NPS - Day 3 Recap
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – With another strong turnout of college coaches on hand for Day 3 of the National Prep Showcase at Albertus Magnus College, Sunday’s six games produced numerous memorable individual performances and a few highly competitive contests.
Below is a brief recap of those matchups, including the players whose performances headlined the action.
Brewster Academy 91, South Kent 84
Despite transportation issues – one of Brewster’s two buses broke down en route to Albertus Magnus – the Bobcats made it to the gym on time for their 9 am tipoff. And while a scrappy South Kent squad made it a game – the score stood tied at 79 with 1:52 remaining – Brewster closed on a 12-5 run to capture the win.
Employing a sweet three-point stroke, creative dribbling and acrobatic finishes around the basket in which he displayed excellent body control, the Bobcats’ 6-foot-1 guard Devonte Graham spearheaded his team’s offense with 23 points. As he did on Saturday, Georgetown commit Isaac Copeland again wowed the crowd with his athletic finishes at the rim, including a couple thunderous follow-up dunks off misses and his ability to step outside and knock down 15-18 foot jumpers. In defeat, South Kent’s 5-foot-9 guard Schadrac Casimir dropped 36 points on an efficient 13-of-20 shooting, further cementing his stature as a one of the most electrifying sub-6-footers in New England. Backcourt mate Tremont Waters, who stands 5-foot-10 and is from the class of 2017, played well and showed considerable poise is tallying 17 points over 26 minutes.
New Hampton School 71, Massanutten Military Academy 62
While Massanutten held a nine-point lead at halftime, New Hampton came storming back in the final frame, outscoring its opponents by 18 points, behind strong inside play from big men Tyler Lydon and Tory Miller. Together the duo accounted for 26 of their team’s 50 rebounds, which gave the Huskies a plus-22 rebounding margin. Colorado signee Miller was particularly active, snatching a number of key defensive boards that helped ignite New Hampton in transition. He also had a couple rim-rocking dunks off dishes from teammates in which he deftly dove to the basket and showed good hands in collecting his teammates’ passes. Lydon, who committed to Syracuse in October, scored a team-leading 15 points. Though he was at times outmuscled by stronger opponents, his quick first step, length and savvy ball skills earned him 10 trips to the line which he converted into eight points.
For Massanutten, the twosome of D.J. Foreman and Isaac Fleming combined for 37 points. The 22 that Foreman produced were particularly impressive as the 6-foot-8 lefty, who is committed to Rutgers, showed a versatile and polished inside-out game.
Believe Prep 93, Kiski Prep 80
Arguably NPSs’ most athletic player was Believe Prep’s Damontrae Jefferson. Listed at 5-foot-7, 160 pounds, Jefferson showcased his agility with numerous two-handed dunks during warm-ups. Then, when the game began, the shoot-first point guard used his explosive quickness and strong handle to frantically navigate the court and unleash shots from all angles. He connected on a couple three-pointers, but also showed an uncanny knack for draining shots from inside the paint using soft runners and teardrops over taller opponents. Jefferson also wasn’t afraid to hit the boards. He collected eight rebounds, oftentimes pushing the tempo once he assumed possession to facilitate transition opportunities for teammates. With six turnovers and four assists, however, Jefferson’s point guard skills are still blossoming. Six-foot-7 David Burrell also chipped in 16 points and nine rebounds for Believe Prep.
In defeat, Kiski was led by 7-footer Satchel Pierce who recorded 17 points and 10 rebounds. At 245 pounds, the big man, who is headed to Marquette next year, showed why with solid footwork and a soft touch using both hands. Obi Udezeh, a 6-foot guard from NYC, displayed a nice midrange stroke and regularly found his way to the free throw line using a series of moves that put pressure on the defense and, in turn, produced a team-high 23 points.
Blair Academy 74, Tilton School 71
One of the day’s more intriguing player matchups given their similar length and athleticism was Tilton’s Terance Mann versus Blair’s Marial Shayok. While Shayok, who is three inches taller than the 6-foot-5 Mann, won the individual battle with 21 points and seven rebounds, both players competed at a high-level in what turned out to be the days most evenly matched contest. It seemed that whenever either team went on a run, whether to pull away or close the gap, both players were in the middle of the outburst.
Mann finished with nine points and 10 rebounds, but was unable to convert a driving layup down the stretch after Tilton closed to within a point following a 9-2 run. Blair also got 16 points from 6-foot-11 Brett Jolly, while Tilton sharp shooter Steven Bush, who is rapidly establishing a reputation as of one the NEPSAC’s most consistent long-range marksman, knocked down 6-of-12 three-pointers for 18 points.
Our Savior New American 82, Vermont Academy 59
Vermont Academy may not see a team as talented as Our Savior again this season.
In a game that was never close, Our Savior led from the opening tip and put four players in double figures: Djibril Diallo (14 points), Damon Wilson (12 points), Kobie Eubanks (21 points) and Mike Nzei (20 points and 11 rebounds). Cheick Diallo, the ninth-ranked player from the class of 2015, added eight points and eight rebounds and displayed the athleticism and basketball IQ that has already earned him 12 offers from the likes of Connecticut, Kansas, Louisville and Syracuse, among others.
The Wildcats lost one of their four talented sophomores, K.J. Santos, to an ankle injury after he played only 10 minutes, but were paced by 24 points from classmate Christian Vital and 20 points from point guard Tyler Harville, which included connecting on 6-of-18 three-pointers. Bruce Brown delivered the day’s most memorable dunk – a rousing one-handed tomahawk off a run-out down the right sideline – but finished with just six points and six rebounds. Meanwhile, Sedee Keita, a 6-foot-10 post player from Philadelphia, and the last of Vermont’s sophomores, showed a lot of promise with his footwork and interior movement.
Aside from the final score, Vermont flashed intervals against Our Savior where it’s on court results reflected its undisputed talent. It is why it will be fun to watch this team evolve over the season.
Canarias Basketball Academy 73, Cushing Academy 67
Years from now those who watched the showcases final game between Canarias and Cushing will undoubtedly forget the final score and, perhaps, which team won. Yet, it will be hard to erase the memory of the performance put together, albeit in a losing effort, by Cushing’s Kaleb Joseph.
With the Penguins overmatched both in terms of sheer size and roster depth – 14 Canarias players took the court against only 10 from Cushing – Joseph delivered a remarkable stat line: 37 points on 14-of-23 shooting and eight rebounds in 40 minutes. He scored from all three levels, oftentimes blowing past two and three defenders to either finish acrobatically at the rim or square himself in midair for a midrange jumper. On the night, Joseph proved himself unguardable again and again.
In the end, however, Joseph could not win the game by himself. Canarias put all five of its starters in double figures and played an aesthetically pleasing brand of basketball in which all five players usually touched the ball multiple times during offensive possessions. Seven-footer Michal Cekovsky led Canarias with 20 points, while Miguel Dicent had 12 and Matz Stockman, an athletic 7-foot-2 big who has committed to Louisville, and Jan Svandrilk each added 11 points.
Paul Lazdowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @plazdow.