April 10, 2007

Real Deal on the Hill top performers

The Real Deal on the Hill in Fayetteville, Arkansas over the weekend produced some great games and exciting finishes. It also featured some great performances from some of the nation's top prospects.

Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer takes a look at the top performers from the event.

Real Deal on the Hill top performers
Jrue Holiday, SG, AAU Team: Pump N Run

While consistently leading his team in scoring, Holiday displayed the refined, all-around game that has made him the No. 2 prospect in the Rivals150 for the Class of 2008. Except for a bump in the road against the Southeast Elite, Holiday was able to provide his Pump N Run team whatever it needed to march to the championship.

The most impressive aspect of Holiday's play was his work at point guard during crunch time in close games. Rivals.com has always recognized his ability to run the point, but in Arkansas we had the opportunity to watch Holiday take the ball and break down the press when his team needed it most. Along with his smooth handle, he has overwhelming power for a point guard. Double teams melted away in front of him, and he either found shooters in rhythm or attacked the basket with authority.

Renardo Sidney, PF, AAU Team: SoCal All Stars

Sidney's game has fluctuated through the years since bursting onto the national scene as a rising eighth grader. He went through a period last spring where he put on some weight and his game became sluggish and less powerful. By the end of the summer, however, he looked much better physically playing for the SoCal All Stars in Las Vegas.

While in Los Angeles, he has continued to improve his conditioning. In Arkansas this past weekend, he looked like a man playing against boys on many occasions. He attacked the rim in transition, scored in the post, made 3-pointers and handled the ball well. Along with his improvement physically, Sidney was playing with more mental intensity as well.

Reeves Nelson, PF, AAU Team: Pump N Run

Built like a brick but also possessing strong athleticism, Nelson is a throwback-type player who competes on every possession. Consistently leading his Pump N Run team in rebounding, this 2009 prospect also was one of their main scoring threats.

He has the strength and mobility to guard the three and the four positions. Offensively he can score with his back to the basket, but is most dangerous in the half court when he faces the basket and attacks off the dribble. Very strong with the basketball, Nelson can power through traffic and dunk in a crowd. Watch out when he gets it in transition. Sidney can attest to that because Nelson through one down on him.

Courtney Fortson, PG, AAU Team: Southeast Elite

He might be too limited for the elite programs to recruit him, but any middle of the pack power conference school or lower should think hard about what Fortson could bring to their program. Nothing short of a ferocious competitor, this undersized lefty continuously attacked the rim and pressured the basketball on defense for Southeast Elite.

Several of the top guards in the tournament had their worst games against Fortson's defense, and Fortson's squad was the only team to be the champions - Pump N Run. In addition to playing much larger than his size around the basket, Fortson also knocked down jumpers and distributed the ball to his teammates.

Howard Thompkins, PF, AAU Team: Atlanta Celtics

You would be hard-pressed to find a power forward with a better skill package and feel for the game than Thompkins. Playing on a talented Atlanta Celtics team with a formidable front line, Thompkins was consistently the most productive player on the court for them.

He showed an advanced feel for passing the ball, especially from the high post. He was also quick to the ball off the glass, and he secures it with sure hands - in a similar fashion to Nelson. As a scorer, Thompkins occasionally runs into trouble against more explosive athletes, but more times than not he is crafty enough to create a shot that he typically can finish.

Romero Osby, SF, AAU Team: Southeast Elite

Without a lot of help on the inside, Osby - who is a combo forward - spent most of his time manning the middle for his Southeast Elite squad. For the most part, he held up well until their loss in the semifinals. He was sensational in the second half of his team's come-from-behind win over Pump N Run. Osby scored 21 points after the break.

A cerebral player who also has a feel for the game like Thompkins, Osby has great footwork in the post and can score with either hand. He has a nice stroke from the 3-point line. Perhaps most impressive is his feel for efficiently getting by his man on the perimeter and then hitting shooters with accurate passes.




 

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