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May 1, 2004FORT WAYNE, IND. - The usual suspects lived up to their high expectations, including Greg Oden, but there were a number of players that made some noise on Saturday at the Spiece Run N Slam. Here is rundown of who stood out in day two of our coverage.
Elliot Johnson - His 21 points helped Friends of Hoop-Wisconsin team pull off a victory over SYF Players. The 6-foot-8 small forward had his strong moments on both inside and out, particularly in the second quarter when he scored 10 straight points. He has long arms and defends well on the wing. He said Stanford, Wisconsin, St. Louis, Notre Dame, Wyoming, Purdue, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Akron have all shown an interest.
Luke Harandody - The 6-foot-8, 245-pound sophomore emerged onto the national scene here at the Run N Slam. He defines bruiser. The Andrean High School (Ind.) product powered over, through and around defenders. He's a force down low in the paint. Several schools have been involved of late including Xavier, Wisconsin, Illinois, Purdue, Dayton, Indiana and Northwestern. His work ethic and brute force will help his case for high national recognition.
Jamil Tucker - Speaking of high national recognition, this 6-foot-8 sophomore small forward has the tools of becoming a high major prospect. He can and will shoot the three, he can put the ball on the floor and he knows how to rebound. Indiana and Michigan are just two of the suitors for the youngster. He told us he would play in the ABCD camp this July.
Dominic James - He is, without a doubt, the quickest guard in the field. The 5-foot-11 floor general burned several members of Martin Brothers Select with his crossover dribble and overall speed. To make matters worse, James is one of the best on the ball defenders in the class of 2005. He scored 15 points in Spiece Select 2005's win over Martin Bros. Several Big Ten schools are in the lead for the Richmond, Ind. native.
Jordan Armstrong - At 6-foot-6, 225-pounds, this class of 2005 power forward has the tools of becoming a solid mid-major player. He admits his mid range game is improving, proving it by knocking down a couple of 15-foot jumpers. The Muncie Central (Ind.) High School product can put the ball on the floor and go baseline for a reverse two-handed flush. He looked pretty sharp against a big Martin Brothers Select team, scoring 17 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Armstrong told us Purdue, Ball State, Southern Illinois and many others were recruiting him.
Ross Mardsen - Fresh off a commitment to Iowa State, the 6-foot-10 power forward from Ames, didn't wow us. He'll need to add more muscle and weight before he becomes an impact player in a physical conference like the Big 12. The Martin Brothers Select big man does run the floor fairly well and is a strong passer but he has room for improvement on both ends of the floor.
Josh Chichester - All Ohio Red's 6-foot-8, 180-pound sophomore had his moments against Randolph Sports - particularly in the second quarter when his team needed interior scoring. He's a bouncy forward with long arms and a quick jump. He'll rise up for an offensive put back dunk or a blocked shot. Chichester will be one to watch this summer.
Travis Walton - It wasn't the best game for the 6-foot-2 point guard against Randolph Sports but the Lima High School (Ohio) product has great potential. Schools like Marquette, Bowling Green and Duquesne have offered scholarships and he said Michigan State and Miami (Fla.) have been in the mix recently. Walton said he'd be taking an unofficial visit to Michigan State in mid-May and an official visit to Marquette in mid-May.
Ryan Tillema - At 6-foot-7, the class of 2005 shooting guard has good size and nice stroke from deep. He saw over All Ohio Red's defenders all game and finished with 16 points. We were impressed with his textbook high-arcing shot. He's a mid-major player with potential for bigger and better things.
Bilal Benn - After committing to Sienna, the 6-foot-5 athlete said he hasn't heard from the school in some time. He won't be attending college next year but instead he'll prep at Hargrave Military Academy. Benn has been one of the top guards this weekend, almost scoring at will against some quality teams like Seattle Rotary (19 points) and Illinois Fire (18 points).
Shane Clark - His 20 points against Seattle Rotary helped spark Philly MJC in their come from behind victory on Saturday morning. The Villanova-bound small forward does a good job of attacking the basket and finding a way to get to the free throw line for easy points.
Noel Wilmore - The 6-foot-3 shooting guard took a nasty shot to the eye on Friday night against the Illinois Fire but it didn't deter his focus on shooting. He lit it up from the perimeter and displayed fine ball handling skills. Wilmore told us Pitt, Penn, Rutgers and Florida State have been showing interest of late.
Richie Phillips - With the Williamses (Marcus and Terrence) getting a lot of attention on the Seattle Rotary team, it's easy to look past everyone else. Phillips is doing a good job of changing that. Coming into the tournament as a solid mid-major prospect, his nose of the ball and crowd pleasing plays inside the paint should propel him into Pac-10 consideration. We've been impressed by the 6-foot-7 bouncy forward.
K'Len Morris - Playing with the Michigan Mustangs 16U team, this 6-foot-5 wing burst onto the national scene with a solid 22 point, four rebound, four steal and four assist game. He's a great athlete that loves to attack the basket and handles the ball surprisingly well. He needs to improve his jumper but based off of his performance against a very good Illinois Warriors 16U team, we like Morris' future. He's getting looks from Cleveland State and Butler with a small interest from Cincinnati and Michigan. If he plays like he did on Saturday at the adidas Superstars camp, watch for his name to jump into a bigger spotlight.
David Kool - We heard great things about the 6-foot-2 point guard from South Christian High School (Mich.) but he didn't live up to our expectations. He did convert on a three pointer late in the game, and proved to be the game winner, but outside of his big bucket, we didn't come away with what we thought we'd see. He's young (class of 2006) so his opportunities for redemption are there.