- Reggie Rankin, College Basketball Recruiting
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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The first Racing to the Rim Showcase pitted of some of the nation's most high-profile teams and players against quality teams from across the Bluegrass State. Sixteen games, both boys' and girls', over a span of three days starting at the Scott County High School and finishing at the historic Rupp Arena. Former Kentucky player Jared Prickett did a terrific job putting together such a first-class event.
Tamron Manning (Georgetown, Ky./Scott County)
2012, SG, 6-foot-3, 185 pounds
He played in attack mode from the opening tip, scoring 32 points, grabbing nine rebounds and coming up with five steals in an 88-80 upset win over Lew Wallace (Ind.). Manning made plays in transition by attacking the rim off an outlet pass or going coast to coast after pulling down a defensive rebound. In the half-court set, Manning knocked down midrange jumpers and open 3s off the catch in addition to a couple of sweet runners. He also displayed the ability to drive, draw and kick to open teammates and that leads us to believe Manning could play some point guard in a pinch. Another impressive part of Manning's game is his anticipation skills, which helped him come away with some timely steals.
(Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North)
2011, C, 6-11, 235 pounds
The former Louisville and Xavier commit was very aggressive on the offensive end of the floor right from the tip. He ran the floor well and consistently scored in the low post with middle turn shots from both low blocks, at times through contact. Chandler was also a factor on the offensive glass, where he had some powerful putbacks. Defensively, Chandler rebounded and contested shots he did not block in his area. His game has really benefited from dropping 20 pounds and he finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds in a 92-78 win over Scott County (Ky.). Chandler is being aggressively recruited by St. John's, Oregon, UConn, Indiana and Kentucky.
Negus Webster-Chan (Toronto, Canada/Huntington Prep)
2012, SF, 6-7, 195 pounds
He brings a very aggressive and attacking approach to the wing position. Webster-Chan gets to the rack on a regular basis and finishes with ease. He is streaky from 3-point range but can knock them down when he is set or in a scoring groove. He is a good ball handler and passer as well, which allows him to help at the point if needed. Webster-Chan can also defend multiple positions. Louisville, Kentucky, Marquette, Baylor and Clemson are on his list at this stage of the recruiting process.
Player to watch
L.J. Rose (Houston, Texas/Second Baptist)
2012, PG, 6-3, 180 pounds
Rose is an ESPNU Super 60 prospect but is under the player to watch category because his game against Quality Education was his second since suffering a foot injury in July. He is still in the process of getting his conditioning back to a level where he can play effectively for major minutes, but his ballhandling and passing were good although he struggled shooting the ball. Rose also displayed a high basketball IQ, great court vision and feel for the game along with doing a nice job making some plays off the high ball screens. All eyes will be on Rose the remainder of the high school season. North Carolina, Kentucky, Baylor, Texas, Illinois, Virginia and Florida State are on Rose's list at this point. He says he has not cut down his list yet, but is starting to think about recruiting more in terms of visualizing where he might fit in best.
Jalen Wesson (Louisville, Ky./Butler Traditional)
2012, PG, 5-8, 150 pounds
Wesson competed and played in full attack mode on his way to scoring 29 points and leading his team to a 61-50 win over Eastside (Miss.). He pushed the pace with his speed and quickness and beat the defense for some very impressive finishes on both sides of the rim, along the baseline. He knocked down rhythm 3s and created space off the bounce to get off his midrange, pull-up jumper. He was also a willing passer when he drew multiple defenders and displayed toughness on both sides of the ball. Eastern Kentucky and Belmont are both in pursuit of Wesson.
Terrance O'Donohue (Marietta, Ga./McCallie School)
2013, PF, 6-7, 205 pounds
The young power forward is a smart, skilled matchup nightmare. O'Donohue can score in the post with turn shots and drop steps. He can also face up and hit the midrange jumper on a consistent basis, which makes him a pick-and-pop or pick-and-roll threat. O'Donohue also made some very impressive interior passes when the defense surrounded him in or around the lane. His length helps him grab rebounds on both ends and he runs the floor well. Overall, he has great upside and is starting to get attention from Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt and the Ivy League.
Obinna Oleka (Washington, D.C./Quality Education Academy)
2012, PF, 6-6, 200 pounds
Oleka came off the bench and made his presence felt immediately. He hit the offensive glass for a timely tip-in, made a couple of open midrange jumpers and caught a lob for a big dunk late in the game against Second Baptist (Texas). Oleka is a strong, physical forward who is athletic enough to defend inside and out, as well. Quality Education coach Isaac Pitts says Oleka has earned more playing time as of late. If Oleka continues to be productive, expect college coaches to soon take notice.
• St. John's signee SF Dom Pointer (Roseville, Mich./Quality Education Academy) had some highlight-reel dunks and acrobatic finishes on the break against Second Baptist. The Red Storm fans are going to love this kid.
• Class of 2014 power forwards Khadeem Lattin (Houston, Texas/Second Baptist) and Jackson Davis (Lexington, Ky./Lafayette) and Class of 2012 point guard Chris Cunningham (Lexington, Ky./Scott County) all made high-level plays and are oozing with potential. Lattin was terrific on the glass, Davis made high-energy, athletic scoring plays and Cunningham can handle and pass the ball, as well as get to the rim on the break and finish.
• Wake Forest, Tennessee, West Virginia, Louisville and Kentucky are all on the trail of super skilled, 6-9 forward Stefan Jankovic (Missisauga, Canada/Huntington Prep). He can knock down 3s, handle the ball and pass.
Reggie Rankin was an assistant coach at seven schools for 13 seasons, most recently at Dayton. He played at Ohio University from 1986 to 1990 and was a first-team All-MAC selection his senior season. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.
Tamron Manning and a healthy L.J. Rose highlight the first Racing to the Rim Showcase, writes Reggie Rankin.