Fayetteville, Ark.-With five games already under their belt, teams tipped of their quarterfinal games on Easter Sunday morning at the Real Deal on the Hill. A 62-60 semifinal win by the DC Assault over the World Wide Renegades highlighted the morning action as Austin Freeman continued his stellar play.
Austin Freeman (DC Assault)- The Georgetown commit has taken his game to a five-star level as perhaps the most impressive performer throughout the event. Such an efficient player, Freeman lulls defenders to sleep before hitting that extra gear to separate from them. A three level scorer, he strokes the ball from three, has as polished a middle game as you will find on the circuit and has the explosiveness and strength to finish around the basket on most any occasion. In transition, he passed the ball well of nifty dribble moves. Defensively, his lateral quickness has been impressive. His conditioning, which was a question mark last summer, looks very good right now. Freeman put up a team high 21 points in a quarterfinal win over DTA Wisconsin. Then in the semifinal win over the World Wide Renegades, he scored a team high 19 points on 7 of 11 shooting, including 4 of 5 from the arc and 1 of 2 from the line. He also had 2 rebounds and 3 turnovers.
Michael Beasley (DC Assault)- As the event wore on, Beasley found his niche offensively flashing into the high post and operating in the mid-post on the right wing. In the high post Beasley is such a danger to pass the ball, shoot it or get to the rim. From the right wing, he continually slashed his way into the lane with his left hand and made a number of shots off his right foot. Always ready to make a spin move when cut off on the drive, Beasley was a nightmare to match up with. When teams dared him to shoot the three, Beasley picked his spots and made them pay. In the quarterfinals, he went for 12 points and in the semifinals, he went for 18 point on 8 of 17 shooting from the field and 2 of 2 shooting from the line, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal and 4 turnovers against J.J. Hickson and company.
Nolan Smith (DC Assault)- Smith played some tough defense against Chris Allen in the semifinals, holding him to 6 of 21 shooting. Smith kept Allen in front of him for the most part, troubled him with his quick hands and was quick off the floor to challenge Allen's pull up jumpers. Smith was also very good as a decision maker at the point guard position, passing the ball up the court and avoiding over dribbling. The one area Smith struggled in during the event was finishing on the move and against contact. In the semifinal match up against the World Wide Renegades, he finished with 7 points on 2 of 7 shooting from the field and 3 of 4 shooting from the line, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block and 3 assists with zero turnovers.
Anthony McClain (DC Assault)- The very long and fairly mobile center has shown promise this weekend. He is grabbing offensive rebounds and keeping balls alive. He is also doing a nice job finishing his put backs. Still very raw as a back to the basket player, however. Defensively, he is altering a number of shots.
Chris Allen (World Wide Renegades)- After lighting it up for 27 points in his quarterfinal game, Allen struggled from the field against Nolan Smith and the DC Assault, shooting 6 of 21 from the field including 3 of 10 from the arc. Perhaps due to fatigue along with the strong defense of the Assault, Allen settled for way too many contested jumpers. He also dished out 3 assists to go along with 3 turnovers.
J.J. Hickson (World Wide Renegades)- Hickson did not back down from the talkative Michael Beasley and the very long Anthony Mclain in the semifinal match up. Hickson scored a game high 23 points on 8 of 13 shooting from the field and went to the line a number of times. He also finished with 8 rebounds. The beauty of Hickson's game is that he loves contact and takes virtually all his moves to the rim. He loves to work on the left side of the floor where he inside pivots to face the basket, then takes off to the middle with his right hand and then spins back to the baseline. As successful as Hickson already is, he has plenty of room for refinement in his skill game. He tends to travel at times on his post moves, but most importantly he has qualities that are very tough to teach such as great body balance, strength and competitive zeal. Hickson scored 20 points in his quarterfinal game.
Korie Lucious (DTA Wisconsin)- Shots the ball very well off the dribble and made some nice passes off the high ball screen. His dad said that Lucious, a 2008 prospect, will get more serious about his recruitment after the summer, but for right now Marquette, Michigan State and Illinois are showing the most interest.
Rick Wagner (DTA Wisconsin)- The 6-foot-7, 215 pound 2008 prospect looked very good in a tough quarterfinal loss to DC Assault. This is his first year on the circuit and expect a number of mid-major and high-major schools to get involved with him. He shoots the ball very well from the arc and can also put it on the floor. Had a baseline drive past Michael Beasley and came around to the other side for a left handed reverse lay up. Having grown five inches over the past year and a half, he moves more like a guard than a post.
Bryquis Perine (DTA Wisconsin)- A 6-foot-2, 162-pound shooting guard, Perine is a rangy left hander with a good feel for the middle game. He is high on Bradley after recently taking a visit there, and he has offers from Creighton and Wisconsin-Green Bay. Marquette, Iowa State, Georgetown and Florida State are also on his list.
Cameron Tatum (Atlanta Celtics)- A bouncy wing player, Tatum is playing a full court game with energy. He is using his athleticism to get back into defensive plays and challenge shots on the defense end, and he is getting points off the transition game and off offensive rebounds. Offensively he is making difficult shots and also making cerebral/skilled plays like feeding the post. He appears to be on his way to achieving his very lofty upside. Scored 20 points in both a quarterfinal win and a semifinal loss.
Senario Hillman (Atlanta Celtics)- A super athletic combo guard, Hillman is a terror guarding the ball. His outside jumper is steadily improving, and he's playing under control. Off the dribble, Hillman is developing a nice high arcing floater. Loves to shoot it on the baseline. Scored 13 points in both a quarterfinal win and a semifinal loss.
Johnny Flynn (GC Ballers)- Caught the first half of the GC Ballers consolation final against the Midstate Ballerz, and Flynn was impressive shooting the ball from deep off the dribble and dishing the ball off after getting into the paint. Although only 5-foot-10, Flynn is strong, fast, athletic and shoots one of the quickest pull up jumpers on the circuit.
Marvell Waithe (GC Ballers)- An intriguing 2006 prospect from Canada, Waithe is a long, lean small forward with a nice shooting touch. He moves his feet well defensively and used his length and athleticism to block a couple shots.
According to GC Ballers assistant coach Ro Russell, Waithe is visiting Georgia this weekend, and will possibly visit Bradley and Iowa also this spring.
Coach Jeffrey Bishop of the GC Ballers noted that 7-foot center Franklin Jones is close to inking with UTEP. South Florida is also in the picture.
Only caught a glimpse of George Goode this weekend, but the word is that he was shooting the deep ball well and hitting the boards. Goode is working with a top five school list of Illinois (offer), Kansas (offer), Miami (offer), Baylor (offer) and Connecticut. Missouri, Marquette and Iowa are also in the picture.
Very physical 2009 guard Terrence Boyd is contemplating a transfer to Oak Hill Academy.