Academy National Invitational: Friday

Friday had plenty of action at the Academy National Invitational, but the highlight came when Georgia Tech-bound senior Gani Lawal nearly single-handedly led Norcross back from the dead against St. Pat's.

Gani Lawal, F, Norcross – The Georgia Tech-bound forward nearly single-handedly (with a little help from Jordan DeMercy) brought Norcross back from a double-digit deficit to tie the game before Jeff Robinson hit the game-winning 3-pointer. Lawal put on a dominating second-half performance in which he scored basically every time he touched the ball and also had a few key blocks.

Corey Fisher, PG, St. Patrick's – The tough guard out of New York stepped it up, especially after the break. He knocked down three straight 3-pointers and finished the game with 21 points. Fisher was 8-of-11 from the field and also had a half-dozen assists.

Jeff Robinson, SF, St. Patrick's – His perimeter shot has always been questioned, but it's certainly improved and his game on Friday night was a prime example. Not only did the ultra-athletic future Memphis Tiger made 3-of-4 from long distance, but he also canned the game-winning trifecta with 16 ticks left on the clock.

Jai Lucas, PG, Bellaire – His team came up short despite 21 points from the fearless floor leader. The problem with Lucas is he just doesn't have enough talent around him. He's much better when he doesn't have to be the go-to scoring option.

Gary Johnson, PF, Aldine – He's the king of production – and it seems like the Texas-bound power forward has been doing it forever. This time is was a 20-point, 20-rebound effort in a tight win over a young Strake Jesuit club.

DeAngelo Jones, SG, Rainier Beach – He's athletic and is still coming back from an injury that sidelined him for much of last season. Managed 11 points in the loss, but didn't look in sync. He's athletic enough to fit into Reggie Theus' system at New Mexico State.

Austin Freeman, SG, DeMatha – He's the Quiet Assassin, and while the Georgetown-bound shooting guard didn't have his best game, he found a way to make an impact when it mattered most. He hit a couple of buckets in transition late in the game to put the game away and finished with 14 points in the win over Kingwood.

Al Farouq Aminu, F, Norcross – As good as Lawal was, that's how little that Aminu did in the loss to St. Pat's. He finished with just two points and fouled out with seven minutes left in the game. If the highly rated and athletic junior had given Norcross anything of note, his team would have likely come out on top. The one thing that Aminu did well was defend the much-smaller Dexter Strickland.

Demetri Goodson, PG, Klein Collins – The junior point guard didn't do much the previous night offensively, but he played a terrific all-around game on Friday night. He was more assertive and finished with 11 points and 6 assists.

Erving Walker, G, Christ the King – The diminutive guard, who committed to Florida less than 24 hours prior, had a solid first game as a Gator pledge. Walker was disruptive on the defensive end and used his quickness to get to the basket. Finished with 21 points – 10 from the charity stripe.

Dexter Strickland, SG, St, Patrick's – The talented and smooth sophomore had a fairly uneventful game, but he still showed glimpses of one of the elite players in the Class of 2009. Made quality decisions, but didn't shoot the ball well from the field.

Lamont Jones, G, Rice – Mo-Mo did a nice job getting to the basket and finishing. He used his quickness, displayed toughness and excelled in transition. Finished with 12 points and 3 assists in the win against Alief Hastings.

St. Pat's coach Kevin Boyle talks more than any other coach in the country. .. Jordan DeMercy (Florida State) sank a pair of key 3-pointers to help fuel Norcross' comeback that fell just short against St. Pat's. … DeMercy's teammate, Oklahoma-bound guard Tony Neysmith, missed a pair of free throws with 46 seconds left. … Rainier Beach senior widebody Emeka Iweka, who committed to play basketball at Oregon State as a freshman, is now headed to Washington on a football scholarship and may try and walk-on Lorenzo Romar's team.

Rainier Beach junior point guard Reggie Moore, who transferred in from O'Dea, mentioned Gonzaga, Washington, Washington State, Pepperdine, Texas Tech and Stanford. … Moore's teammate, Michael Ladd, said he's received interest from Portland State, Oregon State and Washington State. … Lamont Jones said that Louisville is the clear leader, but that his coach, Mo Hicks, and his mother will make him wait until the end of the season before committing to Rick Pitino. ``They say it's my decision, but I'm too young," Jones said. "But I'm pretty dead-set on going to Louisville." … Jones' backcourt mate, Kemba Walker, mentioned Memphis, St. John's, Cincinnati and Georgetown.

Head Coaches In The Gym – Stan Heath (Arkansas), Jeff Capel (Oklahoma)

Assistant Coaches In The Gym – Texas, Iowa State, Memphis, Iowa, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, UNLV, Louisiana-Monroe


  • Yates 47, Westbury Christian 44

  • Rice (N.Y.) 79, Alief Hastings 55

  • Madison 68, The Woodlands 58

  • Christ The King (N.Y.) 69, Rainier Beach (Wash.) 53

  • Klein Collins 54, Bellaire 51

  • St. Patrick's (N.J.) 49, Norcross (Ga.) 46

  • Aldine 67, Strake Jesuit 62

  • DeMatha (Md.) 58, Kingwood (Texas) 48

    Saturday's Schedule

  • 9:30 a.m. – Westbury Christian vs. The Woodlands

  • 11:00 a.m. – Hastings vs. Christ the King

  • 12:30 p.m. – Yates vs. Madison

  • 2:00 p.m. – Rice vs. Rainer Beach

  • 3:30 p.m. – Bellaire vs. Jesuit

  • 5:00 p.m. – Norcross vs. Kingwood

  • 6:30 p.m. – Klein Collins vs. Aldine (Texas Division championship)

  • 8:00 p.m. – St. Pat's vs. DeMatha (National Division championship)

    "Why don't they play any Frank Sinatra?" – Christ the King coach Bob Oliva talking about the rap-playing DJ

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