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April 9, 2006

Boo Williams - Saturday action

HAMPTON, VA - Saturday's action at the 2006 Boo Williams Invitational is in the books and a less than jaw-dropping day was capped off by a terrific showing from Houston Hoops teammates Jai Lucas and Gary Johnson. For more from the spring AAU kick off event, come inside for the full recap.

Texas tandem makes it happen

In a game that was worthy of a March Madness broadcast, the Houston Hoops duo of Jai Lucas and Gary Johnson combined for 57 points in a 88-80 overtime win over the SYF Players.

Johnson scored on a buzzer-beater bank to end regulation and sent the game into overtime, where Lucas went to work and helped seal the impressive victory.

Know this about Johnson: he's a guy that when the game is on the line, he'll do whatever it takes to win. That is why the elite high-majors are on him. Check this school list out - Kentucky, UConn, Texas, Arizona, Duke and UNC.

Johnson finished with 25 points and double digit rebounds. He will not be outworked nor will he be denied. Forget the fact that is 6-foot-7. It doesn't matter to him. It never has. In a class where it is easy to separate yourself from good and great, Johnson will be a guy that stays at the top of his class and he'll earn every bit of that recognition with his motor and desire to win.

As good as Johnson was, Lucas was the guy that went on a scoring tear to help push the Hoops over the top. He's another guy that doesn't let his size (5-foot-9) bother him. He uses a terrific floater to overcome the big bodies that try to swat his shot every time he comes into the lane. He did it on the baseline and he did it in the lane.

Just when things are rolling with the floater, Lucas was dropping threes like they were nothing. He went on a four minute stretch at the end of the game that sent the message that Houston was not going to be denied. Lucas finished with 32 points against E'Twaun Moore, one of the elite defenders on one of the best coached AAU teams in the country.

Lucas said LSU, Kentucky and Oklahoma State round out his top three options.

Making a statement

For the early birds that made it out to Hampton University, the Georgia Stars and St. Louis Eagles made the early morning game worth the trip, especially with the play from future Georgia Tech forward Gani Lawal.

It was no cake walk early on for Lawal. He had a difficult time getting going in the first half because of foul trouble but came alive in the second stanza, scoring 21 points and working the big St. Louis Eagles frontline.

Lawal finished with a game high 29 points and showed off an improved aggressiveness around the bucket. His pivot moves allowed him to get right to the rim and thrown down everything he could around the basket.

At times, Lawal slid away from the bucket and tried to show off a 15 foot jump shot but his best work will be on the blocks because of his quick springs, long body and herky jerky moves on the blocks. He is starting to show his attack mode more and more.

It might be time to put E'Twaun Moore into the elite category for the 2007 guards. The 6-foot-3 guard has been consistently dropping threes and knocking down deep jump shots, a trait he didn't have as a go-to move last year.

Moore, who plays with the SYF Player, is one of the top defenders in the nation. He passes well, handles well, is coachable, has good size and topped it off with his jump shot. He has all of the tools to make him a terrific high-major, immediate impact guy at the next level.

Moore said Tennessee, Illinois, Iowa, Purdue and Miami have all offered. It will be interesting to see what other schools will be sitting on the sidelines in April to evaluate him.

Hi, my name is…

The weekend search for high-major prospects continued with a couple new names for coaches in the class of 2007.

One of the bright surprises of the tournament has been SYF forward Scott Martin. The 6-foot-8 class of 2007 prospect from Valporasio (Ind.) High School plays alongside four-star wing Robbie Hummel at the high school level and might not have the national recognition as Hummel. Not anymore.

Martin showed off his good athleticism by getting to the rim off the dribble, scoring at the cup, utilizing a good looking pull up jumper with a from the elbow. He rebounds well, passes well and has a great understanding of the game. Martin said he has offers from Valpo, Northwestern, Michigan, Purdue, DePaul, Ball State and Bowling Green.

The high-major programs, especially programs with structured systems, should take a long look at him this spring. Martin said "I'm very open."

Metro Hawk wing Jemaine Peterson has had a nice weekend here in Virginia. The bouncy athlete is one of the best jumpers in the field and has a great burst to the basket where he does most of his damage.

Peterson has a good body and loves the challenge of putting it on a defender. His handle is solid and respectable and his shot didn't rear it's head as much as it could have but athletically, it's there. He could be a hot target this spring for Big East schools. His offers aren't too shabby right now though. Peterson said he has 'ships from St. John's, UMass, Rutgers, Iowa State and Arkansas.

I got game

Class of 2009 prospect Jordan Hamilton of the West Coast All-Stars was the money man for his team in the final game of the night at Hampton High School. The 6-foot-7 freshman buried a three pointer with a second to play against California Hoops to put the game into overtime at 73-73.

With the game on the line in the overtime period, Hamilton took the ball with a second to play and buried home the game winning three from nearly the exact spot he hit from to end regulation. Hamilton finished with 15 points, including four three pointers.

Outside of his shooting touch, Hamilton was effective around the basket on the defensive end. He showed a good handle and attacked the basket with the dribble.

St. Louis Eagles class of 2008 guard Scott Scuggs had a good opening weekend at the Boo. The 6-foot-5 guard scored 19 points in a losing effort to the Georgia Stars in the morning game but he has a good skill set and a good looking jumper as well as handle.

At 6-foot-8 and with a sweet shooting stroke, class of 2007 prospect Austin Daye is oozing with potential. The lanky junior scored 16 points in a hard fought, late night win over the California Hoops. He has a good understanding of the game and can do some damage on the wing.

For a kid that grew six inches in the last year, he is still realizing what he can and cannot do. What he does do well is come off screens and shoots over the top of defenses. It wasn't his best game of the tournament on Saturday night but he is certainly intriguing because of his size and good genes. His father Darren Daye played at UCLA and in the NBA.

School lists

Metro Hawks guard Corey Stokes is in a dilemma. He is down to Villanova and Connecticut, two of the top programs in the nation. It's like picking between supermodels.

"This is going to be tough," Stokes said. "I need to find where I'm the most comfortable."

It might take a while too. Stokes said he could wait until the end of the summer before he pops.

Four star wing Robbie Hummel is in a bit of a dilemma. He was high on Indiana and NC State but with the schools reshuffling the coaching situations, Hummel said he has rethought things with his recruitment and looking at things all over again. He said he was getting close to trimming his list even further down. That has changed going into the evaluation period.

Minnesota forward Trevor Mbakwe is having a good showing at the Boo Williams tournament. At 6-foot-7 he plays bigger than that inside. Against the Alabama Lasers, Mbakwe had at least eight blocks to go along with his 18 points. Mbakwe said he is holding offers from Michigan, Georgetown, Marquette, Florida, Minnesota and Miami.

The Georgia Blazers team is filled with young players and should be a team that has a good ACC, SEC, Conference USA, Southern Conference, Sun Belt contingency following the team around this spring.

Point guard Andre Young has been slowed down with a strained back here at the Boo but he had a big sophomore season. Young does a great job of controlling the pace of the game and is an efficient game manager. Young said Georgia, Georgia Tech, Alabama, Appalachian State and Virginia Tech have all shown an interest in one way or another early in the process.

As an all-state performer as a freshman, Jarvis Jones will be a guy that commands attention this year. A middle linebacker that plays power forward at 6-foot-4, Jones is a difficult player to project a college prospect. For now, teams like Auburn, Clemson, South Carolina, UNLV, Alabama, Georgia and Southern Illinois are watching the class of 2009 prospect.

A lot of people are still waiting to be wowed by 6-foot-9 class of 2008 prospect Xavier Gibson. The big man loves to face up and play away from the basket and his shooting touch makes him an intriguing prospect. He said his early top three include Alabama, Florida State and Georgia Tech.

After having a big time year at Covenant Christian in Marietta, Ga., Angelo Johnson returned to his Minnesota roots and suited up once again for Howard Pulley. He had 29 points in a win over the Alabama Lasers. Johnson may have the most diverse list we've collected at the event. He listed UAB, Wisconsin, Montana, and Georgetown.

Georgia Stars wing Jamar Moore rattled off a list of Florida State, NC State, Alabama, Georgia Tech, Georgia, South Carolina and Clemson.

Adrian Williams made it clear he is wide open in the recruiting process. He said Stanford, USC and UAB have all recently jumped into the mix.

Texas big man Anthony Jones is an intriguing prospect because of his great length at 6-feet-11 and his ablity to face up and shoot as well as handle the ball and pass over the defense. He's very thin and needs another 30 pounds to be a guy that can take on the rigors of Division I hoops. That being said he rattled off a list of high-majors including Oklahoma, Texas, Florida and Tennessee. OU fans would be happy to know he was rocking a Sooner pull over sweatshirt.

Odds & Ends

Georgia commitment Jeremy Price did not make the trip due to a shoulder injury he suffered two weeks ago at the Columbus Riverfest. Price's Columbia High School teammate Jontavious Rucker, an unsigned senior, is eying a couple of high powered junior colleges in the Midwest and Southeast. He'd be a good looking mid-major prospect after his stint in a two-year school if he chooses that route.

Michael Jordan has been on hand for the tournament to watch his son, Jeffery, a junior at Chicago's Loyola. In the opening night game of the tourney, there were around 1,000 people in the game to see the game at Hampton University's Convocation Center.

It must be the tights. The trends in the NBA quickly find a way to the prep ranks and that was certainly the case for Jai Lucas and Gary Johnson. The Texans were rocking the black tights under their gear. The gear may have been their secret weapon. The duo had the best performance of the day.

Class of 2008 stud Samardo Samuels has the softest set of paws around. He grabs everything so smoothly but will rock the rim any chance he can get. The 6-foot-9 bear is certainly one of the elite power players in his class and hasn't done anything to change that at the Boo Williams event.

Louisiana native Elgin Bailey went west for the weekend and suited up for the California Hoops squad. The 6-foot-8 forward went to work for his team, scoring a team high 22 points in a tough loss to the West Coast All-Stars. Bailey has the broadest shoulders around and a big chest to go with it but he showed off his burst of speed and ball handling skills instead of bullying people around in the blocks. He's an intriguing player to say the least. This could be a big breakout month for him nationally. Bailey will roll with his Louisiana Leaders team at the Kingwood.

California hoops guard Isaiah Jenkins had 19 points to compliment Bailey on Saturday night. Jenkins is a strong bodied 6-foot-3 guard that powered his way to the basket and showed off a nice touch from deep. His list has a number of high-majors included.

Jay Sears put his Alabama Laser teammates on his back against Howard Pulley. The 6-foot-2 guard they call the Burglar almost stole the game because of his ice cold shooting. Sears scored 17 second half points and went on a 12 point scoring stretch in a matter of three minutes. When he gets going, he's tough to stop on the wing. The mid-majors and low end high-majors should be all over this junior.

Teammate Frankie Sullivan is just a sophomore but he has three state championship rings under his belt already. A starter since his eighth grade year, the 6-foot-2 guard has a green light and isn't afraid to fill it up. He has a good looking shot and confident that every one he puts up will find the bottom of the net. The class of 2008 prospect could walk away from April with his first legitimate offers from high-major schools.

Look all you'd like but it will be tough to find a player more athletic than future Dayton Flyer Chris Wright in the class of 2007. The 6-foot-6 wing was flying all over the floor against the Columbus Blazers. Still in the process of making the transition from big time athlete to basketball player, Wright's best days are ahead of him. He'll be an absolute stud in the Atlantic 10.

A superstar in Arkansas, James Anderson is having a good but not great showing at the Boo Williams tournament. He scored 17 points in a win against the Jackson Panthers on Saturday. His best trait in that game was his mid-range pull up jumper. His feel for the game is strong and it is easy to see why the 6-foot-6 guard is a coveted prospect by a number of teams, including Arkansas, Baylor, Oklahoma State and Illinois. He has a good feel for the game and finds a way to make plays.

With Moore, Hummel and Martin doing a lot of the work for the SYF Players, the team had big game from big man Gary McGhee. The 6-foot-10 center had 15 points against the Houston Hoops and came up with a huge 15 foot jumper with four seconds to play to give the team a short lead in regulation. He worked hard around the basket and showed why he could be a guy that attracts the high-majors based on continued improvement this season on the circuit. He certainly has the size and trimmed his body down some. It's up to him to control his future whether or not it is at a good mid-major or a Big Ten/Big 12 school.

On tap

17 and under Gold Bracket Sunday schedule
11 a.m. - Boo Williams vs. Team Final
11 a.m. - Team Florida vs. Houston Hoops
2 p.m. - Gold Bracket championship

17 and under Silver Bracket Sunday schedule
9:30 a.m. - Rising Stars vs. Metro Hawks
9:30 a.m. - Athletes First vs. Howard Pulley
12:30 p.m. - Silver Bracket championship

17 and under Bronze Sunday schedule
9:30 a.m. - Memphis vs. Portland Legends
9:30 a.m. - West Coast All-Stars vs. Tennessee Travelers
12:30 p.m. - Bronze Bracket championship


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