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April 22, 2010
Many tournaments highlight weekend
One of the drawbacks of April being closed to college coaches is that multiple tournaments have popped up and spread out the talent all around the country instead of keeping things concentrated in a few events. This weekend is a perfect example of that, and numerous events highlight the weekend including P.J. Hairston and the CP3 All-Stars traveling to Akron, Ohio for the LeBron James Shooting Stars Classic.
Of all the weekends this is the one where nothing really jumps off the page as a dominant tournament field, but still there are numerous big time events from coast to coast, and players will be shining at all of them. It is tough to pick one specific event that stands out, but all should have interesting matchups and developments.
King James Shooting Stars Classic
As always Dru Joyce of the King James Shooting Stars and St. Vincent-St. Mary High School has put together a big and impressive event featuring some of the top teams from around the Midwest and the East Coast.
Headlining the event is CP3. The boys from North Carolina have made waves in their first two tournaments with solid performances, and now they hope to do it in Ohio. Shooter P.J. Hairston is off to a great start, point guard Marquis Rankin has been doing an excellent job of running the show, and freight train wing Dezmine Wells has it working. Those three make CP3 the favorites heading into the event.
Also as would be expected the top teams from the state of Ohio will be in attendance. All-Ohio Red, Queen City Prophets, Ohio Basketball Club, and King James will all be trying to keep the title home in the Buckeye State.
OBC and King James will face off in the first round, meaning that Chane Behanan will go against the talented King James frontline of Jakarr Sampson and Zach Price. Behanan has been great for OBC so far this April, and has led them to several big tournament wins. For King James, Sampson is beginning to put it together as a leader and Price has all the potential in the world on the low block.
Queen City has talented wing Aaron Thomas who could really emerge with a big time showing at the event, and of course All-Ohio is loaded. All-Ohio has done very well to this point this summer, and both Trey Burke and Stevie Taylor have shown very well with their efforts.
Making the trip from the East Coast is Florida Assault, Team Takeover, D-One Sports, and the Richmond Squires. All Four teams have some very talented pieces to work with.
Team Takeover hasn't quite exploded on the scene like many expected early this year, but still they have been a major force. Mikael Hopkins and Michael Gbinije are the clear leaders of the team, and both put on big time performances at the event last season. Also combo guard A.J. English has had some good moments this April. If they are able to get it all together, not too many teams have more talent that the boys from D.C.
D-One Sports of course has Quincy Miller, and that alone makes them a threat. Miller is making a run at securing a top three spot in the class, and his talent will be on full display. Also make sure to keep an eye on jet quick point guard Anthony Fields who is capable of being a big time playmaker.
Speaking of point guards, Shane Larkin will be running the show for Florida Assault. Larkin is one of the better point men in the class and someone who really excels in the transition game. Also on Assault is Virginia Tech commitment Robert Brown who is a talented wing with the ability to really score the basketball.
The Squires have an inside-outside threat in Levon Harper who if he puts it all together could absolutely explode as a high-major target. He has the natural ability, now he needs to play hard every day.
Brian Snow of Rivals.com will have complete coverage of the event from Akron.
Pangos Sweet 16
Belmont Shore head man Dinos Tirgonis is putting on a unique event in Long Beach. The Pangos Sweet 16 features a tournament format in which teams won't have to compete in pool play.
Belmont Shore is the headline team in the event. Grant Jerrett has proven to everyone that he can compete with the best on the strength of his early play during the month of April. Also Belmont Shore has point guard Cezar Guerrero who has a flair for the dramatic with the way he plays. Add in a player such as Norvel Pelle, and Belmont Shore could be a force to be reckoned with.
The Compton Magic will also bring a solid squad with them to Long Beach. Leading the way for the Magic is Jahii Carson. Carson recently de-committed from Oregon State and is now one of the hottest commodities on the West Coast. He is very quick with the ability to score the ball, and his stock could be through the roof by the end of the event.
Also the boys from California Supreme will be making the trip. Roschon Prince has proven all month long that he deserves to be talked about as one of the elite in the 2013 class, and he is joined by wings Alex Carmon and Byron Wesley who are both athletic finishers around the rim. Air craft carrier center Kevin Johnson hasn't had a great start to the summer, but he still could be a player to watch if he finds his groove.
Lead Rivals.com analyst Jerry Meyer will be making the trip to the West Coast to take in the action.
Nike Spring Showdown
A solid core of Chicago and Indiana teams will be doing battle in Merrillville, Indiana at the Nike Spring Classic.
From the Windy City the team who will have the most talked about players is the Mac Irvin Fire. The Fire have one of the most talented squads in the country, and they will be out to come home with the title. Five-star shooting guard Wayne Blackshear is the headliner, but Mike Shaw, Mycheal Henry, Jamie Crockett, and Macari Brooks will all be making an impact, and this could be the event where they break through.
If it isn't Mac Irvin that is the favorites, the always formidable Illinois Wolves might be. Mike Mullins always puts together one of the best coached squads on the circuit, and this year he has some horses to work with. Nnanna Egwu and Chasson Randle are the veterans, and they have also added Illinois commitment Tracy Abrams who brings a level of toughness and leadership to the squad. Wing Jacob Williams is also a potential high-major player who adds athleticism to the fundamentally sound team.
He might not be playing up with the 17 and under squad, but keep an eye out for Alex Foster of Mean Streets. The 2013 stud is one of the best in the nation at the forward slot, and is opening up eyes in the Windy City.
Coming from the state of Michigan will be Dorian's Pride out of Saginaw as well as the Michigan Hurricanes. Dorian's Pride is led by Tommie McCune the four-star combo forward is a big time shooter from deep and also has the athleticism to finish down low. The Hurricanes have Jordan Hare who is under the radar some right now, but has incredible potential down the road.
Double Pump Las Vegas Spring Classic
Sin City is the host to a solid event put on by Dana and David Pump. The Pump Brothers always do a good job of putting together solid fields, and this is no different.
Pump 'N Run Elite should be one of the better and more interesting teams at the event. After having a solid showing last weekend in Denver, the California products will look to come home with the title. Jordan Tebbutt is a physically imposing wing who will make an impact and big guy Gorgui Dieng could be one of the best in the 2010 class.
The Double Pump Elite teams are also solid. They feature good players in Xavier Johnson and Amir Garrett at the 17 and under level, and point guard Landon Drew, power forward Rosco Allen, and big man Robert Upshaw at the 16 and under level. Allen especially is a player who is on the front of every high-major in the west's mind.
While the Pump teams are "hosting" the event, it is Dream Vision that will have the shortest travel schedule. The Dream Vision team has Nevada products Winston Shepard and Shabazz Muhammad leading the way. Muhammad just put on an absolute show in Denver, and will look to do it again in Vegas on his home floor. If Muhammad does, he will be right in the mix for the number one spot in the 2012 class. Also big man Angelo Chol will look to have a big weekend in bounce back fashion.
2010 Next Level National Tournament
In Frisco, Texas a very strong field of teams will get together. Most of the power comes from the Lone Star State, but also a solid group from Oklahoma will try to crash the party.
Arguably the best team at the event will be Houston Hoops. The Hoops have an unreal backcourt led by L.J. Rose and J-Mychal Reese. Rose is a pure floor general who excels while playing up, and Reese is more of a combo guard who can score and dish the rock with the best of them. Also up front the Hoops team is solid.
Recent Kansas Jayhawk commitment Zach Peters and Team Texas will also be at the event trying to make things happen. Peters is a physical specimen down low who is emerging as a top 2012 forward. Along with Peters, five star guard Jamal Branch will look to get Wes Grandstaff's squad back on track after a disappointing performance in Hampton.
Coming from Oklahoma is Athlete's First. Though the talent on the squad from the 2011 class is lacking, that isn't the case in the backcourt with their younger players. 2012 combo guard Nino Jackson could emerge as an elite player, and is already one of the best in his class at the position, and Stevie Clark could be one of the best 2013 point guards in the country.
Also headlining the event is the Franchize All-Starz. The All-Starz had all sorts of players emerge last weekend in Little Rock. Forward Wanna Bail has a chance to assert himself as one of the best in the country, Michael Carey is a unique guard with a lot of game, and then the two shooters in the 2011 class are DeAngelo Harrison and Isiah Jones. After such a strong showing last weekend, Franchize will have a target on their backs in Frisco this weekend.
Hoop Group Providence Jam Fest
Steve Keller and the Hoop Group are coming off of a very successful event in Pittsburgh, and now they have another solid lineup for Providence.
A team to really watch in Providence is the New England Playaz. The Playaz feature Naadir Tharpe running the show, and then they also can go with Alex Murphy who has shown great improvement over the high school season. Also the Playaz will have the services of Villanova commitment Markus Kennedy who has decided to enroll in 2011 and not 2010.
The Westchester Hawks had a very impressive run in Pittsburgh, and the biggest reason for that came from the play of their floor general Jabarie Hinds. Hinds, who is becoming more of a point guard, can fill it up with the best of them in the backcourt, and put the Hawks on his back at times last weekend.
Also the event has Connecticut Select and Rich Soil. Connecticut Select is the home base for the premier prospect in the 2012 class, Andre Drummond. Drummond is the most physically impressive player in the class nationally, and that has everyone on the east coast showing interest. Rich Soil features Achraf Yacoubou. Yacoubou is a Villanova commitment who can shoot the three with the best of them if he is hot from the outside.
Overall nothing stands out as a dominant tournament this weekend, but still there is a lot to like about the action that will be taking place from coast to coast.