National Prep: Day Two Rundown

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Findlay and St. Marks turned out to be worth the price of admission. Guards Cory Joseph and Avery Bradley combined for 47 points and some dramatic moments at the National Prep School Invitational.

Day One / Day Two / Day Three

The basketball gods saw this one coming. After a long day of often times ragged ball, St. Marks and Findlay Prep rewarded those with patience. Two of the best high school teams these eyes have seen engaged in a thriller.

Findlay Prep's 2,718-mile journey east yielded back-to-back wins and an impressive display of guard play. Behind 28 points from all-american Avery Bradley, Findlay prevailed 82-76.

This one came down to guard play and Bradley and junior Cory Joseph would not be denied. Each was magnificent. Bradley's mid-range game, bounce to the rim and defense (he guarded a power forward!) are the stuff college all-americans are made from. His jump shot was as true as we've seen. He wore it out from inside the arc.

Joseph, well, all he did was score 19 points and come up with THE defensive play of the game. Inside a minute, St. Marks Erik Murphy is streaking down the floor for what would appear to be an easy hoop. In what can only be described as a cornerback closing in on a receiver, Joseph stretched, leapt in front of Murphy and stole the ball.

Joseph made a trio of triples during a key second half run and was 6-for-9 from the floor. He checks in at No. 72 in Scout.com's current 2010 rankings but that'll change the next time around. Also noteworthy was D.J. Richardson's athleticism and finishing abilities in the first half. He netted 12.

On the St. Mark's side of things, Nate Lubick went for 27 and 9 while senior post up man Murphy scored 21 and grabbed four rebounds. St. Marks inside size advantage eventually showed itself late in the game but it was the first half when a series of putbacks wouldn't go down that hurt. The point blank misses would add up and make a difference.

Big time players on both sides, classic high school basketball game.

Dan Jennings, C, St. Thomas More – Every time 7-foot-2 Chinese center Steve Sun checked in for Lee, Jennings did too. Jennings' first play was a major dunk over Sun. Jennings wanted to make a statement and asserted himself. He was looking to be strong with the ball each time he touched it. Not a bad day of work: 12 points, 8 rebounds, 5 blocks.

Freddie Riley, SG, Hargrave – Though he didn't strip it consistently, the four 3s he made were deep and loud. Led the way with 19 as The Grave made believers out of Winchendon.

Danny Niemann, PG, Hargrave – Great story. No D-I schollie offers last year and now he's on the mind of a few mid-majors. It'll be interesting to see who knocks on his door next week. Led his team, took care of the ball and did everything the coach asked. He's got a state title under his belt and plays with poise.

Thomas Robinson, PF, Brewster – Rough day for Brewster, rough day for Robinson. He had no less than 15 rebounds but couldn't muster up a hoop. He was active but simply couldn't finish. His day was a microcosm of his team abysmal 12-for-64 (18 percent) from the field.

Mark McLaughlin, SG, New Hampton – In an offense as disciplined as his team's, his stroke is a big time weapon. He gets outstanding looks and the Nevada signee's release is quick. He needs little room to pull the trigger and his size is an asset. Finished with 21 points.

Austin Johnson, SF, Blair – In a game that came down to misguided call by the officials, Blair edged New Hampton on a pair of free throws with .04 seconds remaining. Johnson, a Rutgers signee, pumped in 24 and 8 rebounds.

Majok Majok, PF, South Kent – Been in the country exactly one year. He's 6-8 and he tries to flush what he can in the paint. Like the aggression. He had 9 points and 6 rebounds in an efficient effort. Insider Jackie Carmichael led the way with 14 over Stoneridge.

Evan Smotrycz, PF, New Hampton – We're not writing about him because he played particularly well. Our hunch is that he comes back strong because he's been New Hampton's main weapon heading into the event. A face-up four man, he's that big, skilled player that teams covet. Now he's got to bounce back from his weakest game of the season.

There were a lot of faces in the gym to see Lee's Rhys Murphy. Each left disappointed. Murphy, because of a series of injuries, has played 8 minutes this entire season. Oregon State, a player in his recruitment, was front and center. Other interested parties in attendance were South Carolina, Arizona State and California. …

Though not in the tournament, we learned that center Angus Brandt is visiting Washington State this weekend. …

UMass junior pledge Maxie Esho demonstrated his length and athleticism with an impressive baseline drive ending in throw down. … MCI forward Martino Brock is a potential mid-level slasher. He's got good life and can finish; jumper remains a work in progress. … Weird Stat: not a single Patterson player scored in double-figures in the win over MCI. Rashanti Harris led the way with 10 boards (2 points) and Hassan Whiteside scored 9. …

Vincent Council will have mid-level programs that seek a leader who can distribute. Bigger schools, especially due to the lack of points, will eyeball him as well. More facilitator than scorer, he's got a strong body. … Luke Hancock always makes our notes. Today he had three tough hoops in transition where he muscled in tough shots. Again, an integral piece of the puzzle for the Patriots. …

Thought Lee Academy wing Tim Johnson had a chance to be a nice mid-level player. Shot it with a measure of skill and accuracy plus had good feel. Pleasant surprise. … Time to get Aru Kok more PT. In mop up minutes, Kok went 2-3 from the field, attempted a Kareem skyhook and sank a 3-pointer. Smaller schools willing to keep developing a 6-11 Sudanese player should take a look. …

Reggie Moore of Brewster is a guy with a lot of eyeballs on his game. Against FUMA, his approach was not what they wanted to see. He's capable of beating his man but his shot selection (3-for-15) was questionable. … FUMA made 11 3s against Brewster to score the major upset. … Someone's going to have to be real good to beat Findlay Prep. Those guys runs crisp offense, have lots of talent and the guys are unselfish. …

Quinnipiac signee David Johnson is a quick point man with courage. The St. Marks senior had 10 points and 12 assists and his first half was nearly flawless. … Blair's Nathan Healy, a senior combo forward, had 13 points. He's a lock Ivy Leaguer and is flying below the radar. Good player, tough kid, can play a few spots. His counterpart from New Hampton, Nich Checovich went 4-for-4 from downtown, drilling every shot that was teed up for him. Both have good grades. …

Rhys Murphy's hardest pursuers are Davidson, Oregon State and Butler and he's visited all three. Providence and Cal are dialing him up. … Lee wing Tim Johnson has interest from Missouri State, FIU, Evansville, Illinois State and UIC. …

Vincent Council lists Providence, Rutgers and Charlotte. … Bridgton's Jamal Crook has St. Mary's, Buffalo and Toledo keeping tabs. … Malik Stith, a one-time St. John's pledge, said Texas has called. South Florida, Rutgers and Toledo are showing interest. … Junior Cory Joseph said he's in the infancy stages of his recruitment. His brother plays at Minnesota and he's hearing from UNLV, Florida, Kansas and Texas Tech. He was fired up about the win and hasn't been dialed in on school selection much to date. …


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