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April 11, 2004

Las Vegas Easter Classic Saturday Review

The doors opened for college coaches on Saturday at the Las Vegas Easter Classic and when they arrived at the gym, they were welcomed with some inspired basketball by some of the top juniors in the West. One of those players was Seattle's Terrence Williams. The Rainer Beach star made some believers with his athleticism and promising potential.

Williams, a 6-foot-6 wing with point guard skills, was the topic of many conversations on coaches' row. After spear-heading his H-Squad team's 100-39 victory the night before, Williams picked up where he left off on Saturday. He ran the offense for his temporary AAU squad (he's a regular with Seattle-based Rotary Select) and spread the offense around nicely in two hard fought victories over ABC Hoops (Calif.) and the Cavs of Calif.

The No. 69 player in the class of 2005 has high major potential written all over him. He's one of the most athletic players in the field and he knows how to muscle over, through and by defenders en route to the rack for two points or the kick out pass to the perimeter. One of the biggest question marks coming into the tournament was Williams' shooting ability but after sinking a handful of three pointers, the questions certainly quieted down.

Overall, Williams could be argued as the top player here in Sin City. We talked to him at length about his recruitment and his future plans. Be on the lookout for an exclusive story with this junior stud as well as a dozen other detail-packed stories in the coming days.

Here is a look at some of the other top performers from Saturday:

Danny Williams - Joining Williams in the H-Squad backcourt was another talented guard with the same last name. The 6-foot-3 junior guard was one of the biggest surprises for RivalsHoops. Without a lot of name recognition back East, we were delighted with his play. He's an above average combo guard with a solid handle and good passing skills. He gets down the court faster than money lost on the roulette wheel.

We loved his toughness, too. Driving down the lane for a tough shot in traffic, he was elbowed in the face, sending him to the floor in a pool of blood. After getting some treatment, he was back in action seven minutes later. Several PAC-10 schools have shown an initial interest, expect more to come, too.

Seketoure Henry - His name may be difficult to remember but "Sek" was just sick in the morning session, scoring 18 of Belmont Shores' (Calif.) first 22 points against a talented Blessed INJ (Ind.). Needless to say, Henry was the star of the early morning session. He was on fire from deep with a nice looking, high arcing shot. The lefty can also put it on the floor and attack the basket. Don't believe it? Ask anyone about his and-one dunk on Chad Millard. He told us the majority of the schools recruiting him are West Coast Conference teams. He might be getting some bigger looks come Monday.

Jamal Boykin - This kid knows how to go all out. That's why his two top schools Louisville (Rick Pitino and Reggie Theus) and Georgia Tech (Willie Reese) were on hand to see him in action against the aforementioned Blessed INJ squad. Boykin is a coach's dream. He's warrior inside for rebounds, positions on the blocks and the emotional leader of the Belmont Shore group. He just gets it done.

Ed White - He won't blow you away with amazing athleticism but he's a smart player with a nice touch from deep. The Harvard-Westlake (Calif.) product has a future with a mid-major plus program. He's consistent and doesn't make too many mistakes.

Richard Semrau - The 6-foot-9 forward from the Cleveland, Ohio area has a ton of upside with his respectable outside touch and ball handling skills. Think Marquette's Steve Novak. The class of 2006 player has some early interest from Atlantic-10 schools. Don't be surprised to see him be mentioned as one of the top prospects in his class. We'll see him again later this month.

Nate Shulte - The Las Vegas native is not a player you'd want to defend you. He brings a ton of effort and heart inside. Want proof? Shulte, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, battled inside against Houston Hoops' Jeremy Barr, a 6-foot-9, 250-pound beast with size 22 feet and hands that make the basketball look like a marble. Shulte didn't even blink. He fought hard for rebounds, position and defense. On the offensive end, he has a nose for the basket and gets the ball to fall in. There wasn't a player here with more heart. He will be at the Capital Invitational next week in Washington D.C.

Harvey Perry, Jr. - The Vegas native usually runs with Arizona Magic during the AAU season but he suited up for the Southern Nevada All-Stars for the Easter Classic and boy did they love having him. Perry had the block of the tournament when he met Houston Hoops' Wendell Preadom at the rim and blocked the Texas player's attempted dunk cold, sending Preadom crashing to the floor. Time stood still for a second.

Juan Patillo - This 6-foot-4 sophomore from nearby Valley HS (Nev.) came to play. He's raw but you wouldn't know it against the powerful Hoops. He connected on a trio of trifectas and can absolutely jump out of the gym. We'll be keeping our eye on him for the rest of the circuit.

Nic Wise - The Arizona bound class of 2006 guard has been unconscious from deep all tournament. His demeanor never changes if the score is close or if it's a blowout. And his shot has been falling from every spot on the wing. He used a nice power dribble and attacked the zone for hard fought buckets inside.

Martellus Bennett - At 6-foot-7 and built like a steel beam, it's easy to see why the nation's top gridiron schools are trying to get this tight end on their campus. The scary thing is, he's just as good on the hardwood. He proved it against the So. Nevada All-Stars. He was a beast all over the floor and had a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds. We love his toughness and great positioning.

Shaun Green - The junior from Olympus (Utah) HS was money from NBA range all day. In fact, he only missed two long balls all day (9-11). The was consistently strong inside, too, pulling down double digits in every game we saw him. He's a competitor with no limits on his range. Defensively, you have to respect his shot blocking ability. He gets the most out of what he puts in. That's why he and his Utah Vipers team is still playing for the big prize.

Brayden Bell - This 6-foot-10 big body from Brighton HS (Utah) has high majors all over him for good reason. He has a great frame with room for more muscle. Bell can step out and hit the three. He's developing his post moves inside, too. The No. 50 player in the class of 2005 could be one of the top big men in the nation if he continues to round out his overall game. Great future.

Notes from the Notepad: It was upset city on Saturday in the Gold bracket as the Southern California All-Stars lost by 21 points to an efficient and great passing High Five-Arizona Red team. Unsigned senior Kevin Schneider helped lead the attack with 18 points. He'll be taking an official visit to Evansville next week. He's also looking at Fresno State, San Diego State, Hawaii and Northeastern…The Houston Hoops, the favorite to win the tourney, lost to the Arizona Cagers in the late night session…Schools in attendance included: Every PAC-10 school, Louisville, Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Illinois, UNLV, Arkansas, Utah, Kansas, North Carolina, Gonzaga, Texas A&M and many more.



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