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Rivals Article Storm players at Ky Hoopfest

July 18, 2010
Birmingham Storm



July 13, 2010

Andrew Force
BearcatReport.com

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For four days regionally-elite prospects marched into the Kentucky Exposition Center hoping to improve their future by way of landing new and improved scholarship offers.

The most recognizable faces attending the event included Tom Izzo, Bo Ryan, and Brad Stevens. For the most part MAC coaches and assistants devoted their weekends to scouting the talented players.

Patterson showed great talent at the Hoopfest

The Cincinnati Bearcats are considering the following, attending players.

BearcatReport will rate their weekend as good, great, or grand. This rating will only reflect their weekend performance with good equating to the performances worthy of a three-star player, great means a four star weekend, and grand hints at that elusive five star abilities.

Good

The Nashville Celtics very nearly capped off the long weekend with a U17 Gold Division Championship. Devin Langford trended positive with some sterling shooting displays. Unfortunately, the 6'6" wing rarely got to touch the basketball. His teammates are a few headstrong scoring guards with quick trigger.

Langford was a little tentative around the tin, though he crushed home a statement dunk Sunday afternoon.

"He has to get better with the ball-handling," said Nashville Celtics' Head Coach Mark Pittman. "He has to be stronger with the ball."

His teammates dominated the ball, leaving very few slashing opportunities for the lanky Langford. The few times he found himself in the backcourt, attempting to break the press, the results were often turnovers. Langford averaged two turnovers per game, as the secondary or third ball-handler.

From the Elite 8 to the Championship, Langford converted 5-8 from deep. He helped his boys dispatch a strong Florida Rams team with back to back three-pointers. Early in the game the Rams were running away with it, but Langford leveled it at 27 points.

"Offensively he is a good jump shooter," said Coach Pittman.

Pittman served on the staff of Tennessee State for the majority of the past decade as an assistant coach.

A couple of college assistants devoted their time to Ron Patterson, elite shooting guard out of Indianapolis. Judging his defensive skills is difficult as he defends the paint with his long arms. The Class of 2012 star dropped a tough game to the surging Dayton Nets Monday afternoon.

Patterson plays alongside Butler commit Kellen Dunham. Neither had an exceptional shooting game though, Patterson himself missed three late-game triples and one chip shot in the lane.

He has a lot of interest from the Indiana Hoosiers, rightfully so, as he boasts strong arms, high, powerful shoulders, and an exceptional handle.

Big deals

There were very few future college pivot players at the Kentucky Hoopfest. Two of the better defenders of the lane were Deontae Hawkins (Dayton Dunbar) and Nick Osborne (Muncie Central).

Osborne won a sectional title last spring with the help of Jeremiah Davis for the MCHS Bearcats. He stands 6'8" and performs ruggedly in the paint. It is clear that Osborne is more comfortable knocking bodies around with his imposing frame, as the improvements have been steady in recent months.

The University of Cincinnati has been tracking him since March, after they watched him play in the regional tournament in New Castle, Indiana.

"It is still pretty early," said Osborne of his recruitment. "I like Ohio and Butler both a lot."

Valparaiso and Ball State are also keeping a close eye on the PF/C. Though Osborne's future position can be confirmed Hawkins' versatility and height (6'6") leave his in question.

For the Dayton Nets Hawkins played exclusively at the center spot, swatting away shots all weekend. His offense has a way to go regardless of the position he settles in to. Hawkins has the athleticism to play on the wing, but defends much, much better by planting himself under the rim. With windshield wipers for arms "Teddy" can change a game on defense.

When he strays from the lane Hawkins bites too often on pump fakes, making his team vulnerable to attack. This weakness can be solved in time.

Hovering underneath the basket Hawkins helped advance his team to the Silver Division Championship Game. The Dayton Nets lost twice, the first as a no show Friday.

The Nets beat two stars en route to the final. Patterson's Indiana Elite One squad took the Nets to the wire, but the best game Monday afternoon was undoubtedly the Birmingham Storm versus the Dayton Nets in the semifinals.

Before the game progressed to overtime, Hawkins displayed an unfortunate lack of maturity in one instance. After a foul was called on him, the accusatory official progressed to the scorer's table. Mere seconds later Teddy fired a chest pass 15 feet into the chest of the other referee. The referee walked over to calm Hawkins down, but clearly made no inroads as he was treated in a disregarding manner.

For the game Hawkins contributed 12 points, and a key overtime assist. The Nets knocked off an excellent Storm squad 61-59, narrowly dodging a last second dagger thrust by DeOndre Haynes.

In the final Hawkins yanked down 8.5 rebounds. Had he lassoed a ninth and final rebound the Nets would have won the title, but a carom left the rim hot. Hawkins could not get a second hand on the rebound. It skipped out to the wing and a Derek Smith All-Star broke his heart. The Dayton Nets fell 56-55, crushing the hard-working players.

Hawkins also had four points, two altered shots, three assists, and one block in the contest.

Great

The aforementioned Nashville Celtics have attracted a really balanced team this summer with Langford joining them just this month. Langford has good interest from SEC schools, UNLV, and Cincinnati, but Class of 2012 forward Alex Poythress epitomizes the word potential.

With the strength of a grown man and hops of a high jumper, Poythress has attracted nationwide attention. His offers include Cincinnati, Vanderbilt, Miami (FL), and Tennessee. That list will triple in the next month.

Stanford sent an assistant to evaluate him Monday. Tennessee was double-checking on the athlete. The Celtics are headed to Las Vegas next week where dozens of decision-makers will get their eyes on him.

Poythress could be a small forward or power forward in college. He stands at that precarious 6'7" height right now, with the strength to own the lane. The best move Poythress displayed all weekend was a lighting-fast spin move, which placed him alone with the hoop, defender on his backside.

Hollowell can do everything

It was clear that Poythress is working on his outside shot, but he made just one in the final two days of competition. Facing the B.A. Hoyas in the U17 Gold Division Championship, Poythress dashed out of the gates with 13 first half points. He dunked twice and scored all of his points within five feet of the basket.

Both he and Langford were held scoreless in the second half. Poythress shot 6-7 from the field in the first half, 0-6 after the halftime break. Keep in mind Poythress is playing up an age group, already overpowering Class of 2011 centers and rebounding over everyone.

Grand

The strength of the tournament was clearly in the Class of 2012. Jeremy Hollowell runs the court like an antelope and routinely makes opponents look sluggish. His footwork around the lane is tremendous and the 6'6" wing drips talent off his broad shoulders.

IU, Ohio State, Ville, Cincinnati, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana State, Florida, Michigan, Miami (FL), and Xavier are all talking to the star from Lawrence Central High School star.

Florida, Michigan, Wake Forest, and Miami are the latest onto the scene.

"I am working on my ball-handling, getting stronger and getting quicker," said Hollowell.

There are no holes in his game and Hollowell could grow into a five-star player in the coming year.

At the Kentucky Hoopfest, DeOndre Haynes could not be stopped by anyone. The SG for the Birmingham Storm dashed around every single defender, frequently pumping home a frightful dunk. If ever a dunk were mean enough to incite a brawl, Haynes could be the guy to deliver it. On the break Haynes leaps offensively high, harming both the backboard and the opposition's pride.

"His best [skill] is getting to the rim," said Storm Head Coach Chris Monroe. "He sees the floor really well. He is being recruited as a point guard, not the two guard. His best shot is his midrange. He is not as good behind the three point line as he should be. He likes to get to the elbow. "

Haynes is not just a great athlete, he has tangible talents. The Alabama-based guard can break down the quickest defenders off the dribble, bury mid-range jumpers, and lock down high profile scorers.

"He is becoming more of a leader now than he has in the past," said Coach Monroe. "When we were at the NIKE Memorial Day, one game down five, he dunks over a 6'10" kid and comes down and buries two three-pointers after great defensive possessions."

Haynes managed 22 points in the narrow defeat to the Dayton Nets in the semifinals.

Prancing down the floor, Haynes always stays on the balls of his feet. His quickness and leaping ability were unmatched at the Kentucky Hoopfest. The entire SEC is after Haynes. He mentions Alabama and UAB upfront, but maintains his recruitment is still wide open.

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