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July 9, 2010

Adidas Invitational: Champions crowned

INDIANAPOLIS - The inaugural Adidas Invitational is now in the books, and champions have been crowned. The Dallas Mustangs won it in the 17-and under division, the Atlanta Celtics at the 16-and under level, and Indiana Elite at the 15-and under group. While during the tourney runs there were some impressive performances, one from Collin Hartman stood out.

Top Performers

LeBryan Nash - Once again Nash was a big time player for the Mustangs. While he did get help from his teammates, whenever the going was rough they went to him and he delivered. Now for all of his physical talents his body language on the court is bad, and it is something he needs to pay attention to, but he scored posting up, from the mid-range, and even banged in a few perimeter jumpers. His athleticism and strength make him a matchup nightmare, and he was the biggest reason why the Mustangs won it all. Quite simply there wasn't an answer on the wing in the tournament for Nash.

Jermaine Sanders - New Heights is one of the hardest playing teams around, and Sanders steps up as much as anyone. He is a 6-foot-5 physical wing who bounces off defenders on his way to the rim. Sanders' perimeter game does need some work, but with his ability to get to the rim and finish as well as be physical in the lane, he fills a definite role. His toughness was contagious all weekend, and a reason why New Heights made a run to the title game.

Tyquan Goodlett - The New England Playaz simply could not keep Goodlett out of the lane. The 2011 guard was able to get to the rim at will, and with his length and athleticism he was a problem once he got there. His first step is very quick, and that allows him to be a factor though he can over dribble. Still Goodlett did a good job of setting the pace for New Heights.

Kyle Caudill - Speed and agility aren't the name of his game, but Caudill is an absolutely massive human being. He has good touch around the rim with either hand, and knows how to use his body to create angles on the block. Still his lack of athleticism limits him from being a consistent finisher when going up against long and athletic players. He also needs to get into better shape, but his size, toughness, and reliable hands make him an interesting low block player out on the west coast.

Obij Aget - With Hanner Perea out due to a sprained ankle, Aget had to handle some added responsibilities down low, and in a semi-final win he was outstanding. Aget controlled the paint by blocking shot after shot, and then showed a good motor running the floor. Also Aget made a dribble drive in transition for a finish that was impressive. It was far and away the best performance from Aget on the spring.

Kenny Kaminski - When he is more than just a shooter he is an intriguing basketball player. Kaminski has the body and the athleticism to be a good all-around player, though he too often simply settles for his outside shot. At times on Wednesday he got to the rim and finished through contact, and also showed an aptitude to pass the ball. Still his bread and butter is his outside shot, but he has the ability to be more than that. Rebounding is still a massive area of improvement for the combo forward, but he did show more offensive flashes at the end of the event.

Aaric Armstead - Folks from the Windy City have had good things to say about Armstead before the tournament, and in the first viewing of his game he didn't disappoint. Armstead has a great frame with long arms, and his athleticism is at a high level. Also he shows an ability to hit the jump shot as well as finish well above the rim for a 6-foot-5 wing. He needs to tighten up his handle to move to the shooting guard slot, but the tools are there for him to be a potential high-major player down the road.

Phillip Nolan - Nolan usually is the longest and most athletic center on the floor, but going up against Aget that wasn't the case. While Aget really gave Nolan problems, he still had some flashes. He had a spin move on the right block going baseline for a bucket that was very impressive, and as usual he blocked some shots on the defensive end. His potential is definitely there, but strength and a feel facing the basket are areas for improvement.

Shaquille Goodwin - Goodwin and former Atlanta Celtic power forward Terrance Shannon could definitely pass for brothers. Like Shannon, Goodwin is a high-motor beast who does his best work down in the pain. Goodwin held his own personal dunk contest for much of the finals against an undermanned Indiana Elite squad, and simply was dominant on the block at times. His strength, athleticism, hands, and understanding of the position have him attracting a lot of college attention.

Collin Hartman - In his team's run to the 15-and under title Hartman was a monster. During the championship game Garner Road had absolutely no answer for him. Hartman was scoring at will off the bounce and off the catch, and even contributed heavily on both the offensive and defensive glass. Super skilled, he is a bit in-between positions right now as a combo forward, but still his production is impossible to take away. He was far and away the best player on the floor in the final game.

Nigel Williams-Goss - His down the road potential is limited since he isn't a great athlete, but the kid flat out knows how to play the position. Williams-Goss has great feel for when to push the pace and when to run offense, and he always makes the right pass at the right time. Beyond that he has excellent size for his position and is proving to be a very good shooter. Defensively is where he struggles since laterally he isn't great, so that will need to improve, but already he is showing an aptitude to make others better while playing up against 17-and under competition.

Rashad Muhammad - His older brother gets most of the love, but Rashad can also ball. He is a solid shooter with good form, and a decent athlete. In his team's heart breaking loss, Muhammad put up good scoring numbers. He needs to get stronger and tighten up his handle some, but he knows how to play, can pass the ball, and makes open jumpers.

Tyrel Robinson - The less talked about of the Robinson twins, he has a good amount of ability as well. Robinson is very effective in the high post where he can knock down shots or make good passes. Also he is an excellent defender due to his strength and quickness. Now he does need to really work on his perimeter skills, but he has a chance to earn serious high-major interest.

Isaiah Hicks - Hicks absolutely defines the word prospect. He is 6-foot-8 with long arms and a body that is really going to fill out. Also an excellent athlete with good hands, Hicks has the physical tools to be special. On the court right now he isn't a high level production guy, but he does have a few bursts that remind you how good he could be in two years. The Garner Road standout helped his team to the finals, and once there had a few very nice moments.

Recruiting Notes

Though injured, D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera says his offered list has expanded recently. Miami, Wake Forest, and Ohio State have joined Cincinnati, Indiana, Louisville, Purdue, Xavier, and Tennessee on his offer list.

Jermaine Sanders claims offers from Villanova, Providence, Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. John's, and Cincinnati. Also he is hearing from Louisville, Virginia Tech, Virginia, and Marquette.

Tyquan Goodlett says he has an offer from Rutgers and interest from Providence, Cincinnati, St. John's, and George Mason.

Purdue has been stalking Collin Hartman all weekend, and schools like Butler, Ohio State, Indiana, and Illinois also have been present.

Virginia Tech and VCU were keeping a close eye on Isaiah Hicks and fellow Garner Road 15-and under standout Anton Gill.

Arizona, UCLA, and North Carolina all dispatched assistants to be front and center to watch Rashad Muhammad play.

Baylor and Oklahoma State made sure to make their presence felt at Dallas Mustangs games. It is no surprise that those two are the presumed leaders for LeBryan Nash.


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