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May 2, 2006

Emerging at King James

The inaugural King James Classic was loaded with talented prospects looking to emerge from obscurity and also establish themselves as national high-major talents.

National Basketball Analyst Jerry Meyer breaks down the game of five such prospects that emerged at the event.

Chris Braswell, Forestville (Md.) DeMatha
Position: Power forward
Height: 6-foot-8
Weight: 215 pounds
2008 prospect Chris Braswell as been on the Rivals.com radar since we saw him last summer at the Nike Hoop Jamboree, but he impressed us this past weekend with his strong play with his back to the basket.

Up to a solid 6-foot-8 and getting stronger, Braswell has taken the proper course in his development by working on his game from the inside/out. It would have been easy for him to fall in love with his face up skills and prematurely try to develop into a perimeter player. Instead Braswell has established a go to move in the post where he quickly spins back to his right shoulder and takes the ball strongly to the rim.

Along with his developing post up game, Braswell is active on the boards, gets the ball quickly to the rim on open court dunks and is effective in the short corner and elbow area as a scorer and passer.

Braswell is well on his way to becoming a top high major prospect as a skilled inside/outside four man.

Anthony Crater, Flint (Mich.) Southwestern Academy
Position: Point guard
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 170 pounds
On a guard loaded Michigan Hurricanes squad, Anthony Crater had no problem standing out as a top guard prospect in the 2008 class.

Very sure with the ball and with a spring and burst in his gate, Crater is able to score at all three levels on the court. He has the speed and the handle to push the ball as a point and he can be effective as a shooting guard as well.

Crater does have room to improve as a passer off the drive. Right now his scorers mentality results in some tunnel vision when he puts it on the floor.

Defensively, he moves very well laterally and is a fluid athlete. Getting stronger will be very important for Crater's development on both sides of the ball.

William Buford, Toledo (Ohio) Libbey
Position: Shooting guard
Height: 6-foot-5
Weight: 185 pounds
Playing with the D-One Greyhounds 16-under team, William Buford has a very bright future ahead of him.

He is both a fluid and explosive athlete who can score at all three levels. He is a terror running the wings on the break and also has the tools to lead the break himself.

An active defender and rebounder, Buford impacts the game in a number of ways. The game seams simple and easy to him, and there is no doubt that he has a very high ceiling as a prospect.

Buford is well on his way to being the D-One Greyhounds next five-star player.

Teeng Akol, Sudan, Our Savior New American (N.Y.)
Position: Power forward
Height: 6-foot-10
Weight: 200 pounds
He still has a lot to learn about the game, but Teeng Akol of Sudan as a surprisingly polished offensive game.

At 6-foot-11, Akol is hungry for the basketball and knows what to do with it when he gets it. He gets low and wide and is vocal when he posts up. His best move right now is a reverse pivot into a soft jumper from either the mid-post or low post. His hunger for the basketball also translates into points off offensive rebounds, where Akol has soft and sure hands.

Right now, he is down right woeful on the defensive end. He is not aggressive off the floor nor quick to cut off cutters.

If Akol continues to develop offensively and gains a hunger to defend, he has a chance to play in the League.

Brian Mckie, Washington (D.C.) National Christian
Position: Point guard
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 175 pounds
An undersized, but powerfully athletic point guard, Brian Mckie is the type of player who should have mid-majors drooling and high-majors sniffing.

Nothing short of a lock down defender on the point guard position, Mckie can make life very difficult for a ball handler in the back court. He is also the aggressive type of player who comes up with the basketball in a crowd.

Offensively, he is capable of knocking down the three-pointer and also has the uncanny ability to challenge big men around the rim. Adept at absorbing contact, hanging in the air and then finishing a tough shot, Mckie can also make the interior dump off pass. Poised with the ball, he also knows how to navigate the high ball screen.

Perhaps the key for what level he can successfully play at is the development of his middle game, both as a scorer and passer. It will be tough for him in the long run to constantly take the ball all the way to the rim.

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