ORLANDO -- There have been many heated battles and close games as the four quarterfinal matchups are now in place at the AAU Junior Division 1 National Championships. Friday's slate of games will include some heavyweights of the AAU circuit with the New York Gauchos taking Houston Hoops, All-Ohio Red battling Youth Interlock Society, Georgia Stars 2009 vs. BWSL (Boo Williams) and the Jackson Tigers vs. Arkansas Wings). The winners will advance to the final four. The consolation brackets games have been intense as well, with teams continuing to fight for an extra game. T
After Thursday's stellar performances by two outstanding guards we decided to make co-standout players. 2012 prospects L.J. Rose (Houston/Second Baptist) and J-Mychal Reese (Bryan, Texas) are a dynamic duo. Both players have advanced I.Q.s and skills for the game that make their teammates better. They never seemed to get rattled no matter what is the circumstances during a game. Another player who impressed us is a potential All Mid-American Conference performer in future Miami Ohio Red Hawk Josh Sewell (Louisville, KY./ Trinity). Sewell is a wing player who goes about 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds. He has the size, strength, skill and toughness to immediately help veteran head coach Charlie Coles from the first day he reports to Oxford, Ohio.
Rose is a skilled lead guard who can run the team by pushing the ball in transition or setting the offense in the half court. He is a good ball handler, passer and decision-maker. Rose is also a good athlete who can get in the lane with his crafty ballhandling and pull up with his excellent midrange game. He has terrific court vision when he penetrates and is tall enough to make the alley-oop pass to his teammates on time and on target.
Reese is a quick and athletic lefty who can play both guard positions. Reese runs the outside lane and can push the ball in transition with great pace. He has range to the arc and can knock down the open 3 off the catch or rhythm dribble. He also is a savvy floor leader. He is thin and needs to add strength, but time is on his side and being so young. These two young men may be the best guards in the Class of 2012.
Sewell (Louisville, KY./ Trinity) is a strong and versatile perimeter player who has an excellent court presence because he is extremely active and aggressive. He is tough and competes on both ends of the floor. In transition, Sewell runs the outside lane and does a great job attacking the basket with his athletic ability, body control and concentration. He also finishes on a consistent basis. He is a good ball handler and passer. Sewell looks very comfortable with the ball and is a willing passer when he draws a second defender. Sewell not only scores in transition but he slashes and power drives to the basket where he is strong enough to score through contact. He also recognizes mismatches and will not hesitate to post a smaller perimeter defender whom he can elevate over or power through. He has a good midrange game and can knock down the open 3 with time -- although he must strive to be more consistent from beyond the arc. Sewell is a decent rebounder but could be more productive on the glass given his size and strength. Defensively, he is capable of defending all three perimeter positions.
All Ohio Red defeated Nike Team Florida 57- 50 to win the AAU U-16 national tournament. This same All Ohio team lost last year's championship in the U-15 tournament to the Memphis Stallions. The win gives All Ohio two championships this summer -- the All Ohio Purple team won the U-15 nationals two weeks ago. Junior PG Trey Burke led All-Ohio in scoring with 17 points. Big man Elijah Macon was a key factor controlling the boards and scoring inside. He added 16 points. PF/C Nate Anderson also chipped in with 10. Nike Team Florida was led by PG Deante Sanders and PF Jason Pimental.
Saunders shows skills
Deante Saunders (Deland, Fla.) is an athletic, slashing point guard. He is a lead guard who generally thinks score first. He is very good off the dribble and is strong to the goal where he can score with acrobatic finishes. His streaky jump shot has range to 20 feet. Saunders can be a very good defender when motivated. His strong frame and quickness make him a formidable defender when he wants to be. He can also be a big-time distributor when needed. Saunders' quickness and strength make him a special prospect.
Burke saves the best for last
Trey Burke (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) is a scoring point. He has really raised his game this spring and summer. Burke is tough, scrappy and a great competitor. Offensively, he has a lot of moves and tricks. He has a good floater in the lane and an excellent pull up mid range game. Burke is also a solid jump shooter with range to 20 feet. He is a solid defender who is an excellent ballhawk. He seems to pick unsuspecting ball handlers about once every game. Burke has a solid basketball IQ. His grit, tenacity and competitiveness separate him from others.
2011 prospect Jabari Hinds (Mount Vernon, N.Y.) is a super quick scoring point guard. Hinds is a lefty playmaker who gets into the lane at will. He is an excellent creator for others and himself. His jump shot is very streaky and has range to 19 feet. Hinds is a solid, if not creative, passer on the break and in half court sets. He can be an effective defender when motivated and is very good at playing the passing lanes. Hinds is a winner and his exceptional quickness is some of the best in the nation.
John Stovall contributed to this report
Reggie Rankin covers basketball recruiting for Scouts Inc.