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April 18, 2011

Stokes captures MVP of the Real Deal

LITTLE ROCK,Ark.- The Real Deal on the Rock came to an exciting -- albeit controversial -- ending on Sunday as sophomore guard DeVonte Hampton knocked in a three pointer with four seconds to go to give Memphis YOMCA a 43-41 championship game win over the New England Playaz.

Despite trailing for most of the second half, YOMCA caught a late break when Jarnell Stokes was fouled while grabbing an offensive rebound trailing by two with 8.9 seconds to go. The refs ruled not only that he was going up with his shot, but that it was an intentional foul sending him to the line for two free throws and giving YOMCA the ball afterwards.

Stokes made one of two free throws to cut the score to 41-40 and that set up Hampton who nailed a bit of a wild fling going right near the top of the key to give YOMCA the win.

While it was Hampton that hit the winning shot, Sunday was all about the performance of the 6-foot-7 Stokes. The five-star prospect from Memphis (Tenn.) Central scored 18 points and grabbed 14 rebounds while going up against a lot of size.

Stokes evokes visions of Corliss Williamson and Gary Trent with his physical strength, grinder's mentality and under appreciated skill level. But, it's his in-your-face power game that is so impressive.

"That's my strength," Stokes told Rivals.com of his physical play. "That's what you have to with seven footers. You have to bang with them and get under them."

Stokes rattled of a list that included Arkansas, Memphis, Tennessee, Duke, Ole Miss, Miami and Kansas and despite being named the MVP of the 17 and under bracket he tried to downplay his dominant weekend.

"I think it was an up and down weekend for me," said Stokes. "I'm glad that I'm on a team where everybody can shoot because that opens it up for me in the paint."

Sunday standouts

Terry Brutus, F, New England Playaz- A class of 2011 kid from Spring Valley (N.Y.) High, the 6-foot-5 Brutus is one hard playing and athletic forward. His strength allows him to play some as a four, but his athleticism and quickness allow him to play as a power wing. One of those guys who you have to kind of throw position out of the conversation and just understand he's going to make plays if you put him on the floor. Brutus will be deciding on a prep school soon.

Kris Dunn, PG, CBC- On Sunday, Dunn confirmed what he had been starting to suspect all weekend long, that he's a point on the rise and will be in the discussion when the class of 2012 is re-ranked. A long and athletic point guard, Dunn is an off the dribble creator who splits doubles and makes plays. While he's a bit more of a natural scorer, he's not exactly lacking for playmaking ability. He listed offers from Providence, Rhode Island, "the A-10 except for Xavier" and interest from Virginia, Marquette and Pittsburgh.

Charles Mann, PG/SG, Southern Select- A long 6-foot-4 combo guard who is willing to share the rock, Mann was a big part of Select's run to the semifinals. His size for the position is outstanding, he's pretty quick getting to the rim and he's rounding his game out nicely. A three-star prospect who already ranks #135 in the class of 2012, he certainly justified his lofty status in the junior class.

Final notes and observations from the Real Deal

Watching Anthlon Bell play over the past couple of weekends has been a little bit of a roller-coaster ride. The 6-foot-3 shooting guard from Memphis has been up and down and you never quite know what you will get. He is a good athlete, plays hard and is capable of knocking down some shots. As he finds a little balance in his game he will win more admirers. … Kordario Fleming really had himself a strong weekend for YOMCA. Often looked at as a bit of an undersized four, Fleming showed signs that he could play the three hitting on some 17 foot jumpers and filling the lane in transition. His energy was outstanding. …

Seven games in just about 30 hours is tough on anybody, but seven-footer Kaleb Tarczewski did his best to fight through fatigue on Sunday. The five-star was outstanding in head to head matchup with Andre Drummond and held Drummond in check while scoring 13 points of his own to help the New England Playaz eliminate CBC in a semifinal game. … Point guard Tyler Strange of the Playaz was also very good throughout the weekend. The 5-foot-10 floor general is as feisty as they come and a leader on the floor. He's solidly built, does what is asked of him and doesn't back down from anybody. …

Freshman big man Tre Thompson of the Arkansas Hawks will be one to watch headed down the road. A 6-foot-7, maybe 6-foot-8, center, the freshman from Forrest City has a good frame to work with, moves pretty well and looks to have some offensive skill. …


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