One of the best experiences of the Boo Williams Invitational was getting a chance to take a good look at some of the top younger players in the event. With the 16 and 15 and under division being played just a walk across the hallway, we had a chance to see some of the top players in the class of 2011 and beyond.
Here are some of the players that truly stood out.
When the game was on the line, the 6-foot-2 floor general from Winter Park (Fla.) did what all the great ones do. He got the ball in his hands and he went to work. Rivers, the son of Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, knocked down a game-winning three-pointer in pool play. In the 16U semi-finals, his steal and lay-up in overtime helped seal the win.
Rivers was Mr. Big Shot in key moments, making a pair of plays that guaranteed his team's victory. His play helped Team STAT claim the 16 and under division. As one of the youngest players in the 16U division, Rivers played a poised game throughout. Rivers is as good as a point guard as you'll find and lived up to his big reputation coming into the Boo Williams Invitational.
In a 16-minute stretch, McAdoo looked like the best player in the entire tournament on Sunday morning. The 6-foot-7 forward was absolutely dominant. He scored in the post with a beautiful turn-around hook shot. A possession later, he faced up on the baseline and buried the jumper. A little later, he made a steal, passed it ahead, ran the floor and was rewarded for a two-handed flush.
McAdoo scored 24 points in the first half of the 15 and under semi-finals and didn't need to even be on the floor in the second stanza. He made his point. Clearly a high-major talent, McAdoo has all of the makings of an elite player in the 2011. His debut on the big national stage was outstanding.
Talk about a big time performance in a big time game. That's what the 6-foot guard seemed to do in the title game of the 15 and under division. Saunders hit big three-pointer after big three-pointer to help his team claim the victory.
Saunders scored 27 points in the title game and withstood a comeback from the host team Boo Williams. He was confident and had a killer instinct in this game. Saunders has great weapons to work with on his talented team. The locals in the Sunshine State have sung his praises all season. It is easy to see why.
Here's the deal ? the 6-foot-5 lefty has not played in a high school game yet. He's only a 2012 prospect. Without spending too many words to over-hype the young man, understand that he was one of the top pure prospects in the 16 and 15 and under divisions.
Anderson drips upside with his great frame, big time athleticism and range way beyond the three-point line. He's in the mold of a point forward and will certainly be a name that is talked about for many years to come.
Playing on a team with at least seven Division I prospects, Harper had to find the time to pick his spots. He picked a great time to show what he is capable of. Harper was the lone bright spot for Boo Williams in the 15 and under division game as far as the frontcourt players go.
Team Florida contained McAdoo, the best player in the 15U division, but stopping Harper proved to be difficult. Harper is a big body on the blocks in the younger division and he played extremely well in one-on-one situations down low. Harper showed he can go inside and out. The talent is just waiting to be tapped into with him. His upside is outstanding.
Guys like Leonard are always fun to stumble upon. The original plan was to watch the Baltimore Stars 16 and under team play on Saturday to see the handful of prospects on that squad. It turned out the best player on the floor for that game was Leonard.
He lit up the Stars for 37 points, including 24 points in the first half. The 6-foot-3 guard from J.L. Mann (S.C.) High School hit seven three-pointers in the defeat. He's a long and lanky scorer that has solid ball-handling skills and knows how to get his own shot. Just a class of 2011 prospect, Leonard has the tools to be a very good one down the road.