Archive for December, 2011

By Marcus Shockley

Last year about this time we published the Right-Wrong Awards for the previous year, in which we admitted to some of our incorrect predictions from the past and gloated about some that we got right. I was planning to do another RW this year, but instead, as 2011 comes to a close, I wanted to spend some time reflecting on the year we had at Basketball Elite, some of the great events we’ve been involved with over the past year.

It’s been a great year, with, honestly, too many terrific experiences to detail at one time, but here are some of my favorite items from the past year.

During the winter, high school, college and pro basketball are in full swing so our focus is on catching players during game action. 2011 was a little different, as we began scouting players who would be candidates to participate in our first-ever showcase in the summer. We managed to find several players who ended up participating, including big man Tony Nunn (PF, 6’8″, 2013), who now has several D1 offers, and Zeb Richardson (PF, 6’8″, 2012), another post player we really like.

After attending multiple showcases and AAU events following the high school season, we dropped by the Jordan Brand Classic, scouting the international and regional games that take place before the nationally televised all star event. It’s no secret that James Micheal McAdoo and Anthony Davis are solid players, but it’s still great to see them on the big stage. We also spotted a few players that were under the radar, but weren’t for long, including Andrew Wiggins (SG/SF, 6’7″, 2014) a player who some now have as the #1 player in the 2014 class.

We talked to several of the big name recruits in attendance, several of whom are now making their mark on the college stage. Anthony Davis and McAdoo were the Co-MVPs of the game, and Davis showed that he was ready for prime time by handling the press conference like a pro.

The summer was incredibly busy, with our inaugural Southeast Summer Showcase taking place in between AAU, collegiate camps and other big time events like the Chris Paul elite guard camp. Our goal with the showcase was to offer one of the best mid-level showcases available to players, where they not only got a chance at college exposure but also walked away as better players. It was an incredible amount of work, and we made some missteps, but I was ecstatic with the event and the level of talent. We know that at least four players in attendance have been offered or are playing in college after our event, and we expect several more before the players finish their high school careers.

The highlight of the day was our dunk contest, which came down to a battle between Chase Ward-McEwan (PG/SG, 6’2″, 2012) and Craig Hinton (SF, 6’6″, 2013). Honestly, I’m glad I wasn’t a judge in the dunk contest, because I don’t know how you pick between Ward-McEwan’s dunk over three (yes, three) people and Hinton’s behind-the-bank slam that took home the trophy. Regardless, it was one of the best high school dunk contests I’ve ever seen, and Dime magazine featured the highlights on their High School Hoops website.

An event we love to cover every year is Chris Paul’s elite guard camp, partially because it’s great to see some of the nation’s best guards in high school and see how their games are progressing, and also because it’s a chance to see some of the college players during the summer and see what’s changed in their game. This past summer we spotted Jordan Taylor of Wisconsin and pegged him as our breakout player for the upcoming season, but we also noted that Harrison Barnes’ had an improved handle, which meant trouble for UNC foes. The camp also gave us a chance to speak with several of the top players about what they were working on to improve for the upcoming year.

The summer was all AAU, since the NBA decided to argue for several months, meaning we did not cover the NBA Summer League as we have in the past, but that didn’t mean there weren’t highlights, such as the Pro Am games featuring John Wall and Kyrie Irving, as well as the tour of Lebron James, Chris Paul and other stars as they waited to the lockout to end.

Despite the length of the lockout, players managed to stay in the public eye with these all star games, which weren’t really competitive but did give fans a chance to see their stars abusing a few rims around the country. We also talked with a few NBA players during the lockout to get their thoughts on the process, such as David West and #1 draft pick Kyrie Irving.

The fall was a chance to catch up on a few more showcases, such as the Adidas Phenom 150, but then it’s back to high school season again, with team like Oak Hill looking strong. Several players on Oak Hill are players we’ve watched grow and improve, like Jordan Adams and Tyler Lewis. It was also great getting to know players like A.J. Hammons, a 7-footer who has committed to Purdue and has a legitimate shot to make it to the NBA.

Of course, we love grassroots basketball, and we hit a ton of gyms to catch players everywhere we can, from JD Lewis Center in Raleigh, home of the Garner Road AAU program, to gyms in Atlanta and Florida, we are always looking to spot players who we should keep an eye on.

So, 2011 is winding down. It’s been a solid year. The new year is more packed than ever – we expect to cover the NBA summer league again as well as several new events, and we are already working in the 2012 Southeast Summer Showcase. I thank everyone who has worked with Basketball Elite this year, and look forward to what’s coming.

Josh Spainhour Frank Spencer basketball
Josh Spainhour slashes to the hoop as West Stokes HS takes on Winston-Salem Prep
Photo Credit:TriadSportsCoverage.com


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By Marcus Shockley

Zach Hartle Frank Spencer basketball
West Stokes’ zone defense worked to limit Winston-Salem Prep’s offense
Photo Credit:TriadSportsCoverage.com

The theme for the 37th annual Frank Spencer Holiday Classic was ‘overtime’; both the Pepsi bracket and the Champion bracket saw extended sessions in the final games.

The Pepsi bracket set up a showdown between #1 bracket seed Forsyth Country Day against #3 seed West Forsyth. This season, Forsyth Country Day gets most their scoring from the guard and wing positions, powered by Jack Young (SG, 6’0″, 2012), Colton Bishop (PG/SG, 6’0″, 2014) and Andy Bell (SG/SF, 6’3″, 2013), and this game was no different, with Bishop’s hot shooting from the perimeter giving the Furies 20 points, leading all scorers. Young’s normally solid outside shot wasn’t falling, but he still managed to score in a variety of ways, adding another 15.

For West Forsyth, they were effective late with an inside-outside attack, as big man two-sport star Alex McAlister (PF/C, 6’7″, 2012) was again a major factor, scoring 18 points for the titans, and guard Carl Tyson (PG/SG, 6’0″, 2012) added another 18. Teion Waller (PG, 5’9″ 2014) showed some of his ability to get to the rim and handle the ball in traffic, adding another 14 points.

Tyson’s layup with under a minute in regulation sent the game into overtime, and it came down to the last possession, with Jack Young intercepting a pass to give FCD the win in OT, 64-62. Young was named the MVP of the Pepsi bracket.

Teion Waller Frank Spencer basketball
Teion Waller slashes to the hoop as West Forsyth takes on Forsyth Country Day
Photo Credit:TriadSportsCoverage.com

The second game of the night pitted #1 bracket seed Winston-Salem Prep against underdog seventh-seeded West Stokes. Prep’s strength all season has come from their ability to trap, push the ball in transition and score from the wings, while Stokes has the solid work of their bigs and smart defensive play.

This game was a barnburner, although during the first quarter, Prep threatened to run away with it. West had trouble scoring and Prep’s ability to push the ball was not allowing them to set up their defense. The focus on Prep is always on Greg McClinton (SF, 6’6″, 2013), an explosive leaper who can handle the ball and has added a solid jumper to his offense, but the Phoenix also have Raekwon Harney (PG, 5’9″, 2013), a true point who plays like he was born with a basketball in his hand, and Mike Hughes (SG, 6’2″, 2014), an up and coming scorer who is deadly pushing the ball end-to-end.

However, West Stokes, playing behind solid post work of two-sport star Austin Fleming (PF, 6’3″, 2012) and the orchestration of Josh Spainhour (PG, 6’0″, 2013), clawed back into the game by implementing a zone defense that Prep had trouble with. The game became a back-and-forth battle, and Spainhour hit a clutch 3 pointer to send the game into overtime. Fleming was effective early in the game but fell to the floor after a hard foul, re-injuring his shoulder, which he had suffered during football season. After leaving the game, he eventually returned with bandaged shoulder intact, but his shot elevation was missing; he struggled to get the ball over the rim in free throws and was limited offensively.

The overtime periods became a war of attrition; Prep plays such a heavy trapping style that they always run the risk of foul trouble, and soon the extended times started to take their toll, as they eventually lost four of their starters to fouls. In overtime, it appeared that Prep sealed the win when Mike Hughes scored and converted a 3-point play, but Spainhour raced down the floor and nailed another shot at the buzzer to send the game into double overtime.

In the second overtime, West again needed heroics to extend their shot at a title, and this time the clutch shot came from Fleming, who hit a mid range floater even though his shoulder had limited his offense for nearly the entire game. As the game moved to the third overtime, the loss of their key players was too much for Prep, and eventually Spainhour, who scored 27 points in the game, was able to hold off the press and Stokes sealed the win, 83-71.

Special thanks to TriadSportsCoverage.com for their photo work during the tourney.

Braeshaun Dozier Frank Spencer basketball Reagan High School
Braeshaun Dozier slashes to the hoop as Reagan HS takes on West Stokes HS
Photo Credit:TriadSportsCoverage.com

The second round of the Frank Spencer Holiday Classic saw more surprising results and one near-rerun of an earlier game in the season.

Both #1 bracket seeds advanced to the championship games, with Forsyth Country Day getting the win over North Davidson, 62-42. FCD was led by SG/SF Andy Bell (SG/SF, 6’3″, 2013), who scored 19 points, while combo guard Jack Young (PG/SG, 6’0″, 2012) added another 11. Forsyth Country Day will face West Forsyth, who won their game over McMichael in a close match, 66-64. Alex McAlister (PF, 6’7″, 2012) was a force for West, pouring in 23 points and was almost perfect from the field. McAlister is a two-sport star, but he’s known for being a high major football prospect, with 16 Division 1 offers already in his back pocket. Quan Mims (PG, 5’9″, 2014) was solid again for McMicheal, scoring 21 points.

Alex McAlister Frank Spencer basketball West Forsyth High School
Alex McAlister with a short jumper as West Forsyth HS takes on McMicheal HS
Photo Credit:TriadSportsCoverage.com

Meanwhile, in the Champion bracket, history repeated itself as Raekwon Harney’s (PG, 5’9″, 2013) last second buzzer-beating shot downed Mt. Tabor. Harney hit a buzzer beater to beat Tabor the last time they met, and the win sent #1 bracket seed Winston-Salem Prep to the championship game. Harney is a true point guard with elite ballhandling skills, and has an offer from UNC-Wilmington. Prep was led in scoring by Mike Hughes (SG, 6’2″, 2014), a fluid scorer who pumped in 22 points for the Phoenix.

Prep will face West Stokes, who advanced to the championship after being seeded #7. West Stokes overcame the underdog role for the second game in a row to defeat defending Spencer champion Reagan HS, led by Braeshaun Dozier (PG/SG, 6’1″, 2012), 52-47. Alston Furr led West in scoring with 16 points.

Greg McClinton Frank Spencer basketball Winston-Salem Prep
Greg McClinton scores two as Winston-Salem Prep takes on Mt. Tabor HS
Photo Credit:TriadSportsCoverage.com

Special thanks to TriadSportsCoverage.com for their photo work during the tourney.

Drew Cone Mike Hughes Basketball Frank Spencer Holiday Classic 2011
Photo Credit:TriadSportsCoverage.com

The first day of the 2011 Frank Spencer Holiday Classic was an all-day basketball bonanza, with loads of talented players taking the court at two locations in the Triad. Note: For downloadable brackets, go here.

The Champions bracket saw #1 seed Winston-Salem Prep down East Forsyth 61-45, getting 26 turnovers from the trapping and pressing style that has served them so well this season. However, the expected showdown between Prep and #2 seed North Forsyth will never occur, as North lost their opening round match up with West Stokes, 49-42. Austin Fleming, a player we scouted in AAU over the summer, powered Stokes to the win with a late second half surge. Fleming has great footwork in the post, but has a future on the gridiron as a star QB – he led West to the 2-AA football title only a month ago.

Braeshaun Dozier scored 28 points to lead defending champion Reagan HS over RJ Reynolds (84-66), and Mount Tabor downed Glenn 80-71 behind Deion Robinson’s 30 points and Ty’Quan Bitting’s 12 rebounds.

The Pepsi bracket games kicked off at East Forsyth High School in Kernersville, NC and saw #1 bracket seed Forsyth Country Day down Atkins High School, 47-23, behind the solid guard play of Colton Bishop and Jack Young. Young led FCD in scoring for the second game in a row with 12 points, and forward Andy Bell added another 11.

Quan Mims Basketball Frank Spencer Holiday Classic 2011
Photo Credit:TriadSportsCoverage.com

#2 seed Parkland did not fare as well, falling to McMicheal HS 80-71 in a back and forth game that was dominated by the play of McMicheal’s Quan Mims and Teco Davis, two quick guards whose defense gave Parkland fits all game. Mims led all scorers with 25 and was the driving force behind McMicheal’s come from behind win.

North Davidson defeated Lexington 64-53 with Charles Brunson leading the Black Knights in scoring with 15 points, while West Forsyth took care of Carver, 50-42. West Forsyth’s John Massengill led their scoring with 14 points.

Alex McCalister Basketball Frank Spencer Holiday Classic 2011
Photo Credit:TriadSportsCoverage.com

Special thanks to TriadSportsCoverage.com for their photo work during the tourney.

The JD Lewis Center is one of the best places to find hidden basketball talent – so much so that several big name recruits in recent years have emerged and committed to top universities such as UNC, NC State and West Virginia. We scouted the JD Lewis Fall League this year and saw several promising players – William Walker and Quinton Ray to name a couple. Here’s some highlights from the 2011 championship game.

You can also read our scouting reports from the game here.

Dominique Reed basketball

A.J. Hammons, a true center committed to play his college basketball at Purdue, chatted with us a little about some of the concepts used in playing the post. Hammons is playing his senior high school season for Oak Hill.

You can read our scouting report on Hammons here.

AJ Hammons basketball

By Justin Byerly

Dominique Adams 5’10″ 165 Forestview HS (Gastonia, NC)
Also, a running back for the football team, Adams averages around 16 points per game for Forestview HS. He is receiving some college interest from a few schools as of right now. He was named the NC player of the week in football this season. The two-sport star set the Gaston County record for most rushing yards in a game against Bessmer City HS, earlier this year. Scored 18 points against Lincolnton HS (Lincolnton, N.Car) with 10 assists.

Brandon Clyburn 2012 6’8″ 195 Southwest Guilford HS (Greensboro, NC)
Clyburn is a long slender forward, that has a nice three-point shot for a 6’8″ guy. Runs the court well, and has a nice post game with a nice baby hook shot when in the paint. He has been receiving the most interest from East Carolina University, Appalachian State University, Navy, Jacksonville University, High Point University and the Citadel. Clyburn transferred from Greensboro powerhouse Dudley HS this season.

Gary Clark 2014 6’6 200 Clayton HS (Clayton, NC)
Interest from ECU, App, South Carolina, WF, NC State, and UVa. Clark should be in the mid-high major category. He is skilled at his position and is very athletic, hits the glass well also. He runs the floor really well for a bigger kid and has a nice three-point shot. Should only get better over the next three years. Should be considered a high-major prospect by his senior season.

Steven Burrough 6’8″ 2013 210lbs Harding University HS (Charlotte, NC)
He is averaging around 6 points per game this season to go along with nearly 6 rebounds and 4 blocks. He is only a junior, so should see minutes rise even more over the next year. Should be a Division Two or Low Division One player, he is a stat sheet filler. Not getting much interest as of now from when I last talked to Steven but that could all change with a break-out game soon with his size and shot blocking ability.

Willy Akasson 6’3″ 2012 SG Northwood Temple Academy (Fayeteville, NC)
Akasson is a good scorer, gets through his screens well, and can get to the rim with ease with his quick first step. Has a nice three-point shot, and good form on it. He is a senior, so needs to have a good season to get some better looks from colleges.

AJ Clark 5’10″ 2012 Western Alamance High Scool (Elon, NC)
Clark is a very good penetrator. He gets into the lane to open up other guys and usually either scores when he is in the lane or has a very nice assist set up. He is not the tallest player out there, but uses his jumping ability and cross-over to make seperation and free himself for a good look or easy floater or jumper. He finsihes in traffic well and always has his head up. Should get some college looks this season.

Shaquille Dance 2012 6’4″ 180 Neuse Christian (Raleigh, NC)
The 6’4 guard/small forward is averaging close to 16 points per game, to go with nearly 7 rebounds per game. He has good size and can get to the rim to finish with ease. Should be a college recruit by the end of the season.

Darryl Davender 2013 5’11″ PG, Body of Christ HS (Raleigh, NC)
One of the fastest guards that I have saw in a long time. This kid can scoot. He is very good scorer for his size also. He may grow a little more, which would make him even more hard to guard. Has a quick first step and can get from baseline to baseline as fast as I have seen in a while. He is getting interest from Tenessee, Gardner-Webb, Radford University, Wisconsin,Virginia Tech, Mercer University and has got a little interest from Miami University he informed me. Keep an out for Darryl.

Zach Davis 6’3″ 2012 G United Faith Christian (Charlotte, NC)
A very talented guard at 6’3, he gets to the hoop easy and can shoot well. Very athletic, and blocks shots against taller players. He finishes well on fast-breaks and dunks with authority. He has scholarship offers from Navy, Mercer, Wofford University and Univeristy of Tenessee at Chattanooga. Plays on a talented United Faith team that has Indiana commit 7’1 Peter Jurkin and 6’0 Florida commit Braxton Ogbueze.

Demarcus Lewis 6’3″ 2013 Berea HS (Berea, SC)
Lewis is averaging nearly 17 points per game along with almost 5 rebounds. He was selected as the MaxPreps Player of the Week for December 4th 2011 after getting 38pts, 15 rebounds 6 blocks in a game. They are playing in the Erskine (S.Car) Holiday Tournament over Christmas break. You should keep an eye on this kid, he has Berea off to a 7-1 start.

Dustin Dodd 6’5″ 195 2013 Hickory Grove Christian School (Charlotte, NC)
Averaging 22 points per game, 6 rebounds per game and is getting college interest from Davidson College, Richmond University, Elon, UNC Charlotte, UNC Greensboro, Jacksonville University & UT Chatanooga.


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REFILE – CORRECTING TYPO IN FIRST NAME OF WADE Detroit Pistons guard Tracy McGrady (R) drives against Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Auburn Hills, Michigan February 11, 2011. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

      

UPDATE: Sorry! The 2011 Basketball Elite Fantasy League has been locked in! Watch for the updates and thanks to all who are participating!

It’s time to get serious.

This year, we are celebrating the return of the NBA by sponsoring the Basketball Elite NBA Fantasy League. Several Basketball Elite scouts are writers have already jumped in and are working on their pre-draft workouts. I heard one scout may have flown Tracy McGrady into town to work him out, but that could be just a rumor. Just kidding! No one is drafting McGrady.

So, what separates a ho-hum, run-of-the-mill league from the awesomeness that is the Basketball Elite league?

Fabulous Prizes!

Such as…

- Mad respect! (you know it’s about time)

Or, crushing self-doubt if you lose.

But wait! Sure, it’s enough to just get the respect of the rest of the league. But what about the world? The Basketball Elite Fantasy League will get periodic coverage on BasketballElite.com, including who’s leading the league, who’s making the playoffs and who’s team eventually takes it all.

- 2011-12 Basketball Elite NBA Fantasy League trophy

     This is a real trophy, not some cyber digital creation. You can hang out with this trophy. Take photos of it for pasting on the Facebook.

Basketball Elite trophy
Photo: WCWFC/Flikr
Note: Not the actual trophy

Please note that while winning the trophy is cool, if you do win, some other players may try to tell you that stats are more important than trophies. You should ignore those people and tell them Robert Horry should be in the Hall of Fame. Then send them pictures of your trophy and ask if you can see theirs. Victory is sweet!

- A one-year subscription to either Dime or SLAM magazine (your choice)

Dime magazine cover SLAM magazine cover

Sure, if you win it all this year, you might be saying, “why would I need to read these? I know it all already. Did you even look at my trophy?” However, maybe you are more of the Tim Duncan-type champion, who wins graciously.

- Getting Into ‘The Clubhouse’

You love basketball. We love basketball. We also know lots of people who like basketball. You know what the most awesome thing in the world is for a basketball fan? Talking basketball! The Basketball Elite NBA Fantasy League is being run through Yahoo! Sports, and we will have an active community of friendly competition, between hard core basketball fans.

The Catch!

So right about now, you’re probably saying, “okay, yeah, this is great and I’d love to bring my sick GM skills to this party, but how much is it gonna cost me?”

That’s the best part – the Basketball Elite NBA Fantasy League is free to play. There is a catch though – we are only accepting a limited number of teams. So you have to join in early and be ready for the online draft.

This is on a first-come, first-served basis, so here’s how it works. Go to the form below and sign up. Do it now!

To get started, enter your name and email in the form below. You’ll get a confirmation email.

UPDATE: Sorry! The 2011 Basketball Elite Fantasy League has been locked in! Watch for the updates and thanks to all who are participating!

By James Blackburn

Juan Fernandez Temple Basketball
Photo: OwlSports.com

Juan Fernandez (G, 6’4”, Senior)

Game Scouted: Temple @ Texas
Texas wins 77-65
Box Score

Stats
31 min, 2-8 FG, 4 assist, 2 steals, 5 TP

Strengths
Good sized guard, strong, solid frame. Keeps his dribble until he passes or shoots- always seeing the floor in the process- very good passer. Not a playmaker in the traditional sense of breaking down defender with dribble and getting to paint and kicking, but a playmaker none the less. His size allows him to see the floor, cutters, and the open man. He keeps his eyes up and is constantly scanning the court. Makes the smart and correct pass. Made a behind the back pass off a pick and roll to an open shooter in the first half. Gives the ball to players in positions for easy scores, which leads to high assists numbers, leads team in that category. Takes care of the ball- doesn’t turn the ball over. High basketball IQ, smart, makes the right plays at the right time. Takes good shots. Uses body and size well. Efficient. Sees the play before it happens on both ends.

Good defensive player- puts himself in good position, jumps to the ball, good help defender, plays the passing lanes well. Good closeout, contests shots. Anticipates and is in the right place at the right time defensively. Smart and deceptive defensively.

Good 3 point shooter- can come off screens- gets feet set and lets it go. Also showed the ability to shoot the dribble pull up, although he is a better set shooter. Struggled shooting the ball today, but his misses were off the back of rim and straight. Good shooting form- elbow in, feet set.

Well conditioned, plays a lot of minutes (over 34 mpg).

Plays well without the ball. Sets up cuts well off screens, changes speeds, fakes one way and goes the other. Does a nice job of instigating contact with defender to create space to come off the screen, receive ball, or to get shot off.

Weaknesses
Needs to improve ball handling-had to turn his back when bringing ball up court a few times. Can’t really create his own shot- doesn’t have the speed or athleticism to get by man or blow by defenders for lay-ups. Not a great rebounder, especially needs to improve offensive rebounding- only 1 all year on that end. Slow laterally on defense- would have trouble guarding quicker and shorter PG’s at next level- His IQ and size helps him compensate for lack of speed at this level.

Overview
Smart experienced guard- has been a starter since first game on campus. Can play and guard either guard position. Doesn’t have big time speed to blow by defenders, but changes speeds and size allows him to see over the defense and make the pass to the open teammate. His team is better with him on the floor, controls the pace, tempo, and flow of game. Is a great fit for this Temple team. Besides his shooting, scoring, and passing abilities, most of what Fernandez does for his team does not show up in the box score. Impacts the game in other ways besides scoring and makes others better. Reminds me of a combination of Jason Kidd now in his old age and Jaycee Carroll who played for the Boston Celtics summer league team last year in Orlando. Both players are good shooting PG’s with size. I see him taking a similar path as Carroll, may receive a summer league or training camp invite, but is likely to end up playing in a first league somewhere overseas.


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Josh Howard Versatile forward Josh Howard has agreed to play for the Utah Jazz, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN. Howard was most recently with the Wizards and was an NBA All-Star in 2007 with the Dallas Mavericks.

Howard has had trouble with injuries starting in 2009 and has been working to return to form following an ACL tear.

But you knew all that, right? What you might not know is that Howard has a good history related to the Jazz, in a way. He scored his career high of 47 points on December 8 in 2007.

Maybe getting around the Jazz will prove be just the right move.

You also might not know that Howard recently jumped on Twitter @RealJoshHoward, so Jazz fans should stamped over and see what he’s up to.