Hoops Reports from the Alhambra: Part I

FROSTBURG, Md. -- Terrapin Times checked out the semifinals of the historic Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament in Frostburg March 14. This was the 54th year of this great event, and a huge crowd was on hand to see what turned out to be a battle of Washington Catholic Athletic Conference teams.

FROSTBURG, Md. -- Terrapin Times checked out the semifinals of the historic Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament in Frostburg March 14. This was the 54th year of this great event, and a huge crowd was on hand to see what turned out to be a battle of Washington Catholic Athletic Conference teams.

DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) continued its late season run by eliminating St. John's (Washington, D.C.) 70-62 in the first semi. The Stags are young, but gradually improved as the season went along.

This game gave us one last opportunity this season to see two of their talented underclassmen, both of whom have lots of potential.

Sophomore Joe Hampton, a burly 6-foot-6, 240-pound forward, had a very solid game, finishing with 22 points, four rebounds and one assist. He nailed a three early in the contest, and his shooting range is what makes him an intriguing prospect. Hampton was on the receiving end of some nifty feeds from fellow sophomor Alani Moore, a super quick 5-8 point guard, who started in the absence of Terrell Allen.

Hampton is a talented offensive player, having some nice moves around the hoop, while possessing range on his jumper. He has been ranked extremely high on a lot of national recruiting lists, based partly on his excellent play as a middle school star, and yet, we do have some concerns about his ceiling as a player.

First, his body is thickening up; he does not run particularly well; and he is going to have to defend close to the basket. Some regard him as a combo forward, and yet, to me, he's a definite face up 4-man, who can do a lot of things on the offensive end of the court. The hope is that he sheds some weight, improves his athleticism, and most of all, grows another inch or two. Being a power forward at 6-6, without great lift or length, at the highest levels of college basketball is not an easy task.

Hampton is known to have some Maryland interest, and the Terps are definitely monitoring his progress. We'll see him this summer to see if he's gotten into tip top shape, or if he's grown at all.

The Stags' star of the future is 6-6 freshman D.J. Harvey, originally from Alabama, by way of North Carolina, who now starts for DeMatha. Harvey has the look of a big timer down the road. He can shoot it, puts it on the floor pretty well, is well built, athletic, and has a good feel for the game. Harvey only had six points against St. John's, but played with poise, and even at this early stage of his career, you think "high major" when you see him play.

I'm quite sure Maryland will recruit Harvey, but given his background and youth, it's way too early to discuss his recruitment. I'd imagine he'll have schools from all over the country in pursuit.

DeMatha Catholic is a big time Nike school, and the Stags certainly haven't been flocking to College Park here recently in basketball or football. The basketball program though is on solid footing under the leadership of coach Mike Jones, and it would be nice to tap into the Hyattsville school in the near future. Hampton will be monitored, and Harvey is definitely a person of interest.

St. John's sophomore point guard Anthony Cowan played very well, finishing with 10 points (two treys), three assists, three rebounds, four steals and one turnover. As he gets stronger, Cowan will be a very good defender, as his quick hands and feet resulted in a number of DeMatha turnovers. We do hope he gets a little taller, as of now, despite being listed at 5-11, he looks closer to 5-9, but he does have very good skills and is a fine athlete.

With the entire SJC starting lineup graduating this year, Coach Sean McAloon will give the keys of the car to Cowan to run for the next two years.

In an earlier game, Calvert Hall (Towson, Md.) blew out host team Bishop Walsh, 74-35. We've written about CHC juniors Drew Edwards and Nico Clareth before, and both had nice games, although their minutes were reduced by the one sided nature of the game.

Maryland has checked out both players, Edwards a 6-2 combo guard, and Clareth, a 6-3 wing. I regard both has being on the mid/high major fence, but do not see the Terps making a serious run at either prospect. I particularly like Edwards though, one of those heady, versatile guards who does a little bit of everything. He's going to improve any college program he chooses to attend.

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