Good Samaritan Flyin’ To The Hoop: Top Seniors
Isaiah Austin, Winston Shephard, Gary Harris and others show out in Dayton.
2012 marked the 10-year anniversary of the Good Samaritan Flyin’ To The Hoop tournament and they gave the fans one hell of a show. Adding an extra day of basketball action to their usual three-day slate, 21 games were played over the span of four days at Trent Arena on the campus of Kettering Fairmont HS. Eric Horstman, Branden Cultice, and Co. did an amazing job of assembling teams from seven different states to show out for the fans. National powerhouses like Findlay Prep, Huntington Prep, and Grace Prep all drew near sold out crowds. In fact, Huntington Prep had the entire building on their feet before the game even started with the ridiculous dunk show that they were putting on for the 4,000 plus in attendance.
On the court action aside, there may not be a better independently ran event in the country. From the box scores after every game, to the prompt schedule, to the constantly updated website, to the fan interaction, to the accommodations….everything is done at a grade A level. Flyin’ To The Hoop shows the media and coaches mad love, too. They’ve got a hospitality room that offers ribs, wings, chicken bites, desserts, and just about everything else you could imagine in between every game. There is a side room that has two big screen tv’s showing all of the NFL playoff action for Saturday and Sunday, then the ESPN televised games from the HoopHall on Monday. To top it off, there’s a hospitality suite in the host hotel where sponsors, college coaches, high school coaches, and media fraternize into the wee hours of the morning over pizza and drinks. I’ve been showing my face there for four years in a row, and don’t see that changing any time soon.
With that said, here’s a look at some of the top seniors from the 2012 Good Samaritan Flyin’ To The Hoop:
Gary Harris, 6-4, SG, Hamilton Southeastern (IN): There were higher rated players and there were guys who scored more points, but there was no one who captivated the crowd in Dayton the way Gary Harris did. The Michigan State recruit was a videographers dream, combining a handful of threes with multiple power dunks. Two dunks that Harris put down that really stood out were the ridiculous poster that he got seconds into the game and then the sick reverse 360 he got down on the break. More than just an athlete, he played outstanding defense and seemed to do a great job of leading his teammates out there on the court. If he and his Hamilton Southeastern teammates are able to keep up the pressure they applied on D the way they did in Dayton, it’s going to be tough to see anyone beating them once the Indiana state tourney rolls around.
Isaiah Austin, 7-0, PF/C, Grace Prep (TX): The most hyped senior at the event came into Dayton with a rep of not always living up to the lofty expectations that many have of him. The biggest hating that Austin usually receives centers around the fact that he always doesn’t dominate on the offensive end and it was looking like his Twitter feed was going to be blowing up after this game. After a slow start initially against a gritty Thurgood Marshall squad, Austin dominated the second half of the game and was able to carry Grace Prep on his back to a convincing W. Showing off great hands and improved toughness, the Baylor recruit dunked everything he touched in the three second area and had far more blocked shots than the box reflected, giving fans glimpses of the work that he’s going to put in once he touches down in Waco.
Winston Shephard, 6-8, SF, Findlay Prep (NV): Playing with a number of players ranked ahead of him, Winston Shephard was not only the best player for Findlay Prep at Flyin’ To The Hoop, but he was the most versatile player from any team. With the ability to play both small and power forward at the next level, Shepard brings together a package of skills unique from almost every other 6-8 player in the class. His stats from FTTH reflected that, too. 15 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals later Findlay Prep notched another W on their belt. Winston is going to wait it out til the spring before making his collegiate decision, and will be receiving hella love from college coaches until he pledges his allegiance.
Adolphus Washington, 6-6, PF, Cincinnati Taft (OH): When you’re 260 pounds at the high school level, sometimes the refs simply hate on you for being stronger than everyone else on the court. That didn’t stop Adolphus Washinigton from putting up 30 and 9, but he would have gone for 40 easily had the refs not limited his playing time. The Ohio State football recruit is amongst the top 30 football players in the land and while he is generously listed at 6-6 (looks closer to 6-4), he has no problem dominating taller big men with his strength and surprisingly high skill level. Washington will wind up as one of the better big men in the last decade to come from the Queen City and would very likely be welcomed to play basketball for Ohio State, if he desired to.
John Staley, 6-5, PF, Dayton Chaminade Julienne (OH): The high scorer of FTTH was Staley, who hung 34 and 8 on 6-9 Cleveland State recruit Malik London in a winning effort. As unorthodox of a player as you’ll find, he had no problem scoring against bigger defenders with his series of crafty moves on the blocks and ability to finish with either hand. While Staley isn’t a guy you’ll catch on Sportscenter Top-10′s anytime soon, he’s a guy who will be key in Northern Kentucky’s success transitioning to the D-1 level.
Mike Davis, 6-2, SG, Garfield Heights HS (OH): Though he caught an L, there was no denying who the best scorer on the floor regardless of team was. The explosive combo guard was able to get to the rim on anyone and finished a number of nasty dunks of a player of his size when he got to the paint. Committed to Northern Illinois, Davis played some legit D and showed some evidence as to why other MAC schools are going to be sorry that they didn’t offer him a full ride down the road.
Jordan Potts, 5-11, PG, Columbus Northland (OH): There was no denying who the toughest point guard in Dayton was over the weekend. With some serious swag and a heart the size of a 7-footer, Potts led Northland to victory with his 23 points and lockdown D. After playing along side the likely Big Ten freshman of the year Trey Burke for 3 years, the gritty senior showed that he has no problem running the show on a full time basis. UNC-Greensboro got a steal with Potts, who will be integral in turning things around for them after some struggles these past few years.
Devon Scott, 6-9, PF/C, Columbus Northland (OH): Scott pulled off his best Dwight Howard impersonation against Garfield Heights, setting punishing screens and racing right to the rim thereafter. The future Dayton Flyer has shown constant improvement during his time at Northland. Learning the ropes from Jared Sullinger for two years, he now has been given the opportunity to shine for the top program in Columbus. In their win at FTTH, Scott showed off some perimeter skills that weren’t so evident last season, while also maintaining his role of enforcer on D. There’s still plenty of room for improvement with Devon, but the future is looking mighty bright for Dayton.
D.J. Blanks, 6-3, PG/SG Akron SVSM (OH): The only unsigned senior on this list, Blanks continues to show through his senior season that he is worthy of a D-1 scholly. Showing an unbelievable ability to finish with either hand, the ambidextrous combo guard also put the clamps on guys on the defensive end. The largest question that schools have around DJ is the consistency of his J, but everything else he brings to the table is enough to get him to the D-1 level next season, in our eyes.