While out during the second July evaluation period, I spent time at a handful of events in Las Vegas…
AAU: Day 5, Part B
Behind a strong effort from the Aaron and Andrew Harrison, Shaquille Cleare and Derrick Griffith the Houston Defenders took the 17's Super Showcase title. The Defenders beat Team Takeover in the semi-finals and held off BABC, who was led by Nerlens Noel and George Niang, in the championship of the nationally televised event. Aaron Harrison led all scorers in the championship game with 18 points. Georges Niang , PF, BABC – His energy and effort is always there, which makes Niang fun to evaluate and watch. At just 6-foot-7 he manages to dominate the paint on the offensive end using crafty post moves and touch inside. As one college coach put it, Niang is a 20 and 10 guy every night and that comment has a lot of truth. He's consistent with his effort. He scored 18 in the championship loss. Jake Layman, SF, BABC -- A late bloomer, Layman is a guy that will jump into Scout.com's post-summer rankings. At 6-foot-8 he's a pretty good overall athlete that is equipped with a good-looking jump shot. In the semi-finals, Layman hit a pair of pull-up jump shots and dropped in a hook over his left shoulder. He's an intriguing prospect because of his length, mobility, athleticism and shot making ability. Shaquille Cleare, C, Houston Defenders – One of the biggest post prospects in the 2012 class, Cleare is a guy you can count on in the paint. While the Harrison twins were getting things done from the perimeter, Cleare held things down in the paint. He had 10 points in the championship and didn't back down from the lengthy Nerlens Noel. Derrick Griffith, PF, Houston Defenders – A monster on the football field, Griffith is a heck of a basketball prospect as well. There aren't many guys in the country as athletic as this 6-foot-7 forward. He did a lot of damage in the paint grabbing boards and throwing down vicious dunks. He's active on both ends and was certainly a big piece of the Defenders run to the title. Jordan Barham, SG, Ohio Shooting Stars – With a number of coaches looking on, Barham wowed the crowd with his athleticism and ability to get to the rim. He attempted to dunk every time he attacked the rim and showed an ability to finish through contact. He's a guy tracking at the mid-major level and is a guy that MAC schools should be all over. Aaron Harrison, SG, Houston Defenders – In the championship, Harrison broke out for a game high 18 points. Offensively he has confidence in his jump shot from both mid and long range and that was clear in the match up with BABC. He hit a pair of 15-footers, scored it at the basket and made key plays that led to the Defenders taking the Super Showcase championship. Andrew Harrison, PG, Houston Defenders – With his brother taking care of the scoring load, Andrew handled the lead guard duties. He didn't put up big numbers in the championship, but he was key throughout the semi's and showed an ability to get to the rim and create. He has great size for a lead guard, can get to the rim when he needs to and has the look an elite guard in the 2013 class. Nerlens Noel, C, BABC – There isn't another player in high school basketball that dominates on defense the way Noel does. He's not easy to score on and he'll go out of his area to swat shots away and grab boards. What was impressive on Wednesday was his scoring with both hands in the paint, plus dropping in a jump hook. His summer was been spectacular and he continues to add to his game. Isaiah Hicks, PF, Garner Road 16's – One of the best run and jump athletes in the 2013 class, Hicks is a high major talent and possible elite prospect in the 2013 class. Sure he's still skinny and needs to get stronger, but the 6-foot-8 lengthy forward is a terrific leaper, has good instincts around the rim and is learning how to score inside. Christopher Jenkins, SG, Hoop Heaven Elite – Prior to the semi-finals game against BABC, Jenkins didn't have much of a reputation. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound guard went for at least a half dozen three-pointers and led a rally that came up short in the second half against the eventual runner-up. Jarquez Smith, PF, Coastal Crew – In a loss to the Ohio Shooting Stars, Smith displayed why he will play high major basketball. At 6-foot-8, possibly 6-foot-9, his ability to handle the ball and shoot pull-up jump shots from long range is extremely impressive. Now he needs to do a little more work inside and rebound, but he's a ridiculous talent because of his skill level and shooting ability. Jared Terrell, SG, Expressions Elite 2013 – A wing prospect out of New Hampton School, Terrell is an impressive wing scorer. He has the range to shoot out to 22-feet, but he's also a comfortable mid-range shooter. On top of that he has a strong, developed frame and can score through contact when he attacks the rim. This is the second time I've seen him in July and it's the second time I've walked away impressed. *The Hoop Heaven Elite group is fun to watch. They are loaded with shooters and are tough to defend because of their patience on offense. To go with Jenkins, Mitola and Sina are terrific long-range threats. *Expressions Elite has a number of Division-1 prospects on their team. Terrell was the most impressive, but Idris Taqqee is a good-looking shooter and Duby Maduegbunam, Abdul Malik-Abu, Jeremy Miller and Alec Brennan are impressive players as well. *The Ville has a handful of players that will play in college. One that is coming on is Dominique Hawkins. A 6-foot combo guard, Hawkins attacked the rim and showed a nice floater. Darryl Hicks, Omar Prewit and Larry Morton are all Division-1 players as well. *Andrew and Aaron Harrison confirmed that they have cut their list of schools to five – Kentucky, Villanova, Baylor, Maryland and Texas. They both said they weren't in a rush to make a college choice. *Christian Sanders said he's hearing Maryland, Texas, Stanford, Oklahoma State, Colorado, Harvard, Kansas and Vanderbilt. *Shaquille Cleare mentioned Maryland, Texas, Baylor, Texas A&M, Marquette, Kansas and Florida. *Anton Gill mentioned North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Louisville, North Carolina, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Texas and Xavier. *Isaiah Hicks said North Carolina State, Virginia Tech, Xavier, North Carolina, Kentucky and Texas have been recruiting him. *Jake Layman said he's hearing from Maryland, Louisville, Syracuse, Florida, Notre Dame, Wake Forest and Indiana.
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