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White hangs tough on the East Coast

NEW YORK -- Fordham University was the site of the Nike Super 6. The three-game event was loaded with talent; teams participating in the event included Patterson Catholic (N.J.), Rice (New York), St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.), Lincoln (New York), Hopkins (Minn.) and Jefferson (N.Y.). St Patrick, Rice and Hopkins are all ranked in the top 20 of the ESPN RISE FAB 50.

The game between Lincoln and St. Patrick was televised on ESPNU 2. That contest exposed a national audience to several players with the potential to be college stars: Lincoln's SG Lance Stephenson, and St. Patrick's SG Dexter Strickland, PG Kyrie Irving and SF Michael Gilchrist. Other touted players at the event included Minnesota signee Royce White (Hopkins) and future Miami Hurricane Durand Scott (Rice).

In the best matchup of the day Rice held off Patterson Catholic (N.J.) 67-63. Scott led the Raiders with 17 points and 8 rebounds. Junior C Kadeem Jack supported Scott with 15 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocks. Junior SF Fuquan Edwin had 23 points and 9 rebounds for the Cougars in this hard-fought battle.

Minnesota-bound Royce White was the player of the event. He attacked the rim from start to finish and rebounded like a warrior. White was at the top of his game and played like a physical Big Ten forward.

Standout Players


Faquan Edwin SF (6-5, 180)
2010, Patterson, N.J. / Patterson Catholic

Edwin is an athletic wing who scores on drives and slashes between defenders in transition and in the half court. He can hang, clutch and score in traffic. He has a good touch, feel and concentration on the basket. Edwin is an excellent scorer along the baseline. He does a great job reading dribble penetration and moving to the open area to receive drop-off passes. He is a very good rebounder on both ends and seems to get putback baskets at just the right time. He competes for rebounds and plays with great energy at all times. Edwin has long arms and uses his length to be a quick-handed defender in the passing lanes. He must add strength and work to expand his shooting range and become a better passer on the move. Still, he makes opponents pay in the open court with his ability to finish scoring plays. This exciting wing has great upside.

Mike Gilchrist SF (6-7,185)
2011, Elizabeth, N.J. / St. Patrick

Gilchrist influences the game in a number of positive ways. Although he did not have great scoring numbers, Gilchrist seems to find a way to make his presence felt on the court at all times. Gilchrist is a terrific rebounder on both ends. He is quick to the ball, has great timing and excellent hands. He has long arms and does a great job using his length to rebound over or around opponents. He is very athletic and finishes above the rim in transition and on all clear paths to the rim in the half court. He scores with midrange jumpers off the catch, drop-off passes created by guard penetration and offensive glass tip-ins. Gilchrist is an excellent shot-blocker from the weak side in the half court and will run down an opponent in transition. Gilchrist is also a good interior passer from the high post and an improved ball handler when he is driving from the wing or attacking in the open court. He must add strength and work to become a consistent perimeter shooter -- at times he plays more like a power forward than a small forward. Gilchrist is a high-energy defender with quick hands and active feet. He can defend both wing positions with ease.

Dexter Strickland SG (6-3, 185)
2009, Elizabeth, N.J. / St. Patrick, signed with North Carolina

This explosive athlete is a terror in transition. Strickland sprints the wing or rebounds with the ability to go coast to coast. He is a lob catcher in traffic and can get to the rim with ease for a powerful, acrobatic layup. Strickland is a great driver and slasher. He is strong enough and has the size to score over or around taller opponents. Strickland was also knocking down jumpers from beyond the arc. His shot seemed to be much improved. His release and follow-through were the best that I have seen from him since watching him in the summer. If he continues to hit the 3-point shot on a consistent basis his game goes to another level because he is already a great scorer off the dribble and in the open court. Strickland is a good enough ball handler and passer to aid at the point in a pinch, but he is more comfortable playing off the ball. His great athletic ability allows him the luxury to be able to defend all three perimeter positions. He has quick hands and good lateral foot speed. Strickland is a perfect fit for Carolina's up-tempo system. If his jumper continues to improve, watch out!

Royce White PF (6-7, 220)
2009, Minnetonka, Minn. / Hopkins, signed with Minnesota

White was the best player at the event. He was in attack mode on every catch. He finished above the rim in traffic repeatedly and scored on powerful drives down the lane from the high post. He also dunked drop-off passes created by guard penetration. This was as aggressive as I've ever seen White play. He used his body well to score through contact and to draw fouls. He seemed never to come up empty when he attacked the rim. He ran the floor and posted up strong. He looked to have a renewed focus. He is a heavy right-handed driver to the basket, but White is strong enough to dribble through the defender. He can also pull up in or around the lane when the defense recovers. White rebounded on both ends with two hands at rim level and had a couple timely putbacks. He must continue to work to extend his shooting range because he is a little undersized to be a full-time power forward. He must be able to pull taller opponents away from the basket to go along with his ability to punish smaller forwards in the lane. If White continues to play at this level, he will be a contributor as a freshman for the hometown Gophers.

Kadeem Jack C (6-8,190)
2010, New York / Rice

This young post was active and aggressive the entire game and controlled the glass. Jack finished with 12 rebounds, eight of which came on the offensive end of the floor. He is thin and needs to add strength, but Jack is long and athletic. He is a true live body who runs the floor on every possession. Jack is a good weakside shot-blocker as well. He has great timing, and when he misses that block, Jack usually causes the shooter to adjust. He is an above-the-rim finisher in transition and on drop-off passes when he has a clear path to the rim. He struggles at times to finish through contact due to the strength factor. Jack is still extremely raw on the offensive end of the floor, but he will attempt to shoot a jump hook over his left shoulder. His hook is not fluid yet, but his length and elevation allow the shot to have a chance to go in; he can arc it over defenders with good touch. Jack has good hands and works hard to post up. He is a work in progress but has tremendous upside.

Surprise Players


Myles Mack PG (5-9, 155)
2011, Patterson, N.J. / Patterson Catholic

Mack is a tough lead guard who has the ability to make big shots when the game is on the line. He may lack size but not heart. Mack pushes the ball in transition with good speed as he weaves through traffic. He can get all the way to the rim with a clear path or drive, draw and kick to open teammates. He runs the offense and creates scoring plays at end-of-clock situations. He can make 3s off the catch and can get on a roll and knock down two or three in a row. He has a nice stroke with a good elevation and a smooth release. Mack has confidence in his jumper and shoots it without hesitation. His ability to make open shots keeps the defense honest and it sets up his ability to attack off the dribble. Mack has a quick first step to beat his defender and has a nice high-arcing floater when he arrives in the lane that he executes with great touch over taller opponents. Mack also is a good on-ball defender. He has quick hands and great lateral foot speed. He must add strength in order to keep from being knocked off the ball and to help him score through contact. With steady skill improvement, Mack has all the tools to be a very good point guard.

Lance Stephenson SG (6-5, 220)
2009, New York / Lincoln

Stephenson got off to a slow start and was not as aggressive as usual in the first quarter. Once he started attacking on offense he struggled shooting the ball. He took some tough, contested shots on the perimeter and the defense swarmed when he made his move to the rim off the dribble. In order to get himself going, Stephenson posted up on the low block and in the midpost area. He does a great job sealing smaller perimeter players and forwards who are not as strong. He began to score with strong powerful drives to the rim mostly going to his right when under intense ball pressure. Stephenson never got on that scoring roll on Friday; he continued to struggle from the floor. This physical wing continued to compete and was able to mix in a couple pull-up jumpers off one or two dribbles, which is a go-to shot for him, and add a few baskets off the offensive glass. Stephenson is an excellent ball handler who can create shots and has the vision to complete passes to open teammates. His talent and presence on the floor are undeniable, but he never got it going from behind the arc or took over the game offensively as he has in the past.

James Padgett PF (6-8, 212)
2009, New York / Lincoln, signed with Maryland

Padgett is an active and aggressive rebounder on both ends and plays with energy the entire game. He runs the floor on a consistent basis; he competes for rebounds in and out of his area. He is a good athlete who scores by beating his defender down the floor in transition, with drop-off passes created by guard penetration and by offensive rebound putbacks. Padgett must work to be a better finisher in traffic. At times, he gets knocked off balance, which leads to inconsistent scoring in the lane. He has good size and a decent touch around the rim, but Padgett must be able to absorb hits better, which should improve as he adds strength. Padgett can score at times on the low block with up-and-under moves, but overall his post game needs polish. Padgett's No. 1 asset is his ability to rebound and keep the ball alive when it comes off the glass. He is quick to the ball and has good hands to secure the rebound. He works hard in the post on defense and uses his length and foot speed to make plays on the ball.

Raymond Cowels SG/SF (6-4, 205)
2009, Minnetonka, Minn. / Hopkins, signed with Santa Clara

Cowels is a strong and physical wing. He got in the flow early and knocked down open 3s on a consistent basis the entire game. He ran the lane in transition for spot-ups and in the half court. Cowels did a great job reading dribble penetration, moving to the open area and preparing to shoot. His stroke was smooth with a high release and good follow-through. This is the best I have seen Cowels play and the first time I have seen him hit shots from behind the arc. Cowels also made his presence felt on the glass. He rebounded on both ends of the floor and had a couple timely putbacks on the offensive glass. Cowels is tough to box out; he sprints in from the perimeter because of his ability to go through opponents due to his size and strength. When Cowels is making the open shot, his ability to get to the rim and drive through contact becomes even more dangerous. He should be a solid contributor as a freshman at Santa Clara next season.

Durand Scott SG (6-5, 180)
2009, New York/ Rice, signed with Miami (Fla.)

Scott can get to the rim and score on a consistent basis. He has good size, length and athleticism. Scott finishes above the rim in transition and is a threat to go coast to coast. He is a good ball handler and passer, but Scott struggled to make perimeter shots. Scott scored on drives along the baseline and short pull-up jumpers all mostly going to his right. He finishes well and draws fouls; he squares his shoulders to the basket. Scott must work to extend his shooting range in order to set up his great ability to score on drives and slashes. Scott also is a good defensive rebounder and a top-notch defender. His quick hands, lateral foot speed and effort make him capable of defending all three perimeter positions. Scott also has the ability to post smaller guards and elevate over them in the lane. Expect Scott to help the Hurricanes as a freshman because of his willingness and ability to defend. As his perimeter shot improves, Scott's playing time will rapidly increase as well.

Notes

• 2010 prospect Kyrie Irving, a 6-1 combo guard from St. Patrick, has good size and excels in transition with his acrobatic finishes. He struggled from behind the arc but rebounded and made good decisions and clutch free throws in the guts of the game.

• 2011 prospect Jermaine Sanders, a 6-5 small forward for Rice, is a strong, physical lefty who can get to the rim and rebound on both ends. He attacks defenders in transition and can finish through contact. He is one to keep an eye on.

• Rice junior Shane Southwell, a 6-6 wing, is a long and lean athlete who can score in transition and in the half court with slashes to the rim and high-arcing floaters in the lane. Southwell put together a couple very impressive possessions with his ability to score and rebound.

• Fordham signee Lance Brown, a 6-6 wing for Patterson Catholic, is a strong wing who can get to the rim and score through contact. He has a nice midrange game and attacks the rim in transition. Brown will be a nice fit for the Rams and should contribute as a freshman.

• Patterson Catholic's Derrick Randall is a 6-8 sophomore with tons of upside. This lefty is very athletic, runs the floor, blocks and changes shots, and finishes above the rim. With steady improvement, expect the high majors to come after Randall.

• George Mason signee Paris Bennett, a 6-7 combo forward for St. Patrick, has a college-ready body. He scores inside and out and does a great job using his body to draw fouls. He rebounds on both ends and will be an excellent all-around role player for head coach Jim Larranaga.

• Davonte Grace, out of Jefferson (N.Y.), is a physical point guard who gets to the rim, runs the team and can hit the open 3 with time. Although Grace is only a sophomore, this Levance Fields clone could be a big-time lead guard if he continues to improve.

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.