It’s the high level hoops atmosphere that keeps fans, players, coaches, scouts and more coming back for more each year and the 2006 edition is no different.
Things will really get rocking on Wednesday when a plethora of elite level prospects hit the court, but the action wasn’t exactly devoid of prime time performers on Tuesday. The Road Show had a front row ticket to all the action, including the heavyweight tilt between two of the top 10 sophomores in the country!
TUESDAY’S TOP PERFORMERS
Kenny Boynton vs. Lance Stephenson - Considering how long these two young pups have had national reputations (since they were 7th graders if this is your first time reading about them) it’s crazy to think that they are still only sophomores in high schools. On one side you have Boynton, the high scoring and powerful 6-2 wing from Florida,. On the other you have the patient and hard nosed Stephenson, a phyiscal, ball handling wing who loves to attack the rim. Neither disappointed.
We’ll start with Boynton. Urged on by an army of admirers yelling “swwwwoooosssshhhh” after each of his jumpers found the bottom of the net, the sunshine state product looked like he was going to roll up 50 early on. Fresh out of the gate, the scoring whiz’s jumper was on point and he looked focused on sending his counterpart home with a loss. Somewhere along the way his teammates lost track of him and his opponents actually played some defense holding him to just eight points in the second and third quarters. With the game on the line, though, he heated up again scoring 14 late points to finish with 34 and make things very interesting late.. While unconventional, his jumper is sweet and splashes through the net with alarming regularity. It’d be easy to try and take away from what he does by focusing on some of the areas of his game that need work -- his left hand and defense -- but at some point you have recognize that he’s barely old enough to drive and just enjoy.
Moving on to Stephenson, things couldn’t have started off rockier for the 6-4 wing. He was whistled for a couple of cheap early fouls, and on top of that he was being heckled mercilessly by the very pro Boynton crowd. The latest in a long line of stars from famed Lincoln High in New York, he’d have the last laugh as he took over in the second half and willed his team to a big win after trailing huge early on. Given his NYC pedigree, it’s little surprise that he’s close to impossible to contain off the dribble and needs to improve his jumper. But, it’s his tough defense, willingness to get on the glass and leadership skills that back up all of the hype he receives. He only scored 13 points, but he also grabbbed seven rebounds and it’s important to note that all of that came in the second half and he only took 11 shots compared to Boynton’s 27. Most importantly, he walked away with a win thanks in large part to the work put in by the next guy in this report.
Devon Peterson - On press row, opinions varied wildly regarding this athletic, tough and high energy 6-3 WG. Some think he’s a mid major, while others think he’s a high major guy. The Road Show is leaning towards the high major level and no matter where he ends up, he’ll eventually contribute. He’s a long strider who handles well, elevates quickly for high arching jumpers and plays with absolutely zero fear. He scored a game winning layup with under 15 seconds to go on a play where all he hoped to do was draw a foul. The fact that he recovered in mid air and somehow willed a circle shot in when the whistle never came was very impressive. Also impressive was his final line of 26 points on 10-15 shooting from the field.
Tyreke Evans - To his friends and those who have watched him grow up just outside of Philly, the smooth 6-4 wing is better known as “Too Easy”. What better nickname for the junior who is among the top five prospects in his class. Tuesday night found him swishing home deep jumpers -- including a sweet 38 footer to end the first half -- and hitting teammates with laser beam passes for easy buckets. He’s a head down dribbler who leans back on his jumper, but the kid simply puts up numbers and makes it look astonishlingly simple each time out. The only thing he didn’t do, was convert an easy open court dunk where he got hung something fierce on the front of the rim. The missed jam drew some laughter, but nobody was laughing at his overall effort in a 25 point, eight rebound, four assist and three steal effort.
MORE NOTES FROM FT. MYERS
Give junior wing Rayford Shipman credit for doing what he was supposed to do. Playing against a way overmatched Golden Gate squad, the Monsignor Pace junior did what he should have done and controlled the action off the dribble and by attacking the lane for easy buckets. By the time the strong 6-5 wing had finished up his work, he’d scored an easy looking 30 on 13-19 shooting in just a little bit more than 21 minutes of action. His jumper is a work in progress, but his strength, willingness to absorb contact and defensive potential as a physical wing are all high major. … Shipman’s teammate at Pace, 6-7 sophomore Rakeem Buckles oozes potential. He’s long, he’s quick, and he can really run the floor. He’s one of those guys who has college coaches circle his name in the program just by warming up and for the most part he justified the pen scribbles. He scored 11 points while showing off soft hands and good instincts to go along with passing the look test. He’s not a big time by any means, but he’s a good prospect who will get looks at all levels. … Pencil in Pace’s other big man, junior Terrance Saintil, as another guy who is going to get looks at all levels. His frame and athleticism scream high major, but his skills scream just as loudly for lots of dedicated work with a patient big man coach. ... Lincoln senior big man Brandon Walters isn’t a strong man, nor is he the most polished scorer, but the 6-9 post made things happen when it counted. He swatted shots with aplomb and rebounded like a man posessed during a six point, 19 rebound and five block effort. More than likely, he got short-changed by the official scores in the shot blocking category and if you figure in shots altered, he wiped away at least 15-20 points. …When you are a 6-5 power forward, you’ve got to have a little bit of a screw loose. Not a problem for Seton Hall bound tough guy Michael Glover. The younger brother of one of the Big East’s all-time interior wild men (former St. John’s intimidator Anthony Glover), he’s far from quiet in the paint. He dunks on you, he harasses you and he tells you all about it. When he’s done laughing at you, he looks at your bench and defies somebody to shut him up. The jury is out as to how well that approach will work on the next level, but it’s hard to argue with how well it worked on Tuesday as he went for 23 points and 11 rebounds in only 12 (!) minutes of action. …
Colleges in attendance- Florida State, Georgia Tech, UConn, Florida International, Appalachian State, Pittsburgh, Air Force, Ole Miss, Villanova, Miami, USC, George Washington, VCU, Louisiana Monroe, Louisville. …
- Total teams seen- 101
- Total games watched- 60
- Total miles traveled- 5, 554