Wright State Recruiting
By N.D. Kendrick, special to NBE Basketball Report
Midwest star power was on display this past weekend in Fort Wayne, Indiana where some of the top clubs from the middle of the country and a few from other locations took part in the Bill Hensley Memorial Run-n-Slam.
Quite possibly the attraction that brought in the most basketball junkies was a battle between Spiece Indy Heat, featuring Indiana-commit Trey Lyles, Purdue-bound Bryson Scott and JaQuan Lyle, facing Mac Irvin Fire, which was tabbed as the favorite to win the event.
Mac Irvin Fire got a quiet 20 point effort out of the Gatorade National Player of the Year Jabari Parker, and won by the score of 80-70. Both the Mac Irvin Fire and Spiece Indy Heat – arguably the two most star-studded rosters – failed to reach the championship games of their respective brackets.
The Derrick Walton (Michigan-commit) and Monte Morris led Michigan Mustangs emerged as the champions of the 17u tournament when the coaches of The Family decided to forfeit due to several players cramping up.
Run-n-Slam allows you to evaluate several prospects due to the format and way the massive gym is set up. The focus of the weekend was incoming juniors and seniors. Provided are several prospects (not in any particular order) that impressed over the weekend…
T.J. McConnell has played in 51 career games at Duquesne and maybe it’s the consistency of those 51 games that makes it seem as if the sophomore guard has played in 100 and is a senior. McConnell scored 15 points, dished out 6 assists, collected 4 rebounds and upped his career larceny total to 148 with 4 steals in the Dukes 80-69 win over UMASS.
That stat line is pretty much standard for McConnell in the fifteen or so times I’ve watched him play over the last year and a half. McConnell only scores in the teens generally because he isn’t selfish enough. Once he realizes that it’s best for his team that he pull up for his patented 15-footer off the dribble 6-8 times a game the Dukes will be that much better….because T.J. McConnell just does not miss that shot. But tonight, with help from his small-ball-turnover-producing mates, the Dukes were plenty good enough (they forced the Minutemen into 29 miscues) to beat a team that’s gotten some pub for their stronger than expected start.
UMASS came into the game 14-4 and 3-1 in A-10 play. It leaves Pittsburgh with an identity crisis. For all the turnovers and missed three-pointers (they were a non-robust 5-20 from deep) the Minutemen still might have won this game handily if they just understood one basic premise: a size advantage in the post should be utilized until the other team does something to take it away. Sean Carter, the 6’9″ post for UMASS — not the rapper — was 6-7 from the field in 38 minutes. Carter has averaged 13.7 points per game in his last three outings coming into tonight while hitting 17 of his 22 shots. Again, UMASS jacked it from three twenty times while Carter couldn’t bee stopped whenever he got the ball on the block (and he only had 2 of their 29 turnovers). Carter stood in the lane with his hand up with 6’2″ and 6’5″ guys on his hip for much of the night, yet rarely got a touch.
6’8″ junior Terrell Vinson was 5-7 from the floor but his lack of opportunities are best explained by his foul trouble — the kid from Baltimore (and one-time Loyola Marymount commit) only played 14 minutes. Maxie Esho goes 6’8″ as well and he was 3-5 in 22 minutes. But it was on the perimeter where Duquesne won this game and also where UMASS lost it. Michael Talley frustrated the incredibly talented Chaz Williams into an 8 point and 7 turnover night — Talley got help from Eric Evans and McConnell but the son of the one-time Michigan Mr. Basketball winner was the guy who got in Williams’ head early ans stayed there all night. Williams eventually fouled out in frustration by clocking Talley across the chin with a shot that would certainly get you arrested on pedestrian streets (even in Williams’ Brooklyn). Everhart was especially pleased that his decision to go small at halftime worked out so well.
“We like the game to go fast and it did,” said Duquesne head coach Ron Everhart. “We decided at halftime to play ‘small ball.’ Early in the second half it backfired on us, but our kids stayed with it and consequently we were able to beat a really good basketball team tonight.”
Sean Johnson was highly effective and efficient for the Dukes. The junior from Christ the King high school in Queens finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Johnson went bananas from deep (4-5) and did his best to make the rebounding deficit respectable for the Dukes (UMASS held a 48-32 edge). Jesse Morgan joined Williams in the chase to lead his team in turnovers, eventually nipping his back-court mate with 8 on the night. B.J. Monteiro led the Dukes with 23 points and came away with 3 extremely well-timed blocks during the game. Monteiro and Johnson were often the guys on Carter’s backside in the post — maybe they wouldn’t have scored so many points had they been forced to defend him on more than 7 possessions.
Huge win for Ron Everhart’s team in what was a great all around team effort.
Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure
The best big that nobody knows about, Nicholson has been putting up numbers for a few years now. This past week he averaged 25 points, 10 boards and 3.5 blocks in two games highlighted by a monster 30 point, 13 rebound and six block game against Dayton. The line went a long way toward handing Dayton its first league loss 81-73 and marked just the third 30+10+5 game in the nation over the last two seasons.
Chris Braswell, Charlotte
Caught the talented Braswell’s act in November at Wright State so I wasn’t surprised to see him post a career high 31 points at UMASS. Braswell is a big that can stretch the defense (he was 3-5 from deep) and plays with a strut in his game that’s fun to watch. Athletic and talented offensive player.
by DOUG FERGUSON
Hanner Parea: F (Indiana Elite)/6-8/200
Committed to Indiana
There is nobody in the Class of 2012 who has the athletic gifts that Parrea does. He has fans holding their breath at what he will do next. It doesn’t show in his numbers at times however due to his lack of fundamentals. His is frequently outrebounded by more fundamentally sound opponents due to lack of boxing out.
Dejuan Marrero: F (Spiece Indy Heat)/6-5/220
School List: Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Marquette, Michigan, Minnesota
On the exact opposite end of the spectrum is Marrero who was possibly the best technically sound rebounder in the gym. He could stand to have a tad more touch around the basket which is where he should stay offensively.
Marcus Paige: G (All-Iowa Attack)/6-0/160
Committed to North Carolina
Can’t help but draw comparisons to current Tar Heel point man Kendall Marshall. Paige is a little more athletically gifted than Marshall while he is not quite as crafty with the ball.