HAMPTON, Va.- The travel circuit kicked into gear Friday night with impressive showings from three elite prospects in the 2010 class, including a 34-point performance by Josh Smith.
Josh Smith- Athlete's First doesn't have the imposing frontline it has enjoyed the past few years, and Smith took advantage. Dominating at the rim for countless dunks, Smith also spent a lot of time at the free throw line. He had bursts of explosiveness, but his conditioning isn't where we were hoping it would be. In fact, it appeared on Friday that he might have regressed in that area compared to where he was at last July.
Brandon Knight- On the other hand, Knight's body looks like it ready to take the football field as a strong safety. He is up to 185-pounds at 6-foot-3, and it is all muscle. With his Team STAT squad trailing the Georgia Stars, Knight took over the game in the second half scoring 20 of his game high 30 points. Impressive executing off the high ball screen, Knight scored from both deep and in the paint.
Harrison Barnes- Like Knight, Barnes appears to be in tip top shape and his game is just as sharp. Playing for an undermanned Howard Pulley team, Barnes had to do everything against the Houston Hoops. He defended the post, held down the boards, dropped three-pointers and slashed to the basket. It is evident that Barnes has been working on his game as his ball handling has improved significantly. Instead of projecting as a combo forward, Barnes looks like a small forward/shooting guard now.
Doron Lamb- This New York Gaucho broke into the national consciousness exactly a year ago when he had a monster first night game at Boo Williams, and Lamb wasn't too shabby this year either. Although not a pure shooter, Lamb is certainly a pure scorer. He knocked down three-pointers against the Oakland Soldiers and worked his way into interior buckets as well. Lamb is getting stronger and looks to be a solid 6-foot-5. His physical development and knack for using his body to create space helps him make up for what he might lack in terms of athleticism.
Jalen Courtney- It still isn't clear if the LSU commitment projects as a small forward or power forward offensively, but defensively Courtney can guard either position. Along with his defensive effort, his work on the glass on both ends of the court was impressive.
Andre Stringer- The diminutive point guard gets lift on his jumper and has a knack for scoring the ball when going to his right. He had a game high 24 points in the Jackson Tigers win over Meanstreets. Would like, however, to see him attack pressure in the backcourt with more confidence on the dribble, and defend at a higher level.
John McArthur- The Oakland Soldier's big man might be a low to mid level athlete, but everything else about his game is high major. He has a great mind for the game, is highly skilled, and knows how to gain leverage with his physical strength.
Isiah Epps- This Pittsburgh commitment has a shifty left handed game that is intriguing. Although he is a little on the small side, his feel for the game is intriguing. He led the Playaz over Team Florida with 16 points.
Keylon Harrell- The strong 6-foot-3 shooting guard for the Alabama Challenge has a feel for making plays. Always around the ball when it is loose, Harrell finished in traffic and drained some threes.
Rodney Hood- It didn't take long for this smooth lefty to make an instant impact for the Alabama Challenge. Within minutes after coming into the game, Hood had eight points (with a couple three-pointers) and a couple assists. He is a point forward with the potential to be a Jalen Rose type player.
Johnny O'Bryant- This energetic, high level athlete is another one of the outstanding underclassmen in the state of Mississippi. The big man is working his way into being a "go-to" player rather than a rebounder/defender. The talent is there to be that guy, it will just take some time to adjust the mindset.
Tyler Adams- A beast of a post player, Adams is the defensive tackle who compliments the defensive end rush of O'Bryant. Adams is simply an immovable force in the paint.
Mychal Ammons- And for our fourth Mississippi underclassmen, Ammons is a talented glue type guy on the wing who will knockdown jumpers and make the plays that need to be made.
Trevor Lacey- He doesn't have typical point guard foot speed, but Lacy is both crafty and strong with the basketball and a solid decision maker.
Quincy Miller- The long, bouncy post player is oozing with upside. The question is just how much stronger he can get and how much he can refine is skill game. Nonetheless, he is a high level prospect who coaches would love to have the opportunity to develop.
Kyle Wiltjer- Looking every bit of 6-foot-8, Wiltjer has a smooth shooting stroke and a Ryan Kelly type feel for scoring the ball. Right now lack of strength is an issue, but he has the frame that can put on some mass, and he knows how to utilize his strength. The Pac-10 will be all over this prospect.
Nick Johnson- A good athlete with a high level shooting stroke, Johnson was impressive scoring the ball against the New York Gauchos. Projects as a high level shooting guard, Johnson ran the point for the Oakland Soldiers.
Josh Smith- The big fellow said he is truly wide open and that he doesn't have a leader or even a top three. The reported school list of Washington, UCLA and Louisville is the list of the schools who were recruiting him the hardest at the moment. Smith rattled off Duke, North Carolina, Gonzaga, Texas and Ohio State as other schools of interest. He also said he is willing to play anywhere and is not a lean to stay on the west coast.
Anthony Wroten Jr.- Smith's teammate, however, admitted that Washington is the school to beat in his recruitment. He said on Thursday his family fielded calls from Indiana, Marquette, Kentucky and Ohio State. He also listed Syracuse, St. John's, Miami, Louisville and Georgia Tech as his top schools at the moment along with Washington. But then he quickly added that his top schools change daily.
Mychal Ammons- He has an offer from Florida, but Wake Forest is his top school. Ole Miss, Arkansas, UConn and North Carolina are also on his list.
Tyler Adams- The 6-foot-8, 246-pound sophomore has offers from Arkansas, Wake Forest, Florida and the new staff at Kentucky.
Quincy Miller- Wake Forest is at the top of his list, and he has an offer from Auburn. He also listed Memphis, Duke, North Carolina, Indiana, Purdue, Baylor and UConn.