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April 29, 2008

King James top surprises

MORE: King James champions crowned | King James Saturday stars | Rivals.com Hoops Tour

There were a handful of high-major prospect surprises at the King James Shooting Stars Classic from the class of 2009.

Rivals.com's Justin Young takes a quick look back at four rising seniors that solidified themselves in Akron over the weekend as prospects that should see their recruitment take off.

King James Top Surprises
Carl Jones, PG, Ohio Basketball Club
Coming into the April period, a number of Big Ten schools wanted to know if the 5-foot-11 floor general was a player that could succeed at the highest level. After a stellar weekend of work in his home state, Jones clearly answered the call.

He showed on different occasions that he could be a scorer when needed and a passer when needed. There were times in games when he mixed the two together nicely. Jones torched the Mean Streets team, one of the best defensive-minded clubs on the circuit, for nearly 30 points with silky smooth jumpers and heady plays to the basket.

Offensively, Jones showed the full arsenal of moves that he has up his sleeve. Defensively, he matched up well against the Mean Streets' D.J. Cooper, a fine mid-level point guard, and held him to one made field goal.

Ramon Galloway, PG/SG, Florida Rams
There is just something to like about Galloway. Whether it is his toughness or his versatility or defensive presence, the Philly-to-Florida transplant was an eye-catcher in Akron.

At 6 feet 3, Galloway saw over the defenses well and he's a crafty passer. He found his teammates with zip on his passes and mixed in some funky offense to boot. As a scorer, he was better going to the rim than shooting it.

Once he gets stronger and makes the simple pass more than the fancy ones, he will be recruited at a higher level.

Darius Smith, PG, Illinois Warriors
Quietly and confidently, he's moving up the point guard charts. The Chicago point guard has been called by the locals as the toughest player in the city. That's quite a compliment.

Smith had great chemistry with D.J. Richardson, who was one of the top shooting guards at the King James event last weekend. Smith knew when his teammate was hot and found ways to get him the ball.

As a ball-handler, defender and creator, he really shined. His play in Akron was about as good as any point guard in the field. The high-majors should certainly be jumping in line to get in the mix.

Mouptaou Tarou, PF, DC Blue Devils
For the second time in as many weeks, the 6-foot-10 big man impressed with his physical brand of basketball. Tarou was one of the top post players in the King James event.

He's fairly skilled for a big man on the offensive end and showed a nice touch in the paint. Tarou scored when he wanted to on the blocks and rebounded very well. The 6-foot-9 prospect has a great understanding of what he can do as a power forward.

Tarou is far from raw and he's one of the top big men that emerged from the spring. Tarou is a no-brainer high-major prospect.

MORE: King James champions crowned | King James Saturday stars | Rivals.com Hoops Tour

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