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August 1, 2008

Vegas events top surprises

MORE: Vegas events top performers: 2009 class | 2010 class | Rivals.com Hoops Tour

One of the joys of scouting the Las Vegas tournaments in July is the emergence of lesser known prospects. No prospect made a bigger impression this year than the undersized, big scoring guard Raymond Penn.

Vegas Events Top Surprises
Raymond Penn, PG, Houston Superstars
Talk about making a statement. How about leading the Reebok Summer Championships with an astounding 35.8 ppg? Penn came into the tournament with three scholarship offers and no national ranking. Now the offers will multiply and a four-star ranking awaits.

Compact, strong and quick, Penn rained long jumpers and slashed to the basket and was fearless against contact at the basket. Yes, he is only 5 feet 9, but can he ever score big.

Jason Calliste, SG, Grassroots Canada
Every championship team needs players to make big shots and come up big on defense. Calliste carried a great deal of this load for Grassroots Canada on its way to the adidas Super 64 championship.

Whether off the catch or off the bounce, Calliste hit a ton of three-pointers. Most importantly, he hit many of these shots under pressurized circumstances. He also had the key defensive play in a late comeback against Seattle Rotary Select in the quarterfinals.

Gerardo Suero, SG, Upstate Basketball Club
One year removed from his native Dominican Republic, Suero has a number of schools waiting to see if he can get through the NCAA Clearinghouse.

A lanky, athletic wing slasher, Suero carved up defenses with his dribble penetration and tough shot-making ability to the tune of 23.4 ppg as the No. 5 scorer in the Reebok Summer Championships. He also passed the ball with savvy and hit outside jumpers when the defense slacked off

Vander Joaquim, PF, Pump N Run Elite
We knew that Joaquim was an intriguing prospect with a great deal of potential who was adjusting to the strength and speed of the American game.

During the adidas Super 64 Joaquim proved he is adjusting quite well. He did a nice job scoring in the post and rebounding, but what really caught us by surprise was how well he shot the ball from the 17-foot range. Joaquim should give Nebraska some quality minutes in the Big 12.

Jordan Williams, PF, New England Playaz
Being quite frank during a Rivals.com interview during the adidas Super 64, Williams admitted that he just wasn't that good during the spring. What a difference a summer can make.

Now Williams is being trailed by ACC and Big East coaches as the most productive post player for the New England Playaz. He is one of those post players who you expect a double-double from whenever he hits the court.

Angus Brandt, PF, Chicago Elite
When you cause a ruckus amongst the coaches after just arriving in the States from Australia a month ago, you certainly deserve a mention as a top surprise.

Brandt is a hard-working post with a strong understanding of the game. He understands what he can and can't do and thrive on avoiding the negative play and while still producing at a high level.

MORE: Vegas events top performers: 2009 class | 2010 class | Rivals.com Hoops Tour

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