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April 21, 2012
Several start fast Friday in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS- Friday night, the Adidas VIP Exclusive Run tipped off in Las Vegas. With college coaches in attendance, players took the floor of Green Valley high school looking to improve their stock. The Florida Rams trio of Kasey Hill, Chris Walker and Brannen Greene impressed as did Jarrell Martin of New Orleans Elite and several others.
Martin adding to game
One of the most intriguing players of the day on Friday was New Orleans Elite four-man Jarrell Martin. The 6-foot-8 product of Madison Prep was impressive with his effort on the glass and ability to score the rock.
In the past, Martin has floated some to the perimeter. Now, he's playing a more attacking game that is focused on making things happen in the paint.
In fact, Martin made it clear he wants to be seen as a physical player.
"I want to try and get stronger out there," Martin told Rivals.com. "I want to play even more physical."
A good athlete, Martin also has some skill facing the hoop and can put the ball on the floor a bit.
Martin took unofficial visits to Louisville and Oklahoma State during the winter and says those are the two schools recruiting him the hardest.
As for what schools like about him, Martin says it's pretty simple.
"I'm pretty much a power forward," said Martin. "I'm good around the rim and I also like to pop out and shoot the ball."
Rams trio impresses
Committed to Florida, Hill looked the part of a top 10 prospect in the country when he needed to make plays. The future Gator is an attacking point guard who can really get to the rim where he is a big time finisher. The five-star can knock down a jumper and even though he isn't the biggest point guard, his freaky athleticism makes him a load to defend.
As athletic as Hill is, Walker may be on another level. The 6-foot-9 power forward from Bonifay (Fla.) Holmes County is maybe the most athletic big man in the class of 2013 and he showed it on Friday night. With Billy Donovan, Bill Self and Anthony Grant among those watching from courtside, Walker had his motor running high and was making plays at the rim and on the glass. The jumpers he took weren't falling, but they looked good and opened up opportunities to make quick drives to the hoop.
Headed to Kansas, Greene isn't the same high flyer that Hill and Walker are, he's a fine player in his own right. Physical and skilled, Greene is a big wing who can knock down jumpers and finish through contact. He will be a good defender and is a good fit for a Jayhawk offense that gets open looks for shooters in the corner.
Dream Vision 15's have talented trio
A pair of talented 15U squads went at each other as Dream Vision held off the Compton Magic. While the Magic have a lot of size - five players 6-7 or taller - Dream Vision featured lots of quick, skilled and talented perimeter players. In particular, freshman guards Stephen Thompson, Jeremy Hemsley and Kendall Small.
Let's start with Thompson. The son of former Syracuse mega athlete Steve Thompson, the Torrance (Calif.) Bishop Montgomery shooting guard is a skilled freshman. He reads the floor and makes excellent decisions, he handles the ball and he will knock down an open shot.
A 6-foot-2 scorer from La Verne (Calif.) Damien, Hemsley has some Marcus Denmon in his game. Wired to score, he's a natural on the offensive end where he shakes defenders, hits shots and scores in bursts.
The smallest of the trio, Small is a quick and elusive point guard who commands his team on the offensive end. He directs traffic, is a skilled ball handler and can get into the lane and make plays. Small is also a threat on the offensive end and the Huntington Beach (Calif.) Ocean View product will be watched heavily on the West Coast
For the Magic, 6-foot-7 Nick Pete fro Perris (Calif.) High is an interesting prospect. Long and skinny, he's quick off the floor and seems to have a nose for loose balls. The young big man also showed that he can stick an eight foot jump shot when left open.
Outside of five-star point guard Solomon Poole - who hunted deep jump shots on Friday night - this year's edition of the Atlanta Celtics may be the least hyped Celtics group in quite some time. However, 6-foot-6 wing Tim Quarterman will be one to watch throughout the spring and summer. A long and lean slasher, Quarterman can really handle the ball and makes plays happen by attacking the rim.
2012 wing Victor Robbins is apparently on the verge of qualifying and if the 6-foot-5 wing from Compton (Calif.) High can get it done in the classroom, he's an intriguing spring option. A fine athlete, he has a pretty good jumper and could provide help to a high major looking to add a wing late.
His Compton Magic teammate Idrissa Diallo is one of the bigger young players in the country. At about 6-9, the sophomore isn't just big, he's big and strong and plays very tough in the lane.
The Louisville Magic had a rough night against New Heights, but shooting guard Darryl Baker had his moments. Baker is a strong 6-foot-2 shooting guard who hit some shots and he looks wired to score.
Michigan has itself another nice point guard on the way in Derrick Walton. The four star point guard runs his team and has a burst off the dribble that allows him to get into the lane and make plays with regularity. He's also a communicator, plays hard and will ultimately be a very good replacement/complement to Trey Burke.
But, Walton wasn't the only member of the always solid Michigan Mustangs who performed well. Flint (Mich.) Beecher combo guard Monte Morris was outstanding as well. A versatile guard who can run the show, Morris is also tough enough to slide over to the two spot and deal with bigger guards on each side of the floor. A winner and a leader, he's cementing his status as a high major prospect and is poised for a big summer. Indiana has been making him a priority and he'll take a campus visit in two weeks. Also involved are Iowa State, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State and Rhode Island among others.
Class of 2012 four-star big man Christopher Obekpa is in Las Vegas playing for New Heights. When he finishes playing this weekend, the 6-foot-9 shot-blocker and dunker will take an official visit to Oregon. For now, he's eyeing a May 5 decision date and is unlikely to take any more visits. Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin was in town to watch him and UConn had an assistant in the building.