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April 12, 2004
Best of the Las Vegas Easter Classic
With the Las Vegas Easter Classic now in the books, we gathered our notes and compiled the best from the weekend. Belmont Shore won the event and several of the California based players caught our attention in individual honors, along with a handful of others. Read on for more thoughts from RivalsHoops.com National Recruiting Analyst Justin Young.
Top shooter - Shaun Green, Utah Vipers/Olympus HS (Salt Lake City, Utah)
During the first two days of the tournament, Green connected on nearly every long ball he attempted. When the ball left his hands, the scorekeeper just recorded a three in the books. That's how hot he was. The junior cooled down on Sunday but still helped will his team to the finals. New Mexico and Wyoming, which have offered scholarships, were on hand for every game. Several Pac-10 schools (Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford and Washington) watched him closely.
Top rebounder - Jamal Boykin, Belmont Shore/Fairfax HS (Los Angeles, Calif.)
You have to love the energy and leadership Boykin brings to the table. He fought through triple teams inside for boards and used his muscle to find the open seams for positioning. Boykin, somewhat undersized at 6-foot-6, was a beast inside in Vegas, finding a way to get the job done. Three-fourths of the Louisville staff watched his every game, as did Georgia Tech. Both teams are at the top of Boykin's list.
Biggest surprise - Seketoure Henry, Belmont Shore/Lynwood HS (Calif.)
One of the reasons why Belmont Shore won the Las Vegas Easter Classic was the play of Henry. He was silky smooth on the perimeter with a great left-handed shooting touch. The 6-foot-2 guard also attacked the basket with a vengeance and dunked on nearly everyone who got in his way. He knows how to play within himself. Keep an eye on him throughout the AAU season. He is currently getting looks from Pepperdine, San Diego, Oregon and Oregon State.
Harvey Perry's block of Wendell Preadom of the powerful Houston Hoops made time stand still for a second or two. Perry met Preadom at the rim on an attempted dunk, only to send the Texas player crashing to the ground. Perry, who was playing with the Southern Nevada All-Stars for the weekend, will be back in action this weekend in his hometown Vegas with the loaded Arizona Magic. Note to all opponents: If you attack the basket, keep an eye on Perry. He'll be waiting for you.
Top athlete - Marcus Johnson, SoCal All-Stars/Westchester HS (Calif.)
It was tough to pick just one because there were so many great ones here (including Rashad Woods, Fendi Onobun, Brian Harvey and Chase Budinger) but Johnson barely claimed the top spot. He's a wiry wing that does some mind boggling things above the rim. Johnson attacks the basket and his shot is improving. He's getting looks from Syracuse, Louisville, Kentucky, Kansas and Duke.
No player helped his stock more than that of Seattle's Terrence Williams. The Rivals.com No. 64 player in the class of 2005 was the talk of the tourney on coach's row. He has great size at 6-foot-7 and can play the point guard position with the best of them. Physically, he just drove through defenders to the basket and threaded several needles. Williams will rejoin his Seattle Rotary teammates this weekend again in Vegas.
Richard Semrau, a 6-foot-9 class of 2006 player, opened some eyes with his versatility, athleticism and 3-point range. The Cleveland, Ohio, native has tremendous potential and size to become a high major player in his class. Keep an eye on him throughout the AAU season when he hits the hardwood with Eric Vaughn's Blessed INJ team.
Nate Shulte, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, played like a seasoned 6-foot-8-plus power forward. He is undersized for the paint but his heart, determination and constant motor will help his cause to play at a high level. There is no doubt he'll have to improve as a shooter but with the effort he put forth, we believe he'll succeed.
Football is king in Texas and the Houston Hoops' Martellus Bennett is certainly amongst the royalty in the Lone Star State but his basketball skills are worthy of top honors, too. The 6-foot-7 tight end/small forward proved himself here in Vegas with consistent play on both ends of the court. With the likes of national recruits like Rashad Woods, Fendi Onobun, Nic Wise, David Devezin and Jeremy Barr on the roster, Bennett did a good job of making himself known to the nation, too. He's certainly a top 150 player down the road for hoops.
Speaking of two-sport stars, Chase Budinger, a 6-foot-6 sophomore from La Costa Canyon High School (Calif.), showed why is considered one of the top volleyball players in the nation. The redhead has quick hops and is fluid on the wing. He didn't get to show off his range but he has great small forward size and potential. Arizona and UCLA are just a few of the schools taking an early peek at this class of 2006 prospect. We liked his game a lot.
We wrote about 2006 point guard Marcus Lawrence a couple of weeks ago, and his coach told us that the 5-foot-11 sophomore was a "true point guard." He was right. Coaches always know, don't they? Lawrence knows how to run a team and knows when to take a shot. He won't blow anyone away with his offense but his headiness and composure impressed us. Many kids his age don't have the wherewithal to play within themselves. Lawrence did.
We will have updates on nearly every player mentioned in this report in the coming days. Stay tuned to RivalsHoops for the most extensive AAU coverage around.