Take control. It's what good coaches want their best players to do all the time. Of course, that doesn't necessarily make it easier for them to pull it off. Rather, the pressure that builds up during a tight game at the highest level of competition many teens have ever played at can throw a wrench in their own development and a team's success. After all, dealing with that kind of in-game stress and pressure is only a natural part of a player's development.
And then there are players like the ones you see below, who have physical gifts so phenomenally developed that they're practically impossible to stop at their current level. They're who InterTubing was made for. Many of them have shown up on this list before, and odds are good they'll land here again in the future. Stay tuned.
• Shaquille Johnson, Alpharetta (Ga.) Milton: Shaq Johnson is pretty well established as the nation's top high school dunker at this point, so his in-game throw-downs really shouldn't shock anyone. Still, a reverse windmill on a pretty routine fast break (i.e., not a full breakaway)? That's nuts.
• Melvin Swift, Houston (Texas) Yates: Looking for the "poster dunk of the week"? This one from Houston stud Melvin Swift (which, to be fair, actually pre-dates this week, but was finally brought to Prep Rally's attention) certainly does the trick. Just check out the reaction of Swift's teammates after he comes down from the rim.
• Wayne Selden, Tilton (N.H.) Tilton School: Wayne Selden is usually overshadowed by his much ballyhooed teammate Nerlens Noel, but the sophomore has plenty of serious skills of his own, all of which are likely to get more of the spotlight once Noel has moved on to the next level. In fact, any questions about Selden's athleticism should be answered quite succinctly with this slam.
• Jamal Worthington, Pikeville (Tenn.) Bledsoe County: Sometimes one athlete really is playing on a higher plane than everyone else in the gym. That certainly seemed to be the case during a game between Bledsoe County and Whitwell in Tennessee earlier this year, when Worthington took over by throwing down seven flushes on Whitwell. Not one of them was less than stellar, either.
• Desmond Ridenour, Cleveland (Ohio) Benedictine: Somehow, Desmond Ridenour only holds scholarship offers from Akron and Kent State, despite being one of the best hoops prospects in the greater Cleveland area and possessing pure athleticism like this. How a handful of other schools can pass on one of the nation's most forceful dunkers is baffling, but right now they appear to be ... and Akron or Kent State are setting themselves up to get a steal of a player.
• Marcus Smart, Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus: Earlier this week, Marcus Smart and his teammate, A.J. Luckey, were featured in Prep Rally for their Justin Bieber singing prowess. This time they're here to showcase their more natural skills ... and prove why trying to defend the duo has proven nearly impossible for other Texas teams this season.
• Eddie Washington III, Placentia (Calif.) El Dorado: If you're going to hit a buzzer-beater and you're going to do it from inside the mid-court line, you might as well deliver it with flair. That's certainly what Washington III pulled off on this clutch, turnaround jumper from behind the 3-point arc which pushed El Dorado's faceoff against Villa Park into overtime.
• Torin Carlson, Mona Shores (Mich.): Speaking of long distance buzzer-beaters, it will be pretty hard to top this one from Mona Shores senior Torin Carlson. No, Mona Shores didn't win, but this bucket at the end of the first quarter was one of the first things witnessed by Carlson's older brother, who had just returned from Afghanistan within an hour of opening tip off. Not too shabby.