Memorial Day Classic set to tip-off Saturday

Memorial Day Classic starts Saturday
After a frantic schedule in April, the summer basketball scene took a step back to catch its breath for most of May. However, that will change this weekend when the top Nike teams gather at the Alario Center in New Orleans for the Memorial Day Classic.
The tournament begins Saturday with 32 of the nation’s top 17-and-under programs set to begin round robin pool play in an effort to reach the championship game, which will be held Monday at noon.

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The 16-and-under group will also be well represented with 32 teams. The 15-and-under class will feature an additional 24 teams. The games for both younger age groups will be held at six high schools in New Orleans.
A plethora of talent will be on display in the “Big Easy” with several prospects, including five of the top six ranked players by Rivals.com, occupying a spot in the recently released Rivals150 for the 2005 class. In addition, several of the top players in the 2006 and 2007 classes will be in attendance.
Breaking down the top seeds and pools
Pool A
The top seed in Pool A is the Georgia Stars, who have proven to be not only talented but adept at winning the big tournaments. The Stars will be led by everyone’s all-American and Georgia commitment Louis Williams, who earned the No. 3 ranking in the recently released Rivals150. But the Stars are not a one-man show with Mike Mercer (No. 35), Alade Aminu (No. 102) and Jay Brown (No. 120) being high major prospects in their own right.
Other teams and prospects of note
DC Blue Devils: Mike Freeman (No. 111), Eric Price (No. 147), Tywon Lawson (2006) and Kevin Durant (2006)
Ark Wings: Michael Washington (No. 51)
Pool B
Texas has proven to be one of the most talent-rich states in the county, and Houston Hoops have as much skill as any team in the state. Small forward Fendi Onobun (No. 32.), an Arizona commitment, is the team’s workhorse, doing the job on the offensive and defensive glass. Point guard David Devezin (No. 85) runs the show, but 2006 prospect Nic Wise (2006) gets a lot of run when playing with the 17s. Gridiron standout Martellus Bennett (No. 101) is a beast in the paint. Journeyman Rashad Woods (No. 25) is rumored to be playing with the Hoops this week, giving it good shot at making a run at the title.
Other teams and prospects of note
Metro Hawks: Tyrell Biggs (No. 48) and John Mitchell (2006)
Oregon Select: Brian Morris (No. 107), Kyle Singler (2007) and Kevin Love (2007)
Pool C
South Florida is known for its football players, but the Miami Tropics are trying to change that way of thinking. They boast two of the nation’s top guards in 2005 with shooter David Huertas (No. 44) and point Denis Clemente (No. 70). As good as the ’05 group is, the 2006 Tropic class might be even better with combo guard Josue Soto and big men Luis Colon and Jason Bennett, each of whom will be ranked among the elite in their class.
Other teams and prospects of note
Travelers: Jamont Gordon (No. 18) and Joey Cameron (No. 63)
Family: Chris Douglas-Roberts (No. 24) and Ramar Smith (2006)
Albany City: Theo Davis (No. 31), Tiki Mayben (No. 40) and Paul Harris (2006)
Pool D
The New York Gauchos will represent the east coast and are led by 2006 standout Curtis Kelly to go along with Pittsburgh early commitment Mike Davis (No. 104), giving the Gauchos a formidable front court. Shooting guard Jesse Sapp (No. 105) is a deadly shooter from the outside, and Saquan Stone will occupy the wing and provide another deep threat.
Other teams and prospects of note
Alabama Lasers: Richard Hendrix (No. 4) and Yamene Coleman (No. 145)
St. Louis Eagles: Tyler Hansbrough (No. 5) and Alex Tyus (2006)
Martin Brothers: Ross Marsden (Iowa State commitment)
Pool E
Howard Pulley is led by one of the top shooting guards in the 2006 class Isaiah Dahlman, who already has a couple of high major offers under his belt with more on the way. Power forward Bryce Webster and small forward Cory Johnson, also members of the 2006 class, will occupy spots among the top prospects at their positions. After suffering an injury early in the year, five-star small forward Joe Krabbenhoft (No. 15) will not be available for Howard Pulley.
Other teams and prospects of note
Team Florida: Keith Brumbaugh (No. 2), Keaton Grant (No. 129) and Jeremiah Rivers (2006)
South Carolina Ravens: Cassan Breeden (No. 49)
Louisiana Select: Kenneth Cooper (2005) and Demond Carter(2006)
Pool F
The New Jersey All-Stars will display an imposing force on the front line with one of the top rated big men in the 2006 class in Brian Zoubek to go along with 2005 power forward Lee Bynum, who has two early offers, and 2005 small forward Jaron Griffin, who has offers from Rhode Island, Rutgers and West Virginia.
Other teams and prospects of note
Illinois Warriors: Julian Wright (No. 23), Phillip Perry (No. 139), Jamar Smith (2005), Josh Tabb (Southern Illinois commitment) and Johnathon Scheyer (2006)
Wisconsin Playground Warriors: Marcus Landry (No.123) and Jerry Smith (2006)
South Florida Heat: Brian Asbury (No. 93) and Alonso Gee (No. 144)
Pool G
Team Texas is another loaded team from the Lone Star state and features four players rated among the nation’s top 75 players by Rivals.com. The list is led by versatile small forward Calvin Miles (No. 30) and power forward Kevin Rogers (No. 36). While they will be responsible for manning the paint, guards Terrel Harris (No. 43) and Austin Johnson (No. 73) will bring the ball up the floor and knock down the outside shot. Class of 2006 standout Bryan Davis is pure low-post player and one of the top prospects in his class.
Other teams and prospects of note
Boo Williams: Marcus Ginyard (No. 34), Laurynas Mikalauskas (No. 100), Eric Whitehurst (No. 112), Terrance Woodberry (No. 126), Vernon Macklin (2006), Stefan Welsh (2006), Eric Hayes (2006), and Scotty Reynolds (2006)
YOMCA Memphis: Wayne Chisum (2006), Thaddeus Young (2006), Willie Kemp (2006), and Pierre Niles (2006).
California Elite: Davon Jefferson (No. 65), Mike Gerrity (No. 106), James Keefe (2006) and Matt Shaw (2006).
Pool H
The Seattle based Friends of Hoop team will showcase two Rivals.com five-star prospects in shooting guard Martell Webster (No. 6) and small forward Micah Downs (No. 22). The supporting cast is strong with one of the top power forwards on the west coast in Jon Brockman (No. 45) cleaning the glass and point guard Mitchell Johnson (No. 90) running the offense.
Other teams and prospects of note
Athlete’s First: Keith Clark (2006) and Ekpe Udoh (2006).
Kansas City Keys: Marcus Walker (No. 109) and Issac Miles (2006)
Charlotte Royals: K.C. Rivers (No. 78) and Doneal Mack (2006)
Stay tuned to RivalsHoops.com for complete weekend coverage of the Memorial Day Classic.