City of Palms: Day Two Rundown

FORT MYERS, Fla. – We're winging it here. What could be better than Cory Joseph tangling with Austin Rivers? How about Aaron Brown's 26-point effort against Paterson Catholic in a losing effort? Then there was junior Dai-Jon Parker going for big numbers himself.

Cory Joseph vs. Austin Rivers: This is what it's all about: two high level guys in a charged up setting. Findlay was coming off its first loss in two years and Rivers entered a building he enjoyed tremendous success in last season. When it was over, Joseph had the win and 27 points, Rivers countered with 22, most of which he had to work for.

While Joseph is surrounded by high-level college talent, Rivers's situation is different. A well coached team with a prospect or two, but no one else who would crack Findaly's rotation, Rivers would have to work extra hard to pull this out. Rivers shot 9-for-21 (3-12 3s) and many of his makes were contested, college-level defensive closeout buckets with Joseph checking him. Rivers enjoyed his most success off the dribble, going to the rim. He's got a variety of step backs, shoulder shakes and tricks in his arsenal.

Joseph's best offensive weapon is his 3-point shot and he began the game by hitting his first four deep attempts. Joseph's an all-american and this was a high-level effort on both ends. For the younger players, its' important to note that these guys combined for only 5 turnovers, four of which Rivers committed which wasn't bad considering the amount of time he had with the ball. Rivers had 5 dimes, Joseph 3. Bottom line: worth the price of admission.

Papa Samba Ndao, SF, Montverde: Boston College is going to be glad they signed him. When a guy makes the Larry Bird touch pass, we're impressed. He can shoot it, has great size and he's utilized his time at Montverde well. Nice player. We're slow with the imports as we track their development but this young man has feel, is a good passer and legitimate range. Probably deserves a spot in our Top 100 and as a prospect he scores higher marks than teammates because of his physical attributes. Remember, Luc Mbah a Moute? We're just saying, Kevin Sutton has had some late blooming good players.

Tristan Thompson, PF, Findlay: With all eyes on the guards, Thompson turned in a complete game inside effort versus Winter Park. The Texas-bound forward had 23 points and 10 rebounds two days after his tussle with Jared Sullinger. Thompson was 9-for-13 from the field. The Longhorns are going to continue shaping his body and trust us, there's plenty of raw materials to make him into a serious prospect beyond college.

Jamail Jones, SF, Montverde: This could have been his career-best effort. Electric behind the arc in the first half and scored 22 before the break. Jones finished with a then-event high 32 points, including 5-10 from deep. Jones didn't do a lot off the dribble but then again, he didn't need to. His confidence level was high and his performance outstanding. Between he and James Bell, they went for 45 combined.

Fuquan Edwin, SF, Paterson Catholic: When the tempo gets turned up, Edwin thrives. He was a key figure in Paterson's second half surge and finished with 24 points. The next step is for him to tighten up his perimeter game. He'll enter Seton Hall with a reputation as a slasher who can get to the rim.

Dai-Jon Parker, SG, Milton: Very impressive as he scored 20 on 8-for-13 from the field. Parker's a nice mix of athlete and scorer. Milton walked all over Dunbar and it was his offense early that fueled the thrashing.

Shannon Scott, PG, Milton: The old school guys will love him. Scott's a traditional point guard who thrives as the hub of the team. Exudes poise and natural presence at the position. He had a dozen and a half dozen dimes.

P.J. Hairston, SG, Dudley: It's going to be interesting to watch him because he's got turf toe and that can be a lingering, nagging deal. Hairston stubbed the toe this month. He had 16 against Montverde but Dudley got overwhelmed. Hairston and Reggie Dillard contributed 16 each.

Aaron Brown, SF, Penn Wood: There's no turning back. Brown punched his player's card at the City of Palms. Once a head-down, bullish driver, he's rounding his game out. A better mid-range shooter than 3-point ace, it's an area he's addressed and demonstrated improvement in. Aside from the 26 points and 13 rebounds, it was Brown's competitive spirit that stood out the most. When his team lost on a layup, he was crushed. Watching him react to the situation revealed an ultra competitive player who values winning. This was not just another game to Aaron Brown, it was the City of Palms, the big stage. Not making it to the championship game is something that won't sit well with him.

Nick Johnson, PG/SG, Findlay: With Joseph busy busting 3s and Thompson doing chin-ups inside, Johnson dropped 19 points and 8 assists. This squad is loaded and like Joseph last season, Johnson is occupies a supporting role before moving into the leading man slot next season. The lineage goes Avery Bradley to Joseph to Johnson.

Shane Larkin, PG, Dr. Phillips: The lineage at his school goes Jason Rich, Chris Warren and now Larkin. He doesn't come off the floor for Dr. Phillips. He'll drive and kick as he did four times in the first half against Summit. Finished well at the rim and we know he's a good shooter. Others will be more athletic and quicker but he'll survive on his developing presence at the point and the fact that he's simply a good player.

Trevor Lacy, SG, Butler: The boys from Huntsville were slow to get going and paid the price as they lost to Fort Myers. Lacy caught fire late and went for 27 on 8-for-17 from the field, including a pair of 3s.

Evan Nolte, SF, Milton: It's a beautiful thing to see a guy who knows his way around the court. Nolte is a gifted young forward. Though he didn't make a three, he's got a nice looking shot, instincts to rebound and play in the lane and he's efficient. Looks like a high-major guy to me (and everyone else in the building).

Westchester is in the unique position of having two uncommitted seniors, both of which will likely end up in the Pac-10. Jordin Mayes is the point guard everyone out West will move on once Joseph's and McCallum's of the world reach decisions. Dwayne Polee, a power forward, is an athletic leaper and we mean leaper. He doesn't jump, he leaps and levitates. …

Dudley's Reggie Dillard is tracking as a nice mid-level wing. He's a hawk on defense and finisher off the drives. Always smiling, you get the same intensity each time out. … We'll see them throughout the season but it's not implausible that three Montverde players wind up in our Top 100. …

Montverde has a small forward Haukur Palsson. He's a Euro-skilled forward with good touch. Mids will have to look at him. South Florida has offered already. … Eric Riley came off the bench in relief of starter Julian Royal (7 pts, 6 rebs.) and showed that he has Division I potential because of his athleticism. Lows and mid level schools wanted an undersized leaper in the Class of 2011 should look his way. Would like to see him again. …

Want to talk about fortunate, meet Findlay coach Michael Peck. Last year, he coaches the nation's best senior defensive player, Avery Bradley. Apparently what went unnoticed until last spring was Joseph's ability on the defensive end. Clearly on the nation's premier high school defenders, Joseph is Peck's second bonafide backcourt senior stopper in as many years. …

We hardly noticed Fairfield signee Adam Jones against Findlay. Winter Park's best big fouled out with zero shots and three rebounds. … Junior Kyle Anderson scored a layin with time running out to give Paterson Catholic a come-from-behind win over Penn Wood in a thriller. Penn Wood was outscored 17-5 in the final period. … Derrick Randall did his thing inside with 7 blocks, 10 points and 6 rebounds. …

Austin Rivers had a better first half than second. It bears repeating how big a load he carries for Winter Park in national games. Guys get fatigued, especially when Joseph chases you. He went 6-for-11 in the first half and 3-of-10 in the second. Comparisons are all over the place with Rivers. In watching Tyreke Evans' development, there are hints of Evans in Rivers's game. Tyreke had all the step backs, jukes and jives like Rivers has now. Both were "lead" guards but not true points. Austin's game could easily follow along the same path that Evans is blazing for the Kings. …

Trevor Lacy, SG, Butler: Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi State are the schools he said offered. Kentucky is looking. … Eric Richardson, a Butler big man, is interested in Memphis, Tennessee, Alabama and Missouri. …

Everyone's going to want to be on this list. Parker likes Virginia Tech, Georgia, Northwestern, Georgia Tech, Connecticut, Florida and Ohio State. … Shane Larkin has offers from Clemson and South Florida. He's receiving interest from Miami, Cincinnati, Wake Forest, VCU and George Mason. …

Assistant Coaches: Georgia Tech (first in gym was John O'Connor), Maryland, Auburn, Navy, Arizona, St. Joseph's.

Head Coaches: Tubby Smith, Minnesota.

Cory Joseph's list reads Minnesota, Texas, Connecticut, Villanova and UNLV. Tubby Smith was the only head coach in the stands on Saturday. When it comes to available high-level guys, we anticipate Joseph ending his recruitment sooner than others. Once he knows where he wants to go it'll end. …

Scoreboard

  • Fort Myers 66, Butler 63
  • Montverde 82, Dudley 65
  • Milton 79, Dunbar 53
  • Dr. Phillips 80, Summit Christian 63
  • Findlay Prep 86, Winter Park 75
  • Westchester def. Bartow
  • Paterson Catholic 61, Penn Wood 60


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