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May 8, 2011

Big day at Spiece on Saturday

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Saturday at the Hensley Memorial Run-n-Slam was a marathon day of hoops to say the least. However, there were plenty of high-level performances and the day provided a perfect chance to view elite underclassmen such as the class of 2013's Jabari Parker and 2014's Jaquan Lyle.

Saturday standouts at Spiece

Jabari Parker, SF, Mac Irvin Fire- The 6-foot-7 Parker has put himself firmly into the debate for the top spot in the class of 2013. There's really not much of anything that he doesn't do well, he's getting more athletic and you can always count on him to play with big effort. What's not to like?

Jermaine Morgan, Mac Irvin Fire- Over the past couple of years, the 6-foot-7 junior has showed flashes. Lately, he's become much more aggressive on offense. Not a banger, but a quick guy who can also shoot out to between 15 and 17 feet. Morgan listed Iowa, Virginia Tech, Minnesota and Illinois-Chicago.

V.J. Beachem, SF, Eric Gordon 16's- The Eric Gordon 16 and under team has a lot of talented 2013 wings. Five of them in fact. But, because of that it's going to take some time for them to figure out how to play together. The 6-foot-6 Beachem may have the most upside of them all. He is a natural athlete, has a pure stroke from deep and just has to get a little more aggressive.

Nate Taphorn, SF, Illinois Wolves 16's- The 6-foot-5 wing put on one heck of a shooting clinic during an afternoon come-from-behind win. The sophomore has good size for the wing and shoots a textbook jumper from any range.

Hanner Perea, PF, Indiana Elite- No matter what, the Indiana pledge is going to rebound the basketball. He rebounds it at a high level and is similar in many ways to Kansas forward Thomas Robinson. The thought is that his offense will come along, but there's no need to rush because he does plenty else.

Jerron Wilbut, SG, Illinois Wolves- This is the second time in a few weeks that we've seen the 6-foot-2 scorer and he's played well each time out. A confident shooter with range, Wilbut can also get to the rim and is likely going to be a hot property on at least the upper mid-major level.

Derrick Walton, Michigan Mustangs 16's- Good things seemed to happen when the ball was in the hands of the speedy 6-footer. He gets into the lane with ease, is all about sharing the rock and can defend. It appears that he can score too, so defenses can't just back off. Walton is already hearing from Xavier, Michigan State, Michigan, Connecticut, Northwestern and Central Michigan.

Steve Haney, SG, Michigan Mustangs 16's- The 6-foot-4 sophomore has a big-time rep as a jump shooter and he backed up the hype. Though skinny, he does have more to his game than just dropping in shots from deep. Already lists Michigan, Penn State, Central Michigan, Harvard, Michigan State, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and others.

Denzel Valentine, SG, Michigan Mustangs- The Michigan State commitment is a crafty guy who really knows how to play. He's one of those guys that the more you watch, he grows on you. Definitely a winner.

JaQuan Lyle, SG/PG/SF, Eric Gordon 15's- Even Lyle isn't yet sure for what position he's best suited. Doesn't matter because the 6-foot-3 freshman is a major talent. Gets to the rim at will, is a big-time athlete, sees the floor and makes things happen all over the place. He's already got offers from Indiana, Purdue, Illinois and Xavier.

Tony Farmer, SF, OBC 16's- The future is could be as bright as the 6-foot-6 sophomore decides he wants it to be. Farmer is physically impressive, in the process of figuring out how to play on the wing exclusively and has big-time potential thanks to his blend of size, athleticism and developing perimeter skill. Farmer said West Virginia, Xavier, Michigan State, Michigan, Cincinnati and Dayton have all offered while Pittsburgh is showing interest.

Matt Costello, PF, ACB/Bank Hoops- Costello showed well during a late Saturday night loss. The future Michigan State Spartan is an aggressive guy who keeps going hard around the rim and on the glass. His skill level isn't too shabby either and it was impressive to see him stop on a dime and pull up for a three off the dribble during one fast break.

Jameel McKay, SF, TP Elite- The status of this wiry 6-foot-6 small forward is still uncertain. He could be headed to junior college next season, or he could be headed to prep school. Wherever he ends up, he's a guy with tremendous upside. McKay isn't strong, but man, oh man, is he tough and quick to the rim. He rebounds, plays with energy and is fun to watch.

Trey Lyles, PF, Spiece Indy Heat 16's- This spring, Lyles has played some with Spiece's older bunch and hasn't found consistent minutes. Playing with the 2013 team - still a year up from his age group - the freshman power forward looked really good. Lyles is very skilled, is comfortable shooting with pretty good range and understands the game. Things seem to be moving along nicely for the future Indiana Hoosier.

Marcus Paige, PG, Martin Brothers Attack- Saturday morning, Paige was in a boot. Saturday night, he took the floor with a heavily taped ankle and was very good in a win. Paige looked to make a few more plays for himself and others during some earlier spring viewings and was better for it.

Demetrius Jackson, PG, MBA Select 2013- Relatively unheralded given the amount of coverage given to high schoolers in basketball-crazed Indiana. The 6-foot-1 Jackson showed off his explosiveness, ability to get to the rim and his willingness to create for others. He also knocked in a couple of jumpers and is a fine defender. Jackson's already heard from Xavier, Michigan, Notre Dame, Purdue and Illinois.

More Saturday notes and notables

When Indiana Elite most needed Kevin Ferrell to make a play, the 5-foot-11 point guard came up with plays. The quick junior delivered a few key assists and hit a deep jumper when it mattered most. His ability to set himself up for and make jumpers is key. … Purdue commitment Jay Simpson is a big and strong kid. The power forward is also pretty good facing the hoop and setting himself up to score. His game will really open up as he uses his strength to more advantage around the rim. … Mac Irvin Fire Eddie Alcantara brings a lot of energy to the floor. The athletic 6-foot-4 wing flies all over the place making plays. … The Michigan Mustangs 16 and under group is a nice-looking group. Shooting guard Josh Kozinski is one of the better pure shooters we saw in the gym. And 6-foot-3 sophomore has heard from Michigan, Notre Dame, Dayton and Western Michigan. … Another Mustang 16's guy to keep an eye on is speedy combo guard DeAndre Johnson. The guard's strength is attacking the paint and putting pressure on defenders to contain him off of the dribble …

He's just a puppy, but freshman point guardBryant McIntosh has a very mature game. The 6-foot-1 McIntosh handles the ball very well, is a knockdown jump shooter and plays the game like a guy who has spent lots of time in the gym. … Freshman shooting guard Noah Knight did a good job of providing perimeter scoring punch for MoKan Elite on the 15 and under level during an afternoon pool play game. The 6-foot-2 Knight was able to get to the rim via the dribble, knocked home some jumpers and is a young guy who looks comfortable as a scorer. … Javontae Hawkins has good size and deep range. Because of that, you have to figure that the 6-foot-4 jump shooter from Flint, Mich. is going to end up getting recruited at a pretty high level. The rising senior is also a very capable transition finisher. … Recent Butler pledgeChris Harrison-Docks doesn't lack anything for toughness. The 6-foot point guard doesn't back down from a challenge and has some game. CHD is a pretty flashy player, but he can break defenders down and is a dangerous option from behind the three-point line. … The OBC 16 and under group is very talented. One of its most talented guys is 6-foot-2 combo guard Kevin Johnson. The sophomore from Cincinnati is a high-level athlete with supreme speed and quickness. If he tightens up his game a bit and plays under a little more control, that explosiveness will serve him very well and could make him a pretty high level recruit. …

Martin Brothers Attack wing Kale Abrahamson has big-time grades to go along with a pure jumper from deep. The 6-foot-5 junior has already scored a 30 on the ACT and he's added quite a bit to his game off of the dribble over the last year. He currently holds offers from Wake Forest, Nebraska, Creighton, Iowa State, Albany, Northern Iowa and Northwestern. Stanford, Iowa and Harvard have also been in touch. … North Carolina commit J.P. Tokoto played the most aggressively we've seen him this spring during a playoff round loss. The jumper wasn't falling for the 6-foot-6 wing so it was good to see him attacking the rim. Tokoto's athleticism is off the charts and there's nothing wrong with him exploiting it to impact the game. … Tokoto's teammate on the Playground Warriors, Sam Dekker, had another nice outing in Ft. Wayne after a solid one the week before in Lawrence. The 6-foot-6 senior to be is a strong candidate to make a jump in the class of 2012 rankings. … We wrote about him quite a bit a few weeks ago in Chicago, but freshman big manJahlil Okafor of the Mac Irvin Fire deserves another mention. There's been so much talk about the excellence of the wings in the class of 2014, the big guys have been forgotten a bit. At this juncture, there don't appear to be many in his class better than the soft-handed and skilled Okafor.


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