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October 9, 2006

Underclassmen shine at Georgia Hoops Fall Showcase

MARIETTA, GA - The talent in Georgia is not going away. That was evident by the level of play from the youth at the Georgia Hoops Fall Showcase last weekend. The class of 2009 rose up and provided us with a look at several high-major prospects as well as a host of other good looking players.

Lorenzo Brown, Centennial - Without jumping too far into the future and raising the bar for the sophomore, Brown has a chance to use basketball to take care of himself after college. At 6-foot-4 and unselfish to a fault, Brown will be a tremendous point guard at the next level. The humble and poised youngster took pride in dishing out the rock and playing a game that the old timers would love to see. He stepped out of his shell and took the ball hard to the rack for a couple of thunderous dunks over the camp's top shot-blocker on one occasion.

Richard Howell, Central Gwinnett - The 6-foot-7 forward separated himself from the rest of the pack on the second day of action, showing a great array of moves as a power forward but also as a guy that is making the move to the perimeter. Whatever the position he played, he played it well and played it hard. When Howell wanted to score, he scored. He did a fantastic job of getting into the lane and snatching up the rebounds. His game is eerily similar to former Atlanta prep-star and current Oak Hill forward Howard Thompkins.

Mfon Udofia, Miller Grove - He took it as a challenge to show that he is one of the elite guards in his class at the camp and did a fine job of proving that. Udofia is one of the top point guards in his class nationally. He gets it as a passer and took it to another level by taking to the rim and attempting to throw down some crazy dunks in traffic. The best part about his game is his rebounding. He is fearless in traffic and never shied away from crashing the boards.

Brian Cole, Dacula - The lefty big man made a good impression to those that fully understand the game and appreciate effective big men. He has made good strides in his young basketball career and understands how to be an effective player in the post. When he matched up with other top notch big men, he played well as a scorer, including a fine turn around hook shot, and as a rebounder and defender. Cole is one of the top big men in the class of 2009 in Georgia and he certainly proved that at the camp last weekend.

Robert Chubb, McIntosh - Like most young big men, Chubb would show a flash here and there throughout the camp. At 6-foot-8 and a solid 210-pound frame, Chubb has a good frame and runs well for his size. His hands are above average and he plays a well disciplined game down low. He'll only get better over time.

Kinley Branch, Stone Mountain - Will go inside and out and can hit the 10 foot pull up jumper with ease. At 6-foot-6, he is stuck in between positions but looks very comfortable wherever he plays. Put his name on the prospect list.

Ariel Jones, Duluth - He has prospect written all over him. Production is still a question with the lanky 6-foot-6 wing but the physical traits are there. Jones will be a pure wing player. His ball-handling and attention to defense will be the key that unlocks the doors for his basketball future.

Adrien Coleman, Stephenson - If he grows to be about 6-foot-6 like his brother Adrian, who had a cup of coffee at Cincinnati, watch out. Coleman is an aggressive 6-foot-3 guard that can go inside and out and does a good job of rebounding the basketball. He scored a couple of good looking three pointers and didn't disappoint from start to finish.

Jeremy Olsen, Collins Hill - Like Cole, Olsen was a pleasant surprise down on the block as a post. The 6-foot-8 forward does a better job facing the basket but gave a glimpse of what to expect this season as a true post. He scored with a baby hook over several tall players. He'll need to improve his rebounding and that will come with more strength and size. Overall, it was an encouraging weekend from the young big man.

Brandon Reed, Whitefield Academy - Of all of the class of 2009 players, Reed was the biggest surprise and most impressive guy from the first game to the last. Reed, a 6-foot-2 guard, doesn't have a big national rep but that could change this season. He has a great knack for scoring the ball, probably more than any other player in his class at the camp. He can burn you inside, on the wing, down the baseline and from deep. Overall, Reed was one of the top five players in the 2009 group for the weekend. It was a stellar weekend.

Taariq Muhammad, Norcross - Few players over the course of the weekend distributed the basketball like the 6-foot-2 point guard did. Muhammad does a great job of directing an offense and stays patient with the ball. His offense is steadily improving and his defense is still in need of some work but this season should be a giant one as the moves to one of the premiere teams in the nation.

Marquis Horne, Wheeler - The 6-foot-4 wing was one of the nice surprises from the class of 2009. He always seemed to be around the ball and made buckets within the flow of the game. He plays bigger than his size and does a good job of getting rebounds and likes to mix it up inside.

Rico Spear, Lithia Springs - High-major programs will be all over him this season. Spear does what his name says. He punctures the defense with his strong drives to the basket and can switch the point guard skills on and off at any given moment. At 6-foot-2, he could have a bright future as a point guard. As a scorer, he could be one of the best in his loaded 2009 class.

Mario Vasser, South Gwinnett - At last year's camp, Vasser was one of the top surprises and top players in the camp. This year, he was one of the most versatile, even as a sophomore. The 6-foot-4 wing shines in a transition style offense and he knows what to do on the break. Vasser is very unselfish and more times than naught, he was content with handing out an assist than scoring a bucket. He is a good athlete and shines when he gets to the rim. His perimeter game and intensity on defense must improve.

Josh Shelton, Urban Christian - His abilities didn't show up on the stat sheet but Shelton, a 6-foot-6 wing, made it a point to make basketball plays. He is a guy that makes a pass that leads to an assist or gets his hand into the passing lane for a tipped ball or drives baseline for buckets or plays help side defense. Shelton will be a guy that fits in well in a structured system.

Manny Atkins, Tucker - High-major programs are lining up already to get in good with the 6-foot-5 wing scorer. Atkins had a tremendous week, showing off a mature and seasoned game from the perimeter. He has the size, the nose for the ball, a good frame that will add weight and play at a nice weight in college. Atkins should have little problem stepping into the role that is left by former Tucker standout Cameron Tatum.

Denzail Jones, Norcross - No one played harder in the camp than him. If there was a loose ball, he was on the floor for it. If the ball was racing out of bounds, he sacrificed his body for the ball. Jones did a good job of separating himself from the rest of the competition in that regard. Known as a great perimeter scorer, Jones showed that aspect of his arsenal but he also did a respectable job of being a set up point guard. At 5-foot-8, he'll need to fine tune that part of his game and shed the tag of being a guy that can only score on the wing. He did a good job of that at the camp.

Adonis Harrison, South Gwinnett - Meet the top freshman at the camp. The 6-foot-2, 170-pound guard was a scoring machine and did not play like a kid that has yet to suit up for his first high school game. Harrison was fearless to the basket and had little trouble adapting to the level of play at the camp. He has a big, strong frame and consistently scored in traffic.

JaQuez Motley, Snelson Golden/Liberty Co. HS (2011) - As the only eighth grader in the camp, Motley played much older than his age and more poised than some of the seniors at the camp. He never played rattled or intimidated and looked very comfortable with the ball in his hands. He has the tools to becoming one of the top point guards in the Southeast.

Trae Golden, McEachern - The player who many believe is the top freshman battled through a stomach virus but did show a flash of why so many are high on him. The well-built and physically mature guard showed off a fine offensive game in one contest. His confidence is certainly there and didn't shy away from showing off his advanced game. The 6-foot-2 guard has a knack for scoring the rock and despite his sickness and marginal showing, keep an eye on him down the road.


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