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May 30, 2006

Memorial Day Classic top performers

The NIKE Memorial Day Classic held in Nashville, Tenn., provided top prospects with yet another opportunity to shine. National Basketball Analyst Jerry Meyer took in all the action and has narrowed down the best of the best to a top five.

Here are the top performers at the MDC that Meyer scouted and with a breakdown of each.

Kyle Singler, Medford (Ore.) South Medford
Position: Small forward
Height: 6-foot-8
College choice: Undecided
Being forced to play on the interior for his Portland Elite Legends team has only helped diversify Kyle Singler's game.

When playing with Kevin Love for most of last spring and summer, Singler displayed the finesse side of his game with his playmaking off the dribble and outside shooting. Defensively, he typically found himself on the perimeter.

Now, at a good 6-foot-8 and with his body developing more mass, Singler is defending well in the post and grinding out rebounds. Offensively he is sealing strongly in the low post and producing points off physical spin moves.

He is still doing damage from the outside as always, but Singler now has a more physical and attacking edge to his game that will serve him very well on the next levels as a legitimate inside/outside, physical/finesse threat.
Click here for video of Singler in action

Tyreke Evans, Aston (Pa.) Aston Christian
Position: Shooting guard
Height: 6-foot-5
College choice: Undecided
It is difficult to find a player who can dominate a game with more than just scoring like 2008 prospect Tyreke Evans does with his defensive rebounding and passing.

As a long 6-foot-5 plus point guard, Evans has a hunger for the ball on the defensive glass. Not an explosive athlete, Evans corrals rebounds instead with astute timing and positioning and his sure hands.

Once the ball is in his hands, he is a threat to deliver the assist pass at any point. He can cover the entire court with his strong overhead passing and is a master at delivering the in between rhythm diagonal pass off the dribble.

Evan's does need to tighten up his shooting form and learn to move better without the ball in the half court, but no one on the circuit is more capable of coming up with the ball and then doing something productive with it.

Corperryale Harris, Detroit Redford
Position: Shooting guard
Height: 6-foot-4
College choice: Undecided
Speaking of players with a nose for the ball, Corperryale Harris of The Family has to near the top of the list along with Tyreke Evans.

Harris comes up with his share off defensive rebounds and loose balls, but where he is most dangerous is picking up "garbage" points on the offensive end of the court. Whenever the ball is squirting around, Harris seems to always be there to grab the ball and then convert a bucket. He is also a dangerous offensive rebounder from his wing position.

As an opportunistic scorer, he finds cracks in the defense when moving without the ball. When guarded by a smaller defender, he can post up and score as he did when guarded by Jai Lucas of the Houston Hoops. He is also crafty with the ball and score with a soft touch on the difficult shots in between the mid-range area and the basket.

His shooting form also needs refinement, but he still makes enough outside jumpers to keep the defense honest.
Click here for video of Harris in action

Samardo Samuels, Newark (N.J.) St. Benedict's Prep
Position: Power forward
Height: 6-foot-9
College choice: Undecided
With his large frame and explosiveness, 2008 prospect Samardo Samuels is a guaranteed double/double guy.

For one, Samuels plays with a motor and the intelligence that keeps him ahead of the play. He knows how to get post up position with his back to the basket, and if he doesn't get the ball, he is where he needs to be to gain offensive rebounding position. He has sure hands on the catch and the rebound and a soft touch around the basket.

His footwork is sound on his post moves, and he has a lethally quick and tight spin move back to his left shoulder off which he consistently scores. He does need to develop more of a scoring move to his right shoulder, but he is nonetheless way ahead of his post player peers by having a legitimate go to move with his back to the basket.

Samuels also has the ability to do some nice things facing the basket and the potential to do even more in the future as a face up player. But the true beauty of his game is his physical dominance around the basket and his capability to play with his back to the basket.

Corey Stokes, Newark (N.J.) St. Benedict's Prep
Position: Small forward
Height: 6-foot-5
College choice: Undecided
Corey Stokes certainly did more than just shoot deep jumpers at the Nike Memorial Day Classic.

With NBA size and strength for a wing player, Stokes was active on the glass and more of an opportunistic scorer than he has been at times in the past. He not only got put backs but also got points in transition by running the lane.

He also hit his fair amount of deep threes, but most impressive was how he hit them on the run in transition and by coming off screens on the baseline. Not a crafty player off the bounce, Stokes is, however, utilizing a shot fake and then finding the opening in the defense off one or two dribbles.

Playing with the efficiency and aggressiveness of working off his shooting prowess and not trying to do more than he is capable off the dribble, Stokes is finding his niche as a power wing who plays physical around the basket and also stretches the defense.
Click here for video of Stokes in action

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