Academy National Invitational: Game One

There was just one game on Wednesday night as the 6hth annual Academy National Invitational got underway. It was the country's second-ranked team, St. Patrick's, against one of the best in the Houston area - Alief Hastings.

While it was Jeff Robinson and Corey Fisher who put up the numbers, it was Dexter Strickland who showed the most promise.

The Memphis-bound Robinson was a human-highlight film as St. Patrick's got the 6th annual Academy National Invitational going with a lone game on Wednesday night.

Robinson finished with 30 points on eight dunks. Fisher (Villanova) added 28 points in a sub-par performance for the senior guard.

Strickland, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound sophomore, hardly put up eye-popping numbers – but he also hardly played like a sophomore.

Unlike Fisher, Strickland let the game come to him. He didn't take any ill-advised shots, make nearly all the correct decisions and played hard for every minute he was on the court.

Strickland finished with nine points, six rebounds and four assists, but he only attempted a half-dozen shots from the field.

``He has a chance to be a really good player," St. Pat's coach Kevin Boyle said after the 77-68 win against Alief Hastings. "He can score in a variety of ways and it's tough to stop him. He reminds me a little bit of Dewayne Wade." Strickland was unselfish, slithered to the basket virtually whenever he wanted and showed he was more poised than his senior teammates.

``In the summer, it's just me and Paris Bennett," Strickland said of his contrasting roles from the summer to the high school season. "Jeff Robinson and Corey are the two main guys on the team, so I need to do other things besides score."

Strickland said that it's still early in the recruiting process, but Michigan State has emerged as the current leader. He also mentioned Villanova, Rutgers and UConn.


Texas A&M-bound point guard B.J. Holmes led Alief Hastings with 21 points and Chris Iles added 17. P.J. Alawoya (McNeese State) finished with six points and 10 boards.

The Bears played without Cincinnati signee Larry Davis, who will be out with a knee injury until next month.


Believe it or not, we spotted just one coach for the St. Pat's-Alief Hastings game and it was Florida assistant Donnie Jones.

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