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July 24, 2006
adidas Super 64: Sunday's action
LAS VEGAS, NEV. - Things continued to roll at Centennial High School in the adidas Super 64 tournament. Rivals.com spent a second day at the three stripes tournament and walked away impressed with the play of a number of guards.
SUNDAY'S TOP DOGS
Johnny Flynn is playing like a man in another world lately. The future Syracuse point guard would probably tell you that his 18 points and stabilizing presence for his GC Ballers club was not his best effort in the 68-64 evening win. He is probably right. There are teams out there that don't want to see him get better as the tournament goes along either. Flynn is one of the fastest players in the country and can put the brakes on in a blink for a pull up jumper and even a vertical dunk. He's crazy athletic and a pure competitor.
B.J. Holmes was the offensive spark for the T-Mac All-Stars to the tune of 21 points and stepped it up when J'Covan Brown down early to injury and fellow Hastings HS teammate Larry Davis sat out with a turned ankle. Holmes fly up and down the floor and played a strong game against a tough and physical GC Ballers squad.
A voice from the stands said, "Austin Freeman is a scorer supreme." So true. When it comes to getting points, there are few better in the class of 2007 than the future Georgetown Hoya. Freeman can score with the best of them. He led D.C. Assault with 19 against the Nashville Celtics and just made it look easy.
Between Julian Vaughn and Michael Beasley, there isn't a tougher 1-2 punch inside the paint at the adidas Super 64. The D.C. Assault tandem is big, versatile and looking for a challenge inside the paint.
Beasley has an uncanny ability to recognize a mismatch and exploit it right away. He can burn you inside and outside and everywhere in between. Although he had a rather sluggish 15 points, you better believe he has something still up his sleeve later in the tournament. He always does.
Vaughn had it working in the post, showing off good footwork against other big bodies and scoring both to his right and left side. His shooting touch, one of his better basketball traits, was in true form, as he buried a three-pointer and later on a 12 foot jumper from a pick and roll.
Is he a mid-major or a high-major? That question seemed to follow Nashville, Tenn., point guard Gerald Robinson around. So what does the 6-foot class of 2007 prospect do? He comes out and plays like a guy that wants to prove that he is a high-major guy.
Robinson blazed right through the D.C. Assault defense and knifed his way into the lane whenever and however he wanted. If he didn't score at the rim, Robinson found his teammates and set them up for good scores at the basket. Robinson kept his team in the game for 28 minutes with one of the most talented teams in the country. There is something to be said for that.
Oftentimes when players de-commit from a school, they play a little more frantic and outthink themselves in the flow of the game. Joey Rodriguez hasn't done that though. The former UMass pledge was sensational for the Florida Rams in a huge 92-81 win over the Playaz.
Rodriguez didn't miss a shot in the first half, scoring 19 of his game high 28 points in the process. Over the course of the first two days of the tournament, Rodriguez has been one of the top floor generals at adidas. He mixes scoring, passing and leadership together nicely and continues to play like a guy with something to prove.
Chris Smith was the only real offensive force for the Playaz, scoring 28 points. J.R.'s little brother is having a strong go round on the AAU circuit this year, most notably in July. Like his older NBA brother, Smith can knock it down from deep, way deep sometimes, and really stretches the defense. Athletically, he isn't ripping down the rims quite like J.R. does, but who does anyways. Smith, a class of 2007 prospect, is playing himself into some high-major looks. His recruitment primarly had the mid-majors but his scoring touch and shooting range is making people look a little longer than before.
There are players and there are prospects. Kenneth Kadji, a 6-foot-10, 230-pound big man from the Florida Rams/IMG Academy, is the later. The class of 2008 prospect will be a guy to watch develop into a big time player. Kadji, a native of France, will show flashes of brilliance but as oftentimes the case with AAU basketball, guard play will take over and the big guys don't have a lot of touches. There is a high-major guy inside of Kadji's body. And here is a kernel of knowledge about him: he works out with Joakim Noah every once in a while. There was a high-major guy inside of Noah at this stage of the game, too.
Lavoy Allen of Team Philly isn't a sexy prospect. He doesn't sprint up and down the floor and he doesn't fly above the rim but what he does do well is rebound, score inside and uses his big 6-foot-9, 230-pound body well. There is a good college player inside of him. He muscled people around for 23 points and 12 rebounds in a blow out win on Sunday afternoon. Allen is one of the more under appreciated big men in his class. He deserves a little ink for his strong Sunday play.
Oscar Bellfield, a 6-foot-3 scoring guard for the L.A. Stars, made a good impression with 23 points in a big win over the Midwest Storm. The class of 2008 prospect scored from the wing time and time again and put the ball on the floor and scored at the rack.
Julian Vaughn said he is drawing closer to making a decision. The Oak Hill bound big man said he could make his decision by late August, early September. Florida State, Pitt, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Kentucky are looking like players in his recruitment.
Joey Rodriguez said he has heard from Providence and Central Florida since re-opening his recruitment.
Lavoy Allen said LSU, Oklahoma and George Mason have jumped into the mix for his services. They join Rutgers, Temple, St. Joe's, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Providence. All have offered says his AAU coach Lonnie Lowry.
Florida, Florida State, Memphis, Kansas State, Georgia Tech, LSU, USC, UCLA and Xavier have all shown an interest in Kenneth Kadji, one of the more intriguing big men from the class of 2008.
Since playing well at the adidas Superstar camp, Ray Shipman said he has heard from Tennessee, Stanford, Wake Forest, UConn and Cincinnati as well as the usual suspects of LSU, Georgia Tech and the Florida schools - UF, FSU and Miami.
ALL EYES ON ME
Bob Huggins stayed over from watching Michael Beasley and took a look at the Florida Rams squad, notably Ray Shipman and Kenneth Kadji. Gerald Robinson had a host of mid-majors watching. The only high-major head coach taking a look was Virginia's Dave Leitao.
St. Joe's Phil Martelli caught a game of Lavoy Allen and Team Philly. Skip Prosser was sitting baseline to see Seattle guard Venoy Overton. Chase Simon of the Michigan Mustangs had Bo Ryan of Wisconsin, Jerry Wainwright of DePaul and an assistant from Dayton amongst others watching on in a tough overtime loss to St. Louis Gateway.
Scott Drew of Baylor took a peek at Louisiana guard Marcus Simmons. The entire Syracuse staff caught Johnny Flynn in the night cap.
ODDS & ENDS
Jamar Samuels of the D.C. Assault is reclassifying to 2008 and will decide on a prep school in August.
We weren't there but apparently Travis Releford went for 33 points against the Juice All-Stars. Chicago scorer Mustapha Farrakhan put up 29 points against D.C. Assault's 16 and under team. Justin Holiday scored 26 points in a big win against DTA Wisconsin.