Archive for December, 2012

The Zen of Thinking Long Term

Dean Smith Roy Williams Michael Jordan

By Marcus Shockley

Fabled UNC head coach Dean Smith had a philosophy about his approach to winning games. Many people know about Smith’s “Points Per Possession” idea, a concept that his student and current Tar Heel coach Roy Williams has taken and tweaked (if your PPP is higher than the other team’s, why not get as many possessions as possible?) but the basic idea is that you want to average more points per possession than your opponents. Pretty simple, but many teams and players have missed the execution of this idea.

Smith’s execution of his philosophy is as follows:

The best, most efficient way of increasing Points Per Possession is to shoot at a higher percentage.

The highest percentage shot for any team is an open layup or free throw.

Therefore, you work the ball into the post and attempt to score open layups or point blank shots. Do this methodically and recruit well, and you end up winning about 75% of your games and end up in the Hall of Fame.

This isn’t a discussion about Smith or Adolph Rupp or Bobby Knight or any of the legendary coaches who used similar consistency to win over many, many years. The discussion I’m bringing up is about long term thinking, and how in our current culture of immediacy, we may sabotage our long term success with short-sighted decisions.

One of Smith’s more famous methods of lowering the other team’s PPP was to leave their worst shooter open most of the game. His idea was that while that shooter would score more than they normally would, the law of averages would, over the course of the game, work in UNC’s favor. The seminal moment where this philosophy worked was in 1995, during the NCAA tournament Elite 8, where Number 2 seeded UNC knocked off Rick Pitino’s No.1 seeded Kentucky Wildcats. Pitino had his own law of averages working that year, where he figured out that a team that shoots high enough percentage from the three-point-line could easily outscore a team shooting mostly two-pointers, even if Pitino’s team’s shooting percentage was lower. So his law of averages fell when Smith left Kentucky’s worst three point shooter open outside the perimeter all game long.

Smith’s philosophy was not intended to garner short-term success; there were several games over the course of Smith’s career where the averages worked against him and he lost. However, over time, the averages worked in his favor far more often.

The issue with much of our culture (and media in general) today is that in many ways we’ve lost our ability to think long-term. When the Miami Heat first brought in heavyweights Lebron James and Chris Bosh, they lost several of their first games together, and immediately were declared a failure, which was just silly. I’m not exactly sure why, but it seems that people have a hard time seeing more than what they just watched or saw in the last game, and this isn’t just fans, but sports media as well. Probably the most glaring example of this is the NBA; rookies who score high numbers in their first game or two are thought of as successes even if their production tapers off, and rookies who don’t score big numbers or make highlight reels right away are considered busts.

This idea is even pervasive in some offices of General Managers.

The issue is that people are supposed to change, improve and grow over time. Malcolm Gladwell has posited that it takes 10,000 hours of steady practice to become an expert at something. That makes sense – that’s exactly why teams have practices, to improve. Now, sure there are plenty of examples of teams that never improve, but the reality in sports is just as it is in life. What turns people into experts at any skill is the amount of effort they personally put into it, combined with their base natural talents.

My overall point is this: we have to step back and look at things from a much broader, long term process. Right now, I’m reading a lot about how bad Kentucky and UNC basketball teams are – but I can look at their rosters and their recruits coming in and know that next season it’s very likely that both of those teams will be dominant one year from now (especially UNC). I thought the same thing about Indiana last year, and before the season started I mentioned how Duke was loaded with upperclassmen and Coach K does well with them. Nothing much as changed about Duke from last year to this year other than they lost a star player to the NBA, and yet, there they are, waxing the rest of the NCAA and they really do have a legitimate shot at winning it all this year. Seth Curry Duke

Coach K didn’t run out and change his approach and long term plan after his team was thumped late in the season by UNC last year. He’s thinking long-term. Sure he, like Dean Smith, Roy Williams, John Calipari and Rick Pitino, all want to win now, but they also don’t want to just win a good number of games, they want to win a title every now and then too, and that takes long-term thinking.

This is the last day of 2012. One year from today, we’ll be reflecting on 2013. There’s a lot of time and events that will happen between now and one year from now. What do you want to accomplish by that time? Or, to view it a better way, if you sit down today and write out a list of things that you want to be true one year from today, what’s on that list?

What decisions are you making today and tomorrow to make those items on the list become accomplishments?

What about five years from now?

“It’s not so important who starts the game but who finishes it.” – John Wooden

John Wooden

Want to know more? You can follow Marcus Shockley on Twitter.

By Marcus Shockley

This national high school basketball ranking combines multiple available polls for a period of time into a single poll, and creates a ranking for each team based on their average ranking, number of times they are ranked in the various polls, the highest ranking that teams has in those polls and the average ranking. Read more about today’s cumulative ranking below.

School Location High AVG Qty TrueRank™
1. Montverde Academy Montverde, FL 1 1 3 26.667
2. Findlay Prep Henderson, NV 2 2 2 25.000
3. Huntington Prep Huntington,WV 1 4 3 23.000
4. Mater Dei HS Santa Ana, CA 4 6 3 19.667
5. St. Benedict Prep Newark,NJ 4 7 3 18.000
6. Desoto HS Dallas, TX 3 8 3 17.333
7. Poly HS Long Beach, CA 7 8 3 15.333
8. Loyola High School Los Angeles, CA 5 5 1 14.000
9. Whitney Young Chicago IL 8 9 3 13.667
10. La Lumiere School La Porte, IN 6 9 2 12.500
11. Oak Hill Academy Mouth of Wilson, VA 9 10 3 12.000
12. North Little Rock HS Little Rock, AR 6 6 1 11.000
13. St. Anthony HS Jersey City, NJ 7 15 3 6.333
14. Simeon HS Chicago, IL 9 12 2 6.000
15. Chester HS Chester, PA 11 17 3 2.333
16. Neumann Goretti HS Philadelphia, PA 14 18 3 -0.333
17. Montrose Christian Rockville, MD 12 12 1 -7.000
18. St. John Bosco Los Angeles, CA 18 19 2 -8.500
19. West Charlotte HS Charlotte, NC 21 25 2 -19.000
20. Christ Presbyterian Academy Nashville, TN 21 21 1 -34.000
21. Salesian HS Richmond, CA 21 21 1 -34.000
22. Gonzaga HS Washington, DC 23 23 1 -40.000
23. White Station HS Memphis, TN 24 24 1 -43.000
24. Bishop Gorman HS Las Vegas NV 24 24 1 -43.000
25. Travis HS Austin, TX 27 27 1 -53.000

This week we introduce the inaugural TrueRank™ National Combined Prep Basketball Rankings. The polls used in determining this TrueRank score were released during the period of 12/24/2012 to 12/30/2012. Polls published and used in this period’s calculation were from PrepNation, Hoopniks and MaxPreps. There was no national poll during this period from USA Today.

Notes: There is very little difference between #1 Monteverde Academy and #2 Findlay Prep on the national polling scene, but Findlay is not ranked in the MaxPreps Top 25 poll, which gives the edge to Monteverde. Is this an oversight on the part of MaxPreps or a statement? Hard to say – but at this point, they are having a strong enough ranking and season to still put them into the conversation.

West Charlotte continues to have a strong season and have found their way into more than one of the top 25 rankings. Chester HS also lands on several rankings, although the specific ranking for them varies pretty widely.

Wesleyan has dropped off of the national scene again after dropping two key games, one of which was to St. John Bosco who comes in at #18.

Why I made this poll: This poll is an attempt to consolidate all of the various rankings into a realistic snapshot of the top teams. I’ve noticed that with several different polls available, and with several thousand high school teams in the nation, many polls will vary greatly in which teams are ranked. This isn’t a statement about accuracy of a particular poll, just looking for an accurate consensus. Without a national playoff and tournament, the reality is that there isn’t a solid way to ultimately determine where teams fall.

My plan is calculate these rankings each week, as long as there is more than one poll available. I will likely adjust the formula/frequency of calculation depending on available data. At this point, there is no input from me or Basketball Elite into the rankings beyond the calculation. That means, we don’t adjust the data in any way or input our own poll. This is strictly calculated based on existing, published data.

Right now I am not including won-loss record in our calculation; this is because the individual polls should be already reflecting that. If in the future I may add in a SOS calculation, and if so, won-loss would possibly be included then.

This is a bit of an experiment; the national polls are not released at the same time so I won’t be able to release the cumulative results until I have more than one poll; however, I may add in a rolling average and soon I should also have historic polls available, as well as trends, etc.

The other thing about this initial poll is that there will likely be greater fluctuation in the 20-25 range due to the fact that several polls differ here. However, the TrueRank™ calculation is based on all teams which were ranked at all during a period.

Finally: In the poll listing, the ‘high’ value represents the highest ranking in any poll that team received during the ranking period.
‘Qty’ represents how many polls they were ranked in. ‘AVG’ represents their average ranking in all polls where they were ranked.

Want to know more? You can follow Marcus Shockley on Twitter.

TrueRank is ™ and © 2012 Neptune Media Group, LLC.

By Marcus Shockley

Raekwon Harney Kendrick Flomo
Raekwon Harney drives against North Forsyth’s Kendrick Flomo
Photo: TriadSportsCoverage.net

Today’s Frank Spencer Holiday Classic tournament features matchups with several collegiate prospects in both divisions.

For those not familiar with “The Frank” the tournament structure currently divides the games into two brackets, the “Champion” bracket (named for sponsor Champion apparel) and the “Pepsi” bracket.

The Pepsi bracket title game today will feature reigning champion Forsyth Country Day, who are led by Colton Bishop (PG, 6’1, 2014) and Cory Hanes (SF, 6’5″, 2014). Bishop scored 33 points in his team’s overtime win over McMichael HS to return to the title game, while Hanes added 22.

Forsyth Country Day will face North Davidson, who downed West Forsyth to clear their path the title game. North has a solid big man in Brandon Easter (PF, 6’7″, 2014) and will be looking to take advantage of their size to battle with FCD’s strength on the wings.

In the Champion bracket, a huge showdown between reigning 1-A North Carolina state champion Winston-Salem Prep and 4-A title contender Mt. Tabor will finish off this year’s event. Prep has a really solid bevy of guards in Raekwon Harney (PG, 5’10”, 2013), a deft ballhandler and passer, Mike Hughes (SG/SF, 6’2″, 2014), who is an athletic wing with an excellent game in transition, and Aaron Lipscomb (G, 5’8″, 2014) a deadly three point shooter.

Mt. Tabor has one of the best overall starting lineups in NC this year, possibly even more talented than the team that coach Andy Muse led to the state title a few years ago with current Wake Forest starter C.J. Harris. Matt Madigan (G, 6’4″, 2013) is a very quick handed lefty guard with great ability to pass ahead in transition, and excellent size at the guard spot.

Deion Robinson
Deion Robinson slashes to the bucket in Mt. Tabor’s victory over Ronald Reagan HS
Photo: TriadSportsCoverage.net

Lepreece Lynch (SG, 6’4″, 2013) may be the most prolific scoring guard in the state and this year he’s been running a bit more point guard as well. Nate Long (SF, 6’5″, 2013) is having a really solid season and is effective in transition on offense and disrupting the passing lanes on defense. Deion Robinson (PF, 6’4″, 2013) is an extremely consistent player, who makes smart decisions with the basketball and is very effective around the basket. Ty’Quan Bitting (C, 6’8″, 2013) has become an impact player, scoring with a very soft touch around the basket and now becoming a serious shot blocker. In the first round of the tournament, Bitting scored 19 points in one half (finishing with 26) and recorded 8 blocks in the same game.

Both Prep and Tabor are at their best in transition, so it will be a battle to see who can use their strengths more to their advantage. Prep has more speed on the perimeter but Tabor has athleticism and size on their side. Both coaches have won state titles so this should be one to watch.

Want to know more? You can follow Marcus Shockley on Twitter.

Andrew Wiggins Xavier Rathan Mayes
Photo Source: NorthPoleHoops

The national prep rankings for the week of December 24, as published by PrepNation.

We’ve expanded our reporting of the high school basketball rankings to include those by Hoopniks, which means we will now be posting these rankings later in the week so that they can be included here.

The #1’s – Huntington Prep (Hoopniks), Monteverde Academy (PrepNation)

 

Hoopniks Terrific 30

Rank School (State) Record Key Wins Loss (es) Last Week
1 Huntington Prep (WV) 14-0 Quality Education (NC), Christian Faith (NC), Memphis East (TN), Riverdale Baptist (MD), Princeton Day (MD), Arlington Country Day (FL) twice, HCYA (TX) 1
2 Findlay Prep (NV) 17-0 Future College Prep (CA), Montrose Christian (MD), La Lumiere School (IN) 2
3 Montverde Academy (FL) 11-0 Dr. Phillips (FL), North Florida Educational (FL), Whitney Young (IL), Long Beach Poly (CA), Lone Peak (UT) 4
4 St. Benedict’s Prep (NJ) 10-0 Hun School (NJ), Wilbraham & Monson (MA) 5
5 Lone Peak (UT) 10-1 Proviso East (IL), Denver East (CO), Orem (UT), Chester (PA), Southwind (TN), Callaway (MS) Montverde Academy (FL) 7
6 La Lumiere School (IN) 12-1 Christian Brothers (MO), IMG Prep (FL), Oak Hill Academy (VA), Yates (TX) Findlay Prep (NV) 10
7 St. Anthony (NJ) 3-0 8
8 Long Beach Poly (CA) 8-1 Westchester (CA), Tift County (GA), Omaha Central (NE), Southwind (TN) Montverde Academy (FL) 9
9 Oak Hill Academy (VA) 18-2 Quality Education (NC), Word of God (NC), Southwind (TN), Montrose Christian (MD) Paul VI (VA), La Lumiere School (IN) 11
10 Mater Dei (CA) 10-0 Jserra Catholic (CA), Bishop Gorman (NV), Bishop O’Dowd (CA), Our Savior New American (NY) 24
11 Whitney Young (IL) 6-1 DeMatha Catholic (MD), Chester (PA), Omaha Central (NE) Montverde Academy (FL) 17
12 Montrose Christian (MD) 8-2 Archbishop Spalding (MD), John Carroll (MD) Oak Hill Academy (VA), Findlay Prep (NV) 6
13 DeSoto (TX) 17 – 1 Seguin (TX), Simeon (IL), South Grand Prairie (TX) Duncanville (TX) 13
14 Neumann-Goretti (PA) 4-0 Lower Merion (PA), Reading (PA) 19
15 Southwind (TN) 11-3 Hall (AR), Provine (MS), Prestonwood Christian (TX) Oak Hill Academy (VA), Lone Peak (UT), Long Beach Poly (CA) 12
16 Simeon (IL) 4-1 Milton (GA) DeSoto (TX) 14
17 Chester (PA) 2-0 Lincoln (NY), Lake Highland Prep (FL) Lone Peak (UT), Whitney Young (IL) 3
18 St. John Bosco (CA) 8-1 Wesleyan Christian (NC), Blanche Ely (FL), Wheeler (GA), Inglewood (CA) NR
19 Hudson Catholic (NJ) 4-0 St. Peter’s Prep (NJ) 20
20 Pershing (MI) 5-0 Romulus (MI), Consortium (MI) 21
21 Christ Presbyerian Academy (TN) 11-0 Ballard (KY), Bullitt East (KY) NR
22 Omaha Central (NE) 5-2 Eagle’s Landing (GA) Long Beach Poly (CA), Whitney Young (IL) 15
23 Iowa City West (IA) 7-0 23
24 White Station (TN) 11-1 Ridgeway (TN), Hall (AR), Briarcrest Christian (TN) Ridgeway (TN) 25
25 Christ the King (NY) 4-1 Wesleyan Christian (NC) Blanche Ely (FL) NR
26 St. Frances (MD) 9-0 Travis (TX), Goretti (MD), Princeton Day (MD), John Carroll (MD) 26
27 Fort Bend Travis (TX) 12-2 Yates (TX), Ballard (KY) Bush (TX) 27
28 Paul VI (VA) 7-2 Oak Hill Academy (VA), Lake Highland Prep (FL), Callaway (MS), Prestonwood Christian (TX) Gonzaga (DC), Lake Wales (FL) 16
29 West Charlotte (NC) 7-0 DeMatha Catholic (MD) 29
30 Pike (IN) 8-0 North Central (IN), Warren Central (IN) NR

PrepNation.com National Rankings

#1. Montverde, Fla., Montverde Academy (11-0), won City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers, Fla.
#2. Henderson, Nev., Findlay (17-0), champion of Iolani Classic in Honolulu
#3. Huntington, W.Va., Huntington Prep, (13-0), beaten teams from six states plus Canada
#4. Santa Ana, Calif., Mater Dei (10-0), beat host No. 24 Bishop Gorman for championship of Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas
#5. Newark, N.J., St. Benedict’s (9-0), all wins by double-digit margins
#6. Highland, Utah, Lone Peak (10-1), runner-up to No. 1 Montverde at City of Palms
#7. Long Beach, Calif., Poly, (8-1), took third place at City of Palms
#8. DeSoto, Texas (17-1), beat regionally-ranked South Grand Prairie, 61-52
#9. Chicago, Simeon (5-1), star F Jabari Parker committed to Duke
#10. Chicago, Young (5-1), 2-1 versus Top 25 opponents
#11. Chester, Pa. (4-2), 61-game winning streak snapped by No. 6 Lone Peak
#12. La Porte, Ind. La Lumiere (12-1), runner-up to No. 2 Findlay Prep at Iolani Classic
#13. Mouth of Wilson, Va., Oak Hill (18-2), lost to No. 12 La Lumiere in Iolani Classic semifinals
#14. Omaha, Neb., Central (5-2), 41-game winning streak snapped at City of Palms
#15. Memphis, Tenn., Southwind, (11-3), all three losses to top 25 opponents
#16. Warr Acres, Okla., Putnam City (10-0), coach A.D. Burtschi eclipsed 700 wins
#17. Seattle, Rainier Beach, (5-1), six state titles since 1988
#18. Iowa City, Iowa, West, (7-0), 33-game winning streak
#19. Philadelphia, Neumann-Goretti (4-0), headlines this week’s Les Schwab Invitational in Hillsboro, Ore.
#20. Bellflower, Calif., St. John Bosco (8-1), won Chick-Fil-A Classic in Columbia, S.C.
#21. Charlotte, N.C., West Charlotte (6-0), led by North Carolina-bound big man Kennedy Meeks
#22. Jersey City, N.J., St. Anthony (3-0), four-time Prep Poll titlist
#23. Washington, Gonzaga (5-1), also in field at Les Schwab Invitational
#24. Las Vegas, Bishop Gorman (11-1), only loss to No. 4 Mater Dei
#25. Detroit, Pershing (5-0), G/F Martez Walker 28 points in 73-55 win against Detroit Central

Northeast
#1. Newark, N.J., St. Benedict’s, 9-0
#2. Chester, Pa., 4-2
#3. Philadelphia, Neumann-Goretti, 4-0
#4. Jersey City, N.J., St. Anthony, 3-0
#5. Middle Village, N.Y., Christ the King, 4-1
#6. Jersey City, N.J., Hudson Catholic, 4-0
#7. Roselle, N.J., Roselle Catholic, 4-0
#8. Metuchen, N.J., St. Joseph, 3-1
#9. Philadelphia, Math, Civics & Sciences, 7-0
#10. Lawrence, Mass., Central Catholic, 4-0

East Coast
#1. Huntington, W.Va., Huntington Prep, 13-0
#2. Mouth of Wilson, Va., Oak Hill, 18-2
#3. Charlotte, N.C., West Charlotte, 6-0
#4. Washington, Gonzaga, 5-1
#5. Fairfax, Va., Paul VI, 8-2
#6. High Point, N.C., Wesleyan, 9-2
#7. Rockville, Md., Montrose Christian, 8-2
#8. Baltimore, St. Frances, 12-0
#9. Columbia, S.C., Irmo, 9-0
#10. Charlotte, N.C., Olympic, 8-0

Southeast
#1. Montverde, Fla., Montverde Academy, 11-0
#2. Memphis, Tenn., Southwind, 11-3
#3. Birmingham, Ala., Wenonah, 12-0
#4. Jackson, Miss., Provine, 11-1
#5. Pompano Beach, Fla., Ely, 9-1
#6. Nashville, Tenn., Christ Presbyterian, 10-0
#7. Tampa, Fla., Berkeley Prep, 13-0
#8. Memphis, Tenn., White Station, 11-1
#9. Decatur, Ga., Columbia, 8-1
#10. Jacksonville, Fla., Providence, 9-0

Midwest
#1. Chicago, Simeon, 5-1
#2. Chicago, Young, 5-1
#3. La Porte, Ind., La Lumiere, 12-1
#4. Detroit, Pershing, 5-0
#5. Indianapolis, Pike, 8-0
#6. Mount Washington, Ky., Bullitt East, 9-2
#7. Louisville, Ky., Ballard, 5-3
#8. Germantown, Wis., 9-0
#9. Cincinnati, Walnut Hills, 6-1
#10. Indianapolis, Arsenal Tech, 6-1

Midlands
#1. Highland, Utah, Lone Peak, 10-1
#2. Omaha, Neb., Central, 5-2
#3. Iowa City, Iowa, West, 7-0
#4. Overland Park, Kan., Blue Valley Northwest, 3-0
#5. Nixa, Mo., 6-1
#6. Minneapolis, De La Salle, 2-0
#7. Denver, East, 6-1
#8. Wichita, Kan., North, 6-0
#9. Brooklyn Park, Minn., Park Center, 9-0
#10. Denver, D’Evelyn, 8-0

Southwest
#1. Henderson, Nev., Findlay, 17-0
#2. DeSoto, Texas, 17-1
#3. Warr Acres, Okla., Putnam City, 10-0
#4. Las Vegas, Bishop Gorman, 11-1
#5. Richmond, Texas, Travis, 13-2
#6. Rowlett, Texas, 14-0
#7. Laveen, Ariz., Chavez, 12-0
#8. Grand Prairie, Texas, South Grand Prairie, 16-2
#9. San Antonio, Brandeis, 19-1
#10. Edmond, Okla., Memorial, 7-1

West Coast
#1. Santa Ana, Calif., Mater Dei, 10-0
#2. Long Beach, Calif., Poly, 8-1
#3. Seattle, Rainier Beach, 5-1
#4. Bellflower, Calif., St. John Bosco, 8-1
#5. Richmond, Calif., Salesian, 7-1
#6. Lake Oswego, Ore., 7-0
#7. Bothell, Wash., 7-0
#8. San Jose, Calif., Mitty, 3-2
#9. Torrance, Calif., Bishop Montgomery, 9-0
#10. Seattle, Seattle Prep, 9-1

Kennedy Meeks Interview

Kennedy Meeks, who recently committed to play his collegiate basketball for the North Carolina Tar Heels, talks about how he sees himself fitting in at UNC, and how he approaches the game.

Andrew Wiggins Huntington Prep

By Marcus Shockley

While the Mayans never actually predicted the end of the world (and even if they had, let’s be blunt – the Mayans couldn’t predict the collapse of their own society), there’s nothing stopping us from calling the inaugural Prep Roundball Rundown an “End of the World Edition”.

What the Prep Roundball Rundown is, in a nutshell, is a quick snapshot at what we at Basketball Elite are watching at the moment. It’s not intended to be a comprehensive nationwide report, nor is it a recruiting breakdown. So, with that downplayed disclaimer, let’s dive right in.

First, most high school basketball scouts this week are watching the City of Palms Classic in Ft. Myers, FL, where some of the best teams in the nation are playing, including Paul VI (VA), Huntington Prep (WV), Monteverde Academy (FL) and Whitney Young (IL). The star attraction is Andrew Wiggins, the top player of 2013, and college coaches are also attending in heavy droves in order to see either Wiggins or one of the other talented players on hand.

Another solid tournament happening this week is the Chick-fil-a Classic in Columbia, SC. On Thursday, two of the top teams in the tournament lost – Christ School (NC) and Wesleyan Academy (NC) – if they had won, it would have set up a rematch of last week’s big game, but Christ School fell to Wheeler (GA) by 1 point while Wesleyan trailed most of the game and ultimately fell to St. John Bosco (CA) 67-59. Oh, but wait! Since both teams lost, they will be rematching today at 2:20 PM. Today’s action also includes the Miller School (VA), J.F. Webb (NC), which features UNC commit Isaiah Hicks, and Winston-Salem Prep (NC) vs Cardinal Newman (SC). You can watch the games streamed live here.

In Gastonia, NC, and Spartanburg, SC, the Upward Classic is a newer event also has some solid talent on hand – including Gaston Day (NC), Kennedy Charter(NC) and Oldsmar Christian Academy (FL). Several of the Spartanburg games will be streamed live on NetCastSports.com.

Next week, the holiday tournaments kick off…well, pretty much everywhere, so it’s impossible to cover even a fraction of them. Over the past four years we’ve dedicated our coverage to the Frank Spencer Holiday tournament in Winston-Salem, NC, but this year we are also covering the HighSchoolOT.com tournament in Raleigh. With the Gulf Shores Invitational being cancelled, which was expected to take place in Florida, several of the area’s top teams are left without games on their schedule, including Olympic HS and the aforementioned Wesleyan. We will also be looking at tournaments in Charlotte and South Carolina, as well as the Freedom tournament in Morganton, NC.

Want to know more? Follow Marcus Shockley on Twitter. You can also follow Basketball Elite on Twitter.

The early season match up between Davie County HS (NC) and Olympic HS (NC) was one of the best in this young season. This game was loaded with talent: Caleb and Cody Martin, two 6’6″ wings committed to NC State; Taylor and Austin Hatfield, also twins, are 6′ guards who share the floor with the Martins. Meanwhile, Olympic has B.J. Gladden, who has committed to Akron, Trey Mitchell and Deriece Parks.

Note that the game above will play all the way through. Check out some of the monster dunks in the fourth period, which is a barn burner.

By: James Blackburn

Aaron Rountree

Game Scouted: Furman @ Wake Forest
Wake wins 79-55
Box Score

Aaron Rountree (F, 6’8”, FR)

Stats
19 min, 0-0 FG, 4-6 FT, 1 reb, 1 assist, 1 block, 4 TP

Strengths
All of Aaron Rountree’s strengths could be summed up very easily in a couple of words…”Plays Hard”. Other words that could be used would also do a good job of defining his game include “Active”, “Energetic”, and “Tenacious”. Rountree is a coach’s dream in that he plays every possession like its his last, diving on balls, sacrificing his body to save a ball, blocking shots, and running the floor. He plays 100% all the time. His high motor, activity level, and energy level culminate in nearly every part of his game on both ends of the floor.

Defensively is where Rountree makes the biggest impact. He is extremely versatile and is capable of defending 3 different positions, from a 2-4. He uses his long frame and great wingspan to corral and hound the opposing teams ball handlers. He is a tremendous defender, to put it mildly. Wake uses him at the top of their zone pressure full-court defense and he causes problems with not only his length and activity level, but his foot speed as well. He can cover a lot of ground quickly and is capable of sliding his feet and staying in front of quicker/smaller players. For a 6’8” guy he is above average in his lateral quickness. He plays the passing lanes well and gets a ton of deflections. Even though he was only credited with 1 block this game and 0 steals, he must have deflected or gotten his hands on almost 10 balls. Many times even when he wouldn’t get a steal or deflection this game he forced the opposing PG to have to call a time out because of pressure or he would make a mistake like travel or make a bad pass that led to a steal for a teammate. He is third on the team in total steals for the season and as his minutes increase I can see him leading the team in that department by the end of the year. Smart defender- at one point on the press- he got a hand in and deflected ball handlers dribble- he picked it up- Aaron left him and denied closest man- he had to call TO. Gets around screens and does a nice job of caboosing off the ball screens and contesting shots. Blocks and influences shots- contests shots on the perimeter. Leads team in blocks even though he is only averaging 13 minutes a game. He is also a terrific rebounder on both ends and he attacks rebounds both in and outside his area- crashes offensive boards nearly every play.

Offensively Rountree knows his limitations and provides positive contributions in several areas. One area where he has impressed me with is his playmaking ability. He is averaging twice as many assists than turnovers on the season and makes smart passes to open teammates. He is underrated and willing/unselfish as a passer and his IQ for the game is also underrated. Even though he isn’t a great ball handler, he has shown repeatedly this season and did so again tonight, the ability to drive the ball and kick to open teammates. He also knows how to enter the ball to the post. He is at his best in transition offensively, and is capable of finishing above the rim. He attacks the basket and draws fouls. Part of that is due to the fact that his shot is inconsistent and needs work, but it also speaks to his aggressiveness and what type of player he is. Didn’t shoot anything outside of a FT this game- but he is shooting 50% for year from the 3-point line. I watched him shooting in warm-ups and he has a high release and good arc- but needs to work on mechanics. He is also shooting over 60% from FT line and the field.

Weaknesses
Rountree is still raw in several ways, most noticeably offensively. His shot is inconsistent, even though he is shooting over 50% from every area, as noted above. His mechanics are flawed and he flicks the shot more so then shooting it. He puts his left hand on top of the ball slightly and his left elbow is out. The ball doesn’t get much rotation either. On the FT line he doesn’t really bend his knees and uses mostly his arms in his shot. He also needs to get stronger and fill out his frame some more. His dribbling isn’t bad at this stage for his height, but it needs to get tighter and he cant really change directions/speeds with ball at this point either. He didn’t show the ability to create his own shot or get by quicker players on the perimeter consistently. Also has a tendency to put ball over head in half-court situations.

Still tends to make some freshman errors, which you would expect, especially early in the season. These include being out of position and turning his back to the ball at times. He plays so hard and contributes in so many ways though that it is hard to take him out after a mistake.

Overview
Another strong performance tonight from Rountree to help lead his team to a much-needed win over Furman. I don’t think I have ever written so much on a player who had so little to show in the box score, but it just reinforces everything I noted above about the way he plays. He is a fan favorite and its easy to see why. He makes team better when he is on the floor and is active teammate while on bench as well. He is a coachable player who is a solid teammate and displays a great attitude at all times. He hustles on both ends, provides great energy off the bench, doesn’t complain, just competes. He is someone you want on your team. He is a leader and encourages his teammates.

I would love to know Aaron’s +/- score- on the floor as it seems his team goes on runs when he is in game and he makes so many positive contributions.
In my opinion he is the best pro prospect on the team and it would not surprise me if becomes a 1st round pick after finishing his career at Wake. Depending on how fast he improves and progresses on the offensive end, he may be a first rounder after his junior year. His defense, length, high motor, and offensive limitations remind me of Michael Kidd Gilchrest from Kentucky. Rountree’s rebounding and defensive skills will translate at the next level nicely. He has a ton of upside and will continue to improve as he gets more time on the floor.

Kasey Hill
Kasey Hill and Monteverde rise to #1 in this week’s poll.

The national prep rankings for the week of December 10, as published by PrepNation

#1. Montverde, Fla., Montverde Academy (6-0), leads field that includes 10 ranked teams at City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers, Fla.
#2. Henderson, Nev., Findlay (13-0), headlines Iolani Classic in Honolulu with two other Top 25 teams
#3. Newark, N.J., St. Benedict’s (7-0), scored over 100 four times this season
#4. Huntington, W.Va., Huntington Prep, (11-0), beat teams from Ohio and Fla. at Boyd County Roundball Classic in Summit, Ky.
#5. Santa Ana, Calif., Mater Dei (5-0), two-time defending state champion
#6. Long Beach, Calif., Poly, (5-0), opens against regionally ranked Tift County at City of Palms
#7. Highland, Utah, Lone Peak (7-0), making its first appearance at City of Palms
#8. Mouth of Wilson, Va., Oak Hill (15-1), seeks second Iolani Classic title in three seasons
#9. Chester, Pa. (2-0), plays defending Miss. champ Callaway in opening round at City of Palms
#10. Mount Washington, Ky., Bullitt East (7-0), beat state-ranked Madison Central, 72-66
#11. DeSoto, Texas (15-1), defeated then-No. 1 Simeon, 67-57, on ESPN
#12. Chicago, Simeon (2-1), first three games versus out-of-state opponents
#13. Memphis, Tenn., Southwind, (9-1), also in field at City of Palms
#14. Omaha, Neb., Central (4-0), 40 straight wins heading into City of Palms
#15. Warr Acres, Okla., Putnam City (7-0), F Ronnie Boyce MVP of Bixby (Okla.) Invitational
#16. Richmond, Texas, Travis, (12-2), split with ranked opponents from Calif. and Md. last week
#17. San Jose, Calif., Mitty, (3-1), lost in OT to No. 16 Travis, 56-53, on ESPN
#18. Seattle, Rainier Beach, (3-1), upset by regionally ranked Seattle Prep, 59-57
#19. Rockville, Md., Montrose Christian (6-0), also in field at Iolani Classic
#20. Iowa City, Iowa, West, (6-0), jr. G Wyatt Lohaus son of former NBA player Brad Lohaus
#21. Washington, Gonzaga (4-1), top-ranked in D.C.-area rankings
#22. Brooklyn, Jefferson (6-1), with four starters benched, upset by Philadelphia Electrical, 80-74
#23. Fairfax, Va., Paul VI (5-1), also shooting for City of Palms title
#24. Philadelphia, Neumann-Goretti (2-0), 70 consecutive Philadelphia Catholic League wins
#25. Jersey City, N.J., St. Anthony (1-0), extended win streak to 66

Northeast
#1. Newark, N.J., St. Benedict’s, 7-0
#2. Chester, Pa., 2-0
#3. Brooklyn, Jefferson, 6-1
#4. Philadelphia, Neumann-Goretti, 2-0
#5. Jersey City, N.J., St. Anthony, 1-0
#6. Middle Village, N.Y., Christ the King, 2-0
#7. Jersey City, N.J., Hudson Catholic, 2-0
#8. Roselle, N.J., Roselle Catholic, 1-0
#9. Metuchen, N.J., St. Joseph, 0-1
#10. Springfield, Mass., Central, 2-0

East Coast
#1. Huntington, W.Va., Huntington Prep, 11-0
#2. Mouth of Wilson, Va., Oak Hill, 15-1
#3. Rockville, Md., Montrose Christian, 6-0
#4. Washington, Gonzaga, 4-1
#5. Fairfax, Va., Paul VI, 5-1
#6. Charlotte, N.C., West Charlotte, 5-0
#7. High Point, N.C., Wesleyan, 8-0
#8. Rockville, Md., Magruder, 4-0
#9. Columbia, S.C., Irmo, 9-0
#10. Baltimore, St. Frances, 9-0

Southeast
#1. Montverde, Fla., Montverde Academy, 6-0
#2. Memphis, Tenn., Southwind, 9-1
#3. Tifton, Ga., Tift County, 5-0
#4. Orlando, Fla., Lake Highland Prep, 7-1
#5. Birmingham, Ala., Wenowah, 9-0
#6. Jackson, Miss., Provine, 10-1
#7. Oviedo, Fla., Hagerty, 10-1
#8. Pompano Beach, Fla., Ely, 7-0
#9. Memphis, Tenn., White Station, 8-1
#10. Alexandria, La., Peabody, 10-0

Midwest
#1. Mount Washington, Ky., Bullitt East, 7-0
#2. Chicago, Simeon, 2-1
#3. Chicago, Young, 3-0
#4. Detroit, Pershing, 4-0
#5. Indianapolis, Pike, 6-0
#6. Cincinnati, Walnut Hills, 4-1
#7. Germantown, Wis., 7-0
#8. Indianapolis, Arsenal Tech, 5-1
#9. Indianapolis, Cathedral, 2-2
#10. Louisville, Ky., Ballard, 3-2

Midlands
#1. Highland, Utah, Lone Peak, 7-0
#2. Omaha, Neb., Central, 4-0
#3. Iowa City, Iowa, West, 6-0
#4. Osseo, Minn., 5-0
#5. Overland Park, Kan., Blue Valley Northwest, 3-0
#6. Nixa, Mo., 4-1
#7. Minneapolis, De La Salle, 1-0
#8. Denver, East, 5-1
#9. Wichita, Kan., North, 5-0
#10. Monument, Colo., Lewis-Palmer, 6-0

Southwest
#1. Henderson, Nev., Findlay, 13-0
#2. DeSoto, Texas, 15-1
#3. Warr Acres, Okla., Putnam City, 7-0
#4. Richmond, Texas, Travis, 12-2
#5. Houston, Yates, 12-1
#6. Dallas, Jesuit, 12-0
#7. Las Vegas, Bishop Gorman, 5-0
#8. Laveen, Ariz., Chavez, 10-0
#9. Grand Prairie, Texas, South Grand Prairie, 15-1
#10. Edmond, Okla., Memorial, 6-0

West Coast
#1. Santa Ana, Calif., Mater Dei, 5-0
#2. Long Beach, Calif., Poly, 5-0
#3. San Jose, Calif., Mitty, 3-1
#4. Seattle, Rainier Beach, 3-1
#5. Lake Oswego, Ore., 6-0
#6. Richmond, Calif., Salesian, 5-1
#7. Bothell, Wash., 4-0
#8. Mission Viejo, Calif., 11-0
#9. Bellflower, Calif., St. John Bosco, 5-1
#10. Seattle, Seattle Prep, 6-0

Game highlights and recap as Wesleyan travels to QEA in a big early season game. Features Theo Pinson, JaQuel Richmond, Harry Giles, Michael Tucker, Hakeem Coney, Papa NDaiye, Trey Chapman, Deshaunte Carelock, Michael Buckland.