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May 19, 2013

Class of 2016 shows its promise

MORE: Friday at the Jamfest

HAMPTON, Va. -- Day two at the Southern Jamfest was a good one. With eight floors underneath the roof of the Boo Williams Sportsplex and a schedule that played out well, there was never a shortage of action. Some under-the-radar guys stepped up, and it was a big day for the class of 2016 as Thon Maker and Edrice Adebayo were two of many who are generating plenty of early college interest.

Youth is served at the Jamfest

The early word on the class of 2016 has been that it is shaping up to be a good one. During several stops along the grassroots circuit over the past few months, the country's rising sophomore class has looked good. Saturday's action was more of the same as several 2016 kids stood out.

Might as well start at the top with the 7-foot Maker of Boo Williams. The 16-year-old isn't just tall. He can run, he has ball skills, and he plays hard. He lacks strength, and that hurts him at times when he's trying to hold onto position in the post or make difficult catches, but he isn't soft and he fights back.

On Saturday, Maker was a high-volume rebounder, he changed shots, he scored from the rim to the 3-point line, and he often took rebounds coast to coast. When the first round of stars gets handed out to the class of 2016 after the summer, Maker is a lock to start as a five-star. Arizona, Georgetown and Virginia have offered, while Kansas, Ohio State, Memphis, N.C. State and Miami were mentioned as showing early interest.

As it turns out, Maker isn't the only likely 2016 five-star in the Boo Williams stable of talent. Adebayo, a 6-foot-8 power forward, doesn't have the same skill package that Maker does. However, the 15-year-old is an extremely powerful and explosive athlete, and he plays exactly like you would expect a guy known as Bam Bam to play. Adebayo plays way over the rim, and he uses strong hands to rip rebounds away from opponents. During a 15-and-under game, it looked like he was playing against grade schoolers on an eight-foot rim. Shortly after that, he suited up with Boo's 17-and-under squad and was a big factor around the rim.

Playing for the DC Assault's 16-and-under group, 6-foot-4 shooting guard Greg Williams of Lynchburg (Va.) Genesis Academy was another good-looking sophomore to be. The thin wing is a live-wire athlete with a great first step, explosion at the rim and the ability to make things happen off the dribble. Williams told Rivals.com that Virginia Tech became the first school to offer just over a week ago and that he's gotten initial contact from George Mason, VMI and Florida Atlantic.

Finally, Team Loaded Gore has two good-looking 2016 guys of its own. Physically tough, very athletic and with a versatile skill set, 6-foot-5 wing DeShawn Corprew jumps out at you. He turns the corner and gets to the rim at will, and he looked to be a competent jump shooter on Saturday. According to Corprew, N.C. State just offered to join Virginia Tech as his early high-major suitors. Just like Corprew, 6-foot-2 combo guard Curtis Jones from Highland Springs sports a Virginia Tech offer. He's a slick passer off of the dribble, and he has an impressive jump shot. VCU, Virginia and Wake Forest have shown early interest.

Nickens emerging

A prep school year can be helpful to a player. But going prep doesn't magically turn somebody into a player. Hard work is required. Since making the decision to move to the class of 2014, Jared Nickens looks like he's been working on his game.

The 6-foot-6 wing from the Westtown (Pa.) School has been a big name this spring, and he is showing why. He's lean, but he has added strength and is getting dangerous with the dribble. Nickens can knock home jumpers, and he showed a nice floater on a drive during an easy win. He says he's happy with his decision to go prep.

"I think it's been really good for me," Nickens told Rivals.com. "It has allowed me to mature mentally and physically and to get some skill work."

Currently a three-star prospect, Nickens has put himself into contention for the 2014 Rivals150. He looks like he could be the best prospect on a good Sports U squad. He just got back from a visit to Oregon State, where he says the Beavers put the full-court press on him for a decision. Nickens says he's gotten offers from others, including Miami, Maryland, Oklahoma, Wake Forest, Dayton, Temple, Providence and Seton Hall. He's open, but he could start looking to lock in some of his visits in the relatively near future.

More Saturday notes and notables

The DC Assault handled their business on Saturday and will meet up with Boo Williams in a big game on Sunday morning. That should give another chance to get a good look at 6-foot-8 combo forward Donte Grantham. An athlete who can make some plays, Grantham has been a big name of late and he shows promise. Maryland-bound Romelo Trimble was steady and effective as usual. There are guys who may be a little more athletic than Trimble, but his understanding of pace, what to do in each situation and ability to score or run a team impresses. No matter what happens, he never seems to be rushed.

As a member of the class of 2013, Marcus Bryan was at one point committed to play at Appalachian State. He decided that wasn't the right fit for him, and he may now end up doing a prep year. A strong 6-foot-7 power forward, Bryan is a solid player on both ends. He can bang some in the post, and he looks comfortable hitting jumpers from the vicinity of the free throw line. His Garner Road squad is rolling through two days.

Rivals.com was tipped off to check out class of 2015 shooting guard C.J. Keyser of Mid Atlantic Select. It turned out to be a good tip. A 6-foot-4 athlete from Bel Air (Md.) Patterson Mill, Keyser is a glider who can get to the rim and looks to have a feel for scoring. Certainly one to keep tabs on as we move ahead.

A class of 2013 kid, Dwayne Miner may end up at a prep school. A 6-foot-6 forward from Woodbridge (Va.) Christ Chapel, he showed flashes on Saturday. Miner is athletic, he can shoot it some from deep, and he is a finisher in traffic. According to Miner, he's taking the SAT one more time and is just short of a qualifying score. If he gets that score, he could be a nice late addition for a midlevel program.

Jawun Evans, a 2015 guard for the South Carolina Raptors, is one speedy guy. He is quick laterally, and he looks like he has a good motor. He scored big early before his team got out to a large lead.

Class of 2014 point guard Tarin Smith hasn't gotten a lot of notoriety, but the three-star floor general for Sports U can play. The 6-footer is quick, steady and shifty off of the dribble. Smith is a good decision maker, and he will get into his man on defense. La Salle, Bucknell, Saint Joseph's, Delaware, Holy Cross, Penn, Detroit, Buffalo, Quinnipiac and more have offered, according to Smith.

Devin Robinson was a major story for the Squires Richmond over the weekend and deservedly so. But 6-foot-6 three-star wing Caleb Johnson is an interesting case as well. An athletic southpaw, he can handle and shoot it just well enough to be dangerous from deep, and he's bouncy around the rim. He's raw and prone to bad decisions, but you can see his talent. There's a good chance that he will want to do a year of prep school, so he may end up a class of 2015 kid.

Zane Waterman is the kind of tough-guy four man most teams would be happy to have. The 6-foot-7 senior to be goes about his business in the paint and does what he can with his touches. UNC Asheville, Gardner-Webb, Liberty, Winthrop, Saint Joseph's, Manhattan, Charlotte and Appalachian State have offered, Waterman says.

He made an impression on Friday night and then backed it up on Saturday. Clint Robinson is a no-nonsense, long-armed 6-foot-7 2014 power forward who will go and get a rebound. He can run the floor, he is bouncy around the rim, and he likes to compete.

Go ahead and issue a shooter alert for Paul Rowley. A tall and rangy small forward who checks in at 6-foot-6 (maybe pushing 6-foot-7), the product of Leesburg (Va.) Loudoun Valley can stretch a defense. For Virginia Elite, he can hit from 25 feet and he plays an emotional game. He's a good athlete and a great student who has most of the Ivy League, along with places such as William & Mary and George Mason, taking a look.



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