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April 7, 2012

Grind Session showcases Mid-Atlantic talent


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Under Armour gathered some of the top talent from North Carolina to New York for the first of its 2012 Grind Sessions. A camp setting with a focus on skill first and then competition, it was a great place to see which kids wanted to work. Established guys such as Rysheed Jordan were putting in work while lesser-known prospects such as 2014's Virginia commitment B.J. Stith were busy building their reputations.

Jordan continues to impress

Last summer, Rysheed Jordan emerged on the national scene as a potential big-time point guard prospect in the class of 2013. Friday, the Philadelphia (Pa.) Vaux product proved that he's no fluke.

Outside of the current number one overall player in the 2013 Rivals150 -- Andrew Harrison -- there isn't a point guard in the country with a better blend of size, athleticism and ability to create. On top of that, Jordan is a competitor and it's clear that kids enjoy playing with him.

Jordan's strength is using his size and speed to get into the lane where he initiates contact and makes plays. Unselfish in the halfcourt and transition, Jordan can also score between the rim and mid-range and is working hard to upgrade his shooting from deep.

Already ranked number 25 in the 2013 Rivals150, Jordan is trending up and has a serious list of suitors that includes the likes of Temple, La Salle, Drexel, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Alabama, Virginia, Villanova, Seton Hall, Penn State and Maryland.

According to Jordan, the Terrapins have been coming at him the hardest and he will definitely give them an official visit. Jordan also mentioned that he's looking to set up an unofficial visit to Penn State in the near future.

Stith emerges in D.C.

When B.J. Stith makes his way to Charlottesville to play for Tony Bennett in a few years, he'll be following in the footsteps of his father Bryant Stith. The elder Stith didn't just play at UVA, though, he had a legendary career and is the school's all-time leading scorer.

It's totally unreasonable to expect that the younger Stith -- a 6-foot-5 sophomore wing at Lawrenceville (Va.) Brunswick -- but it's becoming quite clear that he's taking the steps towards being a pretty fine player himself.

Blessed with an ideal basketball frame, good athleticism and a high level of skill, Stith made waves all day at the Grind Session. He looked polished and worked hard during skill sessions and then during games he shot the ball extremely well and proved to be an excellent all-around player.

A four-star prospect, Stith showed signs of taking his game to a new level and he's going to be adding strength and even more athleticism down the road. For now, he's a little bit more of a small forward than a shooting guard but he does appear to be well on his way to being a full time two and Virginia fans should be quite excited about his commitment.

Morman making noise

Around his hometown of Washington D.C., people know all about 6-foot-4 junior shooting guard DeShaun Morman. He had a huge season at Coolidge High and is now on his way to building a more far-reaching reputation.

With the Grind Session taking place at his high school, Morman was both comfortable with his surroundings and looking to show whose house it was.

A physical southpaw with deep range, Morman has all of the makings of an explosive wing scorer. He can create space with the dribble, is a big-time athlete and he scores from all three levels.

According to Morman, he's heard from UMass, Miami, N.C. State and feels that he has an offer from Virginia. A potential four-star prospect, Morman will run with the Virginia Assault this summer.

More notes and school lists

Dwayne Morgan backed up his status as a high four-star prospect in the class of 2014. The Baltimore (Md.) City College has great size and length for a wing and a good skill base. Syracuse, Clemson, Maryland, West Virginia, George Mason are all involved while UNLV has offered. Morgan mentioned that he's trying to set up and unofficial visit to Texas. He'll run with Baltimore's Finest this summer.

One of the day's better finds was 6-foot-3 guard Wade Baldwin. A sophomore at Somerville (N.J.) Immaculata, he blends skill, strength and athleticism into a well developed package on the offensive end. A good student, he already has offers from Northwestern (where he recently visited)and Iona. Virginia Tech, Georgetown, Syracuse, Rutgers, Seton Hall and Richmond are among those expressing interest. After the Grind Session, Baldwin stopped by Georgetown with 2015 big man Karl Towns and the duo will hit Seton Hall this weekend as well.

Physical 6-foot-4 guard Stanford Robinson played like a beast all day. He handled the ball, attacked and stroked just enough jumpers to keep defenders honest. The 2013 Rivals150 member reports offers from Marquette, Villanova, N.C. State, Maryland and says that he has interest from most of the ACC and Big East, while Texas has recently reached out.

Legendary Jersey City (N.J.) St. Anthony will no doubt have to adjust to the loss of Kyle Anderson next year but they'll return plenty of firepower in their backcourt. A 6-foot-3 junior, Rivals150 member Hallice Cooke can shoot, handle and is a versatile guy who can ping pong between the point and two. Cooke says that VCU, St. Joseph's and Virginia Tech are interested while he has offers from the Rams, South Florida, Seton Hall, Richmond and Rhode Island. Teammate Josh Brown is a tough shooting guard who has already committed to Temple. The 6-foot-3 Brown isn't currently ranked, but he's making a strong case for inclusion in the 2013 Rivals150 when it gets updated.

According to those who brought him to the Grind Session, eighth grader Thon Maker of Metairie (La.) Country Day just turned 15. While that makes him a little old for his class, it doesn't take away from the significant potential of the 6-foot-11 big man from Australia by the way of the Sudan. Among a good-looking group of young bigs he was the most fluid, skilled, competitive and polished player. He stroked jumpers off the pick and roll, blocked shots and finished in transition. He's still painfully thin so much of his future will depend on how well he adds bulk, but it's clear that he's one who will have to be watched closely down the road.

Twin brothers Caleb Martin and Cody Martin of Mocksville (N.C.) Davie are very intriguing prospects. Each twin is in the 6-6 range, has some range on his shot, is a good athlete and has a basketball body. Both make things look pretty easy to the point that it almost appears as if they aren't always going all out. Developing their game off the dribble will be important but each has four-star potential at this point.

Class of 2013 Rivals150 member Roddy Peters is as crafty as they come. The Suitland (Md.) High product can play the one or the two, scores off the bounce and plays the game similar to a young Sam Cassell in terms of style. High-majors will track him closely with the DC Assault this summer.

Whatever college lands Rondae Jefferson is landing a winner. The four-star small-forward from Chester (Pa.) led his high school team to a state championship as a junior and he's been a participant in USA Basketball activities. The 6-foot-7 wing brings his lunch pail to work and is a grinder on both ends. He's working on his overall perimeter skill and is all business when he steps on the floor.

Watching 2014 shooting guard Romelo Trimble, it's hard not to see elements of a young Austin Freeman's game. A strong kid, he's more skill guy than athlete and is a smart player on the offensive end. His footwork is good, he can shoot the ball and he's patient with his decision making. Loved seeing him give effort on each end of the floor and during drills.

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