Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving Hoopfest: Fox shows out
Five-star De'Aaron Fox racked up 31 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in a win Saturday.
DUNCANVILLE, Texas -- The second and final day of the seventh annual Thanksgiving Hoopfest gave the fans what they wanted. Senior combo guard Andrew Jones continued his ascension and junior guard Trae Young went off. But, it was five-star point guard De'Aaron Fox who reminded everybody that he's still the best senior in Texas.

I was impressed with...

Thanks to his play at the Thanksgiving Hoopfest, I think we need to start talking about unsigned combo guard Andrew Jones from Irving (Texas) MacArthur as a legitimate candidate for both the McDonald's All-American game and a move to five-star status.

Currently a four-star prospect ranked No. 38 in the 2016 Rivals150, the 6-foot-4 senior followed up his 37-point Friday effort by standing toe to toe with an elite prospect and delivering 29 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals in a losing effort. Texas' Shaka Smart and Baylor's Scott Drew were on hand to see him play.

Now about that elite prospect that Jones went toe to toe with. De'Aaron Fox backed up his lofty No. 5 national ranking in the class of 2016 by delivering a command performance for Katy (Texas) Cypress Lake. Fox matched Jones blow for blow and led his team to a hard fought win while racking up 31 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.

A relentless driver of the ball, Fox wasn't completely dialed in from deep (just 3-of-13 from distance) but his performance was otherwise flawless. What really sets him apart, though, is his blinding speed. Speed that he showed off to end the third quarter. Fox grabbed a rebound and raced from one end to the other in just under four seconds to beat the buzzer. What was most impressive is that he never looked rushed or concerned that he wouldn't make it to the bucket in time.

Needless to say, the Kentucky signee validated his top five status and he is a stone cold lock for the McDonald's game.
Here's the scary thing, as good as both Fox and Jones were, they didn't have the performance of the day. That belonged to a potential 2017 McDonald's All-American Trae Young who hung 44 points, seven assists and five rebounds on Richland (Texas) High in Norman (Okla.) North's 95-71 win.

Just a day after going for 33, Young was even more locked in. There had apparently been some pre game trash talk and suggestion that he was overrated at No. 26 nationally but Young effectively ended any of that talk. He bombed deep threes, used his advanced ball skills to get into the lane and mixed in a little bit of everything else. He has been on the fringe of five-star status for a while now and the résumé he has built since his freshman year is matched by few in the junior class and could be pushing him to that next level.
I was surprised by...

On the first day of the Hoopfest, Oklahoma State signee Cameron McGriff was very quiet as his Grand Prairie (Texas) South squad took a loss. They suffered another tough loss on Saturday, but it wasn't any fault of McGriff. The Rivals150 combo forward has added some muscle to his wiry 6-foot-7 frame and he was very good in most areas. He competed on the glass, ran the floor, made some alert passes and contributed on both ends of the floor while scoring 26 points (11-of-19 FG), grabbing seven rebounds and handing out six assists.

McGriff's teammate, USC bound power forward Harrison Henderson, also had his moments after a quiet Friday. 6-foot-9 with deft touch, Henderson hit some jumpers and showed some life around the basket but also drifted a little too much and didn't assert himself as a rim protector in a 13-point and six-rebound outing.Other thoughts...

With Shaka Smart and Scott Drew on hand to watch him, four-star junior R.J. Nembhard turned it on late but couldn't quite lead Keller (Texas) Central to a win over Plano (Texas) West. A well built shooting guard who loves to attack the basket, Nembhard scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the second half. His jumper still has a little catching up to do but he is a solid ball handler and already has a college ready body.

Currently ranked No. 85 in 2017, Richland's C.J. Roberts finished with 31 points, two assists and two rebounds of his own. Athletic and quick, Roberts is a right hand dominant driver who tries to attack the basket as often as possible thanks to an explosive first step.

Also putting together a pair of strong outings for Norman North was unsigned senior guard Marcus Dickinson. After getting 20 points four rebounds and three assists on Friday, the 6-foot-2 senior came back with 18, 10 and five on Saturday. He's tough, he has some athleticism and he's able to get a lot of things done and can absolutely play Div. I basketball.

Unfortunately, 2017's No. 59 player Galen Alexander is waiting to be ruled eligible in the state of Louisiana after a transfer. So, Lafayette (La.) Christian was without him and touted 2018 guard Greg Williams had a pretty quiet day. But, twin seniors Kalob Ledoux and Jacob Ledoux were plenty impressive. Ticketed for McNeese State, they appear to be a pretty big recruiting steal. Both have good size at around 6-foot-4, both are very athletic and they can each shoot it a little from deep.

If it feels like TCU signee Josh Parrish has played in the Hoopfest forever it's because he pretty much has. The Rivals150 wing made his fourth appearance with Arlington (Texas) Seguin and was solid in a tough double overtime loss. Physically, he's ready to play in the Big 12 right away and he's a tough finisher and athlete around the rim. He's a good value pickup for the Horned Frogs but could really become something if his jumper catches up to his slashing.


R.J. Nembhard scored 18 points in the second half Saturday.

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