NPSI - Friday Recap
Game of the Day: Brehm Prep (IL) 68 South Kent School (CT) 72 (OT)
In a highly-anticipated match-up of two teams featuring a variety of high major talent on both rosters, Illinois’ Brehm Prep would take on perennial NEPSAC power South Kent in what turned out to be an exciting, back-and-forth contest. Behind the prolific three-point shooting of Khris Brewer and Oregon-bound Bruce Barron, Brehm would rush out to an early lead against a sluggish Cardinal defense lacking the energy necessary to counter its opponent’s deep stable of explosive guards. Unsigned 2011 big-man Nemanja Djurisic would keep South Kent in it early with a series of buckets on the interior and multiple offensive rebounds that would give his team extra possessions and lead to second-chance opportunities for the likes of St. John’s-commit Maurice Harkless. Following a three from Andrew Crowley, Djurisic would cut the Brehm lead to four, at 28-24, with under two minutes to play before halftime, but a three from Brehm’s Rakeem Dickerson on the ensuing possession would push the spread back to seven, at 31-24,with just over a minute remaining in the half. The two team’s would exchange baskets in the half’s closing moments, with South Kent’s coming on an explosive dunk in transition from Harkless, to keep the Brehm lead at seven, at 33-26, heading into the break.
Emerging from the locker room with a heightened sense of urgency, South Kent would open the second half on fire, quickly erasing the Brehm lead behind a pair of threes from Djurisic and multiple buckets from Harkless and Cincinnati bound guard Ge’lawn Guyn. South Kent would lead by as many as five, at 42-37, with under 15 minutes to play, but Dickerson would eventually tie the game with a three, at 42 all, with just over 12 minutes remaining. Barron would hit a deep triple of his own from the right wing and knock down a fall-away jumper to give Brehm a four-point lead, at 54-50, with under five minutes remaining, and set the table for an exciting final five minutes that would feature a variety of high-caliber plays from players on both teams. A Harkless floater off a nice feed from local product Anthony Jernigan would cut the Brehm lead to two, at 56-54, with just over thirty seconds to play, and, after Barron failed to convert the front-end of a one-and-one that could have put the game away, Harkless would convert on his second bucket in a row on South Kent’s final possession to tie the game at 56 and force overtime.
South Kent would jump out to an early three-point lead in the overtime behind a plus-one bucket from Rutgers-commit Derrick Randal, but Brehm would refuse to go away, with Baron getting loose on back-to-back buckets in transition that would tie the game at 65 with just under two minutes to play. Jernigan and Harkless would answer with two athletic finishes in transition, and, despite the no-quit effort of Brehm, Harkless would eventually put the game away on the free-throw line to allow South Kent to hang on for a well-earned, 72-68, victory.
Harkless finished with a game-high 26 points and six rebounds, to go along with double-double efforts of 20 points and 13 rebounds from Djurisic and 12 and 10 from Randall. Barron lead Brehm with 26 points on 10-21 shooting, with Matej Delinac and Brewer adding 14 and 13 respectively.
Keith Coleman (Lee Academy)- One of the top uncommitted bigs remaining in the national class of 2011, the six-foot-nine center displayed the athleticism and volume rebounding ability that has him drawing interest from a variety of high-major programs looking to add a strong, mobile body on the interior. While he’s noticeably raw offensively and struggles at times to catch and finish cleanly in traffic, Coleman can be an imposing defensive presence with his ability to block and alter shots and possesses all the tools to be a game-changing enforcer at the next level with a greater understanding of how to best utilize his natural physical ability.
Ben Teer (Lee Academy)- Undersized at just five-foot-seven, the former Washington Academy (ME) standout demonstrates a nice feel and determined grit as a heady playmaker equally adept at making shots from the perimeter as he is locating open teammates off efficient penetration. While his seven-point, three-assist (2-2 3-pt FG) stat-line won’t jump out as overly impressive, Teer was extremely efficient in his 14 minutes of action, showing his value as a high-IQ playmaker and capable three-point shooter.
Rodell Wigginton (Lee Academy)- Scoring in bunches in separate stretches in Lee’s hard-fought loss to Next Level, the six-foot-five wing is a strong athlete with excellent bounce that he uses to get to the rim and finish with flair in traffic. At this best running downhill in the open floor, Wigginton (12 points) isn’t overly comfortable putting the ball on the floor beyond a single dribble, but possesses an evolving offensive skill-set that includes a smooth jumper with good rise from the perimeter.
Marquis Clayton (Next Level)- After a slow first half Friday morning against Lee Academy, the five-foot-eleven lead guard began to assert himself in the opening minutes of the second half and demonstrate his ability as a volume scorer with a series of pull-up threes and strong drives to the basket. Finishing with 15 points (all in the second half) on 6-12 shooting and three of five from behind the arc, Clayton’s ability to score from distance and attack the basket off high ball-screen action was a primary factor in Next Level’s ability to hang around and eventually defeat an out-of-sync Lee team plagued by turnovers down the stretch.
Zach Auguste (New Hampton)- Recently adding an offer from Wake Forest to his growing list of high-major suitors, the six-foot-nine, highly-talented big was extremely active in the first half against Redemption Christian, running rim-to-rim for athletic finishes in transition and showing the polished offensive skill-set that projects him as a dynamic, face-up forward at the next level. With his supreme length and natural shot-blocking instincts, Auguste (13 points, four rebounds, three blocks) is a disruptive vertical defender and shows a developing commitment to play hard consistently and be effective through contact on both ends of the floor.
Olivier Hanlan (New Hampton)- Despite making just one field goal in New Hampton’s impressive win over Redemption Christian on Friday, the six-foot-two lead guard was outstanding running the show for the Huskies, leading the break in transition with a smooth handle and terrific feel to locate open teammates trailing for spot-up threes or slashing to the bucket for scores at the rim. With a strong frame and good lateral quickness, Hanlon (six assists, one turnover) is a lock-down defender capable of guarding multiple positions on the perimeter and possesses an overall savvy indicative of a confident, cerebral college point guard.
Will Davis (New Hampton)- Combining with Auguste to form a dynamic presence up front for the Huskies, the future Penn Quaker features a unique blend of size, quickness, and bounce that will should make him an instant factor in the Ivy League upon his arrival in Philly this fall. Davis is relentless running rim-to-rim in transition, stretching the defense to create space for shooters flowing behind the break and catching and finishing with authority with soft hands and explosive leaping ability. On one occasion, he caught the ball on the block, spun baseline off a hard bounce and elevated quickly above the rim over two defenders for a tough bucket that showcased his loaded potential as a devastating low-post scorer.
Nick Paulos (New Hampton)- While Redemption Christian never appeared to be overly concerned with the UNC-Greensboro’s ability as a knock-down three-point shooter, Paulos lit up the scoreboard in a hurry in the first half on Friday, putting up 12 points on a barrage of perimeter jumpers before the break. Finishing with a game-high 15 points on three of six from behind the arc en route to game-MVP honors, the six-foot-seven wing can flat out score the ball from distance with a pure perimeter stroke and, if he continues to add to his offensive arsenal by becoming more comfortable of the bounce, possesses all the tools necessary to be a productive perimeter weapon for the Spartans down the road in the Southern Conference.
Anthony Livingston (Redemption Christian)- One of the few offensive bright spots for Redemption Center in its tough loss to New Hampton on Friday, the six-foot-seven, wide-body post used his strong frame to carve out space on the interior and score the ball from a variety of angles through contact. Finishing with 12 points and five rebounds, Livingston lacks the supreme athleticism needed to rise and battle with bigger, longer players, but makes up for it with a good understanding of how to play and a knack for locating opportune space near the basket.
Bruce Barron (Brehm)- A constant presence on the floor with his energy and commitment as a vocal leader on both ends, the future Oregon Duck impressed on Friday with a strong handle, pure stroke from three, and a willingness to mix it up as a physical, on-ball defender. While he failed to convert on a critical free-throw at the end of regulation that could have put the game away, Barron (26 points, five rebounds) is the type of player you want with the ball in his hands down the stretch, as his talent, poise, and toughness make him a special brand of player eager to rise to the occasion in a tight ball game.
Maurice Harkless (South Kent)- While his effort doesn’t appear overly engaging over various stretches of a 40-minute contest, the St. John’s-commit flashes signs of the spectacular finishing ability as an elite athlete that has Steve Lavin eagerly awaiting his arrival in the Big Apple this fall. Finishing with a game-high 26 points and six rebounds, Harkless still relies almost solely on his superior athleticism to score over and around defenders who simply can’t match his vertical burst and must continue to work on developing a consistent mid-range game if he wants to be able to create his own offense and be a reliable scorer in the Big East.
Nemanja Djurisic (South Kent)- One of the more versatile bigs still available in the national class of 2011, the six-foot-eight, highly-skilled forward demonstrated the inside-outside offensive skill-set that has him drawing interest from a wide range of mid to high major programs. A crafty finisher with soft hands and good feet around the rim, Djurisic (20 points, 13 rebounds) showed a pure stroke from behind the arc in knocking down a pair of crucial threes in the second half of South Kent’s overtime victory over Brehm, and continues to solidify his value as an efficient scorer and solid area rebounder.
Jakarr Sampson (Brewster)- Much like his future St. John’s teammate Harkless, Sampson is a spectacular athlete who simply jumps over people to finish consistently above the rim. With supreme length and quickness, the six-foot-eight wing is dynamite running downhill in transition, and, when committed, can lock down four spots on the floor as a rangy defender with great playmaking instincts. The next step is for Sampson to increase the diversity of his offensive skill-set and prove that he can consistently score the ball from 14-16 feet in order to create more driving opportunities for himself in the half court.
Max Hooper (Brewster)- With a long-established reputation as a deadly long range sniper, Hooper was an electric dose of offense off the bench for Brewster in the first half against Robinson on Friday, connecting on five of five from distance en route to 15 points before the break. With a super-quick release and terrific feel for spacing himself off dribble penetration to create open looks, Hooper’s game should translate well into head coach Tommy Amaker’s motion system at Harvard predicated upon constant player movement and sharp ball reversal.
Elijah Carter (Brewster)- Finishing with a team-high 19 points on 8-14 shooting en route to game-MVP honors, the six-foot-two combo guard has his full offensive arsenal working on Friday against Robinson, hitting shots from behind the arc, utilizing a soft floater in the lane, and scoring the ball above the rim in transition. While his shot selection can be questionable at times, Carter possesses an aggressive mentality typical of all great scorers, consistently hunting his shot from various spots on the floor and scoring the ball with a smooth, effortless demeanor.
Todd Mayo (Notre Dame)- Like all natural scorers, Mayo (15 points, five of eight shooting) finds a way to put the ball in the basket in a variety of ways, whether it’s drilling a pull-up three in front of an outstretched hand, using a soft floater to finish over hard-closing help, or getting out in transition and attacking the rim with explosive bounce from the wing. Capable of putting up numbers in bunches, the six-foot-four wing attacks the basket with a quick, decisive first step and reacts effectively to help to score the ball with either hand in traffic.
Myles Davis (Note Dame)- The most physically mature and efficient member of Notre Dame’s deep and talented collection of scorers on the perimeter, the six-foot-three New Hampshire native knocked down shots in bunches against St. John’s Military on Friday, converting on catch-and-shoot looks off dribble penetration and pulling up off the bounce in front of retreating defenders. Always under control, Davis (game-high 20 points, five of seven 3-pt FG) attacks close-outs and combines an efficient handle with his supreme strength to get into the lane, absorb contact, and finish at the rim or get to the free-throw line.
Khem Birch (Notre Dame)- The future Pittsburgh Panther was his trademark dominating self on the defensive end in Notre Dame’s win over St. John’s Military, holding Martin Breuing to just three points in the second half in an impressive display of lateral quickness, supreme length, and elite shot-blocking ability. Relentless on the glass on both ends, Birch (nine points, 12 rebounds, three blocks) is as quick a second-leaper as there is in New England and uses his electrifying bounce to finish above the rim in tight spaces and pin shots against the backboard, pursue the rebound, and ignite his team’s transition offense.
Martin Breuing (St. John’s Military)- A skilled forward with great length and a solid frame, the six-foot-nine Germany product attacks the basket with either hand and finishes through contact over late-arriving help. While he lacks supreme lateral quickness and can be attacked defensively by smaller, more explosive players, Breuing (13 points, seven rebounds) showcased a pure stroke from the perimeter and an elite ability to attack people off the bounce with a creative handle and polished footwork in the lane.
Alex Murphy (St. Mark’s)- The number two-ranked small forward in the national class of 2012, according to ESPN, Murphy (23 points, eight rebounds) was especially efficient in the first half against Christian Faith, connecting on four of seven from the floor and hitting all five of his free throws to finish with 13 points and five rebounds before the break. Showcasing a relentless motor pursuing the ball defensively and running rim-to-rim for athletic scores in transition, the six-foot-eight forward personifies the role of a point forward, as he is equally adept at dropping the ball on a dime to an open teammate for an easyscore as he is attacking the basket himself in the open floor.
Kaleb Tarczewski (St. Mark’s)- Shaking off a slow start during which he appeared bothered by the athleticism and quick-leaping ability of smaller Christian Faith defenders, the seven-foot center quickly asserted himself as a dominant presence on both ends of the floor, catching-and-finishing with authority on the move in traffic and using his supreme length to be an effective vertical defender blocking and altering shots with regularity. While he’s still deliberate in his movements and lacks elite explosion rising off the floor, Tarczewski continues to polish his skill-set around the basket and will only continue to adjust to the speed and physicality of high-level play as he gains more game experience against quality competition.
Jaymie Spears (St. Mark’s)- Spears scored just two points and added two assists in just eight minutes in Friday’s win over Christian Faith, but the five-foot-nine junior was an electric dose of energy for a Lion’s club in dire need of a spark off the bench early in the second half. Possessing outstanding quickness and impressive strength for an undersized guard, he pressured Christian Faith guards into turnovers in the front court and combined with Murphy on a series of beautifully-executed transition plays that changed momentum and raised St. Mark’s entire level of play down the stretch.
Damion Lee (St. Thomas More)- A long, lean athlete on the wing at six-foot-six, the former Towson-commit is a terrific on-ball defender and uses his speed and athleticism to get out in transition and attack the basket with conviction from the wing. An improving perimeter shooter with good mechanics and nice lift on his three-point jumper, Lee (17 points, four steals) is an explosive, tenacious athlete whose offensive skill-set is steadily catching up to his natural physical ability and terrific motor.
Andre Drummond (St. Thomas More)- While his eight-point, four rebound, two block performance in Friday’s win over Canarias Academy certainly doesn’t resonate as a dominant effort, the six-foot-ten center showed signs of his dynamic ability as the consensus top big in the national class of 2012. Effective scoring the ball when he got touches near the basket, Drummond was most impressive with the agility and tenacity he displayed causing havoc at the top of St. Thomas More’s zone press. Overall, however, his inconsistent commitment to working for solid position on the block combined with his teammates’ inability to locate him from the perimeter results in Drummond not catching the ball nearly enough in areas where he could consistently dominate, as his true potential as a devastating physical presence will only be measured once he arrives in an environment where he is surrounded by elite guard play and fully focused on dominating the paint on both ends of the floor.
Xavier Pollard (Winchendon)-Looking leaner and quicker than at certain points earlier in the year, the six-foot-two combo guard knocked down shots from the perimeter and displayed good burst off the bounce to attack the lane and create positive offense for himself and open teammates with good decision making. As the most complete prospect in Winchendon’s trio of talented off-guards, Pollard (team-high 14 points, four assists) has an aggressive scorer’s mentality and a developing feel that should translate well for a college program looking for a versatile offensive playmaker capable of hitting shots from three, making plays off the dribble, and locking down defensively.
Amadou Bah (Winchendon)- The six-foot-three combo guard was extremely efficient in a solid floor game against Worcester on Friday, scoring eight points on three of three shooting and showing his value as an opportune shot-maker from behind the arc and willing facilitator. Running alongside Pollard and Corbin Moye, Bah handled it well against pressure and used his strength and quickness to out-physical Worcester’s guards defensively and dictate the pace of play in his team’s favor.
Patrick Ackerman (Worcester)- A long, lean big with polished interior skills and impressive court awareness, the Penn-State commit was active on both ends in Worcester’s loss to Winchendon, catching and finishing in traffic and anchoring the bottom of his team’s 2-3 zone in the half court. While Ackerman still has a lot of maturing to do physically before he’s ready to bang with the tough brand of bigs that await him in the Big Ten, he impressed on Friday with his ability to contest and block shots without fouling and rebound the ball in his area in high volume.
Next Level Prep (ON) 81 Lee Academy (ME) 73
New Hampton (NH) 73 Redemption Christian Academy (NY) 43
Brehm Prep (IL) 68 South Kent School (CT) 72 (OT)
Robinson School (NJ) 54 Brewster (NH) 81
Notre Dame Prep (MA) 62 St. John’s Military Academy (WI) 51
St. Mark’s (MA) 83 Christian Faith Center Academy (NC) 70
Canarias Basketball Academy (SPAIN) 31 St. Thomas More (CT) 57
Winchendon School (MA) 53 Worcester (MA) 41
Bridgton Academy (ME) 49 Princeton Day Prep (MD) 79