Academy National: Day One

The first day of the fifth annual Academy National Invitational had its share of surprises. Fairfax barely got past LeFlore, a couple of former New Orleans residents shined, Gary Johnson put in yet another dominating performance and D.J. Rivera was the best D.J. in the building.

HOUSTON – The first day of the Academy National Invitational had plenty of excitement – from Gary Johnson's career game to Derrick Rivera's superb effort to Fairfax coming from behind to get past LeFlore.

National Division

No. 21 Fairfax (Calif.) 55, LeFlore (Ala.) 54

No. 6 Neumann-Goretti (Pa.) 59, No. 22 Bellaire 41

No. 2 Oak Hill Academy (Va.) 89, Peabody (La.) 64

No. 12 Wheeler (Ga.) 56, No. 17 Kingwood 52

Texas Division

Alief Hastings 82, Cornerstone Christian 70

Aldine 86, Jesse Jones 80

No. 11 Westfield 56, Eisenhower 29

Hightower 80, Wheatley 74

Johnny Mayhanne, SG, LeFlore – Here's a guy that mid-majors should be all over. He's already qualified, is long and can score – from the perimeter and also taking it to the basket. The 6-foot-5, 185-pound senior scored 10 points and only took six shots.

Samuel Hannes, SF, Cornerstone Christian – The 6-foot-8 unsigned senior can shoot the ball from the perimeter, but his athleticism is in question.

Harrison Smith, SG, Jones – The Texas-bound guard is getting better each time out. He scores in a variety of ways. Can shoot it from downtown, rebounds well from his position and can also finish in the lane. Had 35 in the loss to Gary Johnson and Aldine.

Derrick Rivera, SG, Neumann-Goretti – D.J. did what he does well. Plays with plenty of energy, defends and gets his share of points as well. The St. Joseph's-bound guard runs the court hard, gets out in transition, rebounds and does a terrific job of getting to the foul line.

Tywon Lawson, PG, Oak Hill – Used his quickness and explosiveness to get to the basket virtually at will – and also sank 2-of-4 trifectas in the victory. Was the Warriors most consistent player in their win against Peabody. Finished with a team-high 25 points and 5 assists – with no turnovers.

Nic Wise, PG, Kingwood - The Arizona-bound point guard struggled from the field, hitting just one of 15 shots and finishing with 6 points. He had his moments passing the ball, but it wasn't a memorable performance for the stocky lead guard.

Gary Johnson, PF, Aldine – This guy has a motor that never stops. Put up a career-high 37 points and it didn't seem like an out of the ordinary performance for the 6-8 junior. Dominates in the paint and on the glass. Finishes above the rim.

B.J. Holmes, PG, Hastings – The small floor leader got into the lane and made life miserable for Cornerstone Christian. Holmes, who finished with 23 points, has virtually no flash to his game, but makes good decisions, is poised and can knock down shot from the perimeter.

Marcus Simmons, SG, Peabody – The long, slender junior played well in the first half, but he was taken out of the game in the second half after getting into foul trouble. Finished with 10 points, but is a big-time sleeper who has a versatile game.

Chace Stanback, SF, Fairfax – Long and can really shoot the ball from the perimeter. Of all the former Fairfax stars (Chris Mills, Craig Smith, Jamal Boykin), the 6-7 Stanback is most reminiscent of Mills because of his smooth game and ability to knock down shots from the perimeter. Coming off screens, looks a little bit like Reggie Miller. Needs to get tougher and take it to the basket with more authority.

Antonio Jardine, PG, Neumann-Goretti – Scoop has come back strong from a sub-par summer. He may not have scored the ball well, but he had plenty of assists to his teammates and did a nice job leading his team to a win against Bellaire.

Rich Jackson, PF, Neumann-Goretti – One of the most improved players in the nation over the past year. Didn't have a go-to move a year ago – or maybe it was just that he never got the ball. Now the Syracuse-bound big man can score in the post, rebounds and also is a guy who alters and blocks shots.

Isaiah Rusher, C, Bellaire – Once again, the word to throw around with Rusher is potential. Rusher has yet to show that potential – even though many peg him as a big-time player down the road. He passes the "look" test, but rarely gets anything done in game time.

Michael Beasley, PF, Oak Hill – The Charlotte-bound big man shows flashes, but still needs to become more consistent for an entire game. Scored 16 points and had the dunk of the night – a baseline one-handed slam well over the rim.

Beas Hamga, PF, Cornerstone Christian – He's got the most potential on a team loaded with imports. Big-time rebounder, can block shots and although he doesn't get many touches in the paint, is a capable scorer on the low block.

Nick Williams, F, LeFlore – The sophomore is forced to play inside because coach Otis Hughley doesn't have a ton of size to work with, but the 6-foot-4 sophomore can also step out and make shots on the perimeter. Williams finished with 22 points and 8 rebounds while shooting 10-of-14 from the field in the loss to Fairfax. Finished everything around the basket.

Desmond King, PF, Peabody – Here's a kid who hasn't hit the national radar – yet. Relentless rebounder who gets to the line and can also step out and make shots from mid-range. Gave Oak Hill all they could handle – at least for the first half. Finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds – including 11 on the offensive end.

B.J. Holmes has some help this year as junior Larry Davis has improved from a year ago and is a D-1 prospect. The athletic Davis finished with 15 points and had it working from mid-range. … The best news of the tournament concerns Aldine head coach Zeek Smith and it wasn't about the fact that he got a win on his 44th birthday. Smith had a kidney and pancreas transplant on May 25 and the other day marked seven "good months" for Smith. … Madison High (Texas) freshman point guard Tommy Griffin is similar to Nic Wise. He's not playing in the Academy National Invitational, but took a look at him on Tuesday and he didn't disappoint. He's got a football player's body, can shoot it and also distributes the ball. … Other players we got a chance to see on Tuesday were talented sophomore guard J'Covan Brown and athletic junior Nathan Walkup. Brown is a combo guard who needs to harness his talent while Walkup scored 22 points and had 19 boards in a victory. … Brandon Dison, a New Orleans transplant, led Westfield with 19 points in its win against Eisenhower. … The matchup between 2007 point guards Jai Lucas and Scoop Jardine never quite materialized. Neither player shot the ball well and basically canceled each other out. … Gary Johnson (37) and senior guard Brandon Brown (33) combined for 70 of the team's 86 points. … Wheatley senior guard Dewayne Reed finished with 35 points and was 5-for-10 from long distance. … Hightower was led by Texas-bound point guard D.J. Augustin (23 points, 5 assists, 7 steals). ... James Hickson led Wheeler with 22 points and 10 boards in the win against Kingwood. ... Mike Singletary had 11 for Kingwood, but misfired on a 3-pointer that could have tied the game with 8 seconds left.

B.J. Holmes rattled off a lengthy list that includes Kentucky, Miami, Villanova, Oklahoma, USC, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech and Illinois. He said that Miami and Kentucky have been the most persistent. … Mayhanne, who played with the Alabama Challenge this past summer, said he hasn't received much attention on the college front. He mentioned South Alabama, Tulane, Southern Miss and Virginia Tech. Mayhanne scored a 25 on the ACT and is already qualified. … LeFlore sophomore Nick Williams said that Alabama and Florida are his co-leaders. … Stanback said that UCLA and Oregon have both offered. He also lists Arizona and North Carolina. … Neumann-Goretti (Pa.) unsigned senior wing Earl Pettis said he will likely either go to prep school or head to Temple and possibly sit out his freshman season. Pettis also mentioned Seton Hall, Miami, George Washington and La Salle.

Some of the colleges represented: Texas, Kentucky, Texas A&M, USC, Tulane, Colorado State, Richmond, Arkansas, Baylor, Charlotte, Liberty, Miami, Rice, Temple and Auburn. … John Lucas was also in the crowd watching his son, Jai. … Houston-area talent guru Jim Hicks was in attendance. There is no one who knows more about the local hoops scene than Hicks.

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