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July 23, 2011

Opening day top performers

MORE VEGAS: Big men | Muhammad | Preview

LAS VEGAS- The five-star big men certainly got much of the focus at the adidas Super 64 on Friday and deservedly so. But, they weren't the days only notables.

He's not the first guy to grab your attention because of his athleticism, but 2013 point guard Nigel Williams-Goss is as skilled as they come. Doesn't make poor decisions and he can score or pass.

We've theorized about who would survive a steel cage brawl in the class of 2012 and there are several worthy tough men. However, don't sleep on New England Playaz big man Terry Brutus. Brutus is probably more power forward at 6-foot-5 or perhaps 6-foot-6, but he's strong and plays as tough as they come.

Some of his five-star partners in 2013 have put up better numbers, but Chris Walker is finding his way. He's committed himself to hitting the glass, has run the floor and made plays within the flow of the game via his length and quickness.

Given that he checks in around 6-6, class of 2013 forward Jordan Bell is an impressive shot-blocker and rebounder. He contested everything around the hoop and finished with force in transition.

Arizona-bound guard Gabe York is a pure scorer, the thin and athletic 6-2 shooting guard can handle, but he's best creating his shot and using a great hesitation crossover, a la Austin Rivers, to freeze defenders before rising to bury threes.

D.J. Ballentine The Eric Gordon Central Stars got out to a big lead early and he helped them hold on. A methodical two-guard, he has savvy and feels out defenders to find what is most readily available.

At the NBPA Top 100 Camp, Denzel Valentine struggled. Perhaps he just needs a usual team around him because he makes all the plays his team needs with the Michigan Mustangs. A physical dribble-drive playmaker, the Michigan State pledge also has a very quick release on his shot.

A 6-6 combo forward, Gavin Thurman is a skilled scorer. Upper-end mid-majors are offering while some high-majors have been taking a look because of his ability to generate offense.

Early in his first game of the day, Sam Dekker missed a three horribly. The 6-foot-7 Wisconsin-bound wing didn't have much negative happen after that. He got and-one dunks, hit shots and played with an edge.

Recent class of 2013 commit Christian Wood is a safe bet to enter the rankings somewhere, at least the four-star range. A long and thin 6-foot-8 forward, he was left to shoot threes and showed he can do that as well as get up and down the floor in a hurry.

From a purely physical standpoint, Kris Dunn brings as much to the table as any point guard in 2012. Not only does he have size, but he showed time and again that he has explosive quickness off the dribble and is a very capable finisher in the lane because of his length.

There's not been a lot of noise about him because not many have seen him this summer. However, California point guard Tyrone Wallace is a well-kept secret for a four-star prospect in the class of 2012.

After the early spring, Marcus Holt found his way into the Rivals150. Then rankings got shuffled and he was one of toughest guys to leave out. Thin, long and athletic, the 6-foot-9 big man is making a case to be put back in thanks to his play with the Colorado Hawks.



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