Blue Ridge/Episcopal School Recap

DYKE, Va. -- A host of college coaches -- including Lorenzo Romar, Tony Bennett and Mike Brennan -- made the trek into the woods of Virginia for the match up between Dyke (Va.) Blue Ridge School and Lynchburg (Va.) Virginia Episcopal School. While the headliners were Sacha Killeya-Jones and Mamadi Diakite, a number of other players stood out.

Killeya-Jones vs Diakite

As it often happens in highly publicized match ups, the much-anticipated battle between Sacha Killeya-Jones and Mamadi Diakite never materialized. With that said, each player showed why there were so many college coaches at the Blue Ridge School to evaluate them.

While it’s tough to declare a winner between the two, Killeya-Jones finished with more points and his team won, so I’ll start with him.

One of the questions in the past regarding Killeya-Jones centered on his toughness and aggressiveness. On Thursday, the 6-foot-9, pushing 6-10, power forward rose to the occasion, as he battled inside, contested shots and made plays through contact.

“I’ve been feeding him gunpowder,” Virginia Episcopal School coach Curtis Staples told Scout. “We’ve been getting him tough. I told him prior to the season that, that was one of the knocks on [him] and that he didn’t play hard enough and wasn’t a tough kid. He’s flipped that around now and is playing hard.”

The long, lean forward ran the floor well, showed an impressive set of hands, nice touch around the rim and while he didn’t make jump shots in this one, he’s certainly capable. Killeya-Jones made three field goals, two of which were strong finishes through contact with his right hand.

Killeya-Jones finished 3-for-5 from the field and hit five free throws to finish with 11 points, a handful of rebounds in the win and a pair of blocks.

After the game, Killeya-Jones told Scout the schools recruiting him the hardest are Virginia, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Georgetown and George Washington.

On the other end, Diakite, a 6-foot-8 power forward, showed promise on the defensive end, but struggled to get much going on the offensive side of things, due to Virginia Episcopal’s 2-3 zone.

Diakite was most effective as a rim protector and rebounder. He gobbled up seven rebounds, swatted at least three shots and prevented other attempts. While those numbers may seem pedestrian, Diakite received high praise from the opposing coach.

“Mamadi is still the best defensive big man I’ve ever seen and that includes my playing days,” Staples said. “I’ve never seen anybody that is that quick off their feet and that athletic around the rim.”

Diakite is an elite level athlete
As Staples mentions, Diakite has impressive physical features and is a tremendous athlete. He races rim to rim and bounces off the floor with ease. Mix his athleticism with his extreme length and there’s a lot to like Diakite as a post defender and rebounder.

Diakite scored just six points and connected on two field goals, both of which were dunks. He did flash a right jump hook, but couldn’t get it to go down. Diakite is a legit high major prospect and top 100 player.

Spencer looks the part

Killeya-Jones and Diakite were the headliners for the game, but the player that left the gym with the most buzz was Blue Ridge wing Scott Spencer.

Spencer, who recently reclassified from the 2015 class to 2016, has a terrific frame for a wing prospect. He has wide shoulders, a lengthy set of arms and is pushing 6-foot-5. He’s also a pretty good athlete with good speed and lateral quickness.

Spencer was one of the most effective offensive players in the game. He hit a trio of mid-range pull-ups and appeared quite comfortable shooting one and two dribble pull-ups. He also nailed a pair of three-pointers off the catch.

There were a host of coaches in the gym to see Spencer, including Washington’s Lorenzo Romar, who apparently has already offered the talented wing. Old Dominion and Longwood were there on Thursday for him and have offered him. Miami saw him on Wednesday, while William & Mary watched him earlier in the week. Richmond has also offered him.

American gets steal

Mike Brennan and his staff at American University deserve some credit for picking up 6-foot-5 wing Delante Jones.

The Virginia Episcopal wing, who signed in November, scored 16 points in the win over Blue Ridge and did so in an impressive fashion.

Jones scored the ball in a variety of ways. He made plays towards the rim, finished through contact, showed he could adjust his shots at the rim, made a pull-up jumper from 15-feet and also connected on a catch and shoot three-pointer.

It was just one game, but Jones certainly looked like a potential All-Patriot League type player at American.

Kithcart one to watch

Justice Kithcart, a 2016 prospect at Virginia Episcopal, was also impressive on Thursday night.

A 6-foot, possibly 6-1, lead guard, Kithcart plays the game with toughness and energy. He’s a good driver with impressive quickness. He’s able to get by the first line of defense and looks to create for his teammates.

Kithcart didn’t connect on any long-range jumpers, but did hit a mid-range pull-up and was effective scoring at and around the rim. He hit a pair of floaters, put back in a miss and finished a tough reverse in traffic.

In the stands

The turn out from college coaches for this game was impressive. As mentioned above, Washington’s Lorenzo Romar was in attendance, as was Virginia’s Tony Bennett and American head coach Mike Brennan

Assistants from VCU, Liberty, Longwood, North Carolina, Wake Forest and Old Dominion were also at the game.

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