Beachball Classic: Day One Rundown

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Games tipped at the Beachball Classic the day after Christmas. Powerful St. Patrick flexed its muscle against Mullins and Dexter Strickland led the way with 20 points.

Kansas State Signees: Wally Judge and Rodney McGruder did not have great starts versus Southside. They did, however, close strong. Judge's determination and energy inside yielded 11 points and 13 rebounds. McGruder, held scoreless in the first half, rallied for 17 points. Judge remains a big ceiling guy who should be one of the best power forwards in the Big 12 one day. McGruder won't be kept off the court because he finds ways to chip in.

Dalton Pepper vs. Noel Johnson: They combined to go 1-for-13 from behind the arc. Pepper's team got the win and his first half defensive effort on Johnson was key. He didn't give Johnson good looks and in turn, the USC signee never got on track. Johnson has to score for this team to win (or have a chance). In watching Johnson here and in Florida last week, he's relying too much on his jumper to fuel his offense and when they are days like today, he's got to take better shots and get to the rim. It's a tough spot for Johnson because he must score for his team to have a shot. Pepper went 1-7 downtown but drove his man when needed and scored 21.

Dexter Strickland, SG, St. Patrick: What was a rough beginning ended smoothly. Strickland and St. Pat's trailed by a point at the half and left a lot of shots on the rim. Those shots fell in the second as it rolled by Mullins. Strickland led the way with 20 points on 9-for-20 from the floor. At UNC, he'll be a wing with some ball handling duties.

Robbie Dreher, SG, Southside: The defending state champs fell to ACD. The Winthrop signee led the way with 20 points but struggled with his touch. He picked the proper level and we'd expect him to be a cog in Randy Peele's machine. Offensive minded scoring guard.

Michael Gilchrist, SF, St. Patrick: Elite players have elite characteristics. Gilchrist in particular, has a pair. One, he rebounds with length and athleticism out of his area. Two, he's got explosion with his first step, even in traffic.

Donnel Coleman, G, Mullins: Good looking young guard prospect. Long and wiry, he's one to watch. What struck us most was his confidence. Against a loaded roster, he didn't flinch.

Quinton Thomas of Southside, a combo forward, did not sign and may need junior college attention. …

Southside point guard Chris Rhodes, a junior, should be a Division I prospect. Needs to become a better shooter or at least threat behind the line. Has a way about him at the point. …

Pepper is more player than prospect and deserves consideration for our Top 100. He made the right pick with West Virginia where his toughness and approach will serve him well under Bob Huggins. He's in for a solid college career and should eventually be a mainstay for the Mountaineers. … Noel Johnson, a Southern Cal prospect, will need to develop his game off the ball and beef up both his strength and his handle for the Trojans. …

Everyone's talking about the lack of impact the current freshman class is having in college. Well, next year isn't going to be a landmark triumph either. When the holiday hoops season is lackluster, it's a reflection on the senior class's star power. … Fuquan Edwin made all but two of his twelve shots en route to 22 points for Paterson Catholic. Socastee had no chance. … Kyle Anderson, 2012 point, is the next big thing in the PC pipeline. …

Mullins guard Eric Smith is headed to South Carolina. He's wired up to score the ball and going forward he'll need to tighten his handle so he can play through traffic. He had 8 points, 5 assists and 9 turnovers.

There was nary an assistant or head coach in the stands to begin the event. There apparently is a good reason. Our friend Norm Eavenson pointed out that the 26th is a dead period. ...

SCOREBOARD

  • Arlington Country Day 65, Southside 59
  • Pennsbury 48, Fayette County 43
  • St. Patrick 71, Mullins 50
  • Paterson Catholic 55, Socastee 27

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