Wednesday, March 28, 2012

2012 AAU BASKETBALL: Team D-Rose on the Rise!!!

Cliff Alexander: Class of 2014

Written by: Prospect-Central

Cliff Alexander
The 2011-12 high school basketball season is coming to an end and that of course means one's time for AAU ball!!! While high school basketball is obviously very important for players who have aspirations for the next level and beyond, it's AAU basketball that might actually play a bigger role in showcasing talent for coaches & recruiters and helping these young men achieve their dreams.

There are a number of excellent 17U AAU squads on the circuit this year.  One such team is the D-Rose All-Stars out of Chicago, Illinois. Team D-Rose is obviously the AAU team of Derrick Rose and thus sponsored by Adidas. They are coached by two excellent basketball minds in Mike & Jerrell Oliver and seem to be a team on the rise despite only being on the circuit for four years.

Tyquone Greer 
Even though the D-Rose All-Stars are a relatively new AAU team, they still have had their share of success as well as produced some pretty solid basketball players. One such baller is Uconn freshman Ryan Boatright. The talented Boatright definitely has a chance to play in the NBA one day.  There are also some nice looking players on the younger D-Rose All-Star teams. Twelve-year old Jaylin Fleming has made some pretty big headlines for Team D-Rose, drawing national attention from the likes of ABC and others

This years 17U squad is looking to make headlines of their own.  They are one of the better AAU clubs from Illinois and should be able to hold their own with most teams on the circuit. The D-Rose All-Stars are led by Top 10 player from the class of 2014 Cliff Alexander. The 6-foot 9 sophomore is a man-child pure and simple and has even received Amare Stoudamire comparisons. Then there's Class of 2014's Tyquone Greer.  The 6-foot 7 Greer is a high major talent with excellent athleticism and should be one of the go to guys on team. The man running the show is Lorenzo Dillard. Dillard is a nice looking prospect who can get to the rim with ease.  He's definitely one of the best point guards in Illinois.

Lorenzo Dillard
Some other notable players rounding out the team are combo guard LJ McIntosh who is always a scoring threat, Lexus Williams who's extremely versatile and 6-foot 8 Marlon Jones who's a Top 20 player in Illinois from the Class of 2014.  Two other solid players worth mentioning are Marcellus Davis who's arguably one of the best 3-point shooters in Illinois and Jeremye Johnson who's very adept at setting up his teammates and running an efficient offense. There are some other nice looking players on the squad as well and the team is always looking to add talented up-and-coming ballers, so don't be surprised if you see some players you normally don't hear about start to make names for themselves this summer.

The D-Rose All-Stars will have plenty of opportunities to showcase their talent on the AAU circuit this year.  They will be playing in a number of major tournaments and should have some decent showings.  A couple of the tournaments they are scheduled to attend are the Adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas as well as the Adidas Invitational from Indianapolis.  For more information about Team D-Rose as well as other high school players and teams from Illinois, be sure to check out Kyle Rande and Hard Hoops News.* Below is a highlight video of Cliff Alexander playing for the 15U D-Rose All-Stars last year.

Monday, March 26, 2012

2012 Nike Hoop Summit: Rosters, Statistics & the Entire Game!!!

2012 Nike Hoop Summit

Written by: Prospect-Central

The Nike Hoop Summit is a basketball All-Star game held once a year and features some of the best teenage ballers (19U) from across the globe.  The two squads are made up of a USA Men's Junior Select Team and a World Select Team of international players.  The event has been held fifteen times and the United States leads the series 11-4.

A number of NBA ballers have participated in this event throughout the years.  Some notable players for the U.S. teams were Kevin Garnet, Derick Rose, Kevin Durant & John Wall. Some NBA players for the international squads were Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Nicholas Batum & Serge Ibaka to name a few.

Because of the Nike Hoop Summit, there have been many players to rise from relative obscurity and become NBA lottery selections seemingly overnight.  Two years ago Enes Kanter set the record for most points scored in a game with 34 and just last year Bismak Biyombo had the only triple double in the events history with 12 pts, 11 rebs & 10 blks. Because NBA scouts had no other games to go by, these performances helped catapult Kanter & Biyombo into becoming 2011 NBA Lottery selections.

Find out who will be the next stars to emerge from the Nike Hoop Summit, when the U.S. Junior Select Team squares off against the World Select Team from the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon.  The game will tip off at 7:00 p.m. (PDT) on April, 7th and will be broadcast live by Fox Sports Net and their affiliates.* Below are two slideshow's of the players selected for the event.  The first slideshow features the USA Junior Select Team & the second features the World Select Team.  Enlarge the slideshow then click "Show Info" on the upper right hand corner to view more information about the players.  Click Box Score for official statistics of the game.  Click USA Basketball for recap of the game.  Click 2012 Nike Hoop Summit to watch the entire game from Portland, Oregon on April 7th, 2012.    

AARON GORDON: The Real San Jose Shark!!!

AARON GORDON: Class of 2013

Written by: Jason Hickman & Prospect-Central

No disrespect to the NHL's San Jose Sharks, but there's only one person hailing from San Jose, California deserving of the "Shark" moniker...Aaron Gordon!!!  Just like natures most feared predator, the 6-foot 8 high school junior has been devouring the competition like a shark feeding on seals.  His latest conquest was last week when he led Archbishop Mitty to a California state tittle over La Costa Canyon.  This was Gordon's second state tittle in as many years and he dazzled everyone in attendance with 33 points & 20 rebounds.

I officially jumped on the Aaron Gordon bandwagon last summer when I watched him earn a gold medal at 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship from Mexico.  He led the team in scoring (17.0 ppg), rebounds (11.2 rpg) & blocks (3.2 bpg) and was just as exciting to watch as he is in the incredible mixes from YayAreasFinest.  While his older brother Drew Gordon is also another talented baller and will probably be a 2nd round pick in this years NBA Draft, Aaron seems to have an even higher ceiling.  There's much more than just athleticism to his game and in my opinion he's easily a Top 10 player in high school regardless of class and more than likely a future NBA lottery selection.* Below are two videos of Aaron's junior season from YayAreasFinest, an article from MaxPreps about his California state championship victory on March 24th, 2012 and a video about the day in the life of Aaron Gordon.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Given his accomplishments, it would be understandable if Aaron Gordon was "over" the high school basketball experience, dreaming of taking his game to the college level and beyond.

Aaron Gordon's cool as the other side of the pillow
He won his second CIF Division II state title Friday night at Power Balance Pavilion, making it a memorable evening with 33 points and 20 rebounds as Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) dominated La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 78-57.  His 20 boards were one shy of the championship game record he tied last season as a sophomore.

And that's really just the opening line on an extensive basketball resume. The versatile 6-foot-8 junior won a gold medal last summer with USA Basketball's developmental national team at the FIBA Americas Championship and runs with one of the nation's most high-profile club teams.

Washington's Lorenzo Romar and Oregon's Dana Altman were among the college coaches in attendance Friday to subtly court the future McDonald's All-American. He could start for both teams right now. Make that star for both teams right now.

With a year of high school left and little to prove, could it be time for Gordon to follow in the footsteps of former Bay Area standouts Brandon Ashley and Dominic Artis? Ashley and Artis were teammates of Gordon's last summer with the Oakland Soldiers and spent their senior seasons at Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nevada).

That's not likely to happen with Gordon, who seems determined to leave a lasting mark on California high school basketball.

Aaron Gordon's locked and loaded
"I want to be able to do this with the rings," Gordon said, holding up three fingers he hopes to decorate with state championship rings. "That's my motivation."

Gordon was too good to take your eyes off Friday night against La Costa Canyon, and that's pretty much the way he's been all season despite battling mononucleosis in December and January. He dunked at will, drilled a 3-pointer, brought the ball up the court on most possessions, rebounded like Kenneth Faried and locked down San Diego State-bound Matt Shrigley.

He even illegally alley-ooped the ball to himself for a slam. The referees were apparently mesmerized – it counted. 

And he did it all in very unselfish fashion. There's no hint of entitlement. No chest-pounding.  Mean mugging the officials was saved for appropriate occasions. He was genuinely excited – borderline giddy – about his team's accomplishments following the game.

"This was by far our best all-around game all year," Gordon said, pointing out that Mitty (31-3) beat Northern California's state championship representatives in Division I (Sheldon) and Division III (Sacred Heart Cathedral).

"I never saw that coming," Archbishop Mitty head coach Tim Kennedy said of the lopsided victory. "I think the first thing that kind of set the tone was Aaron on Shrigley. He made it really difficult for him to get scores."

Aaron Gordon's about to posterize a dude
Gordon – ranked No. 5 and likely to rise in's Class of 2013 Top 100 – was up for the challenge of shutting down Shrigley, La Costa Canyon's 6-6 senior wing.

"During practice we had a lot of people playing his role on the scout team," Gordon said. "Coach Kennedy even jumped in there and played Shrigley and gave me good looks. I was prepared for anything. I was prepared for Shrigley to come out and bust me for 40 points, so I just tried to lock him up as much as I could."

Gordon's next challenge will likely come on a global stage. He's a virtual shoo-in to earn a roster spot for USA Basketball's U17 World Championship team this summer, taking him to Lithuania. Then it will be back to Mitty in an attempt to help the Monarchs become the first three-peat winner in California's Division II since Tyson Chandler led Dominguez (Compton) to three in a row from 1999-2001. Original Article.

Monday, March 19, 2012

HS Basketball Class of 2016: Ten NICE 8th Grade Ballers Under 6 Feet!!!

JASHAUN AGOSTO: Class of 2016

Written by: Prospect-Central

There are many things a middle school basketball player can change about themselves to become an elite prospect for the next level and beyond.  Have a weak left hand???  Work on left handed dribbling drills.  Have no strength???  Hit the weights.  Have a suspect jumper??? Find a ball & hoop and go to work!!!  The point is that there is nothing a little hard work and dedication can't fix...except of course how tall you are.  Since basketball is predominately a game of size, it's obviously advantageous to be tall.  That's not to say smaller players can't prosper in the game of basketball (especially at the middle school & high school levels), but once they enter the college ranks and possibly beyond, it becomes a whole new ball game.

Let's compare some measurements before we move on.  It's difficult to get an exact average height for a 13-year-old male, but it appears to be anywhere from 5'3'' to 5'7''.  The average height of a 25-year-old man is roughly 5'10''.  Compare this to the average height of an NBA player at 6'7'' and one can see the importance of size in the game of basketball.  It's kind of crazy if you think about it.  How many times have you heard the words "Undersized" & "Six-Foot-Eight" in the same sentence, unless of course your talking about an NBA Power Forward.

Obviously height is not the only attribute that goes into the makeup of a great basketball player.  Because there are a number of other variables that go along with the development of a baller, there have been many players to make it to the highest level and thrive despite not having the prototypical size.  There really are too many players to name, but Allen Iverson is just one example of a "Small" baller that had a tremendous amount of success. With that being said, Iverson is one of the toughest players pound-for-pound to ever play the game & is still at least 6-feet tall (2-inches taller than the average man).  When we start talking about players under 6-feet, especially players under 5'10'', the deck really becomes stacked against them.

There have only been twenty-four players in NBA history at a listed height of 5'9'' or shorter. A pretty incredible statistic considering how long the NBA has been around.  Some notable names are: 5'3'' Muggsy Bouges, 5'5'' Earl Boykins, 5'7'' Spud Webb and two current NBA players in 5'9'' Nate Robinson & Isaiah Thomas.  This years Division-I NCAA scoring leader Reggie Hamilton, while not as small as these players, is also under 6-feet.  Move to the high school ranks and you have the electrifying Seton Hall commit 5'7'' Aquille Carr & the highly recruited sophomore sensation Parker Jackson-Cartwright terrorizing the hardwood.  So while size definitely plays a key role in the success of a basketball player, it's not everything.

Which brings us to ten NICE players under 6-feet from the Class of 2016.  Since these ten players are only in middle school, they are obviously still growing and could wind up becoming 6-feet or taller, but for right now they're being featured as some solid 8th grade ballers under 6-feet. As always there are many more players that could be mentioned, but that will have to be for another time.  While most of these names are pretty well known in the world of grassroots basketball, they still have a long ways to go in their development as players.  They are by no means the next pint-sized prodigies, but with some blood, sweat & tears, they could become some very NICE ballers!!!

JASHAUN AGOSTO pg / 5'5''/ Federal Way, WA
If grassroots basketball had a Hall-of-Fame, Jashaun Agosto would more than likely be a first ballot There really isn't a more popular middle school basketball player that comes to mind, than the diminutive Agosto. He's appeared on everything from Good Morning America & ABC World News to ESPN & CBS Sports.  Not to mention an appearance on the Ellen Show a couple years ago and a...wait for it...wait for it...wait for it...Dorito's commercial!!!  He also has more than 25 million YouTube hits under his belt.  While all this is fine and dandy, like the saying goes, "That and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee", or in Jashaun's case, some candy at least.  Basically it doesn't mean anything unless he can play some ball. While haters call Jashaun nothing but hype, the 13-year-old certainly has held his own against all the competition he's faced.  He plays his AAU ball for Emerald City and he's been destroying the competition for well over two years now, even though he usually plays against older opponents.  He was also one of the better players at the 2011 John Lucas Middle School Combine and just recently had an excellent performance at the 2012 13U Nationals from Memphis.  As you can see from the videos, there's a little bit of substance to the hype of Jashaun Agosto.  He definitely has a nice feel for the game. I'm not exactly sure how much more Jashaun will grow, but he should still be an interesting player to keep track of for the future regardless of his size.

RAKYM FELDER pg/sg / 5'10''/ Brooklyn, NY
When people hear the words "Basketball" & "Brooklyn, New York" in the same sentence, naturally they think of three people: Stephon Marbury, Sebastian Telfair & Lance Stephenson. Throw in the fast rising high school sophomore Isaiah Whitehead to make it a solid foursome and it appears Biggie Smalls may have found his answer to "Where's Brooklyn At???"  What I'm trying to say is that every up-and-coming basketball player hailing from Brooklyn, New York, will always be compared to the three previously mentioned names, whether it's fair or not...and it's usually not.  So I will let someone else make the comparisons and just say that Rakym Felder is a very good basketball player, pure and simple.  He's been a scoring machine on the AAU circuit for well over two-years now, putting up some impressive numbers in the process.  Raykm currently plays his AAU ball with the talented New Rens. The New Rens are an excellent team and are anchored in the middle by the giant 6'11'' Raekwon Long. Rakym is more of a combo guard right now because he can score the ball so easily, but he has shown the ability to run an efficient offense.  He needs to work on not losing focus while he plays, but there is no question he has a tremendous amount of potential.  While he's under 6-feet right now, he probably won't be for long, judging by his frame.  So it appears the only other thing he's missing is Eric B...but then again so is the original Rakim...and just like the legendary M.C. from New York...Rakym Felder says..."Don't Sweat the Technique!!!"

BRYCE AIKEN pg / 5'7''/ Randolph, NJ
There will be no corny lines when attempting to describe Bryce Aiken's game.  While I obviously want to say something like, "People will be AIKEN after playing Bryce Aiken", I simply won't do  The fact of the matter is Bryce Aiken probably won't pass the "eye-test", but once he steps between those lines, his game says otherwise. While he's small in stature (5'7'' might actually be stretching it) he's big in intelligence.  He's able to run a team quite effectively, distributing the ball to open teammates as well as creating easy offensive opportunities for himself.  He also seems to have a pretty consistent three-point shot when left open.  Bryce has played for a number of AAU teams throughout his time on the circuit including F.A.C.E.S., King Streets, KYDA and his current squad Team Scan.  Few players have appeared in or won more championships than Bryce and back in January he helped Team Scan win the 2012 Tip Off Classic, taking home All-Tournament honors in the process.  Since he's from the great state of New Jersey, he has his options as to what basketball powerhouse he will to attend for his first year of high school ball.  As of right now he's deciding between St. Anthony's, St. Benidict's & Seton Hall Prep.  Some quality institutions if I do say so myself.  I hope Bryce is able to keep working hard and choose a school that not only helps him grow into a great basketball player, but an even better person.

AARON AUGUSTIN pg / 5'10''/ Atlanta, GA
Another player to definitely keep in mind for the future, Aaron Augustin.  The nationally known Augustin is considered by many to be one of the best point guards from the Class of 2016 and possibly the best 8th grade point guard in all of Georgia. Whether he is or isn't I can't really say, but he certainly deserves to be in the discussion.  Whether it's playing for his AAU or Middle School teams or performing at various camps across the country, Aaron Augustin continues to play at a high level.  Last summer at the Junior All-American Camp, he was easily one of the best players in the entire event, finishing as the 4th best player from the Class of 2016.  His excellent play didn't end there however, as he helped his AAU team Georgia Stars to a 2nd place finish at the 13U National Championships.  Aaron had an excellent game, pouring in a solid 18 points, but it ultimately wasn't enough.  The #1 eighth grader in the country Khalea Turner & Dunk Dog Elite (formally LA Select) defeated the Georgia Stars 50-41.  Fast forward a year and Aaron Augustin is still steamrolling the competition.  Back in February he led his Hull Middle School team to a championship victory, scoring 30 points in the game, with 15 of his points coming in the 4th quarter.  If that wasn't enough, the 57-41 victory gave Aaron & the Lions a perfect season.  A pretty remarkable feat regardless of age.  Like everyone else, Augustin's trainer & mentor Vidal Massiah has nothing put high praise for the 8th grader. "Aaron's the best player I ever worked with at this stage.  His jump shot, handle and IQ are way ahead of the majority of players his age", said Massiah.  While Aaron isn't 6-feet yet, he'll probably reach that mark by the time he graduates high school.  Until then he'll just have to continue to work hard and do what he does...PUNISH the competition!!!

COLIN SLATER II pg / 5'9''/ Fresno, CA
I don't know much about Colin Slater II, but he certainly has made a name for himself in his young basketball career. He's been featured in SLAM & RIVALS as one of the best 8th grader's in the country and while that has brought him a tremendous amount of exposure, he's not as well known as one would think.  He doesn't play in many AAU events or attend many national camps, so it's easy to see why he could fly under the radar.  It was almost three-years ago when he first became a relatively known name.  At the 2009 National Jr. Phenom Camp in San Diego, CA, Colin showed what he was made of.  It was his first and only nationally exposed event and he left as the #1 rated guard by HoopScoop in his age bracket.  He also had a nice showing at the 2010 Central Cali Finest Showcase Event, despite playing against high school seniors as a seventh grader.  The camps director Jeremy Russotti was very impressed with Colin saying he could be a "Top recruit in years to come."  Colin then attended the Michael Jordan Basketball Camp and once again dazzled everyone in attendance.  Jordan even went as far as to select Colin for a little "One-on-One" action.  A couple other people that know a thing or two about basketball were also impressed with the youngster.  Charles Paul & Daryl Augustin (father's of Chris PaulDJ Augustin) had some pretty high praise for the 8th grader.  "The kid is special," Charles Paul said.  "If he continues to get better, he could be the best in his class if he isn't already."  Daryl Augustin went on to say, "He reminds me of DJ at that age and DJ was tearing it up at 13.  I'm confident he'll prosper in the game of basketball, that's how good he is."  Colin plays middle school ball for Granite Ridge Intermediate School in Fresno, CA and nearly averaged a quadruple double this season (lol).  He will also attend the prestigious Fab Frosh All-American Camp in the summer.  Whether his game justifies the hype or not I don't know, but I look forward to finding out.    

ALANI MOORE pg / 5'9''/ Germantown, MD
Anytime someone has the nickname "Showtime", there's usually a good reason for it.  While it's yet to be determined if 8th grader Alani Moore truly deserves the moniker or not, he certainly plays with an indistinguishable flair for the game.  Alani does an excellent job at switching gears and changing direction, which really keeps his opponents on their toes.  Along with his terrific play making ability and sneaky athleticism, he's shown nice range on his jumper and the ability to finish through contact.  Because of his tremendous overall skill-set, he's been a formidable force on the AAU circuit for quite sometime.  Alani plays for the talented DC Assault and he's helped them win a number of championships over the years.  He's also earned a significant amount of accolades in the process.  Back in April he was named MVP of the 14U division at the 2011 Big Shots DC Basketball Tournament and in August he was named "Top Point Guard" from the 14U division at the 2011 Basketball Spotlight Super Showcase.  Then in January he helped DC Assault win the 14U Clash for the Cup Tournament, all while taking home MVP honors in the process. Last month he was at it again, this time at one of the most respected youth basketball events in the nation, the Maryland Invitational Tournament.  He helped DC Assault win the coveted tittle in the 14U division, defeating the Puerto Rican Playmakers 51-45.  Alani Moore currently attends Landon Private School in Bethesda, MD and is yet another player on this list invited to participate at the 2012 Fab Frosh All-American Camp.  While I'm not sure how much more he'll grow, it's safe to assume he'll be taller than 5'9'' by the time he graduates high school.  Regardless of height, it appears Alani Moore is a fast rising 8th grader...and if you ask him what time it already know the's SHOWTIME!!!

CHRISTOPER TOWLE pg / 5'10''/ Nova Scotia, CAN
After watching Christoper Towle play basketball I couldn't help but sing...Oooooooooh Caaaaaanada...Our home and native land!!!  The 8th grader from north of the border has some nice swagger to his game and could almost make any Canadian forget about their national pastime of hockey...then again...lets not get carried away with ourselves  For an 8th grade basketball player however, Christopher Towle definitely can hoop, regardless of what country he's from.  No one will get him confused with a young Steve Nash (if that even is, but he certainly plays with some pizazz.  Since Christopher is from Canada, he's not as well known as his American counterparts, but the game of basketball does not discriminate...if you can can play.  While he's relatively hidden in Nova Scotia, he did have a nice performance at the CT Adidas Jr. Phenom Camp back in November.  He was one of the better players in that event and it earned him an invitation to play at the National Adidas Jr. Phenom Camp this summer.  In the meantime he'll play in the North Pole Hoops East Coast Showcase in March, which might bring him some more exposure as well.  Because he's so young and already 5'10'' with room to grow, he'll probably end up at least 6-feet, but then again who knows.  For the time being he's just a young kid enjoying the game of basketball and there's nothing wrong with that.  So...there's only one thing you have to ask yourself then...Who's type of game gets WETTER as it DRIES???  Towel's...Christopher Towle's!!!

ANTHONY COWAN pg / 5'9''/ Bowie, MD
Every once in a while certain AAU teams get stacked. There really are too many to name, but one squad that comes to mind is the 2006 SoCal All-Stars.  That team was ridiculous to say the least.  It was led by three NBA Lottery selections in Kevin Love, Brandon Jennings & James Harden and in 2006 they went on an incredible undefeated run of 47-0.  Today's 14U DC Assault squad is obviously not even close to that 17U team, but for their age bracket, they sure are beating up the competition.  There's a number of excellent players on DC Assault.  I already featured two solid players (Joe Hampton & Sam Green) in the article "Ten Tantalizing Eighth Grade Ballers" and of course there's the previously mentioned Alani Moore.  There's also a nice looking player in Reggie Gardner that deserves a shout out as well.  Now it's time to introduce Anthony Cowan.  An excellent ball handler with great vision and solid fundamentals, Cowan could develop into a quality point guard once high school rolls around. For the time being he's been helping DC Assault terrorize the AAU circuit.  Back in April he helped them win the 13U division of the Nike Elite Youth Easter Invitational and most recently he helped them win the coveted 2012 Maryland Invitational Tournament.  He did a good job distributing the ball as well as scoring and clearly left his mark in both events. The highly respected Basketball Spotlight has even said Cowan reminds them of a younger version of former DC Assault player and current Duke Blue Devil Quinn Cook.  Like a lot of talented incoming freshmen, Anthony has been invited to participate at the 2012 Fab Frosh All-American Camp this summer.  It will be very interesting to see how he performs against some of the best 14 & 15 year-old's in the country.  Judging by his track record...I'm sure they'll all be bow'n...after play'n Anthony Cowan!!!

JAMIR HARRIS pg/sg / 5'10''/ PiscatawayNJ
Another baller to take a mental note of for the future...Jamir Harris. By no means is the 8th grader an unknown player though.  On the contrary, he's been a well established name in the grassroots community for quite sometime. Whether he's putting up big numbers on the AAU circuit or dominating basketball camps around the country, Jamir has continued to play at a high level since he first burst onto the basketball scene. Three years ago at the 2009 National Adidas Jr. Phenom Camp, he was rated as the #1 wing-forward for the entire event.  Then two years ago he was rated as the #1 overall player at the Adidas Houston Elite Grassroots Youth Program.  While he's dominated virtually every event he's played at, he's been just as good on the AAU circuit as well.  He started playing with Team Battle, where his scoring prowess helped them to a number of New Jersey state tittles.  Then on Team Final he was once again a scoring machine.  He helped them win a number of championships, including the 2011 13U Basketball Spotlight Super Shootout.  He was unstoppable in the finals of that event and finished with a game high 36 points.  Now he plays for the talented Playaz Club out of New Jersey and will no doubt continue where he left off.  He was also invited to participate at the 2012 Fab Frosh All-American Camp this summer.  Since he's already nearly 6-feet tall and able to score quite easily at the 8th grade level, he's more of a shooting guard at the moment, but does seem to have some point guard capabilities.  All in all, Jamir Harris is an excellent prospect and more than likely will continue his stellar play in high school as well.

DERRYCK THORNTON pg / 5'11''/ Simi Valley, CA
For those of you who aren't old enough to remember, which is probably original "Houdini of the Hardwood" was none other than the Boston Celtics legendary point guard Bob Cousy.  Fast forward to 2012 and 8th grader Derryck "Houdini" Thornton seems to be the modern day version of the master magician.  The California native earned the nickname by escaping the efforts of would-be-defenders and making his opponents...disappear!!! (lol).  While I'm obviously using some creative licensing, Derryck is considered by many to be the #1 point guard in the Class of 2016.  This summer at the 2012 Fab Frosh All-American Camp, he'll have a chance to prove himself against some of the best incoming freshmen from across the country.  He's already dominated nearly every event he's attended and currently he's been playing quite well for the immensely talented AAU club Cali Styles.  Cali Styles actually just won the X-Factor AAU Elite Youth Basketball Tournament this week.   Derryck and his talented teammates like #1 seventh grader Cody Riley defeated the Colorado Hawks and Top 10 eighth grader Deron Davis in the inaugural event.  He's also been receiving some recruiting letters from USC as well.  Because Derryck will continue to grow and is listed at 6-feet on some sites as well as under 6-feet on others, I was hesitant about featuring him with these group of players. He'll obviously reach the 6-foot mark (if he hasn't already) before he graduates, but for the time being he can be called a "Nice 8th Grade Baller Under Six-Feet." And just like the magician he's named after, it appears not even a straight jacket let alone some defenders, can stop Derryck "Houdini" Thornton from tearing up the middle school hardwood.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

DIAMOND STONE: The Freshman Baller Shining Bright!!!

DIAMOND STONE: Class of 2015

Written by: Dave Krider

Remember the name Diamond Stonebecause he's going to shine on the basketball court for years to come.

The 6-foot-9 freshman helped Dominican (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) defeat previously unbeaten Cuba City (Wis.) 61-43 today to win the Division 4 state championship. Cuba City entered the game with a 72-point average.

Junior guard Duane Wilson, Jr. paced the Knights (27-1) with 24 points and senior guard Jamall Taylor added 18 points to go with five assists. 

Though he played a supporting role in the finale, Stone finished with a tourney-record 20 blocked shots, including a one-game, all-class record of 14 during a 67-44 semifinal victory over Colfax (Wis.). He completed a triple-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds.

Diamond, whose high game was 30 points, is the son of Robert Stone, who was a two-time All-American basketball player at UW-Whitewater. 

Coach Paul Wollersheim told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "He had a lot of things going right for him right from the beginning. He had very good footwork and a great, soft touch. He was just very instinctive about the game. The biggest part of his development was getting up and down the floor quickly, playing at a faster pace. Going from eighth grade to varsity basketball, there's just a quicker pace to the game. We've been really happy how he developed his part of the game."

However, even though he is the state's top-rated freshman, Stone still had to spend his rookie year carrying the team stereo on the road and sometimes cleaning the locker room after practice. Original Article.

Friday, March 16, 2012

ALAOWEI TALENT: The Talented High Flying Freshman Baller!!!

ALAOWEI TALENT: Class of 2015

Written by: Prospect-Central

There really isn't a more fitting last name for the 6-foot 6 high flying freshman Alaowei Talent than Talent.  The name can easily be used as an adjective when describing this fourteen year-old's game.  Already an elite athlete, Alaowei Talent seems to be a player with an enormous amount of potential.  His overall game is slowly catching up to his athleticism and when it does...look out!!!  He plays his AAU ball for the Boca PAL Vipers out of Florida and last year he helped them to a 4th place finish at the 2011 AAU National Championships. He also played high school basketball for the Coral Spring Christian Crusaders last year as an 8th grader.  Alaowei just finished his freshman season for the Crusaders last month and put up some decent statistics in the process.  He finished the season 3rd in scoring for his team, 2nd in rebounds & 2nd in blocks.  Not too bad considering he's a freshman and the Crusaders are one of the better teams in the state of Florida.  Like all young players, he needs to continue to work on his game, but there is no question Alaowei Talent is a very talented basketball player.