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April 16, 2011

Walker explodes at Real Deal

MORE REAL DEAL: Friday at Real Deal

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Saturday at the Real Deal in the Rock provided another day of big outings. The day was highlighted by an overtime win for the Atlanta Celtics over the Compton Magic to close out pool play as guys like Shaq Goodwin, Isaiah Austin and Gabe York were all playing at a high level during the Celtics 80-78 win. There was no shortage of guys looking to join in on the fun and sophomore Chris Walker exploded.

Saturday's top performers

Chris Walker, PF, ATL Xpress- Usually we would wait until a rankings update to boost a prospect's star-rating, but the 6-foot-9 sophomore deserves an immediate move to five-star status. From a physical standpoint the long and lean greyhound of an athlete has everything that you would want in a prospect. An effortless athlete, Walker also has good hands, some scoring tools and blocks a lot of shots. When he adds strength and refines his footwork, it will be curtains.

Robert Carter, PF, ATL Xpress- The 6-foot-8 junior played up to his four-star status during a playoff win. There's still some baby fat that he's losing, but he can really run the floor and is a load when he decides to be active around the rim. His hands are good, his touch is soft and he's got some crafty scoring moves in his arsenal.

Shaq Goodwin, PF, Atlanta Celtics- Goodwin picked up right where he left off last weekend in Hampton. Back with his usual team, the 6-foot-8 forward was running the floor for dunks, exploiting his quickness around the rim and playing with a little more purpose on the glass.

Solomon Poole, PG, Atlanta Celtics- The 2013 five-star just recently moved up to the Celtics older team, so he's still adjusting. However, he's a blur in the open floor and ridiculously explosive leaper near the rim. While not a natural point guard, at about 6-foot-1 that's the position at which he projects down the road. Didn't shoot the ball from deep like he usually does, but was still very solid and played some of the best on-the-ball defense we've seen in a summer game in quite some time.

Isaiah Austin, PF, Compton Magic- Against the Atlanta Celtics, Austin came out inspired and with determination to play in attack mode. The Baylor commitment is still thin, but he is getting stronger and looked to play with much more physicality than in the past. Didn't always finish offensively, but he makes up for it as the last line of defense around the rim where he swats shots.

Jarnell Stokes, PF, YOMCA- Matched up against fellow five-star prospect Grant Jerrett, the 6-foot-7 Stokes struggled early with the Arizona commitment's length. However, it didn't take long for Stokes to go to his power game and become unstoppable near the rim. His free throw line jumper was working and the motor was running high. In an era where guys know all about their opponents, Stokes is a throwback who doesn't know anything about the guy in front of him and doesn't care because it's not going to change his approach.

Gabe York, SG/PG, Compton Magic- There aren't many scorers in the class of 2012 who can hang with York when it comes to efficiency. Alert with or without the ball, he doesn't dance once he gets the rock in his hands and attacks defenders with purpose. He shoots with deep range and if he can gather his feet a bit, will dunk on just about anybody in the build. He is pretty smallish for a two, but it's not out of the realm of possibility for him to end up a point guard in college because of his solid handle and willingness to pass.

Ricardo Gathers, PF, Brandon Bass Elite- Simply put, Gathers is built like a full grown man and he does full grown man things on the floor. A beastly interior player who has a nose for the ball, a will to score and a need to play with physicality, he tests the manhood of his opponents. A strong transition finisher, he's improving as a spot up jump shooter. Listed St. John's, Connecticut, Syracuse, Texas, Kansas, California and LSU.

Grant Jerrett, PF, Belmont Shore- Although Jarnell Stokes got the better of him, the 6-foot-8 Arizona commit didn't exactly play bad. A lack of strength remains an issue that will need to be addressed before he arrives in the Pac-10, but he's very skilled facing the hoop, has soft touch and is a developing back to the basket scorer. Plays much bigger than his size because of very high shoulders and excellent length.

Sam Craft, PG, YOMCA- The sophomore isn't the biggest kid in the world, but few can match his heart and will to win. A true floor general who gets his teammates where they need to be, he's the kind of guy who imposes his will on his teammates.

Stanley Johnson, SF, Belmont Shore- Friday night, we got a look at one of Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei's impressive freshman, Shaqquan Aaron. Saturday, it was Johnson's turn to impress as a freshman playing up on the 17 and under level. A big time athlete and finisher around the rim, he's a transition attacker who also crashes the glass.

Carlos Morris, SG/SF, Dwight Howard Warriors- When we last saw him during the winter, Morris looked like a kid with high major potential. After watching him again we so no reason to change our opinion. A sleek athlete with long arms, Morris does most of his damage via a very dangerous pull-up jumper that is good out to beyond the three point line. Morris listed Providence, Cincinnati, Miami, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Seton Hall and Missouri among those he's been in contact with.

Kaleb Tarczewski, C, New England Playaz- While it would have been nice to see the seven footer get more touches on the offensive end, there's no beef with his play. Considerably stronger than in the winter, he owned the paint, secured rebounds and served as somebody who makes opponents think twice at the rim.

Andre Drummond, C, CBC- Because he's so talented, Drummond will get judged differently than his peers. That's a good thing because it means that he's a player and he had a pretty good effort during an afternoon win. Ran the floor, controlled the glass and scored some off of high post dribble drives. A baseline spin move is his bread and butter move and there's nobody who is stopping it.

Alex Poythress, PF/SF, Georgia Stars- The question was whether or not he would replicate his efforts from Hampton and he answered it convincingly. The 6-foot-8 combo forward ran out for dunks, hit corner threes and was very active on the glass during a first round playoff win.

More news and notables from Little Rock

Kordario Fleming came off the bench and had an outstanding morning for YOMCA. A 6-foot-6 junior forward from Memphis (Tenn.) Ridgeway, Fleming is a lengthy kid who can hit the glass and knock down baseline jumpers. … If Ian Baker plays out the summer like he's started the spring, then the sturdy six-foot point guard from Jacksonville (Fla.) Arlington Country Day is going to find more high majors sniffing around. The demand for 2012 point guards far exceeds the supply at this point but Baker is on the verge of stepping up to help and fill the void. Plays under control, scores at the rim and can slide off the ball and make some jumpers. Playing in Little Rock with the Dwight Howard Warriors he listed Providence, Boston College, Central Florida, Seton Hall, East Carolina among others. … Our first look at Jarrell Martin of Brandon Bass Elite was a bit of a mixed bag. A long, slender 6-foot-7 combo forward from Baton Rouge (La.) Madison Prep, Martin is a sophomore who shows promise. He runs the floor, dunks anything he can around the rim and is a pretty good spot-up shooter to the three point stripe. Not sure whether he's more of a face-up four or a guy with legitimate wing potential, but he looks like a guy that should be on high major watch lists. …

From a straight up athletic standpoint, there aren't many who can come close to touching Nino Jackson. Not only is the 6-foot-2 Ardmore (Okla.) High product blazing fast from end to end, he has super lateral quickness, long arms and is explosive at the rim. Struggled with to's early, but was very good for the Compton Magic during the second half and overtime. ... Marcus Hunt of the Georgia Stars is a physical 6-foot-5 wing scorer. The junior shot it very well and used his powerful shoulders to go through defenders at the rim and finish while getting fouled. He rattled off a list that included Alabama, Miami, Florida State, Nebraska, Missouri, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Georgia and Georgia State. … 6-foot-6 lefty wing Calvin Hermanson of the Portland based Clutch Players is a nice prospect. Although his shot is a bit unorthodox, he hits it with regularity from deep and the Lake Oswego (Ore.) High product is a competitor as well. … Duke bound Alex Murphy was effective during an evening playoff game. A long and angular wing, he's at his best on the baseline as a transition finisher and slasher. He's lengthy, a pretty good ball handler and his ambidextrous finishing is a major plus. … Finally, we are looking forward to seeing more of 6-foot-3 class of 2012 combo guard Eric Robinson of the ATL Xpress. A fine shooter with good range, he can also create a bit off the dribble and is a fine athlete. …


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