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December 16, 2013

Barnett shines at event in home town

MORE: Class of 2014 Rivals150

FLORISSANT, MO- Held on the campus of Florissant (Mo.) McCluer North High School, Terrell Ramey's Midwest Showdown Shootout completed year seven on Saturday. The event featured a nice blend of St. Louis and regional talent as Jordan Barnett and fast rising junior shooting guard Kain Harris made noise while unsigned senior Deion Lavender erupted for 53 points.

Barnett shows off new approach

One of the best games on the schedule for the day was the tilt between St. Louis (Mo.) CBC and Bentonville (Ark.) High. Headlining the matchup were CBC's Texas signee Jordan Barnett and Bentonville's star shooting guard Malik Monk who is one of the top 10 players in the class of 2016. Barnett's CBC squad opened up a big lead early, gave it away during the third quarter and then rallied in the fourth to win by double digits as Barnett led the way with 31 points and 12 rebounds.

A 6-foot-7 small forward, Barnett has never been questioned as an athlete. The No. 101 player in 2014 is as bouncy as they come, can run and has long arms. What was been questioned at times was his approach and style of play. Despite his high flying and slashing ability, Barnett was often content to shoot jumpers or he just wasn't very involved on either end of the floor for stretches.

During his senior year, Barnett is taking a different approach. Now coached by CBC alum Justin Tatum, a noted tough-guy during his playing days, Barnett is taking a much more physical and active approach. The four-star was crashing the glass, filling lanes in transition, going to the rim strong and playing from inside to out. That style suits him well and can allow him to make an immediate impact at Texas. He'll still need to get a bit stronger and more than likely the Longhorns will tinker with his jumper some since he often shoots with his hand on top of the ball.

On the other side of, Monk finished with 30 points, two rebounds and four assists, but he had to work really hard to get there. 2016's seventh-ranked prospect was just 10-26 from the field (3-15 3PT) and looked rattled at times. A big time athlete at 6-foot-3 with exceptional quickness, Monk handles the ball quite well and can get into the lane whenever he wants. The times where he attacked the paint, Monk made a play for a teammate, got an easy bucket or went to the foul line. He is usually a better shooter from deep than he showed, but those struggles from deep illustrated how important it is that he mixes in even more attacks to the bucket when his shot isn't dropping. Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson was joined by assistant Melvin Watkins to watch Monk on Saturday night and there is zero doubt that he is the Razorbacks top priority in any class. Others chasing include Kansas, LSU, Florida, Memphis and Indiana.

Kain raising stock

When we sat down at the end of the summer and expanded to a true Rivals150 in the class of 2015, Kain Harris just missed making the rankings. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Chicago (Ill.) Morgan Park had showed talent, but not quite enough consistency. If what he showed on Saturday is any indication of what to expect moving on, there won't be any questions about whether or not he belongs in the rankings going forward.

Physically strong and tough, Harris is simply an in-your-face scorer who can make jumpers or attack the rim. Called Mamba by his coaches and teammates, Harris has taken his game to a new level and is a streak/spurt scorer who shows no mercy once he gets hot. He finished with 20 points in a win over host McCluer North and has clearly taken his game to a high major level.

Per his coach Nick Irvin, Harris now has the likes of DePaul, South Carolina, Creighton, Iowa State, Tennessee, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Bradley, Texas, Minnesota, SMU and Illinois getting involved.

Lavender goes off

During the day's first game, Alton (Ill.) Marquette Catholic senior shooting guard Deion Lavender seemed to be having a pretty good game. He was hitting smooth looking three pointers, getting into the paint and scoring all over the floor. Notably, the wing wasn't taking any bad shots.

Between the third and fourth quarters we looked at the official scorebook and saw that Lavender was even hotter than we'd thought. Entering the final quarter, the 6-foot-3 scorer had scored 40 of his team's 42 points. During the fourth, his teammates doubled their total output from the first three quarters but their six total points combined with his 53 weren't quite enough to get the job done against St. Mary's from St. Louis.

According to Lavender, his recruiting has been pretty light so far. He said that he had offers from SIU-Edwardsville and IPFW as of last week. Wofford was in attendance and offered on the spot while others like Eastern Illinois, Miami (Ohio) and Southern Illinois are keeping tabs. As teams look for unsigned shooting guard options -- especially on the mid major level -- this winter his recruitment should take off.

Final notes from Midwest Showdown Shootout

The No. 60 player in the class of 2015, Aaron Jordan finished his day with 20 points in a Plainfield (Ill.) East win over O'Fallon (Mo.) Ft. Zumwalt North. At 6-foot-4, he is a very good spot up shooter and sneaky athlete who picks his spots to attack the rim. He is one of those kids that makes things look pretty easy and can float a little and not be quite as aggressive as he could be. However, he plays pretty much mistake free and can score in a variety of ways. Jordan said that he will most likely commit somewhere after his junior season and Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Northwestern, Purdue, Xavier, Butler, and Georgetown are all in the running at this point. Only the Hoyas have yet to offer.

Headed to Austin Peay, 6-foot-2 shooting guard Josh Robinson started off as the story in the Deion Lavender game. The St. Louis (Mo.) St. Mary's star pumped in his team's first 16 points and looked like he would be the one scoring 50 after he hit one pull-up jumper after another. An off the dribble scorer, Robinson finished with 35 in the win.

Missouri State got themselves a big time athlete in Willard (Mo.) High small forward Chris Kendrix. The three-star wing will be an upper-tier athlete in the Missouri Valley Conference and should be a valuable contributor on the glass and in transition. He's starting to fill out as well and could be a versatile inside/out player for the Bears before it is all said and done.

A point guard to keep an eye on in the class of 2016 is St. Louis (Mo.) CBC's Jordan Barnes. At just 5-foot-11 and maybe 150 pounds, Barnes isn't the biggest guy around but his floor game commands attention. He runs his team and is a shifty ball handler that can score and dish.

Unsigned senior Rashad Lindsey is a good option on the low to mid major level. The 5-foot-10 floor general at Florissant (Mo.) McCluer North is a tough playmaker off the dribble who doesn't mind getting physical and forcing the action despite a relatively slight frame. Eastern Illinois and Tennessee-Martin offered and they or anybody else at that level would be doing well to land a guy like Lindsey who is a capable setup man or scorer.


Eric Bossi is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.



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