After a much needed off day on Sunday, both the Road Show and the City of Palms picked up where they had left off at Ft. Myers (FL) Bishop Verot. The beginning of a new week brought a more college coaches to the building and a borderline special performance from one of 2005’s finest.
Martell Webster - On Saturday evening, the 6-6 WG was more than happy to sit back and watch 2006 stud Spencer Hawes have his breakout performance. Monday night, Webster came out smoking scoring his team’s first 12 points in just five possessions. He nailed a couple of threes from well behind the high school line, put himself in position for easy baskets thanks to intelligent cuts and also overwhelmed defenders with his athleticism and strength. Plus, he’s got a good attitude on the court and solid overall fundamentals.
On the evening Webster finished with 38 points but as one college coach said, “you almost feel cheated because he didn’t get 50”. The class of 2005 has been a hard one to read, but if Webster can sustain the level of play he’s shown so far at the COP he could make a serious claim as the top player in the country. The NBA has always loomed in the background and Washington Huskies fans might be justified if they are getting nervous. It is one thing if a high schooler has a big outing at an event where NBA scouts show up because they can see multiple potential straight to the league guys, but it is another when they travel to see a kid play in stand-alone games. If the buzz around the gym was accurate, some pro teams will be dispatching scouts to Seattle in short order.
Spencer Hawes - Just like Webster deferred to him a few days ago, Hawes alertly recognized the zone Webster was in Monday night and sacrificed some of his own game. The 6-11 BF didn’t put up huge numbers, but he certainly didn’t disappoint either as he once again put his advanced face-up skills on display.
Perhaps most impressively, Hawes made quick and precise passes with either hand and outsmarted and outworked his opponents for rebounds. According to Hawes, Kansas, North Carolina, Stanford and hometown Washington have been the most aggressive schools in his recruitment. An impressive kid with a good head on his shoulders, Hawes would be a welcome addition at pretty much any program in the country.
Jarrett Brown - Schools on the mid major to mid major plus level who are in need of wing scoring during the spring period would do well follow up with the 6-4 WG/WF from West Palm Beach (FL) Palm Beach Lakes. On Monday he was super aggressive attacking the basket, knocked down medium range jumpers and even blocked some shots thanks to his bounce around the hoops.
His 26 points led PBL’s victorious effort and Brown probably earned himself some opportunities.
Paul Harris - Technically, the 6-4 WF/WG from Niagara Falls (NY) High is a member of the class of 2005 but it is very well known that he’ll need a prep school year. His jumper is erratic to say the least, but honestly not many coaches care because of his strength, athleticism, desire and willingness to get others involved and do whatever it takes to win.
With Harris you are talking about a kid who has had some troubles in the past but he’s looking to make good decisions and better himself in all areas. Besides the things he does scoring, passing and rebounding the basketball, Harris also motivates his teammates and is an obvious leader on the court.
After winning the City of Palms slam dunk contest in 2003, 6-2 WG Louis Williams added the 2004 three point shooting contest trophy to his collection of hardware. That’s good news, the bad news is that the wildly-talented senior has 16 turnovers through two games. That isn’t a positive for a kid who will have to prove that he is able to play the point for stretches at the ultimate level. Crowds do like him and he’s got plenty of personality to go along with all of that disposable talent so it is way too early to go overboard criticizing him.
Wayne Ellington and Gerald Henderson continued to make believers out of everybody in the attendance even though their Merion (PA) Episcopal squad lost a heartbreaker to Jacksonville (FL) Country Day. The 6-5 teammates from the class of 2006 are simply capable of things that most of their peers aren’t. In Ellington’s case it is the ability to create offense pretty much whenever and however he needs to, and in Henderson’s it is a rare combination of fundamental skils and way above average athleticism. The Philly duo is more than worth the price of admission and continues to be a hot commodity on the recruiting trail attracting some of college basketball’s best….
The end of the Arlington Country Day and Episcopal Academy game was wild to say the least. First ACD’s 6-0 junior PG Josue Soto scored a late basket to give ACD a one point lead after Episcopal had erased a double digit effort. Then Henderson knocked home a pair of free throws to give Episcopal the lead with under 20 seconds to go before Soto made two free throws of his own to give the lead back to ACD with around three seconds remaining. That wasn’t it though, Episcopal’s long inbounds pass was intercepted by ACD’s Sammy Hernandez who took off celebrating, forgetting to dribble and also forgetting that there was still time -- 0.9 seconds -- on the clock. Luckily for him and ACD, a halfcourt heave from Episcopal rimmed out.
Different day, same story for Tasmin Mitchell who continues to solidify his claim as one of the most enjoyable players to watch in all of high school basketball. The 6-7 BF ticketed for LSU isn’t overly athletic, lacks an inch or two and doesn’t get a whole lot of help but you can’t ever question his drive or commitment to winning.
An emerging player at the COP is 6-8 BF Tyrell Lynch a junior from Niagara Falls (NY) High. He’s quick, bouncy, works the glass and has some creativity in the lane or dribbling against bigger opponents. It is just a few games, but he’s done well enough that high majors need to at least follow up on him.
After an o.k. first game 6-8 BF Richard Hendrix looked like the top 10 player he is during Athens (AL) High’s double O.T. victory over Cape Coral (FL) High. 35 points and double digit rebounds is pretty tough to argue with….
- Total games seen- 76
- Total teams seen- 48
- Total miles traveled- 4,274