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May 26, 2013

Under Armour Invitational: Figure eight for Black

MORE: Under Armour Invitational Friday | Under Armour Invitational Saturday

ARLINGTON, Texas -- After two long days of competition, most of the touted teams and their talents were sent packing before the third day of the Under Armour Invitational Sunday. Nonetheless, take a look at the top story lines from Day Three in Texas.

Black focused on eight

The highest-rated 2014 player in this weekend's tournament, five-star Leron Black, is focusing on eight schools.

Illinois, Florida, Ohio State, Baylor, UConn, N.C. State, Tennessee and UCLA have all caught his attention.

"They're the ones I mainly talk to," Team Thad's 6-foot-7 forward said.

All have offered, with the exception of UCLA, although that scholarship might be on the way too if he makes it out to Los Angeles next week for the Pangos All-American camp.

Nonetheless, all eight programs stand out for one big reason: Their coaches respect his religion and his beliefs.

"I'm big on my religion," Black said. "So I want to go somewhere where I can talk to coach or with coaches who don't have a problem with me going to church or anything like that. I'm big on that. So I want to be somewhere where I can express myself and my Christianity.

"All of them have that."

While the list is narrowed, Black is nowhere near picking one of the eight. He's yet to schedule any visits or really dissect his favorites. He does plan to make his decision before the November signing period, however.

Diamond shaping up

Five-star 2015 center Diamond Stone is slimming down, and his game keeps going up.

The highest-rated player in the Under Armour event, Stone had a great weekend in Texas, logging double-doubles with ease and even recording a triple-double in Saturday's showcase game against Seventh Woods and the Carolina Wolves.

The No. 4 player in his class says he owes a lot of that to getting in better shape.

"I was 261 (last summer)," Stone said. "Now I'm 250. I lost some pounds."

He's been running more, eating better and playing more basketball. All of it has helped him get up and down the floor quicker, and helped his already-good flexibility.

"I'm working hard to get to the next level," Stone said. "I've just been working constantly with my team."

Next up for Stone is to add some muscle mass and get stronger in the paint. Maybe even get taller, too.

"I'm trying to beef it up," Stone said. "I'm trying to get stronger and hopefully if I get taller that will help, too."

Body work

Stone wasn't the only Rivals Top 30 player at the Under Armour Invitational working on his frame.

Louisville commit and four-star point guard Quentin Snider said the Cardinals coaching staff has asked him to bulk up, and that's what he's currently trying to do.

"Basically, I'm trying to work on my body," Snider said. "I haven't really touched the ball except for practices with the Magic. But basically, I'm just working on my upper body and my athleticism and everything."

Weighing 170 right now, Snider said he'd like to be up to 180 sometime soon.

"(Louisville) just said to get in the weight room and that's what I've been doing," Snider said. "Gaining weight, eating a lot. After a workout I have to drink Muscle Milk and eat potatoes and stuff."

Once he gets that mass, he expects to compete for playing time right away for Lousiville in 2014.

"They see me my freshman year playing behind Chris Jones," Snider said. "And then the rest of my career, I'll be a starter and stuff."

Sunday tip-ins

Houston Defenders forward Joe Burton said the schools coming after him the hardest right now are Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Missouri, Boise State, UTEP, Texas A&M and Houston. He said he'd like to visit most of those schools in the next few months.

Team Thad's 16U team rolled to a championship Sunday afternoon, and two of its best prospects shined throughout the day. Sophomore point guard Jeremiah Martin played well, using his athleticism and good court vision to score points. Sophomore forward LeGerald Vick, meanwhile, was a human highlight reel with high-flying dunks and good defense.

Ray Allen Select guard Riley LaChance was one of the better shooters in this weekend's tournament. He said Drake is coming after him the hardest right now, but said high-major schools such as Missouri, West Virginia, Northwestern and Stanford are all coming after him as well.

Possibly the best 2017 prospect in attendance Sunday was Power Group's Mitchell Ballock. The 6-foot-4, 175-pound wing dunked with authority and showed good poise with the basketball.

DC Assault's 2016 point guard Anthony Cowan said West Virginia, Virginia, Georgetown, Xavier, Cincinnati and Rutgers all have shown interest lately.



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