Robert Phinisee had the bounce back in his game as we approach the summer and the important July evaluation period.
Tuesday night in the first of two exhibition games that he's playing as a member of the core Junior All-Star team, the McCutcheon (Ind.) High point guard helped lead his team to a 122-110 upset of the older Indiana All-Stars. Phinisee was 6-for-9 from the field in a 14 point effort that saw him dish out five assists versus just a single turnover.
That's the kind of play that helped him earn scholarship offers from Indiana, Purdue, Butler, Virginia, Ohio State, NC State and other top programs.
The win at New Albany was surprising as the Juniors were without 5-star guard Romeo Langford. A basketball related trip to Europe kept him from playing on his home floor.
"Everybody talks about him (because) he's ranked third in the nation, but we have a lot of scorers in this class, we're really talented," Phinisee said.
Damezi Anderson of South Bend Riley led the winners with 24, De'Avion Washington of Terre Haute South had 21 and the team had nice games from Musa Jallow (15 points, 3 blocks) of Bloomington South, Aaron Henry of Indianapolis Ben Davis (13 points, 11 rebounds 3 blocks) and Eric Hunter of Indianapolis Tindley (13 points, 4 assists).
The second of the two exhibition games will be played tonight at Plainfield High School. The girls game will be at 6:00 p.m. ET and the boys game will follow.
"Our coach told us they had something like 10 hours of practice and we had just two, so we just tried to move the ball, share with everybody and we did a great job of it," Phinisee said.
It was obvious on Tuesday that Phinisee had more bounce in his game after battling tendinitis issues in April.
"It's been a lot better, I didn't really feel it out there," Phinisee said. "I have been stretching a lot and I have inflammation medication."
He believed it was behind some of his up and down results during the two spring evaluation weekends.
"I would say it did," Phinisee said. "It felt the good the first game (on Friday) and after that (each weekend) I just had to play through it."
Next week he'll get started on a couple return trips to schools heavily involved in his recruitment.
"I think next Thursday we go to Purdue," Phinisee said. "I was suppose to visit Ohio State but I am not sure now with the coaching change. But I know we're going to Purdue and then we have IU on the 24th.
"Those are just team camps but I will probably visit the campus."
It's not that there's a lot to learn on those trips but Purdue has had some assistant coach turnover and Indiana has a whole new staff under coach Archie Miller.
"I have been to Purdue so many times. IU too but will be interesting to see how things have changed since I haven't been there since the new coaching staff (took over). I still have a good relationship with the new (IU) staff."
He's still headed toward an early period signing in November.
"(I'll) hopefully make a decision before the start of my high school season," Phinisee said.