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Saturday, July 25, 2009
Stars align at AAU Super Showcase

By Chris Lawlor
ESPNRISE.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Reggie Bullock knows the ins and outs of All-Ohio Red, considered the nation's top club team on the summer circuit.

Reggie Bullock
Reggie Bullock and CP3 are hoping to stop All-Ohio Red in the AAU Super Showcase.

Bullock, a 6-foot-7 rising senior from Kinston (N.C.) High, is the main cog for CP3 All-Stars of Greensboro, N.C. To stop the Big Red Machine, teams must get the "big man in foul trouble."

The big man is Ohio State-bound center Jared Sullinger, who has enjoyed a fruitful summer, stamping himself as a clear-cut favorite as national player of the year in 2010. But Bullock, the No. 14-rated player in the ESPNU 100, isn't backing down.

"You have to attack the boards and play each possession," said Bullock, who makes his ESPNU debut Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET) against All-Ohio Red at the AAU Super Showcase U17 presented by Champion from the Milk House.

The All-Ohio Red-CP3 contest is one of three made-for-TV matchups from Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex as part of the ESPN RISE Games presented by Target. The fourth game is the AAU Super Showcase final, Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU).

Here's a closer look at the three known matchups on ESPNU.

Sunday

Baltimore Elite vs. Team Final (5:15 p.m. ET)

Baltimore Elite: The Maryland club is led by Memphis-bound Will Barton (No. 12 prospect in Class of 2010), C.J. Fair (No. 10 power forward by ESPNU) and 6-11 center Baye Moussa Keita of Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), both of whom will sign with Syracuse, and Xavier-bound Jordan Latham (No. 18 power forward).

Team Final: The Philadelphia squad features the nation's top-ranked junior, 6-7 Michael Gilchrist of St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.). Gilchrist was named the most promising prospect at the NBA Players Camp in June. Villanova-bound Markus Kennedy (No. 16 power forward), and Dion Waiters (No. 5 shooting guard), a Syracuse recruit, are the main talent.

Analysis: Team Final has enjoyed a super summer, usually in the mix for tournament titles. Gilchrist is clearly the top junior, but 6-9 Rakeem Christmas (No. 2 power forward in the ESPNU 60) is an important player inside. Tyreek Duren, a 6-foot point guard from Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia) dictates the pace while teammate Darius Quarles, a Saint Joseph's recruit, is a reliable scorer.

All-Ohio Red vs. CP3 ( 7:30 p.m. ET)

All-Ohio Red: Coach Quentin Rogers has a confident bunch that's firing on all cylinders. The Reds can play up-tempo but prefer a slower, methodical pace with point guard Juwan Staten of Oak Hill Academy running the engine. Aaron Craft and Sullinger are headed to Ohio State and 6-9 Adreian Payne (No. 7 power forward) is looking to join them.

CP3 All-Stars: The Chris Paul-sponsored team from Greensboro, N.C., revolves around North Carolina-bound forward Bullock and Melvin Tabb (No. 27 power forward), a Wake Forest recruit. Bullock thinks point guard Emmanuel Chapman of Enloe (Raleigh, N.C.), who is being recruited by the likes of East Carolina, UNC-Greensboro and Western Carolina, flies under most college coaches' radar.

Analysis: The Big Red Machine has the depth and firepower. They should roll to their ninth tournament championship this summer, using this showcase game as a tuneup for Monday's final (ESPNU, 7:30 p.m. ET).

Monday

Albany (N.Y.) City Rocks vs. Team Stat (5:15 p.m. ET)

Albany City Rocks: The New York State U17 AAU champions rely on the triumvirate of 6-9 Will Regan (Virginia recruit), 6-8 Tobias Harris (No. 19 prospect in ESPNU 100) and guard Taran Buie (Penn State). Point guard Jamel Fields of Albany Academy will sign with Fairfield.

Team Stat: The Florida team is led by super junior Austin Rivers (No. 2 in ESPNU 60), who will sign with the Florida Gators. Rivers has great bloodlines; his father, Doc, coaches the Boston Celtics and enjoyed a solid NBA career. James Bell (No. 8 small forward) of Montverde (Fla.) Academy is coming back from a foot injury and is only starting to regain the form that originally attracted Villanova.

Analysis: "We're a big city team but we play together; all the guys buy into our philosophy," City Rocks coach Jim Hart said. It's that selfless attitude which has staked the Albany club to the semifinals of several key tournaments, including the Peach Jam earlier this month in North Augusta, S.C. Defense usually wins AAU games and titles, and blanketing Rivers will be mandatory.

Super Showcase final ( 7:30 p.m. ET)

Analysis: The biggest upset would be if All-Ohio Red fails to reach the Gold Division final. The Reds entered the Showcase with a 55-3 record this summer, including eight event championships, and 189-8 overall in three seasons. Expect the New York Gauchos (who have beaten All-Ohio twice this summer), CP3, Houston Hoops, Albany City Rocks or Baltimore Elite among the favorites to reach the title game.

Christopher Lawlor has covered high school sports for more than 20 years, most recently with USA Today, where he was the head preps writer responsible for national high school rankings in football, baseball, and boys' and girls' basketball. He also worked for Scholastic Coach magazine, for which he ran the Gatorade national Player of the Year program for nine years. Lawlor, a New Jersey resident, grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University.