Sunday, November 27, 2016

Four-star Marcus Garrett scores big win at Thanksgiving Hoopfest

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Marcus Garrett

DUNCANVILLE, TEXAS -- On the second day of the Thanksgiving Hoopfest, the schedule was highlighted by a battle of highly rated floor generals -- and potential future teammates -- when Kansas-bound four-star Marcus Garrett took the floor to face off with unsigned five-star Trae Young. A sideline full of interested head coaches were among the crowd as Garrett and Dallas Skyline won a battle that highlighted the day's action.

GARRET LEADS TEAM TO WIN

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Marcus Garrett

Four-star guard Marcus Garrett of Dallas (Texas) Skyline's future is already decided after signing with Kansas in the early signing period. However, five-star Trae Young of Norman (Okla.) North is still undecided, and the duo brought out a big-time coaching contingent when their teams squared off on Saturday night.

Kansas head coach Bill Self, Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger and Oklahoma State's Brad Underwood -- plus a combined eight assistants between the three of them -- along with an assistant from Texas Tech were all on hand to chase Young, who has visited all four campuses.

While the game was close, it was ugly at times as both teams struggled with shooting and Garrett was saddled with three early fouls during a scoreless first half. Young was misfiring from deep but got to the free throw line over and over again to score 16 in the first half.

Midway through the third quarter, though, the 6-foot-5 Garrett took the game over. He got into passing lanes on defense to create open floor opportunities, he attacked the rim and he hit back-to-back threes. By the time he was done had gone for 21 second-half points and secured a win for Skyline.

"My teammates told me to relax and just let the game come to me, I was a little too excited," Garrett said. "I wanted to compete on the defensive end."

Garrett said he enjoyed playing against Young -- who has also visited Kentucky -- and made his pitch to him about possibly playing together at Kansas.

"He attacks you when he gets the ball and you have to be aware of him at all times when he's on the offensive end he uses his body really well and he can shoot," Garrett said. "We talked about (recruiting). I told him to come to KU and he said he'll think about it."

For his part, Young finished with 33 points, with almost half of them coming from the free throw line. Young told Rivals that he's thinking a decision should come sometime in January and that he's looking into the possibility of some unofficial visits in the near future.


CUNNINGHAM CAPS BIG WEEKEND

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Brock Cunningham

The Thanksgiving Hoopfest offered a big stage and nobody took better advantage of it than three-star junior power forward Brock Cunningham, who had a second straight impactful game for Austin (Texas) Westlake, scoring 19 in a win over Cedar Hill (Texas) High.

Standing around 6-foot-6, Cunningham isn't a crazy athlete and is perhaps a bit undersized. He readily admits to all of that. However, his skill level, toughness and ability to serve as a playmaker anywhere in the frontcourt make him a unique matchup and a player who has a chance to play at the high major level because of his skill.

At Westlake, he plays with four-star junior small forward Matthew Mayer, who had a tough weekend scoring only a combined 11 points in two games. With focus on Mayer Cunningham is allowed to operate somewhat under the radar. Cunningham hasn't flown under the radar of college coaches, however - he listed offers from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tulane, Houston, Columbia, Missouri and San Diego to go with interest from Texas Tech and Stanford.

Though he's open to more interest, Cunningham feels good about the offers he has and isn't in any rush.

"I don't worry about attention or ranking," said Cunningham. "I'm really happy with the offers that I have and the schools that are showing me interest have been great."

MORE SATURDAY NOTES AND STANDOUTS

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Greg Williams

It wasn't a monster offensive game for four-star shooting guard Greg Williams of Lafayette (La.) Christian, but the No. 72 player in the class of 2018 was a monster on the defensive end. We had the shooting guard down for seven blocked shots to go with several steals and countless deflections. He was seemingly in the right place on defense on every trip and can really change things on that end.

Offensively he's an athletic driver with a good enough jumper to keep defenders honest. He finished with 14 points and listed offers from Baylor, Texas A&M, St. John's, Tulane, Louisiana Lafayette, LSU, Western Kentucky and Louisiana Tech.

Three-star senior forwards Donnie Tillman and Lamine Diane of Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep both had strong outings on Saturday. Tillman is a strong, tough and productive forward who rebounds, scores from 17 feet and in and finds ways to create mismatches. Tillman begins an official visit to Utah on Sunday and is set to visit TCU at the end of December. He's also planning to see
Grand Canyon unofficially in December and has heard from others like Kansas, Virginia Tech, Washington State, Washington, Arizona State and Oregon State.

A standout in late July playing for Team Africa at Adidas Nations, Diane is an intriguing late signing option. The 6-foot-6 wing has long arms, knows how to get to the rim and is a big-time wing defender. He lacks strength and his jumper needs to be reworked, but his energy is contagious. Baylor could be one to keep an eye on with him, and the Bears had two assistants on hand to see him play.

Chalk up another good effort for 2018 wing Jordan Phillips. The three-star at Cedar Hill (Texas) High led his team in scoring but couldn't lead them to a win against Austin Westlake. However, he showed the type of athletic tools and ability to get to the rim that could eventually land him in the Big 12. As it is Phillips is making a push for the Rivals150 in 2018 and could push for four-star status if he gets consistent with his jumper. When matched up, Phillips' defense on 2018's No. 52 ranked player Matthew Mayer was outstanding.

Last but not least, we want to file away the name Jaykwon Walton from the class of 2019 as somebody to monitor for the future. The 6-foot-6 sophomore at Montgomery (Ala.) Carver has good wing size, length and some intriguing upside. Walton has been on campus at Auburn.

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