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July 12, 2013

Breakout: Maryland-bound duo shines

MORE: Onuaku ready to climb

PHILADELPHIA -- After kids struggled to wake up in early morning games at the second day of Reebok's Breakout Classic on the campus of Philadelphia University, the action got moving as the day wore on. The Maryland bound duo of four-stars Romelo Trimble and Jared Nickens stretched the nets and were among several standouts.

Maryland bound duo can stretch the nets

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon had to feel good watching his committed duo of four-stars Romelo Trimble and Jared Nickens. Both players are smart, both players are tough and both can really shoot the ball from deep.

Trimble has been listed as a point and will play some there as a Terp, but with a penetrating point guard like Roddy Peters already in College Park, Trimble may be even more valuable as a defense-stretching two who can also help out with ball handling duties. A sturdy 6-foot-2 competitor, Trimble is never sped up, makes good decisions and looks like the type of player who lives for the big moment.

Longer and taller than Trimble, Nickens isn't quite the same level of ball handler as his future teammate. But the 6-foot-6 wing from Westtown (Pa.) High is every bit the shooter. A willowy wing scorer who has become dangerous off of two dribbles, Nickens gets his shot off quickly with a nice, high release point. He will have to get stronger, but he is a great fit for what Turgeon already has cooking with his Maryland program.

Right now we would bet on Trimble making a little bit more of an early impact, but it's clear that both he and Nickens should develop into valuable contributors.

Things relatively quiet for five-star

Somewhat surprisingly, things haven't started getting crazy for class of 2015 five-star Derrick Jones. A big-time left-handed athlete with a dangerous stroke from deep, the Radnor (Pa.) Archbishop Carroll product isn't yet a finished product. But the flashes he shows are pretty impressive.

Jones loves to use a shot fake and then makes use of a long and quick first step to get to the rim in a hurry. If a defender challenges him, odds are Jones will come out on top, and he did exactly that on Thursday with one monstrous slam. His ball handling still needs some fine tuning, but it's helpful that he is a threat as a jump shooter.

Still, things haven't gotten too crazy just yet for him on the recruiting front.

"I've gotten a couple of phone calls but it hasn't really been crazy," Jones said. "I feel pretty good about the level of interest though."

According to Jones he's hearing from St. Joseph's, Villanova, Penn State, Syracuse, Kentucky, Kansas, Kansas State and Maryland, among others. Jones said that he garnered an offer from Kentucky on Wednesday night but when asked how the offer was delivered he said that he read on twitter that he had been offered and that the offer had not been delivered by a Kentucky staff member, so we'll hold off on confirming that offer just yet.

Aaron improving, setting his sights on bigs

Through two days of camp, perhaps nobody had played stronger than Louisville-bound Shaqquan Aaron. A lengthy 6-foot-7 wing from Seattle (Wash.) Rainier Beach by way of California, Aaron is at the top of the four-star range and inching ever so close to five-star status.

In the past, Aaron has been content to let it fly from deep. If he was hot, then he was a problem; but if not he became easy to guard. As he did at the recent LeBron James Skills Academy, Aaron was making a noticeable effort to attack off the dribble, which is a good thing. Off the dribble, Aaron is a versatile playmaker for others and scorer. Also, when he plays in that attack mode and gets some easy plays, his jumper seems to start falling as well.

"I'm not taking plays off anymore," said Aaron. "When I'm more active and attacking guys can't relax on me and it helps my teammates out."

In addition to Aaron, Rick Pitino and the Cardinals also hold commitments from two other high end perimeter players in point guard Quentin Snider and Jaquan Lyle. Feeling good about themselves as a dangerous perimeter trio, Aaron said that they are now focused on reeling in one or two quality big men. When pressed, Aaron says that they are really working on five-star big men Myles Turner, Cliff Alexander and Trey Lyles to join them in college.

More Thursday notes from Reebok

A few weeks ago, class of 2014 point guard Josh Perkins announced that he planned to make his decision on his birthday in late August. At Reebok, Perkins said that was still the plan but he left himself some wiggle room saying that he could just end up cutting things down at that point. Perkins also said that he and the nation's top shooting guard, Rashad Vaughn, have been talking more and more recently about possibly ending up at the same school. Things had been looking to be down to UCLA, Kentucky, Gonzaga and Connecticut for Perkins' services. However, he said that Minnesota, USC and Baylor among others were still very much in play and that he would be looking to take some visits in August before either deciding or cutting his list down.

During the first weekend of June, three-star big man Michael Humphrey from Arizona opened some eyes with his length, athleticism and potential. A 6-foot-10 quarterback on the football field, Humphrey has raised his game in just the last month. He hit good-looking jumpers, elevated for dunks, crashed the glass and tossed in a few jump hooks around the rim. Humphrey still has a very slender frame, but his upside is impressive and high-major programs are getting more and more intrigued as they scour the country looking for size.

Chalk up the Reebok experience as a very good one for Northwestern-bound forward Victor Law. The Chicago (Ill.) St. Rita product was very good on Wednesay and Thursday as he played with energy. A four-star with good athleticism in the open court, Law is pretty versatile on the offensive end and seems to understand that he's at his best when he doesn't waste dribbles or hunt too many jumpers. He can slash and make some shots, but he's best playing active around the rim, working the baseline and getting out in transition.

A high-level athlete who can really get to the rim, Dominic Magee has earned his spot in the post-summer Rivals150. The only question is how high he'll rise in the rankings. While he is quite athletic, Magee is also a bit on the wild side and sometimes makes silly turnovers. At the end of the day, though, he's wired to try and make plays, and most coaches will appreciate his desire to make things happen and that they won't have to push him. Magee said again that Oklahoma State was standing out to him and head coach Travis Ford stalked him through two days in Philly.

While many others were looking for an energy boost during the morning games, 6-foot-6 combo forward Mike Nzei was bringing it strong. Physical, athletic and tough, Nzei was all over the glass, finishing at the rim and was often playing with as much energy as his other four teammates combined.

Recently, class of 2015 wing Dwayne Bacon settled on a transfer to Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy for his junior season. With that out of the way, the 6-foot-6 four-star can concentrate on balling, and he was definitely showing flashes Thursday morning. A controlled player, Bacon is strong with the dribble and came to life with a big-time baseline drive and three-pointer when his team needed it most. Far from chopping down his college list or making a decision, Bacon claims offers from the likes of Florida State, UCF, South Florida, Virginia Tech, Old Dominion, Georgia Southern, Baylor, Marquette, Memphis, Xavier, Clemson, DePaul, Oklahoma State, USC, Louisville and Miami.

Currently ranked as a four-star prospect, 6-foot-8 forward Makinde London wasn't as productive as coaches might have hoped through two days of camp. But the potential is obvious and shows in his athleticism and ability to make plays in transition and as a four-man capable of attacking off the dribble. Head coaches from Tulsa, VCU, Tennessee and Vanderbilt were among those to watch him, and he has offers from them to go along with Mississippi State and Tennesse Tech. Wichita State, Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are all keeping tabs as well. Before making a college decision, London must pick a high school and said that Montverde (Fla.) Academy, Dallas (Texas) Prime Prep, Huntington (W.V.) Prep and Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep are all under consideration.

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