Brandon Walters, C, Lincoln – For stretches his shot blocking ability was front and center. Not a guy with much low post game at this stage but if presented the ball in scoring position he'll flush it down. He was a dominant force on the glass with 19 rebounds and 6 points. D.J. Kennedy, SF, Schenley – He's really good at what he does: attack. The lefty earns his buckets going to the rim and had 21 in a solid win over Eisenhower. An excellent offensive player in one-on-one situations, he'd be outstanding in the A-10 but may find higher level interest coming his way as the season advances.
DeJuan Blair, PF, Schenley – Our streak of seeing him get 20 points and 20 boards ended tonight but the game may not have had enough possessions to get him to that number. Regardless, early fouls kept him out of action. Blair is a beast any way you slice it and at 6-7 he still seals, has great hands and finishes. Opening night saw him go for 16 and 6.
Devon Peterson, SG/SF, Lincoln – His circus lay-up was the final difference in the contest. He was impressive with 26 points and mid-major attention would be the easy to predict.
Tyreke Evans, SG, American Christian – He could have named his final number. In the end, the junior settled on 27 points. ACS dismantled the hometown team as Evans pumped in 21 during the first half, including a buzzer beating deep trifecta. If fans at The Classic were allowed to open one gift before Christmas this was the guy they wanted to see and he made a solid first impression in a blowout victory.
Eloy Vargas, PF, Heritage – A tough night from the field culminated in a missed chance at the buzzer. He shot 4-for-17 to finish with 14 and 10. It's really premature to make a decision on him because the lack of strength is such a factor. He's an eraser on the defensive end but sometimes simply can't hold his ground. The effort is always strong and it'll be interesting to see if he can add weight before spring AAU ball starts. The long-armed rejecter sent back 8 in the game.
Rayford Shipman, SF, Pace – The wing poured in 30 points, including 20 in the first half. He did most of his damage right at the rim. It was a workmanlike bounce-back effort for himself and his team after an opening night setback that wasn't anticipated. He'll be a maximum effort guy, excellent student and an all-around citizen wherever he lands.
Lewis Jackson, PG, Eisenhower – He'll run your team and at his size, he's got to be a vocal leader which he is. Against Schenley it seemed like he might have waited a quarter too late to try and score because he was able to mount a late charge going to the rim. He's got to become more of a perimeter threat. Schools will value his leadership and tenacity. 22 points (8-14 FG, 3 assists, 4 turnovers).
Jean Louisme, SG, Ft. Myers – Two years ago here his brother earned a scholarship to Tulane. Against ACS the previously unrecruited swingman showed a variety of lengths on his jump shot and the ability to be a scholarship player, maybe even at the mid-major level. This event has been good the Louisme Clan.
First Half - The beginning of the contest was played at a frenetic pace as both teams had tons of energy. Boynton's jumper was on point and he scored 12 in the first quarter. Stephenson was nullified with a pair of fouls. He was victimized by a bad whistle on the first foul then picked up a frustration chippie seconds later. He was banished to the pine and did not play in second quarter and therefore was scoreless for the half.
Second Half - We had Boynton with 20 points in the second half and he had it rocking for a period in the 4th quarter (34 points, 13-27 FG, 7-14 3, 1 assist, 3 turnovers). For a stretch he was pumping in the points with the jumper. Stephenson finally was able to get some court time and used his big, athletic wing frame to attack (13 points, 7 rebounds, 6 turnovers, 6-11 FG). He's a tough matchup because of the pivotal mixture of size, power and an attacking style off the bounce.
Summary - Stephenson will need to continue honing his perimeter skills and is most effective driving, taking the contact and finishing strong. Excellent at being physical. Boynton's comfort zone is behind the arc and his passing game could use work; he's wired to be a productive scorer. A pair of very talented sophomores for sure who are capable of high level performances.
VCU and Florida International were front row for Terrance Santil. … Rayford Shipman drew a repeat crowd of Miami-FL, Mississippi, Pittsburgh and VCU. Georgia Tech entered the gym to watch him on Tuesday. … Just an observation: Villanova has seen Kenny Boynton a lot. Going back to last summer they were always hanging around. Food for thought. …
Tyreke Evans had Louisville, Villanova, Southern Cal and UConn front and center watching him on Tuesday. …
Head Coaches In The Gym – Leonard Hamilton, Florida State.
Assistant Coaches In The Gym – Connecticut, Miami, Air Force, Georgia Tech, VCU, Florida International, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Southern Cal, George Washington, La.-Monroe, Louisville, Old Dominion, Tulane.
St. Louis and Pittsburgh are keeping tabs on Kennedy; he's cut from that tough Pitt wing mold. Kansas State, an early suitor, seems out of the picture. "I haven't really been talking to them," Kennedy said. "They wanted me to commit early." …
Pace sophomore PF Rakeem Buckles looks the part and gives you a taste of his potential. At 6-foot-6 he's a prospect to watch, especially for our mid-major friends. … Terrance Santil of Pace showed it again in flashes. The ability is in there for sure it'll be up to him to surface it more often. … Khalil McDonald made 6-of-7 3s for American Christian. …
This is an early observation from the high school season: can we send out a memo about entry passes? High school guards have eliminated the most basic play for their skill set and the big fellas are beyond frustrated. … Michael Glover is the most physically intimidating player in the senior class. Period. End of story. He had 23 and 11. .…
Kathleen was led by Miquel Paul who scored 14 while Kevin Foster chipped with the 17 and 12 double-double. …
"I don't want to (commit) too early. A lot of kids today commit and re-commit." M
We're off to the Chick-Fil-A in Columbia, S.C., for the next two days. If you wish to maintain a pulse on this event, check www.news-press.com for daily stories.