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May 25, 2008

Saturday at the MDC

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Bobby Hussey - Nike Memorial Day Classic got underway Saturday, and DC Blue Devils' big man Mouptaou Tarou made a statement in his matchup against top ten prospect DeMarcus Cousins.

Although his depleted DC Blue Devils squad ended up on the short end against the Birmingham Storm, Tarou put up an impressive 22 points and 12 rebounds in a head-to-head match up with Cousins. Having only played basketball for three years and only being in the States for four months, Tarou has an impressive skill set to match his imposing build. Not only does the hard-working power forward take the ball up strong through contact around the basket and rebound in a crowd, he can also score the ball off face up drives to the basket.

After seeing him for the first time earlier this springs, Rivals.com placed Tarou at No. 43 in the Rivals150. After watching him again on Saturday, the five-star range might be a more appropriate place for Tarou.

His recruitment just began last month but already Memphis, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Florida State and New Mexico State have extended offers according to Blue Devils coach Vaughn Jones.

DeMarcus Cousins- The UAB commitment had his moments as well. The guard oriented attack of the Birmingham Storm as well as Cousins spending a lot of time on the perimeter limited his touches inside. Cousins did, however, score ten points with most of those points coming on powerful right hand drives to the basket. The other aspect of his game that stood out is his amazing passing ability for a player his size.

Keith Gallon- Another skilled big man with the ability to find open teammates, Gallon looked nothing short than a future money maker at times during the Houston Hoops match up with Team STAT. Then at other times when fatigue was likely an issue, Gallon was more of a spectator than a factor in the game. Point being, if Gallon ever gets his body and his mind in the vicinity of the shape they need to be in, he will be one of the best big men in his class.

Austin Rivers- The son of Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers certainly looks like he belongs playing on the 17-under circuit. The 2011 prospect is a fluid combo guard with a top shelf feel for the game. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a guard with a better skill set and knowledge of how to play this game than Rivers in this tournament.

Aaron Bright- This 2010 point guard for Friends of Hoop put on a show against Boo Williams. Scoring 17 points of his game high 28 points in the fourth quarter, Bright led his team back in the final quarter putting the game into overtime with a three-pointer. Friends of Hoop went on to win the game in the extra period.

At only 5-foot-10, but a stocky 175-pounds, Bright was a dominating force on the court. He nailed three-pointers off the catch and the dribble while also creating countless scoring opportunities for his teammates.

Looking every bit like a high major prospect on Saturday, Bright is currently hearing from California, Stanford and Washington.

Deshaun Thomas- The highly ranked 2010 prospect from Spiece Indy Heat struggled with his long range shot, but still scored 25 points in a tough loss against the Georgia Stars with explosive dribble moves to the basket from the perimeter and physical moves down low on the block. The Georgia Stars' thin big men Kenny Hall and Kammeon Holsey struggled with the physicality of Thomas and his teammate Robert Goff.

Adrian Coleman- Although he is not one of the premier names on the Georgia Stars roster, Coleman was big in their win over the Spiece Indy Heat. The physical 6-foot-5 wing knocked down some timely shots and made positive plays for his team throughout the game.

Xavier Henry- The No. 2 ranked prospect in the Rivals150 impressed Saturday morning with his relentless attacking of the basket off the dribble. His handle was tight and his impressive physique is tough to deal with when barreling to the basket.

Lakeem Jackson- The Charlotte Royals wing impressed with his physical play on Friday. The lefty loves to attack the basket with his right hand, and he also looked good scoring the ball in the midrange. Look for Jackson to be in the next Rivals150.

16-Under action

Shaquille Thomas- The Metro Hawks have an intriguing 2010 prospect in Thomas. The rangy 6-foot-6 wing went for 18 points in a win over Team Chandler. He had several athletic dunks and relentlessly attacked the glass as a rebounder. His skill game isn't that far behind his athleticism either. He handled well and knocked down some shots as well.

Under the radar at this point, Thomas is hearing from Xavier and Fordham. Kansas has just started showing some interest and expect more schools to follow suit.

Steven Adams- Wide bodied 6-foot-7 post player for Team Chandler, Adams showed off a plethora of highly skilled post moves against the Metro Hawks. He ended up with 20 points. And although he is a tad undersized at this point and not the most explosive athlete, Adams is a must see 2010 prospect for schools looking for a post player with a highly skilled game.

Ty Armstrong- Rivals.com will see more of Armstrong on Sunday, but what we saw on Saturday was quite impressive. The 2010 prospect looks to be a healthy 6-foot-8, has a good build and played with an impressive motor. He snatched some difficult rebounds in traffic and had an impressive scoring move while our eyes were on him.

Jake Kitchell- The SYF Players 2010 big man was a physical presence inside. He used his size and intelligence to control the action around the rim.

Muhammed Lee- An electric 2010 scoring guard for the New York Gauchos, Lee is cut out of the mold of current 17-under Gauchos standout Durand Scott

Derrick Wilson- With a body built for the gridiron as much as for the hardwood, Wilson exploded to the basket on numerous occasions for the New York Gauchos. The 2011 prospect also showed some craftiness off the pick and roll. Wilson has a chance to establish himself as one of the top guards in the 2011 class.

15-Under action

Aaron Ross- The 6-foot-7 Ross is going to be a good one at Arkansas. Playing for the Arkansas Wings, Ross led his team to win over the SYF Players with his slashing drives, strong post up play and overall energetic play.

Hunter Mickelson- Ross also got a lot of help from the 6-foot-9 Mickleson. Scoring numerous times in transition, Mickleson is a Euro-style face up big man with a lot of skill and a load of potential.

Kevin Ware- A point guard in the 6-foot-5 range, Ware has a stylistic and electric presence on the court. Tremendous with the ball in the open court as a handler and passer, Ware also showed the ability to hit unorthodox shots in the midrange. Put his name down as one of the top guard prospects in the class of 2011. He scored 14 points for the Georgia Stars against Wisconsin Playground Elite to go along with his strong overall play.

Cinmeon Bowers- The 6-foot-6 power forward stood out for the Wisconsin Playground Elite. He was active and physical around the basket and was comfortable with the ball on the perimeter. Bowers, who is not an over the rim athlete, scored 16 points with several of those points coming off midrange jumpers.

Lester Wilson- The 6-foot-4 shooting guard for the Tennessee Travelers impressed with his athleticism and ability to rise up and hit shots off his high release jumper.

Julien Lewis- The 6-foot-3 power guard exploded into the midrange and sank a handful of shots in a first half viewing against the Tennessee Travelers.

Everrett Pleasant- A 6-foot-6 combo forward, Pleasant bullied his way into scoring position and finished a couple of difficult shots, one of which was with his off hand.

Wanaah Bail- Only a 2012 prospect, Bail runs extremely well at 6-foot-8 and appears to have good hands. And right before we moved to a different court, he knocked down a three-pointer.

More recruiting news

Athletic 2010 wing James Bell of Team STAT says he is close to a commitment to Villanova.

"I love Coach Wright," said Bell. "He's a down to earth guy and is a players' coach. The program has a family atmosphere, and I also have a lot of family in the area."

Bell is also considering Miami (offer), Florida and Clemson (offer).

Four-star prospect Rodney Williams of Howard Pulley doesn't have a school list, but he did list Minnesota, Iowa, Iowa State and Purdue as schools who have offered. He also expects offers from Kansas and Wisconsin before the summer is over.


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