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July 11, 2008

Kentucky HoopFest

LOUISVILLE - The Eddie Ford Kentucky HoopFest is a time to get a look at a lot of very talented underclassmen. This year especially the younger age groups were loaded at the HoopFest. In particular Marquis Teague, a sophomore to be from Indianapolis, stole the show with his play on Thursday.

Teague and Davis have epic battle

With the Spiece Indy Heat 15 and under team playing up a year, they knew they would be in for some tough challenges. One of them came on Thursday evening when they faced off against the Wisconsin Scholars. In particular it meant that Teague, one of the premier talents in the 2011 class, would face off with four star 2010 prospect Flavien Davis. By the end of the game neither player left anyone disappointed.

Playing on a somewhat under the radar AAU team, Davis has slipped through the cracks at times, but that certainly is no longer the case. Against Indy Heat he was a one man wrecking crew. Davis was hitting shots from deep, scoring around the rim, playing strong defense, and also showing good athleticism. Overall there was simply nothing on the court that Davis couldn't do.

Unfortunately for Davis, Teague was on the other side of the floor. Teague, the younger brother of Wake Forest's Jeff Teague, is super explosive. There was simply no one on the court that could keep Teague from getting into the lane. Once in the lane, Teague used his impressive athleticism and strong decision making to finish on his own or pass to an open teammate. Also Teague showed that he is more than capable of hitting the deep jump shot. Teague hit a pair of threes, and looked good on the pull up dribble game as well from the mid-range and out to the perimeter.

At the end of the game Spiece Indy Heat held on for a slim victory, but the story was the show that the two youngsters put on. Davis finished with a game high 31 points, and Teague added 18 with several assists and simply mind boggling moves with the ball.

Also playing well in the Indy Heat backcourt was Evan Blackmon. Blackmon is tough to keep out of the lane, and has the ability to knock down shots. He and Teague form a dynamic backcourt that could really be trouble for years to come.

Barnes excels yet again

By this point in time Harrison Barnes should be wearing down. First it was the Nike Hoop Jamboree, then it was the NBA Top 100 camp, after a quick respite he was off to the LeBron James Skills Academy, and now the Kentucky HoopFest. Despite all of that basketball Barnes is no worse for the wear, and that was very obvious on Thursday.

Some kids can just stand out in warm ups, and Barnes is one of them. He has a long athletic build and a perfect release on his jumper that makes onlookers think every shot has to go in.

Playing against the M33M Canada CIA Bounce squad, Barnes simply dominated for All Iowa Attack. Despite having to be a center, and guard a bruiser down low, Barnes held his own on the defensive end, and really did anything he wanted on the offensive end. It started with him going to the rim using both his right and left hands. Then he decided a step back three in a defender's eye was on the docket, and finally an athletic transition slam finished things off.

M33M simply had no answer for Barnes. He finished the game with 25 points, nearly half of his team's total, and continued to show why he quickly becoming one of the most sought after kids in the class.

From the notepad

Despite playing with an injured ankle, DeShaun Thomas has been excellent all tournament long. After dominating on Wednesday, Thomas was an absolute man child on Thursday. He looks to be in the best shape of his life, and has been playing well. On Thursday he was hitting threes, scoring on the block, and he was also a force on the glass. Overall it was a strong overall performance for Thomas.

Also having a solid performance was Georgia big man Daniel Miller. Miller is a massive human being, who at 6-foot-11 knows how to use his size and be a true post. At this point Miller is more impressive on the defensive end. Despite not being a great athlete, he uses his size and wingspan to alter and block numerous shots. Offensively he can finish around the rim, but his hands seemed questionable at times.

Legitimate post players are hard to come by, and another 2009 player who fits that description is Andrew Smith. Smith burst onto the radar in May, and continued his solid play on Thursday. He showed a good ability to finish with either hand around the rim, and also he is a surprising athlete. As Smith gets stronger and tougher he could really help at the college level.

The youngest of the three Plumlee brothers was also in action. Marshall Plumlee, a 6-foot-10 sophomore to be, is loaded with potential. He showed a decent face up jumper, a solid feel on the post, and also he rebounded the ball. Beyond that he also runs the floor well. Right now Marshall looks a lot like his older brother, and Duke commitment, Mason Plumlee in terms of mannerisms and long term potential.

With schools always searching for true point guards, one that is beginning to improve his stock is Justin Jordan. Jordan plays along with Thomas and showed an uncanny ability to get into the lane and use his body to finish. Also Jordan can stick the deep three and he values the ball.

Coaches out in full force

Barnes is attracting a huge crowd these days. As always Iowa head man Todd Lickliter and Iowa State boss Greg McDermott were front and center, but they were joined by assistants from Kansas, North Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech, Georgetown, Illinois, Nebraska, LSU, Notre Dame, Louisville, Arizona State, Kentucky, DePaul, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

The crowd for the match up between Teague and Davis was quite impressive. Thad Matta, Tom Izzo, Matt Painter, Mick Cronin, and Brad Stevens were there. Also assistants from Michigan State, Butler, Xavier, Indiana, Iowa, and Louisville were in attendance to take in the action.

Miller drew the attention of the entire Georgia staff, including head man Dennis Felton as well as an assistant from Georgia Tech.

School lists

Despite a hamstring injury Rivals.com top 150 prospect Carl Jones was in the building supporting his Ohio Basketball Club teammates. Jones says he has offers from Iowa, Penn State, Texas Tech, St. Joe's, and Marquette. He also mentioned that Michigan is still showing a lot of interest despite not offering.

One of the most highly recruited players in Indiana's 2011 class will be Ryan Taylor. Taylor gave a list of Florida, Indiana, Cincinnati, Ohio State, and Purdue.

Justin Jordan said he is hearing from Texas Tech, Michigan, Purdue, Butler, LSU, and Virginia.

Daniel Miller said Georgia Tech, Georgia, and Stanford are his main three schools, only the Cardinal have not offered. He also noted that Furman is still in the picture.

Andrew Smith picked up a Butler offer, and says the Bulldogs along with Liberty are the two schools he is interested in.


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