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May 26, 2012
Under Armour: Stith makes strong impression
DUNCANVILLE, Texas - Under Armour stepped forward Friday night with its first full-on foray into the world of Memorial Day events. For the Are You From Here Classic, UA has assembled its top teams and players on the campus of Duncanville (Texas) High near Dallas. Among those standing out Friday night were the wing trio of B.J. Stith, Caleb Martin and Cody Martin.
Team Loaded's 2014 trio impresses
When a team rolls out a squad that features a wing rotation of three four-star, top-50 players from the class of 2014, one would expect those stars to be featured.
Friday night, the rising junior wings easily played up to their rankings while demonstrating a wide array of offensive skill.
At about 6-feet-5, Stith is lean and wiry, and is armed with a deadly jumper that he is just as confident shooting off the dribble or catch. He will naturally add strength with maturity and is already a smart and alert ballhandler. He sees open teammates and isn't selfish with the ball.
A twin duo from Mocksville (N.C.) Davie, the Martin twins bring a great deal to the table. They each stand 6-6 and already know how to play physical and have balanced inside/out games. Caleb was the more aggressive of the duo around the rim and he is more likely to attack the rim in past viewings as well. Cody handled the ball a little more and probed the defense for driving creases and attacked once he saw them.
The trio combined for 52 points with Stith taking game-high honors for dropping 24.
Temple has good one in Brown
But Jersey City (N.J.) St. Anthony wing Josh Brown is as tough as any player in the country and he plays a brand of clean, physical and smart basketball. He doesn't attack as much off the dribble as Marcus Smart did in summer games, but he plays with the same type of chest-to-chest attitude on both ends of the floor. That's energy teammates feed off of.
Offensively he likes to drive to the hoop but Brown isn't a bad shooter. Temple has a very nice player.
Future Kansas Jayhawk Conner Frankamp was in some kind of zone on Friday night. The 6-foot point guard from Wichita (Kan.) North was throwing daggers from beyond the three-point line for KC Run GMC. After hitting four of six from deep in the first half, Frankamp added another seven in the second half to finish with 11 threes and 39 points. He certainly benefited from some bad closeouts, but Frankamp was creating and burying open looks all night.
By the time they finally took the floor to play the ATL Xpress, Houston Defenders twins Aaron Harrison and Andrew Harrison and everybody else looked a bit like guys who got started a few hours later than expected. Nevertheless, there were still some impressive flashes.
While Andrew was more focused on running the team, Aaron carried the offensive load. When his brother checks out, the rising senior slides over to the point where he is comfortable running pick and roll or pulling up and draining a three. Because of his strength, Andrew gets in the lane when he wants and is a high-level passer.
The ATL Xpress is a long and athletic bunch. Class of 2014 five-star Trayvon Reed isn't just its biggest player, but he's also the most athletically gifted. The 6-foot-11 big man runs the floor like a wing, is quick from one side of the lane to another and will get stronger. He shows some promising offense when he gets the ball and it's up to him to be a bit more aggressive in creating opportunities on the offensive glass.
Turning our eyes toward the state of Minnesota, the best prospect in the state may be rising junior shooting guard Rashad Vaughn. The 6-5 four-star from Robbinsdale (Minn.) Cooper currently ranks No. 26 in the class of 2014 and it's easy to see why. An instinctive scorer, Vaughn already blends athletic drives and pull-up jumpers seamlessly, and looks as if he has plenty of room to grow. He listed offers from Kansas, Baylor, Texas, [tm]Georgetown[/tm], [tm]Iowa State[/tm], Colorado, Minnesota and Miami. Vaughn also mentioned Louisville and Michigan State as programs that have recently checked in.
It wasn't a hugely productive night, but D'Angelo Allen is another 2014 wing with potential. Long and athletic, Allen line-drived a couple of jumpers and he looked comfortable handling the ball in space. Rebounding the ball is something that comes easily for him and he chases missed shots above the rim with both hands
Friday night only offered a quick look at 2014's Malik Pope. After I sat down, he drove for an and-one opportunity, hit an NBA-range pullup and blocked a shot within about a minute and a half. The 6-foot-7 forward is one we'll look forward to watching more this weekend.