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July 29, 2008ORLANDO -- The AAU Nationals is the perfect place to find sleepers from across the country. The main objective of the day was to look for guys that may not receive a lot of ink during the spring and summer period. There were a couple of surprises from Tuesday's action.
Prior to the travel basketball period in April, there were few people that knew who Mouphtaou Yarou was.
Now in the last week of July, the 6-foot-9 forward with Cecil Kirk is now one of the most sought after big men in the nation. He should be, too. Yarou is as skilled as any forward in the nation on the low blocks and he can be an absolute beast for defenders to match-up with because of his fluidity on the offensive end of the floor.
Yarou can step out and shoot while run the floor like a madmen and rebound on the defensive end. During one minute stretch, Yarou missed a dunk but ran the floor to be the first guy back on defense. He diverted the shot and sprinted back to be the trailer for a score.
His effort and intensity paired with his offensive skill set make him a McDonald's All-American level prospect. New Mexico State, Villanova, Providence, Vanderbilt and others were out-posted at his game on Tuesday afternoon.
HI, MY NAME IS
Tom Knight is a perfect example of why the AAU Nationals are fun to watch. The 6-foot-8, 235-pound big man from Maine, not your normal basketball hot bed, has been one of the hot names amongst the college coaches this week.
He picked up an offer from Notre Dame on Monday, according to his MBR coach Carl Parker. Patriot League and Ivy League schools have him on their recruiting boards, Parker says, while Davidson, Seton Hall, American, Northeastern, Providence, Michigan, TCU and SMU have all shown interest.
Paired against BABC, a team that MBR has played three times already this year, Knight had a hard time against five-star forward Alex Oriakhi. There were flashes of good things from Knight. The lefty loves the midrange baseline jumper. He's a hard-working post with good things to work with.
Martin Brothers Select always play well in Orlando and things are moving along smoothly for wing Nate Hutcheson. The 6-foot-6 guard scored 15 points for his club in a hard fought win over the Westchester Hawks.
He buried a couple of threes, attacked the rim for scores and showed off his ball-handling and basketball smarts. Mid-level schools dot his list with Albany (offer), Saint Louis (offer), Toledo (offer), Northern Iowa, Wichita State, Drake and Iowa State in hot pursuit, he said.
New Jersey Roadrunners forward Khalil Murphy has been a nice surprise for a number of mid-level programs. The 6-foot-7 forward is not afraid to step out and knock down the perimeter shot but then on the next possession, he'll stick his nose into the paint and a post player.
Rice, St. Bonaventure and Rider have tendered scholarships while Marquette, Indiana, Michigan, Virginia Tech, Texas and Ohio State are looking at him, Murphy says.
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
After shining in Las Vegas, New Jersey Roadrunner guard Kyrie Irving is a must-see guy here in Orlando. The 6-foot-3 combo guard is one of the better 2010 prospects in town and he's playing like a guy that teams need rather than want.
When asked what teams are recruiting him, Irvin said. "All of them?" His response, even though it was a question, would have worked as the answer.
Irving has been a hot prospect amongst the high-majors. Texas A&M, Seton Hall, St. Joseph's and Rutgers have tendered free rides to date. The rest of the schools, he says, are watching him this month and keeping close tabs on the Rivals100 guard. Looks like this one will be a Big East/ACC recruiting battle.
July has been a great month for Jacksonville Lee Bulls big man Patric Young. The 6-foot-8 post blew up after the Reebok All-American camp at the start of the month and sense then, he's been the talk of the Sunshine State.
Young said he's heard from Clemson, Miami, Florida State, Florida, Memphis, Oklahoma State, Maryland, Georgia and Jacksonville since the camp and nearly all of those schools were represented on the sidelines and baselines of his morning game.
Young only scored six points in the match-up. Scoring isn't exactly his forte. He's known primarily for his hustle, his energy and his active body around the cup. The class of 2010 big man still has work to do. His game is coming along nicely and stringing together more productive games is the key in his recruitment right now.
Keith Appling did a little bit of everything in a big win for his R.E.A.C.H. Legends over the Jackson Tigers. The class of 2010 prospect knows how to challenge defenses and make teams work hard to stop his attack.
NOTES FROM THE NOTEPAD
Atlanta All-Stars forward Josh Sparks has attracted the schools from the South and from the academic schools all week long. Georgia Stars big man Terrell Barnes has been playing at a high-level and could be the recipient of some quality mid-level scholarships by next week's time. Team Georgia Elite's Jerome Hamilton continues to look like the best sleeper big man in the Peach State, too.