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August 7, 2003The Rivals150 -- August Update
July has come and gone which means another summer of AAU basketball has come to an end. College coaches have now evaluated their prospects and official visits and commitments will start taking place, and best of all the high school season is just around the corner.
Putting the Rivals150 has been a dubious task, but the entire RivalsHoops team has attended over twenty major events with a minimum of two of our team members in attendance in order to see as many prospects as possible. Not just the big name guys, but looking for the lesser-known prospect. We arrived early and left late and if the "gym door was open we were there."
Several prospects stepped to the forefront as the AAU season progressed and as a result the prestigious Rivals150 is ready for its fourth release of the year and perhaps it's most important.
In the process, RivalsHoops has managed to build the most extensive prospect photo database anywhere on the net for our subscribers. In addition, we've provided highlight videos of the majority of the nation's elite so that you can see the prospects in action.
It was a groundbreaking summer for our staff, as nobody covered the AAU scene as we did. We hope you enjoyed the coverage as much as we enjoyed providing it.
If there was any uncertainty that power forward Dwight Howard from Atlanta (GA) was the nation's top prep player then he erased it, or better stated he obliterated any doubt with back to back outstanding performances at the ABCD camp and Big Time Tournament.
The athletic 6-foot-10, 225-pounder, proved unstoppable around the basket and several times had fans leaping to their feet and defenders from beneath the basket with rim-rattling dunks. Howard displayed his soft touch in the paint and moved with amazing athleticism while teaming with Josh Smith and Randolph Morris for the Atlanta Celtics.
Howard has a long list of suitors which includes Duke, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, North Carolina, Syracuse and Maryland among others but with NBA scouts following his play all summer the NBA is a distinct possibility.
Right behind Howard in the Rivals150 is his Celtic teammate, Josh Smith from McEachern (GA) High School. The long, lefty concentrated on his inside game in the later half of the AAU season and with impressive results. While Smith, 6-foot-8, 210-pounds, has small forward skills including a nice long-range jumper and solid handle, he used his strength and speed to run the floor well and finish. Several of his dunks were of the highlight variety. His most impressive move of the summer might have come in Las Vegas during the Big Time Tournament when he grabbed a rebound, brought the ball up the floor and took off from just inside the free throw line for a massive dunk. Indiana head coach Mike Davis won a hard fought battle for his commitment but his toughest fight might lie ahead if the NBA comes calling.
With his 6-foot-6 frame and wide wingspan, point guard Shaun Livingston is an imposing figure for anyone trying to defend him. But add in his excellent handle and floor vision (imagine chess champion Bobby Fisher on the hardwood) and he seemingly is two steps ahead of everyone else on the floor. Although injured for parts of the summer, Livingston still managed to lead his Ft. Sooy AAU squad and played well enough to draw interest from most of the nation's top programs. Arizona, Duke, Illinois and North Carolina are the four finalists for Livingston.
"They call him big baaaabbbbby," is the cry that could be heard from the rafters during almost every Sports Academy game this summer. The cheers were for 6-foot-8, 340-pound, power forward
Davis is almost a walking paradox, when you see how big and massive he is you aren't prepared to see him posting on the block with impressive dexterity and an almost dancer like motion. The big man's game is fairly simple; get position down low, stick his hand out and score. Sounds like it would be easy for opponents to stop, but it's not. Davis is blessed with amazing quickness for such a large fellow and his strength is unmatched. He currently lists Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, LSU, Miami, North Carolina, and Oklahoma as his favorites, but the LSU Tigers are expected to have the final say.
What's not to like about a prospect that is 6-foot-8, 200-pounds and can pretty much play every position on the floor? Memphis native Shawne Williams rounds out the top five of the new Rivals150.
The summer got off to a good start for Williams when he burst onto the national scene in April at the 9th annual Kingwood Classic. With most of the nations top programs represented, Williams helped led his YOMCA Team Memphis squad deep into the tournament. The athletic small forward showed his versatility by raining three's with consistency, getting to the basket and bringing the ball up the floor.
Williams also did a good job defensively and was at his best when grabbing a rebound and leading his team up the floor in transition. He finished the summer strong with a star-making tournament while in Orlando for the AAU nationals.
During July, Williams told Rivals he had committed to John Calipari and the Memphis Tigers. Since that time he has wavered on whether he is committed or not. Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee are some of the schools who were recruiting him.
Click here for the entire The Rivals150.