Battle for the Arch: Day Two

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The action at the first ever Battle for the Arch picked up as pool play ended and tournament play began during Saturday's session. Ishmael Wainwright showed well, while some 2014 prospects like Peyton Allen and Travon Bleuitt made names for themselves with quick scoring outbursts in winning efforts.

Jay Simpson, PF, Illinois Wolves – There's no doubting Jay Simpson's abilities. The Purdue commit is a top 100 talent, because the things he can do at 6'8 is downright scary. His jumper is smooth out to the arc and he can put it on the floor a bit as well. Now comes the time when Simpson needs to get tougher, hit the glass, and get some inside touches. His frame is going to command that he plays within 10-feet in the Big Ten for at least part of the time and he's got to be more physical to maximize his tremendous upside.

Antonio Drummond, PG, Illinois Wolves – The Southern Illinois commit, known to many as "Bobo" still has a tremendous feel for the game with an improving jumper. His jumper isn't pretty, low and in front of his face, but it's improved to the point that Drummond can knock in open threes and the occasional mid-range pullup. Always a floor leader, Bobo ran half-court sets efficiently as well.

Aaron Simpson, SG, Team NLP – Not the finest game from the undersized shooting guard against the Peoria Irish to open the playoffs, but when it mattered, Simpson put NLP on his back and scored five consecutive points to put the game into overtime. Wired to score, Simpson has underrated value as a passer, but getting him to commit to that task is easier said than done. For now, he remains a two-guard.

Ishmael Wainwright, SF, KC 76ers – While Wainwright was a bit out-of-place running with a new team at the EYBL last weekend, he was the go-to guy and in his element with the Kansas City 76ers against the Illinois Warriors. Wainwright went off the bounce, finished through contact, scored off of putbacks and even knocked down a three for good measure. He also put it down on the defensive end, sending numerous shots away with force.

Stevie Clark, PG, Athletes First 17's – Clark was impressive in the morning session against Mokan. His jumper started slow, but Stevie was aggressive on-the-ball as a defender and got into the lane at will to find open teammates as a point man. The three-pointer started falling in the second half, and although it's a flat-footed shot, Clark's quick trigger helps him let it fly with a defender nearby.

Nolan Berry, C, St. Louis Eagles – Against an overmatched KC Outlawz squad, Berry simply did whatever he wanted in and around the basket. After a mediocre first half by his standards, Berry and the Eagles came out strong and put the game away as the big man became a force on both ends of the floor. On one pick-and-roll in particular, he caught a feed from his point, spun down the paint to avoid a gambling defender, put down a power dribble and finished with a thunderous two-handed slam. Big-time move by a big-time prospect.

DeShawn Munson, SG, St. Louis Eagles – Berry's teammate decided that the KC Outlawz weren't going to easily get the ball past the timeline for a few minutes in the second half. Playing with a non-stop motor on the defensive end helped contribute to high-flying finish after high-flying finish as Munson displayed solid body control as he scored with both hands. The jumper still needs some work, but when he gets to the rim, he's going to finish.

Clayton Custer, PG, Mokan 17's – In an 8 a.m. contest with Athletes First, Custer made a huge difference getting Mokan a lead that they ultimately held for the rest of the game. Confident with the ball in his hands, Custer is at his best in the open floor, where his vision and ability to get passes to teammates sets him apart from other young point guards. He simply makes baskets for his teammates a lot easier and that is hard to overlook.

Peyton Allen, SG, Illinois Wolves 15's – There's been a lot of buzz going for the freshman from Illinois and it's certainly warranted. He started the Wolves 15's out with a personal 8-0 run on two crisp three-pointers to go along with a strong take off the dribble. Blessed with good size for a shooter, already being 6-4, Allen also ran some point and finished with both hands. Defensively, he moves quicker laterally than the look test might indicate. He's a strong high-major candidate going forward.

Travon Bleuitt, SF, Spiece Indy Heat 16's – Talented 2014 teammates James Blackmon and Trey Lyles get the buzz for being Indiana commits, but Bleuitt outgunned them in a first half that saw him score 20 of his game-high 22 points. Travon had it going from the perimeter (four triples) and also showed some versatility by putting the ball on the floor and scoring with a turnaround from the mid-post.

Mokan's Austin Rudder is a tremendous shooter in the 2013 class. While he can catch-and-shoot with the best of them, Rudder has to improve his ball skills and passing to be effective as a secondary handler to alleviate full-court pressure.

While teammate Aaron Simpson struggled for much of the game, backcourt running mate Keith Carter had one of his better performances of the last year. He didn't miss many jumpers and got others involved.

The trio of Raymond Doby, Darius Austin and Darreon Reddick from the SW Jets (IL) 15's will get high-majors interested early on. All three have good size and athleticism on the wing.

Kingdom Hoops 16's big man Ted Freidman didn't stuff the stat sheet, but did the little things a big man should do to help the Iowa-based squad earn a win over Rising Stars Yellow. Freidman rebounded, played physically, set screens and was trusted as the man to catch inbound passes when the Rising Stars threw on a press.

Stevie Clark claims an offer from Marquette while Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and UConn have all been in touch.

Ishmael Wainwright claims offers from the new staff at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas, UCLA, St. John's, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Memphis and Kansas.

Peyton Allen had Bruce Weber and Illinois in to see him this week while Iowa, DePaul, Purdue, Northwestern and UNLV have also shown interest.

Nolan Berry has heard from Frank Haith's new staff at Missouri and plans to swing through the state of Indiana and visit Butler, Notre Dame and Purdue next week.

Deshawn Munson claims an offer from the new staff at Tennessee while also hearing from the new Missouri staff, Illinois, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and Southern Illinois.

Travon Bleuiett claims offers from Virginia and Indiana while getting interest from Texas, Virginia Tech, Marquette, Detroit, LSU and Florida State. He says Marquette and Florida State are the most active.

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