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2011 ORLANDO AAU UPDATE (PART 6): HOUSTON DEFENDERS TAKE 17U SHOWCASE TITLE
By Alex Schwartz
It was a busy day in Orlando on Wednesday as the 17U AAU Super Showcase came to a close. The Houston Defenders earned the crown with an impressive 55-45 victory over BABC. Class of 2013 twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison led the Defenders as Aaron scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Andrew finished with eight points and 10 assists. Earlier in the afternoon the Defenders got past Team Takeover, rallying from a halftime deficit to advance to the championship game. For their part, BABC survived a stiff challenge in the semis from Hoop Heavan Elite out of NJ to advance to the televised championship game.
Now the full focus will shift to the AAU National Championships. The 16U is in full swing and the 17U championships are also getting going in pool play as well. Still plenty of basketball left these next four days as the second July live evaluation period closes out.
Below we have some additional player evaluations and recruiting information from yesterday’s action with a heavy concentration on the Houston Defenders (Derrick Griffin), Team Takeover (Jerami Grant), BABC (Jaylen Brantley, Jake Layman, Goodluck Okonoboh) and more (Bobby Portis)…
Jerami Grant comes from a major basketball family and he is continuing the tradition of Grants going to high-major schools. A 6’8 SF, Grant is a mismatch on the wing as he can shoot over smaller defenders and blow by taller, slower ones. Grant is better at the latter, as he can really get to the basket off the bounce and needs to work on his jumper. He is a superb athlete who is capable of big-time finishes at the rim. Grant handles the rock well and is a solid defender, but he needs to add bulk to his slender frame. He has all the tools, but his consistency is lacking, as he has a tendency to disappear in games and have some quiet outings.
Per a conversation with NBE earlier in the week in Orlando, the half dozen finalists for the 6-foot-7 combo forward out of DeMatha HS and Team Takeover AAU are Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, Texas, Oklahoma, Syracuse and Rutgers.
Jaylen Brantley has made some major strides in his game over the past couple of years and continues to develop. A 5-foot-10 point guard, Brantley is no doubt undersized and needs to get stronger, but he is very skilled. A fantastic 3-point shooter whose shot looks good every time it leaves his hand, Brantley can also set up his teammates. He handles the ball quite well and does have the ability to attack the basket, but it is not his forte. Brantley has a good feel for the game and solid court vision. He plays hard at the defensive end, but his lack of height and strength can be issues at times.
Brantley listed offers from Virginia, Louisville, Richmond, Rhode Island, Hofstra, Syracuse, Iowa State and Missouri. He said that Florida, Connecticut, Georgetown, Miami and others are expressing interest.
Brantley has yet to visit any schools, but said, “I plan on taking some after this.”
As for what schools he will visit, Brantley remarked, “I know I’m going to Virginia [on] . . . August 20th. I think I’m going to Syracuse [as well].”
Brantley said he has talked about attending school together with a few of his BABC teammates, specifically mentioning Nerlens Noel and Wayne Selden.
Goodluck Okonoboh said he holds offers from Providence, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Missouri, Syracuse, and others. He said he is garnering interest from Connecticut, Gonzaga, Louisville, Temple, and more.
“No favorites, no favorites, everyone [is] the same,” Okonoboh said.
He has yet to take any visits but did say, “I plan on visiting some schools in August.”
Okonoboh at one point considered reclassifying to 2014, but he said he has decided to stay in the class of 2013.
“Not really, no one [is] coming at me the hardest, everyone [is about the same],” Okonoboh said. “But the hardest, hardest, I don’t know, Syracuse [is] really interested and UConn and Missouri, all of them.”
“No, not at all,” Layman said of whether he has any favorites.
As for people having written that Maryland is his leader, Layman remarked, “It was just kinda speculation. I have no favorites right now, that’s how it is.”
On who is coming at him the hardest: “They’re all pretty equal, they’re all equal. No one’s coming at me the hardest.”
Asked if he has taken any visits, Layman replied, “I haven’t visited anybody yet, I’m [going to take] visits so I can see what I like and know what I want.”
Layman does not have any visits planned and also has no timetable for a commitment.
“No, no, far [or] close, it doesn’t matter to me,” Layman said of whether location is a factor.”
Bobby Portis listed offers from Florida, Arkansas, Baylor and Nebraska to go along with interest from UTEP. His favorites are Arkansas, Florida and Baylor.
Portis said the four schools that have offered are recruiting him the hardest. None of them stands out as the one coming the very hardest.
The Class of 2013 power forward out of Hall HS in Little Rock (AR) has yet to visit any schools and does not have any planned. Portis also said he is without a timetable for a commitment.
Derrick Griffin is a 6-foot-6, 215-pound small forward that also excels on the football field. The rising junior (Class of 2013) out of Terry HS in Richmond (TX) provided a list of offers from Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Texas, Kansas, Florida, Kentucky, Oregon and USC. Also an elite wide receiver prospect, Griffin said those offers are for both sports at each school.
“I aint got any favorites yet,” Griffin said. “It should be sooner or later I got it.”
Griffin said Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, USC and Oregon are the schools coming after him the hardest. “I don’t know yet,” Griffin said of what sport(s) he will play in college. “If I get taller I’m playing basketball. If I don’t get taller I’m playing football, I mean both.”
Griffin did say there is a chance he will just play football, as he did concede does like “football a little bit more.”
On who he has visited thus far, Griffin remarked, “I went to football camps at Texas and Oklahoma.”