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May 12, 2008

Prather top performers

MORE: Prather: Sunday action | Prather: Saturday action | Rivals.com Hoops Tour

The Wallace Prather Memorial Classic had a heavy dose of star power over the weekend in Atlanta and some of the city's native sons shined in the spotlight. Rivals.com's Justin Young was on hand for the event from start to finish.

These six players stood out in the class of 2009.

Prather Top Performers
Mfon Udofia, PG, Worldwide Renegades Orange
Udofia raised the level of play for his team with his crisp passing and calm demeanor in the big games and in the clutch. He's always had the ability to score, mostly coming off dribble penetration and getting to the foul line. Over the weekend, he had it dialed in from deep as a perimeter threat.

In a class where few point guards have separated themselves from the rest of the pack, Udofia clearly has. One of the fundamental differences with Udofia is his competitiveness. Few can match his fire when the game matters. Few, at least these days, seem to care enough about winning over "looking good." Udofia proved you can do both.

Defensively, he continues to shine in the spotlight. Udofia likes the challenge of shutting down the opposing team's top guard. A pairing between he and John Wall would be a nice treat at the Tournament of Champions at the end of the month.

Ari Stewart, SF, Worldwide Renegades Orange
Stewart's athleticism has always been one of his strengths and with his length and size, he's always been a match-up problem out on the wing as a jump shooter. His full array of strengths were on clear display in Atlanta.

Stewart's production was the by-product of Udofia's play. Stewart scored because Udofia found him at the right time and at the right place.

When he's in the open floor and constantly moving, he's at his best. The floor was certainly open and Stewart was certainly moving around, hence his high production at the Prather.

Richard Howell, PF, Worldwide Renegades Orange
Weekend after weekend, the 6-foot-7 forward just produces. His steady play was the calming force for Worldwide all weekend long. He limited his mistakes and scored the ways he was comfortable. Nothing seemed too forced and his confidence is at an all-time high after recovering from a back injury that has slowed him for the last year or so.

Howell's passing skills were on display as he found his slashing teammates for scores and kicking it back out to the guards to find better shots. His hands caught every tough pass and corralled every tough rebound.

He was steady all season long at Wheeler High School in metro Atlanta and has been equally steady so far in the grassroots season.

Derrick Favors, PF, Atlanta Celtics
Perhaps the most impressive part of Favors' game in his match-up against Cousins was his power to the rim on the offensive end. Favors muscled his way through defenders on his way to the rim and scored tough buckets that most players at his position can't score.

The big man rebounds well out of his area, as he always does and attacked the ball on both ends of the floor. His offensive rebounding might be better than his defensive rebounding.

His play, along with his Atlanta Celtics teammates, has been streaky this spring. On Saturday, he was at his best and so was his team. His production is certainly the gas that pushes them forward. A back injury took him out of action on championship Sunday and his interior presence was certainly missed in the semi-finals.

Kenny Boynton, SG, Team Breakdown
Without sounding too redundant, Boynton was in the upper echelon of players in the Prather event over the weekend. That has been the motto for him all spring and his scoring punch was certainly felt by anyone that lined up against him.

Boynton knows how to create for himself and knows when to push the dagger in. He's a tremendous scorer and that tune will never change.

John Jenkins, SG, YOMCA Tigers
When the future Vanderbilt wing is open, you might as well get back on defense. He's going to hit any open shot that he has. Jenkins can change the game in a hurry with his perimeter game and did so in a contest where his club was behind by 19 points. With his touch, the lead was cut to single digits in a short amount of time.

The 6-foot-5 prospect's game wasn't loud over the weekend but it was impressive when it was needed. He has a good feel and knows where he can be the most effective. Needless to say, he is one of the better three-point shooters we've seen this spring.

MORE: Prather: Sunday action | Prather: Saturday action | Rivals.com Hoops Tour



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