The IndyBall tourney in early April is usually our "unofficial" kick-off to spring basketball recruiting coverage and this weekend it did not disappoint. At least four 2018 prospects heavily recruited by the new or prior Indiana staff were among the participants yesterday at North Central High School.
Indiana Elite 2018 took home the title here with a 84-71 win late yesterday afternoon over Team Harris.
Robert Phinisee, the 6-foot-0 point guard from McCutcheon, was our unofficial MVP. He scored 19 of his 20 points in the first half to build a double digit lead at the break that IE was never in real danger of giving up.
Ranked now as the No. 61 overall prospect in his class by Scout, Phinisee already holds offers from several Big Ten programs along with Butler and Xavier. He told Peegs.com he's been in regular contact with new Hoosier coach Archie Miller.
Scouting notes: Phinisee got the better of Eric Hunter is the first ever meeting of the state's two top 100 ranked point guards. Robert hit three long jumpers early on, showing off his improved 3-point stroke. Better yet, he showed more creativity with his finishing at the rim off drives. More adept at changing speeds with his dribble to help create seams or space for scoring opportunities.
Still very much Mr. Efficiency with the ball and about as pure of a point guard as you'll find in college, Phinisee along with Romeo Langford of New Albany will be one of the first two big recruiting tests for the new Indiana staff.
C.J. Frederick of Covington Catholic (KY) near Cincinnati ended up leading Indiana Elite with 21 points in the final. He had a trio of first half 3-pointers, many off nice feeds from Phinisee. In the quarterfinals he drilled several threes in a short period as well. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard was offered by Tom Crean and before that had offers from Xavier and Iowa.
Scouting notes: he may not actually be from Indiana but Fredrick strokes it like the many great shooting guards the state has produced over the years. Mix in his 6-foot-4 height, decent handling skills and movement, and more importantly, some good basketball instincts, and you can see why he's become a Big Ten and Big East target.
Eric Hunter of Indianapolis Tindley had 11 points in the final for Team Harris. He wasn't often matched up with Phinisee, so he wasn't really outplayed head to head. Hunter did hit a pair of threes in the game and just looked a bit tired after a 23 point explosion in the semifinals when he helped Team Harris get by Musa Jallow and Team Blaze Select.
Scouting Notes: If you saw him in the semis you would come back with great things to say about Hunter. In that game his defense fueled several baskets for him or his teammates. He's grown to 6-foot-3 and with his wingspan and quickness, he can be difficult to deal when his team applies half or full court pressure.
Hunter has one of the more lethal crossovers we've seen from a guard in this state. Indiana Elite just did a better job of staying in front of the ball when he went to that. His jumper form is not ideal but he gets it to go often enough and while he's more of a combo than a true point, he does find teammates.
Musa Jallow had 15 points for his Team Blaze Select in that semifinal loss to Team Harris. Jallow was actually much more dominating in the quarterfinals and prior action. Team Harris just had too much depth and athleticism and got Team Blaze into a bit of an unstructured game in a 82-69 win.
Scouting Notes: Maybe it was because he cut off most of his long hair but Jallow looked a bit trimmer or more toned that we remembered from the high school season. Like with Bloomington North he takes on a bit of a point forward type role with his club team. He's got nice versatility offensively even though both his handle and shot are still works in progress. He was best on the defensive end highlighted by a terrific swat of Aaron Henry's layup attempt in the semis.
His battle against Hunter was interesting in that Hunter is ranked 10 spots higher in the Scout 100 (Jallow is No. 95) but Jallow has more offers of note from outside the Midwest. (Virginia, Vanderbilt, Stanford). That's probably because of his college defensive potential, his outstanding academics and maybe a belief that his skills can be sharpened greatly at the next level.
Other notable players in this age group:
Aaron Henry - the small forward who led Ben Davis to the 4A state title was solid yesterday. We had him for 16 points in the semis and 14 points in the finals. He looked at least an inch taller than Jallow, so Henry may be about 6-foot-6. Has a very nice lefty jumper and can post up as well. Had a pair of threes in the semis.
Jake Walter - a 6-foot-10, 265-pound center who plays high school with C.J. Fredrick at Covington Catholic. He's made tremendous strides in the last year and yesterday had some of the older fans courtside throwing out the "Big Country" label as he moves a bit like former Oklahoma State big man Bryant Reeves. Just as we were getting all excited he only had one basket in the title game but the potential is there. Has had mostly Horizon League interest but now getting feelers from Big Ten programs.
The 2019 class in Indiana isn't getting a lot of praise and the top dog, Keion Brooks of Fort Wayne North, was not here yesterday. But a couple high major targets from outside the state were here to make this age group more interesting.
Indiana Elite 2019 took home the title, knocking off Louisville Magic in the final, 87-69.
Alex Hemenway of Castle was one of several standouts for the champions. Fresh off helping lead his team to the 4A semistate, Hemenway showed that he's much more than just a 6-foot-4 shooter, often moving into a point guard type role.
Jeremiah Francis of Pickerington Central near Columbus, Ohio was the other lead guard of note for Indiana Elite. He's about 6-foot-2 and a solid 195-200 pounds. He's one to watch as Archie Miller was recruiting him for Dayton and Tom Crean for Indiana over this winter. Excellent athlete who scored it well at times yesterday. Purdue and Ohio State have recently offered.
Cobie Barnes of Floyd Central was just okay and then exploded for 32 points in the title game win over the Louisville Magic. Barnes has added some nice strength and used it well to finish through contact several times in the game. The 6-foot-4 guard also knocked down some long jumpers.
David Johnson of Louisville Trinity led the way all day for the Louisville Magic but his team hit the exhaustion wall in the title game. We saw Johnson against IU signee Al Durham Jr. this winter in the King of the Bluegrass event and neither time has he disappointed. In fact look for him to threaten to break into the top 50 in the national rankings as he's a rare big point guard with a lethal pull-up jumper. Has had some Indiana interest but more from Louisville, Kentucky and Xavier, among others.
We really wanted a good look yesterday at Trayce Jackson-Davis but his Team Teague squad fell in the first round of the tournament. He's a 6-foot-8, 210-pound power forward from Center Grove, just south of Indianapolis. The son of former Pacer Dale Davis, he has recently offered by Purdue.
Indiana Elite 2020 made it a sweep of the top three age groups with a 59-34 title game win over the Louisville Magic. The team also won by 23 in the semifinals over EG10. Didn't see a lot of this age group but a few of the notable players yesterday for the winning Indiana Elite team included the following:
Mabor Majak - 6'11, Hamilton Southeastern (IN)
Trey Galloway - 6'3, Culver Academy (IN)
Anthony Leal - 6'2, Bloomington South (IN)
Tayson Paker - 6'0, Indianapolis Homeschool (IN)
Look for all four of these players to be on the radar for nearby mid and high major programs if they aren't already.