RICHMOND, Va. -- Slam Fest VIII was a five-game, one-day event. It brought some of the region's top players and teams to Richmond. DeMatha Catholic (Md.), which is ranked No. 15 in the ESPN RISE FAB 15, may have been the top team in the event. The talent-rich field boasted top players such as: SG Naji Hibbert (Baltimore/DeMatha); PF Marshawn Powell (Newport News, Va./The Miller School); SG Steve Pledger (Chesapeake, Va./Atlantic Shores Christian); SG Andre Dawkins (Chesapeake, Va./Atlantic Shores Christian); PF Josh Hairston (Spotsylvania, Va./Courtland); SG Mychal Parker (Charlottesville, Va./The Miller School); PF James McAdoo (Norfolk, Va.); and SG Michael Gbinije (Christchurch, Va.).
The best match up of the day was between DeMatha Catholic and John Marshall (Va.). 2010 SF Travis McKie led all scorers with 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds but it was not enough to hold off the Stags, who won 69-65. Hibbert led DeMatha with 17 points and six rebounds, including some key baskets down the stretch.
Hippolyte Tsafack, PF (6-8, 230)
2010, Charlottesville, Va./The Miller School
Tsafack is a very strong and explosive force in the lane. He already has a college body and finishes above the rim with power in traffic. Tsafack is a terrific rebounder on both ends; he boxes out before he snatches a defensive rebound at rim level and fires an outlet pass to the guard. On the offensive end, he runs through or around box outs for a number of putbacks at point-blank range with most finishes being dunks. He also does a great job keeping the ball high and taking it directly back to the rim without hesitation. Tsafack runs the floor in a full sprint and usually beats the opposing post players down the floor. He is very raw and a work in progress when it comes to scoring in the post, but at the high school level Tsafack simply elevates and uses his great strength to score with ease. Tsafack passes well out of the post then understands how to cut to the open area in the post, where he gets low and wide and makes himself a huge target. He can defend a power forward or center because of his size and athletic ability to go along with his great effort. Tsafack is a high-major player with off-the-charts upside.
Mychal Parker, SG (6-6, 190)
2010, Charlottesville, Va./The Miller School
Parker is an athletic wing who is very talented and skilled. He has great size but needs to add strength. Parker is an above-the-rim finisher in transition as well as in the half court. He dunks when he has a clear path to the rim when he is in attack mode. Parker can rebound and start the break. In transition, he sprints the lane and can knock down the spot-up 3 by reading penetration and moving to the open area or hitting the midrange pull-up going right or left with one or two rhythm dribbles. Parker can also create his own shot or make a scoring play at end-of-clock situations. He is a good ball handler and likes to use the right-to-left crossover to beat his man when he is thinking score all the way. Parker's skill allows him to be a scoring threat from anywhere on the floor. He competes and has great confidence on the offensive end of the floor. He also goes to the offensive glass, where he keeps the ball alive when he's not tipping it in. This smooth wing must improve his open-court ballhandling and work on being ready to shoot when he catches the ball. At times, Parker is open on the catch but his legs are not flexed and by the time he is ready to shoot the defense recovers. If his knees are flexed and his hands ready on every catch, he could add two or three baskets to his total. Parker is an exciting young player with a bright future.
James McAdoo, PF (6-8, 215)
2011, Norfolk, Va./Norfolk Christian
McAdoo looks to have added strength and weight since July 2008. His arms and shoulders are more defined. McAdoo is a very versatile and athletic power forward who can play inside and out. He is playing the small forward for his high school team and worked mostly on the perimeter except when he attacked the offensive glass. He runs the lane or middle of the floor in transition with long strides and will finish above the rim over or around defenders with his great length and athletic ability. McAdoo is also a good defensive rebounder who can lead the break with his good open-court ballhandling ability. He can make the open 3 when his feet are set and can also hit the one- or two-dribble pull-up with great elevation. He also can spin off defenders and shoot the short bank shot when he is on the right angle. McAdoo is very smooth and has an excellent feel for the game, especially on the offensive end of the floor. He needs to mix in some post-ups to keep his inside game sharp, especially when he has a size advantage, which will be the case in most of his games. At times, McAdoo had trouble finishing good shots and was beat off the dribble on defense. He must work to be a better on-ball defender by using his length and work on closing out under control. Overall, McAdoo's a terrific talent.
Andre Dawkins, SG (6-5,185)
Junior, Chesapeake, Va./Atlantic Shores Christian School, committed to Duke
This strong and extremely athletic shooting guard excited the crowd with a couple of eye-opening dunks. Dawkins is a big-time 3-point shooter who thinks he is in range when he walks into the gym. He can make some contested shots, but Dawkins must learn to wait for open shots in transition or in the half-court offense from screens or by reading penetration. Dawkins should also look to set up his deep ball with his explosive one- or two-dribble midrange pull-up or get all the way to the rim when the defense is playing him tight. He can post smaller guards because of his great size and strength, and he likes to score on the left side with a high elevating turn shot over his left shoulder. Dawkins sprints the lane in transition for spot-up 3s or dunks. He is also an excellent shot-blocker for a guard. Dawkins runs down opposing players in transition and comes from the weak side in the half court. Defensively, he is capable of defending both wing positions, but Dawkins must learn to be more disciplined and under control when closing out. Dawkins competes and plays with great emotion. He is a big-time talent and has the potential to be the next great Duke guard.
Brandon Britt, SG/PG (6-1,160)
2010, Chesapeake, Va./Atlantic Shores Christian School, 86/MM
Britt is a combination guard who was on fire from 3-point range. He is tough and competes on both ends. He runs the lane in transition and can push the ball with great pace when he is at the point. From the wing, he spots up in the corners for deep 3s. His shot has a low release but is right on target when the ball leaves his hands. Britt made open 3s when his feet were set all game long. He has a nice, tight handle and penetrates into the lane, where he delivers the ball to teammates Steven Pledger and Andre Dawkins on a regular basis. Britt also does a great job running the offense and breaking pressure. He lacks strength, which causes him to have trouble finishing at times when he gets deep into the lane. On defense, he applies good ball pressure and has quick hands. Britt had a coming-out party in Richmond, going 10-for-14 from 3 and finishing the game with 35 points.
Michael Gbinije, SG (6-6,170)
2011, Christchurch, Va./Christchurch
This young guard is loaded with talent. He is very confident on the offensive end of the floor and can make scoring plays in transition by running the lane and attacking the basket. He can finish above the rim or from beyond the arc. Gbinije has great size, but he must add strength to help him finish through contact. He has a nice midrange game. Gbinije can knock down the pull-up jumper going right or left. He spins off defenders and uses his length to elevate and score. Gbinije also likes to attack his defender off the dribble going right and shoot the step-back jumper, on which he does a nice job of creating space to get the shot off. He has excellent form and follow through. He is a good 3-point shooter when his feet are set, but must work to be more consistent. Gbinije is a good ball handler and passer. He does a good job of handling the ball with his head and eyes up and can hit teammates coming off screens or cutting to the basket right in stride, when they are in position to score. Gbinije is also a good rebounder and will sneak in from the perimeter for an offensive putback or defensive rebound and start the fast break. He is a high-major scorer with great upside.
Travis McKie, SF (6-6,190)
2010, Richmond, Va./John Marshall
McKie is a wiry and strong athlete who is a terrific rebounder. He is quick to the ball and has excellent timing as he negotiates around box outs and elevates to gain pursuit of the ball. He is a live body who runs the lane in transition and is a threat to catch a lob in traffic. McKie is a slasher who will also post up when he thinks he has a size advantage over his defender. He likes to post on the left side and use a step-through move after he attempts to get the defender off his feet with a shot fake. He attacks the rim mostly going right from the wing or top of the key and finishes with a high-arcing layup. At times, he will have trouble finishing by trying to avoid contact instead of welcoming it. McKie can make an open 3 with time and space. He likes to spot up in the corners but must work to be more consistent. He is a decent ball handler and passer but must work to improve his left hand. At times, he plays passive when he could be dominating, but he does put together possessions in which he is making plays all over the floor. He is a good defender who is capable of guarding both wing positions.
Naji Hibbert, SG (6-4, 180)
2009, Baltimore DeMatha Catholic, signed with Texas A&M
Hibbert is a scoring wing with good skill. He has good size and strength. He can score off the catch or dribble in transition or in the half court. He runs the lane and spots up along the arc looking to read penetration so he can move to the open area to get off his shot. Hibbert has a nice stroke from 3 with good elevation and nice release. He can shoot the dribble pull-up going right or left and Hibbert is also very good at getting to the rim along the baseline, where he likes to spin off defenders to get to the rim. He is a good ball handler who can drive, draw and kick. He plays with urgency but at times he will disappear in games. In the game against John Marshall, he just blended in for most of the second half before the light came on and he made some keys plays down the stretch.
Darien Brothers, SG/PG (6-3, 195)
Richmond, Va./Benedictine, signed with Richmond
Brothers is a very good all-around guard. He has excellent size and strength and is a good athlete. He attacks the rim in transition and will finish above the rim when he has a clear path with his sneaky athletic ability. He has a good basketball IQ and plays with urgency and emotion. Brothers can shoot the 3 off the catch. He has a nice release and follow through and his shot looked smooth. He has a nice midrange game as well. Brothers scores on dribble pull-ups and floaters in the lane. He is strong enough to drive through contact and finish. He is an excellent passer and can help at the point as well. He does a great job setting the offense and moving the ball. He can also make a scoring play at end-of-clock situations. Brothers was very productive and a pleasant surprise. He will be a great fit at Richmond's Princeton system because of his skill and versatility.
Joshua Hairston, PF (6-8, 210)
2010, Spotsylvania, Va./Courtland, committed to Duke
Hairston is a long and skilled forward. He plays with urgency and competes the entire game. Hairston runs the floor in transition and will finish above the rim when he is ahead of the pack. He can make a dare 3 with time and space but is more comfortable at 15 to 18 feet off the catch. Hairston can put the ball on the floor for two or three dribbles and is very affective at getting to the rim along the baseline, where he can finish with either hand. He has good touch and body control around the rim. He is also a good pick-and-pop player who can knock down the midrange jumper or take it to the rim if the defender approaches with an out-of-control close out. In the post he does a good job maintaining contact and providing a target hand for the passer but is not yet strong enough to hold deep position, which seems to be fine because Hairston seems to prefer a face up off the lane anyway. When he does catch the ball in the lane he likes to quick spin if the defender is too close. He finishes pretty well but at times he is not explosive enough around the rim. Hairston will also use the turnaround jumper, which is a great shot for him because of his length when he does not fade away. Hairston will take his game to the next level with added strength and will be a good player for the Blue Devils.
Reggie Rankin was an assistant coach at seven schools for 13 seasons, most recently at Dayton. He played at Ohio University from 1986 to 1990 and was an all-MAC first teamer his senior season.