Coming off a championship at the Boo Williams Invitational Tournament, the Georgia Stars survived several close calls en route to a 65-62 championship game victory over the Spiece Indy Heat. Finishing with 14 points, Greg Oden dominated the first half for Spiece but only scored 2 points in the second half as Billy Humphrey came off the bench for the Georgia Stars to pour in 6 three pointers on way to a game high 20 points. Stars inside players Daniel Emerson and Alade Aminu played big on the inside against the taller Spiece front line. The Georgia bound duo of Louis Williams and Mike Mercer chipped in with 10 a piece for the Stars. Daequan Cook led Spiece with 19 points.
HE IS NO. 1
Although everyone has heard of him, the No. 1 player in the class of 2006 Greg Oden was one of the surprise performers at Kingwood. The 7-footer was surprising in the amount that he has developed his game since last summer. He is no longer a large athlete who can dominate the defensive end and has lots of offensive potential. On the offensive end, Oden displayed a feel for the game with his passing out of the post and his post moves in the low post. He hit cutters to the basket, found shooters on the opposite wing, and used an accurate baseball pass as an effective outlet pass on defensive rebounds. He also scored with a variety of moves, centered around a smooth jump hook. And he finished more than once on the left side with his left hand.
Despite the fact that Oden seems destined for the first pick of the 2006 draft, Indiana is still holding out hope that the cerebral and mature Indiana native will opt to play college basketball.
NO. 2 GETTING A VISIT
The Rivals.com staff was unable to catch the No. 2 player in the class of 2006 class Brandan Wright in action at Kingwood, but the word coming from the Nike people is that he played very well. Wright is expecting a visit from Michigan's Tommy Amaker this Wednesday.
BIG TIME 2006 PROSPECT
Paul Harris of Niagara Falls High School and the GC Ballers is a chiseled, athletic,and skilled 2006 prospect. At 6-foot-5, 220-pounds, Harris can play any position on the perimeter, and he can play the point guard position well. He rarely turned the ball over in the semifinals and finals of the Silver Division Championship. He rebounded, defended, and scored with either hand around the basket as the Ballers won the 17-under Silver Division championship. He can make threes but his outside shot and free throw need work. Harris, who is sure to be high in the updated 2006 rankings, has Pittsburgh (offer), Providence, and Connecticut as his top three schools with Pittsburgh as his favorite.
Chris Gadley and Darnell Kimball are both tough post players playing alongwith Harris. Kimball ventured out to hit a jump shot, but both are tough back-to-the-basket, interior players. Both players, around 6-foot-8 and 240-pounds gave Amir Johnson fits in their elimination game.
PAULUS & BLATCHE
Playing on a sprained ankle, Duke commitment Greg Paulus demonstrated Sunday morning why he will be playing point guard for the Blue Devils. He hit threes off the dribble, controlled the ball, and made searing diagonal pass after pass leading to scores.
Most every one of Andray Blatche's points came off Paulus assists. Blatche's length is a factor on defense, but he had trouble creating any offense for himself. If the No. 15 player in the class of 2005 gets stronger and tougher, he will have a chance to play in the league. Sunday morning, however, he struggled to finish off his moves.
There is a 2005 point guard out of Houston, Texas who can flat out go. Jovan Adams, the No. 20 player in his class can get in the lane and shoot the long distance shot. He has strong leadership characteristics as the floor general of a very good Houston Elite team, which finished runner up in the Silver Division. The athletic speedster and his teammate Gerald Green, the No. 17 player in the 2005 class, were being tracked by Coach Stan Heath of Arkansas throughout the day. Mike Davis, Mark Gotfied, Scott Drew, Mississippi State assistant coach Phil Cunningham also spent time watching Houston Elite.
The 6-foot-8 and athletic Green has the total package offensively as a shooting guard. The No. player in the class of 2005 can handle out top, catch and shoot the deep three, and create his shot in the post and on the perimeter. The one area of weakness in Green's game is his rebounding. No one would accuse Green at this point in his career of having a nose for the basket. He does already have a very good nose for the basket, and Green will probably have a long career as he does develop the ability to go get the ball.
A SPECIAL ATHLETE
So what kind of an athlete is 2006 point guard Mike Conley of Spiece Indy Heat?
The lefty, who played Sunday with an injured left hand, is a good enough of an athlete to hit 3 three pointers with his right hand in one morning game. In another morning game, his two clutch right handed free throws sealed the quarterfinal win over the gritty Illinois Wolves. Conley is the No. 39 player in his class and the son of Gold Medal winning track star Mike Conley, Sr.
OTHER TALENTED UNDERCLASSMEN
Besides Oden and Conley the Spiece Indy Heat lineup two other very talented underclassman. Daequan Cook, the No. 17 player in the class of 2006 is the real deal. At 6-foot-5, 190 pounds, the athletic Cook excels at running the lanes and finishing on the break. He also has a polished floor game. 6-foot-3 Eric Gordon is an impressive 2007 prospect. He looked very strong on defense and can stroke the three pointer.
STOCK ON THE RISE
Speaking of the Illinois Wolves, look for the recruitment of Bobby Frasor to really heat up. Although the quality all-around guard was not automatic with his jumper against Spiece Indy Heat like he was Saturday against Team Texas, he is set to move up the Rivals.com rankings from his No. 33 spot in the class of 2005. Don't surprised if Texas, Kansas, and North Carolina begin a pursuit of the athletic, skilled, and tough point guard.
2005 prospect Terrence Williams made a surprise appearance with the H-Squad at Kingwood. Word has it that he played very well and has caught the attention of Indiana. In fact Indiana was in Seattle last Wednesday and watched Williams workout. Look for Indiana to pursue the athletic shooting guard.
Indiana is also tracking combo guard Sean McCurdy of St. Anthony High School in Jersey City.