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April 10, 2005

Collins emerges as one of nation's very best

HAMPTON, VA. - There was a lot to talk about on a busy Saturday at the Boo Williams Invitational and any conversation outside of the great first round of the playoffs must begin with the play of Sherron Collins, a point guard from Chicago. He was on fire in both games his Illinois Warriors team played.

Sherron Collins won't talk too much about schools but you better believe every high major in the country would love to have the 6-foot stud from Chicago (Ill.) Crane High School. The three-sport super athlete had himself one of the best days at the tournament on Saturday.

He's got wheels for feet, springs for legs, a stump of oak for a chest and every other adjective you can find. Collins is the real deal.

Not a regular figure on the AAU scene, Collins' appearance at the Boo Williams event was one of the real treats. He did it all and was down right phenomenal. He's great with the ball and makes things happen. He has great court sense but he's also one of the top shooters in the field.

His coach Anthony Longstreet said recruiting isn't a priority with Collins right now but we understand that Illinois, Iowa and several ACC schools are interested.

The term "warrior" gets thrown around a lot when talking about guys that empty the tank, give up their body for the team and compete from the tip to the final horn. Paul Harris lives that definition. Here with Albany City Rocks, Harris did nothing but impress in the early morning session with 22 points in a 67-65 win over All-Ohio.

Harris said Pitt and Syracuse came in to see him this week and Illinois and Florida State will be in later this month.

You probably haven't heard of the name John Deibler yet. Few folks that follow national basketball recruiting probably do. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard for All-Ohio/Upper Sandusky High School went off in the early morning game. He poured in 29 points thanks in large part to his seven three-pointers. The class of 2007 prospect is verbally committed to Valpo and Homer Drew has himself a major steal of a player.

Deibler is a tremendous shooter that has text book form and great size. He said he's still hearing from Ohio State, Michigan and NC State but insists he'll be at Valpo to play with his brother.

James Dews is having himself a heck of a tournament. He scored 20-plus in the afternoon and was the team's only bright spot from start to finish.

As good as Dews was, Josh Chichester never got into a rhythm and showed off his great versatility and athleticism. It wasn't a good showing by the small forward/wide receiver. He said he's hearing from Notre Dame, who came in to see him last week, Xavier, Illinois and Ohio State are also involved.

Nick Calathes has been on fire in Florida, beating the big dogs like the Tallahassee Wildcats, South Florida Heat and Team Breakdown with his Team Florida 16U team. On an unofficial visit last week to Florida, Calathes picked up an offer from the Gators.

Speaking of the Gators, Florida Air Academy head coach Aubin Goporo said Walter Hodge is currently on an official visit to Florida. It looks like it's going to come down to the Gators and Auburn. Goporo insisted that Hodge will have a decision by next week.

A.J. Tyler, a 6-foot-8 face up four man, said he's hearing from Florida, Georgia Tech, FSU and NC State.

Jermaine Beal, a 6-foot-3 guard from Desoto (Texas) High School, is quick from the wing to the rack, gets after it on defense and strong in transition. Beal said Kansas, Oklahoma and Baylor all came by his school last week. Texas A&M and the listed schools are tops on his list.

Athletically, Donald Sloan is right there with the best around. This kid is an absolute elevator. He is shifty, strong and loves to rise up over anyone that gets in his way. The Seagoville (Texas) product said he's high on SMU, Kansas, Oklahoma, Florida and Alabama.

Texas head coach Rick Barnes and Kansas head coach Bill Self both went to see big man Bryan Davis of Grand Prairie (Texas) High School this week. The 6-foot-8 forward said he's sporting offers from the two Big 12 powers, Texas A&M, North Carolina and UConn.

Curtis Kelly plays with a lot of emoition and he wears it on his sleeve. Sometimes a little too much. The New York Gaucho plays with a lot of fire and isn't afraid to let it shine.

Edgar Sosa had himself another great game on Saturday. He makes plays and makes those around him better. His floater is automatic and we like his drive and determination to make everyone a believer.

As a 6-foot-9 wing with a silky smooth jumper, Jamil Tucker has all of the tools to become a big-timer in this class. However, he tends to float too many times on the wing and rely on his shooting touch. Tucker can handle the rock and then pull up over defenders for nice looking shots but the Gary, Ind. prospect still has a ways to go before he's one of the elite in this class.

Luke Harangody is a bull inside. That's why so many in Big Ten country like him so much. The Indiana forward looks trimmer and in great shape. He rebounds strong, will get blood on his jersey and fight for everything he gets. Rumor has it, Indiana came in and offered him a scholarship last week.

Nic Wise was on fire on Saturday night. He went for 31 points and sunk nine three-pointers in the first round of tournament play.

Damion James is not the best athlete amongst the loaded class of 2006 but he's incredibly effective in every other aspect of the game. He makes things happen and that is the most important thing for a guy that stands 6-foot-8 and can handle the ball like a guard. Oklahoma landed a great, great guy to build around.

No one will get an easy spot on the blocks when Houston's Gary Johnson is playing defense. The class of 2007 forward busts his tail on the blocks and denies anyone easy access down low.

Memo to high major coaches: Get to know the name Matt Lagrone. The 6-foot-9 center from H-Town High School scored 21 points versus the New York Gauchos. A virtual unknown coming into the event, the class of 2006 prospect has a boatload of potential and he tapped into it often against Curtis Kelly. No one is recruiting this kid but that should change shortly.

Patrick Christopher is a major get for California Mayfair High School put in an effective 16 points against the New York Gauchos. His shot is sweet and his confidence and knowledge of the game is battle tested.

Jerome Randall of Ferrari Youth Players is quick but small. Smart and hard to defend, he'll be a guy to really watch grow up in the game this summer.

Mike Jones of the South Carolina Ravens does not look like the same Mike Jones we saw last week in North Augusta, S.C. at the AAU Super Regional. Jones, an athletic and aggressive small forward, has not played with his trademark fire.

Spencer Hawes has been very impressive here in Hampton. The Seattle big man is strong inside with both hands and runs the floor incredibly well for a guy that stands 6-foot-11. Hawes said he's trimmed his original list of 11 suitors to eight. The list is: Duke, UNC, UConn, Kansas, Arizona, Stanford, UCLA and Washington. He also said he's got definite plans to trip to UCLA and Stanford.

Ryan Anderson, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Rainer Beach HS in Seattle, Wash., said he's hearing from Gonzaga, Oregon and Old Dominion. The class of 2006 prospect said he scored a 1300 on the PSAT.

Jamelle McMillan, the son of Seattle Supersonics head coach Nate McMillan, said he's hearing from Washington, NC State ("they are the biggest one," he says), Northwestern, Texas Tech, Miami and UConn.

The SAT claimed several top guns in the early morning, making some games a marathon for a couple of teams. Leonard Washington, Isaiah Dahlman, Bryce Webster, Obi Muonelo and Ukpe Udefo were all MIA in the morning. Interestingly enough, Howard Pulley and Athletes First did not make it out of pool play because the absences and losses caused from the test.


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