December 28, 2006

Chick-fil-A Classic filled with surprise prospects

The Chick-fil-A Classic provided a number of players the opportunity to put their names on the recruiting radar after a strong showing in Columbia, S.C.

One senior is already accounted for, while two sophomores and two seniors did their best to earn the attention from recruiters.'s Justin Young breaks down the top five breakout performers from the event.

Omar Carter, SF, Charlotte (N.C.) Christian
Chick-fil-A Classic stats: 20.3 points per game, 9.7 rebounds per game, 1.7 steals per game, 51.4 percent shooting from the floor (19-of-37), 60.7 percent free-throw shooting (17-for-28), 46.2 percent shooting from three (6-for-13)

There is a quality to Carter's game that you just have to respect. He's listed at 6-foot-6, which is a few inches too generous. However, he plays like he is 6-foot-8 on the glass. Carter stepped out to the wing and played like a confident shooting guard.

Where he plays at the next level is still a major question. But after two consecutive years of top performances at the Chick-fil-A Classic, Carter has shown he can be an effective player.

It will be interesting to see how his recruitment shakes up after the senior's strong showing this year.

Mark Veazy, C, Norcross (Ga.) Meadowcreek
Chick-fil-A Classic stats: 13 points per game, 12 rebounds per game, 2.6 blocks per game, 1.6 steals per game, 68 percent shooting from the floor (17-for-25)

The Navy signee was outstanding in the three-game stretch for Meadowcreek. The 6-foot-10 big man has turned up his game since the summer and is looking like a steal for the Midshipmen.

Veazy led the tournament in rebounds and was one of the top five players in field-goal percentage. He was a double-double machine from start to finish. One of the reasons why he is getting it done around the basket now is his aggressiveness and ability to grab offensive rebounds.

Meadowcreek's guards Chris Allen and Teondre Williams are used to scoring the basketball, but they did a good job of finding the big man inside for easy, high-percentage shots.

The upswing Veazy is on will have him prepared for playing time right away next season. It will be fun to watch his progression as he enters the college ranks.

Marquis Carter, PG/SG, San Diego (Calif.) Horizon
Chick-fil-A Classic stats: 19.3 points per game, five assists per game, four rebounds per game, 1.7 steals per game

Coming into the Classic, Carter didn't have a lot of options for next year as a college prospect. That could be changing. For starters, he's a big point guard at 6-foot-3. Secondly, he knows how and when to feed the post.

Already fully qualified, Carter is just working on his game this season in his final audition for a free ride at the next level. He's not a shooter, but he knows how to manage a game, rebound and defend.

He played well at the event and should see things pick up a bit on the recruiting front. He did enough to raise a few of eyebrows and have circles drawn around his name in coach's programs.

Kenny Manigault, PG/SG, Summerville (S.C.) Pinewood Prep
Chick-fil-A Classic stats: 11 points per game, seven rebounds per game, 6.7 assists per game, 1.6 steals per game, 50 percent shooting from the floor (12-for-24)

Don't spend a lot of time looking at his modest scoring numbers. Putting up points is not his role at Pinewood Prep. Instead, the 6-foot-3 sophomore was Mr. Versatility in the tournament.

In three separate games, he came up as a scorer (20 points), rebounder (10) and passer (eight assists). For a class of 2009 prospect, he has a good feel for how the game should be played. Manigualt was great at getting the rebound, pushing the break and finding his best scorer at the right moment.

There wasn't a better rebounding guard in the field. He didn't care too much about getting pushed around. Even with a slight build, Manigualt did a little pushing around himself. He said his recruitment was quiet. Things should get a little louder.

Isaiah Philmore, PF, Bel Air (Md.) John Carroll School
Chick-fil-A Classic stats: 18.7 points per game, 10.3 rebounds per game, 55.6 percent shooting from the floor (20-for-36), 84.2 percent shooting from the foul line (16-for-19)

Philmore recently moved to Maryland from Kansas. He brought a Midwestern work ethic with him to the East Coast, and John Carroll squad couldn't have been any happier. The rugged 6-foot-6 forward was the leader of his team, and he never seemed to quit.

His game is predicated on earning everything he gets. The lefty was active around the basket, and he was able to muscle some shots into the basket. As a rebounder, he found ways to creep past the box outs and snatch loose balls. As an offensive threat, Philmore was hard to stop from the mid-range area and closer.

The D.C./Baltimore area loves guys like him. Don't be surprised to hear more about Philmore over the next couple of years from the Mid-Atlantic area.

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