"What we have at Hargrave that gives us an edge is the competition we have," coach Kevin Keatts sad. "Chris Braswell, he and DeShawn Painter have to play every day. If you don't you get embarrassed.
It was our 12th season going to watch Hargrave in fall workouts. Each time up there's a workout and scrimmage component to the 1 ½ open gym. It's been a long time since we can remember someone going for 30+ in the scrimmage.
On the first day of the evaluation period, Freddie Riley channeled his jump shot and locked in for 31 points. Against the Indiana-bound Creek, Riley wasn't to be denied. You get the sense that these gunslingers are going to trade wins in the head to head battle.
Riley, a 6-foot-5 wing who finished in Scout.com's final 2008 Top 100, is visiting Massachusetts this weekend. South Florida is also ready to crank up the interest level. Riley's summer, given the expectation level, didn't force colleges to pull the trigger on him. Once committed to Florida Atlantic, the thinking was the big boys would give chase after the summer but that wasn't the case.
"A lot of times people come to AAU games and they don't get to see what they want to see. You might have 2-3 guys that dominate the ball and you don't get to see what type of player they are.
"He's athletic, he can get to the rim and he's a lot better shooter than people think. He's a little streaky but he can fill it up. People are sleeping on Riley. Some people still don't think he's a good player."
UMass head coach Derek Kellogg is convinced. The first-year head coach was front and center for Riley the initial day of the open period.
Just as Creek and Riley were checking one another on the wing, Painter and Braswell were engaged in warfare inside. Keatts raved about Painter since his arrival this month and the Florida-bound power forward has benefited from the daily competition. He was the post start the first two days of Hargrave's open workouts.
UNC-Charlotte sent its entire staff for Braswell on opening day. Clearly, the 49ers are attempting to lock him down quickly.
So far, judging by Keatts' reaction and the buzz from the college coaches, wing Luke Hancock is the surprise of the squad. The 6-5 native Virginian has a nose for the ball, a big motor and mid-level potential. Mix in his academics and his recruitment appears to be on the verge of blowing up.
"I love Luke Hancock because he's a multi-dimensional guy. He's another kid that I feel like shouldn't be at Hargrave. He's come here and he's going to have at least 10 scholarship offers."
NBA ties bind Ledrick Eackles and Evan Gordon. Eackles is the son of Ledell Eackles while Evan is lottery pick Eric Gordon's brother. Eackles is the lefty scoring whiz and Gordon is working on expanding his game as a point. Gordon's adept at finishing strong and both will help the cause.
When Keatts dips into the reserves more size is at his disposal. Naval Academy signee Alex Newsome and center Robert Goldsmith will be anchors inside. The wings will feature athletic Adrien Lucienne and Lee Martin.
Danny Niemann, a former captain on a state title winning team at Concord will also see time at both guard slots.
In case you're wondering, the annual Hargrave-Oak Hill scrimmage will be played Oct. 23 at Pulaski High.