National Prep Showcase - Day Three Recap
Game of the Day:
Alif Muhammad Nia School (NJ) 90 New Hampton Prep (NH) 80
In a contest between two well-balanced teams featuring a combination of speed and skill on the perimeter and size and physicality inside, Nia Prep took on New Hampton to start off Sunday’s evening action. Mid-way through the first-half, with UMass-commit Jordan Laguerre on the bench in foul trouble for New Hampton, Nia began featuring a variety of three-quarter court and half-court zone-trap looks that forced the Huskies to settle for difficult perimeter shots and allowed Nia guards Kelvin Amayo and Deon Maddox to get out and score in transition. Trailing by two, at 38-36, New Hampton would close the half on a furious 16-2 run on a barrage of three-pointers from Lafayette-commit Joey Ptasinski, UNC-Greensboro-bound Nick Paulos, and Olivier Hanlan to take a 52-40 lead heading into halftime.
Maddox, along with Cincinnati-commit Shaquille Thomas, would open the second half aggressively on offense for Nia, attacking the rim for scores and getting multiple put-backs that would quickly erase the New Hampton lead. Laguerre (11 points) would hit a big three from the left-corner to give New Hampton the lead back, at 62-61, with 10:30 remaining, before Maddox would answer on a driving lay-up on the ensuring possession to put Nia back on top. A Hanlan floater would keep the New Hampton deficit to just two, at76-74, with under four minutes remaining, but as it seemed to do all half, Nia would answer back with back-to-back buckets from Amayo and Shamoree Strawn to push the lead back to six with three minutes left to play. New Hampton proved unable to keep Nia’s strong, athletic guards out of the paint in the game’s final minutes, as the visiting Eagles would hang on for the well-earned, 90-80 victory.
Amayo and backcourt-mate David Joseph (9-10 FT) would finish with a game-high 19 points for Nia, followed by Thomas with 18 points and seven rebounds and Maddox with 13 points, seven boards, and four steals. Hanlon led the way for New Hampton with 17 points and four assists, with Penn-bound Will Davis posting 12 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in an impressive double-double performance.
Game of the Night:
St. Andrews School (RI) 57 Blair Academy (NJ) 53
In the final game of day on Sunday, St. Andrews locked up with Blair Academy in what turned out to be one of the evening’s most competitive contests. After a sloppy first half in which Syracuse-bound Michael Carter-Williams was hounded by Blair defenders on his way towards 14 trips to the free-throw line, both teams came out of the locker room unwilling to let the other cruise to a comfortable lead. Carter-Williams showed why he’s the top-ranked guard in New England, putting on a dazzling offensive display that included NBA-range threes off the dribble, creative drives to the basket, and step-back, fade-away jumpers. Blair would hang tough behind a strong effort from guard Marques Jones, who was difficult to handle getting to the hoop off ball-screens and pulling up for mid-range jump-shots. After Blair took a two-point lead with 13 seconds remaining, at 55-53, on a up-and-under bucket from Mark Bevacqua, Carter Williams would race the ball up the floor looking to answer for St. Andrews. However, his step-back three-point attempt from the right wing would fall short and Blair would hang on for the hard-fought victory.
Jones finished with 17 points to lead Blair, while 6’4 guard Joe Hart added 15 points and seven rebounds. Carter Williams led St. Andrews with a game-high 30, including 14-19 from the free-throw line, to go along with eight rebounds in 39 minutes.
Elijah Carter (Brewster)- Carter was scoring the ball in bunches early on Sunday in Brewster’s 89-67 win over Princeton Day, mixing in series of perimeter jumpers with effective floaters in the lane in an 11-point, five-assist performance. He was the recipient of several catch-and-shoot opportunities running alongside Kansas-bound Naadir Tharpe (12 points, 10 assists), but showed an ability to get others involved, himself, pushing the pace to find open shooters in transition and drawing help in the lane to create easy scores off well-executed dump-downs.
Jakarr Sampson (Brewster)- Sampson (16 points, 11 rebounds, six blocks) was extremely active in Sunday’s game against Princeton Day, using his long, athletic frame to score with authority above the rim and pin shots against the backboard on defense. The 6’8”, St. John’s-commit was a menace on the glass, rebounding the ball consistently out of his area and using his quick bounce off the floor to convert scores through contact. If Sampson can continue to polish his face-up game and work on creating his own offense from the wing, he has “match-up nightmare” written all over him down the road in the Big East.
Kareem Storey (Princeton Day Academy)- After a 31-point outburst on Saturday in an upset win over St. Thomas More, Storey bounced back from a scoreless first half against Brewster on Sunday to finish with 13 points on 5-18 from the floor. Despite struggling shooting the ball, Storey continued to display the excellent quickness and sharp handle that allowed him to get into the lane at will in his three games at the event. Despite being slightly undersized, Storey emerged as one of the premiere floor generals at this year’s showcase and solidified himself as a bona fide, mid-major prospect.
Aaron Cosby (Northfield Mount Hermon)- Following a solid, 23-point performance in a win over Fork Union on Friday, Crosby impressed again on Sunday with his effectiveness reading the defense off high ball-screens and knocking down shots. Finishing with a team-high 26 points, on 6-11 from three, the Seton-Hall commit showed no hesitation in pulling up from well-beyond the arc as MCI defenders did their best to crowd him. He did find trouble leaving his feet and picking up charges on separate occasions when driving to the basket and his mentality as a true point guard is still developing, but his talent as an aggressive perimeter scorer is undeniable.
Khristian Smith (Maine Central Institute)- The former Cincinnati-commit showcased a versatile offensive skill-set in his team’s 82-71 win over NMH on Sunday, scoring with his back-to-the basket on the block and using an explosive first-step to get to the rim from the wing. He finished with 19 points on 8-14 shooting, but most impressive was the unselfishness he displayed in being an effective interior passer when drawing help in the post and off penetration.
John Golden (Northfield Mount Hermon)- For the second straight game, Golden was an efficient scorer for his NMH squad, hitting on seven-for-nine from the field and three-of-four from three while going for 17 points against MCI on Sunday. Golden showed he doesn’t need much space to score, as he’s very effective coming off baseline staggers at full-speed and squaring his body quickly to create a balanced look at the basket.
Omari Grier (Maine Central Institute)- Grier was lethal from behind arc on Sunday, connecting on four-of-seven from distance with a fluid, high release in a 16-point performance. Shooters have to understand how to get themselves open for clean looks in order to be effective, and Grier did an excellent job of spacing himself well off penetration and preparing himself before the catch.
Rafael Maia (Maine Central Institute)- Maia was an active force on the inside for MCI on Sunday, finishing with a team-high 21 points and nine rebounds. The 6’9”, Brazilian native was constantly getting his hands on offensive rebounds and loose balls and showed an ability to finish creatively over size in traffic with either hand. His high-motor and work ethic resulted in fouls from opponents failing to match his intensity, and he showed a smooth release in going seven for eight from the line.
Will Davis (New Hampton Prep)- In an impressive double-double performance against Nia Prep on Sunday, recent Penn-commit Will Davis flashed a brand of athleticism that should allow him to make an immediate impact next year in the Ivy League. The 6’9” big-man caught a one-handed lob in transition, skied for a powerful, two-hand, put-back dunk, and showed quick bounce finishing around the rim.
Olivier Hanlan (New Hampton Prep)- Hanlan was strong getting to the hoop against Nia’s group of big, physical guards, keeping his team in the game down the stretch with a series of change-of-direction, change-of-pace dribble moves. With a good-looking stroke from the perimeter, Hanlon should continue to develop into a strong, lead guard prospect in the class of 2012.
Deon Maddox (Nia Prep)- The 6’6” Maddox displayed tremendous athleticism on Sunday, blocking shots in transition, getting into passing lanes for steals, and finishing with flare above the rim. Sometimes overshadowed by teammates Shaquille Thomas and Kelvin Amayo, Maddox also possesses a solid perimeter skill-set that allows him hit from the behind the arc and use one or two bounces to get free for a mid-range pull-up.
Kelvin Amayo (Nia Prep)- Amayo flat-out got anywhere he wanted in Sunday’s game against New Hampton, scoring at the rim time-and-time again on aggressive moves from the wing. At 6’5”, 205lbs, his size and strength allows him to bull past smaller defenders and keep himself under control through contact on his way to the basket.
Georges Niang (Tilton)- Niang put up a game-high 33 points and 11 rebounds in Tilton’s blow-out win over Wilbraham & Monson on Sunday, and if you weren’t making a point to watch him play, you may not have known it. Never flashy or spectacular, Niang is all about one thing: productivity. He was certainly that on Sunday, demonstrating the unique ability to exert the entirety of his motion and energy on positive plays in what could only be described as quietly-dominating performance.
Nerlens Noel (Tilton)- A consensus top-five player in the class of 2013, Noel’s sensational shot-blocking ability was on full display Sunday against Wilbraham & Monson, as he single-handedly started the Tilton fast-break on multiple occasions by rejecting opponents’ shots out beyond the three-point line into the hands of teammates heading towards the other end. While he finishes everything with authority around the rim, expanding his offensive skill-set to include a series of post moves and a consistent jump-hook would only make his overall impact even more devastating.
Wayne Selden (Tilton)- If Selden were in the class of 2011, he’d be a high-major prospect right now. Instead, he’s a freshman in high school. Possessing tremendous size and strength for a young player, Selden has the basketball talent to match with a smooth handle and terrific body-control attacking the basket. He went six for nine for three in a 26-point, five-rebound performance on Sunday, but continuing to develop better mechanics and lift on his jump shot will make his virtually unguardable offensive arsenal even more complete.
Andrej Pajovic (Wilbraham & Monson)- One of the few bright spots in a blow-out loss to Tilton on Sunday, Pajovic put up 27 points on five of nine from behind the arc. Crafty with the basketball, Pajovic was able to limit his turnovers while remaining aggressive and was effective knocking down open looks.
Michael Carter-Williams (St. Andrews)- After a frustrating first half on Sunday in which he struggled to get free for open looks and went to the free-throw line 14 times, the future Syracuse guard and top-ranked player in New England went for 17 in the second half against Blair on Sunday to finish with a game-high 30 points and eight-rebounds. At a legit 6’5”, Carter-Williams can flat-out do it all offensively, as he showed off his full-array of talents with the ball in his hands by converting on a series deep pull-up jumpers and creative drives to the hoop.