MLK Classic Norfolk Style

NORFOLK, Va. – Seniors took center stage at the MLK Jr., Roundball Classic. The well appointed Ted Constant Center, home of the ODU Monarchs, was the backdrop for a strong day of hoops. Seniors Austin Freeman, Mike Scott, DeJuan Blair and Denzel Bowles delivered strong performances.

Austin Freeman, SG, DeMatha – One of the elite scorers in the senior class painted a masterpiece in the final game Saturday night. Freeman hit up Lincoln for 29 points. Armed with a studly mid-range game and big game experience, Freeman made sure DeMatha would have few bumps in the road to victory against Lincoln.

Scott Excels In Return
Mike Scott, PF, Hargrave – The Tigers played without four key contributors but in front of his hometown crowd, Scott rose to the occasion. In easily his most aggressive performance of the season, Scott erupted for 35 points, 23 in the first half. This was his signature post-graduate effort and the timing couldn't have been more appropriate. He and Tidewater native Ben Finney put Hargrave on their backs and the outcome, despite a rash of suspensions, was never in doubt.

DeJuan Blair, PF, Schenley – Wherever he goes two things happen: the crowd falls for him and he gets numbers. We tagged him for 22 points and 14 rebounds. Booker T. Washington tried a sophomore post, DaShawn Painter (who is going to be a good player) on him and he ate him up. Too strong, too tough and too good of hands.

Jeremy Jacob, PF, Hargrave – Playing "Robin to Scott's "Batman" role, the future Dawg was terrific. He shoots the mid-range jump shot with the best forwards in his class and it was on display in Norfolk. Between he and Scott, the duo accounted for 55 of Hargrave's 77 points.

Denzel Bowles, C, Kempsville – This is going to be an interesting case study. The kid is 6-foot-9, turned 17 in June and is light years ahead of where he was last season. Some question the competition level he plays against but from a basketball standpoint the light is coming in. He's got excellent reactions and reflexes. Though he had 23 and 8 in the win, there were stretches of inactivity. Our guess is that this is a late-blooming player with a big ceiling who has a chance to be a legitimate force at Wichita State. If he continues to progress we're talking about a legitimate theft by the Shockers.

Dominique Sutton, SF, Patterson – His club put the screws to South Kent and he did his typical damage. A superb finisher with that strong mid-range package, the N.C. native played an integral role in the throttling.

Darrington Hobson, PG, Decatur Christian – He didn't start and didn't play in the first half. In fact, he was a non-participant in timeouts and huddles as he appeared to be in the doghouse. To his credit when he started the second half he gave Decatur an offensive boost while playing the point. Easily one of the most talented players on the floor, Hobson would be wise to realize talent and ability are only part of the collegiate equation. Body language and attitude could stand to be improved.

Keith Wright, C, Collegiate – The 6-foot-7 center sports a 4.0 GPA, good hands and the ability to finish. He's a potential mid-level prospect who could fly under the radar while coaches seek a more athletic presence. Rebounds his area, though he's a below the rim guy. Someone will value him for size, smarts and solid overall play.

Lance Stephenson, SF, Lincoln – The hard playing small forward had one of those frustrating evenings. It happens when you're a young standout against a veteran bunch. Through 3 quarters he had 12 points and 7 rebounds but was frustrated with a 4-for-13 from the field. Stephenson is passionate about winning and played in signature attack mode but couldn't get a bucket to go down outside. For a sophomore wing, he's armed with an overpowering body that is built to absorb contact, finish and get the extra toss from the line.

Donte Hill, SG/SF, Collegiate – His big season will be next year. At 6-foot-3 there's a measure of versatility to his game. Scored 7, had 7 boards and 4 assists in the opener. Caught in a little position limbo but he's talented enough to begin receiving high-level mid-major interest and go from there. Long armed with upside.

James Tyler and Karron Johnson are no longer with Patterson. The pair was expelled from the school for violating school policy. … Isaiah Thomas did not play with South Kent. He's home in Washington for his sister's wedding. …

Hargrave coach Kevin Keatts suspended Jeff Allen, Dorenzo Hudson, Warren Edney and Jordan Crawford for violation of team policy. … South Kent's Christian Morris served a one-game suspension. …

Jeff Peterson, DeMatha's senior point guard, has opted to re-open his recruitment. On Saturday, DeMatha coach Mike Jones told that his starting point guard is no longer committed to Princeton and is going to survey his options. A mid-major prospect who has taken to individual workouts at DeMatha, Peterson should become a hot target as programs scrap for backcourt help in the senior class. …

Head Coaches In The Gym – Dwight Freeman, Norfolk State.

Assistant Coaches In The Gym – Rob Wilkes, Travis DeCuire, Old Dominion.

NYC native Dwight Hardy is extremely high on St. John's and Illinois. To date, neither has offered. … Tirrell Baines is listing Mississippi, Illinois and Baylor. …

Shockers Worked Bowles
How did Wichita State come in and mine a talent from the Tidewater region? First, they had a connection to his coach. Second, Bowles wasn't very good last spring and definitely wasn't ready to be recruited at that level. As the summer progressed and the light started flickering "on", because of a relationship and a tip they stayed on top of, the Shockers were able to fend off Providence and sign Bowles. …

Patterson's Dwight Hardy wasn't his all-around offensive self according to Coach Chris Chaney. We liked his poise and feel for the game. Clearly a talented wing shooter, Chaney indicated he's a better all-around scorer than he showed and that's making him heat up with schools. …

Ohio has a good one in Kempsville senior Davaughn Washington. A super tipper at the rim, he's an energy combo forward and a solid mid-level prospect. … Darryl Shazier's 18 points spearheaded the Menchville win. He's in the midst of a transition to the point (and it's going well) and he's Bucknell-bound. …

Menchville's Marshawn Powell and Our Saviour's Brian Wilson had a nice tussle. Powell had 12 and 5 while Wilson scored 13 to go with 10. Both are sophomores, Division I potentials and need to get bigger at 6-7. … Lucca Staiger, an Iowa State signee, can be a weapon on the perimeter if the Cyclones can get him shots. He'll need to boost his athleticism to go with his stroke. Never got into sync against Hargrave. …

D.J. Kennedy of Schenley remains of the best wing options available on the high school level. That jump shot will keep you honest. He had 16 in the win. … DeMatha's Chris Braswell had his signature perimeter touch working. … Devon Peterson of Lincoln, a reliable scorer, seems to be flying under the radar. …

"I'm hungry for McDonald's."

  • DeJuan Blair commenting on his favorite fast food chain which also happens to host a major all-star game


  • Paul VI 54, Norfolk Collegiate 53
  • Kempsville def. Riverdale Baptist
  • Patterson 90, South Kent 62
  • Tallwood 66, Blue Ridge 53
  • Menchville 65, Our Savior 47
  • Hargrave 77, Decatur Christian 48
  • Schenley 62, Booker T. Washington 45
  • DeMatha def. Lincoln

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