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20 Jul 2013

10 PLAYERS TO WATCH IN AAU BASKETBALL

Basketball connoisseurs such as Dave Telep don't have to travel far to savor the sweet sounds of the games.

The noise that basketballs make as they are dribbled off hardwood floors. The swishing of nets after successful baskets. The swat of hand to ball after a rejected shot.

The AAU boys basketball national championships this month at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports have it all. With thousands of players, the event piques the interests of college coaches, national recruiting analysts and the casual fan.

"There are such a mass quantity of teams, it's like a scavenger hunt," said Telep, an ESPN recruiting analyst. "Buried within those rosters are good players who may not have had the exposure they deserve."

The 8th Grade Super Showcase and the 9th Grade Super Showcase will conclude Saturday, with the 10th Grade Super Showcase and the 11th Grade Silver Super Showcase starting Friday. The 10th and 11th Grade Nationals will begin next week.

Here are 10 players to watch:

1. Joel Berry

School: Lake Highland
AAU team: Each 1 Teach 1 17U Elite
The Buzz: North Carolina commit is two-time state champion and back-to-back recipient of Florida Mr. Basketball and Gatorade Florida Basketball Player of Year awards. "He's right at the top of all the players that I've competed against," Dr. Phillips coach Anthony Long said of Berry, a guard. "There's no doubt that he's a pro."

2. D'Angelo Russell

School: Montverde Academy
AAU team: E1T1 17U Elite
The Buzz: Shooting guard has committed to Ohio State and teamed with Berry to lead Each 1 Teach 1's 17-under elite squad to Nike Peach Jam title in North Augusta, S.C., this week.

3. Tyus Jones

School: Apple Valley (Minn.)
AAU team: Howard Pulley 17U
The Buzz: Senior point guard is ranked as top-five prospect in Class of 2014 by ESPN and Rivals. "If you're coming to look, the No. 1 point guard in the country will be in the building," Telep said. "He's one of the best, pure point guards to come out of high school since Chris Paul."

4. Bonzie Colson

School: St. Andrew's School, Barrington, R.I.
AAU team: BABC 17U
The Buzz: Telep likes senior power forward because of "blue-collar" style.

5. Alex Owens

School: Oak Ridge
AAU team: E1T1 17U Elite
The Buzz: Bruising junior power forward with NBA body (6 feet 8, 230 pounds) transferred to Oak Ridge from Oldsmar Christian of Pinellas County and holds offers from Florida and Louisville.

6. Antonio Blakeney

School: Oak Ridge
AAU team: E1T1 16U Elite
The Buzz: Junior shooting guard, selected Sarasota area Player of Year as sophomore at Cardinal Mooney, is another transfer with high Division I potential.

7. Matt Milon

School: Oviedo
AAU team: Q6 All-Stars 17 Elite
The Buzz: Oviedo's leading scorer last year with 24 points per game, junior guard has evolved into more than just pure shooter.

8. Boubacar Moungoro

School: Bradenton IMG Academy
AAU team: E1T1 17U Elite
The Buzz: A transfer from West Oaks Academy, athletic guard-forward is ranked as No. 99 overall player in Class of 2014 by ESPN.

9. B.J. Taylor

School: Boone
AAU team: Team M.o.a.M. 17U
The Buzz: Senior point guard holds offer from UCF. "He can score when he has to and pass when he has to," Oviedo coach Ed Kershner said. "He's a lot like Joel Berry in that respect."

10. John Mooney

School: Lake Brantley
AAU team: Nike Team Florida 2016's
The Buzz: Versatile forward averaged double-double as freshman for Patriots and recently received first offer from UCF.

This article was originally posted by the Orlando Sentinel.

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