3 Standouts from Day 1 of the NPSI
The 21st annual National Prep School Invitational kicked off the first of four full days of action at Rhode Island College on Thursday with eight games.
Local results included Brewster Academy knocking off Orangeville Prep, Putnam Science Academy seeing their 49-game winning streak snapped at the hands of Sunrise Christian Academy, and St. Thomas More taking a controversial decision over Loomis Chaffee.
Here’s a look at three players that impressed:
Kai Jones, Brewster Academy – The Texas signee led five Bobcats in double figures with a team high 19 points. Jones has staggering long-term upside as he is young and still very new to the game but has an unmatched combination of size, length, athleticism, mobility, and fluidity. His potential has exceeded his production at times this year though and so Thursday's performance, and specifically the 11 points he scored in the second-half, were a welcome sight for Brewster. Aside from his physical tools, and consequent defensive potential, Jones also has a soft touch to develop in the coming years. He’s at his best right now when playing with an inside-out approach but there were signs of things to come in future years on full display.
Qwanzi Samuels, Loomis Chaffee – The Florida Gulf Coast commit had quite possibly his best game yet in a Pelicans uniform. Samuels has some similarities to Jones, relative to a different level, in that he has a high physical upside with his length and athleticism, but hasn’t always put it all together on a consistent basis so far this season. Thursday was a different story though as he scored 14 of his team-high 20 points in the second half by making tough pull-ups, curling screens, and making tough finishes at the rim. Also noteworthy was the decision-making and distributing of junior point guard Josh Menard, who did an admirable job of spreading the ball around and getting his teammates open looks down the stretch.
Nick MacDonald, St. Thomas More – The unsigned post-graduate has been quietly exceeding expectations all season long and was instrumental down the stretch of this comeback win for a St. Thomas More team that came into the game missing a pair of starters. A pure shooter from behind the three-point line with the basketball I.Q. to match, MacDonald knocked down a pair of big threes in the second-half and then iced the game at the free-throw line by going 4-4 with under a second left to play. Fordham bound big man Joel Soriano played a strong game in the paint while Gardner-Webb pledge Mick Lynott scored a team high 16-points on a series of jumpers and pull-ups.
The NPSI will continue at Rhode Island College throughout the weekend. For more information or the full schedule please visit NationalPrepInvitational.net.