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A few weeks ago I had the privilege of scouting the National High School Tournament in New York City, the atmosphere was amazing and each day the gym was full of talented fans, media and players. Listed below are our very own awards for their tournament as well as some younger players that have the potential to be very special in the future. A special thanks must be given to : Christ The King HS staff, Madison Square Garden Staff, and the Dicks Nationals Staff for the wonderful hospitality and making things very easy and accessible for everyone!
Montverde Senior F Ben Simmons– (MVP) Simmons had a rather quiet showing during the first round game against Greensboro Day , but as the tournament went on he showed why he is considered the #1 prospect in the country. Ben can score the ball and rebounds it very well, but his most impressive trait was his passing ability and court vision. It was very impressive to see a player of his size make the passes that he made and although he had many opportunities to score the ball, he took on the facilitator role until his team needed him to score. He is a very versatile player at his height, can not only score inside but has a smooth shooting stroke from midrange and can handle the ball very well, will love to see him knock down the trey ball with more consistency. Headed to LSU
Oak Hill Senior PG Terrance Phillips– Terrance is more than just a Point Guard, he is a floor general that knows to lead a team and gives everything he has on the floor. He has very good vision and knows how to score it but always looks to get his teammate involved first, he is constantly communicating with his teammates and coaches. Terrance is what I would call a pesky defender , no matter what move you hit him with he recovers quickly to get back into the play. He takes charges, blocks shots, get steals, jumps over scorers tables and probably would sell concessions if you needed him too, Plain and simple this young man does a little bit of everything! Headed to Missouri next year
Wheeler H.S Senior F Jaylen Brown- Jaylen wasted no time getting going, once the game started he had already scored multiple buckets with a minute, this young man is a natural scorer and has the combo of height, strength and athleticism that causes serious problems for defenders. He can knock down the outside shot very efficiently but doesn’t choose to settle, instead he gets to the cup and forces defenses to back off of him which allows him to then go to his perimeter game. At one point his team was trailing by quite a few points but Brown continued to work and with the help of his squad would tie the game in the final moment but would eventually come up short. Brown finished with 29 points and 15 Rebounds in a close loss to Huntington Prep
Blanche Ely Senior G Laquincy Rideau– Laquincy had a very good showing in the 1st round of the tournament, although his team would eventually lose to Findlay Prep , he clearly showed his ability to play at the division 1 level. He has a very strong frame which allows him to embrace contact with no problem, and also is a very gifted ball handler that seems to know how to keep defenders guessing .Although he has gifted ball handling skills, he did not over dribble but instead looked to get into the paint and scorer regardless of who was defending. He didn’t have his best shooting day but he was very aggressive for his squad and displayed an attitude of fearlessness when playing against taller opponents. He is definitely a player that we look forward to seeing progress over the year since he will be playing in our state next year, While talking to Laquincy after the game, he informed that he had committed to Garner Webb University
Findlay Prep Senior G Allonzo Trier- Allonzo seems to play the game of basketball with a chip on his shoulder and does not back from any challenge, he loves to initiate contact on both ends of the floor and has a very smooth shooting stroke. Throughout the tournament he showed the ability to break down his defender and get to the basket and finish over the rim. At 6’5 he has good size for a combo guard at the next level and seems to be very comfortable running the PG spot when called upon. From watching his body language throughout the tournament , it seemed as if he was playing with an injury but he fought through it to help his squad as much as he could. There is no question about the talent of this young man and although it seems as if he somewhat of a strong demeanor when speaking to his teammates, he has the potential to be a very special player. Allonzo is headed to Arizona next year
Huntington Prep Senior F Thomas Bryant- Thomas is a versatile big man that can bang inside or step out and knock down perimeter shots, On the first day of the tournament he was absolutely dominant throughout the game and showed great leadership qualities with his squad. Thomas was very efficient from the perimeter knocking down numerous treys throughout the game and was a beast on the boards pulling 19 Rebounds in the first game. One attribute that I loved about Thomas more than anything else was his intensity and extremely high motor, it seems as if he truly loves to play the game and absolutely hates losing. On the final day of the event Thomas announced his decision that he will be attending Indiana next year
Wings Academy Senior PG Desure Buie– Desure was one of the better ball handlers that we saw throughout the tournament, he kept his defender guessing with a variety of different crossover and hesitation moves. Although he has somewhat of a slender frame, he plays fairly strong and does not get pushed around easily, with his crafty moves and crossovers Desure definitely was a player that the crowd loved and he was one of my favorites to watch as well! Is headed to Hofstra University next year
Greensboro Day Senior F/C Peter Agba- Peter is a player that we have seen quite a few times, even though his squad was playing on a big stage and against the #2 ranked team in the country, it was business as usual for Peter. He played with a very high motor and was solid inside scoring the ball as well as being very active on the glass, on the defensive end he gave it everything had and battled throughout the night. Is headed to Akron to play for the Zips next year
High Character Player Award: Findlay Prep F Justin Jackson– Justin is a young man that plays the game the right way, although he competes hard and is very talented he always shows high character. Although he has a very talented game and is a 2016 player that you have to love, I don’t believe that his basketball talent is even his best attribute. It doesn’t matter if he’s helping a teammate up off the ground or breaking up a scuffle, you always know that he is doing what right. He understand that for his squad to be successful the whole team has to be on one accord and happy, It was very refreshing to see a player of his talent caliber that has character that is just as impressive as his talent on the floor
Mr. Garbage Man Award: Montverde Senior F Noah Dickerson- Noah does all the things on the floor that go unnoticed to your average basketball fan and possibly even some basketball scouts. He has good height and a frame ,that clearly looks like he has spent sometime in the weightroom recently , to go along with a toughness that you don’t see everyday on the court. It was impressive to see how many: charges he took, loose balls that he dove for, jump balls that he forced , and even shots he altered by being in the right position at the right time. Noah is headed to Florida next year
Younger Players to keep an eye on:
Montverde Freshman E.J Montgomery- at 6’9 with a very long wingspan, this young man is one to keep an eye on for the future. He already seems to have a lot of confidence in his game and plays under control on the offensive end, reminds me a lot of Tayshaun Prince in his younger years.
Findlay Prep Sophomore P.J Washington- Has a very good combo of size,strength and athleticism at a young age. He’s not only 6’8 but he has a very nice frame to go with his height already and he does not mind mixing it up with the older guys inside. P.J may have had one of the best dunks of the tournament when he threw down a monster jam in the semifinals.
Greensboro Day Freshman Will Dillard- Will is an young man with very good athleticism and poise, he has a smooth game and a demeanor of calmness that is beyond his years. Although he didn’t have his best showing, you can clearly see the potential he has to be a very special player in the future.