BENTON, Ky--With players like Julian Wright walking around Marshall County's gym, high school basketball fans were in hoops heaven. The Sporting News High School Hoops' edition was being passed out and many spectators got a chance to snatch an autograph or two. While the Hoopfest showcased a star-studded lineup, the games did start off a bit sluggish before heating up for suprise finish.
Boys Game 1 The first guy's game of the day featured Jefferson City (MO) and Tucson Santa Rita (AZ). Both teams came out a little rusty, but Jefferson City broke it open winning by a score of 51 to 32. There weren't any great individual performances for Jefferson City as they used a very balanced offensive attack to take over the game. Zach Roling scored 10 points and grabbed 7 boards. While Jefferson City had a balanced attack, Santa Rita didn't. The team from Arizona only had four people with points in the score book.
Devin Stewart(2005) Jefferson City (MO) Stewart didn't have a bad afternoon as he chipped in 14 points and 6 rebounds. He got to the line 8 times but only made 3 of them. He's 6-foot-2 with some potential at a low level school.
Boys Game 2 Webster Groves got off to a quick start getting out to a double-digit lead. But Fairdale slowly got back into the game mainly because of Louisville football commit Maurice Grinter. But Grinter couldn't do it all himself as his team lost to the Missouri team 53 to 48.
Maurice Grinter(2005) Fairdale (KY) Kentucky's Mr. Football candidate shot the ball well from the field knocking down 7 of his 11 shots. He finished with 17 points and 5 rebounds. He mentioned that he plans on talking to Rick Pitino about possibly walking on the Louisville's basketball team next year.
Eric Jones(2005) Webster Groves (MO) At 6-foot-4 Jones is an undersized forward, but rebounds the ball very well. He went for 23 points and 13 rebounds. He took the ball to the basket and finished very well.
Boys Game 3 Westbury Christian (TX) is ranked 31st in the nation by The Sporting News and they pulled out a victory over Jeremy Barr. Westbury won the game by a score of 67 to 60.
Jimmie Sutton (2005) Westbury Christian (TX) One word describes Jimmie Sutton perfectly, HUGE! The Florida signee was perfect from the field on only three attempts and added 6 free throws. He didn't get many touches in the game, which is disappointing because with his size and attributes he could be a force inside.
Jake Worley(2006) North Broward Prep (FL) Although his shot wasn't falling today, it was obvious he has great touch on his jumper. He was 5 for 15 from the field and went for 13 points. He's long and plays hard on the defensive end.
Jeremy Barr(2005) Westbury Christian (TX) Early in the second half of the game Barr had two eyebrow raising throw downs in the paint. He needs to improve his hands in order for him to be a real good player at the next level.
Boys Game 3 Tennessee 3A champs as they lost to Carbondale (IL) in overtime by a score of 62 to 59.
J.P Prince (2005) Memphis White Station (TN) As stated above Tayshaun Princes' cousin played well, but did miss the game winner as the buzzer sounded. Prince sees the floor well and should turn into a good Pac-10 point guard. Prince rarely shoots jump shots, but uses his body size wisely, taking advantage of smaller defenders.
Collin Cunningham (2005) White Station (TN) This kid would be a great pick up for a lower level Division-1 school. His jumper is solid and he showed off a great spin move in the lane that led to two of 11 points.
Josh Tabb (2005) Carbondale (IL) Already tabbed as a Southern Illinois Saluki, Josh Tabb put in 18 points and 5 rebounds before fouling out. A fellow Scout.com recruiting analyst (Eric Bossi) described his game as a base line player, and sure enough he was right. Tabb only had one shot attempt that wasn't from the baseline, he finished with 18 points.
Manual Cass (2006) Carbondale (IL) This 6-foot-6 junior poured in 18 points and 8 rebounds and wound up winning the game MVP for the Carbondale. He is athletic and finishes well around the rim.
Boys Game 4 Two Illinois squads took the floor at Marshall County in the fifth basketball game of the day. Hales Franciscan of Chicago took it right at Belleville Althoff and came away with a two point victory. This game was close most of the way, but Nate Minnoy proved to be the difference as he got a game high with 20 points.
Nate Minnoy (2005) Hales Franciscan (IL)
It seems like every game Minnoy plays he gets bigger and bigger, size wise. The media guide lists him 6'4 and 265 pounds but we big to differ, Minnoy is built like a tank truck. Minnoy was the difference in the battle of Illinois, he showed his strength throughout the game and finished with a double-double grabbing 11 boards to go with his 20 points.
Kevin Lisch (2005) Belleville Althoff (IL) Lisch is a great shooter, tonight just wasn't his night. He was 7 of 21 finishing with 17 points. He had trouble finishing around the basket, as he blew two easy lay ups.
Jeremy Felton (2007) Belleville Althoff (IL) This kid is a stud in the making. He's long and very athletic. He had at least three blocks and was very impressive defending in the low post. The stat sheet had him with a double-double scoring 16 points and picking up 13 boards.
Boys Game 5 How ironic is it that Kentucky played in North Carolina, while Tar Heel signee Tyler Hansbrough played in Kentucky. Not to mention that Hansbrough chose UNC over, Kentucky. Hansbrough isn't surrounded by very much talent and his team certainly wasn't as talented as Arlington Country Day. The game was very close but A.C.D.'s backcourt was just too much for Poplar Bluff (MO) to handle. Their starting backcourt combined for 40 points, as A.C.D. won by a score 64 to 56.
Tyler Hansbrough (2005) Polplar Bluff (MO) Roy Williams was in the building to check out his highest rated recruit, and he had to have been pleased with what he saw. Hansbrough recorded a double-double pouring in 34 points and 12 rebounds. He is very hard to stop in the paint and Jason Bennett of A.C.D. found that out as he had trouble guarding him the entire game. This kid is special.
Jasue Soto As a member of the class of 2006 Soto still has two years to develop his game and prepare for the next level. But something he did show off was his speed, he is exceptionally quick with the ball and showed that as he led the fast break many times. Soto dished out 7 assists to go along with his 23 points, and boasts one of the best plays of the day. As Soto brought the ball up the court he approached the three-point line, put the ball threw his legs and then proceeded to crossover to his opposite hand making his defender fall straight to the ground. The 6-foot point guard said he was very interested in playing for Florida or Indiana.
David Huertas (2005) Arlington Country Day (FL) Normally known as just a jump shooter, Huertas did things that were unexpected. He got to the rim more than seen in the past, and finished on a number of a strong drives. Huertas, who went for 17 points, plays extremely well with his backcourt mate Soto.
Boys Game 6 The showcase game of the night featured the number one ranked high school team in the country (Oak Hill) and Julian Wrights' squad, Homewood Flossmoor. With all of the talent in the game fans expected to see a great game and that's exactly what they got. Oak Hill got off to a quick start but failed to put Flossmoor out of the game, and that came back to bite them. Julian Wright swished two free-throws with 7.3 seconds left giving Flossmoor a one point win over defending national champion Oak Hill. This was the first loss for Oak Hill in 41 games.
Julian Wright (2005) Homewood Flossmoor (IL) Kansas signee Julian Wright put on a show for the fans in Marshall County on Saturday night. Wright scored 19 points and grabbed 9 rebounds to lead his team to a win over Oak Hill. He is a very interesting prospect because he handles the ball so well for his size, and plays a point-forward type position. Wright had the gym going nuts when he did an up and under tomahawk jam in front of a standing room only crowd. He is a very unselfish player and his game feeds off his ability to pass the ball.
Tywon Lawson (2006) Oak Hill Academy (VA) Oak Hill has developed some great point guards over the year and their current point guard Tywon Lawson was very impressive in both his games at the Hoopfest. Lawson scored 21 points and dished out 6 assists in the loss to Homewood Flossmoor. The 5-foot-11 point guard has a very good jump shot and is gradually becoming the leader of this Oak Hill team.
Jamont Gordon Most prospects as good as Gordon is, have already signed to play for a college. Gordon however hasn't, but he is showing exactly why he is rated in the top 30's by many recruiting analysts. Gordon can stroke it from the outside and he isn't afraid to mix up down low as well.
Early Bird Special Look out for these players down the road.
Kenny Boynton Jr. (2009) North Broward Prep (TN)
A.J. Stewart (2007) Arlinton Country Day (FL)
Emari Bailey (2009) North Broward Prep (TN)
Coaches in Attendance
Bob Huggins, Roy Williams,Bill Self,N.C. State, Southern Illinois, Western Kentucky