NCAA BK

BURLISON: Underclassmen stars of summer

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Frank Burlison

 
   
 
The rumblings that Greg Oden was something special as a basketball prospect had begun long before his startling performance at the Nike All-American Camp in Indianapolis the second week in July. By the time the last camp game had been played on July 10, however, those rumblings had proved to be the precursor of a full-blown explosion. The 6-foot-10 Oden, who still has three seasons to play for Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis, used the Nike Camp to all but earmark his as the name everyone will be well familiar with by the time he dons his cap and gown. In a not-so-long-ago era, the buzz would already have started about which college he would attend and how many Final Fours he might take that school to. But for college coaches who watched him at Nike -- and, a few weeks later, during the Adidas/Big Time Tournament in Las Vegas -- the reality has already sunk in: Barring the unforeseen, it¿s more likely he¿ll be in position to be the No. 1 choice in the 2006 NBA draft than there is that he¿ll help any college team contend for a national championship. How good can Oden be almost three years hence? Only time, coupled with his maturation and desire, will tell. How good is he right now? He¿s very, very good -- as in one of the top 10 players in the country regardless of class level. Here¿s a rundown on the best of the underclassmen I saw this past spring and summer, with heavy emphasis placed on those I witnessed at the Bob Gibbons Memorial Day Weekend Tournament in North Carolina, the Nike All-America Camp and the Adidas/Big Time Tournament in Las Vegas.
First Team
Player Height Weight Pos. School/Hometown
Richard Hendrix6-7250Post Jr., Athens (Athens, Ala.)
Where I saw him: USA BB Youth Festival (Colorado Springs); Nike All-America Camp (Indianapolis).
Comment: He¿s easily the No. 1 power forward prospect in the Class of 2005. Now he can set his sights on No. 1 -- period -- in ¿05.
Greg Oden6-10230Post So., Lawrence North (Indianapolis)
Where I saw him: Nike; Adidas/Big Time Tournament (Las Vegas)
Comment: Is he the best underclassman prospect anywhere? Absolutely. Is he the most promising high school talent, regardless of class level? Could be.
Martelle Webster6-6215SF Jr., Seattle Prep (Seattle)
Where I saw him: Youth Festival; Nike; Big Time; Best of Summer Tournament (Los Angeles)
Comment: It appears a near certainty that the West¿s top prospect is going to be located in Washington in consecutive seasons. It¿s Marvin Williams now, this guy in 2004-05.
Louis Williams 6-2170SG Jr., South Gwinnett (Snelville, Ga.)
Where I saw him: Bob Gibbons Memorial Day Weekend Tournament of Champions (North Carolina); Nike
Comment: He¿ll average 20-plus points per game for at least a couple of seasons on the college level. No one is smoother in this class.
Greg Paulus 6-1181PG Jr., Christian Brothers (Syracuse)
Where I saw him: Nike
Comment: An ankle sprain is the only thing that kept him from shining as brightly as fellow PGs Jordan Farmar, Daniel Gibson and A.J. Price did at the Nike All-America Camp.
Second Team
Player Height Weight Pos. School/Hometown
Tyler Hansborough 6-8204Post Jr., Poplar Bluff (Polar Bluff, Mo.)
Where I saw him: Nike
Comment: Until someone convinces me otherwise, I¿ll continue to call him the No. 1 Midwestern prospect for 2005.
6-10215Post Jr., (Washington, Ind.)
Where I saw him: Nike
Comment: If Greg Oden and Al Jefferson had not have been making so many people look foolish inside the lane during the week, he could have come out of Nike Camp as the No. 1 post player there.
Tasmin Mitchell 6-6205SF Jr., Denham Springs (Denham Springs, La.)
Where I saw him: Bob Gibbons TOC; Big Time
Comment: His jump shot appeared to be making considerable progress in Las Vegas.
Marques Johnson 6-4170SG So., Snider (Ft. Wayne, Ind.)
Where I saw him: Nike
Comment: For all of you Hoosier State historians out there ¿ when is the last time the state has had two prospects the caliber of Johnson and Greg Oden in one class?
Andre McGee 5-10165PG Jr., Canyon Springs (Moreno Valley, Ca.)
Where I saw him: Big Time; Best of Summer
Comment: Right now, everyone among 2005 preps is chasing this speedster.
Third Team
Player Height Weight Pos. School/Hometown
Derrick Caracter 6-8287Post So., Scotch Plains (Fanwood, NJ)
Where I saw him: Nike; Big Time
Comment: As long as he can get that weight closer to 250 than to 300, he¿ll be a potent inside force.
Josh McRoberts 6-9213Post Jr., Carmel (Carmel, Ind.)
Where I saw him: Nike; Big Time
Comment: The Indiana universities will be hard-pressed to keep him from fleeing the state for college hoops.
Julian Wright 6-7197SF Jr., Homewood Flossmoor (Flossmoor, Ill.)
Where I saw him: Nike
Comment: Unless you stayed more than a day at the Nike Camp, you might have missed out on seeing how vast his skills are.
Eric Devendorf 6-3170SG Jr., Central (Bay City, Mich.)
Where I saw him: Big Time
Comment: This looks like a Michigan-Michigan State fray but here¿s guessing a lot of people will be trying to snag this nifty guard.
Michael 6-3175PG Jr., South Gwinnett (Snelville, Ga.)
Where I saw him: Big Time; Best of Summer
Comment: Well, with the -Louis Williams combo, any ¿who has the best backcourt¿ debate should be shelved for 2004-05.
Fourth Team
Player Height Weight Pos. School/Hometown
Keith Brumbaugh6-8194Post Jr., Deland (Deland, Fla.)
Where I saw him: Nike
Comment: It would have been easy to overlook him at Nike Camp with the glut of big underclass talent on hand there.
6-7220Post Jr., Giles County (Pulaski, Tenn.)
Where I saw him: Bob Gibbons TOC; Youth Festival; Big Time; Best of Summer
Comment: This is one hard-rebounding, tough-defending and never-letting-up forward. He¿s the of 2005.
Rashad Chase 6-6220SF Jr., Mays (Atlanta)
Where I saw him: Nike
Comment: Here¿s a pretty good combination to possess -- a power forward¿s physique and small forward¿s skills. He¿s got them both.
Monta Ellis 6-2170SG Jr., Lanier (Jackson, Miss.)
Where I saw him: Bob Gibbons TOC; Nike
Comment: If his jump shot had fallen with a bit more regularity at Nike Camp he could have found himself on the second or third squad.
Jawan Carter 5-11160PG So., St. Benedict¿s (Newark)
Where I saw him: Bob Gibbons TOC; Big Time
Comment: It wouldn¿t surprise me in the least if one day he proves to be the best point guard among this entire bunch of underclassmen.
Fifth Team
Player Height Weight Pos. School/Hometown
Vernon Macklin 6-9191Post So., Norcom (Portsmouth, Va.)
Where I saw him: Bob Gibbons TOC; Nike
Comment: He¿s going to end up being among the very best to come out of Boo Williams¿ AAU program.
Curtis Kelley6-9200Post So., (Manhattan, N.Y.)
Where I saw him: Nike
Comment: All signs point to him being New York¿s next hot thing among post players.
Taylor King6-6200SF Fr., Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Ca.)
Where I saw him: Bob Gibbons TOC; Big Time; Best of Summer
Comment: He committed to a college (UCLA) a couple of weeks before attending his first class as a high school freshman. He¿s got a lot of time to practice signing that letter of intent in November of 2006.
Joseph Krabbenhoft 6-6198SG Jr., Roosevelt (Sioux Falls, S.D.)
Where I saw him: Nike; Big Time
Comment: His performance in Las Vegas proved that his Nike Camp effort was anything but a fluke.
Darryl Augustine 5-11155PG So., Brother Martin (New Orleans)
Where I saw him: Bob Gibbons TOC; Big Time
Comment: Along with Jawann Carter, he was one of the two dazzling sophs-to-be point guards at the Adidas/ABCD Camp.

Tagged: Washington, California, Indiana, New Orleans, North Carolina, Western Michigan, Mercer, Rice

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