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November 20, 2006

National Prep Showcase top performers

The National Prep Showcase, the first major event of the basketball season, took place over the weekend and Rivals.com National Basketball Recruiting Analyst Justin Young took in all the action.

Here is a look at the top five performers Young scouted at the event.

Troy Gillenwater, PF, Simi Valley (Calif.) Stoneridge Prep
National Prep Showcase stats: 29.6 points per game, 8.3 rebounds per game, 62 percent shooting

College choices: Oklahoma State, Georgetown, USC, Arizona, Kansas, Washington, Florida, Nebraska

It was a nice homecoming party for the 6-foot-7 power forward. Noticeably slimmer than he was at the end of the summer, Gillenwater is quicker and more agile on the blocks.

With point totals of 37, 27 and 25, no one had better days in the scoring column. Just a junior, the four-star big man easily outplayed several older players in the tournament.

The class of 2008 lacks guys like him. He is a grinder down low and a difficult match-up because of his array of offensive moves. Gillenwater is naturally strong. There is a bully mentality to his interior approach, and he can be a tone-setter on both sides of the ball.

Jamine Peterson, PF, Fitchburg (Mass.) Notre Dame Prep
National Prep Showcase stats: 28.5 points per game, 8.5 rebounds, 60.9 percent shooting

College choices: Kansas, Memphis, Providence, Rutgers, St. John's, Clemson, Iowa State

Notre Dame Prep's top player is Michael Beasley, the nation's No. 1 player in the country. Peterson showed that he has the skills to be the primary option on his team. The athletic 6-foot-5 forward from New York lived up to his nickname - "Greedy." Peterson was almost automatic around the basket.

His offensive game consisted solely of shots from inside 10 feet, and Peterson was perfectly content using his strength and leaping ability inside.

Rarely do guys with his size make a significant impact at the next level. However, Peterson may be the exception to the rule. Peterson came into the event with a number of high-majors in tow, including Kansas. He could be one of the most heavily recruited players in the next couple of months because of his performance last weekend.

Malcolm Grant, PG, Winchendon (Mass.) Winchendon School
National Prep Showcase stats: 24.5 points per game, seven rebound per game, three assists per game, 44.7 percent shooting, 42.8 percent from 3-point range

College: Signed with Villanova

Fearless. That was the future Villanova guard's motto at the NPS. The New York native hit several big shots and led his team to wins over Hargrave and Fork Union.

Nationally, he still may be a bit underappreciated. However, Grant was the most consistent guard at the showcase and proved to be a winner.

There have been questions about where Grant will fit into Villanova's system because of the depth at guard spot. The good news for Grant is that Jay Wright has been very successful with four guards on the floor. There will be times for Grant to show he can be a go-to guy in the clutch.

Devin Ebanks, SF, Oakdale (Conn.) St. Thomas More
National Prep Showcase stats: Stats: 20 points per game, 10 rebounds per game, 46.8 percent shooting

College choices: Georgia, New Mexico, Miami, St. John's, Rutgers

Sixteen-year-olds are not supposed to play as good as Ebanks did at the prep school event. The young Ebanks played like a man at times, with poise and a quiet confidence.

Ebanks is playing more fundamentally sound basketball and is passing the ball better than we've seen in the past. Offensively, he is still the same versatile player that can score at the rim or from mid-range. His perimeter shot, which is usually pretty strong, wasn't falling last weekend. However, he didn't need to shoot from the outside much because he took advantage of several mismatches inside.

Clearly a high-major player, Ebanks could use this year to start the early McDonald's All-American buzz for his senior campaign.

Dorenzo Hudson, SG, Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy
National Prep Showcase stats: 23.5 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game, 45.7 percent shooting

College: Signed with Virginia Tech

No one has ever questioned Hudson's offensive abilities. The future Hokie can flat-out score. He also flashed some of his potential in the second half against Notre Dame Prep.

Hudson scored 21 points in the final 20 minutes of play. At one point, he scored 12 consecutive points for his Hargrave squad. The North Carolina commitment showed great range in the showcase. Physically, he looks like he is in better shape than he was in the summer.

Hudson was the only Hargrave player to consistently put his team into position to win close games.

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