Commentary

Wall earns accolade for thunderous dunk

Updated: August 26, 2008, 10:40 AM ET
By Ryan Canner-O'Mealy & Jon Mahoney | ESPNRISE.com

ESPN RISE takes a look at some of the best and brightest from Friday's third annual Boost Mobile Elite 24 at Rucker Park in Harlem, New York.

Best Dunk: John Wall
Wall woke up a quiet crowd in the second half when he took off from roughly 10 feet outside the left side of the paint and flushed a left-handed tomahawk slam that left the rim shaking. The dunk was just one example of why the Word of God (Raleigh, N.C.) senior guard and Elite 24 co-MVP is the most athletic player in the nation.

[+] EnlargeJohn Wall
Kelly Kline John Wall was the most explosive player at Rucker on Friday.

Best Pass: Lance Stephenson
This was Stephenson's third year in the Elite 24 and as a New York native, the crowd was behind him. The Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.) guard didn't disappoint, throwing a beautiful, no-look pass over his head to a wide-open Brandon Knight for an easy layup that made "Top Plays" on "SportsCenter."

Best Nickname: Dion "Fresh Pepper" Waiters
The highest honor for a player at Rucker Park is to earn a nickname and the man behind the mic, Bobbito, christened Waiters "Fresh Pepper" as a tribute to his last name. Waiters proved worthy of the moniker, netting eight points.

Best Breakout Performance: Maalik Wayns
Although he's rated the nation's No. 22 senior in the ESPNU 100, Wayns didn't garner much hype heading into the Elite 24. But come game time, the Villanova recruit and Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.) guard flashed a sick handle, a knack for driving to the hoop and getting his teammates involved. Wayns, who scored 10 points, was named one of the game's four MVPs.

[+] EnlargeMaalik Wayns
Kelly Kline Maalik Wayns was able to penetrate to the basket at will.

Best Rising Star: Tony Wroten Jr.
Wroten Jr. may have only scored four points, but he earned lots of respect for the way he wasn't intimidated by Stephenson, who is older, bigger and had more experience at Rucker. "A lot of people back down from Lance, but he didn't," fellow Elite 24 baller Durand Scott said of Wroten Jr., a sophomore at Garfield (Seattle, Wash.).

Best 1-on-1 Battle: Dominic Cheek vs. Lance Stephenson
The Rucker is supposed to be Lance's house and the star guard can be a daunting matchup with such a loud crowd behind him. But Cheek is also from the Tri-State area and the senior shooting guard from St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) looked right at home, especially when matched up against Lance. During one exchange in the second half, "Peek-a-boo," who poured in 23 points and was a co-MVP, scored nine points on three possessions against Stephenson to help key his squad's run to victory.