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May 1, 2006

Top performers at King James Classic

The inaugural King James Classic was loaded with talented prospects looking to make a name for themselves. Names like Tyreke Evans, Jeff Jones, Bill Walker, Herb Pope, Evan Turner, Donte Green and Corperryale Harris all turned in solid performances.

But National Basketball Analyst Jerry Meyer saw five players that stood out from the rest. Here are the top five performers Meyer scouted and with a breakdown of each.

O.J. Mayo, Cincinnati North College Hill
Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 210 pounds
College choice: Undecided
With analysts looking to replace O.J. Mayo as the No. 1 player in his class, Mayo once again demonstrated why he is without a doubt the top prospect in the 2007 class.

For starters, Mayo has no weakness on the court. He is a flawless ball handler who can make any pass, he can make all the shots from all the spots and he defends and rebounds at a high level.

Top off his basketball prowess off with a winners mentality and a penchant for coming through in the clutch. Well on his way to being a Chauncey Billups type NBA point guard, Mayo is the only prep player out there with the capability of stopping himself.
Click here for video of Mayo in action

Derrick Rose, Chicago (Ill.) Simeon
Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 185 pounds
College choice: Undecided
Speaking of a winning mentality, Derrick Rose is an elite level talent with a consummate point guard mentality.

Rose does what every truly great player does. He makes his teammates better. In fact, it is obvious that his teammates love playing with him because he creates scoring opportunities for them and does not over dribble.

With NBA point guard size and speed, Rose extends to the rim and finishes as well as any guard on the circuit. And like Mayo, he defends and rebounds at a high level. The consistency of his outside jumper and the need to refine his mid-range shots are his two mild weaknesses.
Click here for video of Rose in action

Austin Freeman, Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 185 pounds
College choice: Georgetown
With an abundance of momentum coming into the King James Classic, Austin Freeman continued to dominate with his stellar play.

On opening night, he lit up the D-One Greyhounds with 30 points, making his first eight shots after arriving to the game late.

As a shooting guard, Freeman has deceptive explosiveness, a pure shooting stroke and point guard handles. With impeccable body control, Freeman is a master at improvising in the mid-range and making difficult finishes, even with his left hand. He also has a patented hop back three-pointer.

As good as Freeman is offensively, the one concern about his game is his lateral quickness defensively.
Click here for video of Freeman in action

Kalin Lucas, Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary's Prep
Height: 6-foot-0
Weight: 165 pounds
College choice: Michigan State
Kalin Lucas just might have established himself as the third best point guard in the 2007 class behind Mayo and Rose.

Lucas does not have the size of the two afore mentioned point guards, but he does have their same winning mentality and the ability to get the ball in players' hands at the right time.

When he is not pushing the ball up the court and creating scoring opportunities, Lucas is dicing up opponents coming off the high ball screen. He has the proper balance of patience and speed when navigating the screen and very quickly turns the corner with a head of steam to the basket. Once he gets in the mid-range pocket, he has a variety of floaters and runners for scoring over interior defenders.

Johnny Flynn, Niagara Falls (N.Y.)
Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 170 pounds
College choice: Syracuse
Johnny Flynn is a smaller point guard like Lucas, but his passing ability and pure shooting stroke have him knocking on the door for a top five point guard ranking.

Not as explosive on the dribble as the very top point guards in the class, Flynn does have the advantage, however, as a pure shooter. He also has a quick first step off the shot fake and off the hesitation dribble coming off a ball screen. In the mid-range and from the arc, Flynn has a lightning quick pull up jumper.

As a passer, Flynn's strength is getting into the lane and kicking the ball out for the three. Going to the basket, Flynn has a knack for the interior pass, but sometimes gets caught in the air if the passing lane doesn't open.

The most telling sign of Flynn's ability is the fact that he led his underdog GC Ballers squad all the way to the semifinals.

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