Road Show - Ruskin Outlasts Dixon, LS West

With state playoff action just around the corner on both the Missouri and Kansas sides of the metro, teams have been busy jockeying for position. Last night, Lee's Summit (MO) West headed over to Kansas City (MO) Ruskin with designs on knocking off the Eagles who currently sit at the top Class 4A rankings.

Led by an outstanding performance from sophomore point guard Michael Dixon, LS West gave Ruskin everything they wanted but thanks to big plays from senior forward Michael Craion and junior guard Milton Garner the Eagles broke open a tie game in the last few minutes to earn a hard fought 76-69 win.

TUESDAY NIGHT’S TOP PERFORMERS

Michael Dixon - The slightly built 6-1 sophomore point guard is probably spending his day off from school (snow day) lamenting the clean look from 22 feet that he missed trailing by two with under 20 seconds to go. That’s just the type of player he is. Despite scoring 25 points ( 9-17 FG, 5-8 3PT, 2-2 FT), dishing out eight assists (no turnovers) and posting a pair each of rebounds and steals, Dixon no doubt feels like he could have done more.

He bears a little bit of a resemblance to former Raytown (MO) High star and current Atlanta Hawk Tyronn Lue and while not as quick as Lue was, he’s got some similar traits. He shoots a little bit of a low releasing jumper, but he’s got a quick release and he’s very accurate from deep and on two dribble pull-ups from mid-range. He’s adept at putting opposing PG’s into foul trouble (he drew three first quarter fouls on Ruskin’s star, Garner), he plays excellent on the ball defense and he makes his teammates better. Among the schools who have recently stopped by to watch him play are Washington State, Purdue, Missouri, Missouri State, Creighton and St. Louis. Last weekend he took an unofficial visit to Columbia for the MU/KU game and he’s been to Lawrence a few times.

Milton Garner - The first time the Road Show saw the 6-0 junior point guard, he showed some promise as Ruskin dropped it’s first game of the season to Rockhurst. He and his teammates haven’t tasted defeat since in running off 22 straight wins and Garner has a lot to do with it. After picking up his third foul with 2:18 remaining in the first quarter the sweet shooting guard spent some time on the bench but was able to come back midway through the second quarter, avoid his third foul and score seven first half points.

During the second half, Garner picked his spots and hit several big shots to slow LS West runs. Most important was a tough turnaround jumper late in the fourth as he finished with 18 points (7-12 FG, 1-3 3PT, 3-4 FT) in a pretty impressive effort. He can play either the one or two spot, has a quick release and takes good care of the ball. Despite Ruskin’s hot play, he’s remained under the radar but won’t much longer as he’s proving to be a potential division one recruit.

Michael Craion - An athletic senior forward who transferred to Ruskin from Grandview, Craion gets listed at 6-5 but is probably closer to 6-4. However, he’s able to play much bigger than that thanks to very long arms and explosive athleticism. Few players in the metro get off the floor as quickly as he does and he couples the explosiveness with superb body control that enables him to avoid fouls while swatting shots and gobbling up rebounds. He was huge on the offensive glass and drives to the goal on his way to 17 points and 12 rebounds.

MORE NOTES FROM RUSKIN VS. LS WEST

Ruskin senior post player Eric Jones has a chance to play division one basketball if he plays his cards right. The 6-7 Jones has a big frame, works pretty hard around the hoop and does what is asked of him. It will take the right fit, but he’s got some tools to work with and may be worth some late looks from lower level D1’s. … Another unheralded player for Ruskin is 6-4 junior wing Demetrius Henderson. Long and athletic, Henderson is one of the best scorers along the baseline (particularly off of drives) in the KC area. When Craion and Garner got off to slow starts Tuesday night, Henderson’s scoring (17 points) carried Ruskin early. … He only stands about 6-3, but LS West junior Aaron Rollin deserves credit for how hard he battles on the interior. He fights for loose balls, scraps for rebounds and does a pretty good job contending with much bigger players. Unfortunately for him and the rest of LS West, Ruskin simply had too much size and athleticism to throw at him. … A final player of note from Tuesday night’s action is LS West freshman scorer Rodney Givens. A 6-0 combo guard, Givens has quietly come into his own and is emerging as perhaps the most productive freshman in the metro. He’s quick off the dribble for floaters and twisting layups and has a sweet looking jumper from deep. File his name away as a guy to watch down the road. …

  • Total teams seen- 175
  • Total games watched- 103
  • Total miles traveled- 10,143

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