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May 31, 2007

TOC top Class of 2009 performers

The majority of Rivals.com's coverage at the Tournament of Champions last weekend was focused on the underclassmen.

With a number of players to consider, Justin Young breaks down the top five Class of 2009 players at the event.

Five-star shooting guard Jordan Hamilton was at the top of his game.

Tournament of Champions top Class of 2009 performers
Jordan Hamilton, SG, AAU Team: Lamar Odom I-Can All-Stars

The 6-foot-6 sophomore was not only the top scorer in the class of 2009, the California native led the tournament in scoring at 27.7 points per game in the 17U division. The five-star wing was the best pure jump shooter in the event, and he torched every team that he faced.

In a back-and-forth game against the Westchester Hawks, Hamilton connected for six 3-pointers. The sophomore had it rolling in the midrange as well. He shot over the arms of defenders en route to a 28-point performance and two-point victory.

Hamilton's game was not solely based on jump shots. He handled the ball with little trouble, made good passes and played well above the rim.

The Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey prospect stayed in North Carolina for an unofficial visit to N.C. State. Hamilton has an offer from the Wolfpack as well as Texas, USC, UCLA and Syracuse.

David Loubeau, PF, AAU Team: Team Breakdown 16U

Whenever a big man dominates the paint offensively and defensively, you have to take notice. The 6-foot-8 forward scored 30 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in his team's championship victory in the 16-and-under division.

Loubeau was one of the most productive big men in his age group. The Tampa (Fla.) Westlake Prep prospect was sixth in the age division in scoring at 23.3 points per game. If official rebounds were kept, odds are he would have ranked among the top in that category as well.

His showing at the TOC book-ended a strong spring for the rising junior. He quickly established himself as one of the top power forward prospects in the class of 2009. Programs like Pittsburgh, UCLA, Ohio State, Cincinnati, Texas A&M and Florida are involved with him.

Derrick Favors, PF, AAU Team: Atlanta Celtics

On a team with several other high-major prospects, Favors might have been the best of the bunch last weekend in North Carolina. The 6-foot-8 South Atlanta (Ga.) product certainly lived up to his reputation as a top flight interior defender. He stepped up to the challenge of stopping nearly all of the elite post players that the Celtics faced.

Favors showed more on the offensive end of the floor at the TOC. He averaged 18 points per game and displayed flashes of brilliance down low. He was able to score with both hands and displayed power. He was injured on Sunday, and his presence was certainly missed in a tough loss to King of the Court - runners-up in the event.

On the recruiting front, Favors is carving out a niche for himself as one of the most highly recruited players in the class of 2009. Georgia Tech, Georgia, Florida and Kansas State are the most aggressive at this point, according to those that are close to him. Almost every elite level program has him on the weekly mailing list.

Dante Taylor, PF, AAU Team: National Christian

The light is starting to come on for the four-star 2009 prospect. The 6-foot-8 forward was intriguing in the spring evaluation period, and his confidence continues to grow. While his numbers weren't eye-popping (13.5 points per game), Taylor's play was noteworthy.

He has come a long way since the second half of the high school season. Taylor is now a high-major prospect. He's a beast on the boards (going for double digits more times than not) and quick with the pass up the floor for transition baskets.

Defensively, he still has work to do. With better body conditioning, he should improve his footwork and explosion. Overall, Taylor has a good understanding of his position. Odds are, the Big East and ACC will make him a priority prospect this July.

Dominic Cheek, SG, AAU Team: Playaz

For the third time this spring, Cheek finds himself on a top-five performers list from Rivals.com. The skinny 6-foot-6 shooter has been outstanding in every major event he has played in this year, and the Tournament of Champions may have been his crowning moment.

The top-25 prospect led the 16-and-under division in scoring, a feat that he has been able to accomplish at a number of events this spring. The 6-foot-5, sweet-stroking wing put in 28 points a game.

Cheek's jump shot is outstanding. He's improving his ball-handling skills, and has proved that he can competently play the point.

Clearly one of the elite level scorers in the class of 2009, Cheek will only get better at. St. Anthony in New Jersey. Cheek's recruitment includes interest from Florida, Villanova, Connecticut, Maryland, Rutgers, North Carolina and Syracuse.

Inside the numbers: The leaders

Lorenzo Brown of Team Dickerson was the second leading class of 2009 scorer in the 17U division. The Georgia guard averaged 20 points per game.

South Carolina forward Milton Jennings of Beach Ball Select and Team Philly guard Malik Wayans averaged 19 points a contest. Lance Stephenson of the Juice All-Stars averaged 18.3 a game.

Cheek tied Wisconsin Playground Warriors guard Johnnie Lacy with an average of 28 points per game - tops in the 16U division. Both guards were outstanding from beyond the 3-point arc.

Maryland area forward Isaiah Philmore put in 26.8 points per game and played very well for the Delaware Sharpshooters. Charleston, S.C., wing Khris Middleton averaged 25 points a contest for the Carolina Celtics.



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