BENTON, Ky. -- Despite not having much help on his high school team, Skal Labissiere stole the show at the Marshall County Hoopfest going for 33 points on 13-for-20 shooting. Five-star Malik Newman, Dwayne Bacon and Quentin Jackson were also among the top performers.
Could Labissiere be No. 1?
Over the past few weeks the talk surrounding Skal Labissiere
, a 6-foot-11 center out of Memphis, has centered on off the court issues, his guardian and question marks regarding his eligibility.
But on Friday at the Marshall County Hoopfest, at least for an hour and a half, the talk shifted from the outside factors to Labissiere’s game.
Heading into the match up with Oak Hill, I expected the Warriors to run away with a win – which they did – and I expected Labissiere to put up relatively gaudy numbers – which he did. But I wasn’t expecting Labissiere to dominate quite like he did.
In a game, where Labissiere didn’t leave the court until the final minute, he put up 33 points on 13-for-20 shooting. But it wasn’t just the high point total that was impressive; it was how he scored his points and whom he was scoring them on.
Keep in mind Labissiere has no help on his team. So Oak Hill was throwing all they had at him. Labissiere hit multiple three-pointers, connected from mid-range off the dribble, hit a skyhook, a right jump hook and had a number of finishes around the rim.
On the defensive end, he competed and while outmatched in numbers, he got his hands on shots and reeled in area rebounds. The final box score had him for two blocks; I think he had closer to a half dozen to go with seven boards.
“Skal is the real deal,” Oak Hill’s Steve Smith told Scout after the game.
At his size, Labissiere has the type of length, mobility, footwork and athleticism that you look for in a potential NBA post player. But he has also the offensive tools that lead you to believe he’s going to be an effective scorer at that level as well. He has great hands and touch. He can score with his back to the rim, but he has also developed a consistent jump shot from mid-range and beyond the three-point stripe.
In Scout’s post-July rankings, Labissiere checked in at No. 3 overall, just behind Jaylen Brown
and Ben Simmons
. But after his performance on Friday, I think it’s fair to say Labissiere has firmly put himself in the conversation and is a contender for the top spot in the class.
Other Top Performers
DeShawn Corprew, SF, Quality Education Academy – A strong, physical wing prospect, Corprew was aggressive and active throughout Quality Education Academy’s win over Sunrise Christian. Corprew was at best when he drove the ball and looked to make plays at the rim. He did make one three-pointer, but his strength is his ability to drive the ball and finish around the basket. Corprew finished with 15 points on 7-for-13 shooting.
C.J. Keyser, SG, Sunrise Christian – Keyser recently reclassified to the 2016 class and he’s certainly an intriguing guard prospect. At 6-foot-4, Keyser has wide shoulders and lengthy arms. Keyser is a pretty good athlete that is good going towards the rim. At this stage, he’s not much of a threat from long distance, but he is comfortable pulling up for one and two dribble pull-ups and dropping in floaters. Keyser pumped in 16 points on 6-for-13 in the loss to QEA.
Quentin Jackson, SG, Carlisle School – One of the better scorers of the night was this 6-foot-3 junior guard. Jackson went for 22 points on 10-for-16 shooting, including two three-points. He played some with the ball in his hands, but his mentality was to score, not run a team. He’s able to create space for mid-range pull-ups and finds ways to get into the paint so he can get off floaters.
C.J. Walker, PG, Arsenal Tech – Up against Huntington Prep, Walker, a 2016 Purdue commit, did all he could to keep the game close. At half time, Tech was down just four, but that quickly ballooned to 20+ in the second half. Regardless of the outcome, Walker impressed with his smooth game. A lead guard, Walker showed he could change speeds and keep defenders off balance. He also had confidence in his floater and a showed good vision. Usually a good long-range threat, Walker wasn’t able to connect on any of his five three-point attempts. Walker finished with 19 points in the win.
Malik Newman, SG, Callaway – Arguably the top scorer in the 2015 class had it working for a stretch in the second half against Archbishop Carroll. Newman, a 6-foot-3 guard, went to work off the bounce and scored off pull-ups from three and mid-range. Newman is arguably the best in the 2015 class at breaking down defenders and pulling up for jumpers. He nailed five three-pointers on 12 attempts. Newman is also very good around the basket and is a crafty finisher once he’s in the paint. He was a little careless with the ball and finished with nine turnovers, but he certainly showed why some think he’s the best scorer in the 2015 class. He finished 11-for-24 from the field and scored 35 points.
Dwayne Bacon, SF, Oak Hill – In a game that was never really close, Bacon, a 6-foot-5 strongly built wing, was easily the best perimeter scorer. Bacon scored a team-high 29 points on 13-for-22 shooting. He also went 3-for-6 from three. He’s known for his versatile scoring attack and he showed that. Majority of his shots were spot up threes or one and two dribble pull-ups, but he also finished at the rim and in transition. Bacon should make a major impact at Florida State right away.
Terrence Phillips, PG, Oak Hill – Over the past year and a half, Phillips, who also happens to be the brother of NBA player Brandon Jennings, has made improvements to his game. His poise and feel for the game has improved and he’s developed into a true lead guard. Phillips set the table for his team against Reach Your Dream Prep on Friday night. While the competition wasn’t great, Phillips played hard, competed and consistently made plays for his teammates. Phillips tossed out 12 assists and turned the ball over just once in the win over RYD.
News & Notes
Arlington Country Day guard Lamonte Turner connected on all six of his three-point attempts in the first quarter against Carlisle School. Turner made one other adjusting finish later in the game to finish with 20 points for the game.
Josh Sharkey had a major impact for Archbishop Carroll against Callaway. He took turns defending Malik Newman and caused his some problems with his lateral quickness. But he also pumped in 24 points on 6-for-11 shooting. Sharkey is quick and his speed certainly had an effect on the game.
Derrick Jones, a UNLV signee, took home the game MVP trophy in Archbishop Carroll’s win over Callaway. Jones scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Jones used his athleticism to make plays in transition and put back missed shots.
Oak Hill’s Andrew Fleming and Daniel Giddens scored in double figures in a blowout win over Reach Your Dreams Prep. Fleming finished with 18 points and hit four of his six three-points. Giddens went 7-for-8 from the field and scored 15.
In the Stands
Virginia Tech’s Buzz Williams and Murray State’s Steve Prohm were the only two head coaches to roll through the Marshall County High School on Friday.
Assistants from Cincinnati, Duke, Indiana, Purdue, Stanford, UNC-Asheville and Western Kentucky were also at the Marshall County Hoopfest evaluating prospects.