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April 29, 2006

Freeman steals the show

AKRON, Ohio -- With the top three prospects in the class of 2007 playing on LeBron James' old high school court in the anticipated match up between the D-One Greyhounds and the DC Assault, it was one of the hottest players of the spring, Austin Freeman, who stole the show.

Freeman led all scorers with 30 points and carried the DC Assault to a 73-65 overtime win and he didn't even step onto the court until six minutes left in the first half because of a late flight.

In those final six minutes of the first half, Freeman made all six of his shot attempts, which included two sliding mid-range shots in transition, two three-pointers, a left handed floater and a wicked pull up jumper going to his left.

For the game, Freeman hit 12 of 16 shots from the field and 4 of 6 from the line. He also had 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal, and he controlled the ball down the stretch.

Freeman played without his backcourt mate Nolan Smith, who is out for the weekend with a knee injury that he suffered last weekend according to the DC Assault coaching staff. Smith will undergo a MRI next week.

Taking up the slack along with Freeman in the backcourt was Brian Mckie. At only 5-foot-9, but very strong, Mckie flawlessly handle the ball with poise. In the first half, Mckie hit several three-pointers against the Greyhound zone, and in the second half, he repeatedly got into the lane with his penetration and finished some very difficult shots against contact.

Back with his old teammates after a weekend tryst with the Miami Tropics at the Kingwood Classic, O.J. Mayo got off to a slow start, making only 2 of his first 11 shot attempts. Early in the second half with the Greyhounds down double digits, Mayo caught fire to bring them back into the game.

He finished with 21 points on 8 of 22 shooting from the field including 2 of 10 three-pointers and 3 of 4 from the line. The consummate complete player also had 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 assists with only 1 turnover.

Bill Walker, the No. 2 prospect in the country behind his teammate Mayo, never found his rhythm in the opening game. He made some impressive plays in spurts but then seemed to disappear for intervals in the game.

With all his made field goals within 7-feet of the basket, Walker scored 16 points on 8 of 15 shooting from the field. He missed all three of his free throw attempts. He did grab 8 rebounds of which 6 were offensive boards, but he did not register a block or a steal.

The No. 3 ranked prospect Michael Beasley struggled even more than Walker. Beasley managed only 7 points on 2 of 13 shooting from the field. He rushed his shots in the first half against the Greyhound zone and seemed troubled a bit by the athleticism of Walker in the second half.

Beasley did grab 9 rebounds and had 3 assists, 2 blocks and 1 steal with no turnovers.

Prospect Observations

O.J. Mayo- Simply the best prospect and most complete player in the class. Already possesses the tools to be an NBA player.

Bill Walker- Still needs to shore up his handle and outside shot to better compliment his freakish athleticism. He was hesitant to shoot from outside and continually brought the ball back to his right hand after a couple dribbles with his left hand. And on the defensive side of the ball, Walker has not yet come close to tapping his full potential.

Michael Beasley- Misses a lot of shots because he drifts on his jumper. Very sure hands as a rebounder.

Austin Freeman- He has such a fluid and efficient game. Handles and scores with ease.

B.J. Mullens- Great hands and touch for a near 7-footer. Was not much of a presence on defense and did not aggressively pursue the ball off the glass.

Yancy Gates- Appeared to be in good shape. Was quick off the floor blocking shots and rebounded well. Didn't get a lot of touches.

Johnny Flynn- Does an outstanding job penetrating and then kicking the ball out to three-point shooters.

Eric Wallace- Passes the look test, but just doesn't have a really good feel for the game. Shooting stroke looked pretty solid, but his handle and passing are suspect.

Marshall Moses- Had some nice turnaround jumpers on Mullins and can make a spot up three. Very left handed when putting the ball on the floor.

Evan Turner- Looked very effective against Durrell Summers in a Illinois Wolves blow out win against The Family. At 6-foot-7 and still growing, Turner handles the ball very well, is athletic and has an understanding of how to play.

Tyreke Evans- The do everything guard appears destined for the No. 1 spot in the 2008 class. Like Mayo, he is a complete player with NBA tools.

Corperryale Harris- A gritty competitor who defends, comes up with ball and makes plays on offense, hit three three-pointers late in the game against the Illinois Wolves.


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