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July 26, 2013
ORLANDO, Fla. -- A new crew of college coaches descended on the ESPN Wide World of Sports on Friday, as coaches who had spent the previous few days in Las Vegas made their way to the Sunshine State to check out the rest of the prospects on their radar.
As the AAU Gold Super Showcase begins to wind down toward a champion, and the AAU national championships approach medal placement games, the competition is becoming more intense, with college coaches taking notes on which prospects made winning plays.
Here's our take on who stood out on Friday.
Vow of balling
Heading into the final four, the Arkansas Wings are the odds-on favorites to win the national championship in the 16-and-under (rising junior) division. Even though that age group is made up almost entirely of class of 2015 prospects, it was class of 2016 star Malik Monk who stole the show on Friday.
The 6-foot-2 shooting guard from Lepanto (Ark.) East Poinsett County was spectacular in a win over the Florida Vipers, showcasing serious athleticism and a knack for scoring around the rim.
Monk is at his best in transition, where he can run his lane and meet the ball at the rim off of a teammate's pass. He's an explosive leaper off of either one or two feet, and he tries to dunk everything around the basket, especially on offensive rebound opportunities.
Monk was prolific in his 3-point shooting ability, something he had not shown frequently in the past, as he knocked in almost every attempt he took with his feet set from behind the line.
Once the rising sophomore fully develops his ball-handling ability, he'll be almost certain to attain five-star status in a class that is getting hyped as one of the most promising in a while.
Carrying the arc
Speaking of prospects who are playing up an age level, class of 2015 post Noah Dickerson was impressive on Friday, proving that he isn't afraid to bang with the big boys at the 17-and-under (rising senior) level.
The 6-foot-8, 250-pound power forward from the Georgia Stars is an Atlanta (Ga.) Lovett product who checks in as a four-star prospect and the No. 52-ranked player in the class of 2015.
Dickerson showed excellent strength and rebounding ability, getting his hands on every loose ball around the rim with a hard hat work ethic. The relatively mobile post prospect is a bruiser on the interior, and he intimidated players to the point that they almost let him get offensive rebounds and score to avoid further physical damage.
The big fella is going to have to hone his skills on the low block and develop a go-to scoring move, but with his raw power and hardworking mindset he promises to be a favorite target of many SEC and ACC coaches in the class of 2015.
For the second day in a row, the Houston Hoops found themselves ending the day with a heavily hyped game in front of a big crowd of coaches. This time, however, the Hoops won, defeating a feisty Alabama Challenge team as two of their stars turned in big performances.
Five-star wings Justise Winslow and Kelly Oubre had their games in full effect in the evening session. Oubre supplied the slashing offense that the Hoops needed, while Winslow did his best Ron Artest in his prime impression on Challenge four-star wing Devin Booker.
Winslow face-guarded Booker on every possession from the beginning of the game until the final buzzer, holding the high-scoring guard to 14 points and making him work for every catch.
On the other end, Oubre settled less for jumpers and attacked the rim more, playing with a more efficient pace in the half-court than he did in the televised game against Each 1 Teach 1 on Thursday night.
With coaches from Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, Stanford, Oregon, Michigan, Minnesota and several more in attendance, several other prospects stood out in the heavyweight tilt between two talented Nike EYBL programs.
Of the additional players who stood out, no one was as impressive as class of 2016 center Khalea Turner.
The 6-foot-9 wide body from Reserve, La., gave the Hoops quality minutes in the paint, showing a much better effort on the defensive glass than he had in previous games. Turner is a physical specimen for his age, and he loves to throw his 230-plus-pound frame around in the paint. He has a tough mindset to echo his physical play.
As several more widely built post players establish themselves among the elite in terms of class of 2016 interior players, look for Turner to have his name consistently mentioned near the top of the list.
News and notes
Three-star power forward Melvin Swift, a Rivals150 product out of Houston (Texas) Yates, was impressive for the Houston Defenders against the Georgia Stars. He provided high-wire acts to excite the crowd. A big-time athlete with good size at 6-foot-7, Swift is a good floor runner in transition for a power forward, and he showed a relentless approach to attacking the offensive glass. The Xavier commit is going to have to prove that he can do more than jump to be a force at the college level, but all of the physical tools are there for Swift to be an impressive athlete in the Big East.
Three-star shooting guard Matthew Fisher-Davis continued his ascension on the recruiting board of East Coast college coaches. He knocked down long jumper after long jumper in leading his Charlotte Nets team to pair of wins. The 6-foot-5 Charlotte (N.C.) Christian wing has a feathery release on his jumper, he can shoot the turnaround from the mid-post, and he plays well off of screens, giving him college size and one elite skill that could be enough to earn him the scholarship offers he desires. Charlotte, Georgia, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt are among the schools that have offered Fisher-Davis and who evaluated him on Friday.
An athletic battle between Atlanta Xpress wing forward TeMarcus Blanton and All-Ohio Red wing guard Javon Bess had college coaches excited in the evening session. Both prospects continued to gain momentum in their recruiting stock. Blanton is an athletic, 6-foot-5 wing who can create his own shot at the rim off the dribble and plays with a high level of energy on every possession. Arkansas, Georgia and South Carolina are the schools that Blanton lists as his leaders, and several other SEC and ACC schools evaluated him. Bess is more of a distributing and utility guard, as he showed that at 6-foot-5 he can play multiple positions, defend with intensity and provide a drive-and-kick element that is tough to find in a pure wing. Bess' recruitment has exploded in the past month, as Dayton, Richmond, UMass, Duquesne, Toledo and Western Kentucky have extended scholarship offers. Texas Tech, Georgia, SMU, Xavier, Butler and Saint Joseph's have called to inquire. According to Bess, he is likely to use his first official visit at Butler in September.
Playing a similar style to Fisher-Davis on Friday was another fast-rising class of 2014 guard, Troy Holston. While the Oldsmar (Fla.) Christian wing couldn't find the touch from behind the 3-point line as he usually does, he drew an impressive crowd of college coaches, including West Virginia, Florida, Florida State, Memphis and Kansas State. At 6-foot-4, the North Florida Elite product is one of the bigger shooting guards in the class. He has the ability to create his own shot from long range with dribble separation.