Around The Nation: Feb. 17

AROUND THE NATION – We spent the day in Charlotte checking out the I-MECK 4-A conference where a ton of Division I players were on display. Across the country, Terrence Jones went for 50 points and continued his role.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- How good is the I-MECK 4A conference in Charlotte? Good enough that North Meck, a team with two potential Division I players, finished low enough in the standings that it likely won't make the playoffs. Hopewell led by conference POY Demon Brooks (Howard) and Jordan Downing (Davidson) had a bye but the rest of the league was on display Tuesday afternoon.

West Charlotte's J.T. Terrell dropped a season-high 44 points on 25 shots and was outstanding from the free throw line as his team advanced past Mallard Creek. Terrell, who transferred into the league, remains one of the state's deadliest scorers. Next season he'll take his range to Wake Forest.

Marquis Rankin and Braxton Ogbueze are the state's best backcourt. Rankin's ability to lower his shoulders and explode to the rim appears to have returned and he scored 11 to go with 7 assists. Ogbueze was quiet but he's bulked up his body and is a combo guard with a long-term point future.

A pair of power forwards were outstanding. Though we didn't stay the entire game for Lake Norman's destruction of Mooresville, it's clear Mercer has a future starter in the beastly Paul Larsen. Undersized but strong as an ox, Larsen will play a ton for Mercer. North Meck's Bernard Sullivan was outstanding in defeat. We had the lefty for 19 and 5 and his touch on offense was noticeable. He's a guy who faces and attacks with deft touch in the paint.

The surprise performer of the day was Mooresville sophomore Shawn Lester. The 6-foot-3 wing is wired to score, involved at both ends and has athletic ability that allows him to create separation and attack. He's one to watch in the future.

Speaking of the future, West Charlotte has a big guy Kennedy Meeks who doesn't play a ton but has super hands and is the future. Jacoby Davis, West's outstanding shooting guard is progressing along nicely as a mid-level player.

Other potential Division I players we saw, and this was only a three-game day, included West's Anthony Estes (Jr., F), West's Julius Hamilton, (Soph., G), Mallard Creek's Dominique Williams, (Soph., PF), Lake Norman's Reggie Price (SR., SG) and North Meck's Carlin Bremner (Jr., PG).

Terrence Jones has been on a scoring spree. Last week, he put up 42 points in a win over Marshall. On Tuesday night, Jones went for 50 more points in a blasting of Cleveland. Jones' 42 points were a school record but it only lasted a few days. Jefferson is undefeated in league play and could get stronger with the possible return of Terrence Jones.

Congratulations, Phil Pressey. The Missouri signee was named his local paper's athlete of the week. He led Episcopal to its third SW Preparatory Conference state championship. In last week's tourney, he averaged 22 points, 8 dimes and 8 boards.

Harrison Barnes, the nation's top recruit, scored 29 points en route to Ames High's win over Johnson 61-53. Doug McDermott hit for 15.

Unsigned senior Davante Gardner had 24 points and 12 rebounds as King's Fork march to another title continues. It best Hickory by 24 points. Jay Copeland went for 16 and 12 rebounds.

If your keeping score at home, make that 49 wins in a row for Houston Yates and six in a row by virtue of breaking the century mark. Yates defeated Westbury 101-56.

Hills West, a newly minted Top 25 team, beat Christ The King Sunday 73-69. Tobias Harris scored 19 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and sent back 11 shots. Guard Tavon Sledge handed out 12 helpers and scored two dozen points.

Princeton signee T.J. Bray broke the 1,000 point barrier with 26 points in his team's win over Brookfield.

An ailing Carson Desrosiers lifted Central over Newton North. Desrosiers had 32 his last time out but was limited to 11 with 6 rebounds and 7 blocks in his most recent game. Desrosiers played with nausea.

Dundrecous Nelson has been hot this month. Against Columbus, the Murrah stud sizzled to the tune of 37 points.

Trevor Lacey suffered a season-ending ACL tear in his team's area final. Lacey suffered the injury late last week and remains a strong candidate for Mr. Basketball in his state.

Nnanna Egwu, an Illinois recruit, is coming alive. St. Ignatius beat Brother Rice in overtime by a deuce and Egwu led the way with 17 points. In the game before he had 13 points and a dozen blocks.

Dorian Finney-Smith's monster junior season rolls on. Norcom blasted Churchland 86-65 behind 30 points from the junior forward.

Norfolk Christian dropped the hammer on Atlantic Shores and won by 19. UNC commitment James McAdoo grabbed 22 rebounds and scored 31 for the victors. Brandon Britt had 30 in the loss.

Shabazz Napier lit it up for 7 3-pointers to lead Lawrence Academy to a win over East Boston. He finished with 30 points in a return to his hometown.

Keaton Miles 23, Thomas Jefferson 25. Miles lost his individual battle with Jefferson but Lincoln won the game by 50, 75-25.

Gary Harris led Hamilton Southeastern past Pike 66-57. Sophomore Gary Harris scored 24 for the victors. Marquis Teague scored 21 of his 25 in the second half but came up short.

Good teams, bad weather, makeup game complicate MIAA action in Baltimore area. …

Enjoyable four minutes of video with Dajuan Coleman. Enjoyable segment with the big fella.

Ebenezer Samuel with the good read on Jayvaughn Pinkston.

Isaiah Sykes gets some free press in his hometown paper. We always thought he'd be a strong mid-level wing.

Jacksonville ACD coach Rex Morgan, a former college basketball standout, personal battle on his hands.

Ogbueze lists Wake Forest, Clemson, Virginia and South Carolina. …

Charlotte and Clemson were out evaluating Braxton Ogbueze, Bernard Sullivan and Marquis Rankin Tuesday night. … Rick Pitino was in attendance watching Marquis Teague Tuesday night. …

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