Road Trip: Morgan Wootten Invitational

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The basketball wasn't always the prettiest but the Morgan Wootten Invitational did feature a number of talented players. While it was hard to decipher just who the player of the day was, there were a few candidates.

Oak Hill Survives Upset Bid

If you were told that Tabor Academy's Torin Francis didn't have a field goal until 7:17 of the fourth quarter, your natural reaction would be, "it must be really bad." Well, that wasn't the case. While it never felt like Tabor would win the ballgame, David Furst's bunch made Oak Hill sweat in earning a 62-55 win.

More impressive than Carmelo Anthony's 22 points were his 11 rebounds, 5 of which came at the offensive end. Anthony went 8-for-17 from the field but o-fer from 3-point range. He worked hard to earn his points and we've always said that when he rebounds with passion, he's a special player.

Francis, the Notre Dame signee, finished with 13 points but went just 2-for-10 from the field. His damage was done at the free throw line where he was 9-for-11. Offensively, it just wasn't his night. He ran into some difficulty scoring against Sani Ibrahim in the post, but did saddle the Nigerian with four fouls.

Speaking of Ibrahim, he's clearly not the same prospect he was a year ago. He was held in check with only 2 points. However, at the defensive end he did make his presence felt. It seems like he's been struggling with his game since July. Chadd Moore, Oak Hill's backup point guard, put together the best effort we've seen out him since June. Moore finished with 12 points, but his defense and passing looked much improved. He gave Oak Hill a spark on a night when Justin Gray went a frigid 1-for-9 from downtown.

Team Effort Lifts DeMatha

It wasn't just Travis Garrison and Jason Fraser dueling in this one. Yes, the pair of McDonald's candidates was fun to watch and each played well, but DeMatha won because of contributions from three other guys.

Junior power forward Stephen Danley was key for the Stags. He bodied Fraser, scored just enough to be considered a legit threat in the paint and pulled down 10 rebounds. His energy and effort were very good.

DeMatha guards Corey McRae and Warren Williams were terrific during a key 22-point third quarter. Williams got it done by passing and McRae lent a hand with his jumper from downtown.

Meanwhile, Garrison and Fraser were trading blows. Fraser was his usual self with 24 points and an event-high 19 rebounds. Per usual, he impacted the game defensively. Garrison wasn't bad either. Though he wasn't scoring on Fraser at the blocks, he was rebounding and making jumpers. He finished with 18 points and 11 boards.

Youth Prevails In O'Connell Victory

Bishop O'Connell defeated Georgetown Prep 72-57 as Prep played without sophomore big man Roy Hibbert who doesn't return until Monday from a fractured foot.

Ahmad Smith, a St. Bonaventure signee, led O'Connell with 21 points. However, the bigger picture here is that O'Connell is very young and will one day be very good. Smith's backcourt running mates, Marcus Ginyard and Freddie Stanback, are a freshman and sophomore, respectively. Ginyard has to be one of the elite freshmen in the nation. He's smooth and carries himself like an upperclassman and looks nothing like a frosh. He's a superstar, plain and simple.

Stanback scored 19 points. This kid has a good feel and can stroke it. He plays with maturity and will be a high-major recruit.

And then there's Brian Johnson. He scored 10 points, but it wasn't so much his stats that told the story, rather it was how he got his points. The sophomore power forward flashed the "A" game for stretches. Johnson looked terrific when he faced, faked and drove to the basket – once was for a monster jam. With Johnson, Stanback and Ginyard in the fold, this team will be special for the next few seasons.


The road for Oak Hill doesn't get any easier. The defending high school champs have three games in four days against sound competition before leaving for the Rim Rattler and Schwab events prior to Christmas. … 6,138 was the announced crowd for the daylong event. However, the attendance was up and down depending on which team was playing. There were never 6,000 fans in the gym together. … The event is a benefit for charity, but at $25 prices seemed a little steep. … Hibbert gets his cast off on Monday. He fractured his right foot three weeks ago. … Last week on the site was an article about Villanova's recruiting class. In it we failed to mention the tremendous job assistant Fred Hill did in helping facilitate that class. … Morgan and Joe Wootten are different in one major way: Joe is a Nike guy and Morgan sided with Reebok when it came down to sneaker selection. … The public address announcer at the event referred to Jason Fraser as "James Fraser" for most of the first half of the Amityville game. … We saw a few pro scouts in attendance, most notably Leo Papile of the Boston Celtics. … In other high school news, we were told that Charlie Villanueva's 37 points weren't enough to prevent Blair Academy from losing at home to Our Savior. … Ndudi Ebi and Chris Bosh squared off in Louisiana Saturday as Westbury Christian met Dallas Lincoln in the finals of an early season tournament. … Coaches in attendance: Delaware, Georgetown, Syracuse, Maryland, Army and Western Maryland. …

Inside Cole Field House

Pitcured Top To Bottom: Sophomore Brian Johnson of O'Connell, Oak Hill's Chad Moore, O'Connell's Marcus Ginyard, and unsung heroes Warren Williams and Corey McRae of DeMatha

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