FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. - When the schedules came out for the Real Deal on the Hill, the three o'clock hour on Saturday was the must-see time for college coaches. Several top match-ups were to be played out and many of the big-timers did plenty to impress, including Illinois native Jon Scheyer. He came up big in a pool play game against Wayne Ellington and Gerald Henderson.
Illinois Warriors vs. N.J. Playaz
Jon Scheyer missed last week's Boo Williams, resting his injured thumb and taking time to relish in a hard earned state championship. Playing against the Playaz in the big afternoon match-up he wasted little time showing that he's ready to take on the AAU circuit, too.
Matched up against guys like Wayne Ellington and Gerald Henderson, Scheyer put in 29 points and did a lot of his scoring off the dribble and driving to the basket. He played the point at times and willed his Warriors team to a 70-65 victory.
Scheyer had help from Manual Cass, who is having a dandy of a showing here as well. Undersized but skilled, the 6-foot-7 forward has been the team's presence inside. He finished with 11 points by our count and secured a dozen boards. Alex Tyus added 12 points and utilized his athleticism nicely on one highlight reel dunk.
Ellington had 19 points in the defeat and earned every single point. He's flawless in his approach and is so effortless on both sides of the floor. In terms of sheer basketball IQ, he's got to be one of the best in the nation. He does it all.
Henderson added 11 points in the defeat and never really found his rhythm in the match-up. Earl Clark looked good inside the paint as the team's only real size presence. Versatile, long and bouncy, Clark has a nice touch from outside and he's not afraid to put up some shots.
Wake Forest head coach Skip Prosser and Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt were on hand to see Ellington in action. Bruce Weber made sure he saw and was seen by Scheyer. Duke's Chris Collins was sitting on the sidelines watching Scheyer and Henderson. Villanova's Ed Pinckney was also on hand to watch the Philly backcourt duo. UCOnn assistant Tom Moore was always baseline to see Ellington.
Also at the game were coaches from Rutgers, Oregon, Louisville, St. John's, FSU and Syracuse were all seen at the game.
Michigan Hurricanes vs. EBO
With Tommy Amaker, Stan Heath and Trent Johnson all sitting baseline, the Hurricanes picked up a huge 89-79 win over EBO out of California.
With Ellington and Henderson just a court away, Alex Legion was doing his best impression to be counted amongst the nation's very best guards in the class of 2007. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound shooting guard from Detroit's Country poured in 32 points against EBO in the talent-heavy three o'clock hour. Legion scored from all over the court and looked smooth doing it, too. He's got a chance to be one of the very best guards in his class. He proved that on Saturday.
Tory Jackson is playing like a guy with a mission. The 5-foot-10 point guard from Saginaw dropped 19 points on EBO and 33 points on Athletes First in tournament play.
His wheels never stop and he has no problems whatsoever with getting to the basket time and time again. But just when you lay back to get into position to stop his drive, he'll pull up and keep you honest. Things are rolling nicely for the class of 2006 prospect. He's had himself a real deal performance here on the hill.
Dar Tucker just has fun playing the game. The class of 2007 prospect always has a smile on his face. It's probably because he knows just how good he can become. He's been up and down so far, but the talent is there. He added 11 points in the win over EBO.
One of the best match-ups of the day was watching 7-foot Tom Herzog go up against Robin Lopez and Brook Lopez. Herzog isn't going to win any physical match-ups and the Lopez twins knew it. They attacked the big Michigander time and time again, particularly Brook. He's strong in the post and has great footwork inside. He made Herzog a non-factor on the offensive end.
Because he's a shot-blocking machine, Herzog will also be a guy that gets dunked on. It's just a matter of numbers. Derrick Jaspers certainly took full advantage. The 6-foot-4 skied for a monster dunk on Herzog and picked up a foul in the process. It was hands down the best dunk of tournament seen by this observer.
TreVon Willis led the way for EBO with 21 points. He played the one and the two spots and looked comfortable as the primary scoring option. He's quick, nimble and aggressive to the rack.
Quincy Pondexter looked very strong on the wing as a perimeter shooter and scorer. Of course he has his moments that defied gravity when he left the floor but his all-around scoring has improved dramatically.
Coaching eyes are watching you
College coaches rolled into Razorback country on Saturday and they wasted little time getting out on the town to see their top targets. It started early at 9:30 and the majority of the big-timers in town made it a point to get to Fayetteville High School to see some of the top players in the class of 2006.
Lance Thomas was the primary target for coaches from Arizona, Indiana, Stanford, Georgia Tech, Duke, St. John's, Villanova, Connecticut and Louisville. All of those schools had a member of their coaching staff in to see the 6-foot-8 forward.