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January 17, 2007

Hoophall Classic best of the rest

There were so many strong performances at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass., that a top five performers piece just wasn't enough.

Here are the Best of the Rest out of the senior class according to Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Jerry Meyer.

Donte Green, SF, Baltimore (Md.) Towson Catholic
Hoophall Classic stats: 23 points on 8-for-14 shooting, 5-of-9 from 3-point range, 2-for-5 from the line, 13 rebounds, one steal, two blocks and four assists in 32 minutes against St. Benedict's (N.J.)

Green brought Samardo Samuelsout past the 3-point line and used his quickness advantage to create space for his smooth jumper. Also impressive was the way Green handled the ball. He created shots for his teammates and did not commit a turnover.

His finesse style served him well against the beefy front line of St. Benedict's, but when the game was on the line Green went inside and got some tough buckets. He also rebounded with passion on the defensive end. It would serve him well to develop the physical side of his game and his post game. If he does become more physical and a better post-up player, the Carmelo Anthony comparisons will be more accurate.

Jeff Robinson, SF, Columbus (N.J.) St. Patrick
Hoophall Classic stats: 22 points on 9-for-11 shooting, 2-for-2 from 3-point range, 2-for-3 from the line, five rebounds, two steals, two blocks and three turnovers in 28 minutes against Fairfax (Calif.)

Robinson did a nice job of playing within the flow of the game. At the same time, he used his athleticism when the opportunity presented itself. He posted up for points and drained a couple timely 3-pointers.

He should be an excellent finisher in the open and running style Memphis employs. If he develops his ballhandling and middle game, he could be a dominant player in Conference USA.

Chace Stanback, SF, Los Angeles Fairfax
Hoophall Classic stats: 21 points on 8-for-18 shooting, 0-for-1 from 3-point range, 5-for-8 from the line, seven rebounds, one steal, one block, one assist, four turnovers against St. Patrick (N.J.)

Stanback has always been a cerebral and skilled player with a good feel for the game. What was so impressive at the Hoophall Classic was the way he created space off the dribble and made pull-up jumpers. His right-to-left crossover is outstanding.

He is getting stronger, and his game will only improve as he continues to improve his strength. Look for Stanback to have a big career at UCLA with his versatile game at the small forward position.

Corey Stokes, SF, Newark (N.J.) St. Benedict's Prep
Hoophall Classic stats: 24 points on 8-for-15 shooting, 4-for-6 from 3-point range, 4-for-4 from the line, six rebounds, one steal and two turnovers in 29 minutes against Towson Catholic (Md.)

If you don't pick him up within 30 feet of the basket, Stokes will make you pay with his quick release and smooth shooting stroke. Playing with a high degree of confidence, Stokes played to his strengths and let the game come to him. He didn't try to do too much with the dribble. When the right baseline presented itself to him, he put the ball on the floor and scored.

Stokes is by no means an overwhelming athlete, but he has size, strength, smarts and a sweet stroke.

Austin Freeman, SG, Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha
Hoophall Classic stats: 25 points on 10 of 20 shooting, 2-for-4 from 3-point range, 3-for-5 from the line, nine rebounds, one steal, one block, two assists and two turnovers in 33 minutes against Neumann-Goretti (Pa.)

Freeman knocked down his share of smooth jumpers and was strong on the glass. He also was the one DeMatha player who could guard Antonio Jardine, keeping him in check down the stretch.

Always an efficient scorer, Freeman was too efficient for my liking in this game. If he had demanded the ball from his teammates and taken over the game in the second half, DeMatha probably would have won the game and Freeman would have been in the "Top Five Performers" instead of the "Best of the Rest."

Jai Lucas, PG, Houston Bellaire
Hoophall Classic stats: 25 points on 10 of 22 shooting, 3-for-7 from 3-point range, 2-for-3 from the line, two rebounds, two assists and five turnovers in 32 minutes against St. Anthony (N.J.).

Nothing out of the ordinary from Lucas, other than a strong performance against a team that had his team overmatched. St. Anthony's defense led by Jiovanny Fontan - made Lucas work for his points. However, Lucas found a way to get loose for pull-up jumpers and some beautiful runners.

Best when playing in a situation where he can distribute the ball first and score second, Lucas still has the talent to impose himself as a scorer when playing with limited talent around him.

Mike Scott, PF, Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy
Hoophall Classic stats: 18 points on 5-for-6 shooting, 8-for-8 from the line, six rebounds, four assists and two turnovers in 30 minutes against Northfield Mount Herman (Mass.)

Talk about efficient scoring. It seemed like something positive happened every time Scott touched the ball. Although he is thin, Scott did a great job of getting position and finishing post moves. He was automatic from the free-throw line and he rebounded and handed out assists.

The future looks quite bright for Scott at Virginia. Although he did not play this role for Hargrave at the Hoophall Classic, Scott is more than capable of doing damage away from the basket. He has poise with the ball that you just can't teach.

Jeff Allen, PF, Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy
Hoophall Classic stats: 18 points on 8-for-12 shooting, 2-for-6 from the line, 10 rebounds, four steals, one block, two assists and three turnovers in 28 minutes against Northfield Mount Herman (Mass.)

Allen physically dominated the game against Northfield Mount Herman. Hargrave ran away with the game when Allen kicked it in gear. He not only outmuscled the opposition's frontline, but he also outran them.

He knows how to compete, and Virginia Tech will benefit greatly from his attitude and abilities on the court.

Jordan DeMercy, SF, Norcross (Ga.)
Hoophall Classic stats: 17 points on 6-for-7 shooting, 4-for-4 from 3-point range, 1-for-2 from the line, 11 rebounds, one steal, one block, four assists, one turnover in 23 minutes against Mount Vernon (N.Y.)

DeMercy was the X-factor in Norcross' win over Mount Vernon. Not only was he spotless from behind the arc, he also came up with tough rebound after tough rebound.

Along with playing an aggressive, athletic style of play, DeMercy also showed a lot of poise and intelligence with the ball. DeMercy should immediately find a place in Florida State's rotation.

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