The ESPN RISE boys' basketball players of the week:
East: Kyrie Irving
St. Patrick's (Elizabeth, N.J.)
In two games last week when the nation's No. 1 team was without super junior Michael Gilchrist (knee injury), Irving picked up the slack and then some. The Duke-bound guard tossed in 31 points and had six assists and six steals in a 64-44 victory over Linden (Linden, N.J.), Irving had another strong outing with 30 points as St. Patrick's defeated Trenton Catholic (Trenton, N.J.) 78-52. It has been reported by the Newark Star-Ledger that Gilchrist will be out one to three weeks.
Southeast: K.T. Harrell
Brewbaker Tech (Montgomery, Ala.)
A 6-foot-2 guard who has signed with Virginia as part of the first recruiting class for new Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett, Harrell has been one of the most prolific scorers in the nation in recent weeks. He had 38 points in just three quarters during an 89-45 win against Opp (Opp, Ala.), 31 in another easy win against St. James (Montgmery, Ala.) and 40 points as Brewbaker Tech downed Montgomery Academy (Ala.) 76-66. Harrell was averaging abuot 30 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists per game.
Midwest: Ben Brust
Mundelein (Mundelein, Ill.)
It was a matchup between teams led by Big Ten recruits last Saturday night when Brust (a 6-foot-2 point guard who has signed with Iowa) led his team against Zion-Benton (Zion, Ill.) and 6-foot-3 swingman Lenzelle Smith (signed by Ohio State). Brust won the battle on both counts as he had 37 points and six assists in leading Mundelein to an 80-71 victory. Smith countered with 29 points and 10 rebounds. Brust was averaging 28 points per game when he suffered a season-ending broken ankle last January. He didn't resume playing until the summer and appears to be healthy heading into the final two months of his senior season.
Southwest: Perry Ellis
Heights (Wichita, Kan.)
The 6-foot-8 sophomore had a career-high 38 points to go along with 12 rebounds as Heights impressed in a 86-55 win against Northwest (Wichita, Kan.). Ellis and his team played for the first time this season with 6-foot-7 Evan Wassell in the lineup. The all-state candidate was missing in two losses that dropped out the Falcons from the ESPN RISE FAB 50. With the win last week, Heights has begun its climb back.
West: Corey Hawkins
Estrella Foothills (Goodyear, Ariz.)
The son of former NBA standout Hersey Hawkins led his team to wins against two defending state champions from New Mexico at the Border Classic in Clovis, N.M. In the first night of the event, Hawkins had 40 points, 15 rebounds and six steals in a 73-57 victory against Clovis, which won the Class 5A state title in the Land of Enchantment a year ago. The next night, Hawkins had 25 points in a 76-53 victory over Roswell, the Class 4A defending champs in that state. Hawkins did not have to score as much in the second game because his younger brother, freshman Devon Hawkins, came up big with 23 points. Hawkins has signed with Arizona State, where he will play point guard.