Six on the rise
Elijah Carter highlights the players with rising stock after National Prep Showcase
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- With the early signing period now a thing of the past, this weekend's National Prep Showcase served as a great forum for some of the nation's top uncommitted post-grads to audition in front of a variety of Division I coaches who traveled to Albertus Magnus College from coast to coast.
Point guards and big men were in the highest demand as the lack of suitable high-major prospects left on the board has created a trickle-down effect at every level.
Elijah Carter (Paterson, N.J./Brewster Academy)
2011, PG, 6-foot-1, 170 pounds
The post-graduate combo guard didn't blow anybody away this weekend but was solid and consistent enough to solidify himself as one of the best lead guard prospects left available. He was actually at his best off the ball when sharing the backcourt with Kansas commit Naadir Tharpe (Worcester, Mass./Brewster Academy), but with Kareem Canty (Brooklyn, N.Y./Bridgton Academy) and Kiwi Gardner (Manteca, Calif./Westwind Prep Academy) both eyeing reclassification to 2012, that status quo was enough to send Carter's stock north as the number of alternatives went south.
(Germantown, Tenn./Notre Dame Prep)
2011, SG, 6-3, 195 pounds
It was ironic that the man with the big name came into the weekend flying a little bit under the radar, but that isn't likely to last much longer. Mayo got off to a slow start on Friday after rolling his ankle on the first possession of the game but had a strong outing on Saturday, showing the ability to score in high volume and the versatility to be equally effective off the bounce or with his jumper. While Mayo is of the combo-guard variety, he played with the ball in his hands for most of the weekend and thrived creating his own offense.
Nemenja Djurisic (Podgorica, Montenegro/South Kent)
2011, PF, 6-8, 215 pounds
Arguably the most productive of the available big men left on the market, Djurisic is appealing to college coaches because his game will translate well to the next level. He has a big, strong body that he isn't afraid to throw around inside the paint, a crafty European feel for the game and the skill set to stretch opposing defenses to the perimeter. With a variety of high-majors still looking for capable big men, Djurisic projects as a valuable role player who can impact the game in a variety of different ways.
D.J. Peterson (Hopkins, Maine/Maine Central Institute)
2011, SG, 6-5, 170 pounds
Peterson put up a very efficient 15 points and eight rebounds against St. Mark's on Saturday night. He made a variety of high-level scoring plays, knocking down threes, getting to the rim with economy of motion and creating space in the mid-range area. Peterson's biggest asset may be his versatility. At 6-5 he handles and passes well enough to see time at any of the three backcourt positions. Defensively, he is equally versatile and showed well against Alex Murphy (South Kingstown, R.I./St. Mark's School), using his size and lateral quickness to neutralize the Super 60 forward as best he could.
Omari Grier (Erial, N.J./Maine Central Institute)
2011, SG, 6-3, 175 pounds
Mid-majors in need of a shot-maker need to take a look at MCI's sniper. He made shots off the catch and the dribble, while also showing an ability to come off screens. Equally impressive was how he bounced back from a slow start on Sunday morning, showing the short memory that all great shooters share by shaking off two bad misses early to bounce back for his second solid performance of the weekend.
Kelvin Amayo (Riverside, N.J./Nia Prep)
2011, SF, 6-5, 200 pounds
Although swingmen aren't in quite the demand as bigs and point guards, Amayo still made an impressive case for his recruitment. A power perimeter player who is almost unstoppable running down hill, Amayo is lethal in the open floor. He also produced in the quarter court, using ball screens to get into the paint and then initiating contact and powering through to finish. Although his jumper remains his Achilles heel he made enough of them to keep his defenders honest. Defensively, his power remained a major asset as he was able to body up his man to keep him out of the paint.
Jarrell Byrd and Roy Mabrey (Lynn, Mass./St. Thomas More) -- Byrd is an active utility forward who did something good with the ball almost every time he touched it this weekend, while being very active around the rim. Mabrey is a hard-nosed combo-guard who made big shots coming off screens, while showing the toughness that all coaches appreciate.
Neal Beshears (Winchester, Ind./MCI) -- Low-majors in need of a skilled face-up four man need to keep an eye on this Indiana native who has a great stroke. He has also bulked up his frame and was more aggressive going to the glass than we expected.
John Golden (Freehold, N.J./Northfield Mount Hermon) -- A good-sized swingman with great bounce, Golden caught people's attention with his ability to finish plays in the open floor and continued to impress in the half-court set by making open threes, one dribble pull-ups and being efficient with his bounces.
Vince Van Nes (Dorchester, Eng./Northfield Mount Hermon) -- With search parties out in full force looking for big men, Van Nes (6-11, 235 pounds) had as good of an opportunity as anyone this weekend, but failed to capitalize as his assertiveness and ability to play through contact continue to be areas of concern.
Daniel Franca (Brazil/Bridgton Academy) -- A wide-bodied post who plays with his back to the basket, Franca could have shown himself to be a bit of a rare commodity. Instead he looked lackadaisical for stretches and was consequently never able to assert himself.
Kareem Story (Baltimore, Md./Princeton Day) -- A lead guard who is as tough as he is fast, Story has the explosiveness and playmaking ability that could have really stood out to college coaches had he shown an ability to slow it down at times and make better decisions running the team.
Adam Finkelstein has been a coach or scout at the high school, college and pro levels. He was an assistant coach in Division I by the age of 24 and worked as a scout for Marty Blake, the NBA's director of scouting.