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July 31, 2006

AAU Nationals: Sunday's action

ORLANDO, FL - Nick Calathes and Chandler Parsons live just a stone's throw away from Disney's Wide World of Sports, home of the AAU Nationals, and the Lake Howell duo travels deep with a huge fan base. The Orlando area natives gave the pro-Team Nike Florida team something certainly worth cheering about on Sunday night against All-Ohio Red.

Calathes and Parsons combined for 54 of Nike Team Florida's points in the 74-73 win against the Ohio squad. The Floridians have been nothing but spectacular with their play at the AAU Nationals this weekend.

Calathes, a Florida commitment, closed his argument for a spot in the McDonald's All-American game this summer and continues to slam the argument shut with big play after big play. The 6-foot-5 point guard put in 29 points and a huge assist that very few players can make with the game on the line and under 10 seconds to play.

If the game is on the line, Calathes is going to do something special with the ball. On Sunday night, he scored it from deep and dropped dime after dime.

Parsons, one of the most highly sought after players in the country right now, scored 25 points on the heels of a huge 42 point game earlier in the day against the Jackson Tigers. Parsons is making shots like he always does from beyond the three-point line. He skied for a couple of dunks that caught people off guard.

With coaches from coast to coast watching his every move this week in O-town, Parsons is playing like a guy that wants to have some serious options. Parsons could even have an offer from the Gators later in the week. He's played like a guy that can help the National Champs.

All-Ohio had it's hands full with the Lake Howell crew but Nike Team Florida didn't exactly have an answer for Delvon Roe either. The stud from the class of 2008 went off for 34 points, including 21 in the first half. Roe continues to be a big time production guy. In Sunday's tough loss, he did it amongst Kosta Koufos, Nate Miles, Keenan Ellis, Jon Diebler and a handful of other mid-major players.

Head coaches - Roy Williams, Thad Matta, Tommy Amaker, and others - have made it a point to see him again and again. From start to finish, Roe has given the head coaches something to smile about. Rarely, if ever, has Roe disappointed. There is big time and there is the level Roe is playing at.

Put Dante Anderson on the list of 2008 guards that are blowing up. Since the ABCD camp, the Gainesville native has taken his game to another level in a big way. For starters, he's winning games. On top of that, he is playing at a level that garners high-major offers.


ON CRUISE CONTROL


After an early Vegas exit, O.J. Mayo and the D1 Greyhounds crew are looking for some vindication in the land of Mickey. So far, the Greyhounds have had little trouble getting things done on the court.

Mayo seems to just have his foot on the pedal and when it is time to push the gas down and go a little faster, he will. The five-star superstar is in cruise control here in Orlando only because there aren't players at his level that he has faced that can take it to elite status quite like he can. The only two teams that can match up with him - Boo Williams and Nike Team Florida - are on the other side of the bracket and would meet up with the Greyhounds in the championship game, barring continual wins until Tuesday night.

With Bill Walker on the bench and not playing because of a bum shoulder, other guys are stepping up. Future Florida forward Alex Tyus is giving the Gator fans in attendance a show.

It's no secret that the athletic 6-foot-8 forward will bend the rims and playing with Mayo, Tyus has plenty of opportunities to dunk everything home. One thing you can say about Tyus, it's that he will always find a way to play with a dynamic passer. With the Greyhounds, Mayo knows how to find him. At Florida, Calathes is going to love running the pick and roll with Tyus because the St. Louis via Cincy native will destroy the rims after getting the pass.

Owning the longest set of arms at Disney, Dallas Lauderdale is quick to block every shot that comes around him. The future Ohio State big man was the master of the blocked shot against the Georgia Blazers. His giant wing span was difficult to get around. Pair Lauderdale with the intense training he is about to receive at The Ohio State University with the other big time centers going there and continued time in the weight room and a different approach to sculpting his body.


IF ONLY


If only. That term started off a lot of sentences with the Georgia Blazers players amongst the college coaches.

If only Andre Young were taller. The 5-foot-6 class of 2008 point guard has been on a tear all year long for the Blazers and coaches are starting to come around with the super talented kid from South Georgia. If only he were even 5-foot-11, Young would be a no-brainer high-major kid.

Young plays old and the little man plays big. No one intimidates him. He will challenge players at the rim. He's great off the bounce with a jumper. He creates for himself and his others. The mid-majors will love recruiting him and don't be surprised to see a high-major (or two) sell him as an Earl Boykins type of player. There is little doubt he has high-major skill in his small frame.

If only Xavier Gibson played more aggressive inside. Because when he does play hard inside the paint, Gibson is fun to watch. The potentially great big man played confidently strong inside the blocks in both games we watched him.

The elite schools are watching him closely - including Roy Williams and Tubby Smith - and Gibson is starting to live up to the billing that he earned as a rising sophomore last year. Gibson can still play away from the basket but he's starting to figure it out down low, showing off a pretty turn around jumper from the post. He is getting offensive rebounds and put backs. He's even rebounding around the basket. The summer is ending on a high note.

If only Jarvis Jones were 6-foot-8. Because if the 6-foot-4 power forward from the class of 2009 were bigger, Jones would be one of the most sought after players in his class. Built like a elite high-major middle linebacker, Jones plays like a guy with a helmet on. He powers through people on both ends of the floor at the four spot. The term "beast" was thrown out multiple times with the rising sophomore. The term was certainly validated.

If only we knew more about Will Coleman. People are inquiring more about the hard-playing, athletic forward from Pacelli High School in Columbus, Ga. Because of his relentless play, high-energy, athleticism and fearlessness, Coleman is raising eyebrows. He met Lauderdale at the rim with a huge block on a dunk attempt and sent a message to the Ohio State big man. The mid-majors are going to love him and a high-major or two could flirt with Coleman shortly after this tournament.


OTHER NEWS & NOTES


Dejuan Blair will go for 25 points in a game. Or he'll go for 15 rebounds in a game. Sometimes he'll go for both in the same game. Blair's relentlessness in the paint is hard to match by anyone in this class. He brings it and in a very Pittsburgh like way, Blair punches his ticket and just goes to work.

The way the Milk House is constructed, six games can be played on six different courts. Anytime a big play happens, people will know because of the loud chatter the follows a big play. Chris Wright couldn't keep the crowd, and building, quiet. Word is, Wright, the biggest commitment Dayton has received in years, had 10 giant dunks in a runaway win.

Jon Leuer is a popular name in the recruiting world because he is 6-foot-10, can really shoot the ball and relatively new to the high-majors. He had an up and down showing in Vegas but here in Orlando, he's playing great basketball. Leuer is showing the skills that justify the high-majors following him around every where he goes.

High-major or mid-major? Coaches are still trying to figure that out with Florida guard Dominique Jones. He's certainly strong enough for the high-majors. Jones can score the ball but it takes a lot of shots to get the points. Don't be surprised to see him end up at a power conference school at the end of the day.


SCHOOL LISTS AND OTHER RECRUITING SCOOP

We have a Dante Jackson sighting. Finally, after a year long search for the high-level athlete from Ohio, we finally got a look at the wiry 6-foot-5 wing. He didn't disappoint.

He is a big time athlete back home and a star on the track and field circuit. Jackson takes that speed and his fast twitch muscles to the court and has made shown that he can combine the array of attributes beautifully.

Jackson said he had two schools on him seriously - Xavier and Dayton - coming into Orlando. As coaches finally had a chance to see him play against some other big-timers, he could very well pick up some elite level offers next week. Tubby Smith has watched closely. John Thompson of Georgetown did too. Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Tennessee, Clemson, Cincinnati and others have watched as well. Jackson said he is also hearing from Notre Dame and Indiana, too.

Okay, no this is getting old. Writing the same things about Patrick Patterson can grow a little mundane. At this point, you know what the highly sought after big man is going to do at a tournament. He's playing hard, playing tough and winning games. That tune is still playing in the last week of the month and Patterson isn't letting up. Neither are the head coaches. Roy Williams, Skip Prosser, Billy Donovan and Tubby Smith have all put down a bag of overpriced popcorn for a game or two (or three or four) to see Patterson.

The pages are starting to turn for Ed Davis. He is writing his own book about becoming an elite level guy. He started the spring a little hesitant and ending the summer playing like a man that is an elite level big man. The 6-foot-9 forward from Virginia is learning from guys like Patterson, another player who has made serious strides in his game over the last year, and turning himself into a legitimate McDonald's level player.

Davis said Virginia, Georgetown, Connecticut and North Carolina are recruiting him the hardest.

We said it at the Peach Jam and we'll it again. Mike Scott will be a name that everyone is talking about once the prep school season gets rolling. Heck, his name might be a popular one before that. The class of 2006 Temple signee is headed to Hargrave Military in the fall and the way he has played in July has made him a guy that the high-majors want to have on their team.

Scott said he is hearing from Pitt, Oklahoma, Wake Forest, St. Joe's, Maryland and Virginia Tech and waiting for his release from the Atlantic 10 program.

Mark Lyons reclassified to the 2008 group and will take his combo guard skills to South Kent next year. He'll take a long list of interest and offers with him. Clemson recently tendered a free ride. As has UMass, Siena, Buffalo, Fordham and Seton Hall. Georgia Tech, UNLV, Virginia, Virginia Tech, South Florida, St. John's and Syracuse have all inquired this summer.

Disney's Magical Kingdom is just a couple of miles away from the Wide World of Sports but Albany City Rocks's Jimmy Fredette did his best wave of the magic wand against the Queen City Prophets. Fredette had it dialed in the last six minutes of the game. Down by 15, Fredette didn't miss a shot and helped pilot a giant comeback win.

When the upstater squares up from deep, he's money. Built bigger than most guys regulated as a "shooter only", Fredette can step into a scorer's role right away if he opts for the mid-major route. His recruitment is spread out. He has an official visit schedule with BYU on Sept. 8. Siena, UMass, Marshall, Utah, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Lehigh, Virginia and Georgetown are all showing interest, he said.

Penn State will love what Talor Battle will do for their program. He just makes plays in crunch time.

Quietly, Jamychael Green is becoming a must get guy in the class of 2008. And a must get guy for the elite programs. The 6-foot-8 bouncy power forward said Oklahoma, Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss and Mississippi have offered. Kansas, Kansas State, Georgia Tech, Miami, Wake Forest, Stanford, Virginia Tech and Marquette are all showing interest.

Green's teammate Nick Williams is no stranger to free rides either. He said he has new offers from Cincy, Oklahoma and Ole Miss along with the ones he already has from Mississippi State, Alabama, Auburn, Miami, Florida State, Marquette and Missouri.

With assistants from Oklahoma and Virginia making a long drive out to see Bo Spencer, the Louisiana native didn't capitalize on the opportunity to make a strong impression to earn offers from the two schools. Here's the deal: Spencer is a good scorer but a pure point he is not. Spencer struggled to get by defenders with the dribble and pressure knocked off his scoring ability. Nevertheless, Spencer has big time mid-major written all over him.

Orlando guard Chris Warren picked up an offer from Southern Cal this week and Florida State, Virginia Commonwealth, Florida Atlantic, James Madison and Florida A&M have all beat the rush on the dynamic 5-foot-9 scoring point guard. He's been fun to watch at the Nationals and starting to earn respect from people at a national level.


ON TAP


Championship bracket
11:30 - NC Gaters vs. D1 Greyhounds
1:00 - Minnesota Magic Gold vs. Arkansas Wings-Cooper
2:30 - Albany City Rocks vs. Jacksonville Lee Bulls
4:00 - Boo Williams vs. Nike Team Florida


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