FORT WAYNE - This weekend's Bill Hensley Memorial Run 'N Slam tournament in Fort Wayne proved a coming-out party of sorts for two of Indiana's top rising sophomores.
With national scouts at the AAU tournament keeping watch over Jared Quarles' Spiece Indy Heat 15-and-under team as it march to the championship, Fort Wayne's Rapheal Davis and Gary's Dejuan Marrero made a quick name for themselves.
Both play alongside Carmel center A.J. Hammons, whose name was already well established before this weekend.
Davis, a 6-foot-5, 190-pound guard from Fort Wayne South Side, opened eyes Saturday afternoon when he dropped a game-high 27 points in a win over Mac Irvin Fire from Illinois, scoring in a variety of ways.
"I think I'm a shooting guard, but I can play the (point), too," he said. "... I don't think there are too many people who can jump with me. I try to keep my team motivated and I can see what's going on out there."
As just a freshman this past season, Davis, an excellent student, averaged 16.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.7 assists.
A year earlier, as an eighth grader, he received his first recruiting letter, he said. It came from UCLA.
Many, many more are forthcoming.
Purdue's been up to see him several times; Davis said that it was just last Wednesday that Boilermaker assistant coach Jack Owens and a coach from Xavier came to an early morning workout. Indiana, Ohio State and Illinois have passed through Fort Wayne to check in on him, too. Florida's interested.
That can be a lot for a 15-year-old to process.
"I don't take it as overwhelming at all," Davis said this weekend. "I love basketball. It's going to be a lot (to deal with), but it's all going to be worth it."
Davis visited Purdue multiple times this past season.
"I like their coaching staff," he said. "I've been to a bunch of their games and it's close to home. I want to stay home, I think."
While Davis starred in that game against Mac Irvin Fire, the 6-foot-6 Marrero was equally impressive, scoring 23 points, blocking several shots and being active on the boards.
Indiana's already offered Marrero a scholarship, as has Valparaiso. He listed Ohio State, Wake Forest, Purdue, Illinois and Iowa as those who've shown early interest. He's unofficially visited Illinois.
"I'm going to keep working hard," Marrero said. "I still have a long way to go."
Marrero's coach at Thea Bowman Academy, Marvin Rea, played at Purdue from 1987-89 and was a member of the Boilermakers' '87-88 Big Ten championship team.
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