ORLANDO, Fla. - Looking back on Saturday's games at the 17 and under AAU Super Showcase, it is easy to forgot all of the strong performances. The games were competitive on nearly every court at Disney's Wide World of Sports and players like Andrew Bynum, Jessie Sapp, Devan Downey and Shawne Williams came ready to play.
Tournament play kicks off strong
With the tournament bracket set, the Super Showcase lived up to it's name on Saturday night with a number of strong games and performances by a number of players.
New Jersey big man Andrew Bynum continues to show why he's become all the rage amongst college recruiters. The 6-foot-11 center shows flashes of brilliance around the basket and he knows how to use his size to his advantage once he establishes position on the blocks. Bynum, who is only 16-years-old, has a world of potential. He showed every bit of it with a 19 point, 12-rebound game in a 77-61 victory over Boo Williams. He had very little trouble against Boo Williams' talented rising junior Vernon Macklin.
Bynum didn't do it alone. Guard Paul Gause had a solid 16 points and showed pieces of what he did last week at the Peach Jam. He's quick, but not overly cautious with the ball. He'll get numbers in spurts but those spurts came in key moments for Frank Burg's squad.
Jessie Sapp put his New York Gauchos team on his shoulders against the reigning Peach Jam champs, the Illinois Warriors, with a stellar 20-point performance. The 6-foot-3 shooting guard loves to compete against the best of the best and he came up huge in the 73-68 nightcap. Sapp can deliver inside or out and handles the ball with confidence. He's a player that knows how to win and should be considered in the same breath as last year's talented Gaucho backcourt.
Shawne Williams, the 6-foot-8 small forward that was a constant in the Rivals.com class of 2004 top ten, is a complete wing with a bright world ahead of him. He is the best overall player for the Team Memphis squad and that was evident as he helped push them into the quarterfinals in the 81-67 victory over the Pittsburgh Jots.
South Carolina Ravens' guard Devan Downey cannot, and will not, be controlled. He's scoring on anyone and everyone. The mighty-mite scorer, all 5-foot-9 of him, can put up the points and do so in the 77-62 win over the St. Louis Eagles. He had 24 points in the victory.
Martin Brothers guards Kevin Kamaskie and Tyrone Scott had a great Saturday, leading their team in scoring and made clutch shots in tight games against the Jackson Panthers and The Family. Kamaskie is a dead-eye shooter while Scott is a solid penetrator and defender. The both project as mid-majors.
News and Notes
Boo Williams 6-foot-8 power forward Daryl Monroe has come off the bench and played his role nicely. He's coming off a strong showing at the Peach Jam last week and he's picked up right where he left off. The thick-chested post is looking at a fifth-year and should have some solid offers before the season gets started. Surprisingly, he said he's not heard from many schools. Coaches, make sure that changes. He's worth a long look.
BABC guard Anthony Gurley is having himself a dandy of a tournament. The 6-foot-2 rising junior guard is fearless, he has great handles, a nice shot, can run the point and defends well. He has the makings of a legit high-major guard.
All-Ohio's Jamelle Cornley isn't the prototypical power forward that colleges recruit but the 6-foot-6 power forward from Columbus (Ohio) Brookhaven High School does all the right things inside. He's a bull inside and has crafty moves around the bucket. A lot of schools are playing the waiting game to see if a bigger player decides pull the trigger first while Cornley continues to play his game and win ball games.
Not so private eyes are watching you
UConn is sending the message to Jeff Adrien that they want him. Huskies' head coach Jim Calhoun and assistant Tom Moore were courtside for every BABC game and they were disappointed. Adrien, the 6-foot-6 power forward from Brewster Academy (N.H.), has been a double-double machine in nearly every game and continues to impress as an interior force.
In the last two weeks, Adrien said he's received scholarship offers from the Huskies, Pitt, Miami-FL, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Providence, Villanova and Nebraska while Kansas and Boston College, who have also been in attendance to watch, are in the picture.
Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt has been a busy man in Orlando. He watched Mississippi big man Cyrus McGowan put in a workman's effort 16 points. McGowan, a solid 6-foot-8 power forward, has been the intrigue of several high-major programs. North Carolina assistant Joe Halladay was also on the baseline for a half to watch the Magnolia State prospect.
Hewitt was also at every Andrew Bynum game and Georgia Tech 2005 pledge Alade Aminu's games.
Every high-major coach has made sure they've seen Lewis Clinch at least once this weekend.
Billy Donovan has to be happy with the recent verbal commitment from Derwin Kitchen. The 6-foot-4 guard has great handles and creates a ton of space with his step-back dribble. His jumper is silky smooth and he's a quiet killer when he lights up. It would be fair to say he's the best player in the Silver bracket here at the Super Showcase.
Peach Jam MVP Julian Wright has been hampered with an injured ankle so far but that hasn't kept DePaul's Dave Leitao, Arizona's Josh Pastner and Illinois' Dave Weber, Wright's top three schools, away from the Illinois Warriors' games. All three coaches have been highly visible and continue to make their presence known to the 6-foot-8 small forward.
Devan Downey has seen Buzz Peterson (Tennessee), Dave Odom (South Carolina), Billy Donovan (Florida) and others at his games.
The Georgia Stars have seen the likes of Kentucky, Wake Forest, Auburn, Georgia, Missouri, Georgia Tech and Mercer at their games.
In the YOMCA/Team Memphis-BABC game, UConn, Florida State, Alabama, Arizona, Georgetown, DePaul, Tennessee, Kansas, Boston College, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Memphis, Stanford and many others were all dotted in the crowd.
Southern big men intrigue
Quinton Thornton, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound power forward from nearby Edgewater High School had Tennessee head coach Buzz Peterson courtside and Virginia Tech's Seth Greenburg was also watching closely. Both schools have offered, Thornton said. The big man finished with a quiet eight points and eight rebounds. He's an intriguing player in the class of 2005 and with a lack of big men in the bunch, and improved grades, Thornton will be a high priority for programs before the end of the year.
6-foot-8 power forward Terrence Vinson from Lowdnes Co. High School (Ga.) has played solid defense for the Jacksonville Lee Bulls and had moments of strong points. Offensively, he'll need some work but his rebounding is strong and he's willing to improve. The class of 2005 prospect rattled off Central Florida, Florida A&M, Tulane, Georgia Southern, West Virginia, St. Joseph's, Penn State, College of Charleston and Arkansas-Little Rock as the schools he's involved with.
Vinson's muscular teammate Juwan James (6-foot-5, 210-pounds) has played strong so far in his home state. The Jacksonville Raines product scored 17 points against Team Orlando. He's a small power forward but he knows how to muscle in and around the basket.
Jackson Panthers class of 2007 point guard Biko Paris is a nice scorer and has a good looking stroke from deep.
Sources told us Syracuse offered rising junior Vernon Macklin a scholarship.
Pierre Niles, a huge forward from Memphis doesn't play like your typical 6-foot-8, 245-pound power man. The rising junior plays on the wing and knocked down three threes against BABC.
His teammate, Shawne Williams said he's still committed to Memphis but the NBA is also a strong possibility. He admitted he is still not 100% but he's played like it in the last two weeks.
Bahamian big man Magnum Rolle, all 6-foot-10 of him, showed up with the Arkansas Wings. He's played well and been an important part of the team's run into the bracket.
The Georgia Stars have talent deep into their roster but one player that has raised eyebrows is 6-foot-6 small forward Jared Cook. The football star could possibly be the top athlete in the entire tournament. His future might be on the gridiron, but he'll have a handful of big time programs interest in hoops, too.
There are few players that can't be stopped one on one in the class of 2005. Denis Clemente is one of the best in the open court and from baseline to baseline. He's NASCAR fast.