April 7, 2007
By Van Coleman
Van is one of the nation's premier recruiting experts.
CSTV & Hoopmasters.com
In the early going, the Atlanta Celtics have been extremely impressive. They are led by a tall and talented front line led by 6-foot-9 super soph Derrick Favors. The top five sophomore can flat out throw it down off the dribble. He hit jumper off the dribble and made some excellent passes to open man. Oak Hill's 6-foot-9 Howard Thompkins has been solid too. 6-foot-8 Chris Singletary and 7-foot Dennis Harris swatted shots and created some highlights of their own. The back court play was solid, but the Celtics could be vulnerable to full-court pressure.
The L.A. Dream Team sponsored by Master P. has been very impressive in the opening pool play rounds. They are led by another super sophomore in 6-foot-10 Renardo Sidney. The skilled big man was used sparingly this afternoon in a run-away game but still managed to score 19 points unofficially. He has solid support coming from 6-foot-8, 235-pound Malcolm Kirkland in the trenches, while 6-foot-4 Zach Payton and 6-foot-1 Jalany Diggs were doing an excellent job in the backcourt.
The Southeast Elite has been a big surprise so far in pool play. They feature a balanced squad led by front court super 6-foot-7 Romero Osby, who had a huge second half versus Pump N' Run Elite to lead his team to a 12-point victory. Osby is an unselfish stud with the ability to step up and dominate. He got tons of help from the back court trio of 6-foot-3 Courtney Fortson, 6-foot-4 Varez Ward and 6-foot-4 Darnell Wilks. They play extremely well together and defensively helped bring Southeast back versus Double Pump.
Other teams who looked very sharp at times included the host squad the Arkansas Hawks. A solid group led by 6-foot-8 Michael Sanchez and 6-foot-7 Gary Trent. The Worldwide Renegades, a deep group of athletic led by 6-foot-5 wing men Teondre Williams and Dequan Jones. The Indiana Elite squad with 6-foot-7 Emmanuel Negedu, 6-11 Tyler Zeller, and 6-6 DeAndre Liggins can play athletically with the best in
Even though I've seen 55 to 60 teams so far, I have missed a couple of the better groups. Some of the teams we're expecting to make noise in the tournament play but haven't seen yet are the M32 Magic, Jacksonville Lee Bulls, United Celtics, and the Blessed IJN squad.
We've seen a number of the nation's top coaches in the gyms in
Some of Saturday's Top Performers:
Derrick Favors 6-9 WF Soph (Atlanta Celtics) - He can play above the rim or create pass in open court. He gets to rim like a rocket, and is really improving his ball handling skills. He is hearing from all the biggies, as well as
A real surprise on the Atlanta Celtics squad was 7-foot post man Dennis Harris who proved he can post and finish or run court in transition. He's a little raw around the edges, but is seven feet and can really run the court.
Latavious Williams from the Birmingham Raptors caught our eye last night. He's long at 6-foot-10 and can really attack the ball on the defensive end of the court. He oozes potential to develop into a quality high major low block presence.
Yancey Gates the 6-9 235-pound man-child from the Cleveland Basketball Club is a monster when motivated. He was super in game one today but struggled at times in late afternoon game. Make no mistake: Gates will be a stud down the road. He already has looks coming from Ohio State,
His CBCC teammate 7-foot-1 B. J. Mullens was also stellar in stretches. This long and mobile big man will have a positive impact from day one at
Tyler Zeller 7-foot post from the Indiana Elite showed a marked improvement on both ends of the court from a year ago. He can score around hoop with touch and is a solid passer for a big man. He is already hearing from
Another surprise from today's action was 6-foot-8 Jordan Hamilton from the Lamar Odom I-Can All-Stars. He lit up players off the dribble, and showed a much improved jump shot from the perimeter to go with his athletic highlight game.
Renardo Sidney is a stud inside for the L.A. Dream Team. He played just less than half the game this afternoon, but scored an unofficial 19 points. He can flat out get to the glass in a hurry on both ends of the court. He has interest from UCLA,
Jrue Holiday 6-foot-3 guard had some bright spots in his pool play leading his team to the championship bracket. But his twin teammates 6-foot-9 bookend forwards David Wear and Travis Wear were equally impressive when we watched. They still need to get stronger, but boy are they skilled.
Anthony Oden, 6-foot-6 260-pound low block talent for the Spiece Indy Heat isn't your atypical basketball talent, but he sure can find a way to disrupt what you want to do inside, just ask Yancey Gates and B.J. Mullens. He can score in paint too!
Courtney Fortson 6-foot-2 combo guard from the Southeast elite, is a glue guy most of the time, but today he broke out of that mold versus Pump N' Run to help lead his team back in the second half. He is an excellent passer who will "D" you up or knock down jumper in your face.
We will continue to bring you updates on the championship play, its top performers, and who's watching who in the stands this weekend from the Real Deal on the Hill, right here at Generation Next.