Conversely, St. Benedict's is running on fumes. They began their journey at the City of Palms, took two days off for Christmas and hopped a plane to Charlotte. In its first game, Dan Hurley's horse Samardo Samuels turned an ankle.
When it was all said and done, St. Bene's won a sleeper 57-43. Favors picked up two fouls early, Samuels had a noticeable limp and South Atlanta lacked the overall set of weapons needed to win the game. For three quarters it was a tight contest lacking in drama.
Favors talent was evident and the combination of athleticism and size can't be overlooked. He's got the fast twitch muscles you want in a franchise big man. What he didn't have was a credible threat to make St. Benedict's nervous when he didn't have the ball.
The Gray Bees Greg Echenique has seen it all this month. From Favors to Greg Monroe and beyond he's more than proven his worth as a post defender. Next year he'll be the main offensive weapon (along with Tristan Thompson) but for now his role is to guard the post and rebound. He's doing it like a high school all-american and against strong competition.
A glance inside the numbers makes the matchup look stronger than it was. Samuels finished with 17 and 16. Favors managed 16 and 11 on 4-for-15 from the field. His best stretch came midway though the 3rd quarter when the shackles were off and he attacked. Two more fouls later he became a spectator until mid through the final period. Echenique stood tall going 7-for-8 from the floor for 16 points.
Michael Davenport, PG, Moeller – He scored 24 points and that'll inevitably be the headline but it wasn't his points that saved the day for Moeller. Davenport's attitude set the complete tone. He dove, hustled and guarded for 32 minutes. The kid pulled down 11 boards and earned major respect. He's a Division I prospect on some level.
Andre Cornelius, PG, Victory Christian – After resisting the temptation to wait it out and look higher, Cornelius picked George Mason. Over the next few years don't be surprised when he evolves into an all-league kid. He had 22 points and 4 assists on Friday.
Shane Williams, C/.PF, Victory Christian – There's something about this event that brings out the under-the-radar VC kids. Williams, a 6-foot-6 insider, hails from Jamaica and is an unpolished but explosion prospect. He's a Division I player who will need to work hard in the classroom. Regardless, he'll be a junior college catch for somebody in the ranks. He had 16 points and 12 in the second half as he got loose once the tempo sped up.
Lance Stephenson, SF, Lincoln – A frustrating game against a relentless Moeller squad culminated in 16 points, 6 boards, 3 assists and 6 turnovers. Lincoln seemingly waited to crank up the pressure and intensity and in the end it ran out of patience and time.
Brandyn Curry, PG, Hopewell – This young team has a handful of players – each of whom has excellent grades – and Curry is the leader. The lefty scored 20 points as Hopewell ripped West Charlotte. A potential mid-level prospect, Curry is hearing from programs like Davidson, East Carolina, William & Mary and a handful of others.
Mfon Udofia, PG, Miller Grove – 21 points and 10 rebounds for the junior point guard. Finding the right place to match his academics and ability to find guys will be the key. Put weapons around him and he'll play set up man.
David Chadwick, PF, Charlotte Latin – The 6-foot-8 forward might have turned in his best half of the year against Victory Christian. In the second stanza Williams flipped the switch and they traded places. He had 15 and 6 overall after scoring 12 in the first half. Chadwick's athleticism has increased since last year though it remains an area of emphasis. A competitor no doubt, he's the kid who works hard on his game.
Charlotte's Bobby Lutz was in the stands taking in Chadwick's game. …
Chadwick's series of jump hooks --- make or miss – tell you an important fact: he works diligently on his game. … Willis Hall (20 points) and Seth Curry (19) helped Charlotte Christian. Liberty has a future all-leaguer in Curry and the undersized Hall has a big time motor. Should anyone be surprised that a program "stole" a Curry after what Davidson did with his brother? …
Senior Malik Stith, powerful and quick point man, went to the rim for 32 points. … The country's most coveted football recruit, Terrelle Pryor, had 31 and 9 assists for Jennette. …
Charlotte native Lakeem Jackson was at the tournament checking on his old crew. Since last week, Jackson has heard from Georgia Tech, Clemson and Georgia. … Chadwick said Charlotte was the first to offer and James Madison recently reached out to reconnect. Most of the regional programs are keeping in touch. …
Head Coaches – Bobby Lutz, Charlotte. The NFL's best wide receiver not on a playoff roster – Carolina's Steve Smith – was in attendance.
We're off to cover the GSK Invitational for the final day where Word of God finds DeMatha waiting in the finals.