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April 5, 2005

Youngsters play well at AAU Super Regional

Like college basketball, the talent level is higher than usual with the younger kids in high school. Freshman Marvin Williams came up with one of the biggest shots for North Carolina on Monday night in the National Championship game. At the AAU Super Regional tournament in North Augusta, S.C., the youngsters also shined.

LaRon Dendy and his South Carolina Elite walked through the pool play in the 16 and under division but had their troubles en route to the championship and watched instead of played for the title. Dendy, a 6-foot-8, 190-pound forward from Greer High School didn't disappoint. The class of 2007 prospect has a great body for a young forward and he knows how to work his magic around the basket.

Dendy certainly passes the look test and matches the physicality's with impressive play on both ends of the floor. He has a soft touch but can get high above the rim for scores and rebounds. Dendy said he's hearing from Oklahoma, Miami, Florida, South Carolina and Florida State early on.

South Carolina Elite and Dendy will play at the Boo Williams tournament this weekend.

Dendy shined on the 16 and under circuit but it was the play of Le'Shay Paige, Danarius Robinson and the South Carolina Ravens 15 and under squad that had everyone talking at the Riverview Park facility.

Paige, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound guard from Latta (S.C.) High School, was a scoring machine all weekend long. He loves to attack the basket and score in traffic but he's also got a nice step back dribble that he uses to pull up for three.

The class of 2008 prospect is used to the big stage. He's started on varsity since he was an eighth grader and took over the reigns a year after Ray Felton left for North Carolina. Paige is a high-major prospect himself. He's garnered attention from Georgia, Kentucky, DePaul and Clemson early on. We highlighted Paige in a full length feature on Tuesday. To access the story, click here.

Robinson, a 6-foot-9, 190-pound center from Richland Northeast High School in Columbia, S.C., is a talented work in progress. He averaged a near triple double all weekend, putting in a dozen points, pulling down 11 rebounds and blocking close to nine shots a game. He's incredibly long and is still trying to figure out his strengths as a pivot man.

Robinson is fairly athletic, he can run the floor and has a physical package to build on over the next three years. Like most kids his age, getting bigger is a must as is playing with more fire from start to finish.

Brandon Davis played with the South Carolina Ravens 17 and under team but the big man from Mauldin (S.C.) High School will moonlight with the 16 and under squad this summer. The class of 2007 prospect is a solid power forward that worked hard for rebounds and showed some good emotion on the block, demanding the ball on the offense when he had a beatable defender on him. When he's a senior, Davis will be a strong bodied big man that should be one of the top recruited big men in the Southeast. The 6-foot-8, 210-pound prospect said he's hearing form Clemson, Florida State and Oklahoma State.

Jerel Stephenson, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound shooting guard from Glen Hills High School in Augusta, Ga., made sure he was included amongst the best of the best. Against the S.C. Ravens in the 15 and under championship game, Stephenson scored 27 points, pulled eight rebounds and had five assists in the loss. He was a 20 point per game scorer all weekend.

One of the biggest surprises of the tournament was the play of Carter McMasters, a 6-foot-9, 175-pound center from Chattanooga, Tenn., who played with the Smyrna Stars Gold 15 and under team. McMasters is incredibly skinny but he plays aggressively inside the paint on the defensive end of the floor. The Grace Academy product has great timing for blocked shots and with his length he makes opponents think twice about coming into the lane.

What's even more intriguing about McMasters is his ability to step out and shoot the three. He's a text book jump shooter and with his size, blocking his shot is incredibly difficult. With added size and more experience playing on the national scene, McMasters should play himself into high-major looks as a youngster. The young center said he's a big Duke fan.

The South Carolina Celtics have a number of guards that can flat out shoot the rock. Chris Talley, a 6-foot-2 shooting guard from Easley (S.C.) High School, has great form on his jumper and he was the team's most consistent outside presence in the tournament.

J.T. Floyd, a strong 6-foot-2 guard from J.L. Mann High School, had a great tournament by showing off his ability to score and great body. Floyd can really shoot the ball but also creates well with the dribble. Floyd also started every varsity football game as a wide receiver and free safety.

In terms of sheer size, Martavius Adams was the best of the best. The 6-foot-8, 245-pound center/power forward from Baldwin High School in Milledgeville, Ga., is a true space eater. He has incredibly long arms and gets even bigger on the blocks. Adams said he's hearing from Georgia Tech, Auburn and Clemson.


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