Monday, March 30, 2009
Icebreaker tips off AAU action
AIKEN, S.C. -- Mother Nature must be a basketball fan. With rain cancelling a number of outdoor activities over the weekend, things moved on smoothly at the fifth annual Icebreaker Invitational. Director Dameon Key brought in a number of talented teams. The National Hoops Report spent a good part of the weekend
Stacey Poole, Jr., Jacksonville Lee Bulls (pictured above) – The Sunshine State kids made a long trip to the Icebreaker but it was worth it because the team brought home the 17 and under trophy. Poole was one of the main reasons why, too. The 6-5 wing scored at the rim whenever he wanted an no one had a way to slow him or stop him when he attacked the basket. Poole was confident in his ability to put points on the board. The next four months are important for him as a number of schools have the talented junior high on the recruiting board in 2010.
Patrick Young, Jacksonville Lee Bulls – The future Florida Gator played very well en route to the championship title. He looks bigger and stronger, too. Now pushing the 6-10 mark, Young is a chiseled post player that works on full throttle of energy and hustle. He’s better than Al Horford at the same stage. Young’s motor, hustle and strength will be a welcomed addition in Gainesville next fall.
Shannon Scott, Southern Kings Gold – With Mfon Udofia now finished with his high school hoops career in Georgia, there is a new player atop of the point guard position. Scott is the top dog at the position in the Peach State now. The 6-1 sophomore knows how to run a team, defend and score. He gets to the basket about as good as any guard in his class nationally. Overall, his play was great from start to finish at the Icebreaker.
Tony Parker, Southern Kings Gold – Get used to seeing Parker’s name in the Star Power section. The 6-8 center is one of the most skilled big men in the Southeast. He has an array of moves. He uses his size to his advantage. He knows how to score with his back to the basket. He can make the tough shots on defenders. His hands are tremendous. Did we mention he’s just a freshman?
Dai-Jon Parker, Southern Kings Gold – Think Jerel McNeal. Parker can pump in the points in a hurry and his perimeter game is a fine weapon in his offensive arsenal. What gets lost in the shuffle sometimes is his passing ability. The 6-3 sophomore can really see the floor and he finds teammates with ease. Leave him open and Parker will burn you from deep or beat you with the dribble to the rim.
Chris Coleman, Team Georgia Elite – The big man did just about anything he wanted to do in Aiken. The class of 2011 forward from New England via Mt. Zion (N.C.) scored at will around the basket and made everything look all too easy in the paint. He has good hands, rebounds well and converts the buckets that big men should convert around the cup. The 6-9 center has a game that will translate well to the Big East. The question is whether or not he has a motor that translates, too.
JerShon Cobb, Atlanta Xpress – If April were live to college coaches, there is a good chance a number of head coaches from high-majors and championship caliber mid-major schools will be on the sidelines to get a good look at the 6-4 guard. He’s a do-everything player that grows on you the more and more you watch him. Cobb keeps the turnovers low and positives plays high. An improved jump shot will be the difference maker for him.
Jacquez Rozier, Southern Kings Red – No one played harder than the 6-5 sophomore all weekend in Aiken. He was battered and bruised half the time but still gave maximum effort each game out regardless of the score. His hustle fueled his scoring and rebounding, two things he did plenty of at the tournament. What position he plays in college is a question that still doesn’t have a clear answer. But the question about how he approaches the game is answered quickly. Rozier will carve out a place for himself on a college roster because of that.
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Rod Rucker, Team Truth – Rebounding the basketball is what the 6-5 wing does best. He scores most of his points at the rim and he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty inside the paint either. After a huge junior year at Elbert County (Ga.) High School, Rucker could break out this summer.
Josh Council, Carolina Celtics – Mid-level schools will want to take a good look at the 6-2 guard. He can shoot, he can handle, he can pass and he has the intangibles of a guard that can help a team win basketball games.
Gerald Williams, Jr., Team Georgia Elite – Playing with Georgia Tech bound wing Glen Rice and N.C. State commitment Ryan Harrow this year helped Williams quite a bit. He saw what it takes to be a player that can make it to the big time. Out on his own, the 6-1 combo guard does not lack for confidence and he challenged teams with his aggressiveness and crafty play. A good student, Williams could have some nice options in August if he continues the upswing.
Zach Bradley, North Clayton – The lefty junior was like a boxer that found a soft spot on his opponent. He just kept pounding away with the dribble drive and scored at the basket time and time again. The 6-foot guard was on pure attack mode the game we watched him and liked his aggressiveness throughout the tournament.
NEWS & NOTES
The Carolina Celtics may not have the star power the team is used to having but the team has a load of kids that can shoot the ball, make great cuts and screens and everyone seems to be unselfish. The team’s ability to knock down shots helped the team make it to the final four of the tournament.
Miami locked up 2012 center Ismail’a Dauda of Team Georgia Elite 15U a month ago and the commitment could prove to be a wise one on the Hurricanes part. The likely 7-footer is similar to Florida State center Solomon Alabi. Dauda moves well for his size, runs the floor, blocks shots and is a good passer.
Keep an eye out for Willie Clayton, a 6-7 forward from Team Georgia Elite 15U. The Thomasville (Ga.) High School product was the player of the year in his region and it is easy to see why he’s generating a buzz in South Georgia. The freshman is well-built and plays hard. He rebounds well and possesses a nice bounce to his game.
Justin Boyd, a 6-2 guard for the Coastal Crew Rebels, showed some toughness and grit against the Jacksonville Lee Bulls. The junior scored tough baskets and always made correct plays when it mattered.
The USC Aiken Convocation Center is a big time facility for Division II basketball. The Pacers have a big time, national program. Just down the road at Augusta State, the Peach Belt Conference power is no pushover either. Basketball is big on the banks of the Savannah River folks!