Wednesday , Jul , 14 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Will the Next Sebastian Telfair Please Stand Up?

Don’t get it twisted, this isn’t a hype feature, but rather a challenge to answer the simple question of who will be the next “point god” coming out of high school in the near future. Years ago, there was no confusion: Stephon Marbury was king of the floor general position and rightfully earned his rep as “Starbury” after going pro. More recently, ultra talented points such as Marbury’s younger cousin, Sebastian Telfair of Lincoln high school has watched the country last year tune into his rivalry with the tall and silky smooth “pass master” Shaun Livingston from Illinois in their one-on-one battles at the ABCD camp, it was like Monday night wrestling on TNT for all of us, those two “men among boys” were the established elite who duked it out for bragging rights. Those two guys are blazing a trail for the current generation of prep guards hoping to go straight to the pros out of high school.

Will the Next Sebastian Telfair Please Stand Up?

This question brings us to the present, who will carry the torch of having the rep of being the best floor general in all of high school basketball for the class of 2006? The answer is not easy to agree upon. As a prep high school talent evaluator, I interact via email, on the phone, and in person with dozens of the most established scouts in the country, and few if any have really been able to answer if a Telfair/Livingston quality guard will emerge in the near future. My guess is that fans are hoping for a second helping of the dazzling display of passing, showman ship, and wizardry that Telfair showed on ESPN this past year versus Darius Washington.


Personally, I think it all started when Telfair was on the front cover of SLAM Magazine two years ago along with his super phenom buddy LeBron James, the SLAM “take over” issue hooked a million fans and must’ve sold a mint.
 
Since then, “Bassy” as Telfair is called by friends, has appeared on the front cover of Student Sports, Sports Illustrated, and in countless other basketball internet sites. This boy wonder even had a mail box at Linclon high dedicated to collecting his fan’s gushy letters to him. There is so much to be gained by generating enough marketing power to peek the interest of the American people and the world, Telfair signed a 15 million dollar shoe deal before even playing a single NBA game: the take over was for real. Fans of basketball will always have their own hometown and national favorites, but who really rates highest among high school basketball players, who decides who objectively which ones will make to the “final cut list” for such prestigious events as McDonald’s All-American game? Traditionally, online scouting services such as Clark Francis’ site Hoop Scoop, Insiders.com run by Dave Telep, Rivalshoops.com lead by Tim Watts, and a handful other talent evaluation services have trekked unimaginable miles at summer AAU events to cover the play of highly touted players, they recommend and rank on recruitment lists detailing the best players at each position, such recruiting services do this for the opportunity to make money and prestige off subscriptions paid by fans and desperate college coaches a like. Here is my personal take on which players will rise to the top of the ranks to be that “point god slash marquee player” by the time they graduate high school in two years, there is no guarantee that these guys will be a sought after prospect like Telfair was and go straight to the NBA, but I have a strong track record of finding and reporting on top level prep talent as 1st round NBA pick Dorrell Wright among others. First, we spy a real speedster from the Lousianna Bayou who tore it up as a freshman at the ABCD camp last year in D.J. Augustine, he’s a 6-0, 170 lb cold as ice kid that many of the recruitment services consider their #1 prospect as a “pure” point guard – he’s more than effective at distributing the ball. It also helps his case that he leads a very talented New Orleans Jazz AAU team that has the best big man to throw the ball to in Tasmin Mitchell. Augustine’s biggest achievement to date besides having outstanding assist and scoring numbers in high school is that he played in a top 24 game at that the ABCD camp last year, this year many services this past week stated that he came back from a slow start to really solidify his name as one of the best.


Next, Mike Conley Jr. is an incredibly talented player who hails from the “hoosier” state of Indiana, he is the son of 3-time track and field gold medalist Mike Conley Sr. This jet-fast guard has major fortitude, he wore a cast on one hand and still found a way to launch threes without conscience over hapless defenders in tournament games recently, he also has the good fortune of  feeding the ball to his #1 class of 2006 and straight to the pros talented 6-11 Greg Oden, their whole Spiece and Run AAU team is filled with many elite prospects for Conley to distribute the ball to. He averaged a very respectable 3.3 assists per game last week at the Adidas Super Star camp in Georgia against the top competition in the country.



Photo of Darius Logan


Lastly, my personal pick to be that “stand-out” player who possess all the skills necessary to be a great player is named Darius Logan, he’s from Sacramento, California, I’m lucky to get to see him more often than the others because he lives 6 hours up the coast from me. Logan is without a doubt the strongest, most cut, and physical guard in the country bar none, he is also very speedy for a 5-11 and 196 lb kid. Ever since the 9th grade he has proven himself a leader by taking his team to the semi-finals of the state tournament. Unfortunately, the kid has suffered by getting little more than 2 minutes a game because of his coaches decision at Capital Christian in Sacramento to just not play him, this inability to get playing time lead to him being “rusty” by all accounts. It should be noted that Logan and his father were strongly opposed to his high school coach being a part of the recruiting, and everyone can come to their own decision as to why he didn’t get a lot of playing time.


Logan is my pick because this kid has shown great skill and accomplished A LOT for one so young, even my friends at SLAM Magazine could hardly believe what he had been able to pull off.


Last summer, as a freshman in high school he was invited to play at a local Pro Am league in Sacramento, going nose to nose with NBA players such as Bobby Jackson, Tremaine Folks, and Mike Wilkes he averaged nearly a double- double in points and assists! Logan is a real physical specimen just like his father who played for the Dallas Cowboys in the late 80’s, incredibly, the younger Logan can easily run a 4.3 forty yard dash and bench press 285 lbs. Logan also showcased great defense, shooting, and a strong passing game at the Adidas Super Star camp recently.


Many colleges are highly interested in these future hopeful “point gods” because only the winners get ESPN contracts, lose and forfeit your job is the moral of the story. Hopefully, all these exceptionally polite and academically minded kids will have their choice of college to attend.


If you’re interested in finding out more on them just go to Rivalshoops.com, click on 2006 prospects to access their photos and see their personal recruiting information. The nation will be watching, and much is gained by having that “break-out” season that lifts them up to point god status. Good luck to them all because they’re going to need it, when you do get the props of being#1 there is a big fat reward: a huge bull’s eye on your back that everyone will try to hit to make their own fame off of, but hey, if you want to be the next Shaun Livingston or Sebastian Telfair would you want it any other way?