Furness’ Announcement Highlights Showcase
The second annual East-West Showcase, hosted by MBNation, was highlighted by an announcement from Alex Furness, the Cushing Academy post-graduate and local Maine product who announced that he had signed a National Letter of Intent with Bentley College.
Furness’ decision is a steal to be sure for the Northeast 10 program, as a guard of his size, length, and talent is nearly unprecedented at the division II level.
Bentley has made recruiting the state of Maine a top priority in recent years. There current roster includes three local products in Sam Leclerc, Jacob Moore, and Andrew Shaw, while Furness joins another Maine native and fellow Cushing Academy post-graduate, Tyler McFarland, in the Falcons’ incoming recruiting class.
The six-foot-six guard saw wide ranging division I recruitment after his big summer with the MB Nation AAU program, culminating with the 18 and under National Championship.
Furness’ announcement was hardly the only excitement of the day as the event featured the best players in each high school class, and futures game, and two girls games. Here’s a look at who impressed on the court:
Game recap: This game went down to the wire with the West prevailing 62-60. The game started out sloppy but then the boys picked up the pace and started to trade baskets. The game came down to the last few minutes where the West controlled the ball and ran out the clock.
Gage Feeney (Washington Academy)- Big, strong, but well rounded player who can shoot over you or take the ball to the block and pummel you. Showed the foot speed to defend and play as any position from the 3 to 5 slot. Lacks height towards the upper end of those positions but has the heart and intensity to play anywhere.
Ian Milekis (Edward Little)- Controlled the game for the East and penetrated to the basket very well. Moves and defends well and can always get his shot.
Jack Simonds (Falmouth)- Showed his all around polished game and played with a high motor and will to obtain the ball as much as he could. Simonds closed out the game in the final minutes with to threes from deep behind the arc. He showed a confidence that is rarely present at such a young age and should continue to grow as a shooter and playmaker.
Kevin Weisser (Windham)- A deadeye shooter who can stretch the defense to their max. Tall, lanky, and left handed he ca pose a threat from anywhere on the court and causes huge mismatch problems with his ability to run the floor and penetrate to the rim as well.
Game recap: This was a complete blowout win for the East with a score of 78-44. The extra year between this game and the last seemed to make a difference in strength and ability to anticipate. Although ugly for the West, the East had many wonderful plays and put out a great defensive effort.
Zach Gilpin (Hampden)- Hands down he was the best performance of the day at this event. With the body of a senior he over powered, outworked, and beat the West. He was the catalyst from which almost all of the great plays made by the East came. This kid is a flat out stud when attacking the hoop and playing in the open floor. Solid perimeter skills and jump shot as well as a strongly built six-foot-four frame help make Gilpin the second best player in his class and the best player on the floor today.
Isaiah Bess (Penquis)- This six-foot-five forward has the touch and fluency on the offensive end to be a key contributor at any level. His awareness is great and he moves up and down the floor like a gazelle. He was too much to handle for the West today.
Brady Innes (Marshwood)- This big man showed skill and touch around the rim and provided the only source of rebounding for the West side.
Jayvon Young (Portland)- Young took a few bad shots but overall he was the only source of offense for the West who only scored 44 points. His slender frame allowed him to sneak into the paint a few times and score on some crafty lay-ins and floaters.
Game recap: This game featured two of the most physically imposing figures at the showcase in Chris Braley and Garet Beal from the East. The East won the game and truly the score does not indicate their domination of the floor throughout the contest. The East won with a score of 82-69 but they controlled the floor throughout and never allowed the West to get to close.
Garet Beal (Jonesport-Beals)- This young man walked into the gym early in the day before his game and had the frame of a division I swingman. During the game he got to the rim whenever he wanted on his defender and showed NBA range with his three point shot. Now standing somewhere around six-foot-six he is a weapon on both ends of the floor. Garet has finally figured out how good he is and he took advantage of it today scoring 20 points with relative ease.
Chris Braley (Phillips Exeter academy)- Chris was on another level today and his body shows it. Standing at six-foot-five Braley routinely pulled up from far behind the three-point arc and sunk the shots with ease. His slashing ability, quickness, and footwork make him almost impossible to stay in front of. Chris has developed a strong, physical game that leaves his defenders with many aches the next day. The motor on this athlete is unreal and his work is great as well.
Quinn Leary (Edward Little)- Stronger two guard with the ability to bang inside with the big boys, Leary showed today that he could play with the best. He ran with Beal and Braley and was very successful in rebounding and stealing the basketball.
Aaron Todd (York)- This young big man showed the most heart of any player at the showcase today. He worked his tail off for post position and got hammered every time that he drove from the perimeter but Todd kept coming back. He finished with 13 hard fought points and impressed many with his will to score and rebound in the paint.
Tanner Hyland (South Portland)- Hyland showed deep range knocking down multiple three pointers in the face of the defender. He has a quick release and good footwork that allow him to get his shot off at any time.
Game recap: A high scoring game broke out between the East and West in this one. Both teams got up and down the floor and converted in transition but also showed the ability to knock down shots from deep or slow the game down to a pace of their liking. The West prevailed with a 127-104 victory in the high light game of the showcase today.
Christian McCue (Hampden)- Is a fundamentally sound guard with great vision and a willingness to pass that is not present in many scorers. He strokes the deep ball and can get his own shot when necessary. McCue ended the game with 27 points, the highest total among all games at the showcase.
Pat Stewart (Bangor)- A long and lanky big man at six-foot-six with a high motor ran the floor well and finished many put backs at the rim. His effort on both ends was impressive.
Alex Furness (Cushing Academy)- Following his big announcement, the six-foot-six guard showed his ability to play the point, controlling the tempo of the game and getting to the rim at will, scoring 26 points. His ball distribution skills were very impressive and his long strides and first step granted him space whenever he pleased.
Cole Libby (Bonny Eagle)- He was the smartest player all day making the extra pass, get to the rim for emphatic dunks, or knocking down the open jump, Libby was everywhere. His on the ball defense is also superb and at the next level Libby can be a key piece on any roster.
Liam Langaas (York)- Langaas scored a quiet 20 points today but he will be a great glue guy at the next level with his ability to handle the ball as a point guard or score as an attacking two guard.
Justin Pollard (Thornton Academy)- He showed great will to score yesterday and whenever he wanted to get to his spot for a three pointer or a pull up, he did. Great stroke and a solid attacking game made Pollard a threat at all times.