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July 8, 2011

Reebok Breakout Challenge: Day 2

MORE CHALLENGE: Thursday notes | Wed. | Preview

PHILADELPHIA - On day two of the Reebok Breakout Challenge, held on the campus of Philadelphia University, the intensity and overall level of play clearly turned up a few notches. Local point guard Rysheed Jordan continued to dominate action from the point guard position while several others such as Langston Morris-Walker, Neville Fincher, Shep Garner and Nick Stauskas used the camp as an opportunity to put their best foot forward.

Morris-Walker making the most of the moment

On the high school level, there's not much question about who is the man for Berkeley (Calif.) High. The role belongs to 6-foot-5 small forward Langston Morris-Walker. But, when the nation's 138th-ranked player in the class of 2012 rolls with the loaded Oakland Soldiers he plays more of a complimentary role.

Aware of that, Morris-Walker saw the Reebok Breakout Challenge as an opportunity to separate himself as an individual and show what he's capable of. Through two days, camp has gone well for hm.

"Somebody like me, I need things like this," said Morris-Walker of the Breakout Challenge. "I needed this. Playing with a strong team like the Soldiers I'm in the shadows of a lot of five-star guys at times."

A physical wing, Morris-Walker is solid in all aspects of the game and is able to produce without needing a lot of shots. He streaks to the rim in transition, can knock down mid-range jumpers with regularity and is better at creating for himself via the dribble than most people realize.

At least, those are among the types of things he's been able to show in Philadelphia.

"I've been showing coaches some of the things I can do and have been getting a chance to do stuff like play at the one and the two," Morris-Walker told Rivals.com. "I know that I'm a two and a three in college, but it's a really good experience for me to try and break out."

On the recruiting front, Morris-Walker says that he's still open but some schools are starting establish themselves as favorites. Colorado, Utah, San Francisco, Boston College and UTEP have already offered and he feels as if hometown California is on the verge of dropping an offer as well.

More than anything, Morris-Walker has been able to gain some momentum that he hopes will propel him to a strong July and more options.

Other Thursday Breakout Challenge standouts

Josh Newkirk, PG- Newkirk long ago established himself as one of the top athletes at the point guard position in the class of 2013. The four-star was quiet on Wednesday but came to play on Thursday. He pushes the issue in transition, gets to the rim when he wants and is able to finish through contact. Next, he needs to refine his overall game and develop a little bit softer touch but it's clear that he's a high-major prospect.

Darrick Wood, SG- Ranked No. 111 nationally in the class of 2012, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard is a natural scorer. A shooter with deep range, he's a microwave type who is capable of entering a zone and putting up points in a hurry. With John Wall encouraging him from the baseline, he caught fire Thursday night and put together one of the more impressive offensive displays of camp. He drained threes, broke defenders off with crossovers and dunked on people in the lane. Wood claims offers from Oklahoma State (who had an assistant following his every step in Philly), Baylor, Louisville, George Mason, USC and West Virginia. He also listed interest from Oklahoma, UCLA and Arizona and says that USC stood out as a school that he'd like to visit officially.

Nik Stauskas, SG- There didn't seem to be anybody in attendance who didn't mention the Michigan-bound wing when asked to name their favorite players. With his production, overall skill and hard-nosed style he's an easy guy to like.

Neville Fincher, PF- The 6-foot-8 interior player from Teaneck (N.J.) High has really benefited from the Breakout Challenge setting. Playing away from his Playaz Basketball Club team, he's gotten the chance to stand out. He's high level as a rebounder, has length, athleticism and likes to play tough in the lane. His body should easily carry more weight and muscle. He's got offers from Towson and Robert Morris and mentioned that Tennessee, Oklahoma and others have started to sniff around.

Rysheed Jordan, PG- The general consensus at camp is that Jordan appears to be the top prospect in attendance and it's hard to argue with that. At nearly 6-foot-4, he's got great size for the position, is a high-level athlete and gets where he needs to go with the ball. It looked almost too easy for him at times and his floor vision is as good as anybody in the country. His next event will be the NY2LA event in Milwaukee with Philly-based PTP. Expect him to start attracting college basketball's heavy hitters.

More Breakout Challenge notables

Eric Cooper, PG/SG- The future Arizona Wildcat looks like a totally different player than he did just six months ago. Fully recovered from injuries and in much better shape, the 2013 guard has played with confidence. Mid-range jumpers and finishes along the baseline have been his specialty at Reebok.

Ikenna Iroegbu, PG- For the second day in a row, the 2013 four-star proved to be one of the fastest and most elusive floor generals in attendance. A full throttle point guard, he's gotten to the rim at will and has had little trouble making plays for others. Now, the key for Iroegbu is to settle down a little, keep his head up and make sure he converts on the frequent free throws.

Roddy Peters, PG/SG- A class of 2013 combo guard from Ft. Washington (Md.) National Christian, Peters plays a crafty and economical game. He won't blow anybody away with his athleticism, but he's clever with the ball, seems to get to the rim a lot and is a very good finisher in traffic.

Malcolm Hill, SG- Quietly, the 2013 four-star has been very effective with the few touches that he's gotten on the offensive end. A mid-range specialist, he has good size for a two and demonstrates a high basketball IQ.

Mike Kobani, PF- A teammate of Roddy Peters at Natonal Christian, the well-built, 6-foot-7 power forward is an animal on the glass. Long-armed, strong and tough, he bullies opponents in the paint, runs the floor and cares little if he gets a touch on the offensive end. On those occasions he does get a touch, the brute shows surprisingly soft touch.

Markel Crawford, SG- Playing in the shadows of five-star Adonis Thomas, the 6-foot-4 wing has been waiting for his turn. A big-time athlete, Crawford looks ready to take his game to the next level. A transition performer, he will attack the rim and is an excellent rebounder for his size.

Monte Morris, PG- On the second day of camp the Michigan point guard settled in and did some damage. The 6-footer is quick, intelligent and will knock down some shots. He appears to be on track for four-star consideration.

Shep Garner, SG/PG- At times the rising sophomore is a little bit too casual in his approach, but when he turns it on the 6-foot-2 combo can go. He's capable of playing fast, has a tight handle and is armed with a rifle of a jump shot.

Paul Watson, SF- Upper-level WAC, WCC and West Coast programs will want to be sure to get a look at this promising 6-foot-6 wing when he hits the floor with the Compton Magic later this month. A long and wiry athlete, the 2013 wing is a transition finisher with a good jump shot.



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