Only the Real Deal
The nation’s top preps put on a show in Little Rock.
by Jamie Palmer / @deepsouthhoops
The Real Deal in the Rock, spring’s most attractive travel team event in the country, lived up to its name and featured some of the best 2012 big men in the country last weekend. One of those big men, Jarnell Stokes, stood above the rest with his 18-point, 14-rebound performance against the New England Players in the 17U championship game, where Memphis YOMCA won 43-41.
Here is the list of players who stood out in Little Rock last weekend.
Isaiah Austin, 2012 | 7-0, 200 pounds, Center | Compton Magic | Mansfield, TX
Austin, considered by many as top prospect in the country, displayed a dominating skill set at the Real Deal this past weekend. The Baylor pledge at 7-foot has the ability to handle the ball in space and has a small forward mindset attacking the basket. When you throw in a back-to-basket game with his perimeter game, he can become very versatile player and nightmare to guard. Defensively he is as good as it gets at using his length to rebound and block shots. Let’s add some strength to that Kareem-like frame and Austin will be at top of the board in 2014.
Andre Drummond, 2012 | 6-10, 275 pounds, Center | Connecticut Basketball Club | Middletown, CT
Drummond’s presence around the basket was definitely felt at the Real Deal. So let’s just cut to the chase about his game, his body is pro-ready, hell with that college-ready shit, and at 275 there is not many stopping him in the three-second area. He likes to linger on the wing where he likes to shoot the three — please someone tell him to stop! I understand he is the biggest guy on the floor and refs call the tick tacks that kill his aggressiveness but he has to get Bill Gates swag and monopolize the paint on every possession. Let’s get the big fellow some Alonzo Mourning film to study and history may repeat itself.
Kaleb Tarczewski, 2012 | 6-10, 220 pounds, Center | New England Players | Claremont, NH
Tarc let his game speak for itself at the Real Deal. The 7-footer is a true center who possessed a good set of hands and ability to finish strong around the basket. He displayed his ability to shoot the jump hook and pass out of the high post. The one knock I have on Tarc is his presence within the offense; he tends to disappear at times and often defers to being the set up guy.
Robert Upshaw, 2012 | 6-11, 250 pounds, Center | Dream Vision | Fresno, CA
Upshaw did not mind being the third wheel at the Real Deal. On a team with two big time scorers, Shabazz Muhammad (nation’s best wing) and Winston “Junk Yard Dog” Sheppard, the big guy made the most of what was given to him. In his match up against CBC (Andre Drummond), he showed tremendous ability to use all of his length to block shots and rebound where he recorded 11 blocks and 12 rebounds on my count. He is a back to the basket big who has great feel and finishes with authority around the basket where he is at best.
Gavin Ware, 2012 | 6-8, 245 pounds, Center | Southern Phenoms | Starkville, MS
Ware had a good showing at the Real Deal. In the little that I saw of him, Ware was very agile in the post and knocked down couple face ups from the short corner. His big wide body screams SEC and he uses it well to clear space for rebounding.
Jarnell Stokes, 2012 | 6-8, 245 pounds, Forward | Memphis YOMCA | Memphis, TN
Stokes stellar performance was good enough for the Real Deal top honors. He dominated opposing bigs throughout the weekend, Grant Jerrett and Kaleb Tarczewski being the most notable ones. He can use the power game in the paint or drag defenders out to the short corner where he punishes them with either a pull up or an athletic move along the baseline. His 18 points and 14 boards in the championship were good enough for tournament MVP honors.
Shaq Goodwin, 2012 | 6-8, 215 pounds, Forward | ATL Celtics | Decatur, GA
Goodwin stepped up his game on the main stage at the Real Deal. His physical inside/out game created match-up problems all weekend. Shaq’s ability to knock down the mid range and finish in crowds at the rim made it very difficult for opposition. His motor was running well in transition where he found the open spot for easy buckets and couple threes in stride. He must improve his back to the basket game to complete the full package.