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July 11, 2007

Rbk U: Final report

PHILADELPHIA - The final bell has sounded and school is out at Rbk U. The first year All-American camp is finished and it went out strong thanks to a big time performance from Olu Ashaolu.

Ashaolu shines on final day

To put it bluntly, Olu Ashaolu kicked some tail and took names. Renardo Sidney, the nation's top prospect in the class of 2009, had no answer for the long and athletic Toronto native. Ashaolu dominated the paint and stuck to his strength as a low post headache en route to a near perfect game on the blocks. The 6-foot-7 forward scored 19 points on seven of eight shooting from the floor (including one for one from deep). He also sunk four free throws.

Ashaolu did a fine job of frustrating Sidney and muscled him around for difficult scores and played tremendous defense on the 6-foot-10 monster. Sidney struggled in the match-up, scoring twice on eight attempts and finished with a quiet and non-descript six points and seven rebounds. Ashaolu set the tone early and put his team up 12 after the first quarter of play. Sidney's squad came back after being down by as many as 18. In a fitting way to close, Ashaolu scored the final bucket that helped his team hold onto the one point victory.

Ashaolu's chemistry with long time Toronto friend Junior Cadougan was prevalent on Tuesday morning. Cadougan, a burly 5-foot-11 point guard, shined as well. He scored 14 points, handed out four assists and tangled it up inside to the tune of seven rebounds. Cadaougan made tough shots and played the game at a high speed.

On the recruiting side of things, Ashaolu said he's looking at making the shoe fits before claiming a solid commitment to Rutgers. He says he is still considering the Scarlett Knights, and coach Fred Hill and company were certainly there to see and be seen.

Final day standouts

New York forward Kevin Jones closed out his strong camp with another important, and effective, showing. The 6-foot-7 forward has really done a fine job of establishing himself as a go-to scorer and really diversifying his approach on the offensive end of the floor. Jones put in 17 points in the championship game of the event and capped off things on a high note.

Best of Rbk U
Top five Rbk U all-star performers:
1. William Buford 19 points
2. Elliot Williams 18 points
3. Olu Ashaolu 14 points
4. Renaldo Woolridge 17 points
5. Brandon Jennings 8 assists
Justin Brownlee did the same thing as Jones and finished a very effective week like the way started it with power, athleticism and pure hustle. The 6-foot-6 forward rumbled away to the tune of 16 points, six rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots. The Marietta (Ga.) Covenant Christian product was one of the top overall producers at the event.

Stanford bound Jarrett Mann will be a contributor for the Pac-10 program sooner than later. The 6-foot-4 guard from Delaware is a multi-tasker in the backcourt and can play a number of positions. He's capable of running the point as a part-timer. He can shine as a scorer both in transition and in the half court. The Cardinal have a good one coming to Palo Alto.

As the summer draws to a close and when the high school crawls closer, don't be surprised to hear more about Illinois combo guard Daniel Barnes. Teammates with Iman Shumpert in high school, Barnes is a lot like his home town running mate. The 6-foot-3 knows his position well, runs a proficient game in the backcourt and when it's time to bring out the big guns, he will. On Sunday morning, the class of 2008 guard scored an impressive 21 points and hit on three three-pointers and got into the lane for five rebounds.

Texas big man Quincy Acy came into the camp on a number of regional high-major program radars. He's leaving on the radar of a number of national programs. The 6-foot-7 super freak athlete enjoyed a good week of work by playing with a high motor, big time bounce and a ruggedness that few players at the event wanted to deal with. He's a rebounding machine and proved that in the morning session of games and scored 18 points (all very loud) in the all-star game.

All-star game observations

Traditionally, all-star games are all about transition buckets, highlight plays, dunks, a Costco sized number of turnovers and a lot of bored college coaches. This game was no different but then you have a guy like William Buford. The Ohio State bound guard certainly had his highlights but his were fundamentally based. Buford scored in the midrange, he connected on sweet looking jumpers and didn't get caught up in the up and down showmanship.

Just like Buford, Elliot Williams took a different approach in the all-star setting. Sure, he had his wow moments but he also had moments in the wild, wild west setting that impressed the patient coaches that stuck around for the all-star game. Williams scored whenever he wanted to the tune of 18 points on eight of 12 shooting.

Kentucky forward Darius Miller probably didn't receive the amount of ink he probably deserved with his play from the camp. He was steady from start to finish and showed all of all of the facets to his game. Probably the most impressive part of the 6-foot-6 wing's game was his defensive presence. Long and athletic, Miller matched up very well with taller players in the post and met a number of shots at the rim as a rebounder. He scored 13 points, a rather modest number in this contest, but the way he did it was the most impressive part of his day. Miller continues to show why he will be a nice addition to a winning high-major program.

Washington bound guard Isaiah Thomas shot the ball very well on his trademark pull-up three and connected for three of five attempts en route to 12 points and six assists. But what was even more impressive was his two turnovers in the chaos. He played in control and did a fine job of controlling the pace of his rotation of players.

Brandon Jennings obviously had a play coming into the night's festivities. Shoot less, pass more. The highlight film guard brought out his AND1 game with fancy passes and was happy to share the leather. He gave away eight assists and shot it twice (making both) in the game.

In typical fashion, Renaldo Woolridge closed out the camp the way he has been playing all week. The 6-foot-7 forward was a pure scorer. He finished with a team high 17 points.



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