Sunday, September 19, 1999 He had a bad summer, but when it is all
said and done the player with the most talent and the most
potential in the Class of 2000 is 6'9 Darius Miles from East St.
Louis (H.S.) IL. If you're an NBA General Manager, he's the guy in
this class that you'll wish you had in five years or 10 years.
Don't believe it? Well, just ask 6'9 Eddie Griffin from
Philadelphia (Roman Catholic) PA, who is ranked as the #1 senior in
America by a lot of people, including the HOOP SCOOP. We did ask
Griffin right after Miles broke the tournament scoring record with
41 points in their head-to-head matchup in the semi-finals of the
Five Star Hoop Classic at the College of Staten Island in Staten
Island, NY. Griffin told us that Miles was the best player he's
ever played against. He also thinks Miles is ready for the NBA
right now. Miles, who also had 11 rebounds, 10 assists, and four
blocks while matched up against Griffin, needs to add strength and
bulk and develop more consistency, but there is no question that
he's an amazing talent. But what makes Miles so special are his
incredible quickness and ability to cover so much ground so fast.
He's so explosive going to the hole that he reminds us of
lightning. Then the thunder comes when he gets one of his numerous
slam dunks. He also had four 3-pointers in the semi-finals against
Griffin and he had several more in the championship game. He also
does everything else, including pass and block shots. As a matter
of fact, he's such a great shot blocker that he has a chance to
block any shot at any time. 6'2 Eddie Starks from Miami (Northwest
Christian) FL found that out several times in the championship game
when he penetrated against Miles and ended up eating leather.
However, the biggest reason why Miles was such a dominant force was
that he did something he failed to do all summer. Play hard! The
Bronx Gauchos upset New York Riverside Church by 25 points in the
semi-finals and beat the Illinois Warriors in the championship
game, 71-63, but Miles was still named the MVP of the tournament.
Another player who took his game to another level at the Five-Star
Hoops Classic was 6'1 Jake Sullivan from Oakdale (Tartan) MN, who
was the leading scorer in the tournament with 24.5 ppg. Sullivan,
frequently is compared to former Michigan State All-America Scott
Skiles, and just like Skiles, he's a relentless competitor who
dives for loose balls and always to overachieve. He's also a winner
and he was a big reason why Howard Pulley has emerged into one of
the premier club teams in the nation the last two years. Other
awards went to Griffin, who was named the Best Defender; 6'1 Omar
Cook from Middle Village (Christ the King) NY, who was named the
Best Playmaker; 6'9 Modibo Diarra from Fitchburg (Notre Dame) MA,
who was the named the Best Rebounder; 5'9 Andre Barrett from New
York (Rice) NY, who won the award for Sportmanship; 6'3 Sheiku
Kabba from Bronx (Regional) NY, who won the Mr Hustle Award; and
6'5 Dwayne Wade from Peoria (Richards) IL, who was given a
special award - Mr. Courage - because he was the runnerup for both
Mr Hustle and Best Defender, he was the leading scorer in the
championship game with 24 ppg, and he was one of the biggest
surprises in the tournament.
So was Kabba, who outplayed Cook
in the semi-finals. However, Kabba, who currently is in his 6th
year of high school, still needs several credits to graduate. As a
result, junior college or the playgrounds at someplace like New
York's famous Rucker Park maybe Kabba's future.