Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hoop Hall Classic Recap, Saturday

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – With all the games that high school teams around the country play these days, it seems that the impact of marquee match-ups has been diminished. However, that is certainly not the case with the Hoop Hall Classic, arguably the premier event of the winter. This season’s editions features the nation’s top-five teams – St. Patrick (N.J.), Northland High School (OH), Findlay College Prep (Nev.), Westchester High School (Ca.) and DeMatha Catholic (Md.) – as well as Oak Hill Acadamy and plenty of other big-time squads and players. The event kicked off on Friday at Blake Arena on the Springfield College campus with some local Massachusetts action, but really amped up Saturday with four headliner games. Here is a look at some of the top players from the day.

Note: Top committed players that were featured on Saturday included Tobias Harris (35 points and 16 rebounds, Tennessee), Josh Smith (DNP, UCLA), Reggie Bullock (26 points and 12 rebounds, North Carolina), Juwan Staten (5 points and 3 assists, Dayton), Pe’Shon Howard (11 points and 5 rebounds, Maryland), Trey Burke (5 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists, Penn State), Jared Sullinger (3 points and 16 rebounds, Ohio State), JD Weatherspoon (21 points and 7 rebounds, Ohio State), Tyler Thornton (18 points, Duke), Cedrick Lindsay (21 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists, Richmond), Malcolm Lemmons (10 points, Robert Morris), Brett Comer (15 points and 4 assists, Florida Atlantic), Adam Jones (16 points and 6 rebounds, Fairfield) and Austin Rivers (21 points and 4 rebounds, Florida).

Tavon Sledge, Half Hollow Hills West, 2011: Unbelievably quick guard absolutely took over the fourth quarter against Sacred Heart. He was impossible to stay in front, and finished lay-up after lay-up. Sledge is also extremely athletic, dunking the ball a couple of times on fast-break. He has great handle and finds players once he gets into the lane. Sledge is very fast with the ball and can get end-to-end quicker than most. Bottom line, he is a playmaker. Finished with 27 points.

Tyler Harris, Half Hollow Hills West, 2011: The “other” Harris made plays defensively and with the pass, but was not an overly aggressive offensive player. He can shoot the three effectively, but struggles to create his own shot off the dribble. On the positive side, he was a solid passer and made a few nice look-ahead assists for baskets. Defensively, his length caused problems for opponents, as he played the passing lanes well and picked up some blocks. Finished with just three points.

Josh Turner, Sacred Heart High School, 2010: Turner was certainly not afraid to shoot, although that was both good and bad. He finished with 25 points, but forced several shots and most of his jumpers were contested. He does have a quick first step and was able to finish at the rim. Turner has good body control and get into the lane for baskets. He has a good mid-range game and showed off a nice pull-up jumper over defenders.

Corey Andrews, Sacred Heart High School, 2010: Along with Turner, Andrews was basically the entire Sacred Heart team. He was very active on the glass, especially at the offensive end, and was an effective finisher at the rim. In the first half, he did most of his work in the paint, getting points off of rebounds and loose balls. In the second half, though, Andrews demonstrated a nice mid-range game, hitting a few jumpers, including a bank shot off of a spin move.

Mike Tyson, Kinston High School, 2011: With Kinston in command most of the game thanks to Reggie Bullock, Tyson didn’t need to do much. However, he did show an ability to rebound and finish pretty well. He also ran the floor well and had good hands. However, Tyson does need to make himself more available on offense.

Doron Lamb, Oak Hill Acadamy, 2010: Lamb was fantastic defensively, guarding Jared Sullinger the entire game. He kept Sullinger on the perimeter, and didn’t allow him anything easy all night. He boxed out very well and rebounded the ball. Offensively, Lamb started out very aggressively, driving to the basket and finishing with floaters and runners in the lane. He was extremely smooth with the ball and is very athletic and quick without seeming overly explosive. Lamb has good handle and can also pass the ball well. He finished with 13 points.

Roscoe Smith, Oak Hill Academy, 2010, Connecticut: Smith didn’t play that well against Northland on Saturday. He struggled from the start, missing outside jumpers throughout the game. Furthermore, Smith failed to finish on an alley-oop in the second half. He showed range on his jumper, but was inconsistent. He is athletic and long, and used that to his advantage on the glass. He finished with just two points but grabbed eight boards.

Baye Moussa-Keita, Oak Hill Academy, 2010, Syracuse: Keita is slowly coming along in his offensive game. He still doesn’t have many back-to-the-basket moves, but he can run the floor well and finishes at the rim. Defensively, he used his length and athleticism to create problems for opponents at the rim. Early in the game, Sullinger had difficulties getting shots off over him at the basket. Moussa-Keita also had a terrific play, when he blocked a shot at one end, then ran the floor and caught an alley-oop at the other. He finished with eight points and seven rebounds.

Jalen Robinson, Northland High School, 2012, West Virginia: The sophomore was a key performer in Northland’s victory on Saturday. Robinson had several nice moves to the rim, including a couple of spin moves, although he failed to finish multiple times. He is strong and aggressive going to the hole, and had a very impressive basket and foul down the stretch. Robinson uses his body well, and is also able to run the floor and finish. He had 12 points and six rebounds.

Nate Britt, Gonzaga College High School, 2013: The skinny guard has an excellent grasp of the game already. He is smart with the ball, and does not back down from more experienced opponents. Of course, Britt could put on some weight and muscle, but that will come with time. He passes the ball well, and is also not afraid to shoot. Furthermore, Britt plays the passing lanes, and can lead a fast break. He finished with six points and five rebounds.

Kris Jenkins, Gonzaga College High School, 2013: Another young player, Jenkins was the go-to-guy for Gonzaga down low. He gets excellent position on the low block, and has good hands. He makes himself available for entry passes and is strong once he gets the ball on the block. Jenkins needs to develop more effective and efficient post moves, but he is well on his way to becoming a very good player in his class. He finished with 14 points and five rebounds.

Recruiting Notes:

- Tavon Sledge said he is receiving interest from West Virginia, Providence, Oregon State, Hofstra, St. John’s and Connecticut right now.

- Josh Turner has offers from Rhode Island and Niagara, as well as interest from Connecticut, Massachusetts and Xavier.

-  Mike Tyson has interest from VCU and East Carolina.

- Two 2013 prospects from Gonzaga College High School (D.C.) are receiving plenty of interest. Nate Britt, a 6-0 guard, and Kris Jenkins, a 6-6 forward, have a long list of suitors contacting them.

According to Gonzaga head coach Steve Turner, both players have heard from Miami (Fl.), Georgetown, Texas, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Virginia and others.

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