Wednesday, January 29, 2014

McDonlads All-American game rosters set!

Each year, the announcement of the McDonald's All-American team is one of the most eagerly anticipated announcements in high school basketball. The 2014 team was announced Wednesday night and while we will be taking a closer look at the roster as the April 3rd game approaches, here are some quick notes on the 2014 teams.

East team

Cliff Alexander, 6-9 PF, Chicago Curie Kansas (Rivals rank: 4)
James Blackmon, 6-3 SG, Marion (Ind.) High Indiana (23)
Justin Jackson, 6-7 SF, Houston HCYA North Carolina (10)
Tyus Jones, 6-1 PG, Apple Valley (Minn.) High Duke (5)
Kevon Looney, 6-9 PF, Milwaukee Hamilton UCLA (13)
Theo Pinson, 6-6 SF, High Point (N.C.) Wesleyan North Carolina (19)
D'Angelo Russell, 6-4 SG, Montverde (Fla.) Academy Ohio State (21)
Karl Towns, 6-11 C, Metuchen (N.J.) St. Joseph Kentucky (11)
Romelo Trimble, 6-2 SG, Alexandria (Va.) Bishop O'Connell Maryland (36)
Myles Turner, 6-10 C, Euless (Texas) Trinity Undecided (6)
Isaiah Whitehead, 6-4 SG, Brooklyn Lincoln Seton Hall (14)
Justise Winslow, 6-6 SF, Houston St. John's Duke (9)

West team

Grayson Allen, 6-4 SG, Jacksonville Providence Duke (34)
Joel Berry, 6-0 PG, Orlando Lake Highland North Carolina (25)
Devin Booker, 6-5 SG, Moss Point (Miss.) High Kentucky (30)
Stanley Johnson, 6-7 SF, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei Arizona (3)
Trey Lyles, 6-9 PF, Indianapolis Arsenal Tech Kentucky (8)
Emmanuel Mudiay, 6-4 PG, Dallas Prime Prep SMU (2)
Jahlil Okafor, 6-11 C, Chicago Whitney Young Duke (1)
Kelly Oubre, 6-7 SF, Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep Kansas (12)
Reid Travis, 6-8 PF, Minneapolis De La Salle Stanford (40)
Tyler Ulis, 5-9 PG, Chicago Heights (Ill.) Marian Catholic Kentucky (33)
Rashad Vaughn, 6-5 SG, Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep Undecided (7)
Thomas Welsh, 6-11 C, Los Angeles Loyola UCLA (52)

Intriguing matchups


Top-rated recruit Jahlil Okafor will face a strong challenge against Cliff Alexander.
Three potential matchups that immediately jump out.

The first one is a potential in-game battle between current No. 1 Okafor and one of the people pushing him for that top spot, Alexander. They will both be playing in front of a hometown crowd at the United Center and they both play differing styles of low-post basketball. It will be Okafor's skill and size against Alexander's power and raw athleticism.

The next matchup that we really hope to see is one between the nation's top two point guards. Current No. 2 Mudiay and No. 5 Jones matched up some during the Elite 24 with Mudiay getting the upper hand (though Jones team got the win). Hopefully, we will get a more extended look this time around. Mudiay has the size and athleticism, while Jones has long been thought by some to have an edge in the skill department.

Next, we are curious to see the West's Oubre go against former summer teammates Jackson and Winslow. We saw what they could do together as a terrific trio on the Houston Hoops. Now we are interested to see what happens when Oubre gets a chance to go against a pair of former teammates that he could pass in the rankings after the other two got more early attention.

Final roster notes

Kentucky and Duke each lead the way for most selections with all four of their recruits making the game. North Carolina is next in line with all three of their recruits making the game while Kansas and UCLA are the other programs to have at least two commitments in the game.

Of the 24 players, 17 are currently rated as five-star prospects. The other seven team members are high end four-star prospects. Welsh is currently the lowest ranked prospect to make the team, checking in at No. 52 overall. However, based on the strength of a strong season, Welsh has a chance to finalize a run towards the national top 25 with a good showing in Chicago.

There are only two undecided players who will be competing in the McDonald's All-American game. No. 6 Turner and No. 7 Vaughn are both still available. Turner is considering the likes of Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Texas and others while Vaughn is still considering UNLV, Iowa State, North Carolina, Kansas and Kentucky.

By current ranking, the highest ranked eligible players to not make the game were No. 15 Dwayne Morgan, No. 18 Daniel Hamilton, No. 22 Jaquan Lyle and No. 24 Keita Bates-Diop.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

NEW SUPER PREP POWER POLL - MIDDLE SCHOOL EDITION!

Campbell retains the No. 1 spot.  But McEachern has moved up to No.2.  North Paulding, after falling out of the poll, returns to the top 10 on the strength of their massacre of Sprayberry and victory over Kell.  Kennesaw Mountain re-enters the poll also - upsetting North Paulding in the championship game of the January Jam.

7th Grade Boys CCJBC Top Ten

10.  North Paulding

9.  Kennesaw Mountain

8.   Walton

7.   Wheeler

6.   Etowah

5.   Hillgrove

4.   Pope

3.   John's Creek

2.   McEachern

1.   Campbell

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hoophall Classic boasts impressive talent list

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. As expected, the 2014 Hoophall Classic at Springfield College was both an impressive and important event. Before moving on, we need to take a look back at what we learned during our weekend in Springfield.

Race for No. 1 is wide open


Emmanuel Mudiay is in the running to be the No. 1 player in the class of 2014.
For a while now, 6-foot-11 center Jahlil Okafor of Chicago Whitney Young has had a stranglehold on the top spot in the class of 2014. We aren't yet saying that he has lost that top spot, but his competition is more fierce than ever and it is a pretty wide open race between Okafor and the field.

Although he didn't have his best performance at the Hoophall, current No. 2 Emmanuel Mudiay has been outstanding during his senior year and has characteristics that translate well to the highest levels. At 6-foot-4, the product of Dallas Prime Prep has great size for a point guard, he is a high-end athlete and he has a very developed feel for how to manage a game. Because he does things with such ease, there are times that Mudiay appears to be in cruise control and he could afford to be a little more intense. But, the SMU signee is trending upward.

Probably making the biggest impression was Cliff Alexander. Currently ranked No. 4, the Kansas-bound power forward has been putting up video game numbers all season and doing so in intimidating fashion. He's the guy you would most want on your side in a fight and his teammates have rallied around him and all raised their play as Chicago Curie enjoys a great season.

Bottom line, those three and others are all on relatively equal footing as the class of 2014 heads down the homestretch. The workouts at the postseason All-American games could end up going a long way towards deciding who ultimately emerges as the No. 1 player in 2014.

Trending upward

Because there are no weak sister matchups at the Hoophall, pretty much each and every game featured high level competition. After watching the weekend's action, here are some players that are on an upward trend and could be making moves up the rankings of their respective classes:


De'Jounte Murray should see a bump in his national rank.
De'Jounte Murray: The 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Seattle Rainier Beach has loads of potential. Even without a huge game, it was pretty easy to see that he is ranked too low at No. 92 overall in the class of 2015. He can create, should be a good shooter, crashes the glass and puts pressure on teams with his ability to play fast.

Josh Sharma: A seven-footer at Northfield (Mass.) Mt. Hermon, Sharma is another who is ranked too low in the class of 2015. Currently checking in at No. 87, Sharma has size, abundant athleticism and soft touch that extends to the three-point line. He isn't overly physical, yet and can float in and out of games, but his ceiling is high and he seems to be figuring things out.

Isaac Copeland and Jonah Bolden: The 6-foot-9 Copeland and 6-foot-8 Bolden are now teammates at Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Prep even though Bolden began his senior season at Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep. Regardless, both are slender combo forwards that package athleticism, length and skill that translates to the next level. Headed to Georgetown, Copeland is a pure scorer who can play around the rim or facing up. Ticketed for UCLA, Bolden is more of a rebounder, versatile defender and corner jump shooter. Both can finish in transition, have body types that will be able to add muscle while retaining flexibility once they hit college weight rooms.

Kelly Oubre: The 6-foot-7 southpaw has been on an absolute tear since the end of the summer and will be making a move into the national top 10 in the final rankings if he continues at this pace. The only question is how high can the Kansas signee rise? A push for the national top 5, or at least close to it, doesn't look out of the question at this point.

Paul White: Georgetown fans and coaches have to be feeling good about pairing up White with the previously mentioned Copeland. A 6-foot-8 combo forward from Chicago Whitney Young, White has been a bit of a tease in the past. He would intrigue with his inside/out ability, size and capability of running things out of the high post. Then, he would disappear and make a minimal impact. Those disappearing acts seem to be a thing of the past and White has raised his competitive fire and become a much more consistent performer. He will need to get stronger, but he has bounced back quite impressively from a broken arm that ended the summer between his junior and senior season a bit prematurely.

Hoophall is king

There are a number of outstanding events around the country that are able to attract insane amounts of talent. The City of Palms in Ft. Myers, Fla. is always outstanding. The Tarkanian Classic has emerged as a big time winter event and the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions and Marshall County Hoopfest are probably the best supported events in the country. The list goes on and on.

However, when it comes to one-stop shopping for the most big-time talent and a great atmosphere, the organizers of the Hoophall Classic have created an absolute monster. In effect, they have created the one event that no talent evaluator or national service can afford to miss. Great players, great matchups and it all takes place at the alma mater of James Naismith, what's not to like?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Class of 2015 produce @ Hoophall

SPRINGFIELD, Mas. -- Sunday, a pair of four-star junior shooting guards and a five star big man stole the show at the Hoophall Classic. Jalen Adams and Jalen Coleman had electric scoring outbursts while Cheick Diallo put together a physical triple double. They weren't the only ones making noise.
Jalen Coleman has tightened up his jumper.
Coleman goes off from deep Since the summer, the class of 2015's No. 34 player Jalen Coleman has been in the gym working hard to rebuild his shot. The 6-foot-3 shooting guard at La Porte (Ind.) La Lumiere showed much improved mechanics during December but the deep jumper wasn't falling with regularity. On Sunday, though, those jumpers started going in.
The four-star prospect was on fire from deep as he dropped 28 points on 10-17 field goal shooting and made 8-11 from behind the three point line in a win over Centereach (N.Y.) Our Savior.
Capable of handling the ball and running the point for stretches, Coleman can lay either off the ball or be used as a combo guard capable of helping initiate offense. He has an ideal basketball frame with his long arms and wiry strength. Laterally quick, Coleman is also an outstanding on the ball defender who harasses his opponents into bad shots and turnovers.
After the win, Coleman stressed that he is wide open in the recruiting process. He mentioned Michigan State, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio State, Purdue, Notre Dame, UCLA, Arizona, Illinois, Providence and Cincinnati as having offered, but he's been leaving most of the contact with programs up to his father.
"Lately my dad has been talking to (college coaches)," Coleman told Rivals.com. "I haven't really myself talked to many of the coaches personally.
"I'm just taking it slow right now and focusing on the school year."
Adams is an explosive scorer
During the summer, Ashburnham (Mass.) Cushing combo guard Jalen Adams, showed some serious flashes playing with Mass Rivals. Because of that, the junior was ranked No. 41 nationally in the class of 2015.
The last time Rivals.com saw Adams he had a tough outing. During November's National Prep Showcase he couldn't buy a shot and was a bit out of control. Sunday at the Hoophall, Adams was electrifying. The super athletic 6-foot-1 scorer went for 32 points, 3 assists, five rebounds and three steals while making 12 of his 20 field goal attempts.
Exactly how Adams went about scoring his buckets was most impressive. He made jumpers from deep but where he really excelled was attacking the rim. Adams has as quick a first step as there is in the class of 2015 and is a big time leaper who can finish from all angles once he gets into traffic. His game is all about speed and there are few capable of matching him.
The four-star prospect can be slightly out of control at times, but it is tough to have any issue with a player so aggressive who constantly puts pressure on defenses. Adams has emerged as a major priority for Connecticut and head coach Kevin Ollie was very visible watching him Sunday.
Others involved in the chase for Kansas State, Providence, Syracuse, Boston College, Minnesota, Maryland and more.
Diallo beastly in loss
Our Savior New American took a tough loss to La Lumiere. But, it wasn't for lack of effort on the part of their star big man Cheick Diallo. The No. 8 player in the class of 2015 was outstanding in every aspect during a 18 point, 17 rebound and 10 block effort.
Cheick Diallo is a beastly defender.
A 6-foot-9 center who plays with what seems to be an unlimited supply of energy, Diallo is active, physical and tough on both ends of the floor. In the open floor he is a long strider who runs like a sprinter and around the rim he is quick off his feet. His offense is primarily dunks and short turnarounds, but his footwork and touch are both improving. Not surprisingly, the five-star prospect is emerging as a major target of big time programs. UConn, Kansas, St. John's, Arizona, Iowa State, Kentucky, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, Syracuse, Rutgers, Washington, West Virginia and many more are giving chase at one level or another.
More Sunday notables
- Keep an eye out on the development of 2015 big manJosh Sharma of Northfield (Mass.) Mt. Hermon. Already ranked No. 87 in the Rivals150, the seven-footer has a chance to make a move up the rankings this spring in summer. Not only is Sharma big, he is highly athletic, runs well and has very good hands. He isn't the most physical player just yet, but he showed loads of upside while scoring 13 points. After struggling with foul trouble early. He can play above the rim and has a good-looking jump shot on top of that. Sharma took a visit to Wisconsin earlier this month and says his recruitment has started to take off. Illinois recently offered, Boston College, Creighton and Vanderbilt have all offered while Indiana and Florida have recently gotten involved.
"Interest has picked up, especially after I took my first official visit to Wisconsin," Sharma told Rivals.com on Sunday. "Illinois offered and then I talked to Florida, Indiana, Gonzaga and Creighton offered yesterday (Saturday).
"I really like Wisconsin, Illinois, Vanderbilt and a few other schools. I'm talking to Creighton a lot, too. Boston College is recruiting me a lot and I like them, too. They are in the mix."
Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy coach Jason Smith has a stacked roster. On Sunday, they all played to their potential or above it during a win over Wilbraham (Mass.) Wilbraham & Monson. Leading the way was their highest ranked player, Georgetown signee Isaac Copeland. The No. 37 player in 2014 has been making a strong case all year for a bump in the rankings and he did so again during a 25 point, 11 rebound effort. He is a smooth athlete who can run the floor, play above the rim or make shots from the perimeter.
Current three-star point guard Devonte Graham continues to get better each time out. The 6-foot-2 floor general who is trying to get out of his letter of intent with Appalachian State is a good athlete, patient distributor and legitimate contender for a spot in the national top 100 when final rankings are done for 2014. The talent doesn't stop there, though, UCLA signee Jonah Bolden currently ranks No. 62 nationally and is likely on his way up because of his length, rebounding and ability to drill corner three pointers. Oklahoma State signee Jared Terrell checks in at No. 63 and was very solid. He defended with toughness, hit some jumpers and was steady throughout the game. Finally, junior Donovan Mitchell is another Rivals150 player. A big time athlete who finishes way above the rim, Mitchell is a major target for Providence head coach Ed Cooley.
N.C. State signee Abdul-Malik Abu looks to be in tip top shape. The No. 50, player in 2014, he has really gotten his body into shape and can be a force on the offensive glass. Abu has really taken his game above the rim and he had a few nast tip slams while scoring 15 points, grabbing nine rebounds and blocking four shots. Six of his rebounds were of the offensive variety and if he can be relied upon early to play active and steal possessions he will be a huge asset.
Kaleb Joseph has played well this winter.
Jalen Adams was the main show for Cushing on Sunday, but he wasn't the entire show. Syracuse bound four-star point guard Kaleb Joseph and St. Bonaventure wing signee Idris Taqqee were both outstanding as well. Currently ranked No. 55 in the class of 2014, Joseph made another push for a bump in the rankings with an efficient 17 points and eight assists. Taqqee supplied the energy, willingness to do the dirty work and some solid jump shooting and transition finishing to finish with 19 points nine rebounds. One of the top available big men in the class of 2014 is Worcester (Mass.) Academy's Matt Cimino. A 6-foot-10 interior player with soft hands, good mobility and touch to 18 feet, Cimino had a good outing on the offensive end scoring 22 points and grabbing eight rebounds. He lacks strength, but as he packs on weight he can contribute at the high major level. Cimino currently ranks No. 138 overall in 2014.
Sophomore four-star combo guard Lamonte Turner was impressive for Jacksonville (Fla.) Arlington Country Day. A patient and cerebral offensive player, Turner capitalizes on breaks in the defense and had an efficient 16 points. He hit 3-4 from deep and never forced anything.
Newark (N.J.) St. Benedict wing Elijah Cain looks like a move to the class of 2015 is going to benefit him long term. He's starting to mature and has toned up his body. A versatile wing, he can make some shots, will hit the glass and even handle the ball a bit. He's a valuable utility player and had 18 points and four rebounds. Also, be sure to mark the nameTrevon Duval down as one to watch. Only a freshman, the native of Delaware his high level potential as a combo guard. He's quick, he can score and he has toughness you don't always find in a guard so young. He finished with 11 points, three assists, nine rebounds and four steals. He did have seven turnovers, but he'll cut those down over the course of time and it's hard not to be impressed by his aggressive nature.
One of the top high school coaches in the country, Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha's Mike Jones won the 300th game of his career on Sunday night. His team was led by a four-star sophomore, a senior shooter and a freshman who accomplished a first in DeMatha's storied history earlier this season. 2016 four-star Joe Hampton is a tough matchup. At about 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, he's got an old man's game built on skill, using his body to create space and crafty fakes. He battled on the interior and the southpaw mixed in some jumpers while scoring 23 points and grabbing six rebounds. Hampton reports offers from Penn State, Xavier and DePaul.
Corey Henson will be a very good signee for Wagner. The senior is a dangerous jump shooter and fundamentally sound off guard who knows the value of defense. Finally, freshman D.J. Harvey looks like a big time player in the making. He has tremendous size at about 6-foot-5, s a good athlete and can shoot jumpers. Harvey finished with 10 points and five rebounds and is the first freshman at DeMatha to start from game one since Adrian Dantley. Xavier was the first to offer him earlier this year.
We have written in the past that Karl Towns has exceptional footwork, touch and ability to finish with either hand. When he starts off getting easy buckets at the rim, Towns becomes very confident and the jumpers he takes on faceup opportunities seem to fall with more regularity. The Kentucky signee and No. 11 player in 2014 was efficient scoring 21 points on 9-12 shooting while grabbing nine rebounds and blocking three shots. Too bad his teammates went away from force feeding him in the post as DeMatha broke open a tight game to route Towns and Metuchen (N.J.) St. Joseph.

Alexander leads star-studded class at Hoophall Classic

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The organizers of the Hoophall Classic loaded up the final day of action at Springfield College. One big timer after another took the floor, but it was the No. 4 player in the class of 2014, Cliff Alexander, who stole the show as Chicago (Ill.) Curie pulled off a big win over a loaded Montverde (Fla.) Academy. Top 10 prospect Rashad Vaughn made his return from injury, Kelly Oubre impressed and Rex Pflueger had a breakout outing in the nightcap.
Cliff Alexander came up big as he usually does in big events.
Alexander explodes No matter the situation, be it a summer camp, travel ball event or a big time high school showcase like the Hoophall Classic, Cliff Alexander comes up big. The 6-foot-8 power forward from Chicago (Ill.) Curie who has committed to Kansas is in the midst of a monster senior year. Monday, he showed the entire nation just how dominant he can be as he mauled Montverde (Fla.) Academy in a game that few gave Curie a serious chance to win.
All anybody would have to do is read the numbers and see that Alexander went for 30 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks in a win to know that he was impressive. But, those who saw his performance firsthand also saw the mental anguish that he inflicts on opponents who are trying to stop him.
If any team in the country could stop Alexander, Montverde seemed that they would be the one that could do it. Their star power forward Ben Simmons is potentially the top player in the class of 2015 and their other bigs Jordan Caroline (Southern Illinois), Chris Egi (Harvard) and Makinde London (Xavier) are all quite talented. And for a half, Montverde kept Alexander in check holding him to just six points and two rebounds.
During the second half when it mattered most, though, Alexander dominated both ends of the floor scoring 24 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. For good measure, he tossed in a few intimidating blocks. While the majority of Alexander's buckets came on violent dunks, he showed plenty of low post savvy. He dished to open teammates, showed an understanding of how to operate against double teams and then physically intimidated. Alexander's ability to get inside the head of opponents and seemingly strike fear into them at the high school level is rare.
Bottom line, Alexander is putting serious heat on those ranked ahead of him and it's hard not to envision making an immediate and pretty significant impact for Bill Self.
Pflueger comes up big
During the nightcap, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei held a comfortable lead for most of the night against a solid Philadelphia (Pa.) Neumann Goretti and got the win. How they did it wasn't quite what was expected. The script would have called for Mater Dei's star Stanley Johnson -- the No. 3 player in 2014 -- to put up huge numbers in a win. Instead, four-star junior Rex Pflueger stepped up with a huge effort on a night when Johnson battled foul troubles and turnovers.
After a quarter, Johnson was in foul trouble and Miami bound Goretti stud Ja'Quan Newton was going to work scoring 11 of his team's first 13 points. Mater Dei took Johnson out to prevent a third foul and that's when the 6-foot-4 Pflueger stepped up. Ranked No. 50 in the class of 2013, Pflueger is no slouch to begin with and his strength is in his versatility. He can run some offense, he can pass, he is a very good defender and scores from deep or at the rim. The junior did each and every one of those things during an impressive 30 point, eight rebound and two assist night.
Pflueger wasn't the only Monarch stepping up. Sophomore big man M.J. Cage continued his breakout sophomore season. A very good looking low post prospect, Cage showed again that he has high level hands, hoop smarts and skill. He finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds and quietly controlled the lane.
On the college front, Pflueger mentioned offers from USC, San Diego State, Notre Dame, Connecticut, Florida and California.
Oubre and Vaughn key Findlay route
Theo Pinson's big first half wasn't enough to help his team to victory.
For a half, five-star wing Theo Pinson put High Point (N.C.) Wesleyan Christian on his back and gave Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep a heck of a game. In the second half, Findlay's talent kicked in and led by five-star senior shooting guards they went on a 30-0 run to blow the game wide open and coast to victory. Headed to Kansas, Oubre is a smooth and offensively gifted 6-foot-7 wing who can shoot from deep and attack the rim. The lefty is a bit dominant with his natural hand, but he is a pure scorer who can get buckets all over the floor. He showed his entire arsenal on Monday while scoring a team high 23 points and grabbing five rebounds. The Jayhawks are undoubtedly going to lose Andrew Wiggins to the NBA Draft and Oubre looks poised and ready to step right in and pick up a large amount of the slack.
Playing for the first time in a month because of a knee injury, the 6-foot-5 Vaughn showed some rust at times. At others, he showed big time game on both ends of the floor. He asked to be switched onto Pinson during the second half and gave a big time defensive effort. Offensively, Vaughn showed his ability to create off the dribble - particularly by driving left - hit deep jumpers and finish above the rim. He only scored 12 points on 11 shots in 22 minutes, but his ability was plenty clear.
"I've been dying to get back," Vaughn told Rivals.com. "It was great to get back. I've just got to get back into the gym and get my confidence and my wind back.
"I felt pretty good and I did whatever I could to help us get the win."
Vaughn and Pinson traded some chatter during the second half but Vaughn said it was just two friends going at it.
"I asked my coaches in the first half and they wouldn't let me guard him," said Vaughn. "The second half they put me on him. We were talking some, but he's my guy."
On the recruiting front, Vaughn is officially down to Kansas, Kentucky, Iowa State, North Carolina and UNLV. However, the Jayhawks look to be long shots. Vaughn said that they continue to show interest, but added that he didn't have any plans to visit officially at this time. He's been to Ames and Vegas and will visit Chapel Hill when the Tar Heels host Pittsburgh. John Calipari was there to see Vaughn on Friday and the five-star said that he is looking to set up a visit to Lexington.
More Monday notables
Findlay's sophomore point guard Derryck Thornton had an important developmental moment on Monday. He struggled with his shot and decision making in the first half missing all of his field goal attempts and having just as many turnovers as assists (3). Thornton only made 1-3 from the field in the second half but he dished out another seven assists to zero turnovers and played ball hawking defense to finish with six points, 10 assists and six rebounds. It was a mature change in approach and the type of outing that Thornton can learn from moving forward.
One of the top remaining point guard prospects in the class of 2014 has to be Tarin Smith of Jersey City (N.J.) St. Anthony. His team faltered late against Fairfax (Va.) Paul VI, but Smith had some very nice moments while scoring a team high 16 points and dishing out three assists. Smith is a solid 6-foot-1 floor general with good speed and the ability to make shots and get to the rim. His handle is a little loose at times, but he is a pretty good competitor and is a bubble high major prospect.
The nation's top ranked player in the class of 2014 Jahlil Okafor never really seemed into it on Monday. He got some early buckets on deep position but also battled foul trouble and difficulty at the free throw line. Enter Georgetown bound Paul White. The 6-foot-8 combo forward continued what has been a very strong senior season by leading Whitney Young in both scoring and rebounding as they made a nice comeback to knock off Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill 53-50. White controlled a lot of action out of the high post with his passing and shooting and he was more active than ever on the defensive end. He still has to get stronger, but he's a nice compliment to incoming Isaac Copeland and was terrific in a 19 point, 11 rebound and four block effort.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

#1 Arizona lands 2015 5-Star Recruit

It was thought that Arizona was doing pretty well in the recruitment of Tyler Dorsey. But, the No. 5 player in the class of 2015's Friday night commitment came as a bit of a surprise.

Tyler Dorsey committed to Arizona Friday night.
The 6-foot-4 guard at Los Angeles (Calif.) John Bosco called it for Sean Miller and the Wildcats with an evening tweet.
"Just committed to the University of Arizona. Bear down," tweeted Dorsey.
That Dorsey chose Arizona wasn't a surprise at all. His free-wheeling, off-the-dribble game scoring and playmaking are a perfect match for Miller, who likes to put as many playmakers as possible on the floor.
"The verbal tonight came as somewhat of a surprise," said Dinos Trigonis, who coaches the Belmont Shore summer team Dorsey plays with. "I got a feeling the grind of the recruiting process was starting to wear on him."
Dorsey excels at getting to the rim, is a streaky shooter from deep, rebounds his position well and has improved as a decision maker.
"Dorsey is as versatile a guard as I have coached," Trigonis told Rivals.com. "Would consider him as good or better at the same stage as other guards I have coached like Brandon Jennings, DeMar Derozan and Jrue Holiday."
A five-star prospect, Dorsey is the first player from the class of 2015 to pick the Wildcats.
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