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May 2, 2007

King James top Class of 2008 performers

The action was hot at the King James Shooting Stars Classic, and identifying the event's top performers was not difficult.

In fact, the top three players were a consensus among college coaches and Rivals.com.

Justin Young breaks down the top five class of 2008 performers from the event in Akron.

King James top Class of 2008 performers
Al-Farouq Aminu, PF, Georgia Stars

The No. 3 prospect in the country opened the tournament on Friday night with a stellar performance against Full Package from Illinois. Aminu scored 26 points and took over in the second half en route to an important win. He closed the tournament with a victory in the championship game.

The tournament marks the first major championship for Aminu on the circuit with his Georgia Stars club. The versatile forward scored from all over the floor. He also did a good job of hitting the boards and dominating on the glass.

Versatility at the forward position is Aminu's strength. He blends wing skills with low post ability, and put it all together very well in Akron. Aminu continues to return to his form as a top-notch rebounder as well.

Billy Donovan watched the Norcross (Ga.) High School prospect closely. So did Dennis Felton, Skip Prosser and assistants from Georgia Tech and Clemson. Surprisingly, North Carolina was not in attendance.

Delvon Roe, PF, King of the Court

Perhaps the most difficult player to defend in the tournament, Roe was about as productive as a power forward could be in Akron. He withstood every challenge that he faced and gave guys like Aminu trouble when he defended them.

Defensively, Roe played into Aminu's chest and forced his fellow five-star forward to take tough shots. Roe also kept Aminu out of the lane for the majority of the game.

Roe was dominant on the left side of the basket, where he can use his primary hand. One high-major head coach said Roe's ability to spin to the basket is similar to Glen Davis' spin inside. It is impossible to defend, and more times it leads to a basket or a pair of free throws. Roe was good for 20 points (and usually more) per game all weekend in Akron.

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo trailed the Cleveland native all weekend and had to be excited about the idea of using him down the road.

William Buford, SG, D1 Greyhounds

What a month for the Ohio State-bound guard from Toledo (Ohio) Libbey. He was the best scoring guard in the King James Shooting Stars Classic and put his club on his back en route to another championship game at a major event.

Buford, a 6-foot-5 standout, scored any way he wanted. What's been the most impressive about the future five-star guard is his ability to recognize the opposition's weaknesses and exploit them. He saw a zone defense, and quickly buried a barrage of 3-pointers. He saw a slower defender and drove past him to the rim. His pull-up jumper is coming along nicely, too.

The Buckeyes have themselves an instant impact guy coming to Columbus. He's quietly putting in the work to improve himself for the next level.

Iman Shumpert, SG, Full Package

The 6-foot-3 guard from River Forest High School in Oak Park, Ill., entered the spring as a must-see player. He played well in Pittsburgh last weekend, but he put it all together consistently in Akron.

Shumpert has a game similar to Kansas guard Mario Chalmers. Shumpert can shoot the 3-pointer and is very good on defense. The Illinois native moves at a quick speed and is starting to develop a killer instinct in the clutch.

His confidence has to be at an all-time high right now. He certainly earned the respect of the basketball world with a string of big-time performances. Since coming back from bad leg cramps in the playoffs in Pittsburgh, Shumpert has been playing as well as any two guard in the country.

Illinois went three coaches deep at his games, while Tom Crean of Marquette trailed him all weekend. Georgia Tech, Clemson, Northwestern, Tennessee, Iowa, and the entire Missouri Valley Conference followed him from gym to gym as well.

Terrelle Pryor, SF, Team Adidas

The nation's top football player is also a top-flight basketball player. The 6-foot-6 wing from Jeanette (Pa.) High School had his best game against fellow five-star wing Devin Ebanks. Pryor scored 36 points and used his defense to frustrate the New Yorker in the second half. Pryor powered his way to the basket time and time again. He played well above the rim, and just kept coming at Team Takeover with energy and intimidation.

The most impressive part of Pryor's game is his passing ability. He's unselfish and finds his teammates in the flow of the game.

Obviously he has a bright future on the gridiron, but if he focused his attention solely on hoops Pryor could have a long future on the hardwood. USC trailed him. So did Texas. Now he'll have to make some tough decisions about his future. Can a franchise quarterback focus on hoops? That is the big question for Pryor.

Justin Young can be reached at jyoung@rivals.com.



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