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June 19, 2006

NIKE Hoop Jamboree standouts

130 of the top underclassmen in the country descended upon the St. Louis University campus last week for the NIKE Hoop Jamboree. Over a 48 hour time period, Rivals.com scouted the field. Here is a look at 40 of the top prospect spotted at the camp, including Travis Releford, one of the top guard prospects in the class of 2008.

Top 2008 guard prospects:

Travis Releford- plays under control and goes either direction well. Can shoot it off the catch and the dribble. Was not explosive, but he is coming off an injury. Didn't handle the ball like a point guard.

Xavier Howard- athletic guard brings up memories of former Colorado prep player Sean Ogirri. Plays with solid instincts as a rebounder and defender. Also plays with a set up mentality, but is fully capable of scoring.

Andre Jones- did a lot of everything. Legitimate combo guard who can get his own shot and create for his teammates. Will round out his game once he gets stronger.

Scott Suggs- Silky smooth guard who can create space and knock down shots. Has the tools to be a rebounder once he gets stronger.

Matt Gatens- Well built Iowa commitment plays strong with the ball. Scored off the dribble better than he did off the catch. Also defends and rebounds.

Nick Williams- well built shooting guard who lets the game come to him. A multidimensional player who will have high-majors watching him closely.

Rotnei Clarke- absolutely shot the eyes out of the ball. Has to be one of the better shooters out there. Not just one dimensional in that he got into the lane with the ball and made good things happen. A high-major prospect despite his size, but he will struggle to defend bigger and better athletes.

Michael Harthun- has good athleticism and has an extremely quick pull up off the dribble. Can rebound and defend. Might be more of a shooting guard than a point guard.

Top 2008 forward prospects:

Anthony Jones- effectively scored with a turn around jumper in the post. He was difficult to deal with on the glass when he rebounded with passion. Has the feet and length to defend either forward position.

Troy Gillenwater- not an explosive athlete, but he does have combo forward skills with the ball and is not afraid to grind it out around the basket where his exceptional wing span makes a difference. Gillenwater showed that he is more than just a back to the basket player.

JaMychal Green- certainly looks the part but didn't consistently produce in game action. With his size and athleticism, he also has decent skills with the ball. He just needs to refine his skills and improve his decision making on the court.

Top 2008 post prospects:

Michael Dunigan- he scored around 20 points in the one game we watched. Looks like a prospect who is just beginning to hit his stride. He blocked a number of shots, had a fair share of tip ins and scored with post moves. Runs the floor and is quite athletic.

Kenny Frease- scored with an array of post moves to either shoulder. He was very poised and decisive with the ball. Also scored with jump shots from behind the arc and in the mid-range. More explosive around the basket, Frease needs to improve his foot speed and quickness to be an elite prospect.

Henry Sims- still a little raw around the edges, Sims continues to improve. He scored with both a quick turn around jumper and jump hook to his left shoulder. Battled on the boards.

Phillip Juric- Not afraid to mix it up around the basket, Juric primarily impacted the game with his rebounding and shot blocking. He has good feet, runs the floor well and can score off post moves to his left shoulder. He will only get better as he gains confidence, learns to play with his hands higher and gets stronger with the ball.

Ty Walker- raw offensively, he impacted the game in a big way with his shot blocking and ability to run the court. Shoots a pretty good jump shot and has some touch around the basket. He just needs to develop strength and poise with the basketball. Walker has a nice upside.

John Brandenburg- similar to Walker, Brandenburg plays with great energy and seems to always be around the ball. He can get into a rush with the ball and put himself in awkward situations when trying to score, however. His game still needs a lot of refinement.

Tony Woods- Not much scoring range, but Woods was a factor around the basket with his leaping ability.

Top 2009 guard prospects:

Leslie McDonald- Just a terrific combo guard prospect, McDonald is smooth with the ball and also capable of an explosive burst to the basket. He has a knack for coming up with the basketball with his instinctive and active style of play. Plays a team oriented style, and was one of the very best prospects in the camp.

Lorenzo Brown- Brown is another smooth combo guard like McDonald. He is very good with either hand and is an excellent slasher and finisher. Brown also did a fine job of playing in the flow and finding open teammates.

Durand Scott- Wiry New York guard has a knack for finishing the tough shots. He has a gift for finding and exploiting the cracks in the defense. Doesn't have a pretty outside jumper, but he knocked them down in St. Louis. Crafty player with a competitive spirit.

Leshon Edwards- A multi-skilled shooting guard, Edwards played with energy and a competitive spirit. He did a lot of things well and was a presence on the court.

Tommy Mason-Griffin- The powerfully built combo guard had the ball in his hands a lot more than when he plays alongside Jai Lucas on the Houston Hoops 17-under squad. A terrific mid-range scorer and defender, Mason-Griffin does have room to grow as a distributor of the ball.

Desmar Jackson- A slashing guard with size, Jackson scored in the mid-range and at the basket. Jackson demonstrated an advanced feel for the game and played under control.

GJ Vilarino- Such a smooth player with the ball, Viarino is a lefty who knows how to get into the cracks of the defense and get rid of the ball early to shooters. He has a great instinct as a penetrate and kick playmaker. His shot does need work, but he hit enough jumpers to keep the defense honest.

Top 2009 forward prospects:

Demarcus Cousins- The most gifted prospect at the camp as a near 6-foot-10 player with advanced skills with the ball. Cousins, however, often did very little with his talent. Quick to get frustrated, he tended to slack on defense and only play with energy on offense when the ball was right in front of him. When he did turn it on, however, Cousins was unstoppable.

Jordan Hamilton- As a slashing point forward, Hamilton is loaded with ability. He continually got to the basket and was very good in the open court after snagging defensive rebounds. He played with a lot of energy, but did tend to force his own shot when he could have distributed the ball for a better look.

Ferrakohn Hall- A long, multidimensional forward, Hall has the tools of a high-major wing. The skill base is there. He just needs to refine his skills with the ball and improve his shooting range.

Frank Otis- Already with a high-major body, Otis displayed some nice perimeter skills, handling the ball in the open court and making good decisions in the scoring area. A strong defender and rebounder, Otis does need to improve his shooting range. He has the makings of a powerful combo forward.

Terrell Vinson- A versatile combo forward prospect, Vinson showed the ability to come off screens and score as well as create his own shot. Also has the motor and length to defend and rebound.

Isaiah Armwood- Long and athletic, Armwood caused a lot of disruption with his slashing and active style of play. He showed some nice skills with the ball. Still very much in need of strength, Armwood has an intriguing upside.

Brock Osweiler- The Gonzaga commitment is a skilled combo forward with the strength and skill to make plays with the basketball. Not overly athletic, Osweiler has the basketball IQ and skill package to succeed against better athletes.

Jay Thames- A smooth athlete with shooting touch, Thames is an inside outside threat. He looked good shooting his turnaround jumper from the mid-post. He does need to get stronger and tougher as a defender and rebounder, but his shooting touch and size are quiet intriguing.

Top 2009 post prospects:

DaShonte Riley- Playing with as much length as any player at the camp, Riley is just oozing with potential. He has a developing low post game and a jump hook, and he is aggressive defensively and on the boards. Look for big things out of Riley.

Kyle Hardrick- One of the more dominant post players at the camp, Hardrick's game is beginning to take shape. He is gaining a taste for throwing his well developed body around, yet is also very poised with the ball in the low post. He has a well rounded game for a power forward.

Alex Oriakhi- On his way to having a big time physique, Oriakhi is quick to the ball off the glass and can score in the post. He does need to sharpen his handling and passing skills facing the basket.

Collin Reddick- This hardworking and still growing post player is an extremely aggressive rebounder. Reddick also has the ability to score with his back to the basket. His game still needs a good deal of refinement, but he appears to have the bounciness, skill base and mentality to achieve his high upside.

Keith Gallon- This wide body with an impressive wingspan, had his way with Demarcus Cousins in their match up. Despite his poor conditioning, Gallon was quick off the floor to dunk. He also has great hands, solid posting skills and smooth footwork on the block. His lack of conditioning showed up more in transition and on defense than it did on offense.

Top 2010 prospects:

Jeremy Tyler- Long and aggressive, Tyler has the tools to be a great player one day. Agile around the basket, he is always able to get a shot off, both to the betterment and detriment of his team. As he develops, Tyler will learn to slow down with the ball and pass out of the double team. But it is quite a special thing to see a player at his age have the talent and aggressiveness to be a potent low post scorer.

Tony Chennault- Quite a polished point guard prospect for a rising freshman, Chennault is both strong and quick with the basketball. He showed high level instincts on the defensive side of the ball and as a distributor on offense. Defended the point of attack aggressively and showed the capability to score when he wanted to.

Dakota Euton- An aggressive, blue collar style player, Euton did not back down against the older competition. He is skilled with the ball and physical around the basket. Lacks athleticism and probably has limited upside, but he definitely was produced in St. Louis.


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