By James Blackburn
Ardrey Kell HS, Charlotte, NC
By James Blackburn
South Atlanta (GA) vs Lincoln HS (NY)
South Atlanta wins 68-65
Lincoln started off slow offensively, settling for a lot of 3’s early on. The game was littered was fouls and both teams played primarily zone defenses. South Atlanta handled Lincolns pressure defense well and led throughout this one. Seton Hall Commit, Isaiah Whitehead made it interesting with some big plays down the stretch, but it was not enough in the end, as South Atlanta held on for the 3 point win.
Derrick Byrd (2014, 5’11”, G)
Played another terrific game. Is a quick PG who does not turn the ball over. Has a really nice floater that he can get off over bigger defenders. Can reach the paint at will. Terrific ball handler- one of the best I have seen this year. Good passer- gets the ball up court in a hurry. Pressure doesn’t affect him, he can break presses and traps easily. Makes the right play when he gets doubled. Love his attitude/poise. Excellent on-ball defender with good lateral quickness. Good change of direction, shifty- plays at his own pace. True PG, could be a steal for D3’s and D2 schools.
Abraham Lincoln HS (NY)
Isaiah Whitehead (2014, 6’4”, SG)
The Seton Hall Commit struggled with his shot most of this game, before finding it late. Excellent looking stroke- perfect form/release- good elevation and arc. Has deep range on his 3. Is a tremendous on-ball defender with good energy shown on the defensive end. Great FT shooter. Not the fastest with the ball but is deceptive. Settles for too many contested shots, forces too much. Struggles to go left or finish with his left. Can create his own shot. Good rebounder who can rebound in traffic. Although he doesn’t have a great left hand, he is a good ball handler with an excellent crossover dribble move. Dribbles hard. Can make tough passes and is a solid playmaker. Needs to make the easy pass and play when he settles for the tougher shot or pass when he doesn’t need to.
Montverde (FL) vs Northside Christian (NC)
Montverde wins 83-60 (National Bracket Championship)
Northside came out as the aggressor in this one taking an early, but Montverde find their rhythm soon enough and went into the 2nd quarter with a double-digit lead. Montverde seemed to answer every run Northside made from then on by making tough shots, forcing turnovers, and getting transition points. Northside did control the glass for most of the 1st half and went into half-time trailing 40-30. Northside showed a lot of fight, but in the end Montverde had too much size and depth and got the win. The sold-out crowd definitely got their money’s worth in this one, as there were countless highlights and above the rim finishes. The game featured over 10 D1 players.
Jean Marc Christ Koumadje (2015, 7’4”, C)
The 7’4” inside force only played a couple of minutes, but scored 9 pts and made his presence felt. He showed a decent FT stroke, good for a player his size. He kept the ball high on passes and finished with 3 dunks.
Jordan Caroline (2014, 6’6”, F)
Again Jordan was one of my favorite players this game. Southern Illinois got a great one in Caroline- a player who just goes out and does his job. Loves physical play and banging inside. Good rebounder who is explosive and tries to dunk everything. Very strong. Attacks the rim hard.
Ben Simmons (2015, 6’8”, SF)
Versatile, talented, and incredibly athletic. Simmons showed once again he could rebound in traffic and push it up-court- Very Jabari Park like in that regard. Good handle for size. Lefty who can hit the midrange and FT’s with consistency. Can make plays for himself and others in the open floor. LSU fans will love watching him in 2 years.
Desean Murray (2014, 6’5”, F)
Can finish with the best of them, contact does not effect him. Very strong- great rebounder. Terrific explosive athlete who has a quick 2nd jump. Love his shot blocking ability- one of the best shot blockers I have seen under 6’6”- excellent timing. Good offensive rebounder. Would be HM with 2 more inches.