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April 22, 2008

Real Deal top performers

MORE: Real Deal champions crowned | Youngsters take over Real Deal | Rivals.com Hoops Tour

The Real Deal on the Hill was a major success thanks to the star power of some five-star prospects and a handful of top-100 prospects. Looking back on a great weekend in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Rivals.com's Justin Young breaks down the top performers he saw from the star-studded event.

Real Deal Top 2009 Performers
Kenny Boynton, SG, Team Breakdown
There was a moment in the second half in the highly-anticipated matchup between Boynton and fellow five-star guard Lance Stephenson where Boynton hit a big three over the out-stretched arms of the defense, and those that know the Sunshine State star's game well enough knew that the rest of the weekend would be special.

Boynton's big bucket in the big matchup swung the momentum and eventually proved to be a game-changing shot. That bucket also sent a clear message that he was going to be one tough customer each time out for the remainder of the tournament. He proved that with a monster three-pointer at the buzzer against the New York Gauchos that gave Team Breakdown the win and the pass to the championship finals.

Boynton ran out of gas in the title game against the Illinois Warriors but he clearly did enough to help his squad get to the final game. Boynton was simply in another zone in Fayetteville. He stepped up in the moment and was the most dangerous player in the 17 and under division because of his dagger to the heart offensive capabilities.

John Henson, PF, Franchize All-Stars
For the first two days in the tournament, there wasn't a more intriguing player in the Real Deal on the Hill than the 6-foot-10 forward. Henson, an Austin area star, showed off all of the facets of his game. He scored from the wing, in the paint, in the midrange, blocked shots, rebounded, ran the floor and created with the dribble, a new big-time skill added to the arsenal from last summer.

Henson's left hand might be just as effective, if not better than his right hand, his primary hand. His post play was actually more dominant with his off hand (his left) than it was with his right. As a shooter, he looks more confident than he did last July and wasn't afraid to pull up and shoot over the defense. There is a Kevin Durant-meets-Kevin Garnett quality to his game, as one courtside observer noted.

The five-star big man simply ran out of gas on Sunday against the New York Gauchos. Despite his two-point performance, the message was clearly sent. Henson is one of the most unique prospects in the class of 2009 and it could be argued that his ceiling is one of the very best of any player in the country.

DeMarcus Cousins, PF, Birmingham Storm
If there was one thing to learn about the 6-foot-10 five-star prospect this weekend it is this: Cousins makes his teammates better.

The man-sized post can do whatever he wants in the paint whenever he wants to. That has never really been a question mark with him. But there was something else that really stood out at the Real Deal with him. His passing skills sometimes get overlooked because of his sheer size. The big man is great at grabbing the ball off the rim and immediately looking up the floor for the transition score.

An obvious coup for UAB, Cousins has a chance to be one of the true instant impact stars in college as a rookie. Without setting the bar too high, it isn't a reach to say Cousins could even contend for all-conference honors right out of the gate if he continues to keep working on his game.

Shawn Williams, SF, Texas Select
The Texan was having a great time on the Bud Walton Arena floor and his confidence and excitement showed with the way he played over the weekend. In fact, his performance was the best that we've seen from him.

Separating himself from the label of a spot-up shooter, Williams spent a good part of the weekend doing work inside. He played with great energy in the paint and scored at the rim by constantly attacking the rim and going hard at defenders. He showed some toughness as a rebounder, too.

While not the athlete that 2008 McDonald's All-American Chris Singleton is, Williams has a similar game similar to that of the Florida State-bound wing. Williams shot over the defenses thanks to his 6-foot-7 frame and he picked the right times to pick and pop the three ball. His body of work in Fayetteville was impressive.

Durand Scott, SG, New York Gauchos
The beauty of the Gauchos is that any one player can be the star for the team any given weekend. This was Scott's weekend.

Scott's will to win showed through on Sunday in the playoffs. He lit up the Franchize All-Stars for 20-plus points. The next game, he scored most of his buckets in the second half against Team Breakdown in what was the best game of the spring so far this grassroots season.

The 6-foot-4 guard did a little more off the bounce over the weekend than he has done before. If he can continue to diversify his offense, he'll continue to have weekends like he had in Fayetteville.

MORE: Real Deal champions crowned | Youngsters take over Real Deal | Rivals.com Hoops Tour



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