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ORLANDO AAU REPORT – THURSDAY
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by Alex Schwartz
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The 2012 11th Grade AAU Nationals tournament continued rolling along yesterday, and NBE Sports was there yet again to take in the action. Check out our rundown of the day’s action below and see which Big East school’s head coach saw two of his commits turn in impressive performances. Also, learn which under-the-radar prospects impressed on the second day of the tournament.
Ryan Wilkins gets the nod as Thursday’s top performer over several worthy candidates, including one of his SEC-bound teammates. A 6’2 shooting guard out of Effingham County (GA), Wilkins is a smooth player in the backcourt whose game you almost have to love. A class of 2013 prospect who is now playing with the South Georgia Kings, Wilkins dropped in 20 points in the game we watched. He knocked down four shots from long range, but he is by no means just a long range marksman. Wilkins is quite capable of getting to the basket off the dribble and can utilize his quality crossover to help him do so. He possesses solid leaping ability and showed he will take a charge at the defensive end. Wilkins has just one scholarship offer at this point, but that needs to change. Low-major to mid-major programs should be all over Wilkins, who can flat out produce.
TOP SLEEPER PERFORMER
Reggie Oliver gets the nod over a few different kids who could have filled this spot. A class of 2014 point guard from Evans (FL), Oliver impressed playing up at the U17 level with the EYSF Panthers Black squad. He is a bit undersized at 5’10, but that does not stop Oliver from making plays and scoring the ball. He get to the rim very well and finishes nicely once he gets there. Oliver is a quality athlete who showed that he has nice hops. Additionally, he is not someone who defenses can simply sag off of, as he demonstrated the ability to connect from beyond the 3-point line. He is another kid who low-major to mid-major schools may want to take the time to check out.
OTHER TOP PERFORMERS
Tony Bagtas is the guy who runs the showed for the talented Atlanta Xpress team, and he was impressive doing so on Thursday. A 6’0 point guard out of Westlake (GA), the 2013 prospect has a smooth overall game, a nice pull-up jumper and a quality handle. He is not overly quick, but is more than capable of getting to the rim anyway.
Deonte Burton is an ultra-athletic 6’5 small forward out of Vincent (WI) who is going to stay local and attend Marquette. A class of 2013 recruit who runs with Terry Porter Elite, Burton has a great build and impressive length to go along with major leaping ability. He plays hard, scores the ball and brings great energy to the floor. If he develops a consistent jumper, then look out!
Will Darley is a 6’6 small forward out of Dulaney (MD) who can absolutely stroke it from beyond the arc. Originally a 2012 prospect, Darley seems headed to prep school and will very likely end up at the Division I level in the class of 2013. He has nice size for a shooter and he is lethal off the catch. Darley knocked down five treys for Crusader Nation in the game that NBE saw.
JJ Frazier is a 2013 prospect from Faith Baptist Christian Academy (GA) who will stay in-state and attend Georgia. More of a combo guard at 5’8, Frazier is wired to score the ball. He poured in 28 points for the South Georgia Kings in the game we saw, and that included 21 in the second half, with 14 of those coming in the fourth quarter. Frazier has a strong frame for his size, can really get to the rim off the bounce and also knocks down shots from beyond the arc.
Darryl Hicks, Jr. turned in a nice performance for The Ville on Thursday afternoon. A 6’3 class of 2013 shooting guard from Trinity (KY), Hicks is a superb scorer who has a real nice spin move and quality body control. He can knock down pull-up jumpers and his range extends to outside the 3-point arc.
Tadric Jackson is a 2014 prospect who can play either guard spot and was at the two for the Georgia Stars on Thursday. The 6’2 backcourt star from Tift County (GA) has a strong frame and is very adept at scoring the rock. He showed off some good ability when it came to shooting the ball from long distance.
Taylor Leabhart is a teammate of Will Darley on Crusader Nation and he too was impressive on Thursday. A 6’2 point guard out of Annapolis Area Christian (MD), Leabhart seemed to get better as the game went on. He has nice floor vision and can run the point, but do not think he is not a capable scorer as well. Leabhart, who has solid leaping ability, can both attack the rim and finish as well as connect from long range.
Tosin Mehinti is a 6’9 center from Greenforest Christian Academy (GA) who really impressed for the Southern Stampede nightcap. Although we saw just the first half, it was enough to know that Mehinti, a 2013 recruit, belonged on this list. A chiseled big man who moves well, Mehinti put in bucket after bucket around the rim and even knocked down a midrange jumper.
Caleb Oetjen of Indy EBC had a stretch in the third quarter of his team’s game that he was unstoppable getting to the rim. A 6’0 combo guard in the class of 2013, Oetjen is a smooth player who effectively gets through traffic off the bounce. The Horizon Christian (IN) star is a streaky scorer who really competes and he showed some outside shooting ability.
Kendell Ramlal of Episcopal (TX) was the top performer for Texas Pro on Thursday. A well-built 6’7 power forward, Ramlal is a tough kid who works around the basket. The class of 2013 recruit is a superb rebounder who is also capable of finishing down low. Additionally, he possesses some pretty nice leaping ability.
Darius Thompson, a 6’4 shooting guard out of Blackman (TN), impressed for Team Nashville. Thompson, a 2013 player, is a smooth wing with nice length who is adept at working his way to the cup off the dribble. He is also a capable shooter from long distance and he simply finds ways to put points on the board.
Duane Wilson, Jr. is another class of 2013 recruit who, like Deonte Burton, will stay close to home and attend Marquette. A 6’2 combo guard from Dominican (WI), Wilson showed off some major 3-point shooting ability for Wisconsin Playground Elite. He is a talented kid who is wired to score the rock and does so with regularity.
We saw Kansas’ Bill Self, Baylor’s Scott Drew and two coaches from Duke watching the Texas Pro vs. Terry Porter Elite game and were unsure of exactly who they were watching. Texas Pro coach Marland Lowe informed NBE that Kansas has inquired about 2013 big man Leonard Allen, Jr. . . . Big Five head coaches Jay Wright and Fran Dunphy, of Villanova and Temple respectfully, both watched the Albany City Rocks’ game against the Georgia Stars alongside an assistant . . . Louisville may be trying to make a play for Theo Pinson, as Rick Pitino was joined by an assistant coach for the CP3 All-Stars game against Wisconsin Playground Elite . . . Speaking of that game, Austin Mitchell-Malone hit a floater at the buzzer to give Playground a one-point victory . . . Buzz Williams was on hand for the impressive performances by both of his 2013 pledges, Deonte Burton and Duane Wilson, Jr. . . . In addition to the aforementioned names, some other BCS head coaches we saw at the ESPN Wide World of Sports on Thursday were Mark Turgeon (Maryland), Mark Gottfried (NC State), Stan Heath (South Florida), John Calipari (Kentucky), Anthony Grant (Alabama), Jeff Bzdelik (Wake Forest) . . . Other BCS programs represented included North Carolina, Missouri, Syracuse, Clemson, Miami, Oregon, LSU, Georgetown, Florida State, Ohio State, and Indiana, amongst others . . . The U14 AAU Nationals tournament concluded on Thursday with the championship game, and while NBE only saw a few quick minutes of it, during that time we noticed coaches from Duke, LSU and SMU on hand. Thon Maker, Seventh Woods and Khalea Turner, all considered elite 2016 prospects, were participants in the game<
Leonard Allen, Jr., who is mentioned in the Notes section above, is a 6’11 center from Round Rock (TX). He is receiving minimal college interest at this point, but he clearly has some upside. At this point, Illinois State and UTEP are the only schools that Allen claims offers from. The 2013 prospect noted that UC Davis and Oral Roberts are amongst the others schools showing interest in him, but he could not remember all of them. Allen has no favorites and said he plans to make his college commitment around Christmas time.
Cornelius Elder, a 5’11 point guard out of the Ensworth School (TN), is one of the best dual-sport athletes in the class of 2013. A member of Team Nashville, Elder has had a big summer and really raised his profile on the hardwood. He said that as of now he has offers from Northeastern, College of Charleston, Florida Gulf Coast, and Western Kentucky plus interest from Murray State. Elder has no favorites and is unsure of his commitment timetable. The floor general noted that he would like to visit Murray State. As for his preference of which sport to play at the next level, Elder remarked, “I really wanna play basketball, but I’m just gonna wait it out.” He noted that some of his biggest offers for football are Ohio State, Nebraska, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Mississippi State and Georgia Tech.
Theo Pinson, an elite prospect in the class of 2014, listed scholarship offers from Ohio State, Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Alabama, Florida State, Indiana, Georgetown, Syracuse, Louisville and Wake Forest, plus more. The 6’5 small forward from Wesleyan Christian Academy (NC) and the CP3 All-Stars noted that Florida is another school expressing interest. He has no favorites and said it does not matter to him if he stays in-state or not. Pinson has no timetable and has no visited planned, but will decided after this event where he would like to trip to.
Ryan Wilkins somehow only holds one scholarship offer. The 2013 shooting guard said that Savannah State is the lone program to offer him–so credit to the Tigers. Additionally, Wilkins is receiving interest from Georgia Southern, Marist, Furman, Appalachian State, and College of Charleston. He has no favorites right now and has yet to take any visits. Wilkins did note that he is planning to go on an official visit to Savannah State in August.