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2010 National Prep Showcase – Final Notes

November 23, 2010 Columns, Your Phil of Hoops No Comments

The National Prep Showcase has come and gone, with 21 games in three days. With most schools playing two games, there’s a little to draw from on each. A few schools made good impressions, some players raised their profile, others did not.

Here are some final notes coming out of the weekend.

  • Last year, Blair Academy was led by a senior point guard in current Brown freshman Hakeem Harris. This year, it was a senior point guard who was arguably their most impressive player in Marques Jones (6’0″ Sr. PG, Milford (DE)). Jones has a good motor with a body that still has some maturing to do, and he often drove fearlessly to the basket.
  • Jones’ teammate, Lionel Gomis (6’9″ Sr. PF, Dakar (Senegal)), is a nice pickup for Siena, where he signed recently. The big man has a lot of energy and is very active, and he still has some ways to go physically so there’s a good bit of upside with him. His footwork can still get better and he has a thin lower body, but he’s already come a long way since he first got there.
  • Jakarr Sampson (6’8″ Sr. SF-PF, Barberton (OH) Brewster Academy) may be a bit overrated by those who have him as a top 25 prospect. But he’s a fine run-and-jump athlete, as he showed here, and if St. John’s, where he signed, decides to press and trap, he could really thrive unless his skill package starts to catch up with his physical gifts. After doing very little against Fishburne on Saturday, he had a big game on Sunday with 16 points, 11 rebounds and six blocked shots against Princeton Day School.
  • Sampson’s teammate, Kansas-bound Naadir Tharpe (6’0″ Sr. PG, Worcester (MA)), had a nice stat line on Sunday with 12 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists. He exploded to the hoop when he drove and simply makes this team go. It’s not a stretch to say that he is quite underrated nationally.
  • Ryan Martin (6’8″ Sr. PF, London (England) Bridgton Academy) is an intriguing prospect who had a nice couple of games. He posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds against Westwind Prep, then had 13 on Saturday against Fork Union. His body isn’t there yet and he runs the floor well, showed a good touch shooting it and also got to the line often.
  • K.C. Whitaker (6’6″ Sr. SG, Ashburn (VA)) got a lot of attention for Fishburne Military Academy, and rightly so. The lefty first opened up eyes by getting a floater over elite shot-blocker Khem Birch, then he started hit three-pointers and not just from inches behind the arc. He wasn’t great against the press and a lot of his made shots were off the catch, but that just means he’s not a true point guard. He should be a nice pickup for UAB since he does handle a little better than your average shooting guard, though his deep shooting range is how he’ll earn his minutes.
  • As good as Whitaker was, Holy Cross-bound Justin Burrell (5’8″ Sr. PG, Dumfries (VA)) was just as worthy of mention. He has a mature body and competes every second he’s on the floor, and can be a real pest on defense. While he has range out to the three-point line, scoring isn’t his forte and he’ll help Holy Cross next year.
  • Fork Union Military Academy is always well-coached and very competitive while not being loaded with big-time talent. One player who epitomizes the team is Larry Brown (6’7″ Sr. PF, Red Spring (NC)), who made an impact in both games. He’s athletic and has a good body, very active and plays bigger than his size, and isn’t a bad shot-blocker considering he’s not all that long. Don’t look at his numbers, which won’t stand out; just watch him impact a game with how he plays and realize he’s a nice mid-major prospect.
  • Lee Skinner (6’6″ Sr. SF, Lombard (IL)) was quietly effective in the two games, scoring 22 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in the two games. He’s athletic, has some post-up ability and knocked down a couple of shots from deep.
  • Arguably the best prospect on the team is Prince Williams (6’6″ Sr. SF, Raleigh (NC)), although he was quiet on Saturday. On Friday, he had 22 points on 7-11 shooting and had seven steals. He’s long, skinny and with a ways to go physically, and wasn’t afraid to work inside.
  • Bryce Douvier (6’7″ Sr. PF, Sedgwick (KS)) has a good post body and is solid but unspectacular. He has some tools offensively and is basically a good glue guy there, though he led the team with 19 points on Saturday thanks largely to making all 11 of his free throws.
  • Although most of Hargrave Military Academy’s team played well, one who didn’t is C.J. Barksdale (6’8″ Sr. PF, Danvile (VA)). The Virginia Tech-bound post player has a live body and is a plus athlete, but struggled to score and his post moves appear to need some work as he nearly traveled often.
  • Indiana commit Hanner Perea (6’9″ Jr. PF, Istmina (Colombia) La Lumiere School) never got going in either game this weekend. An athletic power forward, he was active at both ends but didn’t get the ball a whole lot offensively, and when he did he was rarely able to do anything with it. In part credit goes to the opposing defenses for keying on him, but he also needs to gain strength before he can really reach his potential.
  • Perea’s teammate Obij Aget (7’0″ Jr. C, Khartoum (Sudan)) undoubtedly helped his recruitment this weekend with some solid play. The long big man has a good motor, which is always important for a big man who’s a little raw, and actually showed some offensive ability that definitely puts him on the prospect side of the project/prospect line.
  • Keith Coleman (6’9″ Sr. PF, Philadelphia (PA)) is easily the prospect most worth watching on Lee Academy. The well-built post will certainly grab attention, as he’s a plus athlete and can hit from mid-range. But he doesn’t consistently compete, and thus isn’t the factor he can be on the court. He had decent numbers, scoring in double digits in both games, but only played a combined 28 minutes on a team where he’s arguably their most talented player.
  • A teammate of Coleman’s to keep an eye on is Anthony Joseph Perez Cortesia (6’8″ Jr. SF, Cumana (Venezuela)). Athletic and with a good motor, he’s an intriguing prospect who has a decent feel for the game and a skill package that can certainly improve. The most glaring weakness is a lack of strength, evidenced by how a small bump did a good job of knocking him off the direction he was running in.
  • One player who improved his recruitment this weekend about as much as any player is Maine Central Institute’s Khristian Smith (6’6″ Sr. SF-PF, Indianapolis (IN)). The versatile forward had two solid games doing several things for his team, as he scored in a couple of ways including a stickback and a three-pointer, made a few good passes including on a high-low play, and played his role in the team’s offense well. He has a good frame and scored in the clutch on Sunday, and is a solid mid-major plus prospect.
  • Smith’s teammate inside, Rafael Maia (6’9″ Sr. PF, Sao Paolo (Brazil)), quietly shined inside. He had 10 rebounds on Friday night, then went for 21 points and nine rebounds against the big front line of Northfield Mount Hermon on Sunday. Omari Greer (6’3″ Sr. SG, Erial (NJ)) shot the ball well from long range, largely off the catch. Ryan Vilmont (6’5″ Sr. SF, Hamden (CT)) won’t leap out at you but was effective while on the court.
  • It wasn’t the best weekend for New Hampton’s Zach Auguste (6’9″ Jr. SF-PF, Marlboro (MA)), as he was in foul trouble in both games. That’s the area where he needs the most work, and this was an indication of how much work he has to do there. Still, he already boasts about a half dozen scholarship offers at this point.
  • Kelvin Amayo (6’5″ Sr. SG-SF, Hillside (NJ) NIA Prep) may have as much talent as any guard on his team, but consistency hasn’t been there. He showed what he is capable of on Sunday, which is being a good wing scorer with a mature body.
  • Angel Nunez (6’8″ Sr. SF-PF, Harlem (NY)) has been much-hyped but hasn’t always played like it’s more than hype. The Louisville-bound forward isn’t lacking talent, but has largely been a tease. While he still needs to get stronger and play consistently, he played fairly well this weekend and was a factor while on the court.
  • Seton Hall-bound Aaron Cosby (6’2″ Sr. PG-SG, Louisville (KY) Northfield Mount Hermon) still has some work to do in his evolution to the point guard spot. Most notably, he still has the scorer’s mentality, and the key numbers to note are his field goal attempts: 15 in Friday’s opener, which led the team, and 21 on Sunday, when no teammate even reached double digits in that category. He dribbled into trouble at times and had some careless turnovers among the nine he committed in two games.
  • John Golden (6’5″ Sr. SG-SF, Freehold (NJ)) had a nice couple of games for Northfield Mount Hermon. He scored well from the wing with his athleticism and aggressiveness, including a 17-point effort on 7-9 shooting on Sunday.
  • Maurice Harkless (6’7″ Sr. SF, Jamaica (NY) South Kent School) won’t wow you with athleticism, but he finds a way to get to the basket and scores. He hit shots from mid-range and long range, and while not always one for spectacular plays, might have the best dunk of the weekend on Saturday.
  • Harkless’ new teammate, Egi Gjikondi (6’8″ Jr. PF, Malden (MA)), is finding his way with his new team. Gjikondi continues to improve as a rebounder and his body is getting there, while improving in some other offensive areas as well. He has a role to play on this team, and it isn’t to be a big scorer, so continuing to rebound and defend will be the way he stays on the court.
  • Jarell Byrd (6’5″ Sr. SF, Lynn (MA)) had two strong games for St. Thomas More. He was very active on the boards and got some stickbacks, and was also there to pick up a lot of loose balls. Teammate Roy Mabrey (6’1″ Sr. PG-SG, Belmar (NJ)) shot the ball very well on Sunday, coming off screens often to get shots, and he got his share of offensive boards.
  • Westwind Prep impressed in its two games here, with a lot of good individual talent. An intriguing post prospect who didn’t get as much attention as some others was Keannau Post (6’10” Sr. C, Victoria (British Columbia)). Possessing a big body with a good frame, not all of his weight is good weight but he moves well and made a fairly quick post move to score. He isn’t lacking post moves inside and should get better with better conditioning.
  • Teammates Stevie Squires (6’2″ Jr. SG, Toronto (Ont.)) and Nate Maxey (6’11” Sr. C, San Diego (CA)) are also worth watching Squires is athletic but could stand to get in better shape, while Maxey ran the floor and showed a little touch from mid-range in a limited role.

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