Road Report: Raleigh Area

NORTH CAROLINA – Word of God, powered by John Wall and C.J. Leslie, captured its own tournament. Meanwhile, at the same event, Luke Cothron punched his player's card. All this and more from as we craft together a road report.

The state of North Carolina is laced with talent. Since Nov. 20, we've seen a litany of teams play and cobbled together these capsules on the talent we've seen thus far.


Wall Turned Up Tempo
John Wall, PG, Word of God – The nation's best point guard was named MVP of the Word of God Invitational. Wall captained a 20-point, 7 assist throttling of Flora Macdonald in the championship game. After a pedestrian – by his standards – Friday night, Wall turned up the tempo the next time out. He went 3-for-7 from deep in two games and was his usual unguardable self when it mattered. W.O.G. won its own event by outscoring its opponents by 63 points in two games.

Ryan Kelly, PF, Ravenscroft – He's now the third all-time leading scorer at his school which is nice but even more important is his physical development. Foes this year will be see a beefier body. We caught him last Monday when he hit Greenfield up for 31 and 15 rebounds.


Cothron Impresses
Luke Cothron, PF, Flora Mac – It's early but he's the only kid we've seen go out in back-to-back games and have double-doubles before halftime. At the W.O.G. event, Cothron scored 57 points and pulled down 37 rebounds in two games. Against the champs, Cothron was on top of his game. Prior to the season we wondered how he'd balance his inside game and talent to shoot from the perimeter. Understand that he's a good face up shooter who went 2-for-13 behind the line this weekend.

Where he really impressed and did major damage was inside. Cothron was 19-for-33 in the paint against size in his two games. His motor was constantly running. On three separate plays he had his shot swatted only to chase after his misses and fight for extra possessions. The bottom line is this: he's been a bit of an unknown commodity but now the secrets out. On a court laced with star power his shined bright and Cothron proved he belongs.

C.J. Leslie, PF, W.O.G. – Physically he's changing, getting stronger. Athletically he's different than most of his peers. Laced with fast twitch muscles, Leslie's approach on the court is more refined this season. He was good on Friday and better in the title game. Saddled with two fouls in the first half and forced to watch Cothron have his way inside, Leslie erupted in the second stanza. He finished with 12 points, 6 rebounds and five very loud blocks. He stuffed Cothron three times and charged at shooters. He opened the game with an emphatic dunk.

Ian Miller, PG, United Faith – The good news is he's making a nice transition to the point guard slot. Unfortunately for United Faith, Miller didn't find the bottom of the net enough. He took great shots though he hard a tough time converting mid-range and at the rim. He shot 12-for-41 in two games and we'll bet that doesn't happen again. Miller shot 4-for-7 behind the line so long-range wasn't the issue. The kid's a very good player and as soon as he gets his confidence back he's going to put up big numbers. Averaged 19.5 in two games over the weekend.

Melvin Tabb, PF, Enloe – Caught him in action Nov. 20 when he hung 23 and 10 on Jordan. Like Leslie, he's got those fast reactions and uses them on the block to get into his move quickly. Showed ability to face and charge the goal. Having a strong start to his season.

Reco McCarter, SF, Wayne Country Day – The long, athletic McCarter scored 37 points in two games. His final game (25 points) included spearheading a late rally to make it respectable against United Faith. Loved his intensity and competitive fight; still needs to get on the glass more especially since his team isn't big inside.

Brian Richardson, SG/PG, Greenfield – Improved from a season ago, he's playing a lot of point for his team. Love how he can get to the rim and his shot is coming around as well.

P.J. Hairston, SG, Dudley – On Thanksgiving eve, Hairston's road show hit up Hillside for 23 points. Hairston had 6 boards and shot 5-for-6 from the line. Known for his stroke, he missed his six deep tries. However, made his presence felt on defense and finished 8-of-9 attempts around the rim. High-major all the way.

United Faith junior wing Tevin Friday is slowly getting his wind but still has a foot injury and is playing through a lot of pain. …

Flora Mac junior shooting guard Joel Kindred erupted the first night out with 26 points, including a series of impressive dunks. Against Word of God, Flora Mac got overwhelmed on the perimeter. … Dudley's Brennan Wyatt got it going late and directed traffic efficiently after getting rid of an early case of first game jitters. … Sophomore Dezmine Wells brought energy and finishing to Word of God's attack. … Found Him: Kadeem Green. He's starting for United Faith. …

Flora Mac point guard Lateef McMullan has good quicks. He'll need to improve his shot selection and value the ball more. Has scoring point mentality. … Greenfield junior Jeremy Jeffers, a perimeter player, couldn't buy a shot vs. Ravenscroft. He's likely to draw mid-level interest. …

Ravenscroft point man Luke Davis has great weapons in Kelly and Matt Wilson inside. … Hadn't heard the name Will Bunton until we saw him put 29 on Enloe. A senior wing, he's worth tracking as a potential D-I player. …

Be on the lookout for these guys: wing Reggie Dillard (2012, Dudley), small forward Nemanja Mejic (2009, United Faith), Emanuel Chapman (2010, Enloe), Bishop Daniels (2011, Word of God)…

Cothron has Connecticut, Alabama, Oklahoma, Auburn, Arkansas and UAB tracking him; we can see all offering him very soon. …

Sidney Lowe was in attendance for all four games. He was joined by Duke's Mike Krzyzewski Friday night as they watched Wall. The Pack owns a commitment from Leslie, has targeted Wall and is evaluating Reco McCarter. … Virginia took in Brian Richardson's game. … UNC-Greensboro and Bucknell eyeballed Jeffers. … South Carolina and Wake Forest watched Tabb. …


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