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July 9, 2009

King City Classic: Teague rules

MORE: It Takes 5IVE: Johnson impresses | It Takes 5IVE: Chandler has promise

CLEVELAND - Make no mistake about it. The vast majority of the country's basketball talent is at Nike's King City Classic. A number of prospects stood out during the three sessions of games at Cleveland State, but none made a bigger impression than explosive lead guard Marquis Teague.

Marquis Teague spent as much time in the paint as some of the big men in the camp. No defender could keep him in front, and his ability to navigate the high ball screen is special. Both an exceptional finisher and interior passer, Teague finished with authority on either side of the basket and racked up assists throughout the day.

Other Guards

Josh Selby created the initial spark of energy for the camp with his inspired play in the morning session, and he kept it up through the night. Along with Teague, Selby attacks the basket with equal prowess going either direction and can out quick defenders as well as bully them around. Selby has the athletic explosiveness and skill set to be an elite guard for years.

J.T. Terrell drained three-pointer after three-pointer on Wednesday. Wired with the ultimate scorers mentality, Terrell does let a previous miss or defensive pressure thwart his desire to score. This mentality works well for him when he is on the role and/or his team is on the ropes. The Wake Forest coaches will need to work with him on shot selection, but they have to be awful happy they will have a scorer who presents them that challenge.

Jelan Kendrick displayed the qualities that have shot him up near the top of the Rivals150 rankings. Playing the point guard position the majority of the time for his squad, Kendrick repeatedly got into the lane and created opportunities for himself and his teammates. Early in the day his shot missed off the back iron, but he was soon dropping in his patented floater. A prolific right handed slasher, Kendrick also went to work with his left hand when defenders forced him that direction.

Keala King has spent most of the time playing off the ball since he is in the same rotation with Teague, but he has been able to display his passing ability in transition situation and on the occasional pick and roll with teammate Jared Sullinger. King has also contributed in a big way as an offensive rebounder and by being an opportunistic scorer.

Kendall Marshall is well known for his ability to pass the ball up the court, and he rewarded his teammates who ran the floor on Wednesday. His jumper was a little shaky, but Marshall used his developing physicality and ever present craftiness to get into the lane with regularity.

Jamal Branch impressed with his overall play. He has a burst of athleticism, doesn't over dribble as a point guard and makes plays on the defensive end.

Will Barton did his usual damage with his scoring and rebounding. His shooting touch sometimes comes and goes, but he always uses his effort and length to impact the game in a positive manner. He is one of the better competitors in the 2010 class.

Reggie Bullock isn't afraid to compete either. He was impressive on the defensive end as well as on the offensive end where he can produce points with relative ease. Close to being a pure shooter, Bullock also has the athletic and physical presence to make him the top shooting guard in his class.

Daniel Bejarano has had to fight through adversity this summer and started off the day slow. But he found the range with his jumper in the night's playoff round and had several huge shot blocks on Selby and Harrison Barnes at the basket to help his team pull an upset win.

Forwards

Terrence Jones continues to impress with his versatility. The big left hander scored, rebounded, passed and blocked shots at a high level throughout the day. He has a unique feel for the game and could be something special if he plays in a system that utilizes him as a facilitator and runs the offense through him.

Mike Gilchrist had a great showing in his afternoon game. The story is the same. No one competes harder or plays more physical. Gilchrist made plays off the bounce and also knocked down a deep ball. Perhaps most impressive was his lock down defensive effort on Austin Rivers.

Tobias Harris has secured a five-star ranking when the Rivals150 is updated after the summer. The question now is how high of a five-star ranking. A skilled four-man like Jones, Harris is as versatile of scorer as there is at that position in his class. His composure in scoring situations is unique with his ability to attack off the dribble and then finish with runners, jump hooks and pull up jumpers. There is a Carmelo Anthony feel to his game.

C.J. Leslie is also on the verge of breaking into the five-star ranks. He might be the best traffic rebounder and shot blocker of all the four men in the class. And on Wednesday he finished with more efficiency than in past settings. A great playmaker with the ball in his hands, Leslie would shoot up the rankings if he demonstrates improvement in his finishing at the basket and shooting in general.

Adonis Thomas is on his way to establishing himself as an elite small forward in the 2011 class. His jumper is improving, and all the other tools are already in place. Similar to Gilchrist as a player, Thomas is just a notch below the No. 1 prospect in 2011.

Quincy Miller displayed flashes of brilliance on Wednesday. When he didn't look so good, it was a strength issue. The skill set is in place for this elite prospect. The big challenge is to get stronger.

Roscoe Smith swung from looking terrific to no so good throughout the day. Poor decision making and a lack of physical strength got him in trouble during the bad stretches, but when he played within his rhythm offensively, he was very good. Wired with a competitive nature, Smith is rough around the edges talent who could really blossom in the right situation in college.

Post Men

Jared Sullinger continued his nasty habit of breaking down the weak in body and/or heart on Wednesday. Straight out of the Kevin Love book of physical play, Sullinger dominates with his body, surprising athleticism, high skill level and knowledge of the game. His love of contact and his nasty streak puts fear into his opponents.

Perry Jones, however, stood up to the challenge in his encounter with Sullinger on Wednesday. Jones actually blocked Sullinger's first three post move shots. After those three plays, Sullinger figured some things out and did score on Jones, but Jones made things difficult for Sullinger when he was on the court with him. Unfortunately in the second half, they were rarely on the court together. Jones has really blossomed as a player this summer. He is competing at a higher level on both ends of the court. His coast to coast finger roll finish with a behind the back dribble along the way was one of the highlight plays of the day.

Adreian Payne put together one of the best performances we have seen him have in his opening game of the event where he got the best of Rakeem Christmas. Payne did most everything you would want out of a big man from blocking shots, rebounding in traffic, scoring in the post and hitting open jumpers. If Payne demonstrates the potential to sustain this type of effort, he will slide up the rankings from his present No. 20 spot.

Dwight Powell was one of the more pleasant surprises of the day. He impressed at the NBA Players Association Camp, but he impressed even further on Wednesday. The second tallest player at the camp behind Perry Jones, Powell has impressive mobility and a rapidly improving skill game. He rebounded outside his area and scored both inside and on the perimeter. A focused and intelligent competitor, Powell has quite a high ceiling.

Recruiting News

Tobias Harris quickly rattled off Tennessee, Connecticut and Syracuse when asked about his school list. He then mentioned Memphis and Kentucky as schools that have just started recruiting him. Kentucky has yet to offer. Notre Dame, Georgia Tech and West Virginia are still on his list as well.

Johnny O'Bryant will likely wait till the spring of 2011 to make a decision, but right now he is considering offers from Florida State, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Kentucky and Memphis. Oklahoma, who has not yet offered, is also on his list.

Mike Shaw lists Texas, Louisville, Indiana and Southern Illinois at the top of his list because he has unofficially visited those schools. Wanting to take a lot more visits, Shaw also claims offers from Florida, Ohio State, Kentucky, Kansas and USC.

Roscoe Smith said the recent scholarship offer from Duke is special because of the history and tradition of the program. He is also high on Florida, Maryland, Connecticut, Georgetown and LSU, who have all also offered.

Keala King, who is still open in his recruitment, named a top five of Stanford, California, Arizona State, Oregon and Kentucky. All but Kentucky have offered.

Dwight Powell has a top three of Stanford, Harvard and California. Vanderbilt (no offer) and Georgia Tech are also in the mix.

Quincy Miller has offers from every school on his list except for North Carolina. The long list includes Duke, Kentucky, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Memphis, Wake Forest, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, Texas and Tennessee.



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