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March 19, 2004

Just A Minute With Justin Young

It's March - basketball junkies' favorite time of the year. The four day weekends consist of 12-hour days sitting behind televisions, scribbled brackets, terribly unhealthy food and possibly a few cold ones. In your time of scouring the web for scouting reports on your favorite 11 seeds, take Just A Minute with RivalsHoops' Justin Young.

IT'S A ROUNDBALL WORLD AFTER ALL:

The World rosters for the Hoop Summit were released this week and boy, will the event be loaded. Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Sebastian Telfair, Al Jefferson, LaMarcus Aldridge and others will suit up for the American squad. All five of those players are toying with the thought of going pro.

So is the World roster. And many of the international players have either been to North America for school, camps or AAU tournaments. Here is a look at some of the participants.

Andris Biedrins of Latvia will likely be a top 15 pick in the NBA Draft. The 7-footer came to the Untied States last summer and play with the DC Assault AAU program at the Big Time Tournament. He has size and potential working in his favor. Biedrins will have his hands full with the likes of Howard inside on defense.

Looking for the next Yao Ming? China's Yi Jian Lian could be. Some may remember the 7-foot-1 player from the ABCD camp two years ago. And since then his game has changed. Reports from China say that the long and lanky player with better perimeter skills than Ming is becoming a solid shooter and is developing small forward skills.

Ivan Chiriaev will finally have a chance to play in front of and against the best of the best. The 7-foot-1 Russian came to Canada nearly two years ago with the sole intention of making himself known to the powers that be in the NBA. College was never a real possibility.

Churchill Odia has been out for the good part of the season but the Montrose Christian product is one of the best kept secrets on the prep level. NBA scouts love his size and ability to run the point guard spot but with Odia's absence on the court this season, he isn't being discussed as a NBA prospect like some other preps. This event could put his talent into perspective. At any rate, Thad Matta has himself another tough Nigerian product for his system at Xavier.

Woyceck Barycz of Poland is a former Mississippi State commitment. The 6-foot-10 power forward has been playing for Benneton Treviso, the same team ex-Florida player Christian Drejer left the Gators for.

The event has been on a four-year hiatus and this year could be the best event to date. The American class is loaded with young talent and the World roster is extremely big with six players standing 6-foot-10 or taller. Don't be surprised if non-NBA players shines like UCONN bound Rudy Gay and UNC-bound J.R. Smith. The international team doesn't have a defensive stopper for these two tremendous athletes.

WHAT WILL RANDOLPH MORRIS DO?

The recruiting process for the Landmark Christian (Atlanta, Ga.) big man has been long for Georgia Tech and Kentucky fans. The McDonalds All American has been tight-lipped about who he is favoring, leaving many fans and coaches wondering what will happen.

Morris's head coach, Bryan Bartley, did give us a bit of help.

"It's definitely a signing day decision with him," Bartley said. "The reason you aren't hearing anything is because Randolph has class work and AP tests and academic things going on right now. That's what he is doing. Plus he's got a busy month ahead. So, yeah, it's a signing day decision."

And we wait some more.

KEEP YOUR EYES ON:

AAU basketball is coming very soon. Some small events are even starting this weekend and team rosters are being filled. With that, each week here in the Just A Minute column, we'll feature a trio of players to watch. Remember these names:

- 6-foot-9, 215 pound forward Uriah Hethington out of Cairo (Ga.) HS The junior shined after playing with Clemson-bound guard Cliff Hammonds in the South Georgia town of K-Ro (the natives insist it's not pronounced like the Egyptian town). Hethington has a world of potential and has improved dramatically since last summer. The lefty will play for the Atlanta Celtics this AAU season and has some big shoes to fill now that their big three are gone. Hethington has the body, size and potential to become a high major target.

- 6-foot-9, 210 pound forward Hyman Taylor out of Cardinal Gibbons HS in Florida. This time last year, Taylor was standing just over six-feet tall. Now, he's looking at 7-feet in the face. High majors are looking at him, too. Tubby Smith has been down to the Sunshine State to see the forward as have Florida and Virginia Tech. Taylor will roll with the Tallahassee Wildcats this summer.

- Jamie Skeen, 6-foot-8, 190 pound forward of North Mecklenburg HS in Charlotte, North Carolina. We will actually have a full length feature story coming on this top sophomore in the next couple of days but he's just too good to wait on. Skeen shined in the playoffs and went for 20 and 10 on a consistent basis. ACC schools are all over him. Stay tuned on this youngster.


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