Cary L. Clark | BamaMag

BamaMag was on the road in Hoover to see Spain Park and Mountain Brook hoops on Friday night

HOOVER, Ala. – in an arena packed to the gills, the Spain Park Jaguars defeated visiting Mountain Brook, downing the Spartans 77-65 Friday night. The contest featured a number of D-1 prospects, most of them underclassmen. Even the Fire Marshal couldn’t cool down a few of them. To the categories:

LARRY MUNSON “JUST A FRESHMAN!” AWARD: This goes to the game’s top scorer, albeit in defeat. Ninth grader Trendon Watford Trendon Watford, a 6-7 “stretch four” player for Mountain Brook, poured in 28 points, 14 in each half, and drained four 3-pointers. Watford can score from anywhere.

“He’s such a talent, and he can play all five positions,” said Spartans Coach Bucky McMillan. “What makes him such a breath of fresh air is when you have one player who can go get a bucket on the block, on the perimeter, and at 15 feet, that makes the game easier for everybody else. That’s not even to mention the intangibles he brings. He’s such an unselfish player. When you’ve got someone that’s that good a player, and he’s that unselfish of a player, that makes everyone else kind of fall in line”

Added Jags Coach Donnie Quinn of Watford: “His size, his ability and his fundamentals (are impressive). He’s not just a big kid. Being a freshman is deceiving sometimes. We’ve seen some freshmen this year that are ready for college basketball right now. (Watford’s) developed thoroughly, and he’s got a total game.”

Watford is the younger brother of former Indiana star Christian Watford a 6-9 forward who currently plays in the NBA Developmental League. 

ANOTHER FROSH TO REMEMBER: Parker Boswell of Spain Park is his 7A team’s starting point guard. He is a pass-first player who doesn’t need to shoot much because his team is loaded, and he didn’t score (or shoot much) on this night, but he’s already drawing the attention of those who follow high level hoops. 

“Even being a freshman, Parker’s  our point guard and he can handle the ball,” said Quinn.  “Plus, he can score, but mainly, his job is to get the ball down the floor and help run the offense, and when he’s open, score.”

Added McMillan: “I’ve known Parker (Boswell) since he was in second grade. What makes Parker a good player is he’s a really good ball-handler. He’s got a great work ethic, and he’s got great character, man. He really does. A lot of guys these days lose sight of what the object of the game is: to help your team be successful. Sometimes they think it’s about ‘looking cool.’ He’s not that way at all. He’s about helping his team any way he can to be successful.             .

“I hate to say that, because you say, ‘Well, that should be obvious for every player,’ but unfortunately today, a lot of times it’s about how you look, and Parker’s out there trying to help his team be good.”

JUNIORS TO WATCH: Auburn pledge Austin Wiley at 6-10 is the type post player who usually signs with Kentucky or Duke, but both parents played on The Plains, which makes a difference. Wiley was his normal dominant self on both ends, scoring 24 points, all in the paint or at the line. He is a plus rebounder, and blocks a LOT of shots.

His teammate and good friend Jamal Johnson is a 6-3 2-guard who scored 20, including a pair of treys. Johnson’s dad, former Alabama and NBA player Buck Johnson, said his son favors five SEC teams: Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, Georgia and Vanderbilt. With Dad, there’s a …

CRIMSON CONNECTION: And that helps. It also helps that Bama made Jamal its first in-state offer of the Avery Johnson era. When last FNL reported on Spain Park, Johnson himself was in the stands. On this night, assistant Antoine Pettway was on the first row near the Jags’ bench. 

SPEAKING OF PELHAM: FNL staffed the Spain Park/Pelham game last month to bring you coverage of 6-9 Panthers forward Alex Reese. He had an impressive stat line his team’s Friday win over John Carroll: 47 points, 12 boards, with a Virginia scout on hand. Pelham is also the alma mater of Clemson Coach and former Tide football player Dabo Swinney, in case you haven’t heard. (Sarcasm Meter)

HOW ‘BOUT THAT BO-SCHETTI: That’s Southernese for spaghetti, and I had some that was pretty good Friday pre-game. I indulged at Nino’s on US 31 in Pelham, an establishment that is co-owned by Bama football play-by-play man Eli Gold. The meat sauce was nice and thick, the noodles were cooked just right, and the sweet tea was as tasty as the garlic bread. A word to the wise; if you visit, don’t engage Eli’s business partner Walter in conversation if you have somewhere to be. 

NEXT UP: It’s wait until state tourney time, with the hope that Hale County and 6-7 junior guard Herb Jones can be checked out. Alabama is very interested in Jones, and has scouted several of his games this season.

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