HYATTSVILLE, Md. -- Keith Stevens has turned the National HS Hoops Festival into a must attend event. The loaded field hit the court on Saturday in front of a sold out crowd at DeMatha Catholic. The nation's top junior -- Jayson Tatum -- showed off his tremendous skill set, while Anthony Cowan made multiple buzzer beaters and Virginia Tech signee Justin Robinson showed significant improvement.
Class of 2015
Isiah Blackmon, SG, West Charlotte – The basket must have looked like the ocean to Blackmon, a 6-foot-2 senior guard, against Potomac. Blackmon was 9-for-9 from the field in the first half and finished 14-for-14, including a pair of three-pointers. He was aggressive, looked to drive the ball and was a big reason West Charlotte blew out the opposition. He finished with 31 and four assists.
, C, West Charlotte – This time of year college coaches are searching for emerging big men and Carter certainly fits that billing. He’s grown to 6-foot-9 and while he still lacks strength, he has a lengthy set of arms. Carter showed fine mobility, is a good leaper and flashed a nice set of hands that caught everything thrown his way. He’s more aggressive than he was this time last year and appears to be maturing as a player. Carter scored 17 points on 8-for-10 shooting and also reeled in seven rebounds.
, PG, Saint James – Robinson seems to flourish when he plays at DeMatha Catholic. He broke out at the National High School Hoops Festival last year. This time around, Robinson played an impressive floor game, made multiple mid and long-range jumpers and showed his competitiveness on both ends of the floor. Robinson seems a tad faster with the ball and was able to break down defenders and get into the paint. He’s a good pass and has a good feel for the point guard position. Robinson finished with 31 points on 12-for-20 shooting. He also tossed out five assists.
, SG, Oak Ridge – It took a while to get Blakeney, a 6-foot-4 dynamic shooting guard, going in a match up with Saint James, but once he did his team began to click. Blakeney finished 12-for-28 from the field and scored 33 points in an overtime win over Saint James. While it wasn’t his best day from the field, I was impressed with Blakeney’s ability to create space for jumpers. He’s quick, has developed his handle and can pull-up on a dime for shots. He made a handful of mid-range pull-ups and dropped in a floater as well.
, SF, Oak Hill – Bacon continued his stellar senior season against Paul VI on Saturday. The 6-foot-6 wing scored 20 points on 9-for-15 shooting and also tossed out four assists. Bacon’s game has matured a great deal since arriving at Oak Hill. He’s taking much better shots, which has helped his shooting percentages. Bacon is a strong, physical driver that plays well through contact. He’s a good finisher inside, but also has nice touch from mid-range. Bacon will give Florida State
immediate help on the perimeter next season.
, PG, Oak Hill – The available point guard had a terrific outing against Paul VI. Phillips was aggressive off the dribble, found ways to get into the paint and either finished off plays once there or kicked the ball to open teammates. Phillips is a pass first guard that has done a great job this year setting up his teammates. He’s a good, crisp passer with good vision. Phillips scored 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting and tossed out eight assists to just two turnovers.
Class of 2016
, SF, Chaminade – When Tatum gets into a zone, he’s tough stop. During the second and third quarters, Tatum was in that zone. At 6-foot-8, Tatum has terrific ball skills and footwork. He used jabs, ball fakes and a crafty dribble to keep defenders off balance. He made a number of mid-range pull-ups and also worked in nifty, adjusting finishes around the basket. Tatum finished 9-for-19 from the field and scored 24 points. He also reeled in eight rebounds.
, SG, DeMatha – In the fall, Fultz, a 6-foot-4 guard, began to pick up some steam as a player. In front of a big crowd against DeMatha, Fultz raised his game. Fultz scored a team high 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting. Fultz is comfortable pulling up from mid-range, as four of his six field goals came from that area. Fultz was aggressive off the bounce, went to the glass and played hard on both ends.
Joe Hampton, C/PF, Oak Hill – Hampton must have enjoyed returning home to play at his former school – DeMatha – and against one of his former rivals – Paul VI. Hampton played with some fire and was assertive when he had chances to score on offense. Hampton, a southpaw, hit a pair of jump shots, including one three-pointer. His other four field goals came off strong finishes inside or off face up drives. Hampton scored 13 points on 6-for-10 shooting in the win over Paul VI.
, PG, St. John’s College – Cowan, a 5-foot-11 lead guard, had as good of a day as anyone at the National High School Hoops Festival. Cowan hit a pair of buzzer beaters in the win over Largo. Cowan’s first was a pull-up three to force overtime. Then once in the extra frame, Cowan drove the lane and finished at the rim as the final buzzer sounded. A quick and aggressive guard, Cowan found ways into the paint, was a pest on defense and looked to push the ball when he had opportunities. Cowan scored 27 points, tossed out eight assists and recorded seven steals.
NEWS & NOTES
Picking up where he left off last week, Jamal Murray led Orangeville Prep to another win. Murray, a 6-foot-4 guard, scored 23 points on 6-for-10 shooting. He hit a pair of long-range jumpers.
2016 wing V.J. King is a heck of a long-term prospect. At 6-foot-6, he has good size and length on the perimeter. A talented scorer, King is a good shooting threat from both mid-range and three. He scored 16 points on 7-for-12 shooting in a loss to Oak Hill on Saturday.
Terrance Ferguson pumped in eight three-pointers in a loss to Our Savior. The 6-foot-6 wing has terrific combination of long-range shooting and impressive athleticism. He scored 33 points on 11-for-21 shooting.
Cheick Diallo was efficient against Prime Prep, as he scored 22 points on 9-for-11 shooting. The hard playing post prospect also added five rebounds in the win over Prime Prep.
While Cowan was attacking the rim and creating for St. John’s College, Jeffrey Dowtin, a junior guard, was spraying in jump shots from the perimeter. A 6-foot-2 guard, Dowtin made a couple three-pointers, but was also making shots off one and two dribble pull-ups.
IN THE STANDS
SMU’s Larry Brown, Virginia Tech’s Buzz Williams and Maryland’s Mark Turgeon were all at DeMatha Catholic for the National High School Hoops Festival on Sunday.
A host of assistants rolled through the event as well. Among the schools spotted were Saint Peters, Maryland, Louisville, Villanova, Maine, Georgia State, Wake Forest, Virginia, Temple, Old Dominion, LeHigh, Duke, North Carolina State, North Carolina and Georgetown.