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December 29, 2007

Saturday at the Beach Ball Classic

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.- Once again Dequan Jones was the dominant and most explosive player of the day at the Beach Ball Classic, but the play of Richard Howell was integral in Wheeler making into the championship game to face Duncanville.

Wheeler (Ga.) 77, Boys & Girls 75

Richard Howell- 19 points on 9-16 shooting, 1-5 from the line, 8 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 assist and 3 turnovers in 18 minutes

Howell doesn't wow you with athleticism, but he covers a lot of ground on his low post moves to create scoring opportunities. His 15 points in the first half kept Wheeler, who was down eight at intermission, in the game.

Dequan Jones- 18 points on 7-12 shooting, 1-3 from three, 3-4 from the line, 10 rebounds, 6 blocks, 1 steal, 2 assists and 3 turnovers in 32 minutes

Once again, Jones looked like a man amongst boys in this game. Besides his jaw-dropping athletic plays, Jones is also handling the ball and passing it at a very high level. Rarely do you see a top athlete with a shaky skill game make the strides to put it all together by his senior year like Jones has. Now it is time to talk about him as being an elite prospect, not just an elite athlete.

Ari Stewart- 13 points on 6-13 shooting, 1-2 from three, 7 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 turnover in 32 minutes

Stewart found his place in Wheeler attack tonight with several high level scoring moves. And just as importantly, he avoided negative plays.

Phil Taylor- 15 points on 5-13 shooting, 2-4 from three, 3-5 from the line, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 turnovers in 32 minutes

The sophomore point guard came up big for Wheeler, scoring the game winning lay up with five seconds left.

Brandon Romain- 24 points on 10-21 shooting, 4-5 from the line, 6 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 turnover in 28 minutes

You have to love the way Romain competes. Even though he had a couple of his attempts thrown back at him by Jones, he never quit attacking. Mid-majors need to be all over him.

Clayton Sterling- 25 points on 9-18 shooting, 4-9 from three, 3-6 from the line, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 4 assists and 1 turnover in 31 minutes

Sterling played a very composed game at the point for Boys & Girls. He hit a huge three-pointer to tie the game at 75-75 with less than a minute. Like Romain, he is a quality mid-major prospect.

Duncanville (Texas) 67, Monsignor Pace (Fla.) 61

Roger Franklin- 20 points on 8-13 shooting, 3-6 from three, 1-2 from the line, 14 rebounds, 2 blocks and 3 turnovers in 32 minutes

Franklin got Duncanville off to a fast start with his scoring and rebounding. At the half, he had 14 points and ten rebounds. His production slowed down in the second half, but Duncan kept his stamp on the game with his physicality and finishing ability. He looked comfortable on the perimeter, hitting threes and driving the ball hard to the basket while also getting production with his post up game in the midrange. Looking like a four-star prospect, Franklin was the best player in this game.

Shawn Williams- 20 points on 7-13 shooting, 3-8 from three, 3-5 from the line, 9 rebounds, 1 block, 2 assists and 1 turnover in 31 minutes

After a three point, one rebound first half, Williams engaged in the action in the second half, spending more time inside the arc. He had some key rebounds and finishes in the paint down the stretch. A dangerous shooter when he gets his feet set, Williams needs to up the intensity level like he did in the second half and build up his body in order to be more than a shooting specialist at the next level.

Ray Shipman- 20 points on 5-23 shooting, 0-5 from three, 10-14 from the line, 9 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal, 2 assists and zero turnovers in 30 minutes

Continually trying to make plays that his athleticism just couldn't match, Shipman struggled to finish the basketball. Give him credit for his hustle and desire, but offensively, he just tried to do too much. He should find his niche at Florida as an energy wing player.

Rakeem Buckles- 14 points on 7-10 shooting, 0-1 from three, 0-1 from the line, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 assist and 2 turnovers in 25 minutes

A lengthy four man, Buckles is talented prospect with a lot of upside. The challenge for him is to continually produce like he did tonight.

Other prospects of note

Chris Singleton- 11 points on 4-8 shooting, 0-2 from three, 3-3 from the line, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks, 4 steals, 6 assists and 5 turnovers in 31 minutes

Singleton's most impressive work was in the open court where he handled and passed the basketball at a very high level. He also made his presence felt in the interior defensively. Always a talent, Singleton showed a maturing game that could move him up the rankings.

Delwan Graham- 19 points on 8-17 shooting, 0-1 from three, 3-4 from the line, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks, 1 steal, 3 assists and 4 turnovers in 28 minutes

A man without a defined position, Graham is the type of athletic energy player who just makes plays all over the court. Yes, there is room for improvement with his shooting and his right hand, but when you boil it down, Graham is the type of player you want to go into battle with.

Shawn Kemp- 10 points on 5-5 shooting, 0-3 from the line, 4 rebounds, 1 block, 1 assist and 1 turnover in 24 minutes

What an intriguing 2009 prospect. Kemp certainly passes the look test-long and athletic. He made positive plays every time he touched the ball. And he has all the signs of being a late bloomer. On the downside, Kemp plays with so little energy, you wonder if he enjoys playing the game. There is a reason his field goal attempts and rebounding numbers were so low. He doesn't go get the ball, and he doesn't have a presence that demands the ball. But if Kemp ever develops some type of aggressive edge to his game, he will be a quality high major power forward.

Jason Clark- 30 points on 9-13 shooting, 3-4 from three, 9-11 from the line, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 5 turnovers in 26 minutes

We raved about the versatility of Clark's game yesterday, but Friday he put it in pure scoring mode. Look for Clark to have a strong four year career for Georgetown. Just how good he will be depends primarily on how much he builds up his body.

Kendall Marshall- 8 points on 4-7 shooting, 0-3 from three, 1 rebound, 2 steals and zero turnovers in 30 minutes

While Clark was doing the scoring, Marshall was doing the passing to the tune of a 10/0 assist turnover ratio. His quick and accurate passing up the court resulted in a number of easy transition baskets against the slower St. Edward team. Marshall looks as if he has grown an inch or two since the end of the summer, and perhaps his body is in the process of adapting. Never considered a strong athlete, the 2010 North Carolina commitment just doesn't have much juice in his legs right now.

Tom Pritchard- 8 points on 3-10 shooting, 0-2 from three, 2-5 from the line, 5 rebounds, 1 steal and 3 turnovers in 22 minutes

Nothing came easy for Pritchard against Bishop O'Connell, not even from the free throw line. Pritchard, who is best suited as a complimentary player playing alongside a "go-to" post player, missesDelvon Roe.

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