Calhoun, Hale shine in Orlando


ORLANDO, Fla. -- Both the U-16 and U-17 AAU national championships were in full swing Wednesday, as the 16s were three rounds into bracket play by day's end and the 17s finished up pool play.

Standout players

Omar Calhoun (Brooklyn, N.Y./Christ the King)
2012, SG (6-foot-3) | AAU Team: New York Gauchos

Calhoun strikes a great balance between being a scorer and letting the game come to him. Versatility and efficiency are two of his biggest assets. He can shoot the 3-pointer, knock down the mid-range pull-up or attack the rim, and Calhoun has an innate feel for the game to utilize each of his weapons at just the right time.

Donnie Hale (New Albany, Ind./Bridgton Academy)
2011, PF (6-8) | AAU Team: Spiece All-Indiana

Hale has a motor that won't stop, and he was all over the court Wednesday. He rebounded the ball in traffic and out of his area, got his hands on a ton of balls defensively, caught and scored quickly without having to gather himself around the rim and also faced up for the shot or the bounce from the elbow or short corner. Hale will play at Bridgton Academy next year before heading to Purdue.

Jabarie Hinds (Mount Vernon, N.Y./Mount Vernon
2011, PG (6-0) | AAU Team: Westchester Hawks

The jury was still out coming into this week as to whether Hinds could run a high-major team, but he silenced most of his doubters Wednesday by handling the ball against pressure, making good decisions and showing some consistency with his jumper. He also demonstrated his trademark power and creative dribble in the open floor.

Surprise player

Pat Connaughton (Arlington, Mass./St. John's Prep)
2011, SF (6-4) | AAU Team: Middlesex Magic

Connaughton arrived in Orlando a week ago with low-major offers, and seven days later he has picked up offers from Notre Dame and Tennessee with more potentially on the way. Connaughton is a matchup nightmare with a dependable long ball and polished low-post game. He is also a good passer and outstanding rebounder from any of the perimeter positions. Physically, he has a 6-10 wingspan and some surprising springs to boot.


• Hoop Heaven Elite, a U-16 team playing up a level in the U-17 nationals, scored a huge upset by knocking off an Each 1 Teach 1 team that was missing Austin Rivers. Elite's Dominic Hoffman (Gladstone, N.J./Gill St. Bernard's) and Jaron Sina (Gladstone, N.J./Gill St. Bernard's) have great chemistry after playing with each other throughout the year and facilitate the vast majority of their team's offense.

Bryce Johnson (Cordova, S.C./Edisto) has a ton of physical tools and upside. Johnson runs with the Carolina Ravens and has an early recruiting list that includes South Carolina, Clemson, Ohio State, Charleston, North Carolina State and Kentucky according to his coach, Dion Bethea.

•The CP3 All-Stars were never seriously tested thanks to the efforts of North Carolina commit P.J. Hairston (Greensboro, N.C./Hargrave Military Academy) and Xavier commit Dezmine Wells (Raleigh, N.C./Hargrave Military Academy). That is good news for Hargrave, because both players are reportedly set to transfer there next year.

Adam Finkelstein is a frequent contributor, both in player evaluations and event coverage, to ESPNU's recruiting coverage.