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July 16, 2007

Peach Jam top 17U performers

The Rivals.com basketball recruiting staff continues to push through the busy July event schedule and is taking advantage of the opportunity evaluate the nation's top prospects.

Fresh from the NIKE Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C., Jerry Meyer breaks down the top performers from the 17U division at the event.

Look for more on the top underclassmen and eye catchers from the Peach Jam in the coming days.

Peach Jam top 17U performers
Willie Warren, PG, Fort Worth (Texas) North Crowley
Warren highlights

It is ironic that Warren, a player who has been criticized as being selfish and individualistic, has thrived in a team setting with his Team Texas travel squad. In recent individual invitation events such as the USA Basketball Festival and the LeBron James US Skills Academy, Willie Warren has played well. However, he hasn't been sensational. He has seemed willing to deal with limited touches. Back in control of his team at the Peach Jam, Warren played sensational basketball. He further proved that his primary position is point guard. Warren consistently worked his way into scoring opportunities and repeatedly set up teammates for prime scoring opportunities.
Samardo Samuels, PF, Newark (N.J.) St. Benedict's
Samuels highlights

Samardo Samuels had his way with his pool play opponents at the Peach Jam before succumbing to an injury. Using his strength and his mobility, Samuels chases down rebounds outside his area and consistently finishes with authority around the basket. He is also developing more of an NBA look to his game because of his improving ability to operate facing the basket. One of his signature moves is to post up his man around 15 feet from the basket in order to avoid the double-team. With a strong pivot, he then faces his man up and goes to work. Samuels showed an ability to change directions with a spin move, and even countered with a fake spin off the dribble before finishing within 7-feet of the basket.
Kendall Marshall, PG, Arlington (Va.) Bishop O'Connell

Although he is only a 2010 prospect, Kendall Marshall plays with a poise on the basketball court that is surprising for a high school prospect of any classification. Marshall brings to mind top college freshman point guards from last season like Mike Conley, Jr. and D.J. Augustin. With a superb basketball IQ, Marshall plays at a deceptive pace. He sets up for a burst that is just fast enough to beat his man and controlled enough for him to read the situation with precision. The lefty also has a more-than-reliable jumper, which he used to make big shots throughout the event. Marshall has a knack for delivering the basketball with impeccable timing. Don't be surprised if every school in the country takes a shot at recruiting this advanced floor general.
New York Gauchos' backcourt

In the tradition of the great Gauchos' teams of the past, the sum of the Gauchos' guards is greater than the parts. But by no means does that diminish the individual abilities of Kemba Walker, Jordan Theodore, Darryl Bryant, Chris Fouch and 2009 prospect Durand Scott. The point of the game is to win, and all five of these guards are winners who know how to unselfishly play their role and enhance the chemistry of their team. Walker is clearly the top prospect, but the other four are always capable of taking over the reigns and making their mark. Theodore can turn a game with his defense, Bryant with his strength, Fouch with his shooting and Scott with his penetration.
Jamychal Green, PF Montgomery (AL) St. Jude
Green highlights

Similar to Samardo Samuels, you know you are going to get a physical and productive effort from Jamychal Green every time he steps onto the court. With a knack for getting deep position in the post, Green can score with a quick turn to either shoulder. He is also going to pick up a fair number of points by beating his man down the court and snagging offensive rebounds outside of his area. He has the potential to become a legitimately polished threat from the high post area, but what he does best is get down and dirty and grind it out with the big boys around the basket.
Greg Monroe, PF Harvey (La.) Helen Cox
Monroe highlights

Playing in a situation that is not always conducive to getting him the ball in the low post, Greg Monroe spent a lot of his time working from the outside to the inside at the Peach Jam. After displaying his prowess down low at the USA Basketball Festival and the LeBron James US Skills Academy, Monroe was successful attacking the basket from the wing and in the open court in North Augusta. From the wing, he worked his way into the middle. If he couldn't get to the basket, he scored on pull-up jumpers or spun back to the baseline. Once Monroe got a head of steam going to the basket with his left hand, he was nearly unstoppable.
Michael Dunigan, C, Chicago (Ill.) Farragut

Having been a defensive force for more than a year on the 17-under circuit, Dunigan began to show signs of a developing offensive game at the LeBron James US Skills Academy. Dunigan carried that momentum down south to the Peach Jam, and had a couple games where he put up big scoring numbers. He is beginning to get a feel for scoring with some touch off powerful low post moves. When his offensive moves are less than fluid, he has a knack for throwing his large frame into defenders and getting to the free-throw line. When he gets a defender on his back side, Dunigan locks him up with his wide frame. That gives his teammates an open driving lane - free of a post man to the basket.

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