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April 11, 2011
Boo Williams Invite, Day 3
HAMPTON, Va. - Teams in the Nike EYBL played their final two games of the weekend Sunday at the Boo Williams Sportsplex. Not surprisingly, play was a little ragged at times after a long weekend, but some managed to rise above the fray. Omar Calhoun capped a big weekend while Anthony "Cat" Barber, Elijah Macon, Jerami Grant and others had strong finishes.
Sunday's top performers
Omar Calhoun, SG, NY Gauchos: No matter who the 6-foot-4 shooting guard found standing in front of him, he found ways to put the ball in the hole. A terrific jump shooter with a crisp stroke, he's as dangerous a three-point shooter as there is in 2012. However, Calhoun will also attack off the dribble, can make plays for others and has a good feel for the game. There weren't many guys who had weekends as strong as he did. Listed North Carolina, Kentucky, Louisville, West Virginia, Villanova, Pittsburgh, St. John's, Rutgers, Connecticut and Virginia among others.
Jerami Grant, SF, Team Takeover: A lengthy small forward, Grant has always shown potential because of his inside/out game and size. However, his production has often been inconsistent. Sunday, his energy was high and so was his impact on the floor in Team Takeover's overtime win against Boo Williams. He attacked the rim, scored from 5-15 feet and got to the free throw line often.
Mike Tobey, C, NY Gauchos: Virginia looks like it did a good job beating everybody to the punch because Tobey would be the rage with East Coast high-majors were he available. Though slender in build, he's at least 6-foot-10, and he can run, block shots, rebound and score in the paint. Tobey runs well and has some length to go with his size, making him an effective shot blocker.
Rapheal Davis, SG, Spiece- The 6-foot-4 wing isn't necessarily the fastest or highest-jumper among shooting guards on the block. Sometimes, the Purdue commitment's game is even a little ugly, but he sure found ways to score on Sunday. Davis was knocking in outside looks, using his strength to get to the rim and really played with purpose.
D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, PG, Spiece: The physical Smith-Rivera got off to a slow start against the NY Gauchos but came on strong late as he and his team fell just short during a furious comeback attempt. While his strength certainly helps, DSR is more clever and quick off the bounce than he's given credit for and an underrated playmaker for others. His mistakes are generally born out of effort and he generally corrects them quickly.
Anthony Barber, PG/SG, Boo Williams: "Cat" had a strong finish to what was a pretty strong weekend. Though rail-thin, the 6-foot-2 sophomore is blessed with absurd quickness, body control and creativity off the dribble. He's more of a scorer than a playmaker for others, but that doesn't mean that he can't pass or is selfish. Barber is always in attack mode, makes some jumpers to keep defenders honest and is one of the most explosive backcourt players in his class.
Alex Hamilton, SG, Alabama Challenge: A junior college coach tipped us off about the 6-foot-4 Hamilton during the winter and while he might be more of shooting guard than point, he can really play. Hamilton is a fine athlete with good size, a basketball frame and he can get to the rim or knock in some jumpers. Looks like a guy that should be getting some high-major attention.
Rodney Purvis, PG/SG, CP3- While Purvis and his CP3 teammates came out on the losing end of a rough game with All-Ohio Red, it's not as if there was much more he could have done. Purvis is learning to use his power and because of his ability to create separation on the drive, defenders back off of him giving him space. Because of that, he's been able to shoot jumpers without rushing and experienced better results. He made 11 of 15 shots in a 32-point, four-rebound and four-assist effort.
Savon Goodman, SF/PF, Playaz BBC: The 6-foot-6 Goodman has really packed on some muscle in the last year and is clearly a guy most comfortable making plays at the rim. On the interior he uses his power, quickness and length to battle bigger guys. In transition he fills lanes for dunks. Was very productive on the glass and as an at-the-rim scorer on Sunday.
Elijah Macon, PF, All-Ohio: CP3 doesn't have a lot of size and Macon looked to exploit that to his benefit. At 6-foot-8, he's a power forward with bounce, length and a strong upper body that allows him to fend off contact and finish. Young big guys tend to be up and down but his ups are getting more consistent. He's got some skill too and is dangerous driving the lane from the free throw line for baskets or hook passes to teammates.
More Sunday notables
Jarnell Stokes finished off his weekend strong. The 6-foot-7 power forward was a beast in the paint all weekend and strung together one of the more impressive lines of the weekend when he went for 28 points on 13-of-15 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds during an 8 a.m. game on Sunday. A 6-foot-2 shooting guard, Melvin Johnson had some nice moments on Sunday. A fine jump shooter, he hit some big shots against Spiece and has the ability to set himself up and get space for his shot with a dribble or two. Craig Sword finished his weekend well for the Alabama Challenge after a slow start. The 6-foot-2 guard is a big-time athlete with quickness and can create going to the rim. When his jumper started falling, he became a factor as a scorer. Defensively, he has the tools and instincts to be one of the top defenders in the 2012 class. Brannen Greene is going to be one to watch down the road as he acclimates himself to playing up on the 17-and-under level. A sturdy 6-foot-5 (maybe a little taller) wing with a good-looking shot, confidence and athleticism, Greene didn't get to play huge minutes. But, he looked very comfortable during the minutes he got and certainly warrants some early high-major interest.
Craig Bradshaw of the Tennessee Travelers is a nice-looking prospect with at least mid- to upper-mid-major level potential. At 6-foot-2, he can play a bit at the one or at the two. A smart guard who plays with some edge and can knock down shots. Shawn Lester is a tough guy to get a read on. Currently rated No. 83 in the country, the 6-foot-2 guard can score. He's a very good shooter from deep and has some athleticism, but he's more of an undersized two than a point or even combo guard. Knocking down shots improved his game on Sunday and we suspect he would be more active if given the chance to handle the ball a little more. Rayshawn Simmons of the St. Louis Eagles settled in nicely after early nerves. A 6-foot-2 combo guard from Webster Groves (Mo.), Simmons is very good scoring off the dribble, with some athleticism and a quick first step. Anthony January is a guy that will need to be watched again. Already ranked No. 147 nationally in the class of 2012, that ranking could be a little low for the very active and lengthy combo-forward. He was productive as a rebounder, scorer, transition finisher and defender. Intriguing prospect. Finally, he didn't finish quite as strong as he started the weekend, but 6-foot-3 guard Anthlon Bell of YOMCA was a nice discovery. It's pretty tough to fly under the radar in Memphis but that's what he had been doing. Well until now, at least. A fine athlete who can score and pass, he shows some high-major potential.