On the Road Again: Sr. G Patrick Beverley

After catching future Michigan hooper Anthony Wright in action Saturday night in Cincinnati, GoBlueWolverine hit the road for Chicago to catch another glimpse at Marshall High's Patrick Beverley. The Commandos quarterfinal opponent was Chicago Carver, a team which they beat earlier this year. Beverley & company got an early scare thanks to some tenacious D by their opponents, but they pulled it out in the end. After the game Beverley discussed the latest in his recruitment.

Patrick Beverley's penchant for dropping 30 and 40-point games throughout his senior season has drawn the attention of coaches and scouts, making him a "stock-on the rise" prospect well outside of the borders of the Windy City. Inside those borders, though, he has become a marked man. That was no more evident than in Marshall's quarterfinal match-up with Carver at the UIC Pavilion in downtown Chicago Sunday afternoon. Beverley was a scoring machine in the previous Marshall game GoBlueWolverine attended against rival Crane. In this, our second time watching him in action, the talented guard's offensive fortunes were a bit different.

Carver threw the kitchen sink at Beverley, sometimes running two and three players at him out of a box-and-one. All of the attention focused in his direction stymied his offensive production, but left openings for his teammates. Unfortunately for Commando followers, those early opportunities weren't taken advantage of, causing Marshall to fall behind 16-7.

Three Carver players converge on Beverley

Marshall Coach Lamont Bryant was upset by the way his team handled the pressure and felt his group got out-hustled early on. A few stern words with his team and his star player seemed to get things back in order. "It's always going to be that way now," Bryant said regarding Beverley having to face defenses geared toward stopping him. "He wasn't doing what he was supposed to do. He lost his focus because he was getting the ball too high. We took the ball out of his hands against the box-and-one, but it kept getting back into his hands at the wrong places at the wrong times. Sometimes it's just hard playing a team two and three times because they kind of get to know you. We couldn't hit any open shots. The kids didn't play bad, but they didn't play good either."

Beverley agreed with Bryant's take on what was going wrong, and knew he needed to help rally his team. "Carver was playing tricky defense on me all night," Beverley said. "I think we played their game in the first half. I think we came in overconfident because we had already beat that team. We kind of slacked off. After the first half we were just saying lets get it together. We are not going to lose this game. There wasn't going to be no upset. That's just the type of team we are. We came out playing our game in the second half and came back with defense."

When the Marshall players emerged from the locker room, the swagger they had exhibited in the game against Crane was again present. Bryant extended the press full court and the Commando players hawked the Carver ball-handlers for 94-feet. Offensively, Marshall sped up the tempo in order to get some easier opportunities in transition, and Beverley benefited greatly. His jumper wasn't falling on the day, but he was much more effective getting to the basket for a high percentage shot or foul in the second half. When the dust settled Marshall had sprinted past Carver on a 27-11 run that carried them to a 75-69 victory.

Beverley scored only 21 points in win, which is down by his standards, but he made up for that in other areas. As was so clear in our previous observation of the youngster's game, some of his most impressive attributes are his intangibles.

He's a good athlete, but there are better ones. He handles the ball fairly well, but there are those more adept at that skill. He's a good shooter, but there are those with sweeter strokes. What he brings to the table that isn't often matched by his peers are the things he does without the basketball; great in your face defense, will, and leadership. When his young teammates were missing open look after open look in the first half, it was Beverley that made it a point to pick them up and tell them to keep firing. That paid off later in the game when those shots started to fall. When you piece those intangibles together with his scoring ability, and his clutch play, it's easy to see why this Roundball Classic selection is being hawked by many of the top programs in the country.

Beverley is aware of the increased interest in his talents, but for the time being, he has not added any new schools to his list. The only change has been the elimination of the Indiana Hoosiers in lieu of Mike Davis' resignation. Whether other programs will be able to jump into the fray remains to be seen.

"I don't even know who the other schools are right now," Beverley said. "I don't know what other schools are interested in me. What I do know is the schools now are Michigan, Arkansas, and St. Johns. I'll have two more visits left, so I have room for other people if there is someone else I'm interested in."

"They're all calling again," Bryant later added. "Now Florida, Florida State, Wake Forest, and Miami are calling. What I've been doing is putting them on the backburner because I'm just trying to just concentrate on this season."

When asked whether all of the late interest had anything to do with the status of Beverley's transcript, Bryant addressed that issue in very short order. "Tell anybody saying that the kid is already qualified," he said. "Fully qualified."

As far as visits go, Ann Arbor will be Beverley's first destination, but after that, things are still up in the air. "I don't have any others lined up at this point," he said.

In the meantime, Beverley is focused on helping his team advance in the city playoffs. They resume their march toward a city title tonight when Marshall takes on Chicago Washington (22-2) at 7 PM Central.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for our photo gallery of Beverley in action.

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