HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational: Top Seniors
A number of solid players did their thing in Raleigh.
For 40 years running now, the Holiday Invitational Tournament has been a staple of high school basketball in North Carolina. Held at Raleigh’s Broughton HS, which was home to Pistol Pete, Shavlik Randolph, and former SLAMonline blogger Mark Carroll amongst others, it offers a sick ambiance to go along with a trophy case that any hoophead would die to get a glimpse of. John Wall may be the current king of Raleigh basketball, but the legacy that Pistol Pete left on this area has lasted for generations.
Formerly sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline and referred to by many as “The Glaxo,” HighSchoolOT.com stepped in and picked up the sponsorship this time around. Our friends from Ballislife had a huge presence in the building, ranging from multiple cameras to a stand selling shirts that had dope videos playing on replay. Overall, it was a sick week of hoops with some legit talent from all over the country.
Chapel Hill HS won the Shavlik Randolph Bracket for local HS teams, local power Garner won the the American Airlines Bracket, and it was Ravenscroft who took home the crown of the Summit Hospitality bracket with the toughest field. With teams like that, it was a no-brainer that we were going to see some legit players, so here’s a look at some of the top seniors that the Holiday Invitational had to offer:
Montay Brandon, 6-7, PG/SG/SF, Wesleyan Christian Academy (NC): After doing his thing the last time we saw him at the Elite 80, Montay Brandon seems to have taken his game to another level. With added strength to his naturally big frame, he’s now able to play the one through four on the offensive end and can mix it up in the paint more than ever before. More importantly, Brandon has embraced the potential that he has as a defender and showed everyone that when he was matched up with NC State recruit Rodney Purvis. Th future Florida State Seminole took Wesleyan to the ‘ship and in the process, should see himself shoot up the national recruiting rankings.
Nick Stauskas, 6-6, SG/SF, St. Mark’s (MA): Like Brandon, Stauskas is another guy who will be getting a lot of love after this tourney. The big wing shot the lights out of the ball and surprised a number of cats with his ability to finish above the rim. He solidified himself as a guy who should be in the chatter for the top 75 seniors in the country with his play in Raleigh, capped off when he dropped 28 on future Kansas Jayhawk Andrew White. Much love to Michigan for getting on this Canadian sleeper early in the game, as they would have had to work a whole lot harder had they waited to start recruiting him.
Kaleb Tarczewski, 7-0, C, St. Mark’s (MA): The top center in the class of 2012 left no doubt in the minds of the fans of Raleigh with his play at the Holiday Invitational of why he had so much hype. “The Tarc” straight dominated fellow 7-footer Peter Jurkin and finished with more than 15 dunks over the 3 game span. The Polish import still needs to continue to to hone his back to the basket game (the majority of his buckets come from dunks or right hooks), but the potential that he possesses is enough to give Sean Miller the best big man prospect that he’s ever had to work with in his coaching career.
Rodney Purvis, 6-4, SG/PG, Upper Room Christian Academy (NC): With Upper Room going 2-1 for the week, it was an up and down week for the player who had the biggest “X” on his back of anyone at Broughton. The highlights were there, so was the overall production. He dunked on 7-foot Peter Jurkin so bad that fans went into hysteria in the stands…during a game played at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. The downside was that his team lost in a HYPED matchup against Wesleyan Christian Academy out of High Point, who boasts the three-headed monster of guards JaQuel Richmond, Theo Pinson, and Montay Brandon. Add in a few relatively low shooting percentages and you see why some were overly critical of the top player in the state on the weekend, but in the grand scheme of things, Purvis’ play at the 2011 Holiday Invitational won’t have any affect on the impact that he’s going to have at NC State as a freshman.
Rasheed Suliamon, 6-5, SG, Strake Jesuit (TX): Battling a nasty illness, Sulimon still made the trip to NC to play in front of Duke fans despite clearly not being 100 percent out on the floor. After two relatively s0-so games, the Houston native rebounded back with a 28 point showing and victory before flying back to Houston. Local fans who had never seen him play were amazed by his improved handle and picture perfect pull-up J. Having been featured in SLAM 154, he’s a guy who has been on our radar for a minute now, so this tourney didn’t change our minds about the impact that he’ll have once he lands at Cameron.
Peter Jurkin, 7-0, C, United Faith Christian Academy (NC): Though he lost the individual war against Tarczewski, Jurkin showed some reminders of the monster that he was as a sophomore. Missing nearly an entire year with a leg injury, it’s clear to anyone observing the Indiana signee that he’s not quite back to 100 percent. There were some very bright spots, though. Peter appeared much more confident when he received the ball down low and made a few nimble moves that he certainly couldn’t have made two years ago. While the explosiveness isn’t there vertically, he compensated with improved timing. Plenty of work still needs to be done in a number of areas, but steps are being taken in the right direction for Jurkin to develop into a nice player for the Hoosiers.
Braxton Ogbueze, 6-0, PG, United Faith Christian Academy (NC): The scoring point guard put up some big numbers in Raleigh, though his team suffered a pair of disappointing defeats to Ravenscroft and Upper Room. In their victory against St. Mark’s, Ogbueze put in work and dropped the game winning bucket with a few seconds left on the clock. There aren’t many lead guards who can score with him, so heading to play for a coach who loves guards who can put points on the board is a major-plus. We’d love to see him get other guys involved a little more, but if his style of play was enough for Florida to take him, who are we to argue?