DUNCANVILLE, Texas - For the second day in a row, the state of Texas represented itself very well at the Great American Shootout. The Bobby Knight Fieldhouse in Duncanville was crawling with talented guys and there were plenty of college coaches on hand to take it all in. Leading the way was 2012 tough man wing Marcus Smart who put on an incredible display of toughness and productivity. Maybe even more impressive, was the outpouring of support for Duncanville (Texas) High's Deion Jackson-Houston who tragically lost his life in an accident just a week ago.
Smart playing to rave reviews
For the past couple of months, Marcus Smart has been on the shelf while he recovered from surgery. Saturday, the 6-foot-3 guard from Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus showed little, if any, signs of rust as he authored a virtuoso performance during a tough loss to the Houston Hoopstars.
Powerfully built, the junior to be is an intensely competitive guy who would probably run over his own mother for an important rebound. However, he's also pretty skilled with the ball. He ran the point for large stretches of the game and is armed with a devastating crossover and outstanding court vision.
While not in the mold of a high flyer, he's a strong kid who rebounds the ball at a ridiculous clip and defends. Bottom line, he's a guy that makes plays and he's totally and completely about winning.
He indicated that Kansas State, Baylor and Marquette were the three schools that had been the most aggressive with him and they all had head coaches on hand to see him Saturday.
Houston's memory honored at GASO
It was impossible to not notice the outpouring of love dedicated to the memory of Deion Jackson-Houston. Teammates, rivals, parents and summer coaches who had coached against him could be found with notes on their shoes or t-shirts celebrating the 17 year old's life. Jackson was a fine basketball player, but more importantly he was a good kid and loved greatly by members of the Dallas basketball community and beyond. Credit event organizers for donating shares of proceeds from the sale of event t-shirts to a memorial fund set up in Jackson-Houston's honor. Rivals.com would again like to offer our condolences and prayers to his friends and loved ones.
Saturday standouts at GASO
Rashad Smith, PF, Top Achiever Pistons- A very athletic 6-foot-6 four man, Smith was as active in the lane on Saturday as anybody we saw. A product of Plano (Texas) Senior, he was all over the place getting loose balls, dunking in traffic and frustrating opponents with his non-stop motor. Coaches from the Missouri Valley, Sun Belt, Mountain West and Conference USA were all looking for more info.
Jelon Hornbeak, SG, Texas Select Elite- Fresh off of an appearance at the King City Classic, the 6-foot-3 Hornbeak looked very good on Saturday. A smooth player who can bury jumpers, go off the dribble or involve others, he's got a nicely packaged game on the offensive end of the floor. A rising junior, it doesn't look like he's physically mature yet and he's only going to get better as he grows into his long and lean frame.
Thaddeus Fortune, SG, Hammond Elite- A junior to be shooting guard at Scotlandville (La.) Magnet, Fortue needs little time or space to let it fly from deep. A pretty good athlete, he can also attack off the dribble and uses his quickness to help offset only being 6-foot-1. Gets his buckets and does so without being selfish.
Cannen Cunningham, PF, Brandon Bass Elite- A thin, face-up four man, Cunningham moves with fluidity, has great hands and can really run the floor. He likes to catch on the baseline, square up his man and attack off of the dribble. A bonus is that he's a very good shooter and has legitimate range to the three point line. Overall, a productive guy but he's going to have to get much stronger and college coaches watching him indicated that they would like to see him compete a bit harder.
Ryan Manuel, SG, Houston Hoopstars- We mentioned him on Friday, and the 6-foot-4 shooting guard was even better on Saturday. One of those guys who seems to make good things happen more often than not, he's a lengthy shooter with range and the athleticism to finish at the rim. He's at the very least a high level mid major prospect and is a guy that high majors should be evaluating very closely the rest of July.
Thomas Gipson, PF, Texas Bluechips- Gipson played the way he always does, with physicality and effort. A brute around the rim, he uses his long arms and desire to outwork guys on the glass and make them uncomfortable. An in the paint guy all the way, his ability to keep competing has helped him out.
J-Mychal Reese, PG/SG, Houston Hoops- There's no question that the 6-foot-1 junior to be has a good feel for the game on the offensive end. He mixes drives, pull-ups and deep jumpers nicely and he lacks nothing for confidence. Hit a bunch of threes on Saturday night and was trying to make plays down the stretch.
Romond Jenkins and Ramond Jenkins, PF, Oklahoma Wizards Elite- Members of a loaded Oklahoma City (OK) Douglass squad, twins Romond and Ramond are guys that look to have plenty of upside. Each has terrific length, bounce and quickness and use those attributes to make things happen in the lane. They are each in the 6-foot-7 range and Ramond looks like he could eventually make a transition to playing the three.
Jonathan Holmes, PF, San Antonio Ro-Hawks- One of the better finds of the event, the 6-foot-8 Holmes will certainly be in the discussion when we re-tool the Rivals150 for the class of 2011. A long, 6-foot-8 four man from San Antonio (Texas) Antonian Prep, Holmes has a super motor, above average athleticism and a pretty high skill level. He gets to the free throw line, makes some jumpers and is very active on the glass. New Colorado coach Tad Boyle made him a priority on both Friday and Saturday while other Big 12 programs like Texas Tech, Baylor and Texas A&M will soon be ramping up their interest.
Keith Frazier, SG, Houston Hoops- Understandably, the class of 2013 standout from Irving (Texas) High still makes some silly mistakes and floats in and out of games. But, when the impressive looking 6-foot-5 wing is locked in he has the look of a big time two guard. His range is effortless to beyond the three point line, he's got a great frame to work with and in Duncanville he looked to be much more aggressive than usual in attacking off of the bounce.
Jalen Jones, SF, Dallas Showtyme Elite- Back in June, Jones put himself on the national map with a strong outing at the Pangos All-American camp. A high school post player who is transitioning to the wing, the 6-foot-6 product of Mansfield (Texas) Timberview plays with as much physicality as any wing player in the country. Because of that, he's always a threat on the glass and in transition while he's working to expand his perimeter skills and consistency.
LeBryan Nash, SF, Dallas Mustangs- The top player in the state of Texas and one of the top players in the country regardless of class, Nash has a business like approach. He's not out there to make any friends or win popularity contests, he's out there to dunk on people, intimidate and get buckets. When dialed in, as he was for long stretches on Saturday, the only person capable of stopping him is himself. Oklahoma State and Baylor have emerged as the leaders of the pack.
Jherrod Stiggers, SG, Dallas Mustangs- Given his strong build and willingness to play physically, you would figure he's going to be a guy who tries to steamroll people. Instead, Stiggers proves to be one of the better jump shooters on the circuit. He's confident in his stroke and doesn't need much space. He will, however, use that strength too and he wowed with a violent dunk off the dribble. Football, where he is a highly regarded wide receiver, is also an option.
Ben Dillard, SG, Dallas Mustangs- The son of a college coach (Iowa assistant Sherman Dillard), Dillard is a solid two guard. He's got a basketball frame, plays with confidence and makes good decisions. Steady play on the defensive end is something that you can expect out of him and he knocks down some timely jumpers.
More notes from Saturday
A teammate of Jelon Hornbeak's on Texas Select Elite, Jordan Mason from Ennis (Texas) High is another good looking young player from the Lone Star state. The 6-foot-2 junior to be is very quick, attacks the rim and plays an aggressive, almost in your face style of game at the two. More consistency with his jumper would further enhance his recruitment. D'Von Campbell has excellent quickness, good athleticism and a pretty good feel for the game. Coaches starved for point guards in 2011 were watching him closely as he hit the floor Brandon Bass Elite. The plusses are that he can create for others and get some offense for himself off the bounce. The biggest key for him is going to be his frame. He's pretty slightly built and physical guards can give him trouble. Jordan Tolbert of Brandon Bass Elite is a hard nosed 6-foot-7 power forward who loves to compete. He's long, active and can explode athletically when needed. Offensively, he's most comfortable around the cup and he will go and rebound. The Galveston Hornets were in deep trouble late against Brandon Bass Elite, but Terran Petteway took over and saved the day. The forward from Galveston (Texas) Ball shook off a rough start to make some deep shots, attack the rim off the dribble and lead his team to an overtime win. He's been winning over admirers during the live period. A teammate of Petteway's on the Galveston Hornets and at Ball high school, 6-foot-5 Mike Evans was key on Saturday as well. One of those guys who doesn't really seem to have a true position, he just makes things happen. Plays tough around the rim, can explode for dunks off the bounce and makes just enough mid range shots to keep defenders honest.
While the Dallas Mustangs have been rolling in the NBA Division, their 15 and under team has been playing up two levels and making noise in the NBA as well. They are an athletic young group and Jordan Mickey, Kendall Harris and Shirmaine Thomas were all impressive. Teammates at Richardson (Texas) Berkner, Mickey and Harris form a nice inside out duo. At 6-foot-7, Mickey is a slender athlete who can run, has touch around the rim and block shots. Meanwhile, Harris is a solid looking two guard in a 6-foot-2 basketball body. Thomas, is a 6-foot-2 combo from Dallas (Texas) Skyline who can get into the lane, creates for others and has a nice pull-up jump shots. All three guys are already generating some high major attention. Massive, and talented, 2012 big man Cameron Ridley said that he's got an offer on the table from Texas and also mentioned that Texas A&M and Baylor had been pretty involved early in his recruitment. A 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Spring (Texas) High, Nevin Johnson of the Houston Lynx looks to be on the verge of getting some high major offers. A fine athlete who can score off the dribble or off of the catch, he is a guy that doesn't need prodding to attack on the offensive end. Danrad Knowles is an intriguing 6-foot-9 big man for the Houston Hoops. Affectionately known as "chicken" by teammates, the 2012 product of Houston (Texas) Trent International is a skinny and lengthy insider who can step out and make some jumpers.
Joining Jonathan Holmes at San Antonio (Texas) Antonian and on the San Antonio Ro-Hawks, 6-foot-8 post player Darrious Hamilton was impressive as well. Active and athletic, he's a high activity guy who could be a fit for upper end mid majors. Future Texas A&M Aggie Jordan Green was outstanding again on Saturday. The lengthy 6-foot-4 shooting guard was shooting the cover off the ball from deep and continued to be aggressive on the offensive end. His current teammate on Team Texas and future teammate at A&M, Jamal Branch, was up and down in terms of production. What was good, though, was his effort level and he looked much more aggressive than usual on the offensive end. Another Team Texas guy who made a good impression was 2012 shooting guard Drew Charles from Azle (Texas) High. A 6-foot-2 off guard with a picture perfect stroke from deep, Charles is a hard-nosed kid who plays with great effort and does a great job of staying in front of guys on the defensive end. Best nickname we ran across in the event was Ken "Lil' Juice" Williams of the D-Gib Hoops Black.