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January 30, 2007
Prep stars on display at Cameron
The much anticipated Durham Hoophall Classic comes to Cameron Indoor Stadium Tuesday night, with fans being treated to a high school triple header featuring some of the top prospects in the classes of 2007, 2008, and 2009.
For Duke fans, the night will be highlighted by appearances from 2007 signees Nolan Smith and Taylor King in addition to 2007 prospect Patrick Patterson.
But the talent that will be on display goes far deeper than just that Blue Devil related trio.
Game 1-Southern (NC) vs. Riverside (NC)
A local matchup starts the evening with future Miami Hurricane Julian Gamble highlighting the Southern roster.
The 6-9, 240 pound power forward committed to the Hurricanes back in August and signed in the early period. He is ranked by Rivals.com as the fourth best 2007 prospect in North Carolina.
Doors open at 4:30 for the opening game.
Game 2-Oak Hill Academy (VA) vs. Mater Dei (CA)
King's Mater Dei Monarchs face a stiff challenge against Smith's Oak Hill Warriors in the evening's middle game.
Oak Hill is riding a four game winning streak since suffering its only defeat of the season to Chicago Simeon, and the Warriors' 26-1 record is the product of the most star studded roster in the country.
Joining Smith are Alex Legion, Julian Vaughn, Brandon Jennings, and Howard Thompkins, all of whom are high major college basketball talents.
Mater Dei is not exactly a one man show either though, and the Monarchs could give Oak Hill a stern test, particularly if point guard Kamyron Brown plays well.
The future Oregon Duck is a classic drive and dish point guard who excels at getting the ball in King's hands in scoring positions.
Brown also has an attractive option in the post to throw the ball to in 7-1 big man Alex Jacobson, who is bound for Arizona, plus class of 2009 twin stars David Wear and Travis Wear, who each stand 6-9 and weigh about 200 pounds.
The Monarchs enter the game sporting a 22-1 record, with their lone loss coming at the Orange Holiday Classic to Artesia, when Mater Dei was on the short end of a 59-58 score.
King leads Mater Dei in scoring at 28.1 points per game and is also the team's leading rebounder with 11.7 boards per game.
While no other Monarch averages double figures in scoring, the Wear twins, Brown, and Jacobson are all capable of putting the ball in the basket.
Brown is the catalyst, averaging nearly 10 assists per contest.
Smith leads the Warriors with a nearly 22 points per game average, as he along with Jennings and Legion form a very potent backcourt.
Jennings is the top point guard in the class of 2008 and is verbally committed to Southern Cal, while Legion is a senior who will be suiting up for former Duke star Tommy Amaker at Michigan next year.
Game 3-Huntington (WV) vs. Artesia (CA)
The nightcap won't be quite as star studded as was originally planned, as Huntington's O.J. Mayo is expected to be suspended for the game, along with five Huntington reserves, after Mayo was ejected from the Highlanders' last contest thanks to two technical fouls and a controversial bumping of an official.
The five reserves were deemed to have left the bench during the on court altercation.
The six suspended Highlanders could still be available for action if a judge grants an injunction, that according to the Huntington Herald-Dispatch has already been filed by the five reserves and could be filed by Mayo Tuesday morning.
With or without Mayo, Huntington still has a formidable roster, but facing Artesia would be a major uphill battle without Mayo, but even with him the Highlanders would have a huge test against the Pioneers.
Artesia boasts three of the best players in the country led by top sophomore Renardo Sidney, who enters the game averaging 17.4 points and 9.8 rebounds.
Shooting guard James Harden, an Arizona State signee, is a five star senior who leads the Pioneers in scoring at 18.4 points per game.
2008 Southern Cal commit Malik Story adds another potent weapon to the Artesia backcourt. The future Trojan leads the Pioneers in assists.
If the Highlanders do play without Mayo, they will need huge nights from Patterson as well as guard Chris Early, who often gets overshadowed by his more publicized teammates. The 6-6, 210 pounder has signed with Oklahoma.
Huntington will have very little depth if all of the suspensions are held up, so it will be key for the Highlanders, particularly Patterson and Early, to stay out of foul trouble.