By Aggrey Sam
Twelve games in two days. Even for me, someone who can go to a good high school game just about every day of the week, the Primetime Shootout was a little overwhelming. The amount of college prospects and outstanding teams from different regions, however, more than made up for the hoops overdose and overpriced concession stand food at Villanova University and Trenton’s Sovereign Bank Arena. The three-day event (I skipped Sunday; had to work out my own little group of future college ballers) is probably the best ball you’ll see on the East Coast during the high school season, but since it was such a huge event, I decided to just do mini-scouting reports on the best prospects I saw. Try to wade through this massive post as best as you can; at the bottom I ranked the best players, in my opinion, at the event.
Friday @ Villanova (Day 1, Philly):
—Neumann-Goretti (PA) 87, St. Augustine (NJ) 57
Tony Chennault, 6-1 freshman, Neumann: One of the top-ranked freshmen in the nation, Chennault didn’t display his scoring ability, but showed a veteran’s maturity with his passing skills and defensive pressure.
Rick Jackson, 6-9 senior, Neumann: The big lefty’s timing on blocking shots, ability to run the floor, rebounding prowess and finishing skills will make Jim Boeheim very happy over the next four years. Still not an elite athlete, no player has developed his talent more than Jackson since I first saw him as a gangly freshman.
Antonio “Scoop”Jardine, 6-2 senior, Neumann: Scoop, also headed to ‘Cuse, has always been able to score with the best of them, but when he thinks pass-first, he goes from an undersized combo guard to one of the nation’s top floor generals. Sure, he can get his shot off from just about anywhere on the floor—25 feet out, floaters in the lane, getting all the way to the cup—but the opposition knows that, too. When the gets his teammates involved, gives good effort on D and mixes in his deadly scoring ability, he looks like a player that will make big noise in the Big East.
Rashad Savage, 6-5 junior, Neumann: Savage, who transferred to N-G before the season, is an excellent glue guy. He uses his strong frame to get the majority of his points on putbacks and easy layups off passes from mostly Scoop, but he showed some savvy making moves in the lane. On the defensive end, he’s invaluable to the Saints, as he’s willing to concentrate on his assignment since he knows his scoring isn’t necessary for the team to win. If he works on expanding his range and develops his handle, he could end up at a mid-major D1 near you.
Eugene Teague: 6-7 junior, St. Augustine: Teague, a widebody (260+), didn’t shy away in his matchup with Jackson. Although outmatched athletically, he showed nimble footwork and solid post moves, including a beautiful running hook across the lane. If he tones up his body and improves his conditioning, don’t be surprised if he has a big summer on the AAU circuit and even better senior year.
Josh Thompson: 6-4 junior, St. Augustine: Thompson appeared to be a wing trying to make the adjustment to being a combo guard, and he didn’t look bad doing it. He had a nice pull-up J, good athleticism and used his size to get into the lane very well. Combine that with his effort on D and he makes for an intriguing prospect.
Jamal Wilson, 6-5 junior, Neumann: Wilson, like most of Neumann’s players, is a kid I’ve seen for years. He has excellent athleticism and seems to relish the challenge of being a defensive stopper, but today wasn’t one of his best offensive showings. When everything is clicking, he’s a slasher that gets to the bucket with ease and can knock down treys when the defense plays off him. Other days, like this, he has lapses on the floor and just doesn’t seem into the game, which is probably why schools recruiting him vary from the ACC to the low-major level. However, he’s just a junior and will have an entire season to be the man when Jardine and Jackson graduate.
—Linden (NJ) 58, American Christian (PA) 55
Tyreke Evans, 6-5 junior, ACS: Missing some key teammates, Evans’ squad probably relied on him a little too much and although he made some dazzling plays, he forced some shots and seemed frustrated by Linden’s D. He still needs to work on that left hand, his defense and moving without the ball, but with his explosive first step, devastating handle, court vision, creativity and great range, he’s going to get his points against anyone on the high school level. Somewhat of a one-dimensional player, with his knack for scoring, not too many coaches are going to be mad at that one dimension.
Ahmad Harris, 5-10 senior, Linden: Harris probably isn’t a kid who’s getting many, if any D1 looks, but his defensive effort on Evans alone should open up a college coach’s eyes on some level.
Jerry Jones, 6-3 senior, Linden: A wing with toughness and some skills, Jones showed good athleticism and the ability to put the ball on the floor, but his outside shooting and work on the glass really stood out.
Darrell Lampley, 5-9 senior, Linden: Lampley provided instant offense with his off-balance, fall-away treys and quick jaunts to the rim. Definitely not a true point guard, he uses his great quickness to his advantage on the defensive side of the ball, as well, also doing a good job on Evans.
Kahlil McDonald, 6-2 senior, ACS: McDonald, a combo guard, took advantage of some of his teammates’ absence to showcase his nice stroke from the outside.
Hamidu Rahman, 6-11 senior, ACS: Rahman looks closer to 6-9 than his listed height and while he isn’t yet refined in the post or always aggressive on the boards or D, as the old adage goes, you can’t teach size.
Desmond Wade, 5-7 junior, Linden: Wade was extremely impressive with his excellent court vision, the ability to suddenly change gears and finish creatively in the lane, his quickness wreaked havoc on ACS. A true point guard who makes the game easy for his teammates, he would be a high-major recruit if he was five inches taller.
Muhammad Wilkerson, 6-6 senior, Linden: Wilkerson is an undersized post player who competed on the boards and is a reliable, if not extremely athletic finisher down low. Like the rest of the Linden squad, he showed no signs of backing down against ACS and even showed he could hit the short J if left open.
—St. Patrick’s (NJ) 71, Chester (PA) 55
Karon Burton, 5-7 junior, Chester: Burton clearly watched a lot of Jameer Nelson’s games growing up, as he plays with the same heart and possesses the same exciting game. While somewhat prone to turnovers and poor shot selection, the little guy zipped around the court with reckless abandon and challenged St. Pat’s defenders like he was a foot taller. Burton clearly savored his matchup against Corey Fisher, and while he didn’t get the W, he acquitted himself very well.
Corey Fisher: 6-1 senior, St. Pat’s: Playing on his future home court, “The Young Bandit” was supremely confident on the floor and even when Chester had some momentum, he always looked in control. Not the quickest guy out there, he set the tempo to his liking, rarely forced the action and only brought out his jaw-dropping handle, dimes and range when necessary. Fisher might be the ’07 Mark Jackson, only smaller and with a better J.
Rahlir Jefferson, 6-6 sophomore, Chester: The long, baby-faced Jefferson didn’t have much of an impact as a scorer, but showcased the tools that have made high-major programs take notice of him already. While he still needs to add strength, he brings to the table tenacity on the boards, quick feet, a sound basketball IQ and a good shooting touch.
Russell Johnson, 6-6 junior, Chester: Johnson has excellent size and athleticism for a wing, but his normally solid outside shot wasn’t falling against St. Pat’s. Still, if he continues to develop his game and fill out, he should be a college prospect that bears watching.
Jeff Robinson: 6-6 senior, St. Pat’s: Robinson’s stroke was potent, he used his hops to intimidate on D and was his usual high-flying self on finishes, mostly courtesy of Fisher’s dimes. A player who excels in transition, if the Memphis-bound monster athlete improves his handle and in-between game, he could be making a lot of money one day.
Nasir Robinson, 6-5 junior, Chester: “Nas,” who transferred from American Christian to Chester before the season, had a solid, but not dominant performance. As physical as they come, he had some trouble with free throws and finishing against St. Pat’s on the inside, but did a nice job on the boards, particularly on the defensive end, after which he would often start the Chester transition game. With work on his range, handle, and finesse game, he could become a star for Pitt in college.
Dexter Strickland, 6-3 sophomore, St. Pat’s: Strickland, a top-ranked player in the class of 2009, is as smooth as they come, as well as a willing defender and very good athlete. He didn’t put up big numbers, some of which can be attributed to playing with two seniors as dominant as Fisher and Robinson. He’s a combo guard right now, but Strick’s feel for the game and unselfishness scream future point.
Quintrell Thomas, 6-8 junior, St. Pat’s: Thomas is simply a workhorse for St. Pat’s, and did all the dirty work on the inside against Chester. While he was a beast on the boards and erased shots on D, he showed the athleticism and skill in the post to be more than a clean-up man.
—Oak Hill (VA) 99, Prep Charter (PA) 66
Terrance Boyd, 6-5 sophomore, Oak Hill: Boyd is only a youngster, but he already has a chiseled, college-ready frame at about 240 pounds. I didn’t see much from him as far as shooting range or ball-handling ability, but he has good athleticism and rebounded well and finished in transition and in the half-court off dimes from the likes of Jennings.
Parrish Grant, 6-1 sophomore, PC: Grant is a kid I’ve seen often in Philly, and while he seemed a little overmatched by Oak Hill’s D, he has good basketball IQ and can run an offense. Once he puts on some weight, he’ll be able to finish his drives better, a necessary addition to his already solid game.
Brandon Jennings, 6-1 junior, Oak Hill: Jennings, the top junior point guard in the country, showed out in this one. He started the game with a powerful bang on the break that surprised the crowd, and it only got better from there. No one on Prep Charter could stop him from getting to the hole and his jumper was money from deep, but his precocious handle and court vision justified the “next Kenny Anderson with more hops” hype he gets. Oh yeah, his between-the-legs dunk in the somewhat lackluster dunk contest after the game made it clear how explosive of an athlete he is.
Alex Legion, 6-5 senior, Oak Hill: Legion is somewhat of the third wheel in Oak Hill’s explosive backcourt, but on just about any other team, he’d be that dude. His primary weapon is his wet J, which the Michigan-bound swingman used to splash water in the face of whoever was checking him all night.
Marcus Morris, 6-9 senior, PC: “Wing Twin” wasn’t at his best on this night, but he displayed his versatility and legit three-point range. In this run-and-gun game, he showed his passing and ball-handling ability, but I wouldn’t call him a top-level athlete and the expected year of prep school he’s supposed to do next season should help him add strength before heading off to Memphis.
Markieff Morris, 6-10 senior, PC: “Big Twin,” like his brother, has good court vision and prefers the perimeter to the post, but is a little more willing to go to work on the block and is more of a rebounding and shot-blocking force. While he also possesses a good shooting touch, he was much more effective in the paint against Oak Hill.
Nolan Smith, 6-3 senior, Oak Hill: Smith did everything an elite combo guard should against Prep Charter. He shot the ball well, ran the point at times, rebounded on both ends, slashed to the hole and defended with intensity throughout. Typical performance for the future Dukie.
Julian Vaughn, 6-9 senior, Oak Hill: The Florida State recruit wasn’t flashy, but showed a willingness to bang and do the dirty work. While he’s not a high-rising athlete, Vaughn has good length, solid footwork in the post and a soft touch that he can extend out to 15 feet.
Saturday @ Trenton (Day 2, New York/New Jersey):
—Our Savior New American (NY) 54, Hun (NJ) 52
Teeng Akol, 6-11 senior, OSNA: The most highly-regarded of OSNA’s five seven-footers, Akol was hampered by foul trouble. He showed better-than-average ball skills and range for his size, but wasn’t as aggressive as he could have been.
Doug Davis, 5-11 junior, Hun: The well-traveled Davis (I’ve seen him play for three schools now; on that note, he’s called a great kid and excellent student by everyone who knows him) did an excellent job of blending distributing and scoring. He has a pure jumper, good basketball IQ and has a great handle and sense of tempo.
Lance Goulborne, 6-7 junior, Hun: Goulborne, an athletic and well-built prospect, could explode onto the national scene with a productive spring and summer on the AAU circuit. He knocked down trey balls with ease, was very aggressive in getting to rack and just seems like a prototype high-major swingman.
Idris Hilliard, 6-7 senior, Hun: The St. Joseph’s-bound combo forward didn’t put up huge numbers, but he seemed content to battle in the trenches for boards and put-backs on this day. Although he’s a little undersized in the post, he competes at a high level and can use his quickness to outwork bigger foes.
John Suas, 7-2 junior, OSNA: Suas had the best performance of OSNA’s tall imports. He was a major defensive presence, got on the glass and had pretty good big-man fundamentals. With strength and development in the post, particularly footwork, he’ll be a highly sought-after commodity.
—Pennsbury (PA) 54, Academy of the New Church (PA) 50
Lavoy Allen, 6-9 senior, Pennsbury: Allen, who’s headed to my alma mater (Temple), has excellent fundamentals for a big man, but still needs to add weight and polish in the post. However, he showed a good touch and court vision for a post player.
Khalif Foster, 6-3 senior, ANC: Foster, who’s built like a running back, did a little of everything for ANC. He handled the ball, made plays in transition and hit the boards hard, although his outside J, the strongest part of his game, wasn’t at its most accurate.
Sammy Givens, 6-5 junior, ANC: Givens, a long-armed combo forward trying to make the transition to the wing, was a beast. Foul difficulty held him back a bit, but he pushed the ball in the open court, dominated both ends of the glass and made strong moves off the dribble from the wing.
Shannon Givens, 5-10 sophomore, ANC: Sammy’s little brother may not have the same size, but he played with the same tenacity. The stocky floor general was the most dynamic player on the floor and while he got a little too fancy with his passes at times, often they were not only successful, but the right decision. If he grows a couple of inches in the next few years, watch out.
Dalton Pepper, 6-5 sophomore, Pennsbury: Pepper, a nationally-ranked player in the ’09 class, didn’t have his best outing. Still, it’s clear that with his size, handle, athleticism and J, his tools warrant schools like UNC showing early interest.
—Roman Catholic (PA) 68, Montrose Christian (MD) 61 (OT)
Isaiah Armwood, 6-8 sophomore, Montrose: Armwood, the rawest of Montrose’s super sophomore trio, isn’t a scorer yet, but his impact will probably never be measured in just points. With his Plastic Man-like arms, athleticism and aggressiveness, he was a factor on the boards and the defensive end. When he puts on some weight and adds some polish, look for him to rocket up the rankings.
Adrian Bowie, 6-3 senior, Montrose: The Maryland-bound combo guard does a little of everything. Bowie, a lefty, ran the point, hit jumpers off the bounce, defended well and got to the rack. Call him Nolan Smith Lite.
Troy Brewer, 6-4 senior, Montrose: Brewer, Montrose’s designated sniper, lived up to his billing as a pure shooter. He didn’t look bad putting it on the floor, either, and with good size on the wing, he should be a very steady college performer.
Nick Daggett, 6-1 senior, Roman: Daggett, the least heralded of Roman’s army of guards, was a demon on the defensive end. While not the team’s go-to guy, he showed a knack for crashing the offensive boards and turning loose balls into points, as well.
Will Kirkland, 6-5 junior, Roman: Kirkland, part of Roman’s two sets of twins, was everywhere in this one. He took multiple charges, doggedly defended Montrose’s much bigger inside players and hit the outside J.
Tristan Spurlock, 6-6 sophomore, Montrose: Spurlock has the best perimeter skills of Montrose’s sophs, which he made evident with his smooth outside stroke. The size and athleticism are already there, and if he works to improve his decent handle, D and other aspects of his game, he has a chance to be special.
Terrell Vinson, 6-7 sophomore, Montrose: Vinson, a combo forward with solid wing skills and a good build, is the most complete of the super sophs right now. His versatility, rugged inside play and willingness to do the dirty work has to appeal to college coaches, and if he continues to grow, he should be a truly elite prospect.
Shane Walker, 6-10 senior, Montrose: Walker, another Montrose senior headed to Maryland, is still somewhat raw, but played with aggressiveness throughout. He probably won’t put up big numbers as a freshman in the ACC, but his long arms, athleticism and shot-blocking will allow him to contribute.
Brad Wanamaker, 6-4 senior, Roman: Wanamaker’s tenacious style of play, chiseled frame and warrior mentality make him a perfect fit for Pitt, his college destination. He’s a good athlete that excels in transition, shoots the mid-range with proficiency, finishes around the basket, handles and passes well, rebounds like a big man and locks down his man on D. His and-one monster bang in traffic was the best dunk of the event.
Brian Wanamaker, 6-2 senior, Roman: Brad’s twin, while smaller, may be a better defender and competes at least as hard. A combo guard who goes hard to the rack, he possesses all the intangibles coaches love, most of all toughness.
Maalik Wayns, 6-0 sophomore, Roman: Wayns, Roman’s floor general, already makes decisions like a college point guard. He uses his stocky frame to get into the lane, has excellent court vision and knocks down the outside J when he’s open.
—St. Anthony (NJ) 83, St. Mary’s (AZ) 54
Jerryd Bayless, 6-4 senior, St. Mary’s: Bayless, a top-10 player in the nation, was frustrated by the hounding D of the Jersey kids all game. I’ve heard he had a rep as a gunner, but in this game he was probably too unselfish, as he was the only player on his squad capable of matching the quickness and athleticism of St. Anthony. While he struggled, he showed good form and elevation on his J, excellent explosiveness and athleticism and good rebounding ability for a guard, in addition to his excellent size and strength for a combo.
Miles Beatty, 6-3 senior, St. Anthony: Beatty, a power guard who’s headed to GW next season, took a backseat to his younger teammates in this one. He seemed to be very fundamentally sound and could hit the outside J, and like all Bob Hurley’s guards, got to the rack and played good D.
Jiovanny Fontan, 5-11 junior, St. Anthony: “Jio” isn’t a big scorer for the Friars, but does everything you could ask for a true point guard to do. He ran the show flawlessly, strapped up on Bayless the entire game, got his teammates easy buckets with his dimes and made shots when he was open.
Chris Gaston, 6-7 senior, St. Anthony: Gaston isn’t one of Hurley’s better-known players this year, but his appreciation of doing the dirty work on the boards and on D makes him invaluable. He also showed some post-up skills, something that could become a bigger aspect of his game at the next level.
Mike Rosario, 6-2 junior, St. Anthony: The best shooter of St. Anthony’s junior guard trio, Rosario mixed in treys and pull-up jumpers to keep defenders off-balance. Another solid defender, he was explosive in going to the cup and showed good athleticism on break, too.
Travon Woodall, 6-0 junior, St. Anthony: A jet-quick point guard already committed to Pittsburgh, Woodall is as a potent off-the-dribble scorer. He was relentless off penetration and knew when to dump it off or kick it out to his teammates. Sounds simple, but his aggressiveness and creativity make it easy to project him as a top backcourt guy in the Big East in a few years.
—St. Benedict’s (NJ) 86, St. Andrew’s (RI) 64
Joe Accaoui, 5-10 senior, St. Andrew’s: Accaoui, an undersized combo guard with a wet J, was a nightmare to defend with his deep range and quickness. Despite his small stature, he got to the rack and finished over St. Benedict’s tall trees on the inside.
Gregory Echenique, 6-9 sophomore, St. Benedict’s: At 260+ pounds, Echenique was a load on the inside. He didn’t put up amazing stats, but showed good fundamentals, finished strong and was a big factor on the boards and on D.
Andrew Hanson, 5-10 senior, St. Andrew’s: Hanson, with his excellent handle and tremendous quickness, did a great job getting in the lane to either finish or find teammates. More of a pass-first point guard, he also knocked down some shots from the outside.
Tamir Jackson, 6-2 sophomore, St. Benedict’s: Jackson, a highly-ranked sophomore, embraced being a role player for the Gray Bees. An unselfish combo guard with good length and athleticism, he places an emphasis on D and uses his quick first step to slash to the hole.
Zach Rosen, 6-0 junior, St. Benedict’s: Rosen impressed many with his penetrating ability, dynamic passing and pure stroke from deep. A pure point guard with a tight handle, he did a nice job of getting his teammates open looks and easy finishes.
Samardo Samuels, 6-9 junior, St. Benedict’s: Samuels, a top-ranked junior, was a straight monster on the inside. From his multiple dunks and his domination of the glass to his ability to run the floor and block shots, it should be a crime to be that big and agile.
Rakim Sanders, 6-6 senior, St. Andrew’s: Even saddled by foul trouble, the BC-bound Sanders still showed off his complete package of skills. The swingman can shoot the ball from deep, break down his man off the dribble, rebound like a big and elevate to finish over anyone. Add in his defense, effort and 240-pound frame and Jared Dudley’s shoes suddenly don’t look as hard to fill.
Corey Stokes, 6-6 senior, St. Benedict’s: Stokes, a smooth Villanova-bound swingman, hit treys from way out, finished at the rack, played solid D in the win. Never seeming to force the action, his strength and maturity on the floor were beyond his years.
—Schenley (PA) 85, DeMatha (MD) 74
DeJuan Blair, 6-8 senior, Schenley: Blair was an absolute beast in this contest. He did everything for Schenley, including scoring at will down low, seemingly grabbing every board, hitting off teammates for layups, blocking shots and pushing the ball on the break. Sublimely blending both power and touch, Blair’s outlet passes and dimes from the post were more on point than most guards’, and he intimidated by punching DeMatha shots on D and damn near tearing off the rim on the other end. A gentle giant, the good-natured, Pitt-bound big fella really seemed to enjoy himself.
Austin Freeman, 6-4 senior, DeMatha: The future Hoya was a scoring machine, effortlessly getting to the rack, finishing strong in transition, knocking down treys and hitting mid-range jumpers. Freeman’s college-ready body and steady court demeanor bode well for his future.
Jerai Grant, 6-9 senior, DeMatha: Grant, son of former NBA player Harvey, is slated to attend his uncle Horace’s alma mater, Clemson, where he’ll be a good fit for the Tigers’ up-tempo attack. A long, athletic big man who has made strides in developing his post-up game, Grant excelled at running the floor, hitting the boards, finishing strong and blocking shots against Schenley.
D.J. Kennedy, 6-5 senior, Schenley: Kennedy, a versatile wing, had a quiet, but effective performance. A high-level athlete that can handle the ball, finish strong, play tough D, stick the J, pass and rebound, he was a great sidekick to Blair.
Jeff Peterson, 6-0 senior, DeMatha: The Stags’ point guard did a good job with distributing the ball, but he showed he can score when necessary, as well. A solid defender and fundamentally-sound player, Peterson knocked down outside jumpers when left open.
Isaiah Tate, 6-4 senior, DeMatha: Tate, who’s headed to George Mason, displayed good wing skills and the ability to get to the hole or hit the pull-up J. He has good size and athleticism for a wing player and lock up on D, as well.
—St. Patrick’s (NJ) 91, Lincoln (NY) 74
Corey Fisher: Fisher was the clearly the focus on Lincoln’s defensive scheme, but to his credit, he didn’t force anything. Content to let his teammates get the spotlight, the point guard made smart plays and got assists when doubled, but scored when necessary.
Jeff Robinson: With his running mate being keyed on, Robinson got loose against the Railsplitters. The explosive swingman got buckets the way he usually does, on treys and athletic finishes around the basket.
Lance Stephenson, 6-5 sophomore, Lincoln: As much hype as Stephenson receives, he backed it up with his performance against the nation’s top squad. He looked more like a combo or a wing than the point he’s often billed as, but regardless of position, the kid can flat out go. “Sir Lance-A-Lot” used his size, strength, athleticism, body control and handle to get to the rack and finish, and was just as effective on pull-up jumpers and deep treys. Competitive and passionate throughout, he also had the court sense to find open teammates when scoring wasn’t the best option.
Dexter Strickland: The highly-touted Jersey soph didn’t have a breakout game like his BK counterpart, but he did reveal more of his ability. Strick’s assist game was on point, he got way up for some transition bangs and he showed savvy with his overall court sense.
Quintrell Thomas: Thomas also took his game up a notch in this one, becoming a force on the glass, as well as a active presence on D. Offensively, he was an impressive finisher and displayed solid footwork around the hoop.
Brandon Walters, 6-9 senior, Lincoln: Walters, a Seton Hall signee, didn’t put up huge numbers, but he looks to have decent potential down the road. A long shot-blocker with some athleticism, strength and polish will be key in his development.
—Oak Hill (VA) 73, American Christian (PA) 72
Keenan Ellis, 7-0 senior, ACS: A rangy and athletic shot-blocker with the mobility of a guard, the UAB-bound Ellis is far from a finished product, but showed the ability to be an initimidator on D against Oak Hill. He’ll never be a banger and his ball skills need polish, but as a face-up player, rebounder and defensive force, the Indy native and North College Hill (yup, the former home of O.J. Mayo and Bill Walker) transfer has the potential to do some Camby-like things in college, especially if he gets stronger.
Tyreke Evans: “Too Easy” had the crowd going with his dazzling handle, silky J and deep range. He’s a little reliant on having the ball in his hands and D isn’t his strong suit, but in terms of overall talent and the ability to get buckets at will, it’s easy to see what all the hype’s about. By the way, his victimization of Nolan Smith on two different dribble moves not only brought the crowd to its feet, but was replayed repeatedly on the JumboTron.
Michael Glover, 6-6 senior, ACS: Glover, an undersized inside warrior, took no prisoners against Oak Hill’s bigger frontline. The future Seton Hall Pirate dominated the glass, finished strong down low and utilized his quickness, high energy and determination to get things done. Although he ran the floor well and showed signs of being able to play on the wing, he knows his bread is buttered in the paint.
Brandon Jennings: Jennings showed flashes of his great potential, but he didn’t have the brilliant performance he had the night before. He seemed to defer to his senior wings a little more, but he did come up big when it counted, hitting the game-winning free throw with 0.4 on the clock after a controversial foul call.
Alex Legion: Legion was his usual smooth self in this one, but seemed to go into attack mode more often with Evans guarding him. He knocked down mid-range jumpers on the move, stuck a couple treys and slashed to the hole hard.
Nolan Smith: Although he was victimized by Evans’ handle a few times, on the whole, Smith did an admirable job guarding the young phenom. He played his usual all-around game, but was most impressive crashing the boards, running the point and driving to the rack for buckets or drawing fouls. Oh yeah, in the end he outscored Evans (26-23) and got the W.
Josh Spivey, 5-11 junior, ACS: Spivey, a transfer from NYC, did an excellent job guarding Jennings, who seems to be bothered by physical guards who can stay in front of him. Despite his chubby frame, he has good quickness, is unselfish and made sound decisions with the rock in his hands.
Howard “Trey” Thompkins, 6-9 junior, Oak Hill: Thompkins, a top-ranked junior, didn’t dominate in this contest, but was more of a factor on the glass and in the post. He has good size, mobility, touch and range for a big man, but could benefit from more strength and refinement on the block.
As I said earlier, I didn’t attend Sunday’s games in Trenton, but below are the scores of the Day 3’s matchups:
—Patterson (NC) 90, Lawrenceville (NJ) 68
—Rice (NY) 57, Plainfield (NJ) 56
—Harrisburg (PA) 73, Christ the King (NY) 64
—St. Raymond’s (NY) 73, Mount Vernon (NY) 61
—Notre Dame Prep (MA) 67, St. Benedict’s Prep (NJ) 64
—Linden (NJ) 67, Niagara Falls (NY) 57
—Bishop Loughlin (NY) 56, Trenton Catholic (NY) 49
With so many kids in attendance, I know I can’t possibly show love to everyone. Since I try not to get too negative about the youngsters, I’d like to qualify my comments on them by listing who played the best from the two days I attended. I’m usually not big on rankings, but these have more to do with how the kids played than their potential or national status.
Top 10 Primetime performers:
1) DeJuan Blair, Schenley: Simply a dominant presence on both ends. Picture a combination of Zach Randolph’s finesse, touch and footwork, Elton Brand’s rebounding, power and shot-blocking, mixed in with Barkley’s passing from the post, swagger and ball-handling on the break.
2) Lance Stephenson, Lincoln: Even in a losing effort, Stephenson showed why he’s the next great Coney Island and NYC guard. Missed six shots en route to dropping 42.
3) Brad Wanamaker, Roman: One of the most underrated players in the country, Wanamaker showed and proved against national powerhouse Montrose. Unstoppable when going to the rack, defensive-stopper tendencies and a motor that never stops running.
4) Samardo Samuels, St. Benedict’s: An unmovable object around the basket, Samuels gobbles up rebounds like they’re candy. With the way he finishes in the post, he shouldn’t be allowed to be that big and agile.
5) Jeff Robinson, St. Pat’s: Always one of the top athletes in his class, Robinson is on a mission to be known as one of the nation’s best outside shooters, too. A perfect fit for Memphis’ up-and-down style.
6) Antonio “Scoop” Jardine, Neumann: Definitely a scoring point, when Scoop gets his assist game working, he becomes a complete player.
7) Austin Freeman, DeMatha: A tremendous natural scorer who can shoot it from deep, a mature mid-range game and the strength and athleticism to finish strong at the cup.
8) Michael Glover, ACS: Like his big brother Anthony (formerly of St. John’s), he doesn’t let his height interfere with bullying bigger guys around the basket for boards and buckets.
9) Rakim Sanders, St. Andrew’s: Foul trouble slowed him down, but Sanders has all the tools to become BC’s next star: athleticism, an excellent handle, tremendous size and strength and most of all, heart.
10) Nolan Smith, Oak Hill: As steady as they come, Smith is a jack of all trades that defends well, makes jumpers, can run the offense and penetrate.
Honorable Mention (25 other Primetime standouts; in alphabetical order):
–Joe Accaoui, St. Andrew’s
–Troy Brewer, Montrose
–Adrian Bowie, Montrose
–Karon Burton, Chester
–Keenan Ellis, ACS
–Tyreke Evans, ACS
–Corey Fisher, St. Pat’s
–Jiovanny Fontan, St. Anthony
–Sammy Givens, ANC
–Lance Goulbourne, Hun
–Jerai Grant, DeMatha
–Andrew Hanson, St. Andrew’s
–Rick Jackson, Neumann
–Brandon Jennings, Oak Hill
–Alex Legion, Oak Hill
–Jesse Morgan, Prep Charter
–Mike Rosario, St. Anthony
–Tristan Spurlock, Montrose
–Corey Stokes, St. Benedict’s
–Eugene Teague, St. Augustine
–Quintrell Thomas, St. Pat’s
–Terrell Vinson, Montrose
–Desmond Wade, Linden
–Maalik Wayns, Roman
–Travon Woodall, St. Anthony
Sorry for the delay and I hope you enjoyed this massive recap. If anyone was at the event or you’ve seen any of the kids I mentioned, let me know what you think.