Basically, the Road Show is going to be a way for me to keep readers in tune with what is happening in not only the Kansas City, but national high school hoops scene. The idea is to shine some light on players who may not necessarily fall into the category of somebody that Kansas is recruiting -- although there will still be plenty of coverage of Kansas interests -- but deserve recognition nonetheless.
For my first outing of the year I made a stop over at the Raytown (MO) South gym for the Cardinals season opening game against Excelsior Spring (MO) High. I wasn’t expecting much of a game, but you never know when South’s legendary coach Bud Lathrop (31 conference titles, four state championships since 1968) is going to hang them up and he’s got three of the top underclassmen in the city.
As expected, the game was a complete route as the Cardinals cruised to a 66-19 win behind the play of junior guards Roderick Pearson and Chris Allen and sophomore forward George Goode.
Leading the way was Allen who finished with 24 points, eight rebounds, five steals and four assists in only three quarters of play. Allen is a 6-1 WG who specializes in getting to the hole thanks to some very explosive athleticism. He’s a little undersized for a slashing wing, but does get after it on the defensive end and will help out on the boards. He didn’t take many jump shots either but is a dangerous scorer from outside when he takes good shots, but coming off of football season he was just looking to get to the rim. He’s much improved from last year and is developing into a player that low major, and maybe even some mid majors, will want to track.
Allen’s partner in the Ray South backcourt is the 6-2 Pearson. A lefty, Pearson is one of the top PG’s in the city and nobody is going to give you more of an effort. He’s a ball-hawk on the defensive end who is an intense competitor on both ends of the court. Offensively he’s got a nice mid range game, gets to the rim at will thanks to an explosive first step and does a nice job setting up teammates. He was good for 12 points and three rebounds and three steals in just over two quarters of action. He’s already getting attention from schools like Creighton, Southwest Missouri State, Wichita State, Nebraska, Tennessee and several others and could see even more as he improves his outside stroke.
Last but not least is the sophomore Goode, who at 6-7 is a very intriguing kid and probably one of the top five prospects in the city, regardless of class. The stat line from his first varsity game wasn’t awe inspiring -- 10 points, five boards, 2 steals, 2 blocks -- but the kid flashed some of his potential. He’s very slender and still a bit stiff while running, but he’s a dangerous shooter from deep, increasingly athletic around the cup and has a great feel for the game. As he becomes stronger and plays a little more loosely, the tools are there for him to one day be a high major wing with good height, or a very skilled four man.
Other notes- One other Ray South player did stick out during the j.v. game (won just as handily by South 57-22), freshman PG Mike Gholston. Gholston is a 5-11 jet who runs the team and knocks down open jumpers. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him getting some varsity tick before this season ends and he’s an early guy to put on the D1 potential watch list.
In another brief news item from around the city, Kansas City (MO) Lincoln Prep junior floor leader 5-10 PG Domo Johnson won an appeal with the state regarding his eligibility and celebrated with 36 points in a 79-26 win over Pembroke Hill on Monday evening. After starring with Isacc Miles at Bishop Miege on the Kansas side, Johnson transferred to Lincoln in an attempt to play closer to home that some area coaches had tried to block. Good to see that he is out there doing his thing.
Schools in the gym- Wichita State had an assistant on hand to watch the Raytown South trio.
Total games attended on the season- Nine (includes eight in Arkansas over the weekend).
Total teams seen this season- 10.
Total mileage watching games so far- 1067.3.