- Reggie Rankin, College Basketball Recruiting
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- The U-17 AAU Super Showcase is loaded with talent as travel teams descended upon the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex from all over the United States and Canada. Great performances were plentiful as the tournament was played on over 30 courts throughout the greater Orlando area, featuring intense games and energetic players, coaches and fans.
Here are a few players who impressed on the first day of pool play.
DaJuan Coleman (Syracuse, N.Y./Jamesville-Dewitt)
2012, C, 6-8, 280 pounds | AAU Team: Albany City Rocks
The big fella was aggressive right from the start, repeatedly finishing plays with power moves from the low block, tip ins on the offensive glass and rebounding everything in his area. This was all en route to scoring 28 points against Team United. When Coleman was not scoring, he was drawing fouls. He used his massive size to make it almost impossible for the defense to keep him from having his way in the lane. Coleman also displayed the ability to put the ball on the floor and attack the rim from the low wing and short corner, where he simply power-drove defenders by initiating contact. When Coleman is focused and in attack mode, it is hard to deny him success at the rim or on the glass.
(Ontario, Canada/Mountain State University Academy)
2012, PF, 6-8, 230 pounds
AAU Team: Team Takeover-Canada
Bennett was terrific at finishing in transition from drop-off passes created by dribble penetration or from popping for the open three. He dunks with power in traffic and whenever he has a clear path to the rim. He uses his strength and athletic ability to rebound and block shots in and out of his area as well. He ran the court extremely well and was very active on both ends of the floor, where he played with great energy and effort. Bennett used his college-ready body to score 22 points against the Long Island Lightning.
(St. Louis/Chaminade College Prep)
2011, SG, 6-3, 177 pounds
AAU Team: St. Louis Eagles
The Ray Allen of high school basketball can knock down deep jumpers from anywhere on the floor: in transition, coming off screens or by simply moving to the open area. Beal gets his jumper off smoothly and quickly and has the size to shoot over smaller defenders with ease. But what was so impressive about the future Gator's play was the way he passed and attacked the rim, where he finished on a consistent basis. Beal hit open teammates on time and on target and displayed scoring moves off the bounce that we have not seen to this degree from him before.
C.J. Barksdale (Danville, Va./George Washington)
2011, PF, 6-7, 195 pounds | AAU Team: Squires Richmond
Barksdale was a matchup problem for opposing defenders. His ability to face and hit open 18-foot jumpers, attack off the dribble and catch and finish on the move was a thing of beauty. The future Hokie also passed the ball well out of the post and on the move in transition. He played a very efficient and productive offensive game. Barksdale's skill and versatility will make him an excellent forward when he takes his talent to the ACC.
Player to watch
Andy Smeathers (Bargersville, Ind./Center Grove)
2011, SF, 6-6, 175 pounds | AAU Team: Spiece All Indiana
Smeather's length and shooting skill make him a very intriguing player. The Butler commit can shoot it from deep after a few rhythm dribbles but can also stop and pop. He is an excellent straight-line driver and a good-enough athlete to finish. He must add strength and play more aggressively, but this Gordon Hayward look-a-like could blossom into the next star for the Bulldogs, if he progresses the way he is capable of. He's definitely one to keep a close eye on.
• Class of 2012 small forward Glenn Robinson (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central), who is the son of the Purdue great with the same name, has talent and reminds us at times of his dad. Robinson is long and skilled. He can make open shots around the arc and his mid-range game is smooth and productive. It will be fun to watch his development.
• Class of 2013 power forward Kennedy Meeks (Charlotte, N.C./West Charlotte) got our attention with his strong hands and soft touch. He is a wide-bodied post who has a great knack for scoring and rebounds with power in his area. Meeks reminds us of former University of Louisville and NBA great Wes Unseld.
• Team Takeover power forward John Manning (Chantilly, Va./Chantilly) is a big man who is mobile, agile and can score with a nice jump hook in the paint with either hand. He even is starting to hit 15-foot jumpers with consistency. Manning is drawing interest from George Mason, Tulane, William and Mary and UCF, among others.
Reggie Rankin was an assistant coach at seven schools for 13 seasons, most recently at Dayton. He played at Ohio University from 1986 to '90 and was an All-MAC first-teamer in his senior season. Paul Biancardi contributed to this piece.
DaJuan Coleman dominates U-17 Super Showcase