FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. -- There were a couple of signature performances on Saturday evening that the folks in Razorback country will soon not forget. The stars came out to play at the Real Deal on the Hill as only eight teams remain in the 17U division.
Of all of the class of 2011 prospects playing in the 17 and under division (and there are more than you'd expect this year), no one is shining more on the big stage than Seattle Rotary star Anthony Wroten Jr..
In fact, you could argue that the rookie is having one of the best overall performances of any player in the entire field. The 6-foot-4 wing scored 23 points against the Wisconsin Gators Elite in one of the best games of the weekend. Most of his points came in the second half, where he completely took over the game.
Wroten's passing touch is probably looked over because of his ability to score with ease but he can find guys with ease and quick to give up the ball. The future five-star started his run with a game-changing dunk that woke up the gym.
Kenny Boynton could have a career as a door man later in his life because right now, the Florida superstar is one of the best in the nation at shutting the door on the big time match-ups.
Paired against Lance Stephenson in one of the most highly anticipated match-ups of the Real Deal, Boynton turned on the scoring power in the second half of the game. His 21 points and five three-pointers in the final 15 minutes of the game ended any discussion as to who was the most deadly scorer between the two five-star players in this game.
Stephenson finished with 21 points but his impact on the game was nothing like Boynton's. The kid they call "Born Ready" clearly wasn't ready for what Boynton brought to the table. There might not be a more deadly guard left in the tournament right now than the Sunshine State kid.
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
After having the table set by Wroten and a big three-pointer by Peyton Siva, big man Josh Smith calmly went to the foul line and drilled a pair of game-winning free throws for Seattle Rotary against the Wisconsin Gators Elite.
One of the gyms on Saturday night was watching Evan Anderson, who is quickly approaching the 7-foot range, against 6-foot-8 forward Travis Carroll. Both big men are good at what they do.
Anderson plays like a 7-footer to be. He clogs the lane, blocks shots and alters even more, plays with the ball above his shoulders and scores at the rim.
Carroll is a fine post-scorer. He never once flinched at the gangly and strong arms of Anderson in the low block. In fact, Carroll challenged the five-star big man time and time again. Carroll's team one in a close one as both big men showed why they have the Big Ten schools hot in pursuit.
The MBA Hoops team is stacked with talented young players and the most recognizable face on the team is LaQuinton Ross. The skinny, gangly and wiry wing forward played up to his name recognition with his toughness in the paint all weekend. He's been dubbed as a pure wing in the past but this weekend he's shown an ability to play around the cup with little trouble.
Playing against the Atlanta Celtics, Gary Franklin shined for the California Supreme team in a tough defeat. The Mater Dei guard scored 29 points and hit a number of three-pointers in the loss.
Ninth grader Kevin Johnson looked good for the California Supreme 16 and under squad. The 6-foot-9 post player from the class of 2011 showed great promise, particularly his great set of hands. The youngster caught tough passes, secured tough rebounds and played strong with the ball in his mitts.
HI, MY NAME IS…
Wisconsin forward Jeronne Maymon emptied his tank against Seattle Rotary to the tune of 29 points. He's a tough player to defend because he hurts teams in so many ways. In this game, he had it going as a wing man. Maymon earned some respect from recruiters with his play.
For the second day in a row, Jacksonville Lee Bulls guard J.P. Kuhlman made big shots and impressed with his perimeter scoring touch. The 6-foot-3 guard is automatic when he squares up.
A number of coaches were inquiring about MBA power forward Jontaveous Sulton from the stands with text messages and quick shout outs. The 6-foot-8 forward is bouncy and a skilled passer.
SCHOOL LIST CENTRAL
Albeit early, Wroten said he has a list that is comprised of Washington, Seton Hall, Memphis, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee and others.
Sulton said Southern Cal, Tulane, Ole Miss, Florida, Connecticut, Mississippi State, Belmont, Kansas, Lehigh and Penn State.
Belmont Shore rookie Cezar Guerrero gave a list of Southern Cal, UCLA, Notre Dame, Arizona, Santa Clara and Pepperdine.
Maymon said he is hearing from long time pursuers Wisconsin-Green Bay and Baylor.
Indiana, Purdue, Ohio State, Indiana State, Iowa and Butler was the list given by Carroll, the 2010 big man from Indiana.
NOTES FROM THE NOTEPAD
* The Worldwide Renegades had great production from all of their players in the first round of bracket play on Saturday night. Russell Powell and Jeremy Olsen gave the team a combined 29 points in the second half. Powell, a 5-foot-9 jet with the ball, was unstoppable on his way to the basket. Olsen played tough down low and scored in the paint against a big, strong frontline.
* The defensive performance Mfon Udofia put on Nolan Dennis was outstanding. Udofia held the five-star guard to two points and clearly set the tone with his in-your-face challenge on the defensive end of the floor.
* The Atlanta Celtics lost Ohio State bound guard Trae Golden to an ankle injury. The team remains awfully balanced but a signature Derrick Favors game on Sunday would be the icy on the cake for most observers in Fayetteville.
* Southeast Elite coach Norm Williams says Varez Ward did not sign with Cincinnati last week and is no longer headed to the Big East school. Ward, a 6-foot-2 guard, shined here in Fayetteville in the past for the Real Deal.
* Arkansas is hosting 2008 guard Nick Williams for an official visit this weekend. The former Marquette signee is also considering Indiana.
Quarterfinals in the 17 and under division
Court 1 - Team Breakdown vs. Southeast Elite
Court 2 - Atlanta Celtics vs. M33M Ballers
Court 3 - Franchize All-Stars vs. New York Gauchos
Court 4 - Illinois Warriors vs. Spiece Mo-Kan Players
All 17U games in the championship bracket tip off at 8:00 a.m. CST.