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May 11, 2008
Prather: Sunday action
ATLANTA, GA -- Sunday was an interesting day of action as one Georgia program ran the table in the 17 and under division while a young team played up and took home the 16 and under crown at the Wallace Prather Memorial Classic.
The championship game of the Wallace Prather Memorial Classic will be played on Tuesday evening at Wheeler High School.
At least that is what the Worldwide Reneagades program says will happen. Why not? The orange and black teams under the Worldwide umbrella won in the semi-finals in two highly competitive games.
Instead of playing the fourth game in a day, the championship trophy was taken home as a whole as both squads took care of business in the 17 and under division.
The big three for the orange team, Mfon Udofia, Richard Howell and Ari Stewart, shined on the biggest stage against the host team Atlanta Celtics in the semi-finals.
The three combined for 73 points in spirited contest against a Derrick Favors-less Celtics squad. Udofia capped off a stellar weekend with his scoring and his passing. The four-star prospect showed off a perimeter touch with a pair of three-pointers made and used his quick burst of speed to get to the rim at will.
A lot of times in recruiting, players say they want to play with close friends and AAU teammates. And most times, the talk is nothing more than talk. For Stewart, he says he Udofia in college. It only makes sense. Nearly all of Stewart's made baskets on Sunday morning was the by-product of a Udofia pass. There is an obvious chemistry between the two and Stewart is at his best when Udofia is feeding him the ball.
When it comes to great hands and on point passing Howell was the best forward in the tournament his weekend in those two categories. His skill set has been on display all spring long and he was finally rewarded with
For three quarters of the game, the contest was a back and forth battle. Noel Johnson kept it interesting with his scoring touch. He put in 18 of his 25 points in the first half and caught fire with his trademark smooth jumper.
Udofia's defense on Johnson was stellar in the second half and slowed down the scoring barrage on the 6-foot-6 wing. Ohio State bound Trae Golden scored 15 points but was put out after sustaining a painful ankle injury. He's been slowed all spring long by the injury.
Always active and super competitive, Terrance Shannon used his high-energy to muster up nine points in the defeat.
The quest to the big stage for Worldwide's black team didn't have the Celtics standing in the way like the orange team. Instead, in order to reach the finals, the black team had to win three overtime games in a six hour stretch.
The overtime win over the Jacksonville Lee Bulls was well-earned. The game never had a margin more than six points throughout. The game also had plenty of fireworks that were worth the price of admission.
Point guard Phil Taylor, a class of 2010 prospect, stepped up big in the clutch with a pair of baskets that were not easy to make. The black Renegades team has made a 180 degree turn in a month's time. One of the reasons why has been the play of Taylor. He's a calming presence in the backcourt and having a great spring season.
Adding to the black team's success on Sunday was Brandon Reed, a 6-foot-2 scoring guard. Outside of his 14 points in the semi-final win over the Lee Bulls, Reed proved himself as one of the top rebounding guards in the tournament. The long-armed prospect knows how to get the ball off the rim.
NC State 2010 commitment C.J. Leslie scored 14 points in the victory.
SOUTHERN KINGS REIGN AGAIN
It is starting to feel like Groundhog Day for the Southern Kings. The 15 and under team played up a division this weekend at the Prather and took care of business in the 16 and under bracket. The kids from the north side of Atlanta took home the trophy and made it look easy in the process.
Led by Dai-Jon Parker's 28 points in a blowout win over the Atlanta Celtics, the Southern Kings once again reigned supreme.
Parker, a 6-foot-3 guard from the class of 2011, just continues to shine on the big stage. The Marietta (Ga.) High School product mixes his athleticism and perimeter game beautifully. When he gets hot from the perimeter, he's a handful because his game opens up and he knows when to go straight to the basket for points.
It wasn't all Parker though. Anyone can be the go-to guy. That's the beauty of the Kings team. The team had important contributions from Algie Key and Brandon Hayman. The two combined for 26 points and both players picked their spots to show their worth. Key is a physical and athletic wing while Hayman can play both guard positions.
Julian Royal, one of the top big men in the class of 2011, scored 12 points. In the semi-finals, he was a major mismatch problem. His game is inside-out and at the younger division, he's a headache to deal with because of his flexibility on the offensive end of the floor.
If point guards are graded by wins and losses, Shannon Scott of the Southern Kings certainly has an A from his spring report card. The class of 2011 floor general has been as steady as any point guard in his class this spring. The Southern Kings, a 15 and under team, is playing up in the 16 and under division at the Prather.
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
J.D. Weatherspoon scored 30 points to help the All Ohio Red team claim the 15 and under title. The 6-foot-7 forward did anything he wanted in the championship game and continues his great play in the spring period. He's a crazy athlete with power to boot. There is no question about him being a high-major player.
Jordan McRae continues to keep himself high on the list of the top players from the class of 2010 in Georgia. The long and athletic wing scored 23 points in a win over Lou Will Elite on Sunday.
The 6-foot-5 guard from Liberty County loves to score in two big ways, with the three ball and at the rim for a dunk. The Cameron Tatum (Tennessee) clone did plenty of that on Sunday. McRae's recruitment is taking shape these days, too. Florida, Minnesota, Clemson, Wake Forest, UCLA, Southern Cal and Georgia are in the mix.
Trevis Simpson is one of the better players at his position in 2010 in the Southeast. His game is reminiscent of state mate Lorenzo Brown. Simpson, a 6-foot-4 guard, has little to no trouble getting to the rim. In fact, he's at his best when he is driving to the hole. Simpson scored 22 points in a quarterfinal win for the Atlanta Celtics 16 and under team.
Coty Clark, an Antioch (Tenn.) native, was one of the nice surprises in the 16 and under division. At 6-foot-6, Clark was always in the middle of a play and made positive play after positive play.
If you just glanced over and saw the Lou Will Elite 16 and under team, you may have missed Ryan Harrow. No, not because he didn't produce or play. He certainly did. You'd miss him because Harrow was about as elusive as at it gets with his quickness, tricky handle and overall craftiness on the floor.
The North Carolina move-in was one of the most fun players to watch all weekend long. Harrow scored a team high 21 points in a tough loss but his first impression was a heck of a first impression of the Walton (Ga.) High School prospect.
Adrian Rogers, a 6-foot-4 wing, scored 18 to help Harrow's effort. Rogers is a bouncy wing with power forward toughness and small forward versatility.
NEWS FROM THE NOTEPAD
Teammate Aaron Bowen, a class of 2010, chipped in with 13 points in the semi-final loss. The 6-foot-6 forward was an eye-opener in his class here in Atlanta. He's a producing big man with a fair amount of potential to keep an eye on for the future.