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November 7, 2011

What we learned: Elite 14 Showcase

MORE ELITE 14: Recap | Spotlight on Marcus Foster

Over the weekend, the Elite 14 Showcase took place on the campus of Hirschi High in Wichita Falls, Texas. The event was loaded with regional talent and we take a look back at what we learned.

1. Grace Prep is loaded and Jordan Mickey has taken the next step

There aren't many high school programs in the country as loaded as Ray Forsett's group at Arlington (Texas) Grace Prep. In its starting five, AGP rolls out the class of 2012's fifth and 89th ranked players in Isaiah Austin and Jelon Hornbeak, 2013's No. 71 and No. 75-ranked Karviar Shepherd and Jordan Mickey along with Emmanuel Mudiay who ranks No. 3 nationally in the class of 2014.

If that isn't enough, sophomore guards Pat Birt and Micah Seaborn will also be Division-I players. At times, every player on the roster did things in Wichita Falls, however it is 2013's Jordan Mickey who has made the biggest strides.

Always well-known for his athleticism, Mickey is a fluid 6-foot-7 kid who is a thoroughbred in the open floor. A quick leaper with length, his game used to be about dunks and blocked shots. Now, he's playing more of a combo forward role and can step out and shoot the ball a bit, handles much better and is becoming a playmaker for others. If he plays like he did in Wichita Falls all winter and into the spring, Mickey will surely make a big climb up the rankings.

2. Oklahoma is prioritizing regional talent

Since taking the job at Oklahoma, Lon Kruger and his staff have made it quite clear that their recruiting base is going to extend from Dallas up I-35 to Kansas City. They haven't yet scored in the KC area, but in the class of 2012 they grabbed Jelon Hornbeak (Dallas) and Buddy Hield (Wichita) out of that corridor of focus.

At the Elite 14, Oklahoma was the only staff we saw with the full compliment of three coaches in attendance. Kruger was joined by a pair of assistants and he needed to be because there were several players with either Oklahoma interest or offers on hand.

Among those on hand sporting interest from the Sooners were Grace Prep's Jordan Mickey, Karviar Shepherd and Emmanuel Mudiay who all have offers. Also in attendance with offers from the Sooners were 2013 five-star Julius Randle, 2013 four-star Juwan Parker, 2013 SG Marcus Foster and 2013 point guard Kendal Harris. Other OU targets in attendance included 2014 combo guard Omega Harris, 2014 PG Lourawls Nairn and 2013 power forward Soma Edo and 2015 forward Mickey Mitchell.

3. Summer teammates on the rise

During the summer, 2013 guards Kendal Harris and Marcus Foster team up for a loaded Dallas Mustangs squad. During the winters, they play at different high schools with Harris at Richardson (Texas) Berkner and Foster at Wichita Falls (Texas) Hirschi. After getting a look at each player over the weekend, it is easy to see why each player's stock is on the rise.

After missing the summer with injury, the 6-foot-4 Harris is making a solid return to the floor. Already a ranked three-star who checks in at No. 123 nationally, Harris is putting himself in position to make a rise up the charts. Not only does he have excellent size and versatility, he's got a level of physicality and athleticism that not many point guards in his class have.

Foster currently sits outside of the 2013 rankings but the 6-foot-2 three-star shooting guard is certainly making a case to be included next time around. He can shoot with deep range, is an intense competitor, has a body that will allow him to compete at the next level and he can create his own offense.



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