Semifinals Seton Hall Prep 71, St. John's College 50 East Hall 72, White Station 69
West Ashley 65, Riverdale 53 Porter Gaud 71, Goose Creek 64 Chester 58, North Charleston 52 Bishop England 65, Garrett Academy 63
Brandon Costner, PF, Seton Hall Prep: You have to really respect a guy who has size and can play on the perimeter while not neglecting his rebounding responsibilities. Costner, who is steadily improving after an early season bout with a mild case of mononucleosis, has achieved great balance with his game. In leading S.H.P. to a 21-point win, Costner scored 33 points and had 11 rebounds. For our money, this was the top performer of the day.
J.P. Prince, PG, White Station: Refs have a tough job but when you blow one, how about owning up to it once in a while? Prince was fouled hard on a number of occasions and couldn't get a call. Then, with 2:46 left, he dunked a ball after the whistle, was hit with a "T" which turned out to be his 5th foul and that was all she wrote. Once he left the game, White Station wilted and scored just 8 more points in the next 10 minutes. Prince had 20 points (3 assists, 9 turnovers, 4 steals) and was just starting to get himself in the groove before the technical.
Devan Downey, PG, Chester: After scorching his first couple of opponents, Downey has since cooled off. North Charleston ran multiple defenders at him and made it tough sledding for the lightning quick guard. Right now he's a stud player who simply needs a confidence boost to get his deep stroke back which will in turn feed the rest of his game. He had a season-low 15 points and 3 assists in his team's win.
Sam Hampton, SF, Chester: Here's a new name that should wind up receiving mail from the lower level Division I schools and might even sneak a few peeks from the mids. He led Chester with 19 points, many of them coming from the perimeter where he appears to have a solid stroke, can take a bounce and make a shot and could be a guy who steps up and helps Downey as the No. 2 scorer.
Gani Lawal, PF, Riverdale: The official scorers credited him with 26 points and 14 boards, impressive numbers to say the least. In charting him, we actually came up with 21 (!) rebounds and that's a big discrepancy. Either way, you can see the potential oozing out of him and while there's a lot to work on there is also a ton to work with. Despite being physically weak he seems to enjoy rebounding.
Lawal can step out – though it's an area where he can grow – and be comfortable on the perimeter. Expectations for him should be high and he does a number of things effortlessly. He looks like an easy choice for a Top 25 prospect at this stage in his career.
Chris Wright, PG, St. John's College: Tough one for the youngster but he had his moments. This is a guy who can score the basketball but not at the expense of operating the ship. He's got a good understanding about feel and pace, not to mention a sweet stroke. Though he wasn't clicking behind the arc, his 7 3s in an earlier game here is evidence enough that he's got that kind of game out there.
Walter Hill, SF/SG, East Hall: He had 16 points and 9 boards but it was his 3-pointer at the buzzer that sent the game into overtime. Not a bad looking prospect, we'll put him on the mid-major watchlist.
News & Notes
How about an early list of Gani Lawal? Try Duke, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Kentucky, Alabama and Auburn. He's been on the campuses of Georgia, Georgia Tech and Duke, according to his mother who doubles as the Riverdale scorekeeper. …
Gani Lawal is likely in the midst of a growth spurt. You can tell that he's slightly uncomfortable when he runs due to his knees aching. Chalk it up to growing pains and that's a good sign for a guy who has plenty of potential. … Chris Wright is a tough on-the-ball defender. … John Kresse, Jr. scored 22 points for Porter Gaud. If you were thinking that he's the son of the former College of Charleston coach with the same name, give yourself a bonus point. …
Brandon Costner is a great fit for N.C. State. He appears to like structure, comes from a structured program and has great outside touch. All of these things add up to an Andrew Brackman-like beginning to his college career. …
The program book said that Southern Conference schools were recruiting East Hall's Brody Langston. Well, there are some SoCon coaches hanging around the building and he's got one more game left to improve upon his 1-for-8 performance. …