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July 12, 2012
PHILADELPHIA - The Reebok Challenge is back again this summer at Philadelphia University. On the first day of the July live evaluation period, the Challenge boasted a fine lineup of campers. To nobody's surprise, it was a set of twins from Houston that continued a dominance on the grassroots scene, as Aaron Harrison and Andrew Harrison stood out.
Harrison brothers keep chugging along
The comparisons flew fast and furious from college coaches - was it like having a young Jason Kidd and Chauncey Billups in the same family, or more like Deron Williams and Mitch Richmond?
Opposing coach Marco Marcos yelled at his team, "they are pros, they are pros" just hoping that it could spark some extra effort out of his guys. It didn't really matter because 2013's No. 4 player Aaron Harrison came out firing - and hitting - from deep while No. 3 player Andrew Harrison ran the show and played some extremely tough defense.
Everybody in the gym saw the same thing, the Harrison brothers were just playing at a different level from anybody else on the floor. Their pace, their understanding of spacing, movement and high-skill levels make them both complete guards who are much more interchangeable than many believe.
While the Harrisons stood out, a few of their teammates showed promise as well. Both small forward Wesley Iwundu and power forward Jonathan Motley have high ceilings. Iwundu is a 6-foot-5 slasher who can get to the rim and shows potential as a deep jump shooter. Meanwhile, Motley is thin and quick, and looks like he can develop into a quality stretch four man.
Iwundu reported offers from Kansas State, Colorado, Richmond, Lehigh and Drake and interest from Georgia Tech, Texas Tech and Nebraska. Motley reported that he's heard from Houston, Baylor, Clemson, Kansas, Oregon and SMU among others.
Rising sophomores impress
On Wednesday night, there were a pair of guards from the class of 2015 that were tough to miss. Malik Newman and Dwayne Bacon both appeared to be physically and mentally ready to take on older competition in front of a crowd of college coaches.
A 6-foot-3 combo guard from Jackson, Miss., Newman is an explosive athlete and highly aggressive offensive player. If he sees a crease in the defense he attacks it, he's quick off the floor and is a dangerous pull-up shooter to three-point range. On top of that, he's got loads of confidence. When asked who was recruiting him his response was simple, "nobody, I'm only going to be a sophomore."
Upon reflection, Newman suggested we check with his high school coach Wayne Brent, who mentioned that Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Alabama, Arkansas and LSU were already heavily involved.
From the state of Florida, Bacon is just as impressive as Newman from a physical standpoint. He's actually a little bit bigger. Bacon showed good ability attacking the rim and looked very comfortable attacking from the wing.
Right place at right time
Wednesday afternoon, Indy Adidas" target=new>Rivals.com received multiple emails telling us about wing Devin Robinson. Those emails couldn't have come at a better time as Robinson is in attendance at the Breakout Challenge and certainly impressed.
At 6-foot-6, he's a small forward with range on his jumper. Now in the class of 2014 at Christchurch (Va.) School, he has athleticism, can handle and is confident in looking for his offense.
Once again, Jermaine Lawrence showed impressive ability as a long, athletic and rangy four-man. Because he can make one- and two-dribble pull-ups, and has good mobility, Lawrence can also play as a big three-man. However, at about 6-foot-9 he's plenty big to play the four and has a huge quickness advantage at that spot. Cincinnati, Syracuse, Kansas, Rutgers and Florida were the schools he mentioned off the top of his head.
Penn State has landed a good one out of Philadelphia in Brandon Austin. A 6-foot-6 playmaker, the skinny Austin is better than his current ranking in the Rivals150 and will give the Nittany Lions a dose of athleticism on the wing.
His shot wasn't really dropping, but it's easy to see that Detrick Mostella can create off the dribble when needed. The skinny 6-foot-3 four-star from Alabama is also a slick passer and can be used as a scoring combo guard.
A surprise last-minute addition to the camp was Tony Trocha. A 6-foot-9 forward from Colombia who has drawn plenty of college attention, he is certainly a fine athlete who moves extremely well. He also has instincts attacking rebounds but is quite thin.
English import Dylan Johns, a rising senior, could possibly end up one of the best finds of the Breakout Challenge. A big and fluid post player with touch and skill, Johns is at least 6-foot-10, has great instincts and is already pretty productive for a kid who has only been playing basketball for about four years.
On the same team as Mostella, wings Dakarai Allen and A.J. Lapray did some nice things. A member of 2013's Rivals150, Allen is an athletic transition finisher and one of the better perimeter defenders in his class.
Wing Kamal Richards had a very effective first night at the Breakout Challenge. A lean and athletic wing, he got to the rim time and again to finish and was knocking down clean looks from three to score 19 points on 8-on-11 shooting.
We will focus on him more on Thursday, but Zacarry Douglas looks like a long, athletic and active combo forward. He lacks strength, but is quick and has some ball skills.
Affectionately known to his teammates, friends and family as Pookie, athletic point guard Rashawn Powell is a high major option. He is still a little on the slender side, but he gets to the hole, plays fast and has tremendous lift on his jumper.