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May 27, 2012

Under Armour Saturday: Class of '14 shines

Duncanville, Texas - On Saturday, Under Armour's Are You From Here? Classic played a 15-hour marathon at Duncanville High School. The Harrison twins brought their A game, while the class of 2014 again represented strong with Emmanuel Mudiay, Isaiah Whitehead and Malik Pope.

Texas guards two-step

Two of the top sophomores in the state of Texas, Emmanuel Mudiay and Alex Robinson, have been going at each other for a while now. Saturday they lined up across from each other again with Mudiay lacing them up for Texas Select and Robinson for DJH5.

The No. 5 prospect in the class of 2014, Mudiay is a 6-foot-4 point with creativity off the dribble and superior body control. He is learning to make better decisions, but what he can make happen off the dribble far outweighs any mistakes he may make. Saturday, Mudiay also had his jumper going; if that becomes a consistent part of his game, defenders will be in even bigger trouble than they already are.

Mudiay should be able to take his pick of college programs when it is all said and done and already mentions Texas, North Carolina, Baylor, Kansas, Arizona among many others.

On the other side, Robinson doesn't have the same size at a shade over six-feet tall, but he is a skilled floor general. A heads-up dribbler, Robinson is particularly adept at moving the ball up the floor via long transition chest passes to the wing, and he is a good jump shooter. He's a four-star prospect and being pursued heavily by the likes of Baylor, TCU, SMU, Houston and all of the other in-state programs. Robinson also mentioned Arizona as a school of interest.

Papel tendencies

During April's live period, we got enough of a look at 2014 wing Malik Pope to know that he was easily a four-start talent.

After watching him more closely in Texas, it's clear that the long and rangy 6-foot-7 sophomore is deserving of that status and possibly even more when it's all said and done.

Because he is tall and has length, Pope has the look of a kid who has probably played most of his basketball life in the paint. However, he has true wing skills and shows the ability to hit pull-up jump shots, slash on the break and move his feet defensively in space against smaller players.

Pope appears to be a prospect who is on the verge of a breakout summer and has already drawn offers from USC, Baylor, Gonzaga, Boise State, Washington, Colorado and UNLV to along with interest from Cal, Arizona and many others.

Harrison twins continue to back up the hype

Class of 2013 twins Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison would have fit in nicely on the Bad Boy-era Detroit Pistons.

The 6-foot-5 five-stars embrace games that are physical and couple their size and strength with a high level of skill. Saturday, point guard Andrew looked like somebody had upset him as he relentlessly drove the lane and bullied his way to the free throw line with regularity.

Aaron can slide over and play the point if needed but is a scorer by nature. He likes to dribble into pull-up threes, prefers driving baseline when possible and, like his brother, seems to get to the charity stripe a lot.

Of course, none of this is new. The twins have long been considered among the class of 2013's elite players, and they only solidified that.

Quick hitters

Juice All-Stars shooting guard Isaiah Whitehead was a beast all day long. Defenders have to know that the 6-foot-4 2014 wing is going to put the ball on the floor and attack. Still, they don't often stop him. He spins and gathers, is taking better shots and is just enough of a threat as a jump shooter to keep defenders on their heels.

Given what they did this past season and how they play together on the grassroots circuit, Lone Peak is going to be nearly impossible to beat in their home state of Utah next year. They may be a legitimate top 10 national team.

Playing in Duncanville as the Utah Reign, the crew from Utah was impressive before falling in the playoffs to KC Run GMC. BYU-bound guards Nick Emery and T.J. Haws can really create off the dribble, and they are both deadly shooters who play fast but under control. On the interior, another BYU commitment, Eric Mika, plays a robust, physical game. A three-star prospect, Mika will be in the discussion for the 2013 Rivals150.

Dwayne Morgan is a legit prospect. The 6-foot-7 small forward can really shoot the ball from mid-range, moves fluidly and doesn't mind playing in the post when matchups often have him playing as a four-man. He's starting to show more aggression on the offensive end, and from a confidence standpoint he's a totally different kid than the one we first saw in October at USA Basketball.

Junior Etou will play high-major basketball because he has two things about him that coaches love: He plays with a high level of physicality, and the DC Assault power forward is a hard charging rebounder with strong hands. Maryland got a good one in Damonte Dodd. A 2012 prospect who may need a prep year, Dodd is 6-foot-9, plays above the rim and has a frame that will be able to carry the bulk he'll need to play in the ACC.

We-R-1 sophomore shooting guard Todd Hughes is intriguing. A 6-foot-2 shooting guard from Hockessin (Del.) Sanford School, he gets buckets in the flow of the game and is a natural scorer. A good athlete who attacks with baseline drives, Hughes is also a dangerous three-point shooter. Also on We-R-1, freshman wing Derrick Jones from Archbishop Carroll is one to watch. The 6-foot-5 jumping jack is more athlete than player right now, but his first step is quick and his bounce is considerable.

Like their counterparts in the 17-and-under division, Sports U/Team Izod's 16-and-under crew is built around toughness. Combo guard Cheddi Mosley was good and wing Wade Baldwin looks to be a perimeter player with a compact stroke. The biggest guy on the team, Quadri Moore, can eat space but also likes to step out and shoot threes.

The Team Loaded trio of Caleb Martin, Cody Martin and B.J. Stith was again impressive. Perhaps most impressive is that they play so well together and compliment each other's skill level.

Eric Bossi is the National Recruiting Analyst for Rivals.com. He can be reached at eric_bossi@yahoo.com. You can follow him on Twitter @ebosshoops.

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