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May 26, 2008NASHVILLE, TENN- The second day of the Bobby Hussey- Nike Memorial Day Classic provided a viewing of Russian big man Kyryl Natyazchko and a breakout performance by Deshaun Thomas.
Deshaun Thomas- After struggling with his long range jumper earlier in the tournament, Thomas dialed in from deep in a match up against the Portland Elite Legends. Thomas nailed six three-pointers on his way to a 36 point performance.
Somewhat a victim of the overwhelming hype that surrounded him at the beginning of his high school career, Thomas isn't the next coming, but he is certainly a talented top ten prospect. He is a physical combo forward with a penchant for finishing plays. And although his outside stroke was working for him on Sunday, there is no doubt that his bread and butter is attacking the basket with a couple dribbles and operating on the low block.
Even though his development will push him towards the wing in hopes of becoming a small forward, Thomas' ultimate future more likely appears that he will become a highly skilled undersized four man. He is powerful around the basket as a scorer and rebounder and has the ability to step out and make plays. Whether or not he will have the ball handling and defensive skills for the three remain a significant question mark.
Big man match up
Kyryl Natyazhko, a Ukrainian import with Team Florida and Kourtney Roberson of Louisiana Select tangled in a down to the buzzer win by Team Florida. Natyazchko, well built at 6-foot-10, scored 17 points on face up jumpers and an array of post moves.
Roberson, who is an athletic 6-foot-8, tallied 21 points and showed some skills in the open court after defensive rebounds. Look for both prospects to enter the Rivals150 in the next rankings.
Jordan Hamilton of Team Odom and Daniel Bejarano put on a scoring display when their teams matched up. In a loss, Hamilton muscled his way for midrange shot after midrange shot for 33 points.
Meanwhile, in a winning effort Bejarano filled up the nets for 29 points on an array of long jumpers, crafty midrange shots and assaults on the basket. At 6-foot-5, Bejarano is a high level wing scorer. In fact, he is one of the best wing scorers in the class of 2010 and is the best 2010 prospect out of Arizona that we have seen.
Hot from three
David Brown get the three-point barrage started early with four three-pointers in the first half for the Illinois Warriors against the Birmingham Storm. A big bodied wing scorer, Brown has offers from DePaul, Oklahoma State, Wright State, Northwestern, Illinois State and Northern Illinois. He is also getting interest from Wake Forest, Missouri, Marquette and Iowa.
Picking up the slack in a big way in the third quarter, Drew Crawford nailed four three-pointers on consecutive possessions.
And Darius Smith, who is known more for his defense, also nailed three three-pointers.
The big man came to play today. Against the Illinois Warriors, DeMarcus Cousins went for 19 points and then followed that effort with a 21 point, 13 rebound and four block performance against the Georgia Stars. Despite Cousins' physical and effective play on the court, his improved emotional control is the most impressive aspect of his development.
The Georgia Star
Playing without an injured Kenny Hall, Georgia Stars' Glen Rice took over in the win against the Birmingham Storm. In a superb all around performance, Rice tallied 20 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks while making three stellar plays down the stretch to seal the game.
An extremely long 6-foot-5, Rice scored a number of his points on leaning floaters in the lane over Cousins. Rice is a good shooter, but he is more of a playmaker off the dribble than a spot shooter.
On the recruiting front, Rice listed Georgia Tech (offer), Minnesota, Miami (offer), Clemson and Florida State, but insisted that he is wide open.
Wisconsin commitment Vander Blue and uncommitted Anthony Johnson make up a terrific combo for the Illinois Warriors. In a morning game, Johnson put up 15 points, all coming in the first half, while Blue put in 14, the majority of them coming in the second half.
Blue is a well built and athletic guard who hits the boards with a vengeance and has a feel for making plays off the dribble. Johnson is a slick ball handler and scorer but doesn't have the physique and athleticism of Blue.
On the recruiting front, Johnson is getting heavy interest from Ohio State and has an offer from Purdue.
Ty Armstrong- The big fella with Team Florida is a legit high major prospect. At 6-foot-8 with a sturdy physique and still developing, Armstrong plays with a strong motor and is skilled around the basket. Devoid of perimeter skills at this point, Armstrong is in the throes of a rapid developmental phase.