NEW ORLEANS, LA. - With college coaches back in their offices and in their own beds for the first time in a couple of weeks, the prospects themselves continue to do what they love and that's showing off their skills on the hardwood. Rivals.com is in the Big Easy for the 16 and under AAU National Championships and saw guys like LaRon Dendy do their thing.
Dendy does it inside, Hayes lighting it up
The talent is scattered about with some surprise additions to the field. LaRon Dendy is in New Orleans with the Spartanburg Bucks and he wasted little time with his new squad by showing off his interior skills. Against the Queen City Prophets, the 6-foot-8 power forward went to work inside the paint and dominated the inside to the tune of 24 points. Dendy is listing Clemson, Miami, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and St. John's as his early favorites.
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Helping Dendy out was 6-foot-5 class of 2007 forward Tyrenzick Patterson. He was a match-up problem inside for Queen City and seemed to be the man with the big bucket all night. He plays the passing lanes well and sprinted down the floor for bucket to the tune of 16 points.
If you haven't heard about Chris Wright yet, you soon will. This 6-foot-5 wing forward is crazy athletic and is somewhere from the school of flight between Gerald Green and Brandon Rush. He has put on a show in New Orleans before an insect bite on his arm forced him to go to the hospital on Saturday night for surgery on the infection. He may be done but the fans got their money's worth on this big time prospect from Trotwood-Madison High School in Ohio. He had 20 points in the loss to the Spartanburg Bucks.
The real story of the day for the Queen City Prophets was point guard Lonnie Hayes. The 5-foot-11 point guard from the loaded Cincinnati Hughes program put in day low 31 points in the defeat. The class of 2007 guard had 41 points against fellow rising junior guard Biko Paris in a triple overtime thriller. Paris also put in 40.
Hughes is not afraid to put up the shots but he's going to find a way to get the ball in the cylinder. That's been the story all summer. He's been torching defenses everywhere he goes. The school list for Hughes includes Syracuse, Illinois and Xavier early on.
Long Island guard drills buzzer beater
With 4.6 seconds left on the clock and the score tied at 52, Long Island Lightning point guard Andrew Beinert did what he had been doing against the Team Texas Swoosh. He just made the right play. The 6-foot-1 point guard took the ball up the floor from coast to coast and made a driving layup as the buzzer sounded to get the huge victory in pool play.
"We definitely didn't draw that up," Beinert said after his game winning bucket. "We got the rebound and I just took the ball up there floor and did a stutter dribble and was able to split the defenders and got the basket for the bucket. It worked out perfectly."
Beinert had a great game, showing off his leadership, court savvy and scoring ability. He said he's holding offers from Davidson and Hofstra with interest from the Ivy Leagues and St. John's and Notre Dame have even inquired this summer.
Team Texas Swoosh got a big game from 6-foot-8 power forward Clinton Houston. The class of 2007 big man from Flower Mound Marcus is a difficult player to defend in the post and does a nice job of setting up on the blocks for position. Houston said he has offers from Texas A&M, Tulsa, Baylor, TCU and interest from Florida State and Illinois.
Bayou Boys playing well
One of the pleasant surprises of the day was the play of 6-foot-3 point guard LaceDarius Dunn. The class of 2007 prospect from Excelsior Christian High School in Monroe, La., has an ideal body for the next level and knows how to take advantage of mismatches and punishes his defender with physical plays. He does a great job of getting to the foul line for points and controls the pace of the game. On the defensive end, he'll get right into his man and challenge all takers.
Dunn said he's hearing from Oklahoma, Colorado State, Baylor, Ole Miss and LSU early on. Dunn is certainly a name to watch on the circuit with the Louisiana Dram Team. He's got high-major skill and with his size and frame, he could be one of the best in the South in his class.
Playing for the Louisiana Dream Team, Raphelle Turner found his moments to shine inside the paint. The 6-foot-8, 260-pound power forward from Peabody High School in Alexandria, La., is a huge prospect and plays much more nimble than you'd expect. He's got great hands and snatches everything off the rim.
He has a soft touch around the basket but powers his way on the blocks. The rising junior has a SEC feel to his game. So far, Northwestern, Southern Illinois and LSU are showing an interest, he said. The big man said he's a big Alabama fan too and would like to hear from the Crimson Tide.
Turner's teammate Warren Fuselier is one of the better guard prospects here. Teammates with Perry Stevenson at Northside High School in Lafayette, La., Fuselier is a play maker and always seems to make the right decisions. With high-majors coming by to see Stevenson, Fuselier has been a beneficiary in recruiting. He's hearing from Kentucky, Georgia and Texas early on, according to his father.
Georgia well represented
The talent in the Peach State in the class of 2007 is deep. That's evident by the top prospects here in New Orleans.
Austin Kelly, an athletic 6-foot-3 guard for the Smyrna Stars has been an offensive force. The South Cobb High School product runs the floor, can knock down the mid range shot, plays solid defense and skies above the rim. Kelly said he's holding offers from Georgia State and Massachusetts with interest from Virginia Tech, Ole Miss, Furman and Garner-Webb.
Bouncy power forward Chris Barnes from Team Georgia Elite has a list full of high-majors. The 6-foot-8 forward said Florida State, Illinois, Memphis, LSU, North Carolina, Georgia and Georgia Tech are all watching him closely.
Teammate Olu Ashaolu is only a class of 2008 prospect but he's also got a list full of the nation's best programs. The two-time ABCD camp participant said he likes UNC, Michigan State, UConn, LSU, Syracuse and Georgia Tech early on. Ashaolu is a versatile forward that out rebounds everyone that stands in his way. He's young but he's already developing some great leadership skills.
The quiet and consistent force for Team Georgia has been point guard Taylor Harps. He's making heady plays, gluing the team together on the offensive end with crisp passing and confident scoring. Harps said he's looking at Jacksonville State, Clemson and Murray State right now.
High-major coaches, don't sleep on Jamar Moore. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Thomasville (Ga.) Central High School can flat out score the ball. He's a great perimeter scorer with great size at 6-foot-4. With a long time offer from Florida State, just 20 minutes away from his South Georgia home, and interest from Georgia, Tennessee and Auburn, Moore has a chance to be a Lewis Clinch like sleeper. This kid can play.
Odds & Ends
UConn women's head coach Geno Auriemma is coaching the Connecticut Nike Elite squad. His son, Mike, is the starting point guard for the team.
The team's best player is Damian Saunders. The 6-foot-7 forward is a guy that always has a hand on the ball on every possession. He can score inside, step out and put in the midrange shot and cleans the glass very well. Saunders said he likes Syracuse, Providence and Miami.
Saunders was at Syracuse and Providence's team camp said he'd like to take some visits after the 16 and under Nationals.
Jamar Abrams, a 6-foot-6 wing from Highland Springs (Va.) High School, has been one of the nice surprises at the Nationals. He's an athletic small forward that has a nice frame and a game that's improving. He's got interest from Virginia Tech, Virginia, Richmond, Boston, DePaul, American and Virginia Commonwealth.