In the Mid-Atlantic Hoops Tour's final installment, Rivals.com takes a look at the top sophomore prospects we saw in December, as well as one very special freshman phenom. Austin Freeman, Antonio Jardine, and Tyreke Evans are just a few of the players reviewed.
6-foot-4 215 lbs. 2G from DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, MD. Freeman has really stepped up his game this season and has taken his place on the national stage among 2007 recruits. He's is a big, physical guard with a slick handle and sweet perimeter stroke. Effective on dribble penetration and can absorb contact and finish. Probably a little heavier than he needs to be, so that bears watching as he develops. He has thrived as a wing scorer this year, picking up the slack from PG Nigel Munson and allowing him to focus more on distributing the basketball. One of the more natural scorers in the class.
6-foot-7 195 pound PF from Mount St. Joseph in Baltimore, MD. Gregory will contend with Donte Green and Braxton Dupree for top sophomore big man honors in the Baltimore region. Blessed with great hands and an understanding of the game beyond his years, Gregory is already a competent interior scorer. Passes it very well from the post. Can step out to the foul line and bury jumpers, though the form on his jumpshot needs refinement. Needs to mature physically, and if he continues to grow and fills out he should be recruited at the highest level when the time comes.
6-foot-2 170 pound 1/2G from Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, PA. Griffin, as a sophomore transfer from Allentown, PA, has stepped onto the big stage as the starting point guard for regional power Germantown Academy, and while he has struggled at times running the point for the Patriots, he's also shown flashes of the potential that coach Fenerty sees in him. Griffin has a very quick release on his deadly perimeter shot, and desptie a lack of great footspeed or strength, finds ways to get to the rim and finish. Perhaps the most impressive trait that Griffin has displayed is his ability to make big plays at the end of close games, and that's a very rare quality in a player his age. Will need to get stronger, as physical guards have given him problems at both ends of the floor this year, but Griffin is a guy that high majors should be thinking about right now.
6-foot-8 200 pound C/F from Neumann-Gorretti in Philadelphia, PA. Jackson is one of the more intriguing prospects in the Phialdelphia area. Very long and active. Runs the floor and is quickly developing into a fearsome shotblocker. Offense is a work in progress, but development of his baseline jumper and a variety of post moves are promising. Will need to learn to become a bigger force on the glass and improve his strength to fulfill his vast potential, but high major schools are already betting that will happen. There's already talk of a package deal with Jackson and Neumann teammate Antonio "Scoop" Jardine. The two are close friends.
6-foot-2 165 pound 1/2G from Neumann-Gorretti in Philadelphia, PA. Jardine is currently the top rated sophomore in the Philadelphia area, and #26 sophomore nationally by Rivals.com. Thin and quick with an odd release on his jumpshot, "Scoop" is a dangerous scorer who ranked among the Top 15 in the 16 and under Division of the 2004 Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions. Plays both guard spots for Neumann-Gorretti, and decisions will have to be made down the road whether to take advantage of his size and quickness at the point, or his prolific scoring ability on the wing. He told us that he loves the ACC and North Carolina is one of his early favorites.
6-foot-6 210 pound WF from St. Benedict's in Newark, NJ. Stokes has been on the radar since playing with the Playaz 16 and under team as an 8th grader. Already blessed with a pro physique, Stokes has worked hard over the past year to hone his perimeter shooting ability, and as a starter for the Grey Bees this year he's been able to show his progress. Superb athlete, who just needs to improve his ballhandling skills on the wing to become an elite college prosepct. Big East schools are heavilly involved early on.
6-foot-8 200 pound C/F from Lincoln HS in Brooklyn, NY. Walters has shown this winter that he has a chance to become the next big star from storied Lincoln HS in Brooklyn. He's a long 6-foot-8 shot-blocker with great timing and instincts at the defensive end of the floor. Does a good job running the floor and establishing position on offense. Shows a good nose for the ball and a desire to score. Has good hands and nice touch around the basket. He'll need to get stronger, especially his legs, so that he can better maintain position in the paint, and improve his stamina and conditioning. He seems to need to come out of the game for long stretches. Should definitely be a high major target, likely sooner than later.
6-foot-4 190 pound PG from American Christian School in Aston, PA. Evans is, perhaps, the nation's best freshman prospect. He led Allen Iverson's R.A.I.D.E.R.S. 14 and under squad to the AAU national championship this past summer and more than held his own against fellow heralded freshman Korey Lucious. Long, and cat-quick, Evans is unselfish to a fault and can easily rack up double digit assists. Need him to score, no problem. With his size and quickness he's nearly unstoppable off the dribble and can light it up from long distance. Averaging over 20 points per game against some pretty good high school competition in Philly this year, and by most accounts, got the best of Rutgers bound senior Anthony Farmer in a matchup last month.