Commentary

Down to four at AAU Nationals

Adolphus Washington is a force on the hardwood, Jarnell Stokes leads Memphis YOMCA

Updated: August 1, 2011, 11:47 AM ET
By John Stovall | ESPN Recruiting

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Sunday was the final day of the open period for college coaches, so they will not be able to see the finals of the under-17 AAU Nationals. We are down to the final four -- Alabama Challenge, All-Ohio Red, Chris Paul's CP3 All Stars (North Carolina) and Memphis YOMCA. The champion will be crowned on Monday.

Standout players

Adolphus Washington (Cincinnati/Robert A. Taft)
2012, PF, 6-foot-4, 240 pounds
He is also a big-time football player, but at AAU Nationals he was an undersized insider who used his big body, fantastic instincts, quick feet and great hands to score inside and grab rebounds versus opponents who were often five or six inches taller. Washington is a great finisher inside and has a strong enough handle to be able to dribble-drive to the basket versus other post players. Washington is good enough to be an impact player immediately at the mid-major level if he were to choose to play basketball, in addition to football, in college.

[+] EnlargeJarnell Stokes
Courtesy Andrew ShurtleffJarnell Stokes is the No. 18 overall player in the 2012 class.

Jarnell Stokes (Memphis/Oak Hill)
2012, PF, 6-7, 240 pounds
Stokes is a very productive inside bully who has great hands and feet to score on the block. He has a solid touch and is a fine shooter out to 15 or 17 feet. Stokes has big shoulders and arms, and uses his girth to gain position on the block and give his teammates angles to make entry passes for easy finishes in the paint. Stokes is a top-level talent and one of the best post prospects in the class. He led Memphis YOMCA to the final four of the U-17 AAU Nationals.

Surprise players

Anthony Bowers and Parris Ridgeway-Higgs (Newark, Del./Hodgson Vocational Tech)
2012, PGs
Bowers and Ridgeway-Higgs are practically twins on the court. They are both tough scoring points guards who live in the lane on offense. They attend the same high school and have very similar games. They were unstoppable in their double-overtime defeat of Houston Hoops in the consolation bracket. The super-quick guards beat their men off the dribble time after time and finished at the rim. They combined for over 40 points and should be priority recruits for many mid-major programs in the Northeast.

Isaiah Johnson (Cincinnati/Walnut Hills)
2013, C/PF, 6-7, 270 pounds
Johnson is a big-bodied insider who has really improved in the past year. He has soft hands and a soft touch in the paint. He needs to improve his conditioning but he has very good tools. He can score in the paint and is a solid rebounder in his area. Defensively, he clogs the lane with his wide body and long arms. He piqued the interest of many midwestern mid-major programs with his play in Orlando.

Notes

• The Houston Hoops basketball program is known for its great guards with L.J. Rose (Houston/Westbury Christian), J-Mychal Reese (Bryan, Texas/Bryan) and Rasheed Sulaimon (Houston/Strake Jesuit). There is also a mid-major steal on their squad in 6-foot-4 combo guard Damyeon Dotson (Houston/Yates). Dotson is athletic and skilled, and should be an impact player at some lucky mid-major school.

• Arthur Cook, a 6-7 combo forward who plays on the Cleveland-based Friends 4 Life program, is a solid Division I prospect. However, what makes Cook unusual is that he was 6-4 during this past high school season. He has grown three inches since the end of the season and has turned himself into a Division-I prospect.

John Stovall, a recruiting coordinator, has worked as director of scouting for Prep Spotlight Scouting Service and magazine for 15 years.