SUWANEE, Ga.-After an uneventful opening night the National Showtime Championships reached full speed Wednesday with some of the nation's top prospects continuing to show why they are among the elite and one player who emerged from nowhere and enjoyed perhaps the best game of the day. Among the players in action were Jodie Meeks, Thaddeus Young and Brook Lopez.
North Carolina guard shines in Suwanee
If you have to pick a good time to have your coming out party it might as well be in front of 20 or so of the nation's top college coaches who were actually on hand to check out the loaded Memphis Pump N Run squad.
While hopeful coaches filled the stands to check out the likes of Thaddeus Young, Wayne Chism, Willie Kemp and Brandon Powell it was North Carolina native Brandis Raley who stole the show and led the Charlotte Royals to an upset victory.
Raley, 6-fot-2, 180-pounds, lit it up from outside throughout much of the game showing his straight-up jumpshot that has a quick release. In addition, he put the ball on the floor and drove to the basket where he finishes.
"I like to shoot it on the perimeter and when they overplay me I put it on the floor. I've worked hard to be versatile," Raley said after scoring a game high 26-points. "I saw all of the coaches in the stands. I mean it's hard not to notice Roy Williams sitting under the basket. Plus there were a bunch of others I recognized. I just wanted to play well and within myself."
Raley will see the patience pay off and with several D1 coaches talking about his performance and trying to find out his current status he will have more offers on the way before the week is over.
"I'm wide-open. I only have one offer from South Carolina but I'm receiving interest from some big name schools. Hopefully today will help me out," Raley said. "I also like Wake Forest, East Carolina and Notre Dame.
"Ideally I would like to play for a good system that gives me a chance to be a playmaker. I don't have an overall favorite because I want to see what happens the rest of the summer."
Memphis point guard has six favorites
Memphis lead guard Willie Kemp saw his Pump N Run team struggle in their first two games of the tournament but that wasn't because of the 6-foot-1, 170-pound play-maker who has been his usual self. A list of six schools are still in contention for his signature and have been seen watching him at every game.
"Tennessee, Florida, Memphis, Arkansas, Kentucky and Illinois are my top schools," Kemp said. "They are all even right now but I'll narrow it down when I take my official visits during the fall. Each school is a good opportunity for me. They are solid academically and athletically.
"I've already been to Memphis, Tennessee, Arkansas and Illinois on unofficial visits. I enjoyed each one and there is a good chance that I'll take officials to those four. I'm not sure about the rest yet."
Wayne Chism narrows his list down to five
Power forward Wayne Chism has been enjoying a great summer circuit and while the 6-foot-8, 240-pound Memphis native has plenty of offers on the table he has narrowed his favorites down to five.
"Tennessee, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Alabama and Arkansas have all offered and are the schools I like the most," Chism said. "I'm not ready to narrow it down any further because I want to see some of these schools when the school year starts and that will help me figure out where I fit in the best.
"I'm looking for a place that is close to home. I don't have to be too close but I would like to be able to drive home if I'm needed. Also, I want to play for a school that is going to have a chance to compete for a championship."
Quick, Fast and in a Hurry
Solomon Tat is here in Suwanee with the Atlanta Celtics and the 6-foot-4 freak athlete told us that Texas still held a big lead his services with Georgia being his second choice at this point. The Georgia and Texas staffs were both represented today.
Combo guard Jodie Meeks exploded for 30 points Tuesday night and followed it up with a 22 point effort Wednesday and closed the night with an additional 25 to lead the Hurricanes to a 3-0 start. Meeks, 6-foot-4, 180-pounds, is a dual offensive threat and when his jumper isn't falling he'll live at the free throw line with hard drives to the basket. He has been bird-dogged by the Alabama staff throughout the week and Mark Gottfried was in attendance for his morning session along with Bruce Pearl, Dennis Felton and Dave Odom.
Brandis Raley kept his hot-hand in his late game following up his 26-point game with a 19-point, seven rebound, seven assist and four steal performance.
IEBP guard Curtis Eatmon boasts offers from Utah, Colorado State and San Diego currently. He was shooting it well from long-range, knocking down six 3-pointers in addition to running a solid point. He's quick, long and has a solid basketball knowledge.
Jacksonville State could be on the verge of landing sleeper Norman Mitchell from Birmingham, Alabama, who told us tonight he's close to pulling the trigger for the Gamecocks.
EBO is killing everyone in Suwanee and it's not pretty. Not really surprising considering the amount of talent but they run a good offense and they players mesh well together and are unselfish. Brook Lopez continued his ridiculous summer run with 12 points and double digit rebound in a blowout.
Washington and Connecticut have jumped out as the frontrunners for Derrick Jasper with Kentucky, Gonzaga, California and Illinois rounding out his list of favorites. Jim Calhoun and an assistant were courtside for his night game.
Florida commitment Marreese Speights has a good game against the Charlotte Royals. Speights, 6-foot-10, 240-pounds, signature move is to post hard, spin and then seal his defender where he gets a good look from five feet and in. Defense is still a liability for the future Gator and he needs to improve his footwork. He finished with 18 points.
Roy Williams, John Calipari, Mike Anderson, Bruce Pearl, Stan Heath, Billy Donovan, Dave Odom and Mark Gottfried were some of the head coaches on hand for the Memphis Pump N Run early game. Georgia, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Connecticut, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech and Illinois had assistants on hand.
Memphis small forward Karon Smith has shown a good game up to this point with the 6-foot-5, 180-pound jumping jack showing off not only his athleticism but the ability to knock down shots outside the arc. He'll find a home at the high major level.
One of the most enigmatic prospects in the 2006 class is Cameron Tatum who shows flashes of high major potential but not enough consistency. Tonight the 6-foot-3 shooting guard was flashing and rather brightly with a 30-point effort against DC Assault's best team. Charlotte and Georgia State are his two offers with the 49ers holding down the top spot. Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee, Clemson, Connecticut, Tulane and Georgia Tech are on his wish list. Jim Calhoun found a seat at midcourt for his Wednesday finale.
2007 point guard Tony Neysmith picked up his first two offers from Virginia Tech and Boston College. Not a flashy guy, but a high major college prospect that does the small things that often go unnoticed. At 6-foot-4 he is a big guard with serious handle. Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Purdue and South Carolina are also among his favorites.