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A pair of the top prospects in the Class of 2010 entertained the crowd right from the start; PG Brandon Knight (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Pinecrest) and PF Tristan Thompson (Newark, N.J./ St. Benedicts Prep) once again showed that they can compete at any level.
In a match up that was played independent of the tournament was the Hawk Kreul Challenge game. This game featured two of Florida's powerhouse programs -- Boyd Anderson out of Lauderdale Lakes and Montverde from Orlando. Class of 2010 prospect Justin Jackson, a 6-8 forward, led Montverde with 20 points and a relentless effort on the offensive glass, but it was not enough. Boyd Anderson depended on the explosive senior perimeter play of Martavious Irving and Bryan Bynes. Irving and Bynes combined for 33 points and numerous open-court highlights to beat Montverde 64-45.
Tristan Thompson PF (6-9, 215)
Junior, Newark, N.J./ St. Benedict's Prep
Thompson seems to play with more confidence and aggressiveness each time I see him. He runs the floor with extra long strides and finishes with dunks ahead, over or around defenders with his head at rim level. His defensive rebounds are just as impressive; he uses his incredible length to snatch the ball and start the fast break with a bust-out dribble. In the half court, he attacks off the dribble both ways, and in the post, he uses his quickness to perfection. Anytime he feels the defender is too close, Thompson quick spins baseline on the left block that usually results in a dunk. He also showed the ability to flash from the low post to the high post and knock down the turn around jumper. He did a great job getting his body squared to the basket. He has a seemingly unreachable left-handed jumper because of his length and elevation. Defensively, he played with his hands up and forced the offensive player to shoot over him. Also, he covered ground quickly in the lane to block shots. This extremely talented forward with be a major contributor at Texas from Day 1 with continued improvement.
Markel Starks PG (6-2, 170)
Junior, North Bathesda, Md, / Georgetown Prep, Committed to Georgetown
Starks is a lead guard who is extremely quick off the dribble. He plays with great pace and has a terrific burst of speed to go by his defender. Starks has an excellent handle. He is low, pounds the ball and he executes a variety of dribble moves. Starks uses the crossover going both ways, between the legs, hesitation and spins. He attacks and beats defensive pressure without difficulty. He can get to the rim in transition as well as in the half court and finish with great touch and body control. Starks is great at getting deep into the lane and finding an open teammate for an easy drop off pass for a layup. He can pass with either hand in traffic and loves to use the wrap-around pass in tight areas. He scores off the dribble by rejecting ball screens and with his midrange pull when he can't get all the way to the rim. His shooting range is comfortable to the arc. Starks has good form elevation release and follow-through. He also does a great job setting up his scoring moves or penetration by using pass and shot fakes to raise his defender out of position to create an advantage. Starks will need to add strength and not press or attempt to do too much because this is when he turns the ball over. He has quick hands and good lateral foot speed when defending the ball. Starks also has a good basketball IQ and displayed leadership skills.
|Tamir Jackson is one of the standouts in Rice's surprisingly deep 2009 class.|
Xavier Martin PG (5-9, 155)
Junior, Miranar, Fla. / Miramar
Martin is small but a very complete lead guard. He is cat quick. Martin pushes the ball in transition on the dribble or by passing ahead to a wing sprinting the lane. He has a low and tight handle and beats pressure with ease. Martin can get into the lane in the blink of an eye to shoot his floater or to draw and kick to an open shooter spotting up on the arc. Making the open 3 is not a problem for Martin; he elevates and shoots it with confidence. Martin is fearless and competes the entire game. He plays with great energy and pace and is the leader of his team. Martin can change speeds and set up the offense effectively. He needs to add strength but is stronger than he looks. Martin takes good care of the ball and plays major minutes every game. On defense, he is a major disrupter. He applies extreme ball pressure, has quick hands and uses great lateral foot speed to beat the offensive player to the spot.
Justin Jackson PF (6-7, 200)
Junior, Monteverde, Fla. / Montverde Academy
Jackson has continued to show steady improvement and looks to be playing with confidence. He has always played hard with great energy and now his skill has taken another step forward. Jackson can make plays off the dribble both ways. He likes to attack the baseline going to his left and his midrange jumper looks much smoother -- although he must continue to work toward extending his range. His elevation is the same, but his release and follow-through have noticeably improved. In transition, Jackson outruns other forwards for uncontested layups and can finish above the rim with authority. His passion for the game and to compete helps him be a good defensive rebound and a great offensive rebounder. He repeatedly got his hands on the ball throughout the game and the result usually was a put-back basket. Jackson is difficult to box out because he never stops moving. He can gain control of loose balls and rebounds simply because his tremendous effort and desire to want the ball. On the defensive end, he can block shots but must gain strength to have consistent success defending in the lane and learn not to crowd a live dribble which can result in him getting beat on the drive. Jackson has great upside, and if he continues to improve, his recruiting will sky rocket.
Quincy Miller PF (6-8, 190)
Sophomore, Winston Salem, NC. / Quality Education Academy
This long, thin forward has a tremendous motor. He plays with high energy and is active the entire game. He runs the floor relentlessly with extra long strides. He makes his presence felt on the offensive glass. Miller does a great job keeping the ball alive in and out of his area. He scored on tips or by rebounding and powering back up. Miller can shoot the 12-15 foot jumper off the catch in the lane or when trailing in transition when he has time and space. His shot clearly needs some work; it is flat and has a low release. At times, he wills the ball in the basket with his effort and emotional play. His lack of strength hinders him from finishing plays, but he should solve that problem as he get's older and more experienced. He also displayed great hands when he received drop-off passes created by guard penetration. Miller showed he was a good interior passer. He feed the other inside player from the high post with excellent touch on the ball. Defensively, Miller can block shots on the ball or coming from the weakside. He also uses his length in the post by putting his hands up and holding his position. Miller is a work in progress and has a great upside.
Bryan Bynes SG (6-3,170)
Senior, Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. / Boyd Anderson
Bynes can provide highlights in transition. He sprints the wing and will finish over defenders as he attacks the rim with great speed and explosiveness. Bynes is very thin and will need to add strength, but he is stronger than he looks. He is wiry and has the ability drive and slash both ways to the rim although he seems to like going left. Bynes has a nice midrange pull up jumper. He has great elevation and a smooth release. From behind the arc, Bynes can knock down the open 3 when he has his feet set, but he is still considered streaky. He is a good ball handler and decent passer. He can beat his man with a quick first step and can find the open man when he draws a crowd in the lane. His long arms and athletic ability help him keep the ball alive and get it back on the rim. Defensively, he has excellent foot speed when defending the ball and quick hands to keep the ballhandler at bay. Bynes plays with urgency and can make winning plays late in the game.
Travis Elliott PF/C (6-8, 230)
Marvin Baynham PF (6-7, 195)
• 2010 prospect SG Sam Mills (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Cardinal Gibbons) is extremely quick off the dribble. He can get to the rim at will with his crossover and inside out dribble moves. Mills does a great job using the jump stop to avoid charges. He also can drive, slash and kick. Mills is a good athlete but must work on his perimeter jumper to take his game to the next level.
• 2009 SG/PG Robert Berger (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./ Dillard) is a very well-rounded player. Berger is a good ball handler and passer, which allow him to earn time at the point although it is not his true position. He makes open 3s and works hand defending the ball. He is steady and is capable of scoring big numbers.
• Six-foot-9-inch junior Javonte Reddick (Winston Salem, N.C./ Quality Education) can rebound on both ends of the floor with his excellent length and ability to jump over or around opponents for fast break starting boards or scoring tip ins. He has a good touch in the lane as well. Reddick has great upside and is one to watch.
• Six-foot-2-inch Damien Steadman (Winston Salem, N.C./ Quality Education) is a quick off the dribble point guard. He uses a variety of dribble moves to get by his defender. He is aggressive, plays with energy and can finish at the rim with either hand with excellent body control.
• Utah signee Jeremy Olson (Suwanne, Ga./ Collins Hill) runs the floor extremely well and can finish with excellent touch. The 6-10 center keeps the ball high away from the pesky guards. He has a nice left-handed jump hook and works hard to defend the post by using his body to push the opponent out of the lane and plays with his hands up. Olson is an above average athlete and a good-looking post prospect.
• Olson's teammate 6-6 senior SF Reed Buck is a very efficient player. He can shoot the three, put the ball on the floor, finish above the rim in transition and crashes the offensive glass. A pleasant surprise and could be a sleeper.
• Deerfield Beach (Fla.) has a terrific pair of wing players in senior SF/PF 6-6 Lonnie Robinson Jr. and 2010 prospect SG/SF 6-4 James Williams. Robinson is an above the rim finisher in transition and can make the open three when set. Williams is a good shooter with three point range.
• Miramar/ Fla. senior SG Ryan Weems made his presence felt with his ability to make open 3s. He spots up in transition and reads penetration in the half court.
Reggie Rankin is a recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. He was an assistant coach at seven schools for 13 seasons, most recently at Dayton. He played at Ohio University from 1986-1990 and was an all-MAC first teamer his senior season.