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July 19, 2012

Peach Showcase: Egbunu off to fast start

MORE: July halftime report

AIKEN, S.C.- During the second five-day live period of July, one of the best places to be is along the Georgia-South Carolina border in the Augusta area. There are three high level events taking place within miles of each other and loads of players to recruit. Wednesday, Rivals.com was on the campus of USC-Aiken to check out opening evening festivities at the Peach State Summer Showcase. Featuring many of the Southeast's top non-shoe-affiliated teams, there was no shortage of athleticism and USF commit John Egbunu put on a show.

Egbunu more than a mauler

Watching John Egbunu at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in June, it was pretty evident that the 6-foot-10 center from Eagle's Landing (Ga.) High was physically ready to make an impact at the high-major level. It turns out that he is ready to use more than athleticism to make an impact for the Stan Heath's Bulls at the next level.

Make no mistake about it, the bouncy and strong insider is tough around the rim. He takes and administers punishment, dunks everything in sight and is a terror on the glass. On top of that, he blocks shots and specializes in doling out intimidating looks at opponents.

But, don't be fooled, Egbunu has a good base of skill to go with all of that. Playing with his summer squad the Douglas Brothers, he was patient in the double post as double teams came, made terrific passes and also used his footwork to spin by guys. When he got to the free throw line, his shot was crisp, compact and accurate.

Already ranked at No. 121 nationally, Egbunu is most likely undervalued at this point.

Singer draws a crowd

One of the most heavily watched guys of the night was Sam Singer. Playing for Gulf Coast, the three-star combo guard drew head coaches from Kansas State, N.C. State and Texas A&M to go along with a litany of high-major assistants.

Probably closer to 6-foot-3 than his listed 6-foot-5, Singer is a sound guard from Miami (Fla.) Ransom Everglades and has some upper-body strength. A very good passer in the open floor who advances the ball 20, 30 and 40 feet up the floor, he certainly shares the sugar. His jumper was a bit spotty but he showed confidence in it and he isn't a risky ball handler.

Is he a one, a two or a combo guard in college offenses? That's what coaches are trying to figure out. Among the other offers mentioned by Singer were Nebraska, Virginia Tech, Penn State, Oklahoma State and Boston College.

Quick hitters

They will receive a lot longer look on Thursday, but it was hard not to be impressed by Team Nashville. In particular, it was hard not to like the backcourt duo of Cornelius Elder and Darius Thompson. A football star as well, Elder is a tough, team-oriented point guard with quickness and outstanding body control. Thompson, on the other hand, is a long and lanky 6-foot-3 shooting guard with good passing instincts, athleticism and a pretty good looking shot.

Demetrius Henry of Team Breakdown is a thin and mobile big man with some bounce in the lane. At about 6-feet-9, the 2013 reclass also has touch on his jumper and can play facing the rim a bit. Where he's at his best, though, is when he gets into the lane and uses his length and athleticism to disrupt things around the rim. In addition to scoring the ball, he swatted some shots and got on the glass.

During the first part of the evaluation period, Grayson Allen built a buzz with some big scoring efforts. Wednesday night, the class of 2014 shooting guard still managed to look good despite turning over the ball at a high rate. A pure catch and shoot wing, the 6-foot-4 Allen also has some athleticism and the ballhandling issues could be chalked up to having a weird night. Regardless, he looks like a future high major and possible four-star prospect. Allen reported that he has offers from Georgia, USF, North Florida, Wichita State, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech and Georgia Southern.

When it comes to explosive leapers, 2013's Soma Edo may have finally met his equal in class of 2014 power forward Phillip Cofer of Team Georgia Elite and Fayetteville (Ga.) Whitewater. The 6-foot-6 Cofer doesn't yet have a lot of skill, is very susceptible to pump fakes, and has some edges to rough out. But, he plays extremely hard, runs the floor and is a pogo stick leaper around the rim who chases each loose ball. He's only going to be a junior, and if he can add some offense to his energy and athleticism he gets very intriguing.

Initially, 6-foot-7 combo forward Javonte Douglas of the Carolina Raptors had planned on spending a year in prep for 2012-13. Instead, the 6-foot-7 combo forward from Charlotte (N.C.) Kennedy Charter will head to junior college next season. Wednesday, he played the Florida Assault like a guy who already had a year of college under his belt. He got out in transition for easy buckets, was dominant around the rim and also did some damage from mid-range as the Raptors turned an early double-digit deficit into a runaway 25-point win.

Early on, it looked as if the Florida Assault would run away against the Carolina Raptors. The Assault is long, athletic and has a couple of parts that make it go. Point guard Rashawn Powell was good in high pick and roll and open floor situations. Pookie didn't score as much as he usually does, but did show burst with his first step. From the class of 2015, 6-foot-5 guard Dwayne Bacon is going to need close monitoring. He showed potential at the Reebok Breakout Challenge last week and did again Wednesday night. Bacon is a high-level athlete who can attack a bit off the dribble and he didn't look bad burying spot-up threes from the corner either.

A smallish two-guard for the Birmingham Ice, Jarvis Calhoun was one of many intriguing players for his team. UAB head coach Jerod Haase was on hand and he undoubtedly is looking for more info on the lefty who likes to attack. Calhoun can push it in transition, breaks down off the dribble and isn't afraid to let it fly. He's one of a handful of Ice players who thrive in transition.

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