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2012 NATIONAL PREP SCHOOL INVITATIONAL — DAY FOUR
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By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
The first three days of the National Prep School Invitational were dominated by Steven Adams and his Notre Dame Prep squad. The 2012 big man from New Zealand erased any concerns after his foul-plagued showing at the Hoop Hall Classic and cemented his status as one of 2012’s top players. On Sunday it was time for another 2012 big man to steal the show and make his case for the #1 overall ranking in the senior class. With the gym buzzing and filled to a capacity that it saw at no other time all weekend the Tilton School and REDA (Ontario) took the floor at 1:30 PM. Nerlens Noel jumped center for the Tilton School sporting his trademark bright pink Nikes and his high top fade and put on the best show of the weekend.
Top Performance of the Day:
Nerlens Noel (Tilton 2012) – This was Noel’s first national appearance since announcing his intentions to graduate this year as a member of the 2012 class early Thursday morning. Providence fans packed the gym to see him as they made the cut of his seven final schools along with Kentucky, Syracuse, Connecticut, Florida, Georgetown and North Carolina. Dominance doesn’t even begin to describe the defensive effort put forth by Noel as he tallied 10 blocks to go along with countless more altered shots. It reached a point where REDA coaches could be heard screaming at their players who even attempted to challenge the big man as a shot in the lane against Noel was basically a turnover. Perhaps the most telling statistic of his dominance was on the scoreboard. Noel played the majority of the game’s first 29 minutes at which point REDA had only scored 19 points. At that time Nerlens went to the bench in a blowout victory and in the remaining 11 minutes REDA was able to put up 29 points. His defensive prowess is certainly nothing new but Sunday’s was a particularly stunning performance even by his high standards. Offensively Noel looked better than ever and as crazy as it sounds was literally playing point guard for his Tilton team during the 2nd half. He brought the ball up the floor every time and got his team into their offense sometimes breaking his man down off the dribble and other times running a play for someone else. I’m not suggesting that Noel is making a drastic position change but it was an indicator of how far along his ball handling and passing skills have come in the last year. Once only a defensive standout, Noel’s offense is catching up seemingly by the day.
Be sure to check out our additional coverage from a great weekend of hoops at the 2012 National Prep School Invitational:
’12 NPSI – Day Four Report
’12 NPSI – Day Three Report
’12 NPSI – Day Two Report
’12 NPSI – Day One Report
Sleeper Performance of the Day:
Oskars Reinfelds (Canarias Basketball Academy 2012) – Anyone from the CBA squad would qualify as a sleeper as the international team from Spain was filled with unknowns getting one of their only opportunities to perform for US college coaches. Reinfelds made quite an impression as the 6’5” physical guard buried shots from the perimeter and worked his way to the paint for interior buckets. He was consistently able to create and make his own shot against high level defenders and also facilitated the CBA offense. A natural scoring guard at the next level, I feel comfortable projecting Reinfelds to the mid to high-major level after only a weekend’s worth of viewing.
Other Top Performances:
Goodluck Okonoboh (Tilton 2013) – Okonoboh is often overlooked playing alongside Nerlens Noel but is poised for a breakout summer with Noel moving on and showed signs that the breakout is coming with his play Sunday. Goodluck was more aggressive offensively than I’ve ever seen him before making a couple of plays I wasn’t aware he had in his arsenal. He caught in the post 12 feet from the basket, spun baseline, and used 1 dribble to explode towards the rim for an and 1. On another possession he caught the ball outside the 3 point line on the move and used two dribbles to get to the rim and dunk. I don’t think I had ever seen Okonoboh put the ball on the floor more than once with any success so this was a step in the right direction. His interior defense was also as strong as ever and with that and potentially vastly improved offense, Okonoboh looks like someone whose stock is on the rise.
Darrick Wood (Bridgton 2012) – After struggling in his first outing and having his moments the second time around, Wood fully showed off what he is capable of in the third go around at the National Prep School invitational on Sunday. He made jumpers early which got his whole offensive game going and by the end of the first half it was clear he was in for a big day. Wood gets excellent elevation on his jump shot allowing him to shoot it even when guarded because he can simply rise over his defender. This same leaping ability makes him a beast in transition where he made multiple acrobatic plays above the rim. My only knock is Wood’s tendency to let his emotions get the best of him on the court as he sometimes allows missed shots or perceived fouls that go un called to stay with him for long stretches. Regardless of that his athleticism and scorer’s mentality make him a perfect fit as a high major shooting guard.
Jaylen Brantley (Wilbraham and Monson 2013) – A deadly outside shooter, Brantley had his ups and downs navigating pick and roll sets as the lead guard in WMA’s offense. He was successful at times but was also a bit turnover prone which will need to be corrected as he projects as a full time point guard given his 5’9” stature. One thing that cannot be questioned about him is that he clearly possesses the clutch gene. He hit a 25 foot running 3 pointer as time expired to give his team a one point victory. In 5 games of Brantley’s I’ve seen this year this is the 2nd time he’s hit a game winner and he shared with me afterwards that it’s his 5th game winner overall this year. As a point guard never being afraid of the moment is very important and it is something that Brantley excels at.
Evan Cummins (Northfield Mt Hermon 2012) – committed to Harvard – The 6’8” Cummins showed why he is a steal for Tommy Amaker in the Ivy League by dominating the low block in his team’s win. He ran the floor with purpose, established low position, and made quick, decisive moves after catching entry passes. Cummins finishes with both hands around the rim and has the athleticism to make plays above the rim as well. He even flashed off some perimeter skills taking one rebound coast to coast and finishing with a pretty euro step to get by a defender in the paint. The 4 man also brings a high basketball IQ and a never ending motor that will endear him to Coach Amaker upon his arrival at Harvard.
Jalen Myrie (Lawrence Academy 2013) – The 6’1” point guard did everything he could to keep his team afloat against a superior Northfield Mt Hermon club. He made at least 4-5 long balls to go along with multiple finishes at the rim. At his best in transition, Myrie made great decisions with the ball when faced with 3 on 2 or 2 on 1 situations always seeming to get his team a layup. While not an explosive athlete, Myrie has a quick first step and knows how to use his body to create extra space once he gets a little separation. Unlike many prep school players in New England, Myrie has not re-classified and is a true member of the 2013 class making him even more intriguing.
Ryan Oliver (Northfield Mt Hermon 2012) – A post-grad from Loyola High School in California, Oliver missed his senior season due to a torn left ACL and thus stayed off the radar of most colleges. That is changing with his play this season at NMH as the 6’4” shooting guard can make shots from anywhere on the floor. At his best coming off screens or spotting up, Oliver also features an excellent shot fake followed by 1 or 2 dribbles to showcase his mid range game. He did not feature the explosiveness to get all the way to the rim but this may still come in time as he gets farther out from his knee surgery. As it stands Oliver could help any college program in need of outside shooting from the guard position.
National Prep School Invitational Free Throws:
2014 combo guard Henry Bolton has a pure shooting stroke from deep and showed a willingness to attack the paint. At 6’1” he will need to learn how to run a team but mid to high major skills are there… Every time I see him play Vermont commit Ethan O’Day strengthens my belief that he will be a star on the low block in the America East… 2014 forward Bonzie Colson is a below the rim big man who fits the mold of mid major star or high major role player… 2012 Dartmouth commit Kevin Crescenzi isn’t going to create too many of his own shots but he will knock down plenty of perimeter jumpers as a long range sniper… 6’3” 2012 guard AJ English had a strong day scoring the ball from all three levels and should give a low major coach a solid scoring option… Sacred Heart commit Tevin Falzon has skills that are unteachable like heart, will, and desire. His feistiness in the paint will take him a long way in the college game… 7’3” Boris Bojanovsky is very skinny and certainly a project but has major long term upside because of his soft touch and massive length.
Malik Nichols (Bridgton Academy 2012) – Schools are still taking a wait and see approach with Nichols as far as qualifying academically is concerned. According to Bridgton head coach Whit Lesure everything is on track for that and Nichols is doing everything he needs to be doing to gain eligibility. Schools showing interest thus far include Hofstra, Oregon State, George Mason, Nebraska and Iona. Nichols acknowledged Hofstra as a school that stands out from that group because the one time commit has the most comfort with their coaching staff. The close proximity to home for the New York native is not a factor in his mind and he would be willing to travel anywhere for college if it was the right fit.
Jaylen Brantley (Wilbraham and Monson 2013) – As seems to be standard procedure for all members of the BABC program, Brantley plays things close to the vest regarding recruiting. He did list offers from Syracuse, Georgetown, Cincinnati, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Richmond, Rhode Island, Iowa State, Missouri, Georgia and Rutgers as well as interest from UConn and Maryland. Brantley has no leader at this point and doesn’t expect to make a decision until after the summer AAU season is over.
Ryan Oliver (Northfield Mt Hermon 2012) – Oliver has offers from Siena, Fairfield, and Bradley as well as interest from Oregon, Colorado and Oregon State. Other schools are involved as well but he chose to only mention those six. He plans to narrow down a set list of 7 schools that he will eventually choose from within the next 2 weeks. Siena, Fairfield and Bradley figure to be 3 of the schools to make the final cut as Oliver says he plans to visit those 3 after the high school season is over.
Jalen Myrie (Lawrence Academy 2013) – Still in the early stages of the recruiting process Myrie is currently receiving interest from Robert Morris, Boston University, Quinnipiac, Siena, Army and Bucknell. He mentioned Robert Morris and Quinnipiac as early favorites from that group.
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