Hulls vs. Elston for Mr. Basketball?

As the prep basketball season begins to wind down, Mr. Basketball talk is starting to heat up. Incoming IU recruits Jordan Hulls and Derek Elston (pictured) continue to put up huge numbers and might be the two front-runners for Mr. Basketball...

Bobby Capobianco, 6-8, 230, Loveland (Ohio) H.S. – Capobianco has been to two IU basketball games as of late (Minnesota and Ohio State), but he hasn't played a game for a week and a half due to the weather. Loveland's Jan. 30 game against Anderson H.S. was postponed due the weather, and he's not scheduled to return to action until Friday when Loveland (11-2) takes on winless Harrison H.S. (0-14). Their toughest test remaining in the regular season will be Feb. 10 when they host Wilmington (13-1). Capobianco is averaging 17.2 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks and is shooting 47.6 percent from the floor and 73.0 percent from the free-throw line.

Maurice Creek, 6-4, 185, Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy – Creek continues to put up big numbers for one of the top prep school programs in the country. Last week Creek led the way with 20 points and six rebounds in Hargrave's 96-69 win over Virginia Western CC, and Hargrave closed out the week with a 107-82 win over Massanutten. Creek continues to lead Hargrave in scoring at 19.0/game.

Derek Elston, 6-8, 210, Tipton (Ind.) H.S. – Shortly after seeing his team slip from No. 1 to No. 2 in the latest Class 2A state rankings, Elston had back-to-back double-doubles last week to lead the Blue Devils to a pair of wins. On Saturday Elston had 20 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in a 62-41 win over Eastern, and one night earlier Elston had 17 points and 13 rebounds in a 67-39 win over Hamilton Heights. Elston is now averaging 20.5 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.0 blocks and 2.0 steals.

Jordan Hulls, 6-0, 170, Bloomington (Ind.) South H.S. – Hulls' Mr. Basketball chances took a huge step forward with a huge effort in Friday night's 75-50 win over Pike. Hulls scored a game-high 23 points and had five rebounds and six assists as No. 1 South (14-0) all but wrapped up the Conference Indiana championship. He scored 11 of his points in the third quarter, helping South turn a 10-point halftime lead into a 17-point cushion. Hulls is averaging 15.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists. South returns to action on Friday when it hosts Brownsburg. The Panthers – who are ranked No. 7 in the latest USA Today national rankings – still have a high-profile match-up against Detroit Country Day Feb. 21.

Bawa Muniru, 6-11, 250, Durham (N.C.) Mt. Zion Academy – Muniru is the starting center at Mt. Zion this season, although we've been unable to track down his statistics thus far.

Christian Watford, 6-7, 215, Birmingham (Ala.) Shades Valley H.S. – Top-ranked Pinson Valley has become Shades Valley's nemesis, as they topped Watford's squad 45-43 in the Jefferson County Classic Saturday. It was Pinson Valley's third win over Shades Valley (21-5) this season. Watford was responsible for more than half of Shades Valley's production, finishing with 23 points and 11 rebounds. The night before, Watford scored 13 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and added a game-high 14 rebounds to lead Shades Valley to a 44-31 win over Erwin. Watford is averaging 26.2 points and 13.5 rebounds for Shades Valley (21-5), which returns to action tonight when it faces Westavia H.S.

Other Notables:
North Central freshman D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera had his biggest game of the year, scoring 27 points to lead the Class 4A No. 4 Panthers to a 95-71 win over Warren Central Saturday. Warren Central is 8-8 this season and is coached by former IU standout Greg Graham…Avon's tandem of Austin Burgett (12 points) and Kendall Griffin (11) both reached double figures, but it wasn't enough as Avon fell to Zionsville 56-48 to fall to 7-8…Class of 2009 target Darius Smith was recently tabbed as the Chicago Tribune's Player of the Month after averaging 23.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 4.6 steals in January for Chicago Marshall. Smith's team returns to action Wednesday against Orr H.S. in the first-round of the Chicago Public League playoffs…Terre Haute North sophomore Justin Gant had 10 points and 11 rebounds, but it wasn't enough as North fell to crosstown rival and Class 4A No. 6 Terre Haute South 49-46…New Albany junior Donnie Hale enjoyed a weekend off as his team's games against Jasper and Evansville North were both postponed due to weather. New Albany has quietly climbed to No. 2 in the Class 4A rankings behind Bloomington South. New Albany (12-0) got its biggest win of the season last Sunday when it topped No. 10 Anderson 72-60 behind 14 points and eight rebounds from Hale…Class of 2011 commit Matt Carlino had 16 points and five assists to lead Highland (Ariz.) H.S. to a 69-48 win over Hamilton H.S. to improve to 20-3…Southport H.S. freshman Kellon Thomas had eight points, seven rebounds and two assists to help his team to a 53-45 win over Columbus North…Muncie Central sophomore Jeremiah Davis had 16 points – but also 10 turnovers – in his team's 54-43 loss to Anderson Highland. It was the first loss the series for Muncie Central in 11 years.


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