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Heaven can wait (cont.)

Posted: Thursday March 31, 2005 1:54PM; Updated: Friday April 1, 2005 12:43AM
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Monta Ellis
Monta Ellis' 3-for-10 night from the floor was enough to get the Mississippi scoring dynamo to throw his hands up in despair.

• Green, a 6-foot-8 small forward from Houston's Gulf Shores Academy, is probably the top overall prep prospect. The MVP of the 2004 Reebok ABCD camp and the winner of the McDonald's Slam Dunk Contest, he boasts exceptional athleticism and quickness. He also possesses an impressive shooting stroke, which he used to rack up a game-high 24 points (including six-of-nine from 3-point range) for his East team on Wednesday. However, Green's shooting can be streaky, and some scouts wonder if he does enough in other facets of the game. On Wednesday he had just one rebound and not a single assist to go with his 24 points. "Great athlete, but I'm not sure he really knows how to play the game," one scout said.

Monta Ellis, a 6-3 combo guard from Lanier High School in Jackson, Miss., also could be lottery-bound. A gifted athlete with a quick release, he averaged 41.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists for his high school team. Some say he might be the best pure scorer to come out of high school since Dajuan Wagner. But Ellis, listed at 189 pounds, appears too thin to bang with the NBA types now. He's also a tweener, not skilled enough as a ball-handler to be a point guard and not tall enough to be shooting guard. He also did not shoot well on Wednesday night, hitting just 3-of-10 (one-of-five from downtown), though he did show NBA-type acceleration on one drive through the lane.

Ellis has committed to Mississippi State, but will likely turn pro if he thinks he'll go in the first 15 of the draft. One Internet scouting site has him ranked as third best shooting guard (behind Rashad McCants of North Carolina and Antoine Wright of Texas A&M).

Louis Williams, a 6-2 guard from South Gwinnett High School in Snellville, Ga., boasts a 40-inch vertical leap and a quick first step that has drawn comparisons to Allen Iverson. He showed he could shoot on Wednesday, knocking down a couple of long jumpers early en route to a 14-point night. However, he is thin like Ellis and scouts wonder whether he can defend shooting guards. Williams is committed to Georgia, but is said to be leaning toward coming out if he believes he'll go mid-first round or better. As of now, the consensus among NBA types is that it appears unlikely he'd go that high.

Martell Webster, a 6-7 swingman from Seattle Prep who is committed to Washington, could be the sleeper in the McDonald's field. Though not as highly-touted as some of the others, he is an exceptional athlete with a more NBA-ready body. He dazzled early on Wednesday night, hitting two long jumpers and putting the ball on the floor for a nifty baseline up-and-under. He also was smooth, alert and quick off his feet. Webster, who finished with 16 points and six boards, looked as good as any prospect on the floor.