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May 26, 2013

Looney lives up to top billing

MORE: Friday at the Chicago Classic

Saturday at the Adidas Chicago Classic saw some new teams, and prospects, emerge as standouts on the circuit. Here's a look at the best of the best from day two.

Feeling Looney

Sometimes in AAU events, there can be added pressure on the top attending prospect to wow the crowd with a memorable performance. Whether five-star Milwaukee Runnin' Rebels forward Kevon Looney felt that pressure is unknown, but he sure did leave the crowd buzzing after a big-time performance in the 8 a.m. session.

The 6-foot-9 combo forward from Milwaukee (Wis.) Hamilton showed a little bit of everything in his versatile arsenal in a matchup with Team Work out of Ohio, finishing with a double-double, more than 20 points and five blocked shots in an overtime win.

With size, length and exceptional athleticism, Looney dominates his opponents by attacking them off of the dribble, scoring in the post or grabbing offensive rebounds for putbacks. Something that Looney isn't known for, but that he excelled at on Saturday, is shooting the ball from deep.

With the Runnin' Rebels trailing in the game, Looney hit back-to-back-to-back 3-point baskets, igniting a run that eventually forced the extra session of basketball. If he could consistently show that ability to step out and knock down the long shot, Looney would truly become one of the most prolific scoring combo forwards in the country.

After the game, the No. 8 prospect from the 2014 Rivals150 said Connecticut and UCLA are the latest schools to jump into his recruitment. He denied rumors that he is a strong Duke lean. Looney said he plans on waiting until the fall before taking more visits and he has yet to make a decision as to when he'll cut his list of schools.

Month on the road

Most top prospects have a school or two that they wish to visit over the summer. But 2014 small forward Milik Yarbrough isn't most prospects.

Yarbrough, a 6-foot-6 wing from Zion (Ill.) Benton, plans on taking as many six visits in June as he attempts to cut his school list before the fall.

Marquette, DePaul, Missouri, Minnesota, Iowa and Loyola Chicago make up the list of campuses that Yarbrough wishes to visit next month. He said he wants to schedule trips to Memphis and Florida for the fall.

The junior had a big game on Saturday afternoon with his Indiana Elite team, showcasing his elite-level athleticism and good power for a wing player.

Yarbrough isn't the most skilled prospect on the circuit, but his effort level helps him make a lot of plays around the rim, where he is known as a consistent producer on the glass. While his offensive game is developing its fine points, Yarbrough has the talent to be a dynamic defender with his athleticism and frame. He could step in right away and defend multiple positions at the college level.

Mid-major madness

In addition to the top prospects in attendance, there were several mid-major prospects who stood out on Saturday. In particular, a trio of scorers stood out the most, as they showed a significant talent for putting the ball in the bucket at will. Here's a look at the three.

Bryant McIntosh: A 6-foot-2 combo guard from Greensburg (Ind.) and the Eric Gordon All-Stars, McIntosh is off the board as an Indiana State commitment. He's one of the top shooters on the Adidas traveling circuit, showing the ability to stroke the deep ball as a spot-up shooter or to find space for a pull-up in the midrange, where he has excellent touch and balance. While his size may have been a concern for bigger schools who saw him as a pure shooting guard prospect, McIntosh has the ability to be a ball handler in spurts at the next level, and he could be an early contributor for the Sycamores.

Sean Sellers: Another pure shooter, and a teammate of McIntosh with Greensburg High School and the Eric Gordon All-Stars, Sellers has good size for a marksman at 6-foot-7 and he has the offensive versatility to play the small or power forward spot at the next level. Not just a shooter, Sellers has become a more explosive athlete in the last year, and he has become better at playing with physicality on the interior on both ends of the court. The 2014 prospect lists Valparaiso, IUPUI, Evansville, Belmont and Ball State among his top suitors, and he has a plethora of other Division I offers at the mid-major level.

Peyton Aldridge: The 6-foot-7 combo forward from Team Work and Leavittsburg (Ohio) LaBrae had a huge outing against the Milwaukee Runnin' Rebels and Looney on Saturday morning, finishing with a team-high 22 points in an overtime loss. Aldridge showed great versatility as a scorer, tallying points off long shots, rim drives, post shots and finishes off of cuts. With a long frame and deceptive athleticism, Aldridge has the potential to play multiple positions at the college level. He looks to be a prototypical stretch forward who can handle the ball. On Monday, after the conclusion of the Chicago Classic, Aldridge will take an unofficial visit to Northwestern. He claims more than a dozen offers from mid-major programs, plus high-major interest from several programs, with Boston College showing the most.

New names

Two class of 2015 prospects you've probably never heard of are Josh Stamps and Malek Harwell. That being said, those two names soon could be listed among the tops in the rising junior class.

First up is Stamps, a 6-foot-4 wing guard from Chicago (Ill.) Curie who plays on the circuit with Team D-Rose. Stamps is a volume scorer who can shoot with just a little open space in the half-court, and he has the ability to handle the ball elusively in space. While he has yet to accumulate a Division I offer, Stamps solidified himself on Saturday as one of the top 2015s in the Windy City. He will likely see a significant boost in his recruitment soon as coaches notice his natural scoring ability.

Next up, Harwell comes from Century (Idaho) High School and travels with Utah Pump-N-Run in AAU. The 6-foot-3 shooting guard is another prolific 3-point shooter with a quick release. Harwell is capable of playing either guard spot, but with his scorer's mentality he's more suited for the two.

With an offer from Utah State, plus interest from Utah, Colorado, Stanford and BYU, Harwell is one of the hottest names in the mountain states.



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