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May 1, 2007

King James top Class of 2009 performers

As good as the 2008 class was in Akron last weekend, the 2009 players were also impressive.

Rivals.com's Justin Young breaks down his top sophomore performers from the King James Classic.

Check back for the best of the 2008 class at the event.

King James top Class of 2009 performers
Kenny Boynton, SG, Team Breakdown

Few guards are having a better spring than Boynton. The 6-foot-2 standout from Pompano (Fla.) Ely has played well in some hostile environments. Boynton stayed even-keeled throughout, and responded with big shot after big shot.

In a back-and-forth battle with Delvon Roe's King of the Court team, Boynton more than held his own. Boynton is tightening up his shot selection and making more baskets. His improved discipline on offense is good to see.

The Sunshine State native won a state championship this year, and he's climbing the ladder of improvement every time he steps onto the floor. Villanova, Louisville, Florida, Connecticut, Florida State, Miami and others watched him closely, and understandably so. Boynton is beginning to separate himself from the other guards in the class of 2009.

Richard Howell, SF, Worldwide Renegades

It is all about production for the sophomore standout. The 6-foot-7 combo forward from Central Gwinnett High School in metro Atlanta was very effective in Akron.

Howell is a double-double machine. In one game he scored 18 points and grabbed 18 rebounds.

While the five-star forward continues to improve his wing skills, he's maintaining his strength as a rebounder. Howell plays with a great motor, and goes full throttle from tip to final buzzer.

Michigan State's Tom Izzo continues to be the most visible head coach in the race for Howell. The Spartans nabbed Chris Allen out of the same region. Georgia coach Dennis Felton also took a look at Howell. Texas, Georgetown and Florida are also in the mix.

Erik Murphy, PF, New England Playaz

Fundamentally speaking, Murphy is one of the best post players in the class of 2009. The 6-foot-8 big man from St. Mark's (Mass.) capped off a productive April with continued effectiveness inside the paint.

The son of former Boston College star Jay Murphy knows how to play on the blocks, and doesn't shy away from contact down low. In fact, he relishes in the physical play.

He is a good passer, and he worked well in the high-low offense. Murphy knows his limitations and focused on performing in the paint. Boston College coach Al Skinner was a fixture at Playaz games in Akron. Marquette, Virginia, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Villanova and Florida also watched him in action.

Dominic Cheek, SG, Playaz

Another big tournament, another big showing for the 6-foot-5 guard from St. Anthony's. Cheek, a standout from the Boo Williams Invitational 16-and-under tournament, was great again in Akron.

Cheek helped carry the Playaz 16U club to the semifinals, and was outstanding in a difficult loss. He connected on six 3-pointers, and only one of the makes touched a part of the rim.

The question about his point guard skills was tossed around a bit. More times than not, the consensus was that he can play the position. That is just another positive to Cheek's game.

The others include great high school program, great teacher and coach in Bob Hurley, great shot, great length and great ball-handler.

Several Big East teams watched him in the semifinals. Florida, Maryland and LSU are also in the field of suitors.

Jamil Wilson, PF/SF, Wisconsin Playground Warriors

The 6-foot-7, inside-out forward led his team to a 16-and-under division championship and a stellar showing in the championship rounds.

Wilson has potential for five-star status in the class of 2009. He's a versatile banger that can stretch a defense because of his perimeter skills. He has also displayed good athleticism.

Wilson not only helped his Wisconsin Playground Warriors win the tournament title, he took the wind out of the sails of in-state AAU rival Madison Spartans and 2009 foe Jeronne Maymon. Wilson is one to watch this spring. We think people will be discussing his game for a long time.

Justin Young can be reached at jyoung@rivals.com.

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