Although the prime time to scout the top prospects in the country is during the spring and summer travel team season, the holiday season is also a great opportunity to evaluate prospects at national high school tournaments. Both the City of Palms Classic in Ft. Myers, Fla., and the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C., once again provided a platform for some of the best prospects in the country.
Leading his Mater Dei (Calif.) team to a championship at the City of Palms Classic, Duke signee Taylor King earned MVP honors for his efforts. The 6-foot-7 small forward averaged 27.6 points per game (seventh best for the event) and 10.8 rebounds (second best for the event). King scored the majority of his points off 3-pointers - in transition and coming off screens. King also scored around the basket off post up moves and offensive putbacks.
Providing support for King, Oregon-bound point guard Kamyron Brown earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team. Brown led the event in assists with more than six per game, and also averaged over two steals per game.
Leading the event in scoring, sophomore scoring sensation Kenny Boynton averaged 33.5 points per game over a four-game stretch. A great pull-up shooter, Boynton knocked down 23 3-pointers, most coming off the dribble. Miami, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Connecticut stand out in the recruitment of Boynton, who is from Pompano, Fla.
Two of Florida's 2007 recruits performed exceptionally well in Ft. Myers. Five-star guard Nick Calathes pumped in 30.8 points per game as the second leading scorer in the event. He also led the event with six steals per game. His running mate, Chandler Parsons, made his mark on the stat sheet as well. Parsons had the fifth best averages in points and rebounds with 28.3 points per game and 9. 5 rebounds per game. Their Lake Howell (Fla.) team finished third in the event.
The surprise team was Liberty Tech out of Jackson, Tenn., which finished second. Liberty Tech also had the surprise prospect of the event. Senior small forward Josh Sain, who only has an offer from Southeast Missouri State after a sub par showing on the travel circuit, proved to be a very difficult matchup with his inside/outside game. He finished the event 10th in scoring with 22.8 points per game.
Five-star prospects Jerryd Bayless (Arizona signee), Greg Monroe (2008 prospect), Tyreke Evans (2008 prospect) and Lance Stephenson (2009 prospect) also played their way onto the All Tournament Team.
At the Beach Ball Classic Delvon Roe, the No. 5 ranked prospect in the class of 2008, led his St. Edward (Ohio) squad to a championship and was named Most Valuable Player. The agile 6-foot-8 forward averaged 15 points and 6.3 rebounds per game throughout the event. North Carolina, Ohio State, Kansas, Michigan and Michigan State are the five schools in contention for Roe, but North Carolina is thought to have the edge in landing the promising elite prospect.
Falling to St. Edward in the championship game after leading by 15 points early in the second half, St. John's (D.C.) Prep was paced by Georgetown bound guard Chris Wright. He led the event in scoring with 29 points per game and also added 5.8 rebounds and three assists per game to earn the event's Most Outstanding Player honor.
Wright's teammate, Vlad Moldoveanu, also had an impressive showing in Myrtle Beach. A big man who loves to shoot the deep ball, Moldoveanu earned All Tournament honors while averaging 16 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. He will play his college ball next year for George Mason.
Highly regarded prospect Luke Babbitt did not disappoint with his play at the event. A 2008 player who is considering Ohio State, Gonzaga, Nevada, UCLA and Arizona, Babbitt put up big numbers for Galena High School of Reno, Nev. The smooth shooting forward scored 28.3 points per game and grabbed eight rebounds per contest.
Playing quite a bit above expectations, Temple-bound big man Lavoy Allen of Pennsbury (Penn.) Prep made his mark at the Beach Ball Classic. Using an aggressive yet poised style of play, Allen put up 12.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game.