Three Top N.C. Prospects Tangle

Rare is the occasion when arguably the top prospect from each class in North Carolina is on the floor at the same time. That happened Tuesday night when Greensboro Dudley met West Brunswick in an East regional semifinal contest.

Cedric Simmons, a 6-9 big man out of West Brunswick is the highest rated player in North Carolina's senior class. Toss out Missouri native Brandon Rush who attends Mount Zion and an argument can be made that Kevin Swinton, a junior power forward, is the best in the Class of 2005. Right now, sophomore winger William Graves tops the 2006 list in the state.

Tuesday night, they were all on the same floor as Dudley bested West Brunswick 64-55. Graves, the youngest of the bunch, led Dudley with a game-high 21 points on 8-for-14 shooting, including 2-for-3 from behind the arc.

The performance was one of Graves' best for the season. He dotted the shot chart with jumpers from a number of different spots on the floor and he made them with skill. He's now comfortable taking a dribble – either left or right – and sticking mid-range jumpers. He didn't force shots and played within the team concept. He was the offensive pace car for Dudley.

In the first half, Dudley didn't use Graves or Swinton on Simmons much, instead opting to save Swinton for some second half post defense against the North Carolina State signee. Simmons didn't seem to be bothered much either way. In fact, it was more of his team's inability to get him touches than a case of him not making shots. Simmons finished off his career with a skill-filled 17 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 blocks and a 4-deflection performance.

Of all the guys who will finish in our post-season Top 25 none has as much room to grow as Simmons. The Shallote native makes face up 15-footers right now with touch. He's got an extremely live body, he can run and he's only going to get better. His presence under the basket as a shot blocker and intimidator gives the Pack a different kind of player at that spot than they've had in recent memory.

Swinton finished with 17 points and 8 rebounds and he had to work for every bit of them. Simmons' presence gave him some trouble, especially early in the game. He was playing against a legit shot blocker and it took some time to get his bearings. Plus, he gives away two+ inches to Simmons.

The Wake Forest product had a tough assignment against the senior and to his credit he stayed active and continued to work throughout the contest. His 8 points in the 3rd quarter were key in helping Dudley retake the lead.

NOTES – Hampton had assistant coach Richard Morgan in the gym. NC State sent Mark Phelps and VCU was represented by Jeff LaMere. …

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