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Bosworth: Friday’s National Prep Showcase Breakdown
By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
The National Prep Showcase kicked off Friday morning at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven. One the premier prep events in America on a yearly basis, the showcase features the top prep teams from the Northeast along with a sampling of the strongest teams from around the country. This year had a little bit of added anticipation as it was announced approximately a week prior to the event that NBA scouts would be allowed to attend. If any were on hand Friday they witnessed a performance worthy of a future lottery pick selection.
Top Performer of the Day:
Ricardo Ledo (South Kent Prep 2012) – committed to Providence – There is no debate over the top performer of the day as Ledo put on an offensive clinic in a 20 point South Kent victory. He scored 37 points including 7 three pointers and did so with his usual freewheeling style. Ledo keeps the ball on a string and almost toys with defenders as he routinely broke ankles and got into the lane or used his patented step back move to create space and bury long range shots. At one point on the break Ledo even through it to himself off the backboard and hammered down a dunk contest worthy jam without breaking a sweat. His offensive talents are immense and they were on full display Friday night but perhaps even more impressive was the way Rick carried himself on the court. Often labeled a head case or a moody player, Ledo showed real maturity coaching teammates on the floor and still getting others involved despite that fact that he had it working so well. South Kent head coach Kelvin Jefferson told me after the game that Rick has really progressed as a leader both in the locker room and on the court and that was evident in his play on this night.
Sleeper Performance of the Day:
Jacoby Davis (St. John’s Military Academy 2012) – Davis came in with little fanfare but looked every bit the part of a high major point guard to me. He’s a physical guard standing 6’1” and 195 pounds and did a great job of avoiding negative plays. Davis allowed his teammates to be the stars and only took his opportunities when the offensive needed a spark as great point guards tend to do. He made a couple of huge three pointers down the stretch with his team trailing and never broke from his confident, focused demeanor regardless of the game situation. Davis is going to make whichever college program takes a chance on him very happy with his leadership at the point guard position.
Montrezl Harrell (Hargrave Military Academy 2012) – committed to Virginia Tech – The 6’8” power forward was an absolute monster in the paint scoring 27 points on 11-15 shooting. He was too big and strong for anyone on the Notre Dame Prep roster and to his credit stayed in the paint where his advantage was greatest. I counted at least 8 dunks of his 11 made baskets most gotten by sealing his defender as he caught an entry pass and powering up to the rim. Hokie fans are going to enjoy cheering for Montrezl Harrell over the next four years.
Ryan Taylor (Hargrave Military Academy 2012) – Taylor served as Harrell’s partner in crime in the paint netting 26 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists of his own. Known as a face up shooter both from midrange and the 3 point line, Taylor did all his damage around the rim in this game stating afterwards that his team knew they had an advantage inside and wanted to exploit it. While the stat line is certainly impressive for Taylor it was his constant determination and aggressiveness inside that truly stood out. He wanted the ball more than other players and was going to make sure it ended up in the hoop regardless of how much contact he had to endure to get it there.
Rodell Wigginton (Lee Academy 2012) – Wigginton played an excellent all around game for Lee Academy finishing with 12 points, 11 boards, and 6 assists without turning the ball over. He’s a physical specimen standing 6’6” on the wing and used his strength in the paint all day. Not the best perimeter shooter, Wigginton knows his role and consistently worked his way into the paint where he could make plays for himself and others. He also attacked the offensive glass creating extra possessions for his team ultimately leading them to a hard fought win.
Malik Nichols (Bridgeton Academy 2012) – Battling a nasty case of the flu, Nichols fought through it and made some aggressive plays in his team’s three point win. He did most of his damage in the first half by attacking the rim and using a series of head fakes to create space for points inside. Nichols has excellent length for the wing and is able to rise above defenders to bury his soft jump shot. The former Hofstra commit seems to be taking his game to a new level at Bridgeton and high major suitors should take notice.
Strahinja Gavrilovic (La Jolla Prep 2012) – Committed to USC – Gavrilovic isn’t the greatest athlete in the world but the 6’7” forward has a nose for the ball and made plays throughout the game. He had a little bit of Eduardo Najera in his game in that sense that he did a little bit of everything and also played much bigger than his listed size. Gavrilovic will never be the feature scorer for the Trojans but should serve as a solid role player that frustrates Pac 12 defenders.
William Howard (New Hope School 2012) – Howard is a 6’8” forward with range beyond the three point line combined with physicality inside that make him a matchup nightmare. He finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds in this game with the majority of that damage coming in the second half. Eventually projecting as a small forward according to New Hope head coach Chris Chaney, the French import is just scratching the surface of his potential but is undoubtedly a high major player.
National Prep Showcase Free Throws
Montrezl Harrell dunks the ball like he has a personal vendetta against the rim….. Sam Cassell Jr. looks like a spitting image of his dad when he kicks out his legs and pulls up for mid range jump shots. High major assistant coaches were taking notice…… If Oklahoma commit Jarion Henry can keep his emotions in check and play with poise he can be one of the best players in America. 6’8” bouncy lefties are not supposed to be able to make passes like Henry makes…… Cleveland State landed a good one in 6’8” Darnell Harris. He’ll really space the floor for them with his 3 point stroke….. St. John’s is a good landing spot for Amir Garrett because Steve Lavin’s up tempo style is perfect for Garrett’s transition oriented game…… Former Arkansas commit Aaron Ross should have a long list of suitors as a power forward with the strength to bang down low and the skill to score for the perimeter…… In a day filled with great shooters, Ambrose Mosely of Hargrave may have been the best…… Mid-majors should take a long look at Brandon Neel of Fork Union Military. He has length, toughness, and athleticism.
Ryan Taylor (Hargrave Military Academy 2012) – The former Louisville commit is no longer committed to Rick Pitino. He stressed that he still loves Rick Pitino and the Louisville family but that both parties just decided to go in a different direction. Suitors lining up so far include Arkansas, Cincinnati, and Dayton with others sure to be on the way after today’s performance. Taylor said that he would prefer to play in either the Big East or Big 10 because he loves the physical style of those conferences and feels that it suits his game. He plans to visit Cincinnati and is unsure of any other schools he will visit.
Sam Cassell Jr. (Notre Dame Prep 2012) – So far Cassell is being shown the most love by Maryland, Washington, Nebraska, and Florida State. He is open to other schools getting involved in addition to those four and plans to take his team before settling on his college choice. An up tempo system that suits his style of play is the most important factor for Cassell in making his choice.
Malik Nichols (Bridgeton Academy 2012) – According to Nichols he has been receiving interest from St. Johns, Towson, South Florida, and Hofstra. At this point his top priority is clearing up some academic issues and if he is able to do that the list of suitors should expand exponentially.
Chris Thomas (South Kent Prep 2013) – One of the top physical talents in the 2013 class, Thomas’ recruitment has been unusually quiet according to South Kent head coach Kelvin Jefferson. The two schools showing the most interest including trips to South Kent’s campus to see Chris have been Xavier and Seton Hall.
William Howard (New Hope School 2012) – The French import is still in the early stages of his recruitment but already has major interest from Washington, Providence, and Rhode Island. Howard is working on getting his qualifying SAT score and once that happens other high-majors will throw themselves in the mix.