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November 21, 2006

Sleepers gain notice at National Prep Showcase

The stars will always get the attention, but there are sleepers that play hard, bury shots and make their teammates better. These unsung heroes deserve some recognition as well.

Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Justin Young breaks down the top five sleepers from the National Prep Showcase from last week's action in Worcester, Mass.

Jeremy Hazell, SG, New York (N.Y.) Patterson School
National Prep Showcase stats: 24.6 points per game, 3.6 rebounds per game, 3.0 steals per game, 51 percent shooting, 38.7 percent from 3-point range

College: Signed with Seton Hall

Hazell may have been the best pure scorer in the event. The 6-foot-3 guard was constantly in position to score the ball for Patterson. He was always the first option to score on the perimeter, and his teammates did a good job of finding him on the wing.

If the game went into transition mode, Hazell was always the first one to get up the floor and slam home the high percentage shot. When he was squared up with the bucket, he was automatic.

The majority of Hazell's scores where 3-pointers or dunks. When he develops a midrange game or a floater in the lane, he'll be a more dangerous scorer at the next level.

Tirrell Baines, SF, Enoree (S.C.) Patterson School
National Prep Showcase stats: 13 points per game, seven rebounds a game, 56 percent shooting

College choices: Nebraska, Ole Miss, Seton Hall, Arizona

Mixing his top-flight athleticism with a good motor, the 6-foot-6 forward made the most of his time on the hardwood. Baines made several athletic plays in the paint and played bigger than his size. Baines performed well enough to steal minutes from five-star sophomore Karron Johnson.

Baines should play power forward at the next level and did enough at the Showcase to attract the attention of the high-majors. The one-time College of Charleston commitment may want to see which school show interest after his strong showing in Worcester.

Deonte Roberts, PG, St. Paul (Minn.) Notre Dame Prep
National Prep Showcase stats: 15 points per game, 5.5 assists per game, 3.5 rebounds per game, 3.0 steals per game, 57 percent shooting

College: Signed with Wisconsin-Milwaukee

The consensus on press row and in the coaches' area was that Rob Jeter and his staff landed a good one in Roberts. The 6-foot-3 combo guard was a blur as he sprinted up and down the floor, no matter the score and no matter the situation. His motor never stopped, and he shined on offense and defense.

Used primarily as a scorer back home in Minnesota, Roberts is shining as an on-the-ball defender for Notre Dame Prep. He was as pesky as they come, getting right into the face of his man every time down.

As a point guard, he was very solid slicing into the paint and passing to big guys or kicking it out to shooters on the wing. Roberts was a solid scorer in the lane and showed off a nice midrange game.

Chris Baez, SG, Kissimmee (Fla.) Lee Academy
National Prep Showcase stats: Stats: 18 points per game, 51.8 percent shooting, 63.6 percent from 3-point range

College choices: Maine, Providence, UMass, UTEP, Illinois State

Lee Academy coach Carl Parker coached Cuttino Mobley in high school, and Parker said he sees very similar traits in Baez. When on the wing, Baez was the best shooter in the event and was counted on to hit big shots for Lee Academy. Parker says the only difference at this level between Baez and Mobley is the energy level.

"He just doesn't bring it every game like Cuttino did," Parker said of Baez.

Nevertheless, Baez has good size, a great touch and a knack for finding ways to score. Don't be surprised to see the Florida native become a target for top mid-major (or better) schools this season.

Paris Horne, SG, Middletown (Del.) Bridgton Academy
National Prep Showcase stats: 17 points per game, 8.5 rebounds a game

College choices: Boston College, Ohio, St. Bonaventure

No one raised more eyebrows on the wing than the Delaware native over the weekend. The 6-foot-3, do-everything prospect surprised many from start to finish.

Horne bulled his way into the lane time and time again and did a great job of scoring off offensive rebounds. He's a tough kid that didn't care how big the defender was in front of him. It was attack mode from start to finish.

Just how good is he? He is a definite prospect for the Atlantic 10 conference. The rest is up to him.

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