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May 29, 2007

NIKE Memorial Day Classic top performers

A number of top prospects were in action at the NIKE Memorial Day Classic.

Rivals.com was there scouting the action, and five-prospects out of the 2008 class stood out with their performances.

None was more impressive than Willie Warren, the No. 8-ranked prospect in the Rivals150.

NIKE Memorial Day Classic top performers
Willie Warren, SG, AAU Team: Team Texas

The combo guard was simply sensational at the NIKE Memorial Day Classic. He continues to take his game to higher levels.

For starters, Warren scored the ball every way imaginable. He hit from deep, attacked the basket, scored on pull-up jumpers and posted up well. For the most part, his shot selection was steady. In fact, he was too unselfish at times.

Already established as a serious scoring threat, Warren is now proving that he is a top-notch playmaker from the point guard position. He did a great job finding his sharp-shooting teammate Rotnei Clarke. Warren also made some slick dump-off passes around the basket.

Andre Young, PG, AAU Team: Georgia Blazers

Young is small, but he played big over the weekend. Like many coaches like to say when evaluating prospects, "Winning has to count for something."

Young got a lot of help from some key teammates during the Georgia Blazers' run to the championship of the NIKE Memorial Day Classic, but he was the lynchpin.

Young handled the ball a fair amount, but more importantly he put constant scoring pressure on opposing defenses. In a fashion similar to Oregon's Tajuan Porter, Young is a strong athlete who can quickly create space for his accurate jumper. He impacts the game by passing off his penetration, and he hustles all over the court.

Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, AAU Team: Georgia Stars

Aminu's anticipated showdown with Greg Monroe fizzled, but his battle with Ed Davis was another matter.

Aminu, within a 19-point effort, demonstrated why he is the top small forward in the 2008 class. Not only did he make plays around the basket - blocking shots, pulling down rebounds and scoring at the rim - but he also made plays on the perimeter. Most impressive was the way he continuously pushed the tempo by running the fast break off his defensive rebounds.

One play in particular stood out in my mind. Aminu grabbed a defensive rebound, broke out on the dribble, passed the ball up the court and then ran past the defense to get the ball back and flush home a dunk.

Ed Davis, PF, AAU Team: Boo Williams

Davis was very impressive himself in Boo Williams' win over the Georgia Stars. Davis matched Aminu with 19 points.

Whereas Aminu is more of a threat away from the basket, Davis does all his damage from 15-feet and closer. Davis also excels at an area of the game where so many other players struggle he is a big scoring threat with his back to the basket.

He gets extraordinary extension on his left-handed jump hook, and he shoots it with touch. Even the athletic Tony Woods could do nothing against the jump hook. Davis also can score off turnaround jumpers to his left shoulder - as well as on spin moves in either direction. When the ball is up for grabs, Davis is one of the first players to get to it.

Jamychal Green, PF, AAU Team: Alabama Challenge

Similar to Davis, Green is simply a workhorse within 15-feet of the basket.

Green does a great job of scoring off spin moves in the post to either shoulder. He also has the ability to finish against contact with either hand. One of the most attractive aspects of Green's game is how he relishes contact.

But his niche in this strong class of big men is the way he attacks the basket from the high post. Green is explosive to the rim with one dribble. When he is cut off, Green has a natural way of spinning off the contact and finishing tough shots on the move. Throw in his love of rebounding the basketball, and you have a very solid post player.

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