Flyin’ To The Hoop: Top Seniors, Pt. 1
Fresh 15 seniors from Flyin’ To The Hoop.
Dayton, OH served as host to some of the nation’s finest PUNKS over MLK weekend, fielding teams from 10 different states, with over 50 DI ballers stepping foot to Flyin’ To The Hoop. Tournament Director Eric Horstman and his staff did an outstanding job of yielding some of the top national teams to Trent Arena, despite the fact that they were in direct competition with three other tournaments in Ohio and HoopHall in Springfield, Mass. Kudos to the staff for putting together killer accommodations for the media, including two monstrous LCD TVs rockin’ the NFL playoff games and ESPN games from Hoophall, two leather massage chairs, and a catering spread that including ribs, and five kinds of wings for every meal. Wings, ribs, and hoops? What more can you ask for? It was enough to get John Calipari there (well, that plus Brandon Knight).
Here’s a look at the top senior PUNKS who caught our eye:
Brandon Knight | 6-2 | PG | Pine Crest (FL) | 2010
BKnight was the top scorer that the event had to offer, posting an average of 37.5 ppg in his teams two Ws. The fan following that he had was unparalleled, ranging from hundreds of Kentucky fans to UK front man John Calipari himself. The Flawda boy did not disappoint with his showing and gave fans a glimpse of why he’s the top guard in the land. Though he can play the role of pure point guard, he was forced to take on the role of more of a scoring guard with his high school team here. Brandon dropped his 3,000th point here and converting on some ridiculous takes to the rim, finishing acrobatically with either hand around the tin. Topping things off he dropped multiple NBA three pointers and put his gorgeous court vision on display, giving you all you could ask for offensively out of a playmaker. Knight put up a few more threes than we liked (only converting 11-29 from beyond the arc), but that was more so out of necessity due to his team’s lack of scoring threats. Down to Kentucky, Florida, Syracuse, UConn, Miami and Kansas are presently vying for Knight’s services at the moment.
Cory Joseph | 6-3 | PG | Findlay Prep (NV) | 2010
Playing in the late game Saturday before having to jump on a plane to head out to Hoophall on Monday, Joseph gave a solid 14-point performance in a win over Cleveland Benedictine. The Canadian import wasn’t too aggressive at first and looked to play the role of a more traditional playmaker, before stepping up and dropping the majority of his buckets in the second half. Joseph converted on a couple of deep threes, showed his blazing speed, and also forced tons of turnovers on D. Impressive showing from the uncommitted guard who is considering Villanova, UConn, Texas, UNLV and Minnesota.
Tristan Thompson | 6-9 | PF | Findlay Prep (NV) | 2010
Thompson had to make the same trek as Jospeh, but it was probably a little worse for him based on the number of times that he was hammered in the paint on Saturday. He showed off great body control, going coast to coast a number of times and making solid decisions with the rock en route to a 17 and 10 showing. Thompson’s killer footwork and ability to finish with either hand at the rim made him a nightmare to guard for the smaller Benedictine players to defend. After shedding the extra weight that he had in the summer, it appears that T squared is back to his normal self and should make quite the splash next year at Texas.
Adreian Payne | 6-10 | PF | Jefferson Township HS (OH) | 2010
Offering just as much (if not more) long term potential than anyone here, Payne almost led his team to an upset victory over Brandon Knight’s Pine Crest squad. He put the full arsenal on display with his 16-point, 13-rebound, 5-block showing and was a mismatch nightmare out there. The Michigan State recruit was great running the floor, jumps out of the gym, and has a crazy long wingspan. Combine that with the fact that he can drill the three, has nasty court vision, and can finish with either hand and it’s easy to see why he’s a likely McDonald’s All-American. Adreian still has to become more consistent and learn the game a little more, but there’s no denying the pure talent that this dude has.
Gorgui Sy Dieng | 6-9 | PF/C | Huntington Prep (WV) | 2010
Coach Rob Fulford’s latest International gem is Dieng, hailing from the Senegal. He’s got legit size and is further along on the offensive end than most African bigs when they initially come to the states. Armed with a short face-up J and a right handed hook, he has no problem putting points on the board when you throw it to him in the post. Dieng’s presence was really felt on D, where he did his best Dikembe Mutombo impersonation with 15 rebounds and 9 blocks, to go along with his 18 points. There’s no denying that he’s still rough around the edges and far from a polished product, but that hasn’t stopped Louisville, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Georgetown, and Arkansas from asking about him.
Jelan Kendrick | 6-7 | PG/SG/SF | Wheeler (GA) | 2010
Missing the first half with a bum ankle, Kendrick put on a show in the second half and led his team to victory. Kendrick played point guard the entire time he was on the deck, balling out with a 14 point, 5 assist showing in half two. The size and versatility that Kendrick offers from a playmaker has drawn him comparisons to another Memphis (State) star: Penny Hardaway. While we’re not quite ready to go that far yet, dude has great court vision, a slick handle, and an improving J. With his crazy long arms and athleticism, Kendrick also has the potential to be a lockdown defender eventually. Only time will tell if he’s able to he’s able to live up to the expectations that some have set for him at Memphis.
James Bell | 6-5 | SG/SF | Montverde Academy (FL) | 2010
Bell was one of the best scorers that we caught at Flyin’ To The Hoop, getting his shot off on anyone that guarded him. He drilled a number of deep three pointers off of the bounce, had a couple of nice dunks going to the rim, and showed a much better handle from when we last saw him. The athletic power wing hasn’t really learned how to utilize his strength yet in terms of a post-up game, but that will likely come with time once he hits Villanova. Bell could still improve his man to man D, though Jay Wright will certainly help him with that once he hits Philly later this year.