academics and his basketball talent and you're peering at one of the most recruitable athletes in the Class of 2009. Speaking of 2009, Ari Stewart's perimeter offense and Rodney Williams' athleticism were major topics of conversation during the week. Heading into the event Stewart had a burgeoning national and his profile will peek heading into July.

    Be On The Lookout For …

  • Tristin Spurlock (2009, Maryland), Dominique Ferguson (2010, Indiana), Roger Franklin (2009, Texas), Zach Peters (2011, Texas), Terrence Boyd (2009, Florida)

    Statistically Speaking

    Roger Franklin (19.6), Ari Stewart (17.2) and LaQuinton Ross (16.8) finished 1-2-3 in overall scoring at the camp. … Ross' measurables: wingspan 7-feet, reach 8-9. Wow!. …


    For John Riek the question is simple: is he ready to take the next step?

    Riek, a 7-foot-2 Sudanese center was the top big man at the 2007 Nike Hoop Jamboree. The designation carries a measure of historical significance. Previous top dogs included Greg Oden, Tyler Hansbrough, Spencer Hawes and last year co-standouts Jeremy Tyler** and DeMarcus Cousins**.

    Riek Ruled In St. Louis
    Realistically, the lone disappointment surrounding Riek all week was the fact that he arrived late to camp and his actual height and reach were not measured. The height needed no verification – he's legit – but measuring his expansive reach would have been fun.

    Who is this guy? Well, he hails from Our Savior New American by way of the Sudan. He's been on the AAU scene this spring and colleges like DePaul, Pittsburgh and a host of others made initial contacts. After the Jamboree, the word should be out that this could be the best African post product to come through the pipeline since DeSagana Diop.

    We don't have the space to mix it up and talk about all of the bigs from the camp but we'll take a few graphs and hit you with the names you need to familiarize yourself with for the summer stretch run.


    It's important to acknowledge that the biggest separation at this position during the 4 days of camp came at the No. 2 slot. Riek comfortably sat on top of the position rankings and only LaQuinton Ross (SF, 2011) could have been argued as the better overall prospect.

    Get out your coins and start flipping for the second slot. There really was little to no separation among the next handful. As expected, Daniel Orton had his moments of brilliance not to mention the biggest paws of anyone at camp.

    DaShonte Riley has as much natural shot blocking ability as anyone in attendance. His offense was sporadic and this is a young man who can use the game to ascend to great places. Like Orton, if Riley develops a dominant streak – and remember we're talking about young kids here – the sky is officially the limit.

    Be On The Lookout For …

  • Greg Smith** (2009, California), Kyle Hardrick (2009, Oklahoma), Colin Reddick (2009, Georgia), Andrew Fitzgerald (2009, Maryland).


    It took him the entire camp, but on the final day Isaih Armwood cracked a smile. There was a lot of smile about because on Saturday morning he played like the shackles had been removed. Free to mix it up on the perimeter, Armwood didn't neglect the battle inside. Solid for the bulk of the week, but spectacular on the final day earned Armwood the nod as top power forward in the building.

    Armwood Finishes Strong
    Overall, this was a fairly distinguished group coming in but a handful managed to vault themselves onto the radar. DeShawn Painter continues to be a guy that catches our attention. Serious strides have been made since the high school season and his explosion, skill to mid-range and talent around the cup allowed him to separate from the pack.

    Painter was joined by Alex Oriakhi. The Connecticut commitment must love St. Louis because for the second year in a row he balled at the Hoop Jamboree. In fact, the two most impressive performances we've seen Oriakhi string together occurred at this event. For Oriakhi, the long arms are a calling card and he answered the challenge.

    If you're talking about the future, we'll throw John Henson out there. A young man who is clearly growing into an expansive frame, one scout described him as the next Channing Frye and we'll gladly pirate that comparison. Mix in a little Dontae Taylor, a stud out of National Christian and you've got an impressive lineup of five.

    Be On The Lookout For …

  • C.J. Leslie (2010, North Carolina), James Still (2009, Michigan), Marshawn Powell (2009, Virginia), Johntaveous Sulton (2009, Mississippi), Royce White (2009, Minnesota).

    Statistically Speaking

    Marshawn Powell (16 points), Kyle Hardrick (16) and C.J. Leslie (14) were the individual scoring leaders. … Riek's team captured the camp championship and he was also the anchor for the 3-on-3 champs. … Riek wasn't measured but we'll venture to guess he easily had the biggest reach and possibly wingspan. …

    Official winners in "Reach" category were: 9'2 Daniel Orton and James Vincet; 9'1 DaShonte Riley, Alex Oriakhi and John Henson. … "Wingspan" winners: 7'5 Dominique Ferguson (2010); 7'4 Daniel Orton; 7'3 Colin Reddick, Torin Walker, DaShonte Riley, Alex Oriakhi, John Henson.

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