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May 27, 2012

Best of Championship Sunday in Chicago

On championship Sunday at the Adidas Best Buy Classic in Chicago, it was a young squad from Memphis that stole the show, taking down heavy hitter after heavy hitter before losing to the Florida Rams in the title bout.

Anton Gill - 6-foot-2, SG, Raleigh (N.C.) Ravenscroft School, 2013: Gill is a guard who excels at scoring the ball around the basket by using both his strength and athleticism to create space. He's very good off the bounce, can change direction quickly and has good vision when attacking the rim. Although his jumper wasn't falling at its normal clip, he was able to hit enough to keep the defense honest. Gill led his Garner Road Bulldogs back from a 20-point deficit to take the lead before they lost at the buzzer to the Michigan Mustangs. Gill has been committed to Louisville since December.

Monte Morris - 6-foot-2, PG, Flint (Mich.) Beecher, 2013: Morris is an elusive guard who can make plays at the rim in transition or create shots in the half court. He's a crafty ball-handler who finishes well around the basket and also can score from the perimeter with a feathery jumper. More of a combo guard, he's best at attacking the rim and freelancing plays off the bounce in the halfcourt. He also has shown the capability to run a team through offensive sets. However, his toughness is what separates Morris from other prospects, and it's a big reason why the four-star guard from the Michigan Mustangs, who poured in 27 points in a loss on Sunday to the Florida Rams, is being recruited by Cincinnati, Iowa State, Xavier and several other big-name schools.

Brannen Greene - 6-foot-7, SF, Forsyth (Ga.) Tift County: A skilled forward with a guard-like game from the Florida Rams, the four-star is capable of putting up big scoring numbers in a hurry. Greene is a very good shooter out to the three-point line, with a smooth and high release on his shot. He's a nice athlete who can handle the ball, is strong inside and plays with a confident swagger. As a shooter with size, he's a tough matchup at the high school level. Greene is committed to head coach Bill Self and Kansas.

Monty Boykins - 6-foot-4, SG, West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West, 2013: The guard from the Ohio Phenoms is one of the most prolific scorers on the Adidas circuit, and he played with a chip on his shoulder over the weekend. Boykins is a very good shooter who can attack the rim with bursts of speed off the bounce to get by his defenders. He plays with a lot of confidence with the basketball and is extremely aggressive on the offensive end. Boykins will need to continue to improve defensively, but when he's in attack mode, he was as good of a scorer as there was all weekend. He is being targeted by Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Miami (Ohio), Kent State and Akron.

Leron Black - 6-foot-7, PF, Memphis (Tenn.) White Station, 2014: Although he was playing in an age group a year up, the four-star sophomore probably was the most dominant player in Chicago on championship Sunday. Black led his Team Thad squad to the championship game by taking over physically with his strength and athleticism and simply giving a better effort on every possession than his opponent. He's very good at scoring around the basket, although his offensive arsenal is still raw, and he can hit the midrange jumper to open up driving opportunities. One of the top forward prospects in 2014, Black has tremendous potential if he continues to develop his ball skills. He is being recruited by Memphis, Georgia Tech, Missouri, Georgetown and Connecticut.

Anton Beard - 5-foot-11, PG, Little Rock (Ark.) Parkview, 2014: If Black wasn't the most dominant player of the day, that title would have to go to his feisty Team Thad running mate Beard. A combo guard who can fill it up from all three levels and excels at scoring off the dribble, Beard is a tough competitor who somehow finds a way to will shots into the basket. He's slippery off the bounce and even better around the rim as he finds ways to curl around bigger defenders to score and draw the foul. He also is a more-than-reliable shooter from downtown. Beard's team needed him to score to win games on Sunday, but he also showed the ability to make plays for his teammates as a passer. The four-star sophomore is being recruited by Georgetown, Arkansas, Missouri, Memphis and Alabama.

Adonys Henriquez - 6-foot-5, SG, Orlando (Fla.) Orlando Christian, 2014: A confident and competitive wing from the Florida Rams with big time scoring capabilities, Henriquez has the size to be a very intriguing offensive player. With a big, strong frame, he can bully his way to the rim or shoot over smaller defenders. When teams put bigger defenders on him, Henriquez has the athleticism to go by them and score above the rim. As he improves his handle to become a pure guard, his production likely will continue to climb. Henriquez lists interest from Florida, Kansas, Georgia, Maryland and Florida State.

Jonathan Joseph - 6-foot-4, SF, Orlando (Fla.) Orlando Christian, 2014: An intriguing athlete who runs with Henriquez with the Florida Rams, the super athletic wing can affect games with his energy and leaping ability. Joseph is good at getting out on the break and attacking the rim either as a ball-handler or a rim-runner, and he finishes well above the rim with authority. The forward has interest from Miami, Florida, South Florida, Florida State and Alabama.

Larry Austin - 6-foot-1, PG, Springfield (Ill.) Lanphier, 2014: The top pure point guard in Chicago on Sunday was the sophomore from Team DRose. Austin is a floor general with leadership skills who plays a fundamental and heady all-around game and really competes. He's a speedy transition playmaker with great first-step quickness and the leaping ability to score above the rim through fouls. While not being a great shooter at this point in his career, Austin can score off the bounce while also being skilled as a distributor when the defense helps. Also a very good defender, the four-star prospect is being heavily recruited by Missouri, Kentucky, Memphis, DePaul, Illinois and Ohio State.

Cliff Alexander - 6-foot-9, PF, Chicago (Ill.) Curie, 2014: As physically imposing as any 2014 prospect, the big man from Team DRose has great size, strength and athleticism. The five-star forward is an emphatic finisher around the basket, who despite not being overly aggressive is a consistent low-post scorer. A lot of his skill-package still is in the development stage, but Alexander can take over a game by controlling the rebounding game and has the offensive potential to be a go-to scorer. On one possession he blocked a jumper, secured the rebound and pushed the break himself for a two-handed dunk - showing in a few moments why he is a top-10 prospect. Alexander lists DePaul, Illinois, Michigan State and Indiana as some of the schools who are recruiting him the hardest.



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