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April 19, 2006

Real Deal top five performers

For the second straight year, many of the nation's top prospects converged on Fayetteville, Arkansas for the Real Deal on the Hill tournament.

National recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer had the opportunity to scout the action and breaks down the event's top performers.

Austin Freeman, Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 185 pounds
College choice: Georgetown
Austin Freeman was nearly impossible to guard off the dribble and almost equally impressive off the catch at the Real Deal on the Hill..

In quality physical condition, Freeman was athletic and explosive. He consistently got into the midrange area where he is as polished a scorer as anyone on the circuit. Typically on the wing, Freeman handled the ball quite a bit and did a nice job executing the high ball screen.

Not a shut down defender, Freeman does do a solid job guarding the ball and is moving his moving his feet well laterally.

Physical, athletic and polished, Freeman is making a push for five-star status and will be terrific at Georgetown.
Click here for video of Freeman in action

Michael Beasley, Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill Academy
Height: 6-foot-8
Weight: 235 pounds
College choice: Undecided
Michael Beasley came into the spring with quite a high ranking, and he played up to his ranking throughout the weekend.

Beasley is such a tough match up because he can play with both physicality and finesse. He can bang in the low post and score with his back to the basket, and he can face up and score off the catch and off the drive.

But Beasley's game only gets better when you look at his passing and rebounding. With sure hands and a knack for positioning, Beasley controls the defensive boards. In the high post, his versatile passing is a lethal threat.

A natural leader with a unique left handed game, Beasley will perform at a high level for a long time as long as he maintains his focus.
Click here for video of Beasley in action

Chris Allen, Lawrenceville (Ga.) Meadowcreek
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 185 pounds
College choice: Michigan State
Chris Allen displayed a mature game at the Real Deal on the Hill where he both controlled the ball for his team and scored big numbers.

With a prototypical shooting guard build, Allen has a bag full of dribble moves. And when he creates a look, he knows how to find the basket.

Although more of a scorer than a set up man, Allen does handle the ball at a high level for a shooting guard and has made big strides in disciplining his shot selection.

Allen, with his defense and rebounding steadily improving and his natural scoring instinct, is poised to jump a number of highly ranked players.

J.J. Hickson, Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler
Height: 6-foot-8
Weight: 230 pounds
College choice: Undecided
J.J. Hickson is a powerful low post scorer and rebounder with a strong motor and competitive spirit.

He sits low in the post and can react to the worst of post feeds. When Hickson catches the ball with his back to the basket, he loves to attack to his left shoulder and then spin back to his right shoulder.

An intense defender who is quick off the ground, Hickson contests shots in high numbers. He has the versatility to guard both in the post and on the perimeter.

Primarily a finisher, look for the hard working and talented Hickson to improve his handling and passing skills over the summer. If he improves these skills and refines his footwork, Hickson will be one of the top post players in his class.

Nolan Smith, Landover (Md.) Oak Hill Academy
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 175 pounds
College choice: Duke
Nolan Smith did an excellent job running the point for the DC Assault over the weekend, proving he is a legitimate combo guard.

Rarely abusing the dribble, Smith spotted open teammates early and get them the ball with proper timing. He rarely turned the ball over, yet constantly put pressure on the defense by both getting into the lane with the dribble and getting to prime spots on the court where he could feed the ball inside. As he develops more strength, Smith will become a more consistent finisher in the lane.

In the Assault's press, Smith covered a wide range of territory, coming up with some impressive steals. In the half court, he held some of the better guards in check with quick hands and good foot work.

It will be interesting to see how Duke utilizes the combo guard skills of Smith.
Click here for video of Smith in action

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