Monday, April 15, 2013
Best of the Real Deal in the Rock
By John Stovall
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The Real Deal in the Rock has earned notoriety for being one of the top national events of the spring over the last few years. It always has a strong southern flavor, but there are a few West Coast and Midwestern teams that also attend this great event. Hats off to Bill Ingram and the "War Room Crew" for their great southern hospitality.
With top-10 juniors Jahlil Okafor and Cliff Alexander both in attendance, players had to do even more to distinguish themselves from the pack. Here's a breakdown of players who impressed.
Cliff Alexander is ranked No. 8 overall in the 2014 class.
Cliff Alexander (Chicago/Currie - Mac Irvin Fire)
2014, PF, 6-foot-8, 230 Alexander may be making a strong push this spring to enter the No. 1 player in the country conversation. The ultra athletic power forward made his summer debut playing for the Fire and showed an incredible motor and a solid 17-foot jump shot. If he can continue to play like he did this past weekend, it will be hard to keep him out of the top four in the 2014 class.
Tyler Dorsey (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco - Belmont Shore)
2015, SG/PG, 6-4, 180 Dorsey is one of the best players in the country off the dribble. He has great size and plays very hard. Dorsey is very good at scoring on the move and has a nice pull-up game. His size, skill and ability to score at all three levels should help him move up the 2015 rankings this spring.
Jahlil Okafor (Chicago/Whitney Young - Mac Irvin Fire)
2014, C, 6-10, 265 Okafor, the nation’s No. 1 junior, had an unusually average outing. He is easily the best 2014 center and arguably the best prospect in the class. Okafor seemed a little bored with the competition right now but still turns it on just enough to show you his great potential. Okafor is super talented but will need to continue to show his talents consistently in order to retain his top billing as the Wolves are out hunting for him.
Daniel Hamilton (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco - Belmont Shore)
2014, SF, 6-6, 185 Daniel is the final member of the talented Hamilton brothers (Issac and Jordan), and he has a chance to be the best of the trio. He combines Jordan’s size with Isaac’s skill off the dribble. He is a natural scorer and one of the best wings in the 2014 class.
Best Freshman Forward
Braxton Blackwell (Nashville, Tenn./Presbyterian - Atlanta Celtics)
2016, SF/PF, 6-6, 195 One of the best talents in the 2016 class, Blackwell is a combo forward who is skilled off the dribble but big and strong enough to do a lot of damage in the paint.
Best Freshman Guard
Josh Langford (Huntsville, Ala./Madison Academy - Atlanta Celtics)
2016, SG/PG, 6-4, 200 Langford’s size and strength belie his youth. Josh is big, strong and athletic and can play any perimeter position. This past season, he was voted Gatorade Player of the Year in Alabama as a freshman.
Best Scoring PG
Jalen Brunson (Chicago/Stevenson - Mac Irvin Fire)
2015, PG, 6-2, 180 This lefty is a carbon copy of his father, former NBA player Rick Brunson, but the younger Brunson is probably a little better shooter at this stage of his career.
Fastest Rising Prospect
Myles Turner is a fast-rising 2014 big man to keep an eye on.
Myles Turner (Euless, Texas/Trinity - Texas Select)
2014, C/PF, 6-9, 220 Turner is a prime candidate to go from relative unknown prospect to McDonald’s All American. He is a skilled low-post player with the ability to score out to about 17 feet. Turner is also a solid rebounder and shot-blocker. It’s early in the spring, but the fuse has been lit on this intriguing prospect.
Victor Dukes (Jonesboro, Ark./Nettleton - Arkansas Soldiers)
2015, SF/SG, 6-3, 200 Dukes poured in 39 points in the 16 & Under championship game and did the majority of his damage in the paint. He is a stellar slasher, using his strong body and supreme. Dukes is skilled with the ball and is almost impossible to keep out of the paint.
Best Young PF
Ed Morrow (Chicago/Simeon - Mac Irvin Fire)
2015, PF, 6-6, 200 Morrow is a lunch-pail big with solid athleticism, a developing skill set and a knack for going to work in the paint. His future offers may hinge on how much he grows over the next two years.
Most Athletic Wing
Deangelo Allen (Dallas/Kimball - Deron Williams Elite)
2014, SF, 6-6, 185 Allen is a super athletic wing who makes explosive plays on both ends of the floor. His skill level is good but it’s his athletic ability that really grabs your attention.
Most Versatile 2016 big
Dedric Lawson (Memphis, Tenn./Hamilton - Team Penny)
2016, SF/PF, 6-7, 185 Lawson is developing into a stud and has a bright future. He is skilled enough to slide over to the point and he is practically impossible to stop when lined up across from others his age. He is far too skilled for any other frontcourt player his size and too big for any perimeter player.
Admon Gilber (Dallas/Madison - Dallas Mustangs)
2015, SG, 6-2, 185 This talented wing has never met a shot he didn’t like and, more importantly, one he couldn’t make. He has range to 22 feet and has a quick release on his jumper, ensuring Gilber will be highly sought-after in the Southwest region.
15-Under championship The title game came down to Team Penny out of Memphis and The Red Storm from Baton Rouge, La. The game was tight early but Team Penny pulled away late to grab a 66- 47 victory. 2016 PF/SF Dedric Lawson (Memphis/Hamilton) led Team Penny with 22 points, while 2016 PG/SG Dillon Mitchell (Memphis/White Station) chipped in 11 and 2017 C Isaiah Stokes (Memphis) added 9 points and 12 rebounds. The Red Storm were powered by 2016 SG Toliver Freeman (Baton Rouge, La./Catholic) with 14.
16-Under championship This was a hotly contested, up-and-down affair featuring the Arkansas Soldiers and Chicago Mac Irvin Fire. Dukes’ huge game propelled the Soldiers to an 89-75 victory. Explosive 2015 wing KeVaughn Allen (North Little Rock, Ark.) put in 18 and 6-3 2015 wing DeAndre Elliott (Farmerville, La.) was also in double figures with 12. The Fire got 26 points from Morrow and 13 from 2015 wing Cain Harris (Chicago/Morgan Park).
17-Under championship This bracket had a few upsets with the finals coming down to a battle between Dallas-area powers as T.J. Ford Elite squad and Texas Select squared off for the title. Behind 2014 PF Traylin Farris (Manvel, Texas/H.S.) team-high 14 points, Ford Elite captured the championship with a 58-48 win. Junior PF Frank Iheanacho (Houston/Westside) and 2014 SF B.J. Jones (Cypress, Texas/Cy-Fair) tallied 13 apiece. Turner netted 18 points for Texas Select.