There may be a rising trend this summer in regards to tournament coverage. RivalsHoops.com may be spending more time than usual watching the 16 and under brackets. The talent level waiting in the wings is high and the depth is strong. Here is a look at some of the top players we saw at the Spiece Run N Slam tournament in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Marcus Johnson - Like athleticism? Check out this 6-foot-2 if you have the chance. He’s a high-flyer and he knows it. His time spent with LeBron James at St. Vincent-St. Mary may have something to do with it. Johnson had one of the best dunks of the event, soaring eye level with the rim on an alley-oop dunk over a 6-foot-9 defender.
Ricky Jackson - Like Johnson, Jackson knows how to posterize an opponent. Jackson had a great and one dunk over 6-foot-11 Tom Herzog of the Michigan Hurricanes on Sunday morning. Jackson plays bigger than his 6-foot-6 frame and loves to attack the basket. His athleticism his garnered attention from high majors. We’ll have a full feature on him coming soon.
Raymar Morgan (left) - While Johnson and Jackson made the crowd ooh and ahh with their high-flying act, Morgan displayed an all around game that will make high major programs drool. At 6-foot-8, he’s got great versatility and handles his role on the team as the only true interior player well. But Morgan isn’t a post, he’s a legit wing with range and good ball handling skills. Watch for his name and several other members of the King James Shooting Stars to appear in the class of 2006 rankings.
Josh Chichester - The class of 2006 prospect may have been the most promising player on every All-Ohio roster at the event. At 6-foot-7, he’s got great size and runs the floor like a deer. He jumps out of the gym and has a great feel for the game. Chichester bounced between the older division and Juniors-to-be for a majority of the event and shined at every level.
Mario Little - There was something about the Illinois Warriors 16U team that kept attracting us back to their games at the fabulous Spiece Fieldhouse. That something was Little. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard was a constant scoring force and had a great sense for the game. The Chicago Washington High School product could compete up but with the plethora of quality guards on the older team, Little is being groomed for next year.
Trevon Hughes (right) - The 6-foot-1 point guard was one of the top decision makers in the entire field. He sees the floor like a grizzled veteran and he loves to hook his big men up in the post. As a defender, he locks onto players and sees the pass two steps before it’s made. As a shooter, he’ll need to improve but this 2006 prospect for Fox Valley Skillz/St. John High School in Delafield, Wisc. is a high-major.
J.P. Gavinski - One of the main targets for Hughes was this 6-foot-10 center. He’s an aggressive player that loves contact and isn’t afraid to mix it up inside for rebounds and blocked shots. This class of 2006 prospect will be a good Big 10 recruit.
Jerome Randle - The 6-foot guard from Hales Frausican High School in Chicago was one of the top players in the Juniors-to-be division. His 30 points against Philly MJC was very impressive, scoring at will against a very aggressive, defensive minded team. Randle plays with Ferrari Sports and won’t play in many of the major shoe tournament but know this, he’s a high major player in the class of 2006.
Brian Carwell - This 6-foot-9 center from Proviso East will be one to watch in the class of 2006. He teams with Randle and forms a great inside-outside tandem. Carwell is still developing into a player but he has great size and moves fairly well for a young player with his size.
David Kool - The No. 35 player in class of 2006 had an up and down tournament, scoring 30 plus in the opening game and then struggled in the middle games. On Sunday, he came to play. He helped propel his Michigan Mustangs team deep into the tournament with poised play and clutch free throw shooting.
K’len Morris - He was one of the biggest surprises of the younger division. This 6-foot-4 is extremely athletic and can score from 15 feet and in. He’s good with the ball and does a good job of creating for himself. As he develops his outside game, he’ll develop into a great prospect.