By Michael Katz
And we’re back for Monday’s action. Find all of Saturday and Sunday’s recaps below Monday’s games.
Keep checking back for regular updates from Michael Katz and Michael Lemaire, who are live in Springfield, Mass., at the Spalding Hoophall Classic, where a collection of the biggest talents in high school basketball will play all weekend.
Monday’s opening game: St. John’s Prep (Mass.) 62, Perspectives Charter School (Ill.) 53
One of the most competitive games thus far at the Hoophall Classic lost a little bit of drama at the end when Perspectives Charter School (Ill.) star and Kentucky commit Anthony Davis (NBADraft.net No. 4 in class of 2011) left the game after falling on his hand during a fast-break in the fourth quarter. St. John’s Prep (Mass.) went on to win 62-53.
Davis was wincing on the bench before leaving with the team trainer. Perspectives Charter coach Cortez Hale said after the game that it was a thumb injury, and not serious, but that Davis would put his wrist in a splint.
Without Davis, Perspectives Charter could not match up against St. John’s Prep and failed to get anything going offensively. Despite foul trouble, Davis turned in an impressive performance, finishing with 30 points (12 for 18 FG), 16 rebounds and seven blocks. At a thin 6-foot-10 Davis is quick and handles the ball like a guard. (he sprouted up from 6-foot-2 in the last year).
"Even though he’s 6-foot-10 I look at him kind of like a guard ’cause he’s so athletic and so good," said St. John’s Prep’s Pat Connaughton, who is headed to Notre Dame next season to play basketball and baseball.
With Davis sidelined, St. John’s Prep completed its second-half comeback behind Connoaughton. The 6-foot-5 Connaughton is a big, strong guard who handled the ball for the Eagles and rebounded well for his position (13 rebounds). He aggressively crashed the offensive glass, nabbing five boards on that end, including a put-back slam that helped turn the game in St. John’s favor late.
Connaughton shot just 6-for-21 from the field, and admitted that he was bothered a bit by Davis’ length. But he also hit two big threes in the fourth to lift the Eagles.
Christ the King (N.Y.) 73, Westchester County Day (N.C.) 65
When ESPN decided to put Christ the King (N.Y.) and Westchester County Day (N.C.) on ESPNU, NBADraft.net’s No. 1 prospect in the 2011 class, Quincy Miller, was most likely healthy. But even with Miller out for the season with a knee injury, this game provided plenty of action.
Omar Calhoun led Christ the King to a 73-65 win against Westchester and Duece Bello — the healthy member of the Wildcats’ Baylor-bound duo.
Calhoun stuffed the box score, finishing with 23 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists. And he piled up the stats within the flow of the game, taking a modest 13 shots (including 4 for 8 from three-point land).
On the other side, Duece Bello displayed the ball-on-a-string handle and lethal quickness that have been his signature. But he also showed an improved stroke, knocking down shots in the mid-range and from deep. Bello finished 9 for 20 from the field, but several of his misses were contested shots he had to jack up as Westchester tried to close a big gap in the closing minutes.
Bello is a little under-sized at shooting guard in at 6-foor-4, 170 pounds. But his quickness allowed him to attack the basket off the dribble where he was crafty enough to finish.
St. Patrick (N.J.) 79, Bishop Gorman (Nev.) 63
This was without a doubt the marquee matchup of the four-day event. Each side brimming with Division I talent, and each boasted one of the highest rated players at the event. St. Patrick held a healthy lead for much of the game and went on to win 79-63, but the action was must-watch for the full 32 minutes.
Kentucky-bound Mike Gilchrist (NBADraft.net No. 2 in the class of 2011) was the best player on the floor, finishing with a team-high 27 points and 10 rebounds. He attacked the basket relentlessly off the dribble, shooting a healthy 9 for 19 from the floor. His penetration forced the defense to collapse, often sending him to the line where he made 8 of 9 attempts.
Another top prospect, junior guard Shabazz Muhammad, led Bishop Gorman. In the first half, 6-foot-3 guard Derrick Gordon was able to press up on Muhammad and give him some trouble. But Muhammad (NBADraft.net No. 2 in the class of 2012) heated up in the second half, where he scored 23 of his 28 points. The difference was that he began going to the basket aggressively and also used his size at 6-foot-6 to take Gordon into the post.
"It was actually a tough job guarding the kid," Gordon said. "… I was trying to get in his head a little bit. He’s a great player."
Gordon surprised a lot of people by choosing Western Kentucky, which he said provided the best fit for him with the coaching staff and basketball-mad state. He said he’s been working on his strength and shot, but he drove fearlessly into the paint and finished around the trees, scoring 24 points on 10-of-20 shooting.
Bishop Gorman also featured sweet-shooting forward, Rosco Allen. Allen flashed his stroke, hitting 3 for 6 from deep. He’s on the skinny side though and said after the game he needs to bulk up after only recently shooting up to his current height.
Findlay College Prep (Nev.) 68, Dallas Lincoln High (Texas) vs. 59
For the second time in the tournament Findlay’s overall depth was too overwhelming for an opponent relying primarily on one player. On Sunday the Pilots were able to harass Syrcause commit Michael Carter-Williams into an 8 for 22 shooting day, and on Monday they turned their attention to LeBryan Nash.
Physically, Nash was the most impressive player in the tournament, a 6-foot-7, 212 pound wing player who handled the ball and finished authoritatively around the basket. But Arizona-bound guard Nick Johnson was able to hound him even while giving up four inches and about 30 pounds.
Nash scored 15 points in the first half, but seemed to wear down in the second half as Findlay played him physically and denied him easy looks.
"Not to disrespect those guys, but they don’t play the type of competition that we play every day, so he pretty much get his way," Findlay forward Winston Shepard said. "But coming up here, Nick’s a great defender so he guarded him very good — be physical with him — and got him out of his comfort zone.
"Once you get him out of his comfort zone, he’s thinking about that and not about the game," he added.
On offense, Shepard was relatively unchecked, scoring 16 points on 6 of 9 shooting. Johnson had a team-high 19 points and showed his range with four three-pointers.
Findlay’s most impressive player was Texas-bound Myck Kabongo. The pass-first point guard looked for his shot a little bit more Monday and acquitted himself well as a scorer, too.
"Coming into the game I knew their game plan was going to be like I can’t shoot and I knew I had to show them I could shoot," said Kabongo, who shot made six of his 13 field goals, including 2 of 4 from three. "But I don’t have too. I have great teammates — probably the best teammates in the country — and it makes my job easier ’cause all I have to do is find them."
Boys and Girls High School (N.Y.) 47, Academy of the New Church (Penn.) 45
The last non-local game of the tournament was also the first to go into overtime. Boys and Girls High School (N.Y.) rallied to beat a tall and athletic Academy of the New Church 47-45 on a floater from 5-foot-6 Antione Slaughter with 2 seconds left.
Malik Nichols (Hofstra) had 14 points for Boys and Girls and Michael Taylor (Rutgers) added 12. The 6-foot-4 Taylor is a strong off-guard who should pair nicely at Rutgers with fellow incoming freshman Myles Mack, who scored at will for St. Anthony on Saturday against DeMatha Catholic.
Academy of the New Church was led by 6-foot-6 wing Savon Lloyd-Goodman (Villanova), who had 16 points and 16 rebounds. But the Lions failed to exploit their size advantage with 7-foot center Malcolm Gilbert (Pittsburgh) and 6-foot-9 Syracuse-bound forward Rakeem Christmas. Christmas became visibly frustrated toward the end of the game when he was being ignored by his guards.
Sunday’s Opening Game: Life Center Academy (N.J.) 73, St. Mark’s School (Mass.) 69
The first game Sunday at the Hoophall Classic was more tightly contested than any of the big games from Saturday, and it featured plenty of top talent as well. Life Center Academy (N.J.) edged St. Mark’s School (Mass.) 73-69 on the strength of 26 points from Ohio State-bound LaQuinton Ross.
Ross, a skilled 6-foot-8 wing, did most of his damage in the first half, scoring 21 of his 26 points before the break. Ross has a good handle for his size, getting into the lane and to the line where he finished 6 for 7, and he shot the ball well from outside (4-for-7 from three-point range).
St. Mark’s was able to slow him down in the second half, but that allowed teammate John Johnson (Pittsburgh) to get going — all 14 of his points came in the second half.
"[Ross] was a great shooter,” said St. Mark’s junior center Kaleb Tarczewski. “I didn’t think he was going to make as many shots as he did, and I mean there was hands in his face.
"They were kind of looking for him the whole time," he added. "He was really the only threat on the offensive end.”
St. Mark’s attack was more balanced. junior guard Nikolas Stauskas led on the box score with 24 points on 4 for 10 shooting from behind the three-point line. The 7-foot Tarzwewski had an off day offensively, but still managed a near triple-double with 11 points, 12 rebounds and nine blocks. He moved well for his size, especially on defense where he easily moved across the lane to protect the basket.
Junior forward Alex Murphy — rated No. 11 in the class of 2012 by Rivals.com — didn’t have a particularly impressive game, but he showed a solid basketball sense, setting hard screens and finding his way to the basket where he was able to finish around the rim.
Hargrave Military Academy (Va.) 78, St. Thomas More (N.Y.) 58
The basket was under attack when Hargrave Military Academy (Va.) took on St. Thomas More (N.Y.). Hargrave Military Academy won 78-58, but the big draw was St. Thomas More junior center Andre Drummond.
The 6-foot-10 center went for 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks and attacked the basket with brute force when he was in the paint. His dunks rattled the basket apparatus, which hung from the rafters at Springfield College.
While he size is impressive, Drummond could stand to do more work in the paint. At times he caught the ball on the wing and tried to beat his man off the dribble when he could have had more success posting up smaller defenders. He also struggled from the line, shooting 1 for 6.
While Drummond was the main attraction, Hargrave Military Academy boasted a stable of talented athletes.
"They were more aggressive, more physical," St. Thomas More coach Jere Quinn said. "They were quicker and stronger too.
"I didn’t think we could beat them individually," he added. "I thought our best chance would be if we played well collectively as a team. But we didn’t do that and we never really found our rhythm."
Hargrave guard Dez Wells, who is headed to Xavier next year, show tremendous leaping ability, exploding for a pair dunks that drew "Oohs" from the crowd. The 6-foot-5 guard has great size and strength for the Atlantic 10, and finished with 20 points on 8-for-16 shooting. He added three steals and two blocks.
North Carolina-bound P.J. Hairston added 14 points and two steals, while a pair of future Virginia Tech Hokies, C.J. Barksdale and Marquis Rankin, contributed to the win as well. Barksdale, a 6-foot-8 forward, dropped in 16 points while Rankin added nine points and two assists.
Findlay Prep (Nev.) 76, St. Andrews (R.I.) 57
Another great guard matchup in Springfield with Arizona-bound Nick Johnson vs. Michael Carter-Williams, who is headed to Syracuse. The two went head-to-head for much of the game, with Johnson out-dueled his opponent in large part thanks to his superior supporting cast in a 76-57 Findlay win.
Johnson — nephew of NBA great Dennis Johnson — scored 18 points (including 4 of 9 from three-point land). He’s a little undersized for a shooting guard, but at 6-foot-3 he has the ball-handling ability and enough size to be a successful combo-guard. Johnson showed his speed and leaping ability with a fast-break dunk. He’s a competitor and seemed to enjoy the challenge of going back-and-forth with Carter-Williams.
Carter-Williams was very impressive, especially on the offensive end where he was able to create space to get his shot off with a cross-over and step back. When Findlay played up under his chin, the 6-foot-5 guard had the length to get his shot off over his defender or take his man off the dribble and sink a tear drop in the lane. His knocked down shots from the outside with ease (5 of 9 from three-point land).
But carrying the weight of the offense, he wore down a bit in the second half and Findlay ran different defenders at him. Carter-Williams’ 24 points came on 8 for 22 shooting. He shot just 3 for 10 after the intermission.
“We knew he was there best player so we wanted to come out there and do a good job on him,” Johnson said. "I mean, 8 for 22, if somebody can get 24 points like that, we’re good with that.”
“We wanted to force him to the left side," he added. "Contest his shots and just get into him because he’s a little skinnier."
Findlay was able to bump Carter-Williams at times and keep him on the perimeter when he looked to drive. Strength is an area the stud guard knows he will have to address at Syracuse.
"I’m definitely trying to build my strength up for the next level," Carter-Williams said. "it’s something I’m continuing to work on. It’s part of the game, it’s one of the things I need to improve on.
Jameson-Dewitt (N.Y.) 76, Webster Groves (Mo.) 64
During warm ups before the 4:30 game Sunday it was apparent Webster Groves (Mo.) would have no answer for 6-foot-10 five-star junior DaJuan Coleman. Twenty-three points and 20 rebounds later, Coleman had led his team to a 76-64 and left mouths agape at Springfield College.
At 6-foot-8, 280 pounds Coleman is both enormous and nimble in a way that sets apart from anyone else in his class. After pulling down a defensive rebound he could zip an outlet pass out to ignite the break or start it himself, dribbling ably down the court and finding teammates in transition. He finished with a team-high.five assists.
"I’m getting it in my system now ’cause the next level you can’t just be in the post all the time," Coleman said. "So I just get it now so I could get used to it and show people everybody I could do more stuff than just back people down."
But Coleman showed brute strength was still a big part of his game, finishing through hard contact on multiple occasions around the rim. His coach Bob McKenney said that the big man tends to play better when he’s angry, which Coleman admitted can happen when he’s under attack.
"I get hacked a lot back at home ’cause every game I get like two or three people on me," "I get hammered and I just have to fight it off."
Coleman came into the game as the player to watch, ranked No. 8 on Rivals.com’s class of 2012. He said after the game that Kentucky, Syracuse and Ohio State are his top three choices.
Saturday’s Opening Game: New London (Conn.) 72, Albany Academy (N.Y.) 59
New London High School turned a halftime deficit into a comfortable 72-59 win against Albany Academy at the 2011 Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass. Senior guard Torin Childs-Harris (34 points, 13 rebounds) was the catalyst in the second half scoring 26 points after the break.
Junior guard Kriss Dunn added 26 points for the New London. Albany Academy could not stay in front of him in the first half with Dunn knifing into the lane and patiently using pick-and-roll to split the defense en route to 18 points, but the Whalers second half run occurred with Dunn spending extended time on the bench.
Taft (Calif.) 72, Mout Vernon (N.Y.) 56
Spencer Dinwiddie tried to high five the referee after his and-one bucket put Taft High School (Calif.) up 51-31 late in the third quarter against Mount Vernon (N.Y.). The official smiled and replied “I can’t do that.”
That was about the only thing that didn’t go Dinwiddie’s way in the Toreador’s 72-56 win against Mount Vernon (N.Y.) at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass.
The contest featured a matchup between BCS school-bound guards: Dinwiddie, who is committed to Colorado, and Jabarie Hinds, who is headed to West Virginia. Hinds — ranked No. 123 in the country according to Rivals.com – is more heralded, but was limited to 18 points on 7-for-25 shooting, including 0-for-5 from three.
“I really think my length frustrated him a little bit,” Dinwiddie said. Hinds admitted as much after the game.
“He wasn’t super quick so I was able to stay in front of him,” Dinwiddie said. “… (My) 6’10 makes it hard to get around me,” said the 6-foot-4 guard, who added three steals and a block.
Dinwiddie meanwhile played the roll of facilitator getting Taft out in transition and feeding his bigs down low. He took just three shots, but was credited with 11 assists.
“If it’s a team effort more than a solo thing then we have a much better chance of winning,” Dinwiddie said. “They played a lot of zone pressure and they tried to trap early, so when we were able to break that and get it out I was able to get easy assists to my big people.”
The biggest of those bigs was 6-foot-10 Kevin Johnson, who finished with 26 points (on 12-of-20 FG) and 13 rebounds.
Morgan Park (Ill.) 78, Seattle Garfield (Wash.) 67
The 5:45 game between Morgan Park High School (Chicago) and Seattle Garfield High School featured a pair of highly-touted guards facing off in Louisville commit Wayne Blackshear and Tony Wroten Jr., who is committed to Washington.
Blackshear got the best of the matchup, a 78-67 Morgan Park win, despite being forced to the bench twice with a knee injury he said afterward caused a "throbbing" pain during the game.
"When I came back in, I just wanted to play hard and just do what I can to help my team win," he said. " … I’m a warrior, I just played through it."
Even with the injury, Blackshear showed why he is a prized recruit, doing a little bit of everything for the Mustangs. The 6-foot-5 wing scored 26 points in just 24 minutes on the strength of a 10-for-17 shooting (4 for 9 from three). He added eight rebounds, two steals and a block to his abbreviated stat-line.
Wroten exhibited tremendous talent, whipping passes around and finding teammates in tight spaces for buckets. But his flash also led to four turnovers, including one comical pass he tossed off the head of an unsuspecting official.
With a strong build at 6-foot-5, Wroten handled the ball well and showed that he does not shy away from contact, shooting 21 foul shots (15 of his 23 points came from the line).
"He’s a pass-first point guard," Blackshear said. " … He played his game today."
As for his knee, Blackshear didn’t think it would be a concern in the future.
"Since the game’s over, I can feel a lot of pain now," he said. "I’m just gonna go back home and try to get it worked on. … Probably a little tendinitis that’s it. Not serious."
St. Anthony (N.J.) 75, Dematha Catholic (Md.) 25
Scouts and fans got less from St. Anthony (N.J.) studs Myles Mack and Kyle Anderson than expected Saturday. Not because the pair didn’t perform, but because they spent much of the second half on the bench as the Friars cruised to a 75-25 win against DeMatha Catholic (Md.).
Rutgers-bound Mack finished with 28 points (11-14 FGs, 6-7 FTs) in just 21 minutes. Mack is undersized at 5-10, but he’s an efficient scorer. Anderson didn’t light up the box score, but he has a solid build and handled well for a 6-8 wing while grabbing five boards in 20 minutes.
Milton (Ga.) 75, Oak Hill Academy (Va.) 69
There was enough talent to fill out a Division I roster on the floor between opponents Oak Hill Academy (Va.) and Milton (Ga.) in the biggest match at the Hoophall Classic on Saturday. But Ohio State-bound Shannon Scott stood above them all with a 22 points, three assist effort in leading Milton to a 75-69 win, Oak Hill’s first loss of the season.
Scott didn’t dominate the ball in the same fashion as the point opposite him — Duke commit Quinn Cook — but he orchestrated the offense, scored efficiently (7 for 11 from the field, 8 for 9 from the line) got the Eagles key buckets when they needed them. With Oak Hill surging in the third quarter, Scott ended the quarter with a run out layup on a fast break, and a trip to the line on the ensuing possession to push the lead back up 56-51.
Scott didn’t do it alone though. Dai-Jon Parker (Vanderbilt) filled up the box score with 19 points, four assists, four rebounds and three steals and Georgia Tech bound Julian Royal added 15 points and seven rebounds. Parker displayed impressive leaping ability and range (2 for 5 from three), while Royal is a big who can score from inside and out.
"Milton is a good team. They’re very athletic," said Oak Hill guard Ben McLemore, who has narrowed his recruitment to Kansas and Missouri. "They just played better than us tonight."
Even in the losing effort, Oak Hill offered plenty of talent to watch. Cook flashed the ability that landed him a scholarship from Duke, creating shots for himself and his teammates. He showed great instincts with the ball, setting up the defense to play right into his hands — if he drew a double on a drive, he already knew who would be open and found his man quickly. But Cook also shot 5 for 19 from the field and turned the ball over seven times.