Nate Robinson, PG, Rainer Beach: Same M.O. as the previous night. Rainer Beach falls behind big early. No one else is able to rally the troops and Robinson attempts to save the day starting late in the 3rd quarter. It nearly worked. The man with the best vertical leap in the gym nearly rallied his team. Too bad basketball fans are going to have to loan him to a football team to start the seasons.
DeAngelo Collins, PF, Inglewood: Same story as all week. He played well enough to impress the NBA guys and continues to indirectly earn himself NBA cash. His team won and he scored 20 and pulled down 19. The bottom line is that his game has progressed so much that he's now so smooth, strokes it to deep and is strong. He's really moved into the elite level category and belongs in the same breath as the very best players in the class; he's that good.
Lee Melchionni & Matt Walsh, Germantown Academy: Together, the pair combined for 49 points and 17 boards. They shot 18-for-30 from the field and carried the entire offensive load as GA sprung the upset against favored All Hallows. Senior leadership, folks; it still means something. It also helps that Ricky Soliver went 4-for-22 from the floor, but that doesn't take anything away from their performance.
Chris Williams, F, Oxon Hill: If the right school comes along, Williams will sign. Of course, that means if an ACC team offers, he'll go. Wake Forest likes him, but will they pull the trigger? Well, they have five already so that's not going to happen this year. Now, should Williams go to Hargrave for a season, well, that's another story. He's a could who could wind up averaging 20+ at Hargrave and find himself in the ACC. He was awesome today with 26 points and his jumper was on again. ACC level? Not quite yet, but he's qualified (great test score) and it's the springtime so you never know.
Robert Hite, SG, Winton Woods: He exploded for 23 in the first half against Oxon Hill. His jumper has been on all week and he's quickly moving up that Top 100 list with a bullet. He finished with 28 for the game.
Earl Miller, PG, Sanford: Maybe someone will give this young man a scholarship one of these days. Against Salem, Sanford's lone win in three tries this week, he scored 17, grabbed 7 rebounds and handed out 5 assists. He's the heart and soul of the No. 1 team in the state of Delaware.
Art Bowers, SG, St. Benedict's: The Delaware native and former Hodgson star was super in his return. His game off the bounce and from mid-range is as good as it gets for a junior. He's confident and smooth and he's got high-major stamped on his forehead. He scored 21 in the loss to LeBron but he distinguished himself well. Dan Hurley has a go-to-guy.
LeBron James: If any of the 2,500 plus people in the gym was wondering why he looked a little unfocused, well wonder no more. According to his coach, the star is battling the flu and vomited at halftime. For those seeing him for the first team and watching him throw in a reverse layup that arched off the top of the glass, know this: he's much better than he played on Friday. While James was certainly spectacular, he's been better. Six first half turnovers were replaced with a game-high 7 assists. He scored 18 points, each of them easily recalled by those in the stands. When he's healthy, he's a better rebounder. But, if you are looking for a chink in the armor, he entered the game a 55% free throw shooter and was just 4-for-8 from the line tonight.
Monty St. Clair, PF, Roger Bacon: We mentioned him the other day and for good reason. On Friday, he scored 19 points and pulled down 11 boards. He made jumpers from the perimeter and scored via smooth post moves like up-and-unders and a soft hook. He has a chance to be a high-major post player.
Will Bowers, C/PF, Archbishop Spalding: Coach Mike Glick explained it before the game. He said that Bowers is a young kid with little exposure to the kind of basketball he's seen this year. He said that he fully expected him to step up and play, knowing that Torin Francis was opposing him. The result was the best performance we've seen him have in three games this year. He made short jumpers, banged a turnaround and wasn't afraid to mix it up. High-majors will keep tabs on him. He's 6-10 with a 1340 SAT.
Darian Townes, PF, Archbishop Carroll (DC): He showed flashes of what we've seen for the past few seasons every now and then on the AAU circuit. He has a chance to be a tremendous shot blocker. His touch around the cup is very good and he has a little baby hook that goes down. With more confidence in himself he'll be more assertive and in turn a better player. He's very young for his age.
Japhet McNeil, PG, Christ The King: 16 points and 8 assists led an absolute route of Cave Spring. JJ Redick scored 7 points on 2-for-11 from the field as this one was over early. McNeil's had a nice two game run here in Lewes. Good playermaker and finds guys in traffic.
Stanley Branch, PF/C, St. Benedict's: The big man terrorized Cape Henlopen's rims. He followed misses with dunks, ran the floor and affected the game on defense. 13 points and 9 boards aren't too shabby and the colleges in attendance were sure to make note of the reclassified sophomore from Atlantic City. He's got a chance to be really, really good.
Christian Jackson, SF/SG, Archbishop Carroll: This was his best game of the tournament. He busted a couple 3s, took some clutch shots and showed signs of one day being a real player. Good body and he'll rebound.
Notes: College attendance took a sharp dip as teams prepared for weekend games. … Down in Houston at the Academy National event, Beaumont Ozen took one on the chin. Every NBA franchise had a rep in the building watching Kendrick Perkins. … Tabor Academy coach David First got tossed in his team's game against Spalding. Who could blame him? The Delaware high school officials are overmatched every year when it comes to this tournament. The level of play is too high for them and the officiating suffers. By the way, First has been working on an ejection since last week in Florida. He finally pushed someone's buttons. … Apparently, high school basketball on the radio is bigger than most think in Ohio. Both Troy, and of course St. Vincent-St. Mary's, have radio stations chronicling their every move. …
Our celebrity sighting of the day comes in the form of a major league baseball player. Former Newark High standout Brian Lesher was in attendance. Lesher played in the bigs with the Oakland A's and we believe he's now with the Toronto Blue Jays. … Tournament director Bobby Jacobs' father has ties to Cooperstown. The former minor leaguer owns the largest collection of baseball stamps in the world. They are currently on display at Cooperstown and are valued at 2.5 million dollars. … Finally, news from the hospitality room. If anyone ever happens to run into Steve Keller of the Hoop Group, make sure you ask him to tell you the story of how, as a youth, he burned down a movie theater all by himself. Classic!
All-Hospitality Room: Barry Egan, head coach Troy (coaching representative); Steve Keller (media).
Roll Call (colleges in attendance):
Doug Wojcik (North Carolina), Jim Carr (Fairleigh Dickinson), UMass, Sean Kearney (Notre Dame), Jay Cyriac (College of Southern Idaho), Josh Oppenheimer (Delaware), Vince Taylor (Louisville), Hampton.