- Joel Francisco
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The first two days of the Las Vegas Fab 48 were chock full of outstanding performances from the nation's elite. However, on Day 3 of the marathon tournament, it was a lesser-known crew of Division I talent who took center stage, starting with Hikeem Stewart (Seattle/Rainier Beach.)
While Stewart put together a terrific all-around performance in his squad's loss to Team Detroit, 6-foot-5 Larry Bradley (Milwaukee/Wauwatosa East) displayed his versatile offensive attack while leading the Iowa Barnstormers into the quarterfinals to take on Seattle Rotary Select.
2011 (6-2, 175) | AAU Team: FOH Seattle
Stewart continues to climb up the recruiting charts and he turned some heads with his performance against Team Detroit. The ultra-athletic 2-guard can affect the game in a variety of ways. He can stick the 3-pointer off the bounce or nail the pull-up in transition. He has a great feel for the game and delivered some clever assists. In addition, he plays with outstanding energy at both ends and is a relentless competitor. Due to how his game has evolved over the course of six months, I would be shocked if he doesn't end up in the upper echelon of a big-time conference.
2011 (6-5, 205) | AAU Team: Iowa Barnstormers
Bradley does just about everything you could ask for in a teammate. He is the quintessential "glue" guy who creates havoc on the defensive end by utilizing his strength and athleticism. Offensively, he puts pressure on the defense with his slick handle, nifty passing and strong mid-range game. He can hit the 3-point shot or attack the rim, exploiting the defense by being savvy and skillful. In addition, he is a tenacious rebounder at both ends and a relentless competitor.
• The Oakland Soldiers are steamrolling the competition due to their athletic prowess and balance. Josiah Turner (Sacramento, Calif.), Nick Johnson (Gilbert, Ariz./Findlay Prep), Kyle Wiltjer (Portland, Ore./Jesuit), Jabari Brown (Oakland, Calif.), and Brandon Ashley (Oakland/Bishop O'Dowd) have all had dominating moments.
• Wayne Blackshear (Chicago/Morgan Park) is a 6-5 scoring guard who has been the most consistent performer for Mac Irvin Fire. He has been explosive in transition and has knocked down a number of shots.
• The Iowa Barnstormers have a legitimate D-I wing type in 6-5 Josh Oglesby (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Washington). He has a frame with some upside and is a knock-down shooter with a quick release, not too mention an astute passer.
• Tony Wroten (Seattle/Garfield) and Gary Bell (Kent, Wash./Kentridge) get most of the recruiting attention for Seattle Rotary Select. However, the most consistent performer has been 6-9 junior Zachary Banner (East Puyallup, Wash./Lakes). He is the son of former NFL lineman Lincoln Kennedy and, outside of basketball, will be one of the most heavily recruited offensive tackles in the country next season.
• There may not be a better shooter in Southern California than 6-2 Reese Morgan (Palos Verdes, Calif./Penninsula). He is athletically limited, but he has a high basketball IQ and a smooth stroke.
Joel Francisco is a recruiting coordinator for ESPN Recruiting.