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Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Las Vegas Day 4 recap

By Joel Francisco and Dave Telep
ESPN Recruiting

LAS VEGAS -- Here's a look at what jumped out at us on Day 4 of the adidas Super 64 and Las Vegas Fab 48.

Standout players

Marcus Smart (Flower Mound, Texas/Marcus)
2012, WF, 6-foot-4, 205 pounds
Smart is the definition of a winner. The burly, wing-type affects the game in every possible way. He makes his teammates better by driving into the teeth of the defense and kicking it out to his prolific shooters, specifically 5-11 senior Phil Forte (Flower Mound, Texas/Marcus). Smart isn't a great shooter, but he does have the ability to stretch the defense with his stroke as he knocked down a couple of long-range jump shots. The bottom line with Smart is he is relentless and impacts (triple-double stat-stuffer) the game at both ends.

Jordan Loveridge (West Jordan, Utah/West Jordan)
2012, PF, 6-6, 220 pounds
Loveridge is a versatile 4-man with a nice blend of finesse and power. The big-bodied senior can attack off the dribble and finish at the rim due to his long arms or step out beyond the 3-point line and drain a jump shot. He plays with purpose in mind on every possession and as a result he affects the game in multiple ways. He rebounds well in traffic amongst the bigs and can fill the lane in transition. Utah, BYU, and Santa Clara are monitoring his talents at every game.

Breakout players

Chris Obekpa
Christopher Obekpa is the No. 19-ranked PF in the Class of 2012.

Christopher Obekpa
(Centereach, N.Y./Our Savior New American)
2012, PF, 6-8, 210 pounds
Obekpa was a menace against Dream Vision throughout the contest due to his length and bounce. The long-armed 4-man had a number of spectacular blocks because of his quickness and timing. He grabbed a number of rebounds in traffic and was a factor at both ends of the floor for much of the game. His offense is still in its infantile stage, but he does have the ability to hover around the rim for put-backs and dunks.

Joe Rahon (Del Mar, Calif./Torrey Pines)
2012, PG/SG, 6-1, 185 pounds
Rahon was the catalyst for Dream Vision in its victory over New Heights Blue. He doesn't have ideal speed and quickness for the point guard position at the next level, but he does have savvy and toughness. He played a solid game from the lead guard position and knocked down a number of jump shots from all over the perimeter. In a couple of previous games, quicker opponents caused him to play a tad erratic and turnover prone, however, during the playoffs he has been very efficient and poised -- not too mention his shooting has been impeccable.

Surprise player

Winston Shepard (Henderson, Nev./Findlay Prep)
2012, WF, 6-8, 190 pounds
Shepard is one of the most unique talents in the country. He has done a nice job in the past year of slowing down and allowing the game to come to him rather than forcing the issue. First and foremost, he is an outstanding defender thanks to his lethal combination of extreme length and athleticism. He smothers defenders out on the perimeter and he may be able to guard all three perimeter positions at the next level. Offensively, he is less potent, but he did hit a couple of 3s (not his strength) and had a number of slashing drives to the rim. Overall, he is one of the most improved players in the country.

Featured matchup

Jabari Parker vs. Ishmail Wainright
In one of the more anticipated Fab 48 quarterfinal tilts, the ultratalented Mac Irvin Fire clashed with a hard-nosed KC 76ers squad in what would be an intriguing 2013 matchup between the 6-7 Parker (Chicago/Simeon) and the 6-5 Wainright (Raytown, Mo./Raytown South). Parker, who is arguably the No. 1 player in high school basketball, has a polished offensive game while Wainright possesses a beefy frame combined with an albatross-like reach.

From the beginning, Wainright's length and strength bothered Parker as he had difficult breaking down Wainright off the dribble. Parker settled for jump shots early on and could never really get into any rhythm on the offensive end. Wainwright, on the other hand, punished Parker and his teammates on the boards and converted some nice buckets in the paint area. In the second half, Parker did a much better job of not settling for jumpers and put together some nice drives of his own, usually resulting with a pinpoint pass to an open teammate. Meanwhile, Wainright displayed some slick ballhandling of his own and demonstrated that passing is part of his offensive package as well. Overall, Wainright won the individual matchup due to the fact that he is one of the few players in the country who has the ability to frustrate Parker at both ends of the floor.

Eye on underclassmen

DeAngelo Russell (Louisville, Ky./Central)
2014, SG, 6-3
It's rare for a player his age to be so smooth and calm. Russell typically limits his errors and capitalizes on his chances and easily switches between facilitator and scorer. The lefty is efficient in all facets and as a talented, young player, his game can go in two different ways. He could be a wiry, long combo guard or transform himself in a multitalented point man; it's too early to say with certainty.

Trey Thompson (Madison, Ark./Forrest City)
2014, C

Heading into his sophomore season, Thompson is right where he needs to be. His body changed since we saw him in April and he's exhibiting more confidence with each evaluation. What got us excited was a baseline spin move he pulled off. In terms of improvement, he's a good shot-blocker but tends to chase and, long term, he might be foul prone. He's a high-major player in the making.

Junior Etou (Jacksonville, Fla./Arlington Country Day)
2013, PF, 6-7, 210 pounds
For a kid who has played less than one year of organized basketball in the United States, he's quite the prospect. The native of Congo is the owner of plenty of physical attributes that set him apart. He should be on the high-major radar of everybody looking for a versatile midrange and post-up player in the junior class.

Notes

• Eastern Washington Elite Red has a couple mid-major prospects in 6-5 senior Brett Boese (Spokane, Wash./Shadle Park) and 6-9 senior Ty Ehbert (Coulee Dam, Wash./Lake Roosevelt). Boese is a high-energy player at both ends and his jump shot looks very solid. Ehbert needs strength, but he has a fairly potent jump hook and he's deceptively bouncy.

• Dream Vision also received a solid performance from 6-6 senior Xavier Johnson (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei). He found a comfort zone of making plays inside and out in their win over New Heights 17U Blue. Johnson finished well in transition, rebounded in traffic and converted a number of nice plays in the paint area.

Buddy Hield, a 6-4 senior (Bel Aire, Kan./Sunrise Christian Academy), put on a scintillating shooting display in his team's loss to Connecticut Basketball Club. The rangy scoring guard drained deep 3s and had some nice slashing drives.

• Indiana commit Yogi Ferrell (Indianapolis, Ind./Park Tudor) has a tremendous burst, a slick handle and made a number of nifty passes. However, he needs to polish his game-management skills and learn to run clock when his team is up late in the game.

• Although Andre Drummond and Kris Dunn get most of the notoriety, and rightfully so, the most steady player of CBC on Day 4 was 6-7 senior Ethan O'Day (Mansfield, Conn./Northfield Mt. Vernon). The heady 4-man has quick moves to the basket from the elbow and is quite skilled with either hand finishing in the paint area.

• The Wisconsin Swing (yes, they run and wear red and white, and yes, they use Bo Ryan's offense) have a pair of juniors who will begin with mid-level recruitments. Post Luke Fischer (Germantown, Wis./Germantown) and small forward Nick Fuller (Sun Prairie, Wis./Sun Prairie) are ones to watch.

Joel Francisco is a recruiting coordinator for ESPN Recruiting. Dave Telep is the senior basketball recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. His college basketball scouting service is used by more than 225 colleges and numerous NBA teams. He can be reached at espndt@gmail.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.