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May 6, 2007

Jayhawk Invitational: Saturday

LAWRENCE, KS -- Another day, another round of the Jayhawk Invitational at Kansas University. The action continued on and a number of young players jumped out while regional stars brought their A game.

Saturday's stars

Scott Suggs of the St. Louis Eagles put in a good day's work. The 6-foot-5 wing scored 25 points in an afternoon match-up. His shot was dropping and making buckets with little trouble.

As good as Suggs was, particularly off the bounce, the St. Louis area star is an underappreciated passer. It is no wonder why so many programs are doing what they can to land the talented, and versatile, wing. He brings another dimension to the table that few wings with his size has.

Suggs has 18 total offers, according to his father. Vanderbilt, Oregon and Colorado are the most recent programs to step up with a free education. The trio joins the likes of Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, Virginia, Washington, Georgia Tech and others.

Teammate John Brandenburg is a rare center prospect because more times than not, he is the first player to make it down the floor on both sides of the ball. His high energy serves him well as a defender and rebounder. Offensively, he's not bad but did seem to struggle with finishing the easy baskets.

Brandenburg has a short list and Wisconsin, Florida and Missouri are on it.

Verdell Jones had a very strong showing on Saturday, scoring 32 points, including 14 free throws. We've said it before, Jones is a redshirt year away from becoming a player. He could be a lot like Davidson's Seth Curry - young body that is still growing, game is mature and given the opportunity, he could develop into something very interesting at the next level.

Jones has a recruitment that covers a lot of ground. He has Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Tennessee, Arizona, DePaul, Texas A&M, UCLA, Kentucky, Louisville, Southern Illinois and others on his list.

2009 kids emerge

Grassroots basketball works differently for kids. Some use it as a ticket to travel the country and a charmed life of privilege. Guys like Kansas guard Jeff Reid use the travel season to earn offers and gain exposure.

The 6-foot-5 native of Brewster High School is one of 13 kids in his 2009 graduating class at his school. Tucked away in Western Kansas and just a stone's throw away from the Colorado border, Reid took advantage of the opportunity to play in front of some national observers and college coaches last week in Dallas.

Reid has a text book jumper and can let it fly from the wing. He scored 19 points in a morning blow out game with his Kansas City Pump N Run team. In fact, his 19 points equaled the total for the team he was faced against. There is a lot of funk to his game, despite his small town roots. With good size, a good understanding of how to play and an obvious hot hand from the wing, Reid will be an attractive player in Middle America.

His brother, Josh, played at Kansas State in the late 1990s and was a three time all-academic player in the Big 12. It doesn't come as a big surprise that Kansas State, Missouri and Oklahoma have recently inquired. In terms of college coaches, no one has made the drive out on Interstate 70. That will change.

When it comes to being a pure prospect, the Texas D1 Ambassadors have a couple of good looking post players from the class of 2009.

Cory Jefferson, a lanky 6-foot-9 forward, is all arms and legs and played pretty well for the Ambassadors despite two tough defeats on Saturday. The Killeen High School product is the more promising of the two big men.

He's a tall glass of water and far from a finished product. Right now, Jefferson is very much on the prospect side of the scale and a year from now, we could be looking at a very attractive prospect. Time will tell but he has the tools and size to work with for the big boys.

Teammate John Henson, a 6-foot-9, 185-pound forward from Round Rock (Texas) High School, is another tall and thin big man with skills to work with.

Henson's go-to move was a left-handed jump hook. Rebounding will come with more bulk to his body. Texas and Baylor have jumped in early and are keeping close tabs on the sophomore.

Odds & Ends

According to Anthony Brown of the Las Vegas Prospects, Andre McFarland has an offer from Colorado State and Minnesota and Wisconsin are also looking at the one time USC and Idaho commitment.

According to those in the Howard Pulley program, Angelo Johnson, a long time point guard for the Minnesota club, will likely end up at USC as a 2007 prospect instead of a 2008 prospect.

KC Pump N Run sophomore point guard Michael Dixon said he has offers from Creighton and Missouri State while high-majors Kansas State and Missouri are really making a strong push.

Houston Jr. Hardballers forward Jeff Francis is a class of 2007 prospect and could be an interesting 2008 prospect because of his 6-foot-7 frame, good bounce and potential. However, Francis said he is hoping to land at Nevada, Wichita State, Denver and East Tennessee State in the fall.

Milwaukee point guard Dwight Buycks looks and plays a lot like former Oklahoma guard Bobby Maze. He is tossing around a couple of ideas about his future and prep school looks like the most realistic at this point. Buycks, one of Saturday's stars, said his possible destinations include Decatur Christian in Illinois or Stoneridge Prep in California. Bradley, Oklahoma, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Iowa State continue to recruit him.

When it comes to freaky athletes, Rodney Williams is probably the best one here in Kansas. The 6-foot-4 class of 2009 prospect has some serious bounce. With fellow 2009 prospect Royce White back home in Minnesota, Williams is seeing a bigger opportunity to shine with the Howard Pulley team.

Williams is a high-major name to chart because of his big time hops and his overall potential.


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