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New talent shines on Sunday at the King James
by Garrett Tucker, Future150 (4:54 AM CT, Tue April 24, 2012)
2014 Ahmed Hill showed elite talent this past weekend
2014 Ahmed Hill showed elite talent this past weekend
Garrett Tucker
Garrett Tucker:

Future150 Southeast Analyst. Covering high school basketball across the Southeast.

North Augusta, GA (Future150) -- As the King James Southern Exposure tournament wound down on Sunday, Future150 was able to view some high level talent as teams who made the Elite 8 were fighting for the championship.  Some of the elite teams in the tournament rose to the top.  Some of the relatively unknown talent was looking to get their name and play in front of the college coaches.  Mission accomplished.  Let’s look at some of the top performers from championship Sunday.


Ade Aruna- Pos: PF | Ht: 6’7” |
(Birmingham, AL) High School: Central Park Christian | AAU: Birmingham Storm

Aruna is a beast that was probably one of the best rebounders in the entire tournament.  He is relentless and plays with a high motor on both offense and defense.  Aruna said when asked about what he is working on this summer, “I am working on my post moves, dribbling and shooting from mid range.”  He said he patterns his game after Kevin Garnett and Ben Wallace.

Rashawn McGruder - Pos: SF | Ht: 6’5” |
(Charlotte, NC) High School: West Mecklenburg | AAU: South Piedmont Heat

In an age where standing around on offense and moving without the ball is a lost art, McGruder defied the logics. He cut through the lane throughout the day to receive passes from teammates, where he finished at the rim with (or without) contact. When opposing shot-blockers challenged him, he showed the ability to use a nice floater. After our evaluation, fans can consider him a strong slasher.

Dmitri Reaves - Pos: SF | Ht: 6’5” |
(Riverdale, GA) High School: Benjamin Banneker | AAU: South Piedmont Heat

Missing some of their team, the Heat had to utilize the players they had at different positions. While there was a point guard, Reaves had the ball in his hands very often, and he performed like a good point guard should. He excelled in pick-and-roll situations in the half-court, along with displaying some nice mid-range jumpers. Reaves’ finished very well at the rim.


Elijah Staley - Pos: SF | Ht: 6’6” |
(Atlanta, GA) High School: Wheeler | AAU: Southern Stampede

Staley, along with his teammate Jakeenan Gant, may have been the two best prospects over the weekend. Staley, number 81 in Future150 rankings, is a great combo forward with long arms and he uses it to his advantage. He blocked shots and grabbed rebounds throughout the weekend. He also showed an impressive offensive game, as he got to the rim constantly.

Wesley Johnson- Pos: PF | Ht: 6'7" |
(Greenville, SC) High School: Eastside | AAU: Celtics South

Johnson is a well rounded player who can score from not only the low post but can shot the mid range as well.  He is a fierce competitor and fights for every rebound or loose ball.  Johnson said, "I pattern my game after Black Griffin."  Let's hope thats the case over the next 2 years due to we will be in for a treat.


Amos Harris - Pos: PG | Ht: 6’0” |
(Dayton, OH) High School: Dunbar | AAU: King James Shooting Stars

Harris was another impressive freshman that we followed throughout the weekend, and while he had a positive three days, Sunday was his best day. With Michigan front-and-center to see him and teammate Luke Kennard, Harris proved to be a great point guard. He has great handles and is an exceptional passer. There were countless times he passed the ball ahead in transition through small windows. He also showed the ability to score himself. He finished with layups and floaters throughout the weekend, and he occasionally stepped back and took some three-pointers. The lefty has good form in his stroke.

Kyle Ahrens - Pos: SF | Ht: 6’3” |
(Versailles, OH) High School: Versailles | AAU: King James Shooting Stars

While watching Ahrens play, a college coach and I were very impressed by how hard he played and his continuous motor. He wasn’t necessarily the best player or the most athletic kid on the floor, but he got things done and impacted the game. He admitted “getting to the boards and rebounding” were his best strengths right now, and he is completely right. Ahrens thrived with trash buckets off his teammates misses. He also shot the ball very well, like the rest of the Shooting Stars. They were one of the best coached teams during the weekend.

Additional Notes

Bob Huggins and Frank Martin and an assistant from Michigan were on hand Sunday morning to see 2015 shooting guard Luke Kennard; Michigan also saw his teammates, Amos Harris.
Harris lists Michigan, Dayton, West Virginia, UCLA, Indiana State, Detroit, Xavier, and Ohio State, among others.

Javis Howard of Upward Stars (SC) lists Presbyterian, USF, Georgia Tech, and Tennessee. 2014 Lakeith Ingram lists interest from SC-Upstate and Winthrop.

Ole Miss, West Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia, among some other schools, watched the Southern Stampede that features Ahmed Hill, Elijah Staley, and Jakeenan Gant on Sunday afternoon. 

Team Dedicated brought a few unsigned 2012 kids this weekend that caught the eye, too.

Dawud Salaam played very well, as he finished at the rim and outside the arc. The guard show a very well-rounded game. Salaam is probably headed to Pensacola Junior College, but he was also receiving some interest from Tennessee, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, and Marshall among others.

Shawn Smith also produced throughout the weekend. He was labeled as a forward, but he really impressed me with his ability to run a team as a point guard. He possesses long arms that cause havoc for other guards. Smith is very deceptive with his speed; he was very controlled in transition and was extremely unselfish. After watching his first game, I made sure to be front-and-center for another one of his games. Greensboro College is the only school looking at him right now.


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