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April 29, 2008

King James top underclassmen

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

Once again, the younger players might have outshined the older players at another major event. The kids were more than alright at the King James Shooting Stars Classic. In fact, two of the top underclassmen helped their respective team win the tournament while a handful of others proved themselves on the national stage.

King James Top Surprises
Phil Pressey, PG, BABC, 2010
Point guards are often judged by how many wins they can help their team collect and this class of 2010 prospect is racking up victories faster than the price of gas increasing these days.

He was the ever-steady prospect as he always is and directed his club to the King James title. Pressey's understanding of the game is off the charts and he's clearly carved himself out a spot as one of the top point guards in his class despite his diminutive size of 5 feet 7. Pressey is more the exception than the rule as far as being a small point guard on the high-major radar.

His floater in the lane is a major strength and his range on his shot is a deadly weapon in his offensive arsenal. But it is his passing and unselfishness that make his team better. He has the hardware to prove it, too.

Gerald Coleman, SG, BABC, 2010
He's getting better and better each time out. The long-armed, 6-foot-4 prep school-bound guard was as good of a scorer as any guard on championship Sunday. He was the offensive catalyst for BABC in the semi-finals and was a major scorer in the title game.

Coleman's length, burst to the basket and difficulty to guard because of his dominant left hand caused a lot of headaches for teams in Akron.

He's played himself onto the high-major level this month and another year will help him fill out his frame. He has all of the makings of a high-level two guard and potential to be a nice defender to boot because of his size, speed and length.

Mike Shaw, PF/SF, Mac Irvin Fire, 2011
The 6-foot-8 forward is a star in the making. He's been good-to-great this spring with the Fire and showed why so many in the Windy City have been touting him as the next great one from a town that consistently produces high-major studs.

For the second week in a row, the 6-foot-8 forward showed that he can bang with the big boys on the blocks but also stroke threes on the wing and handle the ball like a guard. He's a special talent with great, natural physical tools.

Get used to reading about Shaw. Chances are he'll be talked about quite often over the next three years.

Austin Rivers, PG, Team STAT, 2011
After shining as a youngster playing up in the 16 and under division earlier in the month, the class of 2011 prospect tried a run in the oldest division in the King James event last weekend. Truth be told, he looked perfectly comfortable playing with the big boys. In fact, he was one of the better guards in the 17 and under division.

Everything about his game is mature and confident. He's been around big time players his whole life and his feel for the game is off the charts.

Rivers is one of the elite players in the underclassmen circles and doesn't appear to be slowing down any time soon either.

Daryl Traynham, PG, DC Assault, 2010
It seems like every time we see him play, he's a game-changing guard. Whether it is a big play on defense or a big shot, Traynham seems to deliver. At King James, he delivered a big shot to help his club knock out the Illinois Warriors and move on the playoffs.

He's not afraid to put his nose into some tight situations on the defensive end. He's fearless in that regard. As a floor leader, the 5-foot-8 guard knows his teammates' strengths well and feeds them at the right times. He's a capable scorer that mixes his speed with his shot really well.

Like Pressey, it is hard to argue against the number of wins he's racking up and the plays that he makes on the big stage.

Anthony Johnson, SG/PG, Illinois Warriors, 2010
When it comes to scoring the basketball, there were few better players than the 6-foot-1 guard in the younger division.

He has similar traits to Villanova star Scottie Reynolds in the way he scores the rock. Johnson is just wired to score the ball and he can do it in so many ways. His pull-up jumper from deep was his favorite move last weekend.

Johnson has the Big Ten schools drooling and he showed why with his score-first mentality in Akron.

Ohio Red 16U team
You could make a strong case for anyone on the All-Ohio Red team for this list. The team won the 16 and under division and won it easily. There wasn't a team that could come close to slowing down the train that this team is.

Led by the size and strength of Jared Sullinger down low and the bounce and strength of J.D. Weatherspoon on the other side of the block, there were few teams that could match-up with the Ohio kids down low. Sullinger is already committed to Ohio State while Weatherspoon solidified himself as a high-major player over the weekend.

Guards Jordan Sibert, Juwan Staten and Aaron Craft all showed that they can be the go-to guy when called upon. Sibert is a smooth wing player that has the size and skill set that will translate at the highest level. Staten, a Dayton pledge, might have been the best point guard in the 16 and under division that we saw before he went down to injury. Craft was outstanding on the defensive end and then came alive on the offensive end in the playoffs.

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

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