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April 16, 2010

Three tournaments dominate weekend landscape

After a big opening weekend on the AAU circuit, Friday brings the start of another round of impressive action. Though there isn't one dominant tournament like there was last weekend, three solid tournaments highlight the action headed by the Real Deal in the Rock featuring numerous highly rated players such as Johnny O'Bryant.

A lot was learned last weekend in places such as Hampton, Virginia, Knoxville, Tennessee, Detroit, Michigan, and Las Vegas, Nevada, but now more players need to breakout, and more stars need to shine. Three more big tournaments are on the docket, and of course Rivals.com will be out in force covering the action.

Real Deal in the Rock

Over the past several years, the Real Deal tournament has grown into one of the best in the spring. This year the field isn't quite as loaded as it was in years past, but it is still very good. Some of the best teams from the south will be in attendance.

As always the Atlanta Celtics have a loaded roster. They will make the trip West with Dominique McKoy, Nick Jacobs, Kevin Ware, and JaQuez Motley. After not playing in a major event last weekend, this will give everyone a look at just how good the Celtics are this spring.

After a solid start last weekend in the Nike EYBL, the Jackson Tigers will again be one of the favorites. Johnny O'Bryant looks to be improved and playing hard, and big man Tyler Adams seems primed for a breakout spring. Also wing Mychal Ammons was very good last weekend in Hampton, and now he needs to follow that up with another solid performance.

Never count out the boys from the Capitol City. Curtis Malone always fields a strong squad, and this year is no different for D.C. Assault. The Assault are of course led by one of the best point guards in the country, Quinn Cook, and also look for athletic power forward Jordan Goodman to have a profound impact on the weekend.

Dinos Trigonis and Belmont Shore seem to have a good roster this year. Guards Cezar Guerrero and C.J. Cooper give them a solid base in the backcourt, and then big man Grant Jerrett showed last weekend in Vegas why he is considered one of the best in the country.

The Georgia Southern Kings will look to rebound after a very disappointing opening weekend. Without Dai-Jon Parker the Southern Kings lacked scoring punch, but still Shannon Scott, Julian Royal, and Henry Brooks provide a solid trio. If Parker is back with the Kings this weekend, they will look like a completely different squad.

After being a little bit off the national radar last week, MBA Hoops and the Dallas Mustangs both will be in a showcase event this weekend. Real Deal will host both squads, and that means LeBryan Nash, LaQuinton Ross, Keaton Miles, and Rodney Hood will all have a chance to show how they have improved in the last year.

The team playing a little bit of a home game will be the Arkansas Wings. The Wings are loaded with the state's top talent, and they proved it this past weekend in Hampton. Ky Madden got the job done cementing a five-star ranking, Aaron Ross had moments, Hunter Mickelson is a big man with skill and bounce, and David Rivers is emerging as a shooting threat on the wing. With four players who complement each other like that, and with familiar surroundings, big things are expected out of the Wings this weekend.

As if that wasn't enough, the New England Playaz with Alex Murphy and Naadir Tharpe will be there, Memphis Magic featuring Adonis Thomas will be playing, and West Coast big man Norvel Pelle should be with Team Odom, and that will give people a good chance to see him in action.

Those are just some of the teams and big time players who will be playing in the event. Rivals.com lead analyst Jerry Meyer will be at the event from start to finish providing updates of how things are going.

Double Pump Spring Tournament

In the Mile High Air of Denver, Colorado, Dana and David Pump will be hosting one of the top tournaments held west of the Mississippi River. Numerous top teams and players will be running around the Rockies showing what they are made of.

Easily the most talked about team at the event will be Dream Vision. Between their 16 and under and 17 and under squads, Dream Vision has some of the top talents in the country. Five-star wing Shabazz Muhammad leads the way for Dream Vision, but he has plenty of help. He is joined on the roster by fellow five-star, Winston Shepard, and also wing Matt Shrigley is one who can make an impact. Add in that the program has added California five-star big man Angelo Chol, and it is easy to see why Dream Vision attracts so much attention.

As always the Pump Brothers have done a good job of attracting some of the top talent on the West Coast to their teams. For Pump 'N Run Elite, wing Jordan Tebbutt is considered one of the best on the west who could explode with a strong performance. Also running with Pump 'N Run Elite is Rosco Allen who is a talented forward, and 2010 African import Gorgui Dieng could also be in action for them as well.

For Double Pump Elite, the team is going to be led by a very impressive frontcourt. The mountain in the middle for them is Kyle Caudill, but he is just the beginning. Small forward Xavier Johnson might be one of the best wings in the country that no one knows about, and shooter Max Hooper can light it up from deep.

Making the trip to the Rockies from the Hoosier State is Indiana Elite. Elite got things going last weekend with several strong performances, and now they will step more onto the national stage. Inside there might not be too many teams that can match the duo of Cody Zeller and Marshall Plumlee, and then on the perimeter shooting comes from Austin Etherington, while combo guards Matt Carlino and Jeremiah Davis are capable of doing a little bit of everything.

Bursting onto the national radar last weekend for California Supreme was 2013 wing Roschon Prince. He played up at the 17 and under level and more than held his own in Hampton. Also Cal Supreme has big man Kevin Johnson, wing Byron Wesley, and guard Gelawn Wheelwright. With that lineup Cal Supreme is primed to make a run.

If there is one player in the event who could really open up eyes it would be B.J. Young. Running with St. Louis Game Face, Young is one of the most underappreciated players in the entire nation, and could explode as a high-major player this spring.

Along with those teams, Utah Pump 'N Run, Minnesota Pump 'N Run, KC Pump 'N Run, and the Texas D-1 Ambassadors all will have players capable of playing at the high-major level and making their names known in the Mile High City.

Rivals.com will have wall to wall coverage of this event from Brian Snow.

Hoop Group Pitt Jam Fest

In the city of too many rivers, many of the top teams on the East Coast will venture to the campus of the University of Pittsburgh for the Pitt Jam Fest put on by The Hoop Group. This event features a loaded field and a lot of star power.

There is no doubt that the biggest crowds will be drawn by Team Final. After suffering a loss in their first game of the spring, Team Final recovered to have a strong finish in Hampton. Mike Gilchrist is coming off his commitment to Kentucky and should be motivated, Rakeem Christmas will be blocking shots, Tyrone Johnson will be running the show, and Trevor Cooney has to recover from a poor shooting weekend in Hampton to perform well in Pittsburgh.

As if having the number one player in 2011 at the event wasn't enough, the Jam Fest is also host to the top player in 2012. Big man Andre Drummond and his Connecticut Basketball Club squad will make an appearance, and the incredibly talented Drummond will be in the national spotlight for the first time this spring.

The only team to beat the Oakland Soldiers last weekend was All-Ohio Red. The reason they were able to do so was the dynamic play of their backcourt consisting of Trey Burke and Stevie Taylor. Add in a bounce back weekend from Elijah Macon, and All-Ohio could be a threat to win it all.

Easily the most talented and scary backcourt in the event comes up from North Carolina as the CP3 All-Stars will invade the Peterson Event Center. Marquis Rankin, Dezmine Wells, and P.J. Hairston all performed well last weekend in Knoxville, and will look to do the same against an increased level of competition.

From the Big Apple, the New York Gauchos surprised some with a 4-1 record in Hampton, and they look to continue that play this weekend in Pittsburgh. Wing Maurice Harkless has to be better than he was last weekend. If that happens, Omar Calhoun and Derrick Wilson do enough in the backcourt to make the Gauchos as major problem for opponents.

Coming in from the Midwest, Team Detroit, Ohio Basketball Club, and the SYF Players bring some serious star power. Team Detroit has Michigan State commitment Brandan Kearney, OBC features top 100 power forward Chane Behanan, and SYF has the duo upfront of Branden Dawson and Mitch McGary.

Also some big time talent from the East will be floating around. Team Philly with five-star combo forward Amile Jefferson will look to advance, and the Westchester Hawks featuring Jabarie Hinds will be a tough out for opponents.

Overall this weekend doesn't have the single marquee event that last weekend did, but there still will be a lot of good ball being played, and some top prospects in attendance will be showing their skills all over the country. Keep checking back with Rivals.com for daily updates of the happenings.


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