CHAPEL HILL & DURHAM, N.C.- In the most competitive game that we caught on Saturday at the Tournament of Champions, Lenzelle Smith of Rising Stars held off Team Breakdown and a valiant effort by Jelani Hewitt.
Jelani Hewitt- The 6-foot-3 combo guard has impressed Rivals.com earlier this spring and had us thinking he was on the mid-major/high major fence. On Saturday night, Hewitt placed both feet firmly on the high major fence. Physical and competitive, Hewitt racked up 45 points in a highly contested game against Rising Stars. Calm with the basketball when navigating the high ball screen, Hewitt hit a bunch of three-pointer when his defender slid under the screen. Then when defenders pushed up on him, he punished them with physical drives to the basket. The question mark with Hewitt's game is his quickness, but his other attributes easily make up for what he might lack in foot speed.
Lenzelle Smith- His body looks a lot better than it did last summer, and his game was impressive as well. At a powerful 6-foot-3, Smith ran the point almost the entire game for Rising Stars and produced the majority of offense. His passing ability has been well documented, but Smith also hit several pull up jumpers in the midrange and sank the one three-point attempt we saw him take.
Unfortunately Hewitt and Smith never defended each other. Both prospects are loaded with offensive skills. It is on the defensive end where they will be tested at the next level. And as for the questions concerning Ohio State's need for a point guard, they might just have one on the way in Smith, at least on the offensive end of the court.
Alex Rossi- Does he ever have an impressive shooting stroke at 6-foot-5. Rossi might not take many defenders off the dribble at the next level, but if he gets the slightest window, he is going to make a lot of opponents pay with his jumper.
Keith Appling- On the flipside, Appling is one of those scoring guards who the second he dribbles you expect him to come up with a bucket. With a crafty blend of quick dribble moves and body leverage, Appling is a handful to guard. Once in the lane he has terrific body control as well. The questions are still out there concerning Appling's ability to run the point against pressure and his ability to defend the point.
K.C. Ross-Miller- The former Kentucky commitment is playing much better basketball now that he is no longer trying to live up to the hype of that commitment. Ross-Miller puts a lot of pressure on the defense by keeping his dribble alive and using his physical strength and quickness to get into the lane. He doesn't elevate over defenders, but he does use his body to draw fouls and create space while also finding open teammates in the process. Give him too much space outside, and he has a reliable jumpers.
Jayvaughn Pinkston- You have to love the physical and competitive play of Pinkston, and a lot of schools are after the 6-foot-6 combo forward.
Presently St. John's, Marquette, Villanova, Arizona and Tennessee are at the top of his list with St. John's being his favorite.
Joe Jackson- The wiry 6-footer is stronger than he looks and plays a lot bigger than you'd expect.
Jackson recently fielded a phone call from Duke after scoring a 24 on his ACT. He also listed Ohio State, Marquette, Memphis, Kansas, Tennessee and Kentucky, and said that he plans to wait until the spring to sign.
Tarik Black- Jackson's teammate is now a top 50 prospect with Rivals.com and might need to move up even higher. Not many big men have his combination of strength, athleticism and energy.
Javon McCrea- Not as explosive as Black, but just as physical, McCrea impressed with his ability to finish around the basket with either hand. Equally impressive were his strong and sure hands which corralled any ball in his vicinity.
Already with offers from Georgetown and UMass, McCrea is also hearing from Pittsburgh and Buffalo.
Khyle Marshall- Continuing the physical theme, Marshall is a clean up the mess/glue type player who will help a team at the next level win games.
Marshall listed offers from Auburn, Butler, Houston, Baylor, Old Dominion, Kansas State, UNC-Wilmington, South Florida and Providence and interest from South Carolina.
Trey Zeigler- The 6-foot-5 wing shot the ball from confidence from the outside and got to the rim on occasion with a sneaky first step.
Zeigler would like to cut down his list of UCLA, Michigan, Michigan State, Arizona, Arizona State, Miami and Oklahoma to three or five schools by the end of the summer. The schools in the Pac-10 are in the best position at the moment.
"I've been around the Pac-10 a lot, and I like the Pac-10," said Zeigler.
Ray McCallum- A lot of coaches would love to have a steady point guard like McCallum, and the attractiveness of his game is indicated by his school list.
McCallum noted that both Coach K and Coach Self called him earlier this week. He also listed Oklahoma, UCLA, Miami, LSU, Arizona, Michigan, Michigan State, Florida and Detroit.
McCallum added that Detroit, who is coached by his father, could certainly beat out the bigger schools to get him.
"I want to come in right away and have a big impact and not just be a program player," said McCallum. "That is the most important thing to me."
McCallum then broke down one of the intricacies of being recruited within the family with some humor.
"With Detroit, I've always wanted to play for my dad. He is the guy who taught me how to play the game. But I don't even have a car yet, so before things can get serious, he needs to get me a car."
Branden Dawson- A wing player with a physically punishing style of play, Dawson is an impressive prospect.
A life long Purdue fan who would prefer to stay close to home for college, Dawson has the Boilermakers and Indiana at the top of his list. He also named offers from UCLA and Georgetown.
Naadir Tharpe- A wiry point guard, Thorpe has an excellent feel for the game and a physical presence on the court despite his thin frame.
Boston College, Providence, Arizona and Xavier have offered and NC State and Purdue are showing interest.
Myles Mack- At 5-foot-9, Mack is a big time scoring threat.
Fordham has offered and Georgia Tech, Georgetown and Xavier are showing interest.
Myles Davis- A physical shooting guard with a solid all around game, Davis is being pursued hardest by Marist, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. Joe's and Penn State.
Matt Carlino- Like his size and shot making ability as a combo guard. He isn't going to beat you with athleticism, but he has enough bounce and court awareness to make plays.
Damien Leonard- The smooth shooting wing is finding his way with his new team the Florida Rams and looked impressive in stretches.
Leonard said the three schools recruiting him the hardest are Clemson (offer), South Carolina (offer) and Wake Forest.
Dejuan Coleman- The 6-foot-8, 250-pound freshman is pulling double duty with the 16-U Syracuse Select and 17-U New England Playaz. He moves well for his size and has an advanced post up game for a player his age. Bottom line, he is a big time prospect.
Hometown Syracuse has offered, and Georgetown, Rutgers, Oklahoma and Villanova are in the hunt early.
Kyle Anderson- At 6-foot-6 Anderson has the skills of a point guard and wants to play that position in college. The question, which he readily acknowledges, is whether or not he will be quick enough to play the position.
Right now he is hearing from Georgetown, LaSalle, Pittsburgh, Indiana and Xavier.
D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera- A power point guard with a physique ready for the college game as a freshman in high school, Smith-Rivera looked like a man against boys in a 15-U game against the Memphis YOMCA. Along with his physical plays, Smith-Rivera was also stroking it from behind the arc.