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July 16, 2012
In the world of high school basketball, no single month is more important than July. During July, college coaches can go out and watch prospects during three live evaluation periods that run from the July 11-15, 18-22 and 25-29. Before those evaluation periods even get started, though, the month is tipped off by Nike's LeBron James Skills Academy.
Now that half the month is gone, let's take a look at some of the movers and shakers of the first half, along with what we'll be looking forward to seeing in the second half of the month.
The baker's dozen
After attending the LBJ Skills Academy in Vegas , Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis, Reebok Breakout Challenge in Philadelphia and the Pangos Sweet 16 in Long Beach, here are 13 players - some known, some not - that stood out or raised their profiles during the first half of the month.
Wesley Clark, 6-0, PG, Romulus (Mich.) High
Ikenna Iroegbu, 6-2, PG, Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill
Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison, 6-5, PG/SG, Houston (Texas) Travis
Kasey Hill, 6-1, PG, Montverde (Fla.) Academy
Detrick Mostella, 6-3, SG, Landover Hills (Md.) New Hope Academy
Roddy Peters, 6-3, PG, District Heights (Md.) Suitland
Malik Pope, 6-8, SF, Sacramento (Calif.) Capital Christian
Ivan Rabb, 6-9, PF, Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd
Julius Randle, 6-9, PF, Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Christian
Diamond Stone, 6-9, C, Milwaukee (Wisc.) Dominican
Noah Vonleh, 6-8 PF, New Hampton (N.H.) Prep
Andrew Wiggins, 6-7, SF, Huntington (W.V.) Prep
Looking ahead: the second half
With two more evaluation periods left to go in the month of July, there's still plenty of action left to come. These are a few of the areas Rivals.com will be focusing on during stops across the country.
Nike's Peach Jam is annually the single top event of July. There are other events that are bigger, there are events with more teams, but no event is as talented or competitive as the Peach Jam from top to bottom. Taking place in North Augusta, S.C., the Peach Jam serves as the crowning event of Nike's highly successful Elite Youth Basketball League. Can powerhouse, Chicago-based Mac Irvin Fire win the title, or could CIA Bounce - featuring all Canadians - take home the hardware?
After getting banged up some playing for the USA's 17-and-under national team, the question is whether 2013's current No. 1 player, Jabari Parker, will play with the Mac Irvin Fire at the Peach Jam. Julius Randle and the Harrison twins are coming hard after his spot, and the 6-foot-8 swingman from Chicago (Ill.) Simeon likely has something to say about Andrew Wiggins being crowned the best prospect regardless of class.
Can anybody on the Adidas side of grassroots circuit knock off the Florida Rams/Florida Elite? After winning major spring events as the Florida Rams, the Rams were forced to "disband" thanks a ruling from the NCAA regarding a program director's alleged involvement with agent Andy Miller. The group reformed as Florida Elite in July to take home the crown at the Adidas Invitational and the team led by five-star prospects Kasey Hill and Chris Walker will be the favorites in Las Vegas at the Super 64.
Finally, who is going to be that one player that comes from seemingly out of nowhere? It happens nearly every July but the first half of the month didn't produce that player who comes from total obscurity to the national limelight. Will it happen in Las Vegas? Could it happen in Orlando? Or, could it happen somewhere in between? Only the next two weeks will tell.