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July 31, 2008

AAU Nationals: Thursday

ORLANDO -- The final notes have been scribbled and the last games have been watched for the summer evaluation period. The final day of the live period came to a close on Thursday at the AAU Nationals.

STAR POWER

With a number of the top players simply running out of gas in the last hours of the evaluation period, there are a few guys that continue to play with good energy and competitiveness. New York Gauchos guard Doron Lamb is one of them.

The class of 2010 guard scored 24 points in the Gauchos win over Florida's Gold Coast team. The 6-foot-4 guard has been the best player for the New Yorkers this week in Orlando and is closing the summer out equally as well as he started the spring evaluation period.

The rematch of Boo Williams and BABC was the hot ticket on Thursday. The two met in the finals at the Nike Peach Jam and Boo Williams relied on it's depth and experience the first time around. The second time around, none of that showed.

BABC had a combined 26 points from Jamal Coombs and Phil Pressey in the team's 48-47 squeaker.

Coombs has played great, shining at the Peach Jam and shining in BABC's biggest game of the Nationals. He scored 13 points and for the majority of the game, the future Connecticut Husky was about as productive of a player as you can find in a rough and tough defensive battle.

Pressey, a star on Wednesday against the Birmingham Storm, was at it again. He added 13 points in the low-scoring affair. The Rivals100 guard has been one of the best guards in Orlando and he continues to chalk up the victories.

The only productive player for Boo Williams was Ricardo Ratliffe, the best sixth man in the nation. Like he always does, the 6-foot-8 prep school bound forward scored in the paint and led all scorers with 19.

Ratliffe knows what he is and where he is at his best. Nothing is ever forced and he keeps it simple.

There hasn't been too many players in Orlando better than Scott Wood at scoring the ball. On Thursday morning, the future N.C. State guard pumped in 36 points in a SYF overtime win over All Ohio Red.

Wood has an innate ability to score from the perimeter without having to think too much about it. When the 6-foot-5 wing squares up, he's automatic. Woods has been able to square up quite a big in Orlando and the results have been outstanding.

Pair him with the recent commitments for the Wolfpack and things in Raleigh are looking promising. Look for Woods and Richard Howell, one of the best passing big men in the class, to form a good inside-outside bond.

Illinois commitment Brandon Paul scored 20 points in a nice win over the Alabama Challenge. The slippery guard went into attack mode in the final 16 minutes of play. He scored 20 points in the win and should help the Illini out from day one.

The questions revolving around Lenzelle Smith Jr. are making the transition from "What position is he" to "How do you get him?" The 6-foot-3 (enter desired position here) junior to be is a jack of all trades kind of prospect.

Smith is a triple-double threat each time he steps out onto the floor. Matching up with him usually spells trouble because of his thick body and high basketball IQ. The guards aren't strong enough and he's too crafty for wings as a passer. Smith scored 18 points in his team's win over the Alabama Challenge.

Class of 2010 prospect Neiko Hunter punched in 25 against Team NLP. Like Smith, Hunter is a man without a position. The burly 6-foot-5 combo forward hit three threes but also made the opposition work inside.

Alabama big man Luke Cawthrone continues to have a great July. Playing for the Alabama Terriers in Orlando, the 6-foot-8 big man came out of the gates with a bang against the Georgia Stars.

The class of 2010 forward scored 15 first half points and dominated the Stars' ACC and SEC bound frontline.

Dee Goens scored 20 points in the win and closed out a strong effort in Orlando. The three-star guard said he has offers from Tulane, Murray State, Harvard, Yale and Princeton while UAB, Missouri and Stanford are also showing some levels of interest.

Khalid Mutakbbir finished the week strong, scoring 15 points in the win. The 6-foot-3 guard from Peachtree Ridge is a quality mid-level program guy and could see his recruitment take a spike.

There is a quality to Glen Rice's game that will only get better once he gets to college. With his game improving at a constant rate, Rice is uncovering different facets to his talent.

He can pass better than most at his position, rebound like a forward, score/shoot it with the best of them at the two and his ball-handling is an undervalued asset. Rice scored 18 points in the victory.

This concludes our coverage from Orlando and the AAU Nationals at Disney's Wide World of Sports.


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