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November 27, 2010

On the road: Thanksgiving Hoopfest

DUNCANVILLE, Texas - The Sandra Meadows Memorial Arena on the campus of Duncanville (Texas) High is one of the top on-campus facilities in the country. Friday, it provided the perfect setting for the first day of the second annual Thanksgiving Hoopfest. In a heavily hyped battle between Dallas (Texas) Lincoln and Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Christian, top five senior LeBryan Nash dominated the action while wing tandem Jarion Henry and Jordan Williams led Dallas (Texas) Kimble to a monster comeback win over Little Rock (Ark.) Hall in an earlier game.

Friday Hoopfest standouts LeBryan Nash, SF, Lincoln: At times, it didn't even seem as if the powerful 6-foot-6 wing was going to break a sweat as he did what he wanted, when he wanted. While his three-ball didn't fall with regularity after he opened up with a swish from downtown, pretty much everything else went his way. He finished at the rim, hit some mid-range jumpers, dropped off a couple of nifty glasses and totally dominated the glass. He finished with 25 and 13 as Lincoln dominated Prestonwood Christian. The ridiculous and-1 dunk that that he threw down during the third quarter is likely to become a huge YouTube favorite.

Jarion Henry, SF, Kimball: Talk about a guy who gives you plenty of stuff to digest during a game. A legitimate four-star talent, there isn't another player in the country who wears his emotions more prominently on his sleeve. At near 6-foot-8, he's an elite run-and-jump athlete with great quickness and length. He scored in the lane, spun past guys in the post and created havoc on defense with his long arms and knack for causing deflections. The senior was reluctant to give a list but mentioned Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, Florida, Marquette, USC and Oregon, as schools that have showed interest at one level or another.

Jarvis Summers, SG/PG, Jackson Provine: Summers signed with Ole Miss during the early period and Andy Kennedy and his staff look as if they've nabbed a guy who has been underrated. Running the point much of the time, the athletic combo guard showed off a much improved handle and play-making ability. He waged a nice little battle with Arlington Grace Prep's Jamal Branch and won the game with a clutch floater along the right baseline with about five seconds left in the game.

More Friday notables

Jamal Branch, PG, Grace Prep: When Branch gets to Texas A&M, his job will be to run the offense, play tough defense and score opportunistically. That's what he did on Friday and he looked good doing so. The 6-foot-2 floor general has added some upper-body strength and he played the role of a leader. His running floater in the lane looked to have sent the game to overtime before Jarvis Summers' heroics.

Jordan Williams, SF, Kimball: Williams and the entire Kimball team had a first half to forget as they fell behind Little Rock Hall by 22 points. But, the 6-foot-5 wing came out locked in during the second half and put on a show. He hit on deep threes, finished a big dunk in transition and teamed with Henry to harass Hall's guards all over the floor and cause turnover after turnover. Already ranked in the Rivals150 for 2011, he could push for four-star status and North Texas flat out stole a Big 12-caliber player.

Keaton Miles, SF, Lincoln: A good night for the West Virginia signee. He's a great compliment to Nash and looks to have done some work on his game. The pull-up jumper is rounding into shape and he's a bouncy finisher with length who has added some needed strength. Bob Huggins loves to throw waves of long athletes at teams and he fits right into that scheme.

David Rivers, SF, Little Rock Hall: Because he's so skinny, the Nebraska signee may need a redshirt year. However, the lengthy 6-foot-6 wing has lots of talent and is continuing to get better. During the summer he's played a complimentary role on the Arkansas Wings but he's the first option for Hall. He hit some jumpers, got to the rim and looks like a guy with defensive potential.

Julius Randle, PF, Prestonwood Christian: A top five player in the class of 2013, Randle was very quite (one point, one rebound) during the first half as Lincoln raced out to a 25-6 halftime lead. During the second half, though, the 6-foot-8 (and growing) four-man showed off a deft lefty touch to beyond the 3-point line, some ball-handling skills and lots of potential. He finished with 17 and five and gets another chance to impress on Saturday.

Jordan Mickey, PF, Richardson Berkner: A long 6-foot-7 (maybe) power forward who is lean and can really run the floor, Mickey has lots of potential. He is a more than capable driver, swats shots, has a good-looking jump hook and a great motor. Had one of the best moves of the day when he euro-stepped past a defender in transition for a monstrous slam.

Final Friday notes

Last year at this event, 2012 five-star big man Isaiah Austin stood near halfcourt most of the time as his Arlington (Texas) Grace Prep team suffered a tough loss. Grace Prep lost another heartbreaker on Friday, but it was very encouraging to see Austin planted in the post the entire game. He probably didn't get enough touches, but when he did, the near 7-footer did a great job of keeping the ball high and fighting through some hacks and grabs to make some finishes. ... Grace Prep freshman Emmanuel Mudiay has all of the makings of a potential big-timer. A 6-foot-4 wing with plus athleticism, he looks like he can handle, shoot and make plays at the rim. He only showed flashes on Friday, but they were impressive. ...

The Dallas Kimball duo of Jarion Henry and Jordan Williams was missing a third wing amigo on Friday. SMU signee Jalen Jones is still sitting out as he waits on an eligibility ruling over his transfer to Kimball from The Colony (Texas) High. A three-star prospect himself, Jones would give Kimball as impressive a wing trio as there is in the country, especially for a public school. ... Keep an eye out for Dallas Madison sophomore power forward J.D. Wallace down the road. A long, bouncy and 6-foot-7 insider, he plays a lot more physically than you would expect a kid as skinny as him would and has a great motor. Doesn't get a lot of touches, but has the explosiveness to dunk when you don't expect it. ...

Oklahoma City (Okla.) Douglass is a loaded high school team that plays at a breakneck pace. Friday, it scrapped out an ugly, come-from-behind win against a game Richardson (Texas) Berkner squad. Star Dorrian Williams, who has signed with Missouri State, left some buckets on the rim and sophomore shooter Stevie Clark was more cold than hot but they each made plays. It'll be interesting to see what type of recruiting action twin seniors Romond Jenkins and Ramond Jenkins get. They both go about 6-foot-6 and are quite athletic. Romond is more of a 4/3 who crashes the glass while Ramond is more of a slashing 3/4. Senior guard Dominique Manuel for the Trojans is as aggressive and effective as an on-the-ball defender as we have seen in the class of 2011. ...

Class of 2012 four-star wing Marcus Smart said "basically the entire Big 12" when asked who had offered him. The 6-foot-4 tough man wasn't quite as involved as usual, but still made some big plays late. ... Jordan Mickey isn't the only 2013 guy to keep an eye on at Richardson Berkner. A 6-foot-2 combo guard, Kendal Harris, is an athletic kid with a nice mid-range game and burgeoning PG skills. He had a drive to his left and dunk finish in transition and looks like a potential high-major guy down the road. ... Teammate Soma Edo is 6-foot-4 (maybe 6-foot-5) and one of the most explosive leapers in the country regardless of class. He seems to levitate for as long as necessary to throw down crowd-pleasing slams. ...

Not surprisingly there were plenty of college coaches in the stands. Missouri boss Mike Anderson was flanked by assistants T.J. Cleveland and Melvin Watkins and SMU's Matt Doherty was in the house. Assistants were also spotted from Iowa State, Oral Roberts, Houston, Baylor and Texas among other programs.



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