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January 17, 2012

Flyin' to the Hoop: Monday's top performers

MORE: Flyin' to the Hoop: Sunday's best

KETTERING, Ohio -- As the 10th edition of Flyin' to the Hoop came to a close on Monday, the competition never took a step back as seven games entertained the crowd with a full day of college prospects battling it out. Texas' HYCA finished 3-0 and will be remembered as the stars of this year's event, as two of its players made the top performers list in all three wins. Here are some high-level prospects who stood out in Monday's action.

Top Performers
1. JUSTIN JACKSON, 2014, SF, HOUSTON (TEXAS) HYCA
The four-star prospect has gotten a little bit better in each of his three games. On Monday, the 6-foot-7 Jackson was unconscious with his shooting stroke, as he totaled 30 points by shooting 8-of-11 from the field, including 2-of-4 from three-point range, and 12-of-13 from the foul line. There simply aren't many sophomores in the country with such a complete, well-polished offensive game. His ability to jab step and attack the weak foot of a defender before rising up for a pull-up jumper is extremely advanced for such a young player. Jackson also dished out six assists, blocked three shots and grabbed four rebounds.


2. CHICKEN KNOWLES, 2012, PF, HOUSTON (TEXAS) HYCA
Knowles became a crowd favorite with his highlight-reel dunks and blocks. While the crowd might have been most impressed with his windmill throw-down in transition, it was the overall play of Knowles that impressed the most. The four-star forward and Houston signee scored 17 points (on 8-of-11 shooting), handed out four assists, blocked two shots and snagged 11 rebounds.



3. EVAN BRADDS, 2013, SF, JAMESTOWN (OHIO) GREENEVIEW
The 6-7 Ohio University commit is one of the more versatile mid-major prospects in the Midwest. Bradds has worked himself into a pure shooter all the way out to three-point range and he is able to hit turnaround shots out of the post, but he probably is best when pulling up off a couple dribbles. A face-up post player with serious athleticism, Bradds tries to dunk everything around the rim and is able to finish through contact. Capable of playing a point-forward role, Bradds also impressed with his ability to put the ball on the floor and make decisions off of ball screens. The junior finished with 15 points.

4. HAROLD GIVENS, SF, 2013, NORCROSS (GA.) NORCROSS
A three-star prospect with great athleticism, the 6-7 combo forward is still raw from a skills perspective, but he shows great potential. While his three-point shot was not falling, he showed a solid release with good follow through, and that should continue to improve. Givens, who is at his best running the wing in transition to try to finish a lob or grab an offensive rebound, finished with 13 points.


5. JACOB ROSSI, 2012, PF, FRANKLIN (OHIO) FRANKLIN
The versatile and surprisingly athletic 6-8 combo forward is headed to Northern Kentucky University (which will begin its first year of Division I ball next season) along with 6-8 twin brother Justin Rossi. Both displayed college-ready games, but it was Jacob who shined brighter. The lefty with a sweet midrange jumper can play anywhere on the offensive end, but he focused mainly on his high- and low-post play in this one. Facing a smaller defender, Rossi turned over his right shoulder for three early post finishes, followed by a face-up one-dribble jumper from 15 feet. Rossi also had his motor running high as he beat opponents up and down the floor for blocks, rebounds and fast-break offense. He finished with 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists.


6. LUKE KENNARD, 2015, SF, FRANKLIN (OHIO) FRANKLIN
Already making a name for himself nationally, the 6-5 Kennard likely is Ohio's top freshman. A versatile and complete offensive machine, Kennard plays the point guard, shooting guard and small forward positions for his team. Playing the point on Monday, he was excellent, posting 20 points, seven rebounds and two assists with only one turnover. The young lefty has a special feel for the game and already has an offer from Dayton, with interest coming from Ohio State, Cincinnati, Xavier, Michigan and several more Midwest high-major programs.


7. RAPHEAL DAVIS, 2012, SG, FORT WAYNE (IND.) LA LUMIERE SCHOOL
The three-star guard will be attending Purdue next year, along with teammate Jay Simpson, and he should be a nice fit for the Boilermakers. His size and athleticism make him college ready. Davis totaled 13 points, on 6-of-8 shooting, and grabbed four rebounds as he was the most active La Lumiere player on both ends of the court.


8. ANTONIO DRUMMOND, 2012, PG, LAPORTE (IND.) LA LUMIERE SCHOOL
"Bobo," who is headed to Southern Illinois next season, scored 18 points and notched four assists. The 6-foot pure point guard has nice speed and a quick release on his jumper. Playing with four high-major big men, it's the job of Drummond to play distributor, and he does an excellent job of picking when to shoot and when to be a setup man.


9. JOHN STALEY, 2012, SF, DAYTON (OHIO) CHAMINADE-JULIENNE
It was a good day at Flyin' to the Hoop to be a Northern Kentucky University fan. The soon to be Division I program had another one of its signees go off. A hard-working 6-5 forward, Staley set the event high with 34 points on 13-of-17 shooting. Staley's eight rebounds also speak to his grit, as he has garnered a reputation as a player willing to take on any role. The son of a coach, and it shows, Staley was crucial in his team earning a victory on Monday.


10. ZACH JOHNSON, 2012, SG, CHILLICOTHE (OHIO) CHILLICOTHE
Johnson can really score the basketball, and he did so on Monday to the tune of 22 points. A smooth release on his jumper and elusive ball-handling skills he uses to attack the rim make Johnson an efficient scorer from all three levels. The 6-2 junior also dished out five assists.




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