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April 25, 2006

Kingwood eye catchers

The Kingwood Classic has always been an event where prospects both emerge from obscurity and also establish themselves as national high-major talents.

This year's Kingwood Classic was no exception, and National Basketball Analyst Jerry Meyer breaks down the game of five of the eye catchers.

J'Covan Brown, Port Arthur (Texas) Monsignor Kelly
Position: Point guard
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 190 pounds
2008 prospect J'Covan Brown, of the TMAC All Stars, clearly established himself as an elite prospect with his play at the Kingwood Classic.

Such a natural talent, Brown shoots the ball effortlessly from deep range. He is also physical with the ball on the drive and has a repertoire of crafty ball handling moves and fakes. Brown is the type of player who can improvise on a whim and knock down difficult shots.

Defensively, he is physical and harasses the ball with his quick and strong hands and is able to guard both a quick point guard and a physical off guard. Tends to take a lot of risks and play just on instinct, but solid coaching will reign that in on the college level.

As naturally talented as Brown is, he almost looks bored at times on the court since the game comes so easily to him. His greatest challenge might just be finding ways to challenge himself.

John Brandenburg, St. Louis (Mo.) DeSmet Jesuit
Position: Power forward
Height: 6-foot-10
Weight: 235 pounds
The St. Louis Eagles have on outstanding 2008 post prospect in John Brandenburg.

The best thing about Brandenburg is that he constantly competes on every possession. Unlike a lot of young big men, Brandenburg is rarely ever behind the play and is constantly competing for the ball.

He has sure hands, quality footwork and is quick to the ball. He has nice touch on his jumper, and although his post moves need refinement, he does have a solid jump hook.

Not necessarily an imposing post defender, Brandenburg is active and tough to score over. Plus, he gives the effort to chase down rebounds out of his area.

Look for Brandenburg's recruitment to take off as coaches struggle to find big men with the size, skill and heart that he possesses.

Troy Gillenwater, Los Angeles So. Fremont
Position: Power forward
Height: 6-foot-8
Weight: 225 pounds
2008 power forward prospect Troy Gillenwater, of the H-Squad, came into the Kingwood with some momentum after a strong performance in the Easter Classic, and he only built on that momentum last weekend.

Gillenwater is a strong and powerful athlete who plays a physical and attacking style of basketball. He takes his post moves to the rim and has the balance to spin either way and finish. He will spend a lot of time at the free-throw line with his style of play, and he can shoot the mid-range jumper with touch.

Defensively, he has the quickness and strength to deny the post, and is a hungry defensive rebounder.

Expect the Big 12 and the Pac-10 to be all over this prototypic power forward.

Nate Miles, Toledo (Ohio) Libbey
Position: Shooting guard
Height: 6-foot-7
Weight: 173 pounds
College choice: Undecided
Not an unknown name by any means, but reclassified 2008 prospect Nate Miles put on quite a scoring display in a gym off the beaten path.

Miles is a silky smooth athlete at 6-foot-7 who can score in most any way on the court. In one scoring spree at the Kingwood, Miles hit a floater off the glass in the mid-range, sprinted off a down screen to nail a three, hit two hop-back threes going both left and right, scored in transition and then scored off an offensive rebound. All of this in a span around five minutes of play.

Miles does need to put a higher premium on defending and rebounding, but he has the tools to be a complete player if he gets stronger.

Nonetheless, the bottom line is that there are not a lot of players out there that can bring the ball up the court and then score in every possible way.

Scotty Hopson, Hopkinsville (Ky.) University Heights Academy
Position: Shooting guard
Height: 6-foot-5
Weight: 185 pounds
Word has been leaking out of the Bluegrass State about athletic and talented 2008 small forward Scotty Hopson, and he is indeed a very promising prospect.

Hopson, who played in the 17-under division with the Mid State Ballerz 16-under team, has the prototypical small forward build and game. He is bouncy around the basket, has a good first step, and can hit the mid-range pull up off the dribble.

He has the potential as a defender to guard players both on the perimeter and in the interior. He can also snatch a rebound and go with the ball or get out on the wing and attack the basket on the break.

Still a raw player who appears to just now be figuring out how good he is, Hopson has a game with a ton of upside.

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