St. Thomas More vs. Notre Dame Prep in the NPC Finals
I know that the game in New Jersey St. Elizabeth vs. St. Anthony's definitely features better all-around HS teams and some great prospects, but this game will be at 7:30. The feature match-up is of course Andre Drummond of St. Thomas More versus Khem Birch of NDP. Both teams also feature some solid D1 prospects, and it said Todd Mayo, brother of OJ put up 33 against last years champ Brewster Academy to lead ND Prep to the finals. Richard Ledo is also a very highly rated wing prospect in Class of 2012 for Notre Dame Prep as well.
I know that Birch apparently did well in his match-up in the previous game against Nerlens Noel, and finished with 14 points (apparently all in the first half) and 3 blocks. Noel did finish with 7 blocks in the game, though, and is said to look like a killer. The team they beat to get to the finals, Brewster was headlined by Jakarr Sampson, a St. John's commit and Naadir Tharpe, who is headed to Kansas. St. Thomas More took down Hargrave, who was the #1 seed and led by scoring machine and McDonald's All-American PJ Hairston and VA Tech PF signee CJ Barksdale. If anyone knows more information or has a scouting breakdown, hit me up. This was the best info I could get and it took a WHILE too find it.
Andre Drummond finished with 19 and was named Most Outstanding Player. Todd Mayo with 27 in defeat.
Maybe this Drummond guy is not as bad as people think? I mean, he is still a junior in HS and he has size, athleticism and a skill set that are ridiculously rare. His team was the 4 seed and he lead them to some impressive victories. People question his motor or mental aspect since he has yet to truly dominate, but it seems like he might be getting there. Clearly winning this tournament is not a bad start by any means.
By Adam Finkelstein
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Coming off a disappointing semifinal loss in last week's NEPSAC class AAA tournament, St. Thomas More (Middletown, Conn.) arrived at Albertus Magnus College for this week's National Prep Championship as a team on a mission.
Playing with tremendous energy and equal efficiency throughout the two-day tournament, St. Thomas More not only came out of the 10-team field as the 2011 National Prep Champions, but it did it in commanding fashion, knocking off No. 5 Princeton Day Academy in the quarterfinals 89-52, No. 2 Hargrave Military Academy in the semifinals 90-76 and No. 3 Notre Dame Prep in the final, 90-74.
Andre Drummond (Middletown, Conn./St. Thomas More)
2012, C, 6-foot-11, 275 pounds
While Drummond is still far from a finished product, he played as steady and efficient of a three-game string as we have seen this season and saved his best for last, dominating the deciding minutes of St. Thomas More's win over Notre Dame Prep and taking MVP honors. The key for Drummond was anchoring himself around the rim and not trying to do too much on the perimeter, which he can sometimes be guilty of. Playing with a high level of energy and a lively body, Drummond attacked the cup all weekend and got his head above the rim for some incredible finishes over top of the defense. While he still needs to learn to maximize his size and strength in the paint, he simply went through Pittsburgh signee Khem Birch late in the second half for a quick spin along the baseline into a two-handed dunk, while making a quick rotation from the weakside of the floor to block a big shot with his left hand on the subsequent defensive possession.
Todd Mayo (Morgantown, W. Va./Notre Dame Prep)
2011, SG, 6-3, 190 pounds
Mayo put points on the board in high volume throughout Notre Dame's three games and did it in a variety ways. While he can score in bunches from beyond the arc, he doesn't get enough credit for being a creator off the bounce. Consistently able to shake his man with a quick crossover, and often having the benefit of attacking a bad closeout because of his shooting prowess, Mayo was able to get into the paint with ease where he had good bounce and tremendous body control finishing plays. While he'll have to become more selective with his shot selection at the next level, and certainly isn't the point guard many are hoping, he is a pure scorer with the ability to make plays deep in the shot clock.
Ricardo Ledo (Providence, R.I./Notre Dame Prep)
2012, SG, 6-6, 180 pounds
Ledo was absolutely dominant offensively in Notre Dame's quarterfinal win over Brewster Academy, going for 31 points and showing his full offensive arsenal. It's been well documented that when his jumper is falling he is virtually impossible to stop, but when he's making shots and also creating for his teammates he can be truly special. He did his best work coming off an Allen Iverson-style, over-the-top cut and attacking immediately off his catch with deep jumpers, midrange pull-ups or creative drives to the rim for finishes or assists. Unfortunately, Ledo was far less effective in the final as the ball tended to stick in his hands and stall Notre Dame's offense, while St. Thomas More exposed his inability to finish plays on his weaker side by sitting on his right hand.
P.J. Hairston (Greensboro, N.C./Hargrave Military Academy)
2011, SG, 6-6, 210 pounds
The North Carolina-bound sharpshooter put on a show from long range this week. The big, strong wing plowed through contact coming off screens and only needed the smallest separation to get his shot off because of his high and compact release. A defender's only chance of taking away his long ball was to face guard him and prevent his catch. While Hairston shoots with great range and is equally effective spotting up or coming off screens, what separates him from other snipers is his ability to make contested shots in all of those areas as he bailed his team out late in the clock on a number of occasions. In order to take his game to the next level he must diversify his offensive attack, find a way to get more easy baskets (learning to back-cut would be a great start), and improving his ballhandling skills.
Dummond isn't bad but he just isnt as good as some hype him up to be. He doesn't always bring it and doesn't Dominate games like a player with his ability should. Basically like Perry Jones. Not the highest motor, coast through long streches of the game and sometimes wants to play like he's a guard . Alot of his ranking and talk is about what he will become if he reaches his potential
With some of these big guys? I mean, it usually takes them a while to grow into their bodies and learn the foot work necessary to dominate the post game. Plus, I have never seen his HS games, but it does not sound like he necessarily has people getting him the ball in optimal situations. Many a time a player is ranked based on potential over current ability, but does that necessarily mean that Drummond (I do not think the "R" is silent) may indeed be the best player out of his current class if he develops and stays healthy? Nonetheless, it appeared that he did a very nice job in this tournament and did enough to get his team the win. He also was a strong contributor on his U-16 and U-17 teams with his defense and rebounding.
Time and improvement are usually factors for these guys though, and I was going to say his situation is very similar to that of Perry Jones with people questioning his motor and his not being as dominant as many think he could be. Perry is still considered a high draft pick because he could still put it together, and Andre seems to be a low post 50 pound heavier version of Perry with freakish athleticism. When you get a guy like that, you hope for the best. Who knows if he ever becomes as good as people are making him out to be? Only time does, but he just helped win his team a tournament against some pretty nice competition. That is not a bad sign.....