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December 21, 2011
FORT MYERS, Fla. - What we learned from the City of Palms Classic:
1. Julius Randle's A game is as good as any prospect out there
There were some outstanding prospects and standout performances at the City of Palms, but no prospect impressed more than Randle. A physical beast, Randle has one of the more impressive skill packages of any forward in the country.
Randle as been known as an inconsistent performer, but through three games at the City of Palms he has had his game on point. Playing in attack mode, Randle worked his way to the basket, controlled the boards and found open teammates. His 24 points, 10 rebounds and four assists per game averages through three games attest to his dominance.
2. Ole Miss has a gem in Anthony Cortesia
Cortesia, a 6-foot-9 skilled forward from Venezuela, has All-SEC potential. He is a long-range sharp-shooter with length, but he can also work his way into the lane off the dribble. With an overall impressive feel for the game, Cortesia is the type of player who can hold a team together and initiate the offense.
Yes, he does need to get physically stronger and improve defensively, but it is a safe bet that Cortesia will put up big numbers during his Ole Miss career. Through three games, he averaged 15 points and seven assists.
3. Unheralded point guards shine
Four point guards who were not on the national recruiting radar just might have found their spot on that radar with their play at the City of Palms.
Class of 2012 prospect Benji Bell of Pompano Beach (Fla.) Blanche Ely is a scoring-oriented combo guard who had a strong run at the City of Palms. Confident with the ball, Bell is a natural scorer who can also create shots for teammates. Through three games, he put up 22 points and five assists to four turnovers per game.
Class of 2013 prospect Marquan Botley of Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Christian is a fearless penetrator with the ability to make tough finishes around the basket. Just as impressive was Botley assist-to-turnover ratio at the City of Palms. Through three games, Botley had six assists to two turnovers while also averaging 11 points per game.
Class of 2012 prospect Russel Wilson of Lake Wales (Fla.) High School is the catalyst for his team's fast-paced attacking style. Along with putting up big offensive numbers for Lake Wales, he also is a relentless on-the-ball defender. Through four games, Wilson averaged 17 points and eight assists to five turnovers per game.
Class of 2013 prospect Mario Dunn of Richmond (Calif.) Salesian High School impressed with his quickness and playmaking abilities. Dunn both broke down defenders and knocked down shots. Through three games, he averaged 11 points and five assists to three turnovers per game.
4. Isaiah Austin is progressing just fine
Austin, an elite forward in the 2012 class, received his fair share of criticism this past summer for playing soft and not always giving a quality effort. No one can level these criticisms on the way Austin has played at the City of Palms. Instead of settling for long jumpers, Austin posted up with more authority and drove the ball from the wing into the lane for his patented jump hook.
Defensively, he was a terror in the lane and consistently controlled the boards. Instead of looking like a player who will be one and done but not make much of an impact at Baylor, Austin looks more like a player who will immediately have a major impact for Baylor. Through three games, he averaged 17 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks per game.