Newt Oliver Coaches’ Classic Recap
A recap of the St. Ignatius/Huntington Prep showdown.
While road-tripping back through the North, I couldn’t help but scour through the schedules of some of the top high school teams in the area to see if they had something I could go peep before I rolled back to North Carolina. Top-five ranked Huntington Prep out of West Virginia was playing a game at tiny Rio Grande University as a part of the Newt Oliver Coaches’ Clinic, so I figured, Why not?
To get a little background, Newt Oliver put in work as both a player and a coach. After leading the nation in scoring in ’47-48, he began his coaching career and rose to the top. Quickly. At just 25 years old, he led Rio Grande to a 39-0 record and No. 1 ranking in the AP. A legend at the DIII level, Oliver was inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007 and the court at Rio Grande has been named in his honor. The Coaches’ Clinic was more of a basketball showcase, mixing DIII college games with high school games. The local stuff was cool, but it was the national game between Huntington Prep and St. Ignatius Prep out of South Carolina that drew the crowds.
From the tip, it was clear that Huntington Prep had the game at hand as St. Ignatius Prep simply didn’t have enough size to compete with the five high-majors that HP started—Ignatius’ center was the same height as Huntington Prep’s point guard (6-7 Negus Webster-Chan). The length and athleticism brought to the table by Rob Fulford’s team was just too much for St. Ignatius, resulting in a ton of turnovers and offensive rebounds. Though it was close early on, Huntington Prep pulled away for the 121-80 W.
Here’s a look at a few of the guys who really stood out:
Andrew Wiggins, 6-6, SF, Huntington Prep, 2014
The consensus No. 1 sophomore in the country lived up to his rep, finishing with 26 points and walking away with a huge dub. The son of former NBA vet Mitchell Wiggins showed off a more consistent J beyond the arc and seemingly did whatever he wanted on the court. He used his filthy athleticism to smoke cats off of the bounce and finish above the rim, though he didn’t make quite as big of an impact on D as you’d like to see out of athlete of his caliber. Wiggins is arguably the most highly touted player to come out of Canada thus far, and his play this season at Huntington Prep has backed that up.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes, 6-3, PG/SG, Huntington Prep, 2013
A regular on SLAMonline after showing out at last year’s Flyin’ To The Hoop, Rathan-Mayes has a new home at Huntington Prep but the same game that made him such a special prospect. The combo guard shot the lights out from beyond the arc and showed off the sick court vision that allows him to play both guard spots en route to 21 points and 6 assists. Not even ranked in the top 60 on ESPN, this Canadian makes up for the lack of love that he gets from recruiting analysts with all the attention he gets from high-major colleges.
Elijah Macon, 6-9, PF, Huntington Prep, 2012
Playing out of position at center, the Columbus native wasn’t able to show the face-up game that made him one of the nation’s better power forwards but exhibited a power game that you didn’t see too often when he was puttin’ in work at Marion-Franklin. The West Virginia signee was a bully down low, showing off a few powerful drop steps and winding up with five dunks. Expect big things for Macon next year as a Mountaineer, as he will be crucial in filling the void that senior monster power forward Kevin Jones will leave.
Evan Payne, 6-2, SG, Huntington Prep, 2012
Though he only finished with 11 points, Payne had just as big of an impact as anyone for Huntington Prep. The Walsh Jesuit (OH) alum put the clamps on whoever he checked, was hustling all over the floor, and brought an infectious energy that carried over to all of his teammates. Though just 6-2, Evan had four nasty dunks and wowed a number of onlookers in the crowd with the aerial attack that he provided in warmups. As far as colleges are concerned, everything is still up in the air since Payne is still debating a reclass to ’13. But, plenty of high major schools have been inquiring about his services.
Andrew Jordan, 6-5, SF, St. Ignatius Prep, 2012
It’s tough to find a bright spot when you catch a 40-point L, but Jordan was that glimmer of hope with his 22-point performance. The athletic wing was fearless going to the cup against his foes who will nearly all be playing in BCS conferences, attacking the rim at will and playing with an inner city toughness to his game. His jumper still appears to be a work in progress since he really only showed range out to about 17, but he’s should still wind up landing a DI scholly when it’s all said and done, provided that his grades are straight.