Future150 Midwest Analyst. Covering Midwest high school basketball.
Orlando, FL (Future150) -- Day 3 of the AAU national Championships saw the end of pool play and the start of playoffs. As expected there were plenty of big time matchups both to get into the playoffs and in the opening round of them. Here are some of the players who stood out.
Jordan Martin, 2013 PF, STL Eagles: Martin stepped up big in the absence of Butler-bound big man Nolan Berry. He was a monster on the glass and finished around the rim. Although his team dropped a tough one to BABC, Martin was a major reason why they were in the game in the first place.
Rene Castro, 2013 PG, BABC: Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard was front and center to watch Castro play and he didn’t disappoint. He got to the rim at will and finished through contact. He can put up points in bunches but also set his teammates up like he did on Friday, without Charabascz here in Orlando he is the unquestioned leader of this team.
Greg McClinton, 2013 PF, CP3 Elite: McClinton’s recent commitment to Wake Forest seems to have let him focus more on basketball and play with less stress and it is showing in his game. He scored both around the rim and hit a couple of mid-range jumpers during a huge outing against the Illinois Warriors. Wake fans should be excited about his arrival on campus next season.
Kevin Kozan, 2013 SG, Illinois Warriors: They say that the three pointer is the great equalizer and Kozan proved that on Friday afternoon. He hit 6 threes on the day and kept his team close to a tough CP3 squad for much of the game. Although he is just 6-foot-1 he is a fantastic shooter and will be one to keep an eye on.
JaQuel Richmond, 2014 PG, CP3 Elite: Richmond’s impact won’t be entirely seen in the box score as he set his teammates up and ran the point perfectly on Friday afternoon. Richmond has made great strides as a point guard and has plenty of high major programs coming after him.
Justin McKie, 2013 SG, Upward Stars: McKie put on a scoring clinic, dropping 13 points in the first quarter alone. While his scoring dropped off a bit during the rest of the game he still made plays and stayed involved. At this point McKie is definitely a shooting guard but he is developing lead guard abilities as well.
Jay’Sean Tate, 2014 SG, All Ohio Red: Tate is a bulldog of a player and uses his college ready frame to bully smaller guards in the paint. He also handled the ball well and made the right plays when his team needed him to. Tate rebounded the ball well for his position and is clearly one of the top players in Ohio.
Matt Jones, 2013 SG, Texas Titans: Jones showed why he is considered to be one of, if not the best shooter in the class of 2013 on Friday night. He hit numerous threes and a couple of pull-up two’s . Jones is rounding into a complete scorer who should provide an immediate impact when he sets foot in Durham next season.
Jamel Artis, 2013 PF, Baltimore Elite: Artis is a unique prospect in that he is 6-foot-7 and can facilitate. He rebounded well against Damien Jones, who is significantly bigger. What set Artis was his ability to make plays and create for his teammates off the dribble, making him a matchup nightmare for opposing big men. La Salle, Pitt, and N.C. State are all heavily involved and Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon made sure he was front and center for Friday night’s game.
John Paul, 2013 C, Birmingham Storm: Easily the breakout performer of the day, Paul showed the ability to score in the paint. In a class where big men are sorely lacking it was good to see Paul get position deep in the post and score the ball. What makes him even more impressive is that he has only been playing basketball for a year, so his ceiling is extremely high.