Top-rated players make their mark at the City of Palms Classic
Dec. 24, 2007
By Van Coleman
CSTV & Hoopmasters.com
Van is one of the nation's premier recruiting experts. E-mail here!
Samardo Samuels made a real statement with his play in FortMyers, as a number of others showed why they are rated among the best in their classes. Here's our look at the top prospects at the City of Palms Classic.
Fort Myers, Fla. - The City of Palms Classic is now history and it was a very interesting event as far as how we are currently looking at some of the nation's top prospects. Samardo Samuels made a strong statement with his play in FortMyers to move up into one of the top three spots nationally. He was definitely the best big man in FortMyers this week. Greg Monroe had his moments, especially in the matchup with Rashanti Harris in the quarters, but struggled versus St. Benedict's and Flushing Holy Cross. In the junior class, 6-foot-2 No. 6 junior Kenny Boynton started a little shaky but rebounded to shatter Teddy Dupay's 10-year-old tournament scoring record of 56 points in a game by going off for 61 points in the final day's opener versus Fort Myers Dunbar. Sylven Landesberg was on fire on the final day, putting up 44 points and proving why he belongs among the senior class's best. Those were some of the highlights from our week in FortMyers, and here's a look at the top performers at the City of the Palms Classic:
City of Palms Classic Top Prospects: (Listed By Height)
Greg Monroe6-foot-11 C Gretna Helen Cox (La.) - All-Tourney Performer and Georgetown signee was at his best in the quarter-finals versus Rashanti Harris, scoring 30 points and pulling down 13 boards. He looked like a challenger for the top spot (Currently No. 2, but slipping), but dropped back versus Samuels and St. Benedicts, scoring just 11 points. He has all the tools to dominate, but has to figure out what will motivate him to play at level we observed in the quarters.
Ruslan Pateev6-foot-11 C (2009) Montverde Academy (Fla.) - This skilled big man is extremely long can score around the hoop or pop out to elbow and knock down jumper. He scored 13 points and pulled down 8 rebounds and blocked 3 shots. He needs strength, but high majors should start to monitor his progress.
Eloy Vargas6-foot-10 PF Plantation American Heritage - He was slowed a little in Fort Myers by a nagging leg injury, but was still a force scoring 21 points and pulling down 16 rebounds versus a physical New Hope frontline. The Florida signee has all the tools to become a force in the SEC.
Samardo Samuels6-foot-9 PF Newark St. Benedict's (N.J.) - MVP of the City of Palms Classic outplayed Monroe in the semis, scoring 25 points and grabbing 7 rebounds. He has a lot of Elton Brand in his game at this stage of his development. He is surprisingly quick off the floor and is becoming a threat facing hoop from 15-17 feet. His future coach Rick Pitino was smiling as he watched Samuels in the early rounds in FortMyers. Look for him to move up a spot or two in our mid-season rankings.
Rashanti Harris6-foot-9 C Columbus New Hope (Miss.) - All-Tourney Performer was one of the biggest surprises in Fort Myers, not in that he can play, as he was already a top 100 prospect, but that he dominated the game, especially in the fourth quarter, despite having an injured hand. He had 32 points and 25 rebounds versus Vargas, then came back with 28 points and 12 rebounds against Monroe. Hew faces an uphill battle to qualify, but high majors should get involved.
Greg Echenique6-foot-9 C Newark St. Benedict's (N.J.) - All-Tourney Performer is as steady as they come on the blocks. He has excellent hands and scores with regularity in paint, but it's on the glass and on the defensive that he excels. He had 13 rebounds versus Monroe then pulled down 17 more in the final. He is a horse on the glass that Rutgers, Villanova, Syracuse, Maryland, Kentucky, Pittsburgh and OhioState are showing interest.
Steve Tchiengang 6-foot-9 PF MontverdeAcademy (Fla.) - This Vanderbilt signee is just starting to make adjustments to top his new club. He didn't shoot it well in FortMyers, but did manage 9 points in the game versus Boca Raton. He is much better using size and quickness around the hoop, but kept floating to perimeter. Look for that to be something Kevin Stallings fixes once he gets to Nashville.
Rakeem Buckles 6-foot-8 PF (2009) Miami Monsignor Pace (Fla.) - This talented junior can flat out play above the rim ands has tools to create drive or catch the oop pass and flush it. He was in foul trouble in couple games we watched, but still managed to show his immense potential. Look for him to be one of this coming summer's fastest risers.
Isaiah Philmore 6-foot-8 CF (2009) Bel Air John Carroll (Md.) - This talented multi-skilled four-three can play on the perimeter, knocking down jumpers from the arc or off the dribble from 15 feet. Or he can roll to the block and use his quick feet to finish versus bigger foes. He will be moving up charts in mid-season rankings. He's already hearing from Louisville, Maryland, George Washington, and Miami (Fla.).
Tristan Thompson 6-foot-8 WF (2010) Newark St. Benedict's (N.J.) - This long but thin wing man is just starting to develop physically. He is a consistent performer with nose for ball and ability to score inside or out. High majors should be lining up to make his list of potential schools.
Noel Johnson 6-foot-7 WF (2009) FayettevilleFayetteCounty (Ga.) - This gifted wing man can explode to the hoop off the dribble or knock down jumpers from the arc on in. He creates highlights at the rim that leaves crowd buzzing. He will be a high priority for the nation's top programs. He's already hearing from all the top teams in the SEC, Big East and ACC.
Richie Phares 6-foot-7 CF GeorgetownScottCounty (Ky.) - He has become one of my favorite players during December. He just seems to find a way to score inside or grab that key rebound. He should see lots of top mid-major interest.
Russell Johnson 6-foot-6 PF Chester (Pa.) - This athletic combo is a double-double waiting to happen. He seems to have a real nose for the ball off the glass and can score in the paint out to 15 feet. It was his consistency on the glass that really impressed us.
Eugene Phelps 6-foot-6 PF Woodland Hills Taft (Calif.) - This Long Beach State signee just got better and better during the week. He capped the week off with a 25 points, hitting 10 of 11 shots from the field and pulling down 8 rebounds.He will see lots of PT as a freshman for the 49'ers.
Nasir Robinson 6-foot-6 WF Chester (Pa.) - All-Tourney Performer is one tough customer. He showed range to the arc, but is at his best attacking hoop off the dribble. He led Chester to final in FortMyers including a 26-point and 11-rebound outburst versus ScottCounty in the quarters. Look for him to add immediate depth at Pittsburgh next fall.
Matt Humphrey 6-foot-6 WF Chicago Hales Franciscan (Ill.) - All-Tourney Performer was at his best in his team's win over American Heritage, scoring 25 points on 9 for 16 shooting. The Oregon signee played with an aggressive style in Fort Myers, leading his squad to three straight wins after dropping their opener top earn all-tourney honors.
William Green 6-foot-6 CF Orlando Olympia (Fla.) - One of the surprise performers in the "Sunshine Series," this athletic junior impressed scouts at courtside with a 22 point, 13 rebound, 7 block performance. He has great ups and quickness to get noticed by high major programs.
Reggie Bullock 6-foot-6 WF (2010) Kinston (N.C.) - This skilled wing talent can really handle the rock, pop jumper off the dribble or finish at the rim. As he matures, look for his stock to rise. High majors should be monitoring his development.
Tyler Portwood 6-foot-5 WF (2009) Georgetown Scott County (Ky.) - All-Tourney Performer just continues to impress us with his ability to knock down three from beyond the arc with regularity. He had an excellent week in FortMyers, averaging 21 points an outing.
Sylven Landesberg 6-foot-5 SG Flushing Holy Cross (N.Y.) - All-Tourney Performer was at the top of his game in FortMyers and capped an excellent week with 44 points and 11 rebounds in Holy Cross's 74-56 point win over Helen Cox. He has tools to score off the dribble or knock down three. He could be a special talent at Virginia.
Dago Pena 6-foot-5 WF Punta Gorda Charlotte - This athletic Florida Atlantic signee really lit it up on the final day hitting seven of ten from beyond the arc in route to a 33-point night. He can finish around the hoop or pop a 17-footer off the dribble.
Ray Shipman 6-foot-5 SG Miami Monsignor Pace (Fla.) - This Florida signee was solid in both the games we observed him in. He had 25 points in the opener and followed it with 20 points in their win over Gainesville. He will add immediate depth
David Paulk 6-foot-5 WF Fort Myers Dunbar (Fla.) - All-Tourney Performer was another of the surprises in FortMyers. The athletic wing man has a knack for being in right place for Dunbar and scoring in the paint, off the boards, or with 15-footer off the dribble. He earned his spot on All-tourney squad with games of 22 and 24 in his last two outings.
David Anderson 6-foot-4 WF (2011) Boca Raton (Fla.) - This young wing man has lots of tools to build on. He has range on his shot, can create dribble drives and is athletic enough to finish at the rim. In time, look for him to become one of SunshineState's best. Mid to high major schools should be monitoring.
Justin Hawkins 6-foot-3 SG (2009) Woodland Hills Taft (Calif.) - This UNLV commit can play two or three positions on the perimeter and has ability to be a defensive stopper. He had 20 points in Taft's opener over Charlotte. He will be a good one for the Runnin Rebels down the road.
Bryce Smith 6-foot-3 SG Woodland Hills Taft (Calif.) - This sweet shooting wing man can flat out knock down the three with regularity. He had 20 points versus ScottCounty and 4-threes for good measure. Mid-majors looking for a shooter should give him a hard look.
Calvin Thompson 6-foot-3 SG Gretna, LA Helen Cox - This Howard signee seems to have a nose for the ball off the glass, can create drive from the perimeter and will knock down jumper if left open. He was the lone bright spot on the perimeter for Helen Cox in the third place game with 16 points versus Holy Cross.
Dale Hughes 6-foot-2 SG Columbus New Hope (Miss.) - This physical wing man opened the week with a 34-point outburst including 5-threes versus American Heritage. He can knock down jumper when left open or attack the hoop off the dribble. He also is a 4.0 student who should see lots of spring interest.
Dexter Fields 6-foot-2 SG (2009) OrlandoOlympia (Fla.) - This quick and explosive wing talent knocked down the three, attacked the rim off the dribble and scored in flurries in route to a 22-point performance versus FayetteCounty. He will get lots of mid and High major looks.
Kenny Boynton 6-foot-2 SG (2009) Plantation American Heritage (Fla.) - All-Tourney Performer was absolutely on fire on the last day, scoring a tournament record 61 points versus Dunbar. He knocked down 11-threes and hit 22 of his 33 shots. That followed 35 and 30 point games over the past couple days. He had both Duke (Coach K) and Louisville (Coach Pitino) in to watch him this week, and is also looking at Georgia Tech, Texas, Florida, Florida State, Connecticut, Miami (FL), Wake Forest and Ohio State at this point.
Gregg Gantt 6-foot-2 SG Gainesville (Fla.) - This power guard was on fire versus Monsignor Pace knocking down 8 of 9 from beyond the arc as he finished with 32 points. He is a strong finisher who can score in traffic or knock down the 15-footer.
Tamir Jackson 6-foot-2 CG (2009) Newark St. Benedict's (N.J.) - This solid combo guard continues to impress us with his solid play in the back court. He can knock down the three or penetrate and kick it to the open man. He is the key reason St. Benedict's is nation's top squad.
Larry Drew 6-foot-1 PG Woodland Hills Taft (Calif.) - All-Tourney Performer is one of the nation's top floor leaders. He can score when needed, as he showed hitting four of five threes in their win in the fifth-place game over ScottCounty. He will be a solid floor leader down the road for the Tar Heels.
Dashan Harris 6-foot PG MontverdeAcademy (Fla.) - This Texas A&M signee didn't disappoint on the final day, scoring 18 points and handing out 5 assists versus Boca Raton. He sees the court and can deliver the rock off the dribble or in transition. He is a solid shooter from around the arc with regularity, too. He should have an immediate impact with the Aggies.
Gregory Westry 5-foot-10 PG Boca Raton (Fla.) - Ultra-quick floor leader can flat out push it in transition or break you down in half court off the dribble. He had 16 points in the game versus MontverdeAcademy. He has the tools to help at the mid-major or higher levels.
Martell Buie 5-foot-10 PG OrlandoOlympia - This ultra-quick guard showed he can get to the hoop off the dribble or knock down the jumper from beyond the arc. He finished with 21 points and 9 rebounds in Sunshine Series game versus FayetteCounty.
Karon Butler 5-foot-9 PG Chester (Pa.) - All-Tourney performer was the steady force for Chester in the backcourt. He was at his best versus ScottCounty, scoring 22 points while handing out 9 assists. He isn't big, but he can get a lot done with ball in open court or off penetration.
D.J. Cooper 5-foot-9 PG (2009) Chicago Hales Franciscan (Ill.) - Once again, this solid junior point can score or make the big pass. He has great acceleration going to the hoop and a knack for finishing in traffic. He is a real key to Hales making its run to the consolation championship. Mids on up should be taking a look.
Raymond Taylor 5-foot-5 PG (2009) Plantation American Heritage (Fla.) - Ultra-quick point has "And 1"-type ball handling skills and can flat out shoot it from beyond the arc. He had the crowd buzzing with his 24-point performance versus New Hope. He can really cause some matchup problems. Reportedly has interest from VCU, Central Florida, Tennessee Tech, Stetson and USF.
That's our look at some of the Top Prospects at the City Of Palms Classic. We hope you enjoyed our coverage. We will be heading to Texas and the "Houston versus The Nation Classic" before heading to Myrtle Beach (S.C.) to the final day of the "Beach Ball Classic." We hope you enjoy that coverage of these two holiday classics right here at Generation Next.
In the meantime, all of us at Generation Next want to wish you a Happy Holiday Season!