Friday saw the second day of college coaches attending the adidas superstar camp in Atlanta (Ga.) with national championship winner Jim Calhoun highlighting the list of head coaches in attendance.
Prospects that earlier had seemed nervous playing with college recruiters only a few feet away evaluating their every move settled down and played with a little more poise and confidence.
Early leader for tournament MVP
The surprise of the tournament so far is the standout play of Rashad Woods who is the No. 25 ranked prospect in the 2005 class by Rivals.com. A surprise only in the fact that he is almost unwatched by recruiters and unnoticed by national scouts despite lighting up the scoreboard on Thursday with 17 and 24 efforts and picking up right where he left off Friday with a morning session of 26 points, including five 3's bringing his three game total to 14. In addition he pulled down eight rebounds and finished with five assists but could have doubled that amount if his teammates had finished more of his nice looks.
Defensively, Woods is playing with a renew vigor and is defending well on the perimeter but also banging with the big boys in the paint. His points haven't come at the expense of his teammates because he keeps everyone involved and rarely takes a bad shot. His athleticism is unquestionable and at least one high major assistant coach let if be known that he had an offer on the spot after watching the second half of his early contest.
Friday's standouts-Seniors on the Rise
Combo forward Gary Flowers has a done a great job through two days of proving that he is a threat from inside or out. The 6-foot-8 Texan has hit a barrage of mid-range jumpers including from 15-feet when he flashes to the free throw line. The wiry athlete has been strong in the paint, posting hard and finishing. A new flourish to his game is his ability to pass out of the high post.
If you liked Lamar Roberson in Thursday's games then you love him after his Friday efforts. Roberson, 6-foot-7, is a jack of all trades and does a lot of things very well including rebounding, defense and finding ways to score whether it's in transition or facing the basket. Guys like this help teams win national championships.
Philly big man Vernon Goodridge has enjoyed a good tournament on both ends of the floor. Goodridge, 6-foot-9, runs the floor well and is a nice shot blocker with good timing and quick hops off the floor. In addition his rebounding is sound and he gets position in the paint and blocks out. His offense is still limited although he gets points by running the court and shows a promising 17-foot and in jumper.
Although he has 32 football offers and many consider him the next great college wide receiver New York guard Nyan Boateng has perhaps as much of a future on the hardwood as the gridiron. Boateng, 6-foot-2, is the fastest and most explosive athlete at the camp and adds a pretty jumper with range to make him a complete offensive threat. He is a defensive stopper who has no problem pushing up from baseline to baseline.
Four elite prospects in the 2006 class
If you are looking for a predictable but unstoppable force of nature then New Yorker Paul Harris is your guy. The 6-foot-4 guard is predictable because you know he's going to put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket but nobody has figured out how to stop him. His man-to-man defense mixed with his impressive quickness and flexibility make him one of the toughest defenders in the country.
After a slow start on Thursday, Louisiana point guard D.J. Augustine rebounded nicely in the morning session with an 11 point and seven assist effort. Running the offensive with a smooth confidence, Augustine found his shot in the second half and nailed two long bombs on back to back positions. He shows a patience and understanding of the game that belies his years and was in control from tip to horn.
Pennsylvania guard Wayne Ellington might have arrived late but his impact was felt instantly. Ellington, 6-foot-4, scored 16 points and pulled down five rebounds showing his athleticism while getting to the basket or shaking his man for an open jumper which he knocked down. In addition he forced the action by driving to the rim or slashing to the basket.
West coast point guard Derrick Jasper is quickly proving to be one of the top prospects in his class with his excellent athleticism and basketball I.Q. Jasper, 6-foot-4, has nice size for the point and you won't catch the California native out-of control or making many bad decisions. He can score if necessary but he prefers to get him teammates involved early and get his points in transition where he gets to the rim or pulls up for jumpers.
No sophomore slump for Jersey big man
Keep an eye out for post man Hamidu Rahman from New Jersey. The 6-foot-10 power forward posted up hard and finished with either hand. He has a nice, solid frame that is already physically ready to bang with the bigs in the paint and he runs the floor well. His movement is somewhat deliberate but he knows how to use his body on the boards.
Rising freshmen on display
2008 small forward Michael Beasley gets all the press, and rightly so since he's the top prospect in his class, but Ohio native B.J. Mullens is also a promising big man in his own right. Mullens, 6-foot-10, is a skilled low-post player who is capable of scoring with either hand on the block and moves well for a young big man. Strength is an issue right now because bigger, stronger prospects are capable of moving him out of position but he has the frame to carry weight and will be a force in three years.
Wisconsin point guard Korie Lucious is one of the top underclassmen floor leaders in Atlanta. Lucious, 5-foot-10, has a great handle, quickness and already capable of running an offense. His outside shot makes him the complete package and his defensive prowess makes him a well rounded young lead guard who will get plenty of high major looks in the coming years.
Quick, fast and in a hurry
Two sport star Nyan Boateng insists he will play both sports in college and currently favors Florida, Louisville, Maryland, Memphis, Mississippi State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia for hoops and Iowa, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Pittsburgh, USC and Virginia for football. Look for him to land at a school with strong programs in both sports.
Memphis native Anthony Mason Jr. has a long list of Cincinnati, DePaul, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Indiana, Miami, Tennessee and Washington State.
2006 Texas standout George Odufuwa likes Arkansas, Arizona, Arizona State, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The athletic forward has been impressive this week.
One of the fastest rising prospects in 2005 is Kenneth Cooper who has improved drastically since dropping 40-pounds since last summer. Louisiana Tech, LSU and Texas Tech currently hold his top three spots. He is a year younger than the rest of his class.
Gary Flowers was reportedly close to a commitment after visiting Oklahoma State but is now claiming to be wide open between the Cowboys, Kansas State, UNLV and USC.
Duke commitment Greg Paulus isn't blowing the stat sheets up but he is quietly taking a backseat from a scoring standout point while leading his team to wins. In Thursday afternoon's head-to-head match-up with Mario Chalmers he didn't outscore the Kansas commitment but proved to be a more mature leader at this point in his career.
Joining Jim Calhoun in Atlanta on Friday were fellow head coaches Gary Williams, Tommy Amaker, Bill Self, Louis Orr, Buzz Peterson and Jamie Dixon.