Alabama Laser power forward Richard Hendrix proved to be a bully in the paint against Martin Brothers in the Lasers last game of the evening. Hendrix, 6-foot-8, 250-pounds, poured in 27 points on 11 or 16 shooting from the field, with most of his baskets coming in the paint. On a couple of occasions he stepped out to show off an improved 17-foot jump shot but it was his offensive force on the blocks that proved to be too much. In addition to impressive scoring burst Hendrix also pulled down 15 rebounds and pitched in three assists and two steals in his teams 71-69 win.
Since narrowing his list a few weeks ago to Alabama and North Carolina and officially visiting both schools nothing has changed for Hendrix who is expected to make an announcement before the end of the summer.
Player Observations from Saturday Night in New Orleans
South Carolina Raven point guard Devon Downey despite his 5-foot-9, 165-pound frame proved to be one of the toughest players in the tournament. Downey is an aggressive on ball defender who doesn't mind getting in his opponents face. Offensively, he was quick as a hiccup and was lethal with his drive and dish mentality. His outside shot has nice range from beyond the arc and he doesn't mind taking the tough shot. Tennessee and South Carolina have already offered with Cincinnati, Florida and North Carolina rounding out his list of favorites. He scored 27 points in the Ravens double overtime win over Howard Pulley.
While Downey was carrying the load for South Carolina, Howard Pulley was led by Isaiah Dahlman. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard showed a wide offensive arsenal than including the long range bomb, mid-range jumper and a good knack for putting the ball on the floor and getting to the basket. The long lefty scored 23 points in a losing effort. His early offers include Iowa, Iowa State, Boston College and Washington State. Those four along with Michigan and Texas make up his list of favorites.
Nike Team Florida small forward Keith Brumbaugh put on a show with 24 points in a blowout win over Louisiana Select. With a solid jumper that extends beyond the arc as well as the ability to drive to the basket and finish strong Brumbaugh is as versatile as any prospect in his class. Brumbaugh, 6-foot-8, 215-pounds, is currently ranked the No. 2 prospect in the 2005 class by Rivals.com.
Brumbaugh's teammate shooting guard Keaton Grant led Team Florida's guard play by attacking the basket and also keeping the defense honest with a nice outside jumper. Grant, 6-foot-4, 190-pounds, is a physical guard who doesn't shy away from contact and rebounds well for his position. Tennessee has offered with other high majors showing strong interest.
Louisiana Select 2006 point guard Demond Carter tried to keep his team close against Team Florida by knocking down 5 three-pointers on his way to a 21-point effort. Carter, 5-foot-9, 160-pounds, has a nice handle and good court vision to go along with an outside shot that he shoots equally well off a screen or by creating his own shot. Baylor, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Oklahoma State and Texas currently sit at the top of his list.
The defensive effort of the night goes to 2006 big forward Curtis Kelly of the New York Gauchos who frustrated St. Louis Eagle big man Tyler Hansbrough, who is rated 5th in the 2005 class by Rivals.com, into an 11 point effort.
Kelly, 6-foot-9 and 190-pounds, used his length and relentless hustle on both ends of the floor to stymie one of the nation's top post players. In addition he showed good court vision by finding his teammates for easy baskets. On the night the 9th best player in his class finished with 13 points and double digit rebounds.
Offensively the best players for the Gauchos was shooting guard Jessie Sapp who is an athletic slasher with a solid enough outside game that defenders have to play him honest. But it's his strong drives to the basket and the way he fills the lanes in transition that prove to be his biggest strength.
2007 Oregon Select center Kevin Love showed what all the fuss is about with a 20-point dominating effort against the Houston Hoops. Love, 6-foot-8, 240-pounds, was almost unstoppable on the block and equally effective from the left or right side of the lane. Defensively, he sealed off a 5-foot perimeter around the glass and once he gets his hands on the ball it's over.
Another rising sophomore to keep an eye on for Oregon Select is Kyle Singler who is an athletic small forward with a nice 15-foot and in shot to go along with quick hops and a great feel for the game. Singler, 6-foot-7, 180-pounds, has one of the more impressive moves of the night when he went left and drove the lane for a dunk over two defenders in traffic. Him being a high major is a no-brainer.
The Boo Williams team is loaded with high major talent and with so many quality players on one team it might be easy to overlook two of the top guards in the 2006 class.
Stephan Welsh is a well put together physical combo guard who thrives on getting into the lane and has the body to absorb contact and finish. Welsh, 6-foot-2, 180-pounds, has a solid jumper and good handle.
The yin to Welsh's yang is shooting guard Scotty Reynolds who boasts beautiful form on his long range shot and is a pure shooter from anywhere on the floor. Reynolds, 6-foot-0, 170-pounds, is good with the ball in his hand but prefers to hover around the perimeter and knock down his open looks.
Other News and Notes
During the New York Gaucho/ St. Louis Eagle match-up power forward Tyler Hansbrough was issued his second technical foul of the game for hanging on the rim after a backboard rocking dunk. No big deal, except as a result he was ejected from the game and according to the rules he will have to for Sunday mornings opening round.
This would be a major disappointment for everyone in attendance since the much anticipated match-up between Hansbrough and Richard Hendrix is the game that he would have to miss.
One of the most impressive prospects in the 2004 class, Shawne Williams, made an unexpected return to the AAU circuit this weekend when he re-joined the Memphis YOMCA squad after being re-classified to 2005. Williams a 6-foot-8 small forward is expected to attend Laurinberg Institute in North Carolina for the upcoming season.
It was hoped that Friends of Hoop small forward Martell Webster would be able to play this weekend and although he went through the shoot around with his team he didn't even dress. Webster, who is rated the nation's 6th best prospect by Rivals.com, will likely be ready in time for July evaluations.