Roundball Classic Grades
Mount Zion (Durham, N.C.)
Before the Roundball Classic, Rush said he hoped to show his versatility and prove wrong the haters who say his game is all athleticism. It's safe to say he accomplished his goal. Rush was named co-MVP of the winning West team by recording a game-high 21 points as well as 11 rebounds and five assists. With a collection of highlight-reel dunks, including a pair of off-the-backboard alley-oops and a 360-degree slam, Rush proved he is undoubtedly the most athletic player in his class. But by leading his team in rebounding, scoring on several solid mid-range jumpers and even knocking down a 3-pointer, Rush showed his skill set is more advanced than scouts once thought. Although he says he's going to college, his performance Tuesday could bring his name back into the straight-to-NBA chatter.
Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)
The West team's other co-MVP, Devendorf was perhaps the best all-around player Tuesday and at the practices leading up to the game. The Syracuse recruit was by far the best shooter on either team, knocking down 3-pointers on a consistent basis in practice and going 4-for-4 from beyond the arc Tuesday night en route to 17 points. A dangerous scorer at the high school level, Devendorf showed he's fully capable of running the point at the next level by handing out seven assists and running the West team's offense with ease. Often compared to Syracuse point guard Gerry McNamara because of his shooting skills, Devendorf showed he's more than a scorer by displaying a penchant to slash to the hoop and finish in traffic.
Denham Springs (Denham Springs, La.)
Mitchell's stock has fallen quite a bit in the past year because at 6-foot-7, 235 pounds, he's a classic tweener. But make no mistake about it, the LSU recruit will excel at the next level. He has no major flaws to his game and is both a relentless worker and a great teammate. He scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds Tuesday, but his influence went beyond the box score. In addition to playing a no-fear style of basketball, which led to five free-throw attempts, Mitchell had the best attitude out of anybody on the floor, cheering on his teammates all game long and taking a leadership role during practice.
Westchester (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Despite missing the first practice, Johnson fit into the West team's lineup seamlessly, scoring 17 points, blocking four shots and recording three steals Tuesday. He was the best all-around inside force on his team, shooting 8-of-11 by working his way to the hoop for high-percentage shots. He didn't attempt one 3-pointer in the game but demonstrated his shooting range during Monday's practice. The lone knock on the Louisville recruit Tuesday was his rebounding. He had only four boards despite spending much of the game in the low post.
Carmel (Carmel, Ind.)
It's hard for low-post studs like McRoberts to shine at flashy all-star games such as the Roundball Classic, but that didn't keep the Duke recruit from emerging as a versatile force in the second half Tuesday. After struggling while spending the first half of the game trying to bang down low, McRoberts hit 3-of-4 from beyond the arc in the second half en route to 11 second-half points. His inside dominance was evident on the glass, as he grabbed seven boards. He did, however, have five turnovers and still has to work on his ball-handling skills.
Lincoln (Dallas, Texas)
Despite shooting just 2-of-8 from the field, Eaton was very solid Tuesday. He scored seven points, handed out a game-high 10 assists and had only two turnovers. The Oklahoma State recruit was perhaps the quickest player on the floor and displayed great leadership skills Tuesday and at the practices leading up to the game. He wasn't tremendous at finishing in traffic, but he did effectively use his strength to get to the hoop. Although he had an off night shooting Tuesday, Eaton proved he is a dangerous shooter at the practices.
Dominguez (Compton, Calif.)
Harvey cemented his status as one of the best pure shooters in the Class of 2005 by going 3-for-8 from beyond the 3-point arc Tuesday en route to 13 points. He also grabbed four rebounds despite spending most of the day lingering around the perimeter. During practices, the Louisville recruit proved he could create his own shot. Still, there's no doubt he's best when spotting up.
Laurinburg Prep (Laurinburg, N.C.)
Although he has signed with Memphis, Williams has considered skipping college for the NBA. Tuesday's performance might have dampened his aspirations. Williams wasn't bad, mind you, but he just wasn't as impressive as other swingmen. Williams was 5-for-12 from the field, a dismal 1-of-6 from beyond the arc and 1-of-4 from the free-throw line. Despite his poor shooting night, Williams still managed to score 12 points while demonstrating a great first step — especially for a 6-foot-10, 230-pounder — and a solid mid-range game. He also had solid practices, proving his rep is warranted.
Westchester (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Johnson very quietly had a solid night Tuesday, recording eight points and five rebounds. He connected on only 1-of-4 free throws but showed his ability to draw contact and get to the line. A solid shooter who has signed with UConn, Tuesday's lackluster free-throw performance isn't necessarily indicative of Johnson's game. He had two very solid practices, shooting well, hustling for rebounds and giving an all-out great effort.
Benton Harbor (Benton Harbor, Mich.)
After signing with Chicago-based DePaul, Chandler was a fan favorite Tuesday. And he didn't disappoint. Chandler was 5-of-8 from the field, scored 13 points and had three offensive rebounds despite playing the least amount of minutes on his team. At 6-foot-8, 192 pounds, Chandler's lack of bulk was noticeable, but he was fearless in getting to the line four times.
St. Mary's (Manhasset, N.Y.)
One of the East team's co-MVPs, Green was perhaps the most complete player in Tuesday's game. He scored 15 points, shot 6-of-13 from the field, had nine rebounds, blocked three shots and had three steals. Although his effortless shot is the most impressive part of Green's game, there's very little he can't do. Although he had six turnovers, Green was definitely among the top players on the court. He was a force on both offense and defense and worked extremely hard during both practices.
Hales Franciscan (Chicago, Ill.)
A local product who attended the past three Roundball Classics, Minnoy took full advantage of his time in the spotlight Tuesday. The Purdue recruit was efficient if not great, scoring 16 points and grabbing six boards to earn co-MVP honors for the losing team. Although he played forward in high school, the 6-foot-3, 250-pounder proved he has a guard's skill set by shooting 7-of-14 and knocking down two 3-pointers. With his bulk, he was also able to dominate opposing guards down low. He had a great attitude all weekend and is a fierce competitor.
South Kent Prep (South Kent, Conn.)
Blatche missed Sunday's practice with food poisoning and took it easy Monday while recuperating. By Tuesday, he said he was feeling somewhat better but still a tad ill. Come game time, though, he sure looked 100 percent. Often knocked for his penchant to linger around the perimeter too much, Blatche helped his NBA stock by being the most dominant big man in the game. He scored 13 points and had a game-high 14 rebounds while dominating down low. At times he looked uncomfortable on offense, but for the most part he was solid in the post. During practice Monday, Blatche showed his efficient perimeter game by hitting several 3-pointers and passing very well for a big man. Although he still hasn't officially announced his intentions to go pro, Tuesday's game should help his draft stock.
Gulf Shores Academy (Houston, Texas)
Although Green is considered one of the best bets to go pro from this class, his performance Tuesday left much to be desired. After his East team fell behind early, Green often tried to take over to no avail. He finished 5-of-12 from the field for 17 points but did little else, turning the ball over three times and grabbing only two rebounds. The Oklahoma State recruit did manage to get to the line and hit 7-of-8 free throws. During the practices, however, Green showed why NBA scouts are so high on him. He recorded the highest vertical jump at Sunday's practice and dominated the scrimmage Monday, drilling from the outside and slashing to the hoop on a consistent basis. He did nothing to diminish his draft stock Tuesday and is still considered a strong possibility to go straight to the NBA.
Hillcrest (Country Club Hill, Ill.)
A Marquette recruit, McNeal can't escape comparisons to Dwyane Wade. Like Wade, McNeal has gone somewhat under the radar in the recruiting world despite a terrific high school career. Also like Wade, McNeal is an offensive dynamo who can score from anywhere on the floor. On Tuesday, McNeal scored 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting overall and 2-of-2 from beyond the arc. He also grabbed seven rebounds, blocked a shot and had a steal while playing tenacious defense.
Brother Rice (Chicago, Ill.)
With approximately 150 classmates donned in Brother Rice gear cheering him on, Frasor's line of eight points, three assists and two rebounds wasn't exactly awe-inspiring. Still, he was solid. He showed the ability to lead an offense, turning the ball over only twice in 24 minutes. Known for his scoring prowess, Frasor took only seven shots and hit 2-of-3 from beyond the 3-point arc. He was hot from the field during practice as well and should be a solid addition at North Carolina next year.
Lynwood (Lynwood, Calif.)
Jefferson shot just 5-of-15 from the field Tuesday en route to scoring 12 points, but he was still a force. The UNLV recruit grabbed seven offensive rebounds and 10 total, helping the East team outrebound the West, 75-62. Jefferson's nose for the ball led to many second-chance points for the East. He also had two assists, a blocked shot and a steal. Jefferson is extremely athletic for a 6-foot-8, 205-pounder, and it showed during practices. He scored in a variety of ways and was a force on the glass.
Manchester (Manchester, Ga.)
At 6-foot-7, 220 pounds, Barber prefers to play down low and doesn't have a playing style tailor made for such all-star games. In 20 minutes of play, Barber managed to score six points, grab four rebounds and hand out three assists. He took only five shots and rarely handled the ball. Still, he showed glimpses of potential on the defensive end by blocking a pair of shots. Although his true talents weren't on display Tuesday, Barber did show why he's the crown jewel of Auburn's recruiting class.
Roosevelt (Seattle, Wash.)
Although Williams is one of the best shooters in the Class of 2005, he had an off night Tuesday, scoring only four points by going 2-of-7 from the field, 0-of-2 from 3-point land and 0-of-2 from the free-throw line. He did, however, grab six rebounds and block three shots to prove there's more to his game than a pretty shot. During practice, the Arizona recruit showed his bread and butter by hitting from way out several times. He also slashed to the hoop on several occasions and finished above the rim at times.
St. Joseph (Westchester, Ill.)
Freeman shot a disappointing 1-of-7 from the field Tuesday and scored five points, but he did hand out three assists and block two shots while giving up just one turnover in 25 minutes of play. Another local product and fan favorite, the Iowa recruit had solid practices and ran his offense confidently. Still, he just wasn't as impressive as other point guards.
Westinghouse (Chicago, Ill.)
Another Chicago product and fan favorite, Thomas was clearly overmatched Tuesday and at the practices leading up to the game. He is a legit Division I prospect but not quite at the level of the other Roundball Classic all-stars. Thomas, who hasn't signed with a college, shot just 3-of-9 from the field Tuesday and grabbed five rebounds. He also had four fouls and four turnovers in just 20 minutes. Thomas did, however, show the ability to drive to the hoop and get to the line. At 6-foot-8, 270 pounds, he's a load to handle for smaller players but isn't as quick as other players his height and has trouble finishing. During practice Sunday, Thomas was overmatched in post-up drills and just wasn't as athletic as other big men.