Hoop Hall Classic - Monday Recap
Game of the Day: Perspectives (IL) 53 St. John’s Prep (MA) 63
In Monday’s opening contest featuring two of the most prominent, late-blooming prospects in the national class of 2011, ESPNU Top 100 player and Notre Dame-commit Pat Connaughton would lead his St. John’s Prep team against one of the most talented players in the country in six-foot-ten, Kentucky-bound forward Anthony Davis. While Davis would assert himself early as the elite player on the floor with a mix of smooth perimeter jumpers and creative drives to the basket, Connaughton struggled to find his rhythm in a first half that saw him shoot just 2-10 from the floor and 0-6 from three. Davis, however, was lights out from all over the floor, connecting on 7-9 field goals and dominating the glass on both ends to record a double-double with 18 and 10 rebounds, with his team leading 29-20, heading into the break.
With Perspectives threatening to extend the lead to double-figures early in the second half behind the continued dominance of Davis, St. John’s prep would stay close due to the offensive effort of Steve Haladyna, who scored from all over the floor with a mix of mid-range jumpers and floaters off the glass. With his team down by seven, at 46-39, Connaughton would connect on three free-throws after being fouled on a jumper from behind the arc, and, following a Haladyna lay-up, the Eagles would pull within one, at 47-46, with 4:29 remaining. After a Perspectives bucket, Connaughton would knock down his first three-pointer of the game to tie the contest at 49, before evening the score at 51 with a two-handed put-back dunk in transition after a Davis bucket on the previous possession. After missing his first 11 three-point attempts, Connaughton would connect on his second triple in a row to give St. John’s its first lead of the game, at 54-51, and, after another driving hoop from Haladyna, the Eagles would extend the spread to five with 2:26 remaining. Perspectives would suffer a devastating blow when Davis would be forced to leave the game with an apparent wrist injury and, with the Wolves’ primary offensive weapon lost for the remainder of the contest, St. John’s would eventually hold on for a 62-53 victory.
Haladyna finished with a team-high 25 points for St. John’s, with Connaughton posting a hard-earned double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds on just 6-21 shooting. Capturing game MVP honors in a losing effort, Davis led Perspectives with 30 points, 16 rebounds, and seven blocks on 8-12 shooting from the field.
Anthony Davis (Perspectives)- A blue-chip prospect with infinite upside, the six-foot-ten, Kentucky-bound forward is special with the ball in his hands, featuring creative playmaking ability off the bounce, a pure stroke with range out past the three-point line, and game-changing presence as a dynamic shot-blocker on the defensive end. Finishing with 30 points, 16 rebounds, and seven blocks before going down with an injury late in his team’s loss to St. John’s Prep on Monday, Davis (Game MVP) single-handedly broke the Eagles’ press on several occasions with a series of tight crossover moves in the open floor, none more impressive than when he split a trap on the left wing with a behind-the-back dribble, stopped on a dime in front of help, and whipped the ball around his back to a cutting teammate for an artistically assisted score.
Pat Connaughton (St. John’s Prep)- While he struggled to find his range from the perimeter for most of the morning in Monday’s comeback victory over Perspectives, the six-foot-five Notre Dame-commit displayed the short memory indicative of most great shooters by connecting on a pair of huge three-pointers late in the game to give the Eagles the lead for good. A tough, intelligent player, Connaughton is an aggressive scorer who doesn’t need the ball in his hands in high volume to be effective, while using his deceptive athleticism to score through contact in the paint and guard multiple positions on the defensive end.
Steve Haladyna (St. John’s Prep)- Finishing with game-high 25 points on Monday, the six-foot-five junior scored from all over the floor with a variety of perimeter jumpers, floaters in the lane, and opportune conversions near the basket. A heady player capable of scoring the ball at all three levels, Haladyna kept the Eagles within striking distance through the game’s first 30 minutes while Connaughton struggled to score against Perspective’s 2-3 match-up zone shadowing him on every possession.
Omar Calhoun (Christ The King) – Even his coach Joe Arbitello said it himself, this may have been Omar Calhoun’s best game all season. He executed every play to perfection and knocked down nearly every open look that he took. He also quietly grabbed 10 rebounds and dished 6 assists, on top of his 23 points. As far as efficiency goes, he may be one of the most efficient players in the class of 2012.
Isaiah Lewis (Christ The King) – Even though he is just a sophomore, Lewis plays with a mean streak. He wants to get to the basket every time and embarrass his defender. It is hard to imagine how good he will be in two years considering he plays like an upperclassman already.
Chris Ortiz (Christ The King) – Ortiz has the body of an ideal division I small forward but the skill set of a big man, but he still gets the job done. At 6’8”, the rail thin big man grabbed 11 rebounds due to his great positioning and jumping ability.
Deuce Bello (Westchester Country Day) – In terms of raw athletes, Bello might have been the most impressive. His combination of speed, coordination, and jumping ability is simply amazing. Combine that with a nice skill set and Bello has a high ceiling. He finished with 22 points and 3 steals.
Ike Nwamu (Westchester Country Day) – Despite being built like an undersized big man, Nwamu is a skilled player. While he did settle for outside shots too many times, the Cleveland State-commit hit some nice shots. He also has a nose for the ball as he got four steals along with 13 points.
Josh Level (Westchester Country Day) – Level does not look like a freshman and he certainly doesn’t play like one either. He had a few high-flying plays and could be a name to remember down the road.
Michael Gilchrist (St. Patrick’s) - In a 79-63 win, Gilchrist did it all. He has one of the best overall games in the country. His 27 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals against one long and athletic Bishop Gorman team proved that he steps up in every single game, no matter how good the competition is. While Gilchrist did put up some great stats, his most impressive asset may be his defense. He can guard literally every position and never backs down to anyone.
Chris Martin (St. Patrick’s) – Before he went out of the game after a hard foul on a drive to the basket, Martin caught fire from outside, knocking down 4 three-pointers. He is a tough guard with a knack for scoring the ball. He ended the game early with 18 points.
Derrick Gordon (St. Patrick’s) – A tough guard with a nose for the ball. Gordon has a strong body and punishes smaller guards when driving to the basket. While he was not as efficient as Gilchrist, he helped St. Patrick’s separate themselves by scoring in bunches. Gordon ended with 24 points.
Shabazz Muhammad (Bishop Gorman) – Muhammad is a consensus top-five junior in the country and it showed. While he seems to only go left, he still manages to score effortlessly. He is gifted athletically but could use some work on his outside jump shot. It was a frustrating loss, but there’s no doubt that Muhammad gave his all with a 28 point effort.
Ben Carter and Roscoe Allen (Bishop Gorman) – Carter and Allen are pretty similar players. Both stand at 6’9” yet move and play like guards. While both could afford to bulk up, it was clear that they are both very talented. Carter and Allen scored 13 and 14 points respectively.
Demetris Morant (Bishop Gorman) – While the 6’9” forward is raw offensively, he has great timing on the defensive end. Morant ended with 4 blocks.
LeBryan Nash (Lincoln-Dallas) – Nash might be one of the strongest pound-for-pound players in the nation. He overpowers defenders to the hoop and knows how to get to the line. While many know the Oklahoma State-commit for his toughness and physical play, Nash can play like a finesse player as well. Sometimes, he even settled for too many jump shots but his upside was obvious against one of the nation’s top teams in Findlay Prep as he scored 23 points.
Nick Johnson (Findlay College Prep) – Similar to Nash, Johnson is known more for his high-flying dunks. Johnson, however, showed off his outside jump shot, connecting on a majority of his attempts. He may have had one of the toughest assignments of the day as he had to guard Nash, who is five inches taller than him. Johnson managed to force Nash to just take jump shots, which was one of his strategy’s he planned before the game. Johnson finished with 19 points.
Myck Kabongo (Findlay College Prep) – For those of us from New England, it is easy to compare Myck Kabongo’s game to Rajon Rondo. The Texas-commit loves to push the ball in transition with his multiple gears. His ball-handling ability and court vision is elite which is why a few scouting services consider him the best point guard in the country.
Winston Shepard (Findlay College Prep) – Shepard is an explosive player who brings energy. He loves dunking all over his defender whether it is a put-back or an alley-oop. At 6’9” and just a junior, Shepard should be the face of this team next year when Johnson and Kabongo leave.
Malcolm Gilbert (Academy of New Church) – Defensive is clearly his best asset and at 7’0”, Gilbert was blocking and altering shots left and right. He may move awkwardly, but he should be a nice project for Pittsburgh to take on.
Savon Lloyd-Goodman (Academy of New Church) – An elite athlete in the 2012 class, but needs to work on his ball handling ability if he wants to be a full-time wing at the next level.
Mike Taylor (Boys and Girls) – While he does tend to settle for outside shots too much, Taylor’s 3 three-pointers came up to be vital in the low scoring affair.
Malik Nichols (Boys and Girls) – Nichols ended the game with 14 points and had the best performance in this defensive battle. His length and athleticism helped him get easy baskets near the hoop.
Jake Laga (Northampton) – Only St. Anthony’s of New Jersey took a win this weekend with a bigger margin of victory as Laga led a balanced Northampton assault of East Longmeadow. A scoring senior guard with a streaky good jumper, Laga let the game come to him on Monday night.
St. John’s Prep (MA) 62 Perspectives Charter School (IL) 53
Christ The King (NY) 73 Westchester Country Day (NC) 65
St. Patrick’s (NJ) 79 Bishop Gorman (NV) 63
Findlay College Prep (NV) 69 Lincoln-Dallas (TX) 58
Boys and Girls (NY) 47 Academy of New Church (PA) 45 (OT)
Northampton (MA) 75 East Longmeadow (MA) 30