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May 30, 2012

Under Armour Dallas: What we learned

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Over the weekend, Under Armour's Are You From Here? Classic offered a detailed look into UA's top sponsored programs. Today, we take one final look back at the weekend and discuss some of what we learned.

Harrison twins are as good as advertised

Not that it came as a surprise, but 6-foot-5 twins Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison of the Houston Defenders were terrific the entire weekend. And when Andrew went down with an ankle injury on Sunday, Aaron raised his game another level.

In fact, Aaron was so good that it raises an interesting debate. Currently, Andrew sits at No. 2 in the 2013 Rivals150 while Aaron trails him at No. 5 nationally. Separating them is tough and while Andrew has generally been the higher ranked of the duo, perhaps Aaron could overtake him in some rankings.

Aaron generally plays at the two, but the move to the point was an easy one for him. We would have to see Andrew off the ball more to judge this, but perhaps Aaron is slightly more versatile than his brother. Aaron, at the least, is more of a scorer and better/more willing long range shooter.

For his part, Andrew continues to show that he can dominate a game without taking a shot and then turn on his offense late in games. That's the way many of the pros do it and it's easy to see that the Harrison brothers spend a lot of time playing against older, stronger and more experienced competition.

The bottom line is this: These guys are really good. On top of that they are highly competitive, pretty sound fundamentally and they are both terrific on-the-ball and rotational defenders. Kentucky, Maryland, Baylor or Villanova is getting a heck of a pair.

Pope has significant upside

If they haven't already taken notice - and many of them have - the country's top programs should get themselves familiar with Malik Pope.

The 6-foot-7, class of 2014 wing from Sacramento is having a breakout spring and looks to be just scratching the surface of what he can do.

A fine athlete with exceptional quickness and fluid body control, Pope is rapidly becoming a tall wing capable of attacking from the wing in a half court setting. Already, he's a high level finisher on the break and along the baseline who can drain three-pointers.

Pope will make some mistakes, but that happens with a big kid who isn't used to having a lot of freedom on the perimeter. Also, it's important to note that Pope is pretty young for his class and won't turn 16 until July. So, he's got lots of developing to do physically and with his game.

Pope already has offers from Baylor, Washington, Gonzaga, Boise State, Colorado and UNLV, with interest from California and Arizona among others.

Class of 2014 perimeter players stand out

The rosters in Duncanville were full of rising junior guards and wings (10 of them ranked in the top 50 nationally in their class) in addition to Pope. The event featured a nice blend of scorers, athletes, skill guys and combos.

One of the best was Minneapolis (Minn.) Robbinsdale Cooper shooting guard Rashad Vaughn of Net Gain Sports. Currently ranked No. 26 nationally, Vaughn is a sharp-shooting, athletic, crafty and clutch off-guard with 6-foot-5 size and excellent length.

For 16 and under division champions Dallas Showtyme, D'Angelo Allen backed up his four-star status. The 6-foot-6 product of Dallas (Texas) Kimball is starting to see his production and skill match his physical tools. He plays hard, plays with athleticism and is productive.

We didn't write about him during the weekend, but Kevon Looney of the 17 and under division champions Milwaukee Rebels was solid as well. He's perhaps more of a combo forward than a pure wing but has face-up skill, is a very good rebounder and plays hard. He just needs to get stronger.

Then of course there was Team Loaded 16's trio of B.J. Stith, Caleb Martin and Cody Martin. Headed to Virginia, Stith is a strong all-around offensive player who understands how to play aggressive basketball without getting out of control. Both have exceptional body control, can play inside and out and all three validated their ranking among 2014's top 50 players.

Also ranked in the top 50 and in attendance and playing well were Isaiah Whitehead of the Juice All-Stars and Dwayne Morgan of B'More's Finest. Whitehead is a hard charging 6-foot-4, off-the-dribble scorer and plays with New York toughness. At 6-foot-7, Morgan plays a lot on the interior for his team but he's a super mid-range jump shooter, sleek athlete and is adding some strength.

No. 5 in the class of 2014, Emmanuel Mudiay played up to his reputation. Fellow Texan point guard Alex Robinson was outstanding as well proving why he's already a four-star prospect and he will definitely be included when the class of 2014 rankings expand.

Others showing flashes included Keita Bates-Diop and Malek Harris of the Illinois Wolves. Bates-Diop is a smooth, rangy wing while Harris is a bit more in your face and aggressive.


Eric Bossi is the National Recruiting Analyst for Rivals.com. He can be reached at eric_bossi@yahoo.com. You can follow him on Twitter @ebosshoops.



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